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There seems to be some confusion in the minds of millions, if not billions, about who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. Many have tried to articulate the Life and Works of Jesus Christ in hopes of dispelling misconceptions about His Character. I am not qualified, nor claim to be, a Theologian. I would however like to talk briefly about my Savior’s Ascension. The Ascension is when Jesus rose to the right hand of His Father in Heaven. Here is one Biblical account; Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” 1. Why did Jesus go up there? 2. Does His Ascension point to His second Coming? 3. Why is this important to Christian doctrine? These questions shall be briefly answered. The Bible best answers the questions. 1). Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Ok, so the Old Testament prophet said He would bare the sins of many and will make intercession for them or on their behalf. Wow what a Truth that is, that the Son of God not only took my sins upon Himself and paid the penalty, but now He is praying for the repentant sinner. The New Testament also says this; Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died– more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 2). The Bible also says in the text of the Ascension that our Lord will Return the same way He went up. Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. We did not see His Ascension but we will see Him descending! Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:30. “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” Also in Revelation 1:7 “ Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” He went up and is Coming back down. Are you ready? 3). This teaching is important to Christianity because of the Great Work Jesus did for you and me. We need to point people to the Jesus who Died on a Roman Cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, He was Resurrected from the dead and He Ascended and is Coming back soon! We dare not forget His Ascension which points to His Coming! There are millions and billions on this planet that need to hear this message. The Blood of Jesus has no power to save unless the sinner repents and turns to His Mighty Works! Jesus is Coming soon, turn to Him now if you have not done so already.

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As many Christians embark the paganism of Halloween, trying to bring the knowledge of Christ to worldlings, another more important event happened in History on this date, The Reformation! Many in the Christian communities do not even know what this event entails, let alone its importance to Christian theology. Here is a brief history if you find the desire to continue:
WHAT IS REFORMATION DAY?
Reformation Day is an important liturgical festival that is celebrated by Lutherans and Christians of many Protestant denominations.  It commemorates Dr. Martin Luther’s posting of his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517.  This act triggered the movement in world history known as the Reformation.  While the historical date for the observance of Reformation is October 31st, most churches celebrate it on the last Sunday in October.
WHAT WAS THE REFORMATION?
While it had profound and lasting impacts on the political, economic, social, literary, and artistic aspects of modern society, the Reformation was at its heart a religious movement.  The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the doctrine of justification, that is, the good news of salvation by grace through faith for Christ’s sake.
WHY WAS THE CHURCH IN NEED OF REFORM?
For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had been plagued by false doctrines, superstition, ignorance, and corruption.  Since most ordinary Christians were illiterate and had little knowledge of the Bible, they relied on their clergy for religious instruction and guidance.  Tragically however, monks, priests, bishops, and even the popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like purgatory and salvation through good works.  Spiritually earnest people tried to justify themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances and devotions, but they were left wondering if they had done enough to appease God’s righteous anger and escape His punishment.  The truth of the gospel — the good news that God is loving and merciful, that He offers each and every one of us forgiveness and salvation not because of what we do, but because of what Christ has already done for us — was largely forgotten by both clergy and laity.  The Holy Spirit used an Augustinian monk and university professor named Martin Luther to restore the gospel to its rightful place as the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity.
DOES THE CHURCH TODAY NEED REFORMATION?
Some Theologians say the Church is in need of another Reformation. It is the opinion of the one writing this that the Church doesn’t need Reformed but Renewed! The Church needs Revived and empowered by the means of Repentance!  The Church needs to stop entertaining sinners and start preaching and living the faith in the Person and Works of Jesus Christ. Salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone should be the catalyst by which Christianity thrives! Remember this event in the past as we reach lost souls for the sake of Jesus Christ!

