Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Power for Witnessing

Note: If you want to copy the Roman Road please go to my pinterest post at the following:

 Dear Readers,

My last two blog posts were about power, one about false power, the last about “True Power” that identified three men who are now either gone, or in the last stages of their lives that brought to bear true power.

One major way that power is manifested today is the power when the Holy Spirit comes on us…and Jesus specifically stated that the power is for witnessing for him. See Acts 1:8:

He replied “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people everywhere about me—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

So I want to help us to become more confident in witnessing. One tool is the Roman Road which is pictured above. My wife used this tool just yesterday to lead another lady to the Lord. 

The picture I got off the internet, but I developed the accompanying Steps and Actions. I hope and pray that you it meaningful. Perhaps you can copy and paste it, print it, and carry it with you to help you when you get the chance to use the power for witnessing.

See you next time,

Saturday, October 11, 2014

True Power

Dear Readers,
My last blog post identified three men who claim to be the long awaited Messiah, and the false power they possess.

Tonight I watched a video about another three men who worked together to proclaim one man as the true Messiah and they changed the world with the true power of God.

I was brought to tears when watching a Bill Gaither documentary which highlighted Cliff Barrows’ life as the song leader for the Billy Graham Crusades. I attended the Billy Graham Crusade in 1993 in Columbus, Ohio, and was involved as a counselor at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1994. Mr. Barrows was getting older then, but he still showed vibrancy leading the songs.

Twenty years later in the 2014 documentary Mr. Barrows was full of the joy of the Lord. But at 83 years old he has a cane to walk and is obviously going blind, which I confirmed via the internet. He lamented the loss in 2013 of his long-time cohort, the famed bass soloist George Beverly Shea. They both had worked alongside Rev. Graham since the late 1940’s.

Lastly there is Billy Graham, the famed evangelist, who is in failing health at the age of 87. He was a dynamic speaker who never lost his zeal for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He teamed with Barrows and Shea to form a trio of what I would expect is the longest running evangelistic team ever to not break up in over 60 years. They developed a bond of friendship that could never be broken. A funny moment was when the three together sang “This Little Light of Mine”. Rev. Graham acted as the fall guy who could not sing a lick. He was the “no” guy when the other two sang “Won’t let Satan put it out”.

I marveled at the humble Mr. Barrows now with so many physical ailments, and then see videos when he was younger and leading stadiums of up to 100,000 people in glorious praise to God. I looked at the Billy Graham Crusade itineraries in cities all over the world and marveled that three men could have such an impact with literally millions coming to Christ.

These are three men that have true power that comes from the Holy Spirit of God.

See you next time,

Saturday, October 4, 2014

False Power

Dear Readers,

Recently I watched videos of different men in various parts of the world that proclaim that they are the long-awaited Messiah.

A recent documentary showed Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, aka Vissarion, who is a former Russian police officer and former member of the Red Army. He lives in a beautiful mountainous setting in Siberia. The video shows followers walking several miles up a mountain to witness their messiah. The crowd waits in rapt anticipation. Finally, Vissarion strolls down from the top of the mountain with majestic music playing in the background. He then sits on a stone platform to address his throng.

Alan John Miller, aka Jesus, is the leader of Divine Truth. He is a former information technology worker in Australia who claims he is the reincarnation of Jesus of Nazareth, and whose partner is Mary Suzanne Luck, aka Mary Magdalene. Miller and his followers have recently purchased almost 600 acres upon which he plans to build a Divine Truth International Center on the eastern coast of Australia. He puts out many Divine Truth videos. “Jesus”, and “Mary Magdalene”, his cohort, seem like an easygoing couple who anybody could trust.

Raymond Howard-Lear, aka Lord Rayel, is from Chicago. He testifies via a series of videos that he is the long awaited messiah who was revealed on May 21, 2011, as he was transported, extra-terrestrially, to Jerusalem. Lear, a former political candidate and leader in Chicago’s Guardian Angels (civilian group to protect the streets of Chicago) is unlike the other two men mentioned above who talk in person on videos. Lord Rayel seems more a cyber Messiah, who has developed a series of long videos using many news clips and dire music warning of disaster to people who do not follow him.

It’s difficult for me to understand the “innards” if you will, of a person going to such lengths and putting forth such energy to gain a following. How does a person keep up the facade for years and do they ever get tired of their own charade?

And the people that follow such men, what drives them? People travel for thousands of miles to glimpse them, and many stay on as devoted followers. They give their entire lives and resources to please their masters.

