Every month I promise myself that I will just write about good things, try not to be controversial and be positive like the popular preachers are. Something always jars me back to reality and the seriousness of God’s calling. Five years ago doctors diagnosed me with a rapid growing lung cancer and gave me a year to live. God Almighty changed that, gave me additional duties and this year the doctors announced me cancer free. Seven times each week God lets me stand before different classes and tell them about His Son. I get to serve as a jail chaplain and a police/fire chaplain. Sometimes I get the chance to speak to other groups or churches. We get to do Angel Tree for over a 1000 children each year in Midland/Odessa. We have a bicycle program for those who cannot afford a car or may not be allowed to drive. We have a food pantry for those who need help today. Our newsletter goes into 42 states and six foreign countries. We have over 300 students enrolled in our 11 correspondence courses (with another soon to be added.) I personally answer every question we receive regarding those Bible courses.
This is thrilling to be this busy, especially since I wasted so many years in things carnal. As Joel said, God can restore the years that the locust, cankerworm, caterpillar and palmerworm ate (Joel 1:4 compared with Joel. 2:25.) God has provided for this ministry without fund raisers, garage sales, grant applications or laying guilt trips on people.
I have failed Him so many times. I have been weak, lazy and cowardly, yet His grace has always been sufficient. I want to be liked; to be a nice guy that pleases everyone. The problem arises when I have to choose between honoring God’s words and telling the truth or being popular. Since Paul said:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
Paul seemed to understand the seriousness of his calling when he said:
“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16
It behooves all of us to tell the truth about heaven, hell, eternity, sin, damnation, etc. The majority of today’s preaching is not about the cross, but convenience. We just want everyone to feel good about themselves on the way to hell! If you listen to our mega-preachers interviewed on secular shows or read their interviews in major magazines, you cannot find a clear cut statement regarding salvation. I don’t care how much counseling you may do, if you cannot give someone the exact directions to obtaining heaven, you are worthless. You talk about the blind leading the blind! Our modern day churches are trying to compete with the world to get people out of the world. You talk about an oxymoron. We bring people to a worldly atmosphere to listen to worldly music and a worldly message, and then wonder why the world (our world) is getting worse.
When Paul spoke of preaching the cross, he was speaking of death. The cross represents suffering and death. It was the most agonizing way of dying. Sometimes the person remained alive for days in excruciating pain. Prior to Calvary, Jesus instructed His followers to take up their cross. After His crucifixion, no mention is ever made of anyone carrying a cross. Its symbolism changed from being a burden on the flesh to dying to the flesh. The “new and improved” brand of Christianity shuns any mention of sacrifice, death, persecution and suffering. The TV preachers started this idea. People could sit in their Lazy-Boy’s, munch on popcorn and attend church! Most of these TV preachers, being versed in the pitfalls of greed in the flesh, just promise the people more money and better health if they will send money to them. Those with spiritual discernment recognize this as a “religious lottery!” Put money in and get a bunch out! Just like the state lotteries, the good they were supposed to produce never happens anywhere near the scale that was claimed.
What is amazing is the lack of spiritual discernment or Bible awareness of many of God’s long time saints. There are good, saved people who blindly follow popular leaders down a path of carnality. Today, there are famous names in religion who admit to not believing in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ and people keep sending them money and believing their message. Some say it was the death, not the blood of Christ that saves us, openly contradicting scripture; yet people keep reading their books. Others say that the church has replaced Israel and is due all of Israel’s blessings; people believe them and never miss a step (no one accepts Israel’s punishments.) Big named ministers cannot or will not say that belief in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven; and their books keep selling in Christian book stores.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
Those who have decided to “FIX” the Bible, the truth and the gospel, say:
“Get a cup of latte, relax and we will help you discover the child with you, so you can feel better about yourself.”
“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ezekiel 3:18
Is the above verse just Old Testament and no longer applicable to us today? Let Paul answer that:
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Acts 20:26-27
Sometimes we have to choose between being liked and being honest.
Keep Looking Up!