Get the book here

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It Ain't Just Obama and Hillary

The individual who occupies the house of whiteness in DC and the woman who wishes to be the next resident have this in common: both are on tape stating they are against homosexual "marriage". Ah, but the times they changed, the wind blew a different way, and they were enlightened and changed their minds...

They ain't the only ones: From Tony Campolo to the Wheaton professor who wrote a book stating the Bible clearly teaches that homosexual behavior is sinful...and then disavowed it and rewrote it when his son "came out".

And many of my friends.

Why? I'm sure some of them have made a conscious decision that they were wrong, and using whatever "logic" come to the conclusion that homosexual activity is okay. Others are along for the politically correct ride. Some just don't want to make waves.

But from conversations and observations, the main reason is simple:

It's easy to be "against" homosexual behavior....when you don't know (or know that you know) any homosexuals.

But when it is your brother, best friend, cousin etc...well, then. Time to get the syrup, because far too many waffle.

So I dedicate this to should love the singer; and I love the lyrics...they make me think of folks like you...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Frustrated by the so-called "supreme" courts activist decision Friday? Perplexed by your professing Christian friends who love Jesus but say homosexual activity is cool?
This is, by far, the best resource of which I am aware.
I can't recommend it too highly; and, yes, if you buy it off this link I make a penny or two...but if you buy it and don't like it I'll buy it back from you...I'm that confident.
Go ahead...get it on the fact maybe get a couple to give away..perhaps one to your pastor?

My Personal Boycott (maybe)

I was thinking about the probability of more and more lawsuits against people of faith by homosexual activists with the so-called "supreme" courts hijacking Friday.

And I had a thought.

Perhaps I should (I'm not suggesting this for everyone; I have a hard enough time doing my time; I can't and won't do yours) boycott any business that employs homosexuals? Obviously I have to buy my utilities, etc from the existing companies. And there are some things that are simply too convenient and too necessary to my work/ministry/life to give up; as in Amazon.

But I pay taxes that abort babies, so I do not feel there is a firm line in the sand.

But I don't have to go to a local restaurant if it employs homosexuals. How do I find out? I ask. At least then it would force them to lie.

If a kid comes to my home and wants to mow my lawn, I'll ask him if his parents are "gay." If affirmative, I'll move him down the road.

Every girl who knocks on my door (they are all still girls, aren't they?) selling Girl Scout Cookies will also be interrogated. The service station that has homosexual employees is on the "no buy" list.

Movie theater employ "gays"? Redbox or Netflix it is. Or a good book, if I can find a bookstore that employs heterosexuals only.


I suppose.

But no more idiotic than a person of faith who bakes cakes being shut down because their conscience won't allow them to make a cake for a "gay" wedding.

Bob was, and is, right....

Sunday, June 28, 2015

An Open Letter to Homosexuals and Their Christian Allies

If you are a homosexual, please know I don't hate you, look down on you, or judge you on a personal level.

As an undeserving follower of Christ who holds to His Word, I know that your active homosexual lifestyle is is any heterosexual activity outside of marriage.

All sexual sin, according to the Bible (1 Corinthians 6) carries a different connotation than other sin; but all sin...lying, gossip, stealing...carries the same sentence.

No, I do not hate you.

And I don't particularly care that the so-called "supreme" court gave you want you want. Frankly, I think Christians and other religious organizations wasted millions of dollars and millions of hours of irreplaceable time trying to stop the legalization of homosexual marriage. That money could have been used to feed the hungry, enable missionaries, and countless other worthy projects.

But...sadly...believers continue to prove that it is far easier to be "against" something than actively "for" something.

No, I don't hate you.

You and your significant other, however, will never be allowed to spend the night in my home; any more than I'd let one of my unmarried children spend the night in my home with their "significant other" to who they were not married. I'll not consciously enable sin.

