All posts by Roy Spears

Money is not the most important thing

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Jesus, Matthew 6:33 (NASB)

Money is a necessity, of course, but it’s not the most important thing.

Obviously, we need money to pay our bills and survive; to deny this all-important aspect of daily living would be to reject a fundamental part of being human.

If you don’t have enough money to live comfortably, it’s normal to worry about it.  The unhealthy aspect of this type of worry is when it becomes an all-consuming part of your life, when all you think about is where you will get more money.

If you think about money more than anything else, it’s safe to say you are out of balance and some needed correction is due.

Jesus understood that His people worried about how they would put food on their table, feed their children, and pay their bills.  He knew that money was a vital part of everyday living.

But He also understood how worrying about money or anything else robbed us of the joy that we need in order to live healthy, productive lives.  If anything, Jesus was a practical man.  He would have made an outstanding businessman.

To be “successful” in life, we must have our priorities straight.  It matters little how beautiful a building is if its foundation is weak, crumbling and haphazardly constructed.  Disaster looms ahead for this structure.

Where so many of go astray in life is wrongly thinking that money is the very foundation of life instead of understanding that it is part of the building I just referred to.  You can’t have a beautiful life if your foundation is built on money.

Jesus said some radical things, such as:

“… God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15 (NASB)

So much of what we hold dear and precious in life is detestable in the eyes of God; our trusting in riches is one of those things that I believe God hates.  When we have everything we need in  abundance, do we really need to trust in God?  Probably not.  Why should we?  Spiritually speaking, this is a dangerous position to be in.

Jesus commanded that we “seek first the kingdom of God.”  Number two on this rather short list is righteousness.  If we are faithful in obeying both these precepts, then His promise is that “all these things will be added unto us.”

Jesus said to seek first His kingdom, but what exactly does this mean?  Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture, and Paul writes in Romans 14:7 that “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (NASB)

Seeking His kingdom, then, would be seeking the things of the kingdom, as opposed to seeking the things of this world.  People of the world seek money, power, possessions, security, comfort, etc., while people of the kingdom of God seek righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We find the things of the kingdom by being in communion with the Spirit of God.  This is done by prayer and reading His Word, while constantly examining our lives and keeping sin away from us and our thoughts.  It is not enough to want the things of the kingdom; we must actively and aggressively seek them in the same way you would hunt for buried treasure if you knew the general area of where you would find it.

The Greek word for “seek” means to “covet earnestly; strive after .”  We can translate Matthew 6:33 in this way:  “Covet earnestly and strive after the kingdom of God…”  This puts this in new light, for it signifies an active, aggressive and continual striving after the things of the kingdom.

Do you crave for the kingdom of God in the same way you crave chocolate or ice cream?  Often our mouth’s water when we think of a particular tasty food; do we do the same over the things of the kingdom?  Do we plan to meet God with the same zeal and attention to detail as we do our upcoming vacation?  Or with the same carefulness of what we will wear today?

I want to encourage you to seek first the kingdom of God.  Before you start your day, even before you make that first cup of coffee or tea, get on your knees with a Bible and seek His face.  Start with Psalm 145 and worship and praise Him for who He is.

There can be no better way to start your day.

The intolerance of the “tolerant”

There is perhaps no greater hypocrisy in the world today than with those who espouse “tolerance” and “diversity.”

More specifically, champions of so-called “LGBTQ” rights are among the most intolerant and hypocritical of people:  these individuals are only tolerant and accepting of those who agree with their perverse morality and twisted ideology.  Anybody else,  and in particular Christians, are the targets of their hate, intolerance and bigotry.

As evidence of my statements, allow me to give two names of individuals whom I will offer as proof :  Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich and Peter LaBarbera.  So that I do not waste valuable time rehashing already established facts, below are two links to articles that will delve into some of the particulars of the two cases:

For information on Brendan Eich, cut and paste the link below into your search browser:  http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2014/0405/Mozilla-s-Brendan-Eich-and-gay-marriage-Intolerance-over-tolerance-video

Do the same for information on Peter LaBarbera:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/u-s-anti-gay-activist-peter-labarbera-arrested-in-regina-1.2610123

When gay activists, who are the “champions” of tolerance and diversity,  can put sufficient pressure on a man like Eich to cause him to resign over a donation he made to a political campaign, this should cause all lovers of true liberty and freedom to recognize a very dark and dangerous train coming out of the tunnel of intolerance and hypocrisy.

Remember:  those trumpeting tolerance are the most intolerant of all.  The stench of their hypocrisy rises to the heavens and demands exposure.  As long as you agree with them, they are your friends, but woe to any who don’t goose-step to their immoral agenda.  What is curious is how blind they and their supporters are to the blatant hypocrisy of their positions.

