The role of Christians and the church.


When you read the title you might be thinking, aren’t Christians the church? Yes they are, but not all people in the church are Christians. Many think they are, but have been led wrong by bad teaching.

A young man from a church in Pennsylvania comes to mind when this topic comes around. We were visiting family there and sat in on a Sunday school class my aunt & uncle were teaching. I had met him earlier through his mother who is a retired Marine ( Marines always seem to find each other ). In this class the question came up of why do you come to church. His response was ” so I don’t go to hell “. His church experience led him to believe that coming to church made him a Christian and saved him from hell. He was in his early twenties and that was the last time we ever saw him. I hope there was follow up on the truth I shared that coming to church would not keep you out of hell, only following Jesus as your Lord and saviour and telling others will keep you out of hell. Telling others is confessing Him before men. Jesus said of you don’t confess me ( deny Him ) before men I’ll tell the Father I never knew you ( Luke 12:8-9 ).

There are others in the church that have been led to believe that simply asking Jesus into their hearts made them a Christian. At that point they could continue on with life uninterrupted and all is good. The shocking thing is the command to ask Jesus into your heart is nowhere in the Bible. I wrote a blog about misrepresenting Christianity that goes into this. It reminds me of A.W. Tozer saying ” If your Christian conversion did not reverse the direction of your life, if it did not transform it then you are not converted at all. You are simply a victim of the ” Accept Jesus ” heresy! “.

Now that that’s out-of-the-way let us get to the role the church is to play, the command we have been given. Make no mistake about it, we have been commanded by Jesus to do certain things, yet we are insistent on making excuses as to why we can’t or why this person or that is not qualified to do it.

The command is simple ” Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ” which is found in Mathew 28:19. The other is actually two in one, ” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself “. This can be found in Mathew 22:37-39.

To sum these up simply we are to spread the gospel all over the world, love God more than anything else therefor putting Him first and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. You don’t neglect yourself so you should not neglect your neighbor. You will go through great lengths to protect your life as you should your neighbor.

What the Bible does not say is to be the Holy Spirit for your neighbor or all the world. It does not say bring conviction on them for things in their life that you feel is not God honoring. It doesn’t say to try to change them or dictate their behavior. It tells us simply to love them and share the good news with them then baptize them.

If we teach the true spiritual truths to them, if we teach the Bible with accuracy, the Holy Spirit will bring life changing conviction on them. If we live our lives with holiness and live what we claim to believe that will bring validity to scripture and open the door for the Holy Spirit to work.

When we run around and try to correct them on habits, lifestyles, language, outlook on life, the way they dress, what they watch, the people they hang out with, the way they act at work, etc… we are making Christianity look like a kill joy that wants to just say no to everything and control you. If you don’t have an established relationship with them they will not be very receptive to your words. If you persist they will eventually stop coming to church and turn their back on Christianity. If the approach to salvation is ” accept Jesus ” they can walk away from church and scripture thinking they are good.

I can’t begin to tell you of the number of people I have met that will NOT go to church, yet say they are good with their maker. When I get to know them well enough to ask what they mean by good, are you saved? The response is, yea.. I asked Jesus in my heart. When I ask why they are not involved in their church they say they are judgemental hypocrites. Invariably the thinking that they are judgemental hypocrites came from people in the church trying to tell them how to live now that they were “saved” even when those lecturing were not living how they were lecturing. This violates the first rule of leadership, do NOT expect others to do what your are not willing to do.

We had a neighbor named Bobby. I’ll use his first name now that he has passed on and we have no earthly  idea where his daughter is. When we first met Bobby it became apparent that he was addicted to alcohol and marijuana. He was a friendly, helpful, entertaining and honest neighbor despite his addictions and physical disabilities. He always looked out for the kids when they were outside. He always had a smile for us and would walk over to just visit. In turn my wife and daughter were always feeding him because they felt sorry for him. He was a skinny dude and would disappear at times for days and we would later find out he had been in the hospital for one reason or another. We frequently asked him to come to church with us and if he knew Jesus. He always said he didn’t want to go to church and he knew his maker and made peace with Him. One of the days when he was particularly drunk & stoned he admitted that he stopped going to church because the people always looked down on him and judged him. He went on to say that the people who said they cared for him at church never came to check on him or his daughter when she was in a bad car accident that put her in a coma and permanent disability. We asked him to let us know when he was in the hospital, but he never would because he knew the kids would want to come to see him. While we were in Texas he died and we don’t have a clue as to where his soul is going to spend eternity.

How many others are out there that the “church” has run off because they mistake their role to be that of the Holy Spirit and not the messenger of the good news? How do you interact with those who are not “churched” or different? Are you sharing the importance of making Jesus Lord & savior or just accepting Him and asking Him in your heart?


Who Is The Christian Soldier?


The Christian Soldier is not just men like Alvin York ( Sgt. York ) who served in the military while being a Christian ( If you don’t know who he is it is well worth the time to read up on him. He was an extraordinary man.) It is all of us who profess to be a follower of Jesus. There are comparisons and references in scripture to this fact, but we do not act like it. The question is why don’t we? Why is it that so many “followers” do their own thing with no unity, direction or discipline? I have two reasons for this.

The first reason is so few in the western world, especially North America, have served in the military. The percentage of the population that carries the “veteran” designation is very small so our frame of reference as to what being a soldier looks like is limited to movies, T.V and books. As a Marine I’ll tell you this does more harm to what a “soldier” looks like then it helps.

When Paul told Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:4 to not get entangled in civilian affairs so he might please him who enlisted him as a soldier, it was clear to Timothy living in a militarised society with soldiers and garrisons all around what that was like. They saw how soldiers lived and trained, how they fought and carried out their everyday duties. In our society when that is said we don’t have a real frame of reference for this.