If you and your husband/wife/whatever come to a gathering at my home and begin to demonstrate, in my mind, inappropriate conduct you will be told to leave, as I would do to a hetero couple that was "making out" in an inappropriate manner. "What's inappropriate?" you ask? Whatever I say it is MY home.

No, I don't hate you. 

And, if I know you, I pray for you as I do for any one I know who is involved in active sin.

I don't hate you, and I won't fight you...until you tell me I, as an ordained minister, must officiate your wedding. I won't fight you...until you begin to hypocritically insist you have your rights while trying to take away my rights.

No, I don't hate homosexuals. But don't expect me to put some rainbow junk on my facebook page. I won't take "pride" in sin as so many of my professing Christian "friends" have.

Why do so many people who say they are Christ-followers actively support "gay" marriage and, indeed, "gay" lifestyle? I recently posted this on my facebook:

Why, you ask, are so many professing Christians applauding today's ruling? Mostly twenty/thirty somethings? It is, I'm convinced, because many of them are on their second or third marriage (which is not unforgiveable), or are still single and having regular sex...and thus if they okay what they used to believe is perversion and sin, they get the focus off themselves (they think)...The more I observe/talk/think the more I am convinced I am correct in this assessment.
But even if I am not correct, or perhaps painting with too wide a brush...if by approving the so called supreme courts decision they are approving homosexual activity, they are ignoring the clear Word of God. If they are approving it simply on legal grounds etc, I can live with that. I personally have no problem with homosexual "marriage" since the majority of heterosexual "marriages" are between pagans, or one pagan and one professing Christian, the government license means little, if anything. I have no problem with them having "equal rights," until and unless they tell me I MUST hire, marry, approve...then its high ho, high ho, its back to jail I go..

So...whether you are homosexual or, for lack of a better term, homosexual-friendly, I don't hate you. If you profess to be a Christian and at the same time feel homosexual activity is okay, I pity you and wish you'd be man or woman enough to throw out the whole bible rather than cut and paste it ala Rob Bell etc. If you are a non-Christian I don't expect you to, nor do I want to legislate you into, living like a follower of Christ.

But I do pray. And I will pray.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Timely Quotation

"Do not heed the jar of man's warring opinions. Let God be true and every man a liar. The Bible is the Bible still. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God."  Horatius Bonar

(not a very cheerful looking guy; but then again that's the way they did it back then...)

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Death of a Mom

The family in which I grew older (I didn't grow up until much later) was dysfunctional before it was trendy. You can't miss what you never had; and I never had a relationship with my parents. I envy those who do; and am furious at those who have a healthy family dynamic yet do not appreciate it.

My dear friend Lavonne Ponstein "lost" her mother recently; and wrote about it. (you can't lose someone when you know where they are)I knew her Mom; a dear lady, a saint, a servant.

Lavonne's writing is so good, so touching, so instructive, that I share it here:

Walking Mom to Heaven
It’s quiet in the house now.  No more is Mom in the kitchen preparing a meal.  No more is mom greeting everyone who walks in the house with the words, “What can I get you to eat?”  No more is Mom protesting, “You have a million and one things to do at TFC, you leave that to me, and I will take care of it.” Yes, it is quiet in the house.  Now, the only sounds are the bell on her walker telling me she is trying to sit up on her bed.  Now the only sounds are K-love playing quietly in the background and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard of my computer. 
The other day I sat in her room and as I watched her sleep, I was hit with the thought, “my mom’s serving days were over.”  All my life I have watched my mom serve.  Serving was her life. She served my dad as she walked beside him as a farmer’s wife, she served him as she walked him to heaven,  she served her children, she served her grandchildren, she served her neighbors, she served her church and it was all because she served her God. That realization flooded my eyes with tears – floods my eyes with tears. Every meal, every piece of cake, every cold drink my mom served me was love spoken over me.  Her serving wrapped me in this assurance – you are loved, you are valued, you are treasured! She created a bottomless treasure chest of serving.  But now as I face the reality that her serving days are over I find myself wanting one more moment of her serving me and silently saying with no words, “You, my daughter, are loved, you are valued, and you are treasured!”
My mind wanders back to the memory of the sound of the rocking chair, the feel of my head on her shoulder as she held me all night so I could breathe, and the assurance that tomorrow I would feel better because I was safe in her care.  I see her cleaning off the pond so we could play “Ponstein Hockey”, I see her going to do chores so we could play one more game of basketball with dad, I see her waxing the floor and laughing as we slid across it in our socks.  I smell the cinnamon rolls on Saturday afternoon, the turkey on Thanksgiving morning and I see the table full of food at Christmas. I can see her making beds and preparing spots for everyone to sleep when the family came home to visit.
And with every memory, I see now, more clearly than ever, it was in her serving that my mom was walking me to heaven. She was walking me into understanding Jesus. She was walking me into a deeper faith. She was walking me into the security of knowing I was loved, accepted and pleasing to Jesus. She was walking me into the freedom of serving Christ in the way He had called me to serve Him. Her serving taught me to “see the need, meet the need and do it gladly.  Her serving prepared me for this walk with her.
Now it is my turn, my siblings turn, to walk her into a fresh understanding of Jesus.  A deeper unspeakable faith as she see Jesus face to face. We are walking her into the security of knowing that she is forever loved, accepted and pleasing to her Father.  We are walking her to heaven where she will be able to serve her Lord and Savior. He will hold her close to his heart and whisper into her ear, “You served me well!  You, my daughter, are loved, you are valued, and you are treasured.” 
It is quiet in this house now. But in the quietness and the silent tears, all is well, because we are walking mom to heaven.

Reflections on the walk with mom

In the last week, I have had several people ask me how I’m doing – if I need to have a break and step away from taking care of mom for a bit and I always say “No.” This time has been hard and difficult but also precious and beautiful. I read a book recently, written by a woman who was dying of cancer. She shared how she and her family chose to walk into the experience rather than run from it. She talked about how often, in our society, we run from the hard places of life because -- They Are Hard! But she shared, how instead, we should embrace them, because it is in them, God does his most beautiful work in us. We should walk willingly on the path of dying with those we love, because it is on that path we will see God more clearly. He will do amazing things in us. He will take off of us the stuff that keeps people from seeing Him in us. With each step, with each act of service – my love for my mom grows and it reminds me of Jesus kneeling in front of his disciples and washing their feet. With his actions he was saying, “You have so much worth and value to me – I will serve you because I love you.” I’m understanding, in deeper ways, acts of humble serving deepens love -- makes the love in your heart burst to overflowing. Jesus' love for me was exploding for me as he served me on the cross. This morning my niece and I were helping my mom – and she said, “Girls, I’m so sorry you have to do this.” And my niece tenderly said, “Granny, I love you, I am honored to help you.” To which my mom said, “You still love me?” And my niece wrapped her in a hug and said, “I love you so very much!” It was a beautiful moment!
I am grateful I read that book only a few weeks before all this started happening with mom. Now I just want to run into it – even when I’m weary, sad, grieving – because it is here that Christ will be able to do his best work in me. It is here that I am going to get the best look at heaven – at his glory – at his face. This will be the moment I will get a peek into heaven! Why should I run from this? – I’m walking my mom to the most exciting, glorious, beautiful time of her life. The moment of death – will be her fullest moment of joy! Why should I run from that – why should I hate the signs that her earthly body is giving up – because it is one more step toward her full and wonderful eternal life in the presence of Jesus! With each step I take with her – God is teaching me to cling to this life less and to him more - That is a very good thing. I’m walking my mom into the presence of Jesus – is there anything bigger joy than that? I can’t think of a single one! But I still cry. And Jesus understands.
Reflections on standing at the door of heaven.
There was darkness, there was a fierce battle, and then heaven’s door opened and Jesus carried mom home. No more is there a wall between her Savior and her.  No more can satan attack.  No More!  In her Savior – she wins! The battle is over!  The party has begun!
Over and over in the past couple of weeks Mom has said, “Vonnie, what can we do for a party? Where can we go for a party?”  And over and over I have said, my siblings have said, “Oh mom, your party is coming! We can do nothing compared to what will happen when you walk into heaven.”
This morning I watched the sunrise – the birds were singing – the sky was breaking forth in shouts of glorious color – and for a bit, I heard the distance faint sounds of the party! My mom is experiencing the most exciting, glorious, beautiful party of her life.  She is living the life she was created for – she has life to the full! She is wrapped in the presence of her Savior. She is seeing her Savior face to face.  And in His face, she sees clearly, fully, completely, finally; she is fearfully and wonderfully made! Oh what a glorious day this is!