I think that Vissarion and Miller, aka Jesus, take a risk of showing their flaws when they speak publicly. Vissarion acts more ethereally, and tries to portray a likeness of Jesus. Miller acts more like the “common man”. Lord Rayel, on the other hand, perhaps knows his flaws and does not speak in public. He is like the Great Oz behind the scenes orchestrating a convincing imagery of power. Oh, for a Toto to expose his deception!

I think these men, and in the case of “Mary Magdalene”, who is a woman, crave power. Perhaps they have not been successful in their pursuits in the world of work, and they perceived, maybe from childhood, that they have a degree of charisma and can use it to gain a following and the power that comes with it.

They, however, have been led astray, and have succumbed to a lie of Satan that instead of just wanting to be like Jesus, they want to be Jesus. Jesus predicted it in Matthew 24:24.

See you next time,


Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's Party Time!

Dear Readers,

It’s party time! Workers from all over the world can’t wait until the work week is over and they can “relax” on the weekend by enjoying themselves at a popular party. It seems social media has heightened partying to a new level. Partiers share pictures and everyone wants to get in on the action of the best ones.

Being a longsuffering fan of all Cleveland sports I shared the excitement of Johnny Manziel coming to the Browns. It only took a couple weeks before there were news stories every weekend of “Johnny Football” being shown in various stages of drunkenness at parties of famous people.

My wife and I have a degree of involvement with Mission to Amish  People (MAP) and one area of large concern to Joe Keim, MAP Director, is that of young former Amish people engaging in raucous parties.

What’s at stake here? Johnny Football says that what he does on the weekends is his business, and as long as he performs well at Browns practices and in games, that is all that matters. He is after all a young man who just wants to have some fun.

I’ve been there. I was not a “party animal” like some of my friends when I was young, but I did my share of partying. Why did I go?

I firmly believe I was a lost soul in search of something. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to meet people, especially a “soul”-mate to share my life with. I did not know any other way to happiness.

It bothered me after several party incidents that I got the title “Arnie the Drunk”. (Note; My nickname back then was Big Arnie.) My friends chided me, even though most of them were much bigger partiers than I was.

I’m thankful that I was more of a cautious person than some of my friends. I always felt very poorly after one of these events. I was afraid of getting found out by my parents and disappointing them. I was also afraid of getting arrested, because one thing I learned was that parties sometimes got out of control with fighting and arguing, mostly over relationships and “who did who wrong?” I won’t even mention the driving home drunk after a party and what a disaster that could be.

Those days seem like a distant memory, and I’m glad they are. Sometimes when I hear a song from that era I feel a deep sadness of the time I wasted going down roads that I now consider “dead ends”.

So where are you? Are you a partier in search of happiness and relationships? Do you just want to have a good time and think that it’s your business and nobody else’s.

I don’t want to chide, but I do want to warn that the end of partying is sorrow, not just in this life, but in the next life. Please take to heart what Jesus said in the following verse:

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." Matthew 7:13-14.

There is the greatest party ever in heaven awaiting you if you enter through narrow gate Jesus talks about. It will take some time, energy, and difficult times, but it is all worth it.

See you next time,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Return of the King

Dear Readers,

There has been a buzz in Ohio, in the United States, and in the entire world about the possible return of Lebron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers professional basketball team. I’ll admit that I was one that had my eyes and ears glued to every tidbit of news. Was “King James” returning, or not? Was there a chance that the best basketball player in the world would come to lowly Cleveland, the laughingstock city of the sports world?

Aragorn led the battle for Middle Earth with Frodo, the Hobbit, and Gandalf, the Wizard in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings “Return of the King” book and movie. After an exciting scrum between Frodo and Gollum, the deformed Stoor Hobbit, Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger to get the prized and enchanted Ring. But in the fight Gollum falls with the Ring in his possession into the lava. Gollum dies, the ring is destroyed, and Middle Earth is saved.

King James is returning to Ohio, and King Aragorn returned as the King of Middle Earth. In both instances people were almost giddy with the hope of a new era of victory and peace. It seemed not too unlike the jubilation evident when Queen Elizabeth, or Prince William and Kate, visit an obscure town around the world, or in the Vatican when a new Pope is christened as the new head of the Catholic Church.

But I think it would do me well to temper my excitement about these two kings. The Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James may prosper for awhile…and they may even win an NBA championship. It will bring a temporary euphoria. But King James will get older and will become less and less effective as a basketball player. The euphoria will die out as the Cavs come back down to earth in mediocrity.

The “Return of the King” is a wonderful story, and it may be a source of inspiration for many of us seeking adventure in conquering the giants of our lives. But in the end it is just that, a story.