In the military a soldier trains for war. They train not just to fight but to eat and sleep at the ready. They learn how to move as one in a unit. They learn their role and the team learns to trust that the one next to them is doing their job so they can focus on theirs. They learn to study, reference and read about all manner of topics that will make them a better soldier. They learn the exercises that will strengthen the body and the foods that will nourish it. They learn how to take care of their feet and boots when on long marches. They learn how to use all their weapons the most efficiently. They learn how to use the technology and tools they have to support those on the front lines. They know that nobody may know about their job, but that job is critical to the mission succeeding,

When you watch a war movie you don’t see the sailor brushing rust off the battleship and paining over the bare spot. That’s not glamorous enough for Hollywood, but it’s necessary for the ship. You don’t see the hours a rifleman sites through the sights or scope at images painted on a barrel “dry firing” round after round to get the proper sight picture committed to muscle memory. You don’t see the hours of class time and off duty time committed to studying. You don’t see the mundane inspections for the inspection before the inspection. They don’t show the countless hours of cleaning what is already clean. You might see the rank structure and the proper utilization of the chain of command, but not likely. There are millions of things that soldiers do that are not seen, but are vital to good order, discipline and unit cohesion.

The more elite the unit, the less they care about rank and more about being the best at their job and mission success. The more “on the edge” the more they look after each other and their brothers best interest, even to the point of laying down their life to ensure the team makes it back. They know they have a task and that there are a million mundane things to do over days to get ready for a mission. They just get it done.

Translate this to the church. The behavior seen in the church is the mission of the church is not important. The other activities like ball games, workouts, cookouts, the beach and T.V shows are more important than the command to the church to go and make disciples. There is no sense of mission or unity. People want to do their thing regardless of the leaderships desires. They show little respect for the chain of command as it is. The pastor, it doesn’t matter if God anointed him and placed him here, we don’t like him so we will vote to fire him and bring in someone we like. The deacons ask you to do it this way, but you do it the way you want. The schedule requires things be done and ready to start at 10:00 and you don’t show up until 9:55. Things are done haphazard as the discipline to do with excellence is lacking. You gossip behind a leaders back and sow discord because you weren’t elevated to the position you want and think you deserve.

You don’t see those traits in the military from someone who wants promoted. When one gets promoted the others who are now below him in rank obey him because of the position, not the person. That comes later. If the platoon commander has 5 NCO’s on a detail he has to pick one to lead. The others follow and obey because the one chosen to lead carries the authority of the officer who placed him in that position. When a pastor is placed in a position by God, he carries out his duties in His name. When you disrespect, disobey, disregard, gossip about, undermine him you are bringing dishonor to the one who placed him in that position. Soldiers understand this.

The second reason why people behave like this in regards to the church is due to our nature. It’s not an accident that Jesus compared us to sheep. Sheep are stupid creatures that get lost easily, will wander off then run around bleating when they realize they are alone, they basically do what they want. Then you have the goats that are more stubborn and ornery. They will actually lead a lamb off and leave it lost. Sound like anybody you know in the church?

When Paul referred to us as soldiers he wanted to convey to us the importance of being of one mind, the mind of Christ. He wanted to convey that we are not to worry about what people who are not Christians are doing, but to focus on what our commander, God, wants us to do. He wanted to show the importance of being disciplined and devoted to the gospel and “recruiting” new followers of Jesus to the Kingdom.

One of the reasons the Marine Corps has less of a problem hitting recruiting goals than the other branches is the image it puts forth. One of the reasons everyone knows units like “Airborne”, “Seals”, “Green Berets”, “Recon” and such is because they are so disciplined, so well-trained that they have earned the recognition. On the flip side no one knows about the 3rd maintenance battalion or the 14th Infantry. They do their jobs, but are not the elite, therefor unknown to most.

When we look at churches and ministries that are well-known it’s for the same reason. They didn’t just get lucky, they worked hard, trained hard, prayed hard and made sacrifices. Those that haven’t done this are not known by anyone outside the local community and sometimes the local neighborhood.

We need a body of Christ that will stand up like a united body and behave like soldiers if we have any hope of curing our societal woes.


What is your legacy? What kind of inheritance are you leaving?


In our city there is a historical park that has this cemetery in it. In here you will find the graves of people who passed on in the 1700’s, Civil War vets and the most recent we found was dated 1952. Of all the graves not one name stood out to us. Sure, a few family names that are common in our area, but not a single persons name stood out. We couldn’t place a name with an achievement. Many had inscriptions saying “not forgotten” or a variation of their survivors not forgetting them. But, how many of their descendants alive today are even aware of them? I know there are descendants in my family that I have no idea who they are, what they did or where they were buried. I have no idea if they left an inheritance or a legacy. Could they be the same thing?

Proverbs 13:22 says “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” This is one of the few verses that speak directly to a person leaving something material to the next two generations. All the verses in the New Testament speaking of an inheritance speak of believers inheriting the Kingdom of God, except for the 4 verses that Jesus used an inheritance in a parable to teach a lesson. There is not a direct command from Jesus to leave an earthly, physical or material inheritance. There is not a similar command in the rest of the New Testament after the four gospels. That leaves me to conclude that, yes a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but this is not a command. This is a proverb and proverbs are not guarantees, but sayings of wisdom on how things are most likely to pan out. Think of the proverb that says raise up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it. There are too many instances to count where that has not been the case. The reasons why for many are for another blog. So leaving an inheritance is a good thing if you can and if the Lord tells you to. If you can’t and/or He doesn’t tell you to then don’t.

What’s interesting is when I search for “legacy” on BibleGateway I do not get any hits under the NKJV, ESV or the 1599 Geneva. The only hit I get is in Ecclesiastes 2:21 in the NASB. The reason being is “legacy” is a synonym for “inheritance”. This tells us that they are the exact same thing, but often used in different contexts. An example is when someone says “he left his farm as an inheritance to his grandchildren” vs. “he left a Godly legacy for his grandchildren”. Both are saying the same thing.

The real question is, which is more important, a Godly legacy for generations to be blessed or some land and money for the next two generations? Which will affect their eternity? There are four verses where God says He will visit the iniquity of the fathers to the third and fourth generation ( Exodus 20, 34, Numbers 14 and Deuteronomy 5 ). This is called a curse and it is brought on by sinning against God and bringing Him dishonor. No amount of material inheritance will make this go away or easy to carry. The most hateful thing you can do is leave an ungodly legacy that brings about this kind of curse.