Mom enjoy the party!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Deleting His Wrath

As part of my message last night I referred to the Getty's "In Christ Alone," and told the campers that this would be one song sung at my funeral. (along with "Hello My Name Is" by Matthew West).

I also pointed out my fury at those Christian artists and "worship leaders" who use the song...sort of.

These people, who I won't name at this point, delete one passage from the incredible song...

"til on the cross, where Jesus died; the wrath of God was satisfied..."

Tsk Tsk. These men and women apparently don't believe in substitutionery atonement. Some of their spokesmen say things like, "If that were true, God would be guilty of child abuse."

Gaggeth a self respecting maggot.

"Jesus was obedient unto death, even death on a cross."

If they want to play the child abuse card, let them...but in the case of the Gospel the Child was willing. Though He prayed "let this cup (of God's wrath) be taken from me" He was obedient...and went to the Cross willingly...amazingly.

Lots of people talk about the "full gospel". Of course the gospel is the can't cafeteria the gospel anymore than you can cafeteria the Lord Jesus (as in, "I'll take a big helping of Jesus Savior, but I'll pass on the Lord part")

I do not believe one has to believe in substitutionary atonement in order to become a follower of Christ...but I wonder...once you read the many Bible verses that describe sacrificial atonement and propitiation...and if you reject that...hmm....

Enjoy the song:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Jesus Is Not A Cafeteria Offering

Sloppy presentations of "the gospel" coupled with (intentional or not) manipulative slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am "invitations" result in lost sinners reciting a prayer (found no where in Scripture) and saying "amen" while still being lost sinners...and all too often being told afterward that they are "in".

Or...maybe...once in a while the Spirit of the Lord honors even a shoddy presentation and draws someone to the family of God, but they are somehow under the impression they have their "fire escape" and can now do whatever they wish.

Sort of like proceeding down a buffet or cafeteria line - taking a big helping of "Jesus Savior" while passing on "Jesus Lord."

But I concur with Charles Spurgeon, who wrote:

"I cannot conceive it possible for anyone truly to receive Christ as Savior and yet not to receive him as Lord. A man who is really saved by grace does not need to be told that he is under solemn obligations to serve Christ. The new life within him tells him that. Instead of regarding it as a burden, he gladly surrenders himself – body, soul, and spirit- to the Lord who has redeemed him, reckoning this to be his reasonable service."
C.H. Spurgeon

Every Day is (The) Father's Day

Sure, these dads are heroes in the following clip.

But as I watched I thought of scores of incidents in which Abba showed up big time to prevent me from doing something dumb or being injured or...

"I will uphold you"..."I will hold you by the hand"..."prevent from falling"...

Lots of verses/portions of verses come to mind.

Resulting in the only appropriate response:  Thank You, Lord.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Half A Century???

How can this be?


That's like half-a-century!

Fifty years ago the average income in the United States was $6,450.00.

The average cost of a new home was $13,600.00.

Gas was thirty-one cents a gallon.

A loaf of bread cost twenty-one cents.

This was the number one song in June of 1965:

And on June 17, 1965 the stylin' guy on the right graduated from William S. Hart Union High School in Newhall, California.