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Consider this passage of Scripture; 1John 5:3-5 “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” No matter what the circumstances, we Christians should keep our heads. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. It is a dismal thing to see a son of Heaven cringe in terror before the sons of earth! We are taught by the Holy Spirit in Scriptures of truth that fear is a kind of prison for the mind and that by it we may spend a life-time in bondage. To recoil from the approach of mental or physical pain is natural, but to allow our minds to become terrorized is quite another thing. The first is to reflex action; the latter is the result of sin and is a work of the Devil to bring us into bondage. Terror is or should be foreign to the Redeemed mind! So many people, maybe even some reading this post, do not like to think of a place reserved for the damned. That place of Eternal fire, Eternal punishment, Eternal separation and Eternal suffering. I say to you this place is real even though you may not believe. Whether a person believes or not does not change reality. This is what the devil wants for all mankind. “True faith delivers from fear by consciously interposing God between it and the object that would make it afraid. The soul that lives in God is surrounded by the Divine Presence so that no enemy can approach it without first disposing of God, a palpable impossibility.” Tozer The victory is that the believing soul overcomes low spirits, a sinking heart, whispers of the devil and all the discouragements of this lower world. The Redeemed mind never fears such a damnable place because he knows that Jesus has already given us the victory! We recently sang Onward Christian Soldiers at a worship service. Listen to the words of this victorious song. “At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doeth flee; On, then, Christian soldiers, on to Victory! Hell’s foundation quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers lift your voices, Loud your anthems raise! Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the Cross of Jesus going on before.” The way to sum up this devotion is a quote from D.L. Moody; “Don’t let scoffers laugh you into hell; they cannot laugh you out of it.

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Image yourself living in a place where there is no sin. No need for doctors, hospitals, insurance, electric bills, cars, trains, planes etc… No need to worry about your house being broken into when you decide to take a walk. Just imagine yourself talking with animals and them talking with you without fear.  How about walking with God in the cool of the day? No knowledge of evil! This scenario is not a fairy tale but reality. Allow me to ask a question; Is it a good thing to know good from evil? Most will say YES! I will tell you, NO. Adam and Eve lived without knowledge of good and evil. Totally oblivious of anything wicked. When you study the text in Genesis you will notice that Adam and Eve lived this reality before they disobeyed God’s simple command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for if you do you will surly die! When they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge their eyes were opened and all Hell broke loose in their lives. Listen to the discourse. Genesis 3:7-10 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Notice Adam and Eve where not afraid of their Creator until after their eyes were opened.  The problem with this is simple; God our Creator Loves us so much and wants to fellowship with us but man chose to disobey and choose evil instead of good! Knowledge of good and evil is at the heart of the sin nature. When man has the choice he will choose evil every time.  This is where Jesus comes into the picture. God promised redemption to his Creation.  Genesis 3:15; And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Jesus fulfilled this verse in His death, burial and Resurrection. The restoration is that we do not need to be afraid of our Creator anymore. Jesus paid that debt of disobedience and has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can now choose the good and shun the evil! The Truth is that we can live in this ideal scenario. We who are Redeemed can walk and talk with our Creator without fear of punishment. Walking with God in the cool of the day is possible with a personal relationship with Jesus. Listen to what will soon happen as God finishes His redeeming work in the near future. Revelation 22:1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.  The curse is gone(knowledge of good and evil). What a Glorious thing our Creator has done and is going to do to restore us back the way it was before evil entered the picture! Even so Lord Jesus come quickly!

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1). How are you saved? Believers are saved by Grace through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. Death burial and Resurrection! Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–
9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 1Co 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Galatians 1:7-8Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
2). Who is Jesus? Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Col 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 100%man 100%God He is the Only begotten Son. Second person of the Godhead! John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
3). What is the Way to Heaven? John 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Ac 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
4). Do you know what God says concerning His Word? Pr 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. 2Pe 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Re 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
5). What happens when you die? Re 20:15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Heb 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
1). How are you saved? Believers are saved by Grace through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. Death burial and Resurrection! Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–
9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 1Co 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Galatians 1:7-8Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
2). Who is Jesus? Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Col 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 100%man 100%God He is the Only begotten Son. Second person of the Godhead! John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
3). What is the Way to Heaven? John 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Ac 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
4). Do you know what God says concerning His Word? Pr 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. 2Pe 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Re 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
5). What happens when you die? Re 20:15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Heb 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