In Deuteronomy 7:9 God states that he will bless “to a thousand generations” those who honor Him. This is showcased in a study of two men, Jonathan Edwards and Max Jux. Jonathan Edwards left a Godly legacy and his family reaped blessings for generations to include: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries. In contrast 42 men in prison traced their family tree to Max Jux. More information on the numbers can be found at “Jukes-Edwards A Study in Education and Heredity” written by A.E. Winship in 1900.

The question for you is, what kind of legacy are you leaving your children and children’s children? Are you leaving a Godly inheritance or strictly an earthly inheritance? We tend to focus on the earthly as we can see it, touch it, use it, spend it and fight over it. A Godly inheritance can be seen for generations long after the possessions are broke, sold or traded and the money squandered. We often see families torn apart and lives ruined by the sudden access to material things that were once beyond their reach.

Don’t carry false guilt because you can’t leave a fortune for your descendants. None of the 12 disciples who were married were able to leave an earthly inheritance. Many Godly men in third world countries do not have the resources to leave an earthly inheritance. Many pastors and missionaries here in the developed industrialized world do not have the resources to leave an inheritance other than a Godly legacy. This does not make these men not good. What is important is that you leave a legacy that eternally impacts subsequent generations. It doesn’t matter if the 4th generation after you ever knows your name, but it does matter if they are reaping the benefits of your faithfulness.


Violence and the fatherless society


Since the Parkland FL school shooting the national focus has shifted from the FBI & DOJ’s actions during the presidential election and after to renewed calls for gun control. The cry is summed up as ” if we pass more gun laws this won’t happen”. In all the discourse there are two themes that are overlooked, mental illness and a lack of a father’s presence. I’m going to address the issues surrounding the lack of a father in the home or in the home but not being involved.

The problem we are facing with our young men is what I will call the ” fatherless society “. For a couple of decades now we have been telling women they don’t need a man. They can do anything a man can do. We applaud them as courageous and strong when they leave their husband to strike out and forge their own future. We tell the women and the kids that they don’t really need dad around. He’s just a stupid, lazy, foolish goof that knows nothing and has to rely on the wife’s strengths just to survive. If you doubt this just pay attention to how the dad is portrayed and treated on modern T.V shows, commercials and movies. We go on to say that divorce doesn’t really effect the kids that much and it’s really doing them a favor by divorcing someone you don’t love. We then lament that the men aren’t sticking it out with their families and are deadbeats.

The biggest lie is that divorce is better for the kids. Every family that goes through a divorce leaves the children scarred and self-conscious, wondering if it was their fault. They feel abandoned and betrayed by one or both parents. The stress on the abandoned spouse and the children is almost identical to the stress measured at the death of a spouse. The psychological wounds run deep. The truth is divorce is the selfish, self-centered way out. It is an easy way out to avoid dealing with the hard truths about yourself and your contributions to the problems. It allows you to run away from the problems at the sacrifice of your children’s well-being.

Let’s look at just a few statistics.

  • Teens in single parent families and blended families are 300% more likely to need physiological help in any given week than teens from intact families.
  • About 40% of children who do not live with their biological father have not seen him in 12 months.
  • 85% of youth in prisons come from fatherless homes.
  • 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
  • 90% of all homeless runaways are from fatherless homes.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of children who show a behavior disorder come from a fatherless home.
  • 46% of children are growing up without fathers.

These are just a few statistics gathered from numerous sources. A fatherless home is a home where the father was never in the picture, was and left or incarcerated, died or is in the home and not involved with his children. In my opinion the last is almost worse than the others as the father being there, but his his lack of involvement tells his children they are not good enough, not loved or wanted leaving deep wounds that they will struggle with their whole life.

It’s undeniable that fathers are critical to the well-being of our boys, male youth and young men. The mother can not fill both roles, it’s impossible. She can fill her role only and pray like the grandmother in War Room. She does not have the masculine mindset to impart the life lessons and discipline a young male needs. Her lacking in this area is not her fault. It’s the way she was made. The politically incorrect truth is we were designed by God with gender roles. When we fulfill these gender roles we mold all around healthier children who grow to be healthy and better adjusted adults.

Men have a unique role to play as father. God gave them the authority to give identity to everything they are in authority over. Yes, men are head of the house, the marriage & family as Christ is head of the church. Christ gives us identity and purpose, the man gives his spouse and children identity and purpose.

It says in Genesis 2:19-20 ” So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and the birds of the sky – He brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky and all the wild animals “. In so doing he forever gave them an identity. We read how the father named the male children. In giving them names he gave them an identity and that identity was their purpose.

In Mathew 16 Jesus told Simon Bar-jonah that his name was now Peter. That was significant and it was an identity that Peter would live up to. In Genesis 32 God told Jacob he would now be called Israel. He lived up to the name Jacob ( deceiver or trickster ) and after he received his new identity he lived up to the name Israel.

What our young men, youth and boys are missing is a father to give them that identity, discipline, love and guide with that firm masculine leadership that they desperately need. When a mother tries it comes across as nagging or screeching. This automatically turns the heart and stomach of a man, especially a young man. It leaves such a lasting distaste in their soul that when their wife reacts the same way they not only get angry, but shutdown and withdraw. It’s the masculine part of a man that rebels against this. It’s the part that drives them to restrain anger, refrain from violence until it’s needed to protect and defend, to provide and lead. Without the father their to help shape this aspect the male child doesn’t know what to do with this aggression. It frequently comes out in very inappropriate and harmful ways.

The only way to bring the national epidemic of violence under control is for men to assert their rightful place in the family. If you are not involved in your child’s life, get involved at all costs to prevent a cycle from repeating itself. If you live with them and are not involved, get involved. Your career or ministry can wait for you have no higher calling than to raise men. If you know a single mom or a grandma raising boys, help. There is no excuse why a single mom or grandma in our society, let alone our churches, should ever be left with trying to be both mother and father. Timothy was raised by his mother and grandmother and discipled by Paul. The women laid the foundation for truth and Paul helped shape that into a major church leader.