Once again begging the question, "What is such a young guy like me doing in such an old body???"

I Hate to Preach - this message...sort of....

I love preaching forgiveness; I love preaching of the beauty of Christ and the gospel, I love preaching God's standards for a variety of things; I hate preaching to teens about sex...but that's what I'm about to do...

"hate" is not really the word, dislike because of the age and relative innocence of some of the campers; anger because in any crowd I am sadly confident there will be victims of abuse who think they need forgiveness; aware that in any crowd (of any age) there will be those who profess Christ and at the very same time think it is okay to engage in pre/extra/homosexual sex...

My hope is built in nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; and a sanctified awareness that He has called me to this; I've studied and prepared as best I can, and begged His Spirit to control my mouth and grant me grace to speak as He gives the campers...and staff...the grace to hear. 

I'll be speaking in less than an hour; prayers longed for and appreciated

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Our Times Are In His Hands - Prayers Requested TODAY

Megan Robie was a camper at Penn York Bible Camp last summer. Corning (NY) Area Bible Club has hosted two weeks of camp there for decades. I was the camp speaker that week (as I have been every other year or so for many years)

Megan's Mom was, as I remember, the camp nurse. I definitely remember she always had GREAT coffee early in the morning, causing many early visits by me.

Megan died last week. From what I know at this point...which is very little...she died from complications from a "routine" surgery.

Shocking. Sad. Heartbreaking.

But not a shock to God.

He is either sovereign in the affairs of man, or He is not.

And if He is not sovereign He is not much of a God. 

Obviously I don't "get" it.

But I do "get" that I can pray.

And I have been and am praying especially today as her funeral will take place at 7:00 eastern this evening.

Would you pray with me? Pray comfort for the family and friends who are believers; pray for those attending the funeral who are outside the family of God. I know the pastor who is officiating; I am confident the gospel will be proclaimed.

I am speaking at Midland Ministries SuperC Camp in Polo, Missouri this week. Last night we, as a group, prayed for Megan's family etc; and I've asked the teens to continue praying throughout today, and we will pray as a group at tonights rally.
Pray with us that God would open hearts and minds tonight...that the Spirit would honor the proclaimed Word and draw teens and adults out of darkness into His marvelous light.

The prison mantra is simply: God is good; all the time; and all the time, God is good.

All the time.


And I am thrilled that in our grief we can confidently look forward to seeing her again.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Problem is NOT External

Ray Ortland says that what follows is "the most important thing, outside the Bible, that I have ever read."

The statement declares, simply, that the enemy is in the camp.

And, sadly, that remains the case.

“The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us [nor, I would add today, postmodernism or materialistic consumerism or visceral sensualism or whatever].  All these are dangerous but not the primary threat.  The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.  The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People (Wheaton, 2003), page 66.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

In Him...Alone!

Not in my church...

Not in my doctrine...

Not in the fact that I don't use or sell drugs anymore...

Not in the fact I had my devos this morning...

Not in the fact I try to share the gospel at every opportunity...

Not in the fact that I am prolife...

Not in my anything (or Anyone)...

Not in my experience...

Not in any list of do's and don'ts...

Not in Arminianism....

Not in Calvinism...

Not in my views of pretrib, midtrib, posttrib, don't give a trib...

Not in my voting record...

Not in anything, any 'ism,' not in anyone...

But "In Christ ALONE"

The Worst and the Best

This very short clip may well be the worst thing I've ever seen on video followed by the very best.

I'd type more comments but I'm still throwing up (missed this last year; it's that old)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

HALLELUJAH! Hallelujah! hallelujah!

I know the song has some real shaky lyrics. I know they aren't singing in English. I know it is probable not everyone in the group follow Jesus.

But this is, well, heavenly...

Crank the speakers and enjoy!