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I sure wish I could win the lottery! I could do so much for the Church, my family and friends. I would love to be financially wealthy. Never having to worry about finding the money to pay bills; electric, doctors, water, groceries, housing, car, insurance, cloths, cable and tithes all need to be paid. Where I am going to find the money to pay for all these necessities of life? These are statements that have crossed my mind before and I am quit sure I am not alone. Lets see what Jesus has to say concerning money. Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.  So much for my thoughts of financial health. Jesus can’t be saying this to my situation. “Preacher, God understands I can’t give my tithe because I have so many bills and I don’t have much left over. God accepts me giving what I can, when I can.” In other words, God I will pay my bills and you get what is left over!  Dear friends you cannot love God and love your money at the same time. If our lives are dedicated to making ends meet then something is wrong! A Christian should never be focused on the things of this Earth. Listen to the Apostle Paul “1Ti 6:9-11 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Question: Can you say and mean it that you hate money so I might love God? Jesus said we can’t love God and love money at the same time. Is Jesus lying? All of us are struggling with fiances during this so called recession in the economy. It is only a recession if you are focused on money. May I close with this challenge? If we are having trouble tithing (giving a small 10%- 1 penny out of a dime) then we are loving money more than God. We are storing up treasures upon Earth instead of treasures in Heaven. The only solution to our Idiolatry is repentance. Turn away from your pursuit of money and find yourself in pursuit of Jesus Christ! If you don’t have enough money to make ends meet, you have too many things. Jesus knows we have a problem with serving God and ourselves. He shed His Blood upon a cross to wash our sins away, even our love of money. Money is not evil, it is the love for money. So do you love God or money? Jesus will not accept split loyalties. Either Him or money, the choice is ours! Father forgive me for loving money instead of only loving You. Cleanse me from this stronghold of sin in my life through the blood of your Son Jesus. Holy Spirit I pray You will convict me and lead me to full devotion to the Kingdom of God. Help me to see the Truth and lead me to Victory over the love for money. In Jesus Name!

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I ran across this article and found it put words in my mouth. Listen to  Jim Fletcher: I recently attended a funeral at a small country church. “Sister” Joyce had gone on to be with the Lord, and incredibly, her husband, “Brother Bill,” preached her funeral. The family owns a sawmill and as I looked at the rafters, with the wooden planks, my other senses were heightened. I heard shouts and claps as Brother Bill talked lovingly of a woman so godly that she had affected an entire community. Somewhere, the scent of honeysuckle drifted in through open windows. These people were happy. They knew what they believed, or, to put it more accurately, they knew whom they believed. I’ve never attended a funeral in which people stood outside because there wasn’t enough seating. There were hundreds of people at this small community church. Grown men were crying. Brother Bill and Sister Joyce were married in 1969; he was being shipped-out to Vietnam, and they made the decision to become man and wife. They had been happy all these years, even through her struggle with breast cancer.  Now, let me contrast this scene with one I remember from a few years ago. I attended the Crystal Cathedral while on a business trip to Southern California. I am “naming” this ministry in order for people to better understand my point. After all, if Robert Schuller has written that sin is the loss of self-esteem, then he can defend his philosophy as he sees fit, and I can contrast his message and vision with that of Brother Bill and Sister Joyce. Theirs was “that old-time religion,” which featured plenty of talk about sin, holy living, and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The atmosphere at CC was extraordinary: lush plants, soft seats, an ocean breeze coming in from the corner of the building, which opened up! Schuller “interviewed” celebrity Kathy Ireland, who plugged her line of clothing. I found the scene to be surreal. Paul preached. Spurgeon preached. Schuller chats with television personalities. I sat there and reflected on my grandparents’ church, a country church pastored by Ronald Shoesmith and his wife, Cora. These were old-line, Bible-believing Christians. A similar setup as that of Brother Bill and Sister Joyce. Countryside Bible Church, pastored by Bro. Shoesmith, had a cement floor, hard pews, hymnals, an organ, and gallons of refreshing Bible preaching every Sunday. I’ve since been to many sophisticated gatherings and chatted with intellectuals and sophisticates, many of whom are leaders in ministries in the United States. Frankly, much of what passes today for ministry reminds me of a rotting, bloated whale washed up on a beach. J. Vernon McGhee thought decades ago that the church in America had lost its power, and may I say, beloved, that the situation is a good deal worse today. In August, Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek Church, in Chicago, will host a leadership conference. Among the speakers will be Tony Blair, David Gergen, and Bono. I certainly don’t know the spiritual condition of those men, but I do wonder how they view that seminal verse in the Bible, John 14:6. I’m not sure at all what qualifies Bono, the U2 lead singer, to speak at this event. This of course can be interpreted as a mean-spirited, fundamentalist attack on well-meaning Christians. I’m not responsible for that characterization; I’m simply explaining that the simplicity and freedom found in preaching Christ crucified and risen is missing from American pulpits today, in general. These country, “non-sophisticated” folks were free, I must tell you. In those places, in those times, people who attended were free in a way that our culture today is not. For we live in an age of Tony Robbins motivational seminars, seeker-friendly Bibles (pastel covers, metal covers, textured covers, interior text doctored by relativistic translators, etc.), and “life coaches” who were formerly known as pastors. Our spiritual forefathers knew this day was coming. They pointed to it. Paul predicted it, and so did Peter. Spurgeon knew it was coming and in fact saw the first stages of apostasy. He railed against it and one could speculate that the rigors of the fight took his life, at 58, in 1892.  I thought about all these things as Brother Bill finished his emotional farewell to his wife. It was like my thoughts were sucked back into a wormhole and I was back in the present. This was one of those home-goings, for even though Brother Bill ended his day hugging an emotional group of friends and family, he already knew that he will be reunited with Joyce one day, and one day soon, in my opinion.
This is because God has promised us that He will bring history to its conclusion — man will not save himself, as is preached today — and He alone will welcome home His children. That wisdom has nothing at all in common with the wisdom of our world today.