The case of LaBarbera is the most disturbing because he was arrested.  It is one thing to be fired from your job, like Eich was, but an entirely different matter to be incarcerated for your beliefs; this takes intolerance to a new and frightening level and puts an effective chill on how one will choose to publicly express their views in the future.

As the article on LaBarbera states, he was arrested on the University of Regina campus and charged with “mischief.”  In the eyes of the Canadian authorities, LaBarbera was guilty of promoting hatred because he was passing out literature dealing with the dangers of homosexuality.

Note the utter hypocrisy of the statement made by Tom Chase, the vice president of the university:  “We are a diverse campus, we are a welcoming campus,” said Chase.  “We celebrate that diversity and our staff felt that the material and some of the things they had with them simply contravened that policy and we asked them to leave.”

In other words, Chase said, “We welcome all views except those we disagree with.  Then we will arrest you and kick you off campus if your views don’t precisely line up with ours.”

So much for being tolerant and welcoming, Mr. Chase.  Your hypocrisy can be cut with a knife.  Canada is rapidly rushing on the same road that Germany took when it elected Adolph Hitler as chancellor in 1933.  America is following suit under the present Obama administration.

We are living in dangerous times here in the United States; our freedoms are systematically being chipped away.  Our cherished first amendment is under serious attack and its demise is on the horizon by the enemies of “tolerance” and “diversity” who have brilliantly used that first amendment to hoodwink an entire nation into believing their redefinition of the terms.  It is nothing short of astonishing in how effective they have been.

I am thankful that the “sleeping giant,” that vast majority of Americans who reject the lies of the GBLTQ community and their allies, are finally waking up and are beginning to push back.

Unfortunately, it might be too late.  We have lost so much ground in such a short time that I’m not at all convinced we can regain our lost position.  It is well past the time for Christians in this country to wake up and understand the battle we are in and just how close we are to losing.

 

 

 

 

 

The way of wisdom

“I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of righteousness.” Proverbs 4:11 (ESV)

Taking public transportation is a living classroom to observe some people who do not walk in the way of wisdom.

Since living in Oakland for a little over a month and ministering on the campus of UC Berkeley, I rely on the city bus to get me to and from the ministry house  where I rent a room.  This is the first time in my life I have done this and I must admit it is not my favorite thing to do.

There are many strange people that take the bus.  For example, just this morning, on my way to church, a man was sitting in front of me who was having long conversations with himself.

When I got off the bus to transfer to the next one, the bus stop benches were almost completely taken by homeless people who were sitting and sleeping on them, their shopping carts full of junk parked haphazardly around.

I’m not quite used to this.  Though I cannot claim to live a sheltered life, this is stretching my bounds of comfort.  The Lord is teaching and showing me things through these experiences, but again, I’m outside my comfort zone.

There is a man who rides the bus, sits in the back, and listens to the baseball game–loudly–on his radio.  The first time I saw this he was staring blanking in front of him while his radio droned on for everybody to hear, acting as if everybody on the bus wanted to hear the details of the game as much as he did.  Then he fell asleep, with the radio still blaring.  Evidently, he couldn’t care less who he was bothering.

Oftentimes, we learn the positive side of a biblical precept (in this case the way of wisdom) by observing its negative enactment in realtime (like this guy playing his radio).

What would be a visible example of the “way of wisdom” in the above scenarios?  Clearly, using headphones to listen to the ballgame so others, forced to sit in close proximity to you,  would not be bothered would be a “no brainer,” but I guess some people are so out of touch with reality that they can’t see the obvious.

The way of wisdom is closely aligned with what Jesus said was the second greatest commandment:  love your neighbor as yourself.  When we live our lives being concerned about how our actions affect our neighbors, we are walking in the way of wisdom.

The way of wisdom would not be using the public benches at bus stops as crash pads or long term sitting places.  They are placed there using tax-payer dollars so the people using public transportation can rest, or seek shelter when it is raining.  No rocket science involved here.

Selfishness and self-centeredness are at odds with the ways of wisdom and are mutually exclusive.

How can one break free from the strong chains that bind and blind a selfish and self-centered individual?   Proverbs 9:10 gives us the answer:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (NASB)

Are you thirsty for this “way of wisdom”?  This is a key ingredient to becoming a wise man or woman:  you must yearn for it, much like someone who has just labored out in the hot sun for hours longs for a cold glass of water.  Without this prerequisite thirst, one will never step foot on the path of wisdom.

I encourage you to pray and ask the “Lord of wisdom” to open your eyes to see your spiritual need in this area and to give you a longing for it.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,  being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:5-8

UC Berkeley students on fire for Jesus!