Slip Sliding Away (from the authority of Scripture)

Wise words:

Three Observations about Tony Campolo’s acceptance of committed gay relationships

Tony Campolo has released a statement today calling for “full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.” Campolo has long been a stalwart of the theological left, so this announcement is no surprise. Still, it is significant as another prominent leader moves away from the faith once for all delivered to the saints. He is not the first to have done this, and he will not be the last. American Christianity will be in a period of winnowing for the foreseeable future, and there will be more to come.
A few observations about Campolo’s announcement:
1. Like many others before him, Campolo’s conscience seems to have been moved not by scripture but by relationships he’s had with gay friends. He writes:
One reason I am changing my position on this issue is that, through Peggy, I have come to know so many gay Christian couples whose relationships work in much the same way as our own. Our friendships with these couples have helped me understand how important it is for the exclusion and disapproval of their unions by the Christian community to end. 
The winnowing process that we are witnessing right now is going to reveal whose consciences are bound by the authority of scripture and whose aren’t. I am grieved when professing believers allow scripture to be eclipsed by other considerations, but I welcome the clarification (1 Cor. 11:19).
2. Campolo says that the church’s teaching on homosexuality is wrong just as it has been wrong on the women’s issue and on slavery. He writes:
I am old enough to remember when we in the Church made strong biblical cases for keeping women out of teaching roles in the Church, and when divorced and remarried people often were excluded from fellowship altogether on the basis of scripture. Not long before that, some Christians even made biblical cases supporting slavery. Many of those people were sincere believers, but most of us now agree that they were wrong. I am afraid we are making the same kind of mistake again, which is why I am speaking out.
This portion is particularly disappointing not merely because it is a poor argument, but also because it effectively makes traditional marriage supporters into the moral equivalent of misogynists and racists. This statement–though polite in tone–puts him on the side of some of Christianity’s fiercest critics. It gives credibility to the arguments that the enemies of the faith are using against us in their culture war–that we hold our position not from good faith but from animus and hatred.
3. If I am reading Campolo correctly, his new position is not a call for accepting gay couples who are “married,” but for accepting gay couples who are committed to one another–which would include couples who are in same-sex marriages and those who are not. If he is now supporting unmarried gay couples as full members, does he also believe that churches should accept unmarried heterosexual couples as well? In other words, does this statement imply not merely an acceptance of homosexual immorality but of heterosexual immorality as well? Perhaps he will clarify this point.
Here is Campolo's statement (I have "bolded" some of what causes me to grimace):
June 8, 2015; Tony releases a new statement urging the church to be more welcoming.
As a young man I surrendered my life to Jesus and trusted in Him for my salvation, and I have been a staunch (?) evangelical ever since. I rely on the doctrines of the Apostles Creed. I believe the Bible to have been written by men inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. I place my highest priority on the words of Jesus (making him a 'red-letter' guy), emphasizing the 25th chapter of Matthew, where Jesus makes clear that on Judgment Day the defining question will be how each of us responded to those he calls “the least of these”.
From this foundation I have done my best to preach the Gospel, care for the poor and oppressed, and earnestly motivate others to do the same. Because of my open concern for social justice, in recent years I have been asked the same question over and over again: Are you ready to fully accept into the Church those gay Christian couples who have made a lifetime commitment to one another?