I ran across this article and found it put words in my mouth. Listen to  Jim Fletcher: I recently attended a funeral at a small country church. “Sister” Joyce had gone on to be with the Lord, and incredibly, her husband, “Brother Bill,” preached her funeral. The family owns a sawmill and as I looked at the rafters, with the wooden planks, my other senses were heightened. I heard shouts and claps as Brother Bill talked lovingly of a woman so godly that she had affected an entire community. Somewhere, the scent of honeysuckle drifted in through open windows. These people were happy. They knew what they believed, or, to put it more accurately, they knew whom they believed. I’ve never attended a funeral in which people stood outside because there wasn’t enough seating. There were hundreds of people at this small community church. Grown men were crying. Brother Bill and Sister Joyce were married in 1969; he was being shipped-out to Vietnam, and they made the decision to become man and wife. They had been happy all these years, even through her struggle with breast cancer.  Now, let me contrast this scene with one I remember from a few years ago. I attended the Crystal Cathedral while on a business trip to Southern California. I am “naming” this ministry in order for people to better understand my point. After all, if Robert Schuller has written that sin is the loss of self-esteem, then he can defend his philosophy as he sees fit, and I can contrast his message and vision with that of Brother Bill and Sister Joyce. Theirs was “that old-time religion,” which featured plenty of talk about sin, holy living, and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The atmosphere at CC was extraordinary: lush plants, soft seats, an ocean breeze coming in from the corner of the building, which opened up! Schuller “interviewed” celebrity Kathy Ireland, who plugged her line of clothing. I found the scene to be surreal. Paul preached. Spurgeon preached. Schuller chats with television personalities. I sat there and reflected on my grandparents’ church, a country church pastored by Ronald Shoesmith and his wife, Cora. These were old-line, Bible-believing Christians. A similar setup as that of Brother Bill and Sister Joyce. Countryside Bible Church, pastored by Bro. Shoesmith, had a cement floor, hard pews, hymnals, an organ, and gallons of refreshing Bible preaching every Sunday. I’ve since been to many sophisticated gatherings and chatted with intellectuals and sophisticates, many of whom are leaders in ministries in the United States. Frankly, much of what passes today for ministry reminds me of a rotting, bloated whale washed up on a beach. J. Vernon McGhee thought decades ago that the church in America had lost its power, and may I say, beloved, that the situation is a good deal worse today. In August, Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek Church, in Chicago, will host a leadership conference. Among the speakers will be Tony Blair, David Gergen, and Bono. I certainly don’t know the spiritual condition of those men, but I do wonder how they view that seminal verse in the Bible, John 14:6. I’m not sure at all what qualifies Bono, the U2 lead singer, to speak at this event. This of course can be interpreted as a mean-spirited, fundamentalist attack on well-meaning Christians. I’m not responsible for that characterization; I’m simply explaining that the simplicity and freedom found in preaching Christ crucified and risen is missing from American pulpits today, in general. These country, “non-sophisticated” folks were free, I must tell you. In those places, in those times, people who attended were free in a way that our culture today is not. For we live in an age of Tony Robbins motivational seminars, seeker-friendly Bibles (pastel covers, metal covers, textured covers, interior text doctored by relativistic translators, etc.), and “life coaches” who were formerly known as pastors. Our spiritual forefathers knew this day was coming. They pointed to it. Paul predicted it, and so did Peter. Spurgeon knew it was coming and in fact saw the first stages of apostasy. He railed against it and one could speculate that the rigors of the fight took his life, at 58, in 1892.  I thought about all these things as Brother Bill finished his emotional farewell to his wife. It was like my thoughts were sucked back into a wormhole and I was back in the present. This was one of those home-goings, for even though Brother Bill ended his day hugging an emotional group of friends and family, he already knew that he will be reunited with Joyce one day, and one day soon, in my opinion.

This is because God has promised us that He will bring history to its conclusion — man will not save himself, as is preached today — and He alone will welcome home His children. That wisdom has nothing at all in common with the wisdom of our world today.

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