I must report on an astonishing development happening on UC Berkeley that is perhaps unprecedented on any university or college campus in the United States:  Christian students are boldly preaching the gospel.

When I arrived on campus for the beginning of the “Berkeley Blitz,” I quickly got to know several students from a fellowship called “Living Waters.”  Predominantly comprised of Asian students, Living Waters members, from what I have seen, are charismatic.   They are enthusiastic and joyous in their faith and expression.
Someone in their group had the wonderful idea to gather some of their members and go out every day on campus between 12 noon and 1:00 pm, until Easter, in a bold display of their faith.  They would do this by singing Christian songs, preaching, and holding a sign that asked, “Can we pray for you?”
I learned about this through Mollie, one of the members of Living Waters.  She has only been a Christian for five months and is a firebrand for Jesus.  This young woman exudes the love, joy and passion of Christ in her life, and to be around Mollie is like breathing a breath of fresh air.
Though I had known about this for a couple of weeks, I was so busy with my own evangelistic work that I forgot about it until last week.  Then, I decided I needed to show my support for what they were doing and perhaps even encourage them.  Being bold in one’s faith on UC Berkeley does not make one popular with most of the student body.  I knew they needed moral support.
I began to show up while they were singing in a group, standing by them, off to the side, listening, and encouraging them.  Then, I offered them the use of my portable sound system that I use in my open-air preaching for whoever wished to preach themselves.
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(Photo above:  The group of students gathered to share their love for Jesus.  Mollie is playing the guitar.)
At first, they were hesitant.  I approached Mollie and encouraged her to give a short testimony of what the Lord had done in her life.  Though she seemed a bit frightened, she quickly warmed to the idea and was soon giving an impassioned talk, using the sound system, on what the Lord had done in her life.
Inline image 2
(Photo above:  Mollie giving her testimony.)
I encouraged Daniel next; he, too, was at first hesitant, and though he had preached in front of Dwinelle Hall a couple of weeks prior, he had not done so since.  Boldness came into Daniel’s soul and he began preaching.
The location of where these students were ministering is important to my report.  They are not in some obscure, lightly traveled area of the campus, but plant themselves in the heart of the action, in the middle of one of the main arteries that students use to go to and from their classes.  This takes both boldness and courage, friends.  The crowds passing can be large.
Jinn, another Living Water member and Cal student, preached next.  This young man has been preaching before on campus, and has fire in his soul for the Gospel.
Inline image 3
(Photo above:  Jinn, far left holding up his bible, preaching.)
Finally, Vieng Wong, the pastor of “In Christ Alone,” an on-campus fellowship, capped off the hour and preached.  It is true that “fire begets fire,” and this time of boldly proclaiming the Word of God on the campus of UC Berkeley was astonishing.
The following day was more of the same, with students again singing and preaching.  Yesterday, another student who I never heard preaching before approached me and said he felt it was no his time to speak publicly for the Lord Jesus.  He did, and though he only spoke for about five minutes, that was five minutes of glory for the Name of Christ!
So much more has happened that it is impossible to relate even the tenth of it.  For those who feel burdened to continue praying for this work, I thank you.

The way of wisdom

“I have taught you the way of wisdom…” (Proverbs 4:11 ESV)

The way of wisdom is contrasted with the way of foolishness.

Many people do not understand the existence of either of these two paths in life.  This is unfortunate, because not knowing about these two paths reveals that one is probably walking in the path of foolishness.

My continuing fascination with the “way of wisdom” never seems to end; you might say that I am obsessed with it.  One reason for this is because of the reality that I have walked far too long in my life in the path of foolishness; this is a disturbing reality.

It is easy to look at others and think, “That person sure acts foolishly,” but it is far more difficult to peer into the mirror and make the same judgment about ourselves.  The facts, though, are clear:  most of us are not walking in the way of wisdom.

The way of wisdom affects every area of our lives, as does the way of foolishness.  One or the other, wisdom or foolishness, will mark the course of our daily lives and determine the quality of our earthly existence.

The way of wisdom can only be realized when our lives are grounded and centered in the Word of God.  More specifically, the way of wisdom is discovered in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ:

“…attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Colossians 2:2b-3 (NASB)

So many of us spend inordinate amounts of time on vain and foolish pursuits and activities instead of concentrating and cultivating the way of wisdom.  Like a diet that consists of only sodas and junk food, a life that is fed on only foolishness cannot be expected to be one of health, happiness and purpose.

If you are a young adult male (12-30 years of age) reading my blog, there is perhaps no better advice I can offer you than a systematic study in the book of Proverbs.

A wise pastor I had the privilege of studying under gave us young men in the congregation this excellent piece of advice:  there are approximately 31 days in every month and 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs.  Whatever the day is in any given month, read its corresponding chapter in the book of Proverbs.

For example