While I have always tried to communicate grace and understanding to people on both sides of the issue, my answer to that question has always been somewhat ambiguous. One reason for that ambiguity was that I felt I could do more good for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters by serving as a bridge person, encouraging the rest of the Church to reach out in love and truly get to know them. The other reason was that, like so many other Christians, I was deeply uncertain about what was right.
It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.
For me, the most important part of that process was answering a more fundamental question: What is the point of marriage in the first place? For some Christians, in a tradition that traces back to St. Augustine, the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, which obviously negates the legitimacy of same-sex unions. Others of us, however, recognize a more spiritual dimension of marriage, which is of supreme importance. We believe that God intends married partners to help actualize in each other the “fruits of the spirit,” which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, often citing the Apostle Paul’s comparison of marriage to Christ’s sanctifying relationship with the Church. This doesn’t mean that unmarried people cannot achieve the highest levels of spiritual actualization – our Savior himself was single, after all – but only that the institution of marriage should always be primarily about spiritual growth.
In my own life, my wife Peggy has been easily the greatest encourager of my relationship with Jesus. She has been my prayer partner and, more than anyone else, she has discerned my shortcomings and helped me try to overcome them. Her loving example, constant support, and wise counsel have enabled me to accomplish Kingdom work that I would have not even attempted without her, and I trust she would say the same about my role in her life. Each of us has been God’s gift to the other and our marriage has been a mutually edifying relationship.
One reason I am changing my position on this issue is that, through Peggy, I have come to know so many gay Christian couples whose relationships work in much the same way as our own. Our friendships with these couples have helped me understand how important it is for the exclusion and disapproval of their unions by the Christian community to end. We in the Church should actively support such families. Furthermore, we should be doing all we can to reach, comfort and include all those precious children of God who have been wrongly led to believe that they are mistakes (which seems to indicate Tony believes they are 'born that way') or just not good enough for God, simply because they are not straight.
As a social scientist, I have concluded that sexual orientation is almost never a choice and I have seen how damaging it can be to try to “cure” someone from being gay. As a Christian, my responsibility is not to condemn or reject gay people, but rather to love and embrace them, and to endeavor to draw them into the fellowship of the Church. When we sing the old invitation hymn, “Just As I Am”, I want us to mean it, and I want my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to know it is true for them too.
Rest assured that I have already heard – and in some cases made – every kind of biblical argument against gay marriage, including those of Dr. Ronald Sider, my esteemed friend and colleague at Eastern University. Obviously, people of good will can and do read the scriptures very differently when it comes to controversial issues, and I am painfully aware that there are ways I could be wrong about this one. (I will take him at his word, and pray Spirit convicts and convinces him)
However, I am old enough to remember when we in the Church made strong biblical cases for keeping women out of teaching roles in the Church, and when divorced and remarried people often were excluded from fellowship altogether on the basis of scripture. Not long before that, some Christians even made biblical cases supporting slavery. Many of those people were sincere believers, but most of us now agree that they were wrong. I am afraid we are making the same kind of mistake again, which is why I am speaking out.
I hope what I have written here will help my fellow Christians to lovingly welcome all of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters into the Church.
The most important sentence in all that preceeds this is: 
"The winnowing process that we are witnessing right now is going to reveal whose consciences are bound by the authority of scripture and whose aren’t."