The longer we ignore the self-inflicted plight of the fatherless the more our society will pay.


The truth of the 3rd commandment.


The Ten Commandments are pretty straightforward, yet we lose the importance of them in the English translation. The 3rd commandment uses the phrase ” in vain ” which is very easy to misinterpret as the original language is Hebrew. The Hebrew language has words and phrases that do not easily translate to English.

One thing we learned ministering at a predominately Hispanic church is that there is a difference between translating and interpreting. Translating is simply taking a word, phrase, sentence and changing it to another language. In English when you want to greet someone you might say Hi. Translate that to Spanish and you would say Hola. Both words mean exactly the same thing.

Other words and phrases require interpretation because there is not a word in the other language that means the same thing. One example was when I was preaching about Jesus and used the term scapegoat. Those fluent in English understood, but the five people who translated could not come up with the words in Spanish to translate scapegoat so we then had to interpret the phrase so there would be the proper understanding. This was a real eye opener for us and an issue I had failed to anticipate.

This is what has happened with the 3rd commandment. The English translators translated the Hebrew phrase to say  “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…”. From this, in the English language, we get the notion that we should not use His name in any other form other than in prayer or praise. We have been taught forever that saying something like ” Oh my God ” or “God, did you see…!” or “God I’m worn out” that we took His name in vain. This is absolutely wrong and the religious among us just got all sorts of upset. 

If you look at the rest of Exodus 20:7 ( the 3rd commandment ) it goes on to say “for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”. That’s a powerful statement and a damning statement. We learn in the New Testament that those who have accepted Jesus as Christ, Lord and savior are redeemed and will be held guiltless before the judgement seat. We are found guiltless, not from what we did, but because of who we follow and obey. That has us clothed in a cloak of righteousness and makes us co-heirs with Christ and a Royal Priesthood. We can not be these things and be found guilty. The only other commandment that holds a curse for disobedience is having false gods. Yet, that curse does not say you will not be held without guilt. If you ask a Jewish Rabbi he will say this means you will not be forgiven. That’s huge! 

Now, with that implication for violating the 3rd commandment it can not possibly mean if you say “Oh my God! would you look at that!” or any other variation of phrases that  He will not forgive you but will forgive and cleanse a murderer, an adulterer someone who forgets the Sabbath or violates any of the other 10 Commandments. This is nonsense and makes God look petty and foolish. Besides the translation being less than stellar it also makes no sense because God is not His name. It’s His title, the position if you will, that He holds. His name is Adonai Elohim as you will see in the Torah Hebrew. On a side, using the term God when talking to Him is terribly impersonal. It’s akin to talking to your wife and calling her wife instead of using her name.

Bear with me as I always struggle with getting the English spelling of Hebrew absolutely correct and the right words as one word. The proper translation is ” low Tisa at shame Adonai Elohim alisov ” which means ” do not carry God’s name in vain “. This a drastically different meaning then what the vast majority of Christians have been taught. To carry His name in vain is to bring it shame, to slander it, to malign Him. Those who murder in His name, those who enslave in His name, those who rape in His name, those whose torture in His name, those who steal in His name, those who molest children in His name are carrying His name in vain. They are the living examples of those who are violating the 3rd commandment.

Those who commit crimes against others in His name are making it easier for people to say that there is no god. They say God wouldn’t do those things. They are right, God ( Adonia ) wouldn’t do those things. A false god or a demonic entity would do those things in God’s name. What better way to turn people from the I AM than to perpetrate heinous crimes in His name?

When crimes against humanity are perpetrated by a secular ( Atheist ) government it actually causes the gospel to spread like wildfire. It is a catalyst for great faith as seen in the old Soviet bloc countries and currently in places like China ( where a Christian will go to prison for 3 years on average ), Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places hostile to the gospel where being convicted of being a Christian will get you killed, tortured or both.

Now some of you will still not want to use God’s name in vain in the traditional western sense, that’s fine. Just know that when you slip up and comes out of your mouth you aren’t going to hell for it. It’s a cultural sin, not a Biblical sin to say it. As Paul cautioned just because I have liberty in Christ, it doesn’t mean that all things are good for me and if it makes my brother stumble than I will refrain ( a loose paraphrase of several verses ).

This is why it is imperative to study scripture on your own. You must study it to know the truths contained in it for yourself. You can not rely on a human, regardless of the education, to tell it to you. It will be filtered through their life experiences, theological beliefs, doctrinal background and education. You may get something totally different from a passage of scripture. Just because many Jews are not followers of Jesus, it does not mean that we can not learn truths from the Old Testament, that was majority written in Hebrew, from them. After all, it is their language.


Prejudice in our churches.


When we hear or read anything with the word prejudice we automatically think of color. It’s like we can’t think outside the Crayola box and recognize that prejudice comes in more forms than dislike due to color. In fact, our churches are swimming in prejudice and we explain it away as doctrine and religion. The church is condoning the very thing Jesus spoke against. We will close ranks against anyone who is different from us in looks, hygiene, dress, finances, color, etc. We then wonder why the church has fallen from the most influential organization in America to the bottom 50 organizations in only a couple of decades.

You say our church doesn’t do that! You might even say that they might but I don’t. Lets take an honest, no holds barred look at that. Take a look around your church. How diverse is it? I know, you are going to say we have a mix of blacks, we have a  mix of whites, we even have some Hispanics. You say this with pride like it’s an accomplishment. To some degree it is, but it’s still not an indicator of being truly non-prejudicial.

Two people walk in the door. One is wearing old, frayed and faded clothes. They drove up in an old car. They shuffle to the door looking down and mumble a hello in response to the greeters welcome. They might smell like cheap soap or maybe smoke. Their eyes might not be clear, maybe a little yellowish or mildly bloodshot. You greet them and hand them off to an usher who then seats them near the back where they will be out-of-the-way. Very few people stop to talk to them. In all honesty probably nobody does. They are a nobody and quickly forgotten.

The second person comes in wearing an expensive suit. He has a high dollar watch on his arm. You can’t help but notice he walks with pride and a sense of purpose and confidence. You see he’s wearing shoes that are obviously expensive and you watched him climb out of a brand new Mercedes. You great him warmly and enthusiastically. You personally hand him off to an usher who seats this man as cloose to the front as possible. You make sure to get his name right and make a point of introducing him to the pastor. All the while the poor guy you dumped off in the back is watching.

You have a congregation that religiously adheres to the practice of showing up to church in their ” Sunday best ” regardless of the weather. They make it known to friends that this is of utmost importance. One Sunday a couple walks in wearing nice blue jeans, clean cowboy boots and nice buttoned up shirts. They get the stink eye from everyone and a cold shoulder due to their clothes. At some point an elder, a deacon, maybe an usher or the self-appointed dress code moderator pulls them aside and corrects them on their dress.

I knew a gentleman who drove truck for a living. He worked hard so his daughter could go to a Christian School that was ran by the church. On her graduation he took the day off to attend it. It was held in the main sanctuary on a Saturday afternoon. This was the first time he had ever been as he and his daughters mother were divorced. He parked his trailer and drove the truck to the church and parked in the back. As he was walking to the front doors he was stopped by a deacon who informed him he was dressed inappropriately for church and could not disrespect the Lords house in that manner. This man was always dressed in Wrangler’s, Justin boots and button up shirts, always. He missed his daughters graduation and never stepped foot in a church again. He made his daughter promise that when he died that the funeral would not be held in a church and no ” so-called pastor ” would preside over his funeral. She upheld his wish and last I knew she never stepped foot in a church after her graduation day.

You have a nice, polished, well to do crowd. The church building and grounds are a source of pride. It’s often boasted that you attend the nicest church in the area. One Sunday a person high on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol wonders in. The congregants are very perturbed that this person would have the audacity to show up in such a state! Doesn’t this person know this is the house of the Lord? You push them off to the side trying to hide them to make the least amount of people upset. You may even ask them to leave until they are sober and more fitting to come to the ” Lords house “.

Every time I hear a story like this it is almost always followed by ” I’ve never been to church since ” or ” I’ll never go back to church ” or some similar refrain. We have witnessed this behavior at every church, but two, that we visited or attended. We’ve even had conversations with people in ” leadership ” who boast about only wanting certain people in ” their ” church. Is it any wonder that the church has been painted as bigoted, intolerant and hateful!

All these examples take place every Sunday all in the name of religion. This is never done in the name of Jesus. Jesus would never treat anyone this way. As a matter of fact Jesus commanded us to minister and treat the poor with utmost care and love. He commanded us to love the lost like He would. He never once said anything about how an individual should dress. He just wanted them to come to Him so much that He went to them. He didn’t care.

When you shun the prostitute that wonders in after a night at work. The woman who is empty inside and looking for an answer, any answer. You are shunning Rahab the prostitute who is in Mary’s, the mother of Jesus, lineage. When you shun the known adulterer who isn’t ” churched ” you are shunning David who is in Jesus’s lineage through Mary.  When you ostracize a person due to their nationality you are saying Ruth, who married Boaz and is in Jesus’ lineage through His mother Mary, was not worth hearing the good news as she was not a Jew, but was accepted.

Think of the people who would have died with no hope if Nicky Cruz was ignored by David Wilkerson because he was a gang banger and didn’t need to step foot in church. Nicky Cruz went on to found an outreach that has reached thousands. If Chuck Colson had been ignored as unworthy because he was a felon think of the millions of inmates who would never have the chance to hear the gospel through his prison ministry. How about the millions who would have never heard the gospel from Billy Graham if some church found him unworthy to teach because he was a poor dairy farmer? The list of examples goes on and on.

This brings to mind the song Which Jesus Do You Follow by Todd Agnew. The lyrics are poignant in light of the behavior of our churches. They are as follows:

“My Jesus”
Which Jesus do you follow?
Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Why do you look so much like the world?

‘Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land?
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand?

‘Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?

And who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side
Or fall down and worship at His holy feet? Holy, yeah

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part?
Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him

‘Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
So which one do you want to be?

‘Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
And I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

I wanna be like my Jesus
I wanna be like my Jesus
I wanna be like my Jesus, yeah
I wanna be like my Jesus, oh, oh, oh

Not a poster child for American prosperity, but like my Jesus
You see I’m tired of living for success and popularity
I wanna be like my Jesus, but I’m not sure what that means
To be like You Jesus

‘Cause You said to live like You, to love like You
But then You died for me
Can I be like You, Jesus?
I wanna be like You, Jesus
I wanna be like my Jesus

The best thing we can do is to put away our ignorant and selfish desires to only be around people like us and go out to those who are not like us. Stretch yourself, live a little, see what life is like and let the poor, downtrodden, addicted, angry, drug dealers, stripper & prostitutes, homosexuals, adulterers, convicts & inmates humble you with their stories. You will never be the same.


With this ring, I thee wed


I don’t wear jewelry with the exception being my watch and my wedding band. The wedding band doesn’t come off my finger for much of anything, so you would think that when it fell off I would notice. Nope, not me. As a matter of fact I don’t know how long I was missing it. I noticed Sunday morning in church that it was gone. My wife was just as surprised as I was and commented that it has been a few days because there isn’t a pale white circle where it was. Once we got home she dug around and found our original rings I bought while stationed in Japan. To her surprise they fit her better than the ones we bought when we reconciled our marriage.

This struck me in a couple of ways. When we reconciled I told everyone we were not putting an asterisk by our anniversary like Mark McGuires home run record. November 2017 was 20 years not 20* ( see comments below ) or some such mess. As a symbol of starting new, a fresh start we got new rings. My thought when putting the original ring back on was this is truly a symbol of the lifetime commitment with no asterisk.

