Monthly Archives: August 2009

Swimming Upstream: “Do We Really Love Our Neighbors?”

neighborsAsk us Christians if we love our neighbors and you will instantly hear our rousing  knee-jerk response: “Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes and more.”

After all, we all know how Jesus summarized the Law by stating believers should love God and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

And who hasn’t heard the story of the Good Samaritan at least a thousand-zillion times ad infinitum.

We know all of this stuff; it’s Basic Christianity 101. Tickle our ears, give us something new, right?

But do we really love our neighbors?

This is a question I ask myself often. You see, for me, it’s easy to care about the poor and hurting in Asia and Africa or the inner cities of America or even the gays in San Francisco. These are burdens the Lord has placed on my heart.

But I struggle with loving the guy next door or the fellow down the street. After all, can’t I fulfill Jesus’ words by just tossing them a warm “howdy” every once in a while?

And yet, I’m wondering if my Christianity isn’t what the Apostle James termed dead faith.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)

Do we really love our neighbors? If so, how far do we have to stretch out our love to them? With prayers? With fasting? With our pocketbooks? With our fellowship, even though we don’t like or agree with them? With hospitality? Where does this love end?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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Swimming Upstream: “What’s Wrong With The Sinner’s Prayer?”

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Finishing his stirring salvation message, the evangelist pauses a moment. He looks at the crowd which is jam-packed into the large football stadium, and then says, “Let’s bow our heads and close our eyes.”

The crowd responds as a group.

“This is serious stuff folks because Jesus is knocking on the doors of our hearts,” whispers the evangelist into the microphone, “so I want everyone to keep their heads bowed and eyes closed and repeat this prayer after me.”

Again, he pauses a moment. The audience is quiet, only the cry of a small baby can be heard for a second or two in the top tier of seats. Then, the mother quiets the child.

“Repeat after me,” says the evangelist, “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.  Take control of my life and make me whatever You want me to be from this point forward in my life. Amen.”

After a few moments, the evangelist says, “All those who have prayed this prayer for the first time – and have truly meant it – please come forward to this platform. We want to give you something and talk with you.”

Hundreds stand up and begin walking to the front of the stadium.

So, is there anything wrong with this type of evangelism? What about the sinner’s prayer, is there anything wrong with it? What do you think?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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Swimming Upstream: “Are Baby Boomers At Fault For America’s Collapse?”

protestJohn Brokaw’s  book, The Greatest Generation, paid homage to my parents’ generation. These were the mothers and fathers who survived the Great Depression and fought WWII, ensuring the freedoms and comforts we have today.

Then, the Greatest Generation passed their torches to the next generation: the Baby Boomers.

Like me, the leading edge of the Boomers turned 21 years old in 1967, and then the same ones reached social security retirement age of 62 in 2008.

We Baby Boomers have been influenced by the Civil Rights Movement, John Kennedy, the Viet Nam War, Watergate, the Beatles, TV, technology, big homes, SUV’s and making piles of money.

So, if my parents’ generation is like Israel’s King Hezekiah, is my generation then like Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh? What do you think?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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Swimming Upstream: “Is Obama God’s Tool For Building A Praying Church?”

prayer 5

Something happened after September 11, 2001, something very different from what is happening now. Do you know what it was?

Out of fear for themselves, their family and their country, people flocked into churches to pray.

How long did this unusual phenomenon last? Until the fear passed. Then, it was back to normal ho-hum Christianity.

Eight years later, America is now led by a President who stated during his campaign over and over again, “I am a Christian who prays everyday to Jesus.” Not only that, President Obama often made visits to churches where he stood in a pulpit, quoted Bible verses and sounded like a Baptist preacher.

But now, after six months in office, President Obama seems to be opposing Christian virtues with his anti-Israel/pro-Palestine initiatives, his income redistribution, his Obamacare,  his greater emphasis on abortion and many other programs.

The church patronized is the church paralyzed, therefore, the church in peril. The church persecuted is therefore the church prayerful, and therefore powerful. (G. Campbell Morgan)

What do you think? Is President Obama a tool of God to get us Christians back on our knees praying? If so,  how long will it take before we get the message?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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Swimming Upstream: “Are You Ready For Other Families To Live With You? And Soon?”

homesWe American Christians  love our homes. They are our refuge away from the outside world and the storms of life. Just open the door, walk inside, close the door; and there you are, in your own private castle.

This is the one piece of real estate where you can do what you want, when you want, with whom you want and how you want to do it, without any other eyes or ears checking on you.

But what if?

Today, the American economy is teetering on the edge of calamity with an overwhelming debt load crushing the life out of it. And at the same time, our political Mad Hatters, not being satisfied, are adding more and more debt each week.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. (Proverbs 22:7)

Guess who America’s chief lenders are? China and other foreign countries.

What if these foreign nations quit buying our T-Bills and other lending notes? Then, overnight, our economy would make the Great Depression look like the golden years. Jobs would be instantly lost. Homes and cars would be repossessed. People would be desperate.

So, are you ready to invite other families to live in your home with you? Are you ready to share your food, your autos, your computers, your bathrooms, your bedrooms, your finances and your whole life (almost every intimate detail on good days and bad) for an unforeseeable amount of time…maybe even  forever?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys

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Swimming Upstream: “Does God Approve Of Blogging…Or Not?”

blogging

My entrance into the bologosphere came about in the late summer of 2004. A radio host, Hugh Hewitt, was constantly talking about blogging on his syndicated program.

“Blogging,” I thought. “What’s that?”

Not knowing the answer, I bought a book, did some research and started beating on the keys. Over the years, my writing has evolved, but it has always been from a Christian viewpoint.

After five years, I’m wondering a few things. Does God approve of my blogging? Or yours? Or anyone’s? If so, why? If not, why not?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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Swimming Upstream: “Why Has Prayer Failed To Change America?”

prayinghands_bible11

If you have been on the Christian circuit for a while, then you’ve heard more than a few preachers exhort believers with the following verse:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves , and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Do you realize there are more people praying in our nation than ever before? Promise Keepers.  International House of Prayer. The Call. National Day of Prayer. Prayer of Jabez. The list goes on and on.

And yet, America and much of the Western World is diving headfirst into the toilet, waiting to be flushed into a sewer.

So,what about the promises in 2 Chronicles 7:14? Why is prayer not changing America or other Western nations? What are we doing wrong?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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