What Does "Christian" Mean?

This recent clip by Bill Maher should cause a spike in your blood pressure.

But don't overlook the fact that he represents so many in his use of the word "Christian."

He says a few times that 70 percent of Americans are "Christian." He cites large percentages of Democrat politicians are "Christian."


Can't expect him or anyone else who professes atheism to define "Christian" correctly.

But listen to the audience laugh as he cleverly discusses the "alleged" persecution of "Christians."

And realize that most of the people in your sphere of influence think the same way.

Shine brightly for Jesus, speak boldly for Jesus, don't be silenced by the ignorant.

Here's the video, with a bit of unfortunate language, by the way:

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Hager Theorum

I posted this on my Facebook; and it received much response; mostly favorable, some not so much.

So here it is:

Many professing Christians are okaying the Jenner thing (or yelling at those who are discussing it to "shut up!")

My bet is that the majority of that group are also okay with homosexual behavior. 


Because - consciously or unconsciously - if such behavior (plainly condemned by Scripture...note the behavior is condemned, not the individual; the individual is still in need of and still can receive the gospel), repeating, if such behavior is "okayed" then MY behavior (perhaps premarital sex, extramarital sex, etc) is also okay.

That's my longstanding theory.

Sadly proved out in too many cases.

Because...consciously or unconsciously...if such behavior (patently condemned by scripture....note...the BEHAVIOR is condemned, not the individual...they are still in need of and can receive the gospel); because of such behavior is "okayed" then MY behavior is okay (perhaps premarital sex, extramarital sex, et al). That's my long-standing theory.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

What Did You Do Last Week?

Prison ministry is not a universal calling. Though Jesus talked about visiting those in prison; others are gifted in nursing home ministry, hospital visitation, youth, etc.

But I've been privileged to be involved in ministry behind the walls ever since I was released on parole.

Last Friday I spent the day in the Ellsworth (Ks) Correctional Facility, and on Saturday I was privileged to minister at Hutchinson.

I was able to share my story to the entire group; and had some one-on-one times with several prisoners.

One young man was passionate about his commitment to Christ, and seemed genuinely repentant of his sins...both legal and illegal. The earliest...the earliest...he will get out of prison is June 4, 2058. That is not a typo...2058.

Another offender is comparatively "short," he may get out in 2036.

Of course most of the men I work with regularly at Crossroads Correctional in Cameron, Mo will never get out. As in never.

I won't argue the prison system or the legal system.

But it is important to remember these men are created in the image of God...and precious in His sight.

Many are lost, but no more lost that you were/are.

Some of the Christian inmates were Christians when they committed their crimes. Some sins are legal; some illegal.

I'm grateful someone reached out to me when I was incarcerated.

I'm grateful beyond words that my support team makes it possible for me to work in the ripe fields of youth and prison ministry full-time.

And I rejoice in hope. (NOTE - the pics with helicopter are of Ellsworth during a training exercise for the reaction teams; the other two are of Hutchinson. The chapel at Ellsworth is the most fantastic chapel I've seen in 35 plus years of ministry...all paid for by donations from the outside. The chaplains there are fantastic.

I can't recommend enough that you consider spending some time behind the walls with Bill Glass's prison ministry. Check it out by CLICKING HERE

Friday, June 5, 2015

Take It To The Limit!

Seize the day! Redeem the time! If you are not attempting the "impossible", are you really walking in faith? What's your kingdom-goal for today?

Not trying to drop a guilt trip on you (after all, there is NO condemnation to those who are in Christ); just ran through those thoughts as I watched the following video...

I was paroled from prison in early 1977...a few months later I traveled to Kansas City to go to Bible school...and sometime in 1977 these guys performed this of my all-time favorites by one of my all-time-favorite-groups...ah, the days when musicians were genuine musicians and not computer programmers....

Monday, June 1, 2015

No, Mick, It Isn't

A drag.

That's what it isn't.

What's it? You've not made the association yet?

Getting old.

The Rolling Stones sing it is a "drag."

Not for me.

Today I "officially" turn another year older-than-dirt.

Many my age have retired.

I'm cranking it up (well, in actuality God is cranking it up).

I'm not "against" retirement; I just don't want to so do.

My times, like yours, are in His hands.

I pray regularly for twenty more years of effective ministry...if it be His will. ("Thy Kingdom come" means "my kingdom go")

I want to finish well...just not soon.

I've tons of energy. Lots of excitement.

A magnificent wife.

Spectacular children...though Janelle continues to break our hearts by her choices.

And a God who gives me this promise: "I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and save you." (Isaiah 46.4)

So, Mick, though I love your music (he plays in KC in a few weeks, alas I'll be out of town), this one is a downer.

A few years ago I was given a plaque that reads, "Old age is mind over matter; if you don't mind; it don't matter."


And as I enter this day, this year, however many new mornings of mercy the Lord allows, one of my constant prayers remains:

"Do not let those who look up to you be ashamed because of me, Lord God of the Heavenly Armies. Let not those who seek you be humiliated because of me, God of Israel." (Psalm 69.6)

Though I'm not in a hurry to finish; I desire to "finish well" to His glory, and to the good of the Kingdom.

And now, for your listening pleasure (or groaning):