Another thought was how we put so much emphasis on an inanimate object to symbolize our commitment in marriage. A thin piece of metal with a rock or two shaped in a ring and placed on a finger is held as an eternal symbol of the commitment between two people. In truth the symbol is worth no more or less than the character of the person wearing it. We seem to put more emphasis on the ceremony and symbolism then we do the character and true meaning of marriage. This can easily explain divorce rates over 40% ( depending on the study ).

We view marriage as a legal contract between two people with set expectations. Some of these expectations are never put on paper nor verbalized, but expected non the less. I’ve heard more than one lawyer and legal expert opine that contracts are written to be broke. When we look at the institution of marriage as an agreement between two parties that was written to be broke it cheapens, it devalues the institution to the point that we now openly talk about starter marriages.

This is not at all how marriage was designed. When we go back to God’s design you see that two people come together as one, not in a contract, but a covenant agreement. A covenant agreement is something lost to us today. This is never to be broken without severe consequences to the offending party. In Genesis we get a clear picture of what took place in a covenant agreement. An animal is split in two and both parties to the agreement walked through the entrails & blood, between both halves of the body. In doing this they were saying if I break this agreement, let it be done to me as to this animal. Then it was common for both parties to exchange cloaks so they would be identified as the other.

In a covenant blood is shed. This is why the original plan for marriage was based on abstaining from sex until marriage. This did several things. One, if one held true to this principle they would not get a venereal disease nor get pregnant. Second it saved a lot of emotional and spiritual ties to however many people you engaged in any kind of sex with before marriage. Third, sex for the first time shed blood. This was one of the ways a groom knew his bride was a virgin because her hymen would break leaving blood. When the two consummated their marriage, blood would be present sealing the covenant.

According to Psychology Today, during intercourse a flood of chemicals bombard the brain that forge emotional attachments to the person your with, feelings of attachment and even love. Each time you engage in sex these feelings become stronger. You are essentially giving a part of yourself to your partner. When you have done this with numerous partners you don’t have much left to give to the one you finally marry making the bonding experience less likely. The weaker the bond, the easier it is to break.

Sex is literally a spiritual and physical act. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 it tells us that sexual immorality is a sin against the body. It’s a sin against the body because the act itself causes, not just the emotional connections mentioned above, but it causes the brain to behave like someone who is on heroin. When you affect the body and soul you also effect the spirit of a person. When sex is engaged in marriage, as God designed it, you are not sinning, but strengthening the marriage when done with honor to your spouse.

With these ties, is it any wonder that divorce is so devastating! When you divorce, even have an affair, you are literally tearing apart another persons soul. The stress, grieving and healing that has to take place to restore the other person is on the same level of the death of a spouse. That level of trauma not only affects the spouse but the children and every member of both families. It tears apart friendships, causes turmoil in the workplace and pushes churches to pick sides. There is nothing “better” or “good for the kids” in any of this. It’s purely a selfish move that our society has rationalized as acceptable under the term “contract” to make our sins acceptable.

Next time you consider marriage, the next time you put your rings on, before you say “with this ring, I thee wed”, consider the value, the importance and the spiritual, emotional and physical implications of what you are doing. If you are not prepared to make a life long faithful commitment, do not put the rings on, wait.


My thoughts on the Florida school shooting and surrounding commentary.


I have had plenty of thoughts on the shooting and the media and the lefts response to the this tragedy, but I’ve held my peace until more facts came out. The first is the left and the media should be ashamed of their selves. The first political statement was by a Democrat and plastered on every main stream media outlet. This wasn’t a statement of sorrow but a statement dividing the nation between groups and calling for more gun control.

Lets explore the gun control argument. Banning guns will not stop people from killing people. The first recorded murder in the Bible was with a rock and it’s been downhill since then. In China, where guns are banned for private ownership, there has been numerous knife attacks that have killed scores of people in each incident. In Great Britain where private firearm ownership is illegal acid attacks are common, using trucks to run people down in crowds then jump out with a knife or an illegally obtained firearm to finish the job has made headlines and violence since the gun ban went into effect has risen so much that knives and baseball bat sales went through the roof. Now you can’t even carry a small pocket knife there. We know that pipe bombs and truck bombs have been used to kill as well as Kool – Aid.

In Africa many countries don’t allow private citizens to own firearms and it has been mass slaughter by Islamist’s against non-Muslims. There has been genocide perpetrated by the government and rival factions against other factions and clans. Look no further than Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya and Somalia. In Australia guns were banned and violent crime sky rocketed.

Here in America we have some states and cities where firearm ownership is severely limited if not impossible to exercise. These cities are New York & NYC, Any where in CA, Chicago, Washington D.C, Baltimore and the state of MD, New Orleans & Boston. What is interesting is when looking at gun violence statistics the U.S. is high on the list world-wide, but taking the above cities out the U.S falls to near the bottom. That says a lot!

In regards to schools we removed God from school. When there is a power vacuum something will fill it. Since God was removed and increasingly shunned evil has moved in to fill the vacuum. Note the rise in sexual assaults, assault against teachers and students, increase in school shootings, gang violence, the need for metal detectors and police stationed at schools. In 1990 Vice President Joe Biden, then a senator, introduced the Gun Free School Zone Act. Both houses of Congress passed it and President Bush ( 41 ) signed it. Since then schools have been an easy target that statistics bear out. Criminals, when interviewed in prison, ask why they attacked or robbed this place vs. that the answer has been nobody was their and we were less likely to get shot.

What we have seen in regards to school shootings is the FBI has known ahead of time in several instances but failed to take action. Truthfully they have been an abject failure in recent years on multiple fronts. Another key ingredient has been mind altering drugs that the shooter has been taking as prescribed by a doctor. Drugs to treat mental illness, personality disorders and hyper activity. Thirdly the shooter or the parents were or are Democrats. Party affiliation with the Democrat party has been a common thread in shootings from 1975 – 2016. That’s 19 incidents I can think of off-hand and doesn’t include the shooting in D.C at the congressional baseball practice field.

Now a renewed ” Assault Weapons ” ban will not work simply because a weapons ban will be no more effective than the war on drugs. Banning alcohol didn’t work, banning Cocaine, Marijuana, Meth, Crack, Heroin, etc… has not worked and will not worked. Where there is a will there is a way. Criminalizing the ownership of something will not stop someone from breaking the law. The school shooter already broke the law by bringing the weapon to a school and making terrorist threats in his YouTube video that the FBI was informed about. We had an assault weapons ban with a sunset provision scheduling it to expire during the Clinton Administration. Prior to it expiring Bill Clinton admitted that the ban did nothing to reduce crime and was a drain on law enforcement resources trying to enforce it, therefore letting the ban expire.

Secondly there is not an ” Assault Weapon “. That is a term made up by politicians to make a firearm seem scary and threatening by its appearance alone. An AR-15 chambered in .223 fires the same round as a Ruger Mini-14. The difference is the appearance. One looks military and one looks like a simple hunting rifle. We had to come up with a class of weapon to distinguish assault weapon from the firearms you can buy at Cabela’s. That distinction is the assault weapon has a selector switch that lets you choose rates of fire from single shot to three round burst or full automatic on some. You can’t just walk into a store and buy a weapon with a selector switch without a lot of money, investigations, taxes and waiting periods.

The call for a ban on ” assault weapons ” by the left is laughable in that they actually want us to believe they care for people and children in particular. They care only about an agenda and that agenda is power and control. If they truly cared they would have done something when they controlled the House of Representative, The Senate and the White House. Like with DACA, they needed the issue to campaign on. They didn’t call for gun control when an illegal immigrant shot and killed Kate Steinle in San Francisco with an illegal firearm then let the guy go. The left praised the move by the CA court that let the immigrant go. If they were true to gun control they would have demanded he be hit with the max penalty under law for violating gun laws. Instead out government routinely plea’s the gun charges down to a lesser charge to obtain a quick conviction.

If the left, this includes the media and all social media platforms, were truly concerned about saving children’s lives they would not support abortion. They say abortion is not murdering a child, but then talk about harvesting the organs of the baby. If it’s not a human life how can you harvest organs? If they truly cared about children they would ban Planned Parenthood who makes billions off of killing them. They would ban doctors who kill far more patients due to mistakes than guns ever will. They would ban alcohol and/or passenger vehicles as they have killed exponentially more people than guns.

We have a FBI and Justice Department that has been actively trying to overthrow a sitting president. They want to stage a coupe, but they have been caught and are now trying to cover it up. When faced with such corruption and potential for tyranny why on earth would Americans want to give up their only means for protection? We have the left that increasingly calls for death, violence and jail for anyone who disagrees with them. That’s a real incentive to give up any of my Second Amendment rights said no informed and concerned American ever!

We have the argument that the founding father’s could not have foreseen anything other than the single shot musket. This is a complete ignorance of history at best and an outright lie at worst. It’s also indicative of a failed public educations system. Years before the Constitution was drafted there was a Puckle Gun that was a multi shot weapon. We had cannons and mortars. None of which were banned by the Constitution. Each state in their own constitutions mandated that people have weapons and sufficient shot ( ammo ). Do a little research people. Don’t believe what the media tells you, especially CNN.

The problem is we live in a society that glorifies violence. Cartoons have over 5 times the acts of violence as prime time T.V. We have celebrities that make hundreds of millions of dollars off of movies with gun violence as the theme, yet they rant against the very same thing they make money on. Talk about extreme hypocrisy and why so many don’t take them serious! We live in a time when right is wrong and wrong is right. A day and age where there is no personal accountability, it’s someone else’s fault. A time when morals are not absolute but what makes them feel good. A time when we are so afraid to step on civil liberties that we don’t call bad bad, but ignore it and hope for the best. We live in an age where it’s so common for the media and politicians to lie to us that we joke about it and then re-elect them! We have shunned God and embraced any deity that does not have moral absolutes that might infringe on what we want to do, but then embrace a religion as peaceful that instructs it’s adherents to kill non-believers and homosexuals.  We then act surprised and outraged when bad things happen.

Folks, it’s not guns, it’s not trucks, it’s not alcohol, knives, bats or anything else but human depravity. We live in a world where sin and violence is embraced and celebrated to the point that those who speak against it are shunned, ridiculed and threatened. Things will never change until the nation changes, turns back to its roots and honors God. The further we as a people stray and turn our backs on God the worse things become. We are seeing the fruits of our behavior.


Be a man of GRIT


Men of grit are becoming a rare commodity, hard to find and misunderstood by modern society. In a time when morals are relative and personal accountability is considered judgemental, youth and young men have no idea what grit is. We have the John Wayne movie True Grit which was remade with Jeff Bridges. We have the T.V series American Grit with John Cena, but neither explain what grit is.

Chuck Swindoll describes the Apostle Paul as follows – ” He was a man of real grit, with a firmness of mind and spirit and unyielding courage in the face of personal hardship and danger. Tough, tenacious, and fiercely relentless, Paul pursued his divine mission with unflinching resolve. And God used him mightily to turn the world upside down for Christ in his generation. ” defines it as courage, fortitude and stamina. Mirriam-Webster defines it as firmness of mind or spirit, unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.

Of these three definitions we see that ” grit ” is having a firmness of mind, unyielding courage, tough, relentless, resolve, fortitude and stamina. This describes a certain type of man who elements of our society want to relegate to a bygone era. It’s a kind of man who is successful, loyal, hardworking, true to his personal ethos and often considered to be an intimidating individual. To those taught that these are dangerous qualities for a man to have I suppose it can be intimidating. To someone who knows that men of grit were essential to the founding, building and continual security and well-being of this country and the church I see grit as essential.

Some men that have real grit are men like the one pictured here, Chesty Puller. He is one of the most iconic and celebrated Marines by Marines. He’s a legend with exploits all over the world that saw him awarded more Navy Crosses then any other Marine or Sailor in history. He not only faced adversity from the enemy in multiple wars, but from fellow officers. In spite of some trying to derail his career he persevered with dignity and character. He is most well know for his leadership in the Korean Conflict at Chosin Reservoir and his unquestioned and unshakable courage. His leadership inspired the men, brought many more out alive than thought possible, caused tremendous losses to the enemy and left an immortal legacy.