There is a King, however, whose story is real, and the victory and peace he will bring when he returns will be lasting and sure. The celebration of his followers will be unparalleled. (Note: Please read Revelation 21 and 22.)

See you next time,

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quiet Leisurely Canoe Trips vs. Wild White Water Rapid Expeditions

Dear Readers,

Does the term “living water” fascinate you as much as it does me? John indicated in his Gospel that Jesus used the reference twice, so it must have a deep meaning in our lives.

Recently I read in John 7 the following: “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

It struck me that Jesus used the term “rivers” to describe a person coming to Him and believing in Him. He did not use “droplets”, “sprinkles”, or even “showers”.

In my opinion the term “rivers” that Jesus used is a big deal! He also used the plural, which means more than one river!

We are often told that our quiet humility and devotion to God will permeate our surroundings and influence the people around us. But does the term “rivers” that Jesus uses speak more to vibrancy and aliveness?

Are we thinking of our relationship to God in terms of being like quiet leisurely canoe trips? Or are we thinking in terms of it being more like wild white water rafting expeditions? I personally want my relationship with God to be more like wild white water rapid expeditions…perhaps with a few leisurely canoe trips along the way.

See you next time,

Monday, June 2, 2014

From "Writer's Block" to "Exciting Novel"!

Dear Readers,

My wife’s a writer and she sometimes talks about “writer’s block”. She explains it as a barrier that she has where she cannot think how to complete a story line. Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece of writing”.

Do you ever feel a shadow, writer’s block if you will, over you to the point where you feel you cannot move forward in life? You want good things to happen in your life and to have good friends, but you come to the realization that you can’t make them happen on your own? You feel subject to a “humdrum” existence. 

I like the analogy that when we feel this way perhaps it is God trying to get our attention. When we are an “open slate” with nothing on it, when we have no alternatives but Him to turn to, perhaps only then can He complete our story line and make it into an exciting novel.

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… Hebrews 12:1-2

See you next time,

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Movers & Shakers

Dear Readers,

I just spent the evening watching two very interesting talk show hosts. One was Tavis Smiley, and the other was Charlie Rose, both PBS long-timers.

I don’t usually watch talk shows like this, but they had a variety of guests that piqued my interest. Mr. Smiley had 76 year old Marlo Thomas, who now is a children’s advocate with St. Jude Research Hospital. She also became interested in women’s causes after being a young female television star on the “That Girl” hit show from 1966 to 1971 when she received letters from a variety of women experiencing troubled lives. Ms. Thomas is the wife of talk show legend Phil Donahue, and the daughter of the beloved Danny Thomas, a singer and television star in his own right. She recently wrote a book entitled, “It Ain’t Over…Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life - - and Realizing Your Dreams - - Anytime, at Any Age”.

Mr. Rose had two guests, Ruswana Bashir, the 31 year old Co-Founder and CEO of Peek, an engaging entrepreneur, and Edward O. Wilson, an 85 year old American biologist, researcher, and author. Ms. Bashir talked enthusiastically about Peek, a travel company she helped co-found which takes booking “activities” around the globe to a new level and focuses on the experience and not just the reservation aspects of travel. E. O. Wilson, was interesting as he talked about his travels to Gorongosa National Park, and being part of a movement of trying to revive the huge Mozambique park that was devastated by a civil war.

My question for each person was this, “How did you get to become a “mover & shaker” in today’s world?" I don’t agree with Mr. Wilson’s suppositions about evolution and that global warming will bring us to a catastrophic end. I also worry about his soul, being an 85 year old nearing the end of his life. But he shared a passion for his belief systems that younger men like me could envy.

I was always a Danny Thomas and Marlo Thomas fan. They were always funny and fun. I don’t know about her belief systems, but I do like the focus of Ms. Thomas’s book at considering what exciting direction a person can take at any age of his or her life.

Lastly, I’m always intrigued by a person who is entrepreneurial, and whose passions lead them to think about the possibilities rather than the barriers of an endeavor. Ms. Bashir shared that she has learned a lot in her quest to build a “billion dollar” business. While one might question her motives in her “billion dollar” statement and the fact that she truly wants to be a “have” in a “have and have not” society, I think our world definitely needs to have dreamers who want to take their dreams to the next level, and create jobs and futures for many others along the way.

I pray for the souls of each of the persons I watched tonight, including Mr. Smiley and Mr. Rose. They were an interesting mix of personalities who are “movers & shakers” in our world. The next question is, “Can you and I become a “mover & shaker” in our respective worlds?"

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21

See you next time,