Better known men to the general public would be Generals Mattis and Kelly. Both faced tremendous challenges and hardships in their careers. These hardships didn’t make them slink away but face them with resolve and courage. The adversity and challenges made them better men, better Marines, better leaders. They serve under a man, Donald Trump, who has grit. He faced many challenges in business that ruined more than one business man, but Trump persevered, learned and grew stronger.

Steve Jobs had grit. Yes, a frail looking man with an incredible mind that dropped out of college and changed the world. He was kicked out of his own company then asked to come back to save it. He never gave up, but instead got smarter and persevered through setbacks to create a company envied and hated by many for its success.

Men of grit change and shape nations. They impact the world. These men leave indelible impacts on their families and do more to spread the gospel then a hundred timid pastors. With out these men things aren’t built, non-profits for third world countries aren’t opened, children with medical challenges aren’t cared for, marriages aren’t saved, those stuck in the slave trade never get rescued.

Nothing big was ever done without men of grit at the helm. Such a man not only faces adversity with courage and steadiness but grows stronger each time he has a setback. He doesn’t cast blame on someone else and slink away. He moves forward and becomes a better man.

The thing that needs men of grit the most is our families. Our wives and children need you to be a man of courage. A man who will face challenges and adversity with a steady, unflinching hand. A man who will be loyal regardless of how hard it gets. For this is what teaches the next generation of men what it means to have grit. They learn through our example. This example will bleed over to our churches to advance a strong, stable, courageous church. No one exemplifies grit like the one we claim to follow, Jesus. No one has faced the adversity and hardships like He and He never wavered.

Be strong, be courageous, be loyal, be a man of grit.


The importance of being “Equally Yoked”


The term equally yoked comes from the days when fields were plowed and wagons drawn by animals. It was well known that the animals had to be equally yoked to effectively plow or pull. If they were not equally yoked, like the animals in this picture, the work would be infinitely harder if not impossible. One animal would be stronger, one would be more compliant, one would be more prone to the task at hand while the other was the opposite.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. This is most often discussed in relationship to marriage and dating. The implications go much further than that. The instruction was not specific to just marriage and dating, all though that is great wisdom, but to all partnerships. When a believer in Christ, a Christian, enters any kind of informal or formal relationship with an unbeliever there will be strife. There will be times when their world views and moral ethos will collide in conflict resulting in the believer having to decide on the partnership or religious conviction.

Imagine if you will if Truett Cathy entered into a business agreement with Yum Brands. Yum Brands decides to broaden their advertising and wants to advertise in Playboy. Truett Cathy says ” no way “, but Yum Brands says we are and you will as we are the larger of the partnership. Due to the contract Truett Cathy would be forced to have    Chick-Fil-A advertisements alongside Yum Brand in Playboy, a publication that does not at all exemplify the core values of Chick-Fil-A. The same could be said of the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, signing a contract with Target stores. The Green’s would then be contractually obligated to sell, promote and provide services that were contrary to their core values and religious beliefs. Keep in mind, these are examples only and have not happened.

How would that play out with a small business owner? What if one partner wants to do something that violates another’s code of conduct? Can he refuse? What if the other issues an ultimatum of do it or buy me out? Are you prepared to violate your spiritual convictions for profit?

Now to the dating and marriage relationship aspect of being equally yoked. I am very tired of hearing pastors and commentators stopping at saying this means only marry a fellow believer. It means much more! That’s a good start, but can still lead to a lifetime of regret and misery if that’s all the more weight we put on the subject.

A young lady has a desire and a calling to be a missionary to Central America. She knows that she knows that she knows she will be there for years at a time. She believes that being equally yoked means that your spouse only has to be a Christian. She meats a young man who is Mr. Perfect and a Christian that believes in missions. BUT, he has no plans on going his self nor allowing any wife of his to go for an extended period. She will never fulfill her calling and dream of missions due to her husband.

A young man has an anointing for inner city ministry, that’s his passion. He meets the perfect woman who loves the idea of inner city ministry…for someone else to do. She will certainly pray for them and donate money, but she has other things to do with her life. This young lady refuses to allow her husband to spend the time required, let alone live in the neighborhood he ministers in.

A young couple meets at church, grew up in church but didn’t really notice each other before. The families know each other and believe the other is a fine Christian. One wants to serve in children’s ministry, which takes a lot of time and commitment. The other wants to spend time at the lake in the summer, take weekend trips to Florida in the winter. Golf doubles in the fall with another couple from work. This individual is still a Christian, by western standards. Goes to church once or twice a month and major church holidays like Christmas and Easter. The other spouse is now pressured to not be so serious a ” holly roller ” and let someone else handle the kids. They have a life to live.

In each one of these scenarios both parties are Christians. By the nice, friendly, barely scratching the surface of American Christianity they are considered equally yoked. A pre – marriage counselor from the church would even say that because of both of their confessions of faith they are equally yoked and get the churches blessings. This is a huge disservice and downright spiritual malpractice! Individuals in these scenarios are no more equally yoked than the animals in the picture. You’re going to have one that works and one who wants to wander off to whatever distraction comes along.

Before marriage, before engagement both people in the relationship must determine what the other sees in their future. Both need to be chasing God with the same intensity with the same desires. Both must be equally committed to the spreading of the gospel and service in the church. This is the only way to be equally yoked. The soon to be missionary will be far happier if they don’t “settle” for the first ” Mr. Right “, but holds out that God has the real Mr. or Mrs. Right that will complement their calling. The saddest thing is to talk to someone who had a calling, but forfeited that calling for the person who is now their spouse. You will NOT change them after your married. Only God can change a person if they are willing.

Do yourself a favor and ask the hard questions about each others callings, values and desires before marriage. The short-term heart ache of ending a relationship is far better than the long-term regret of missing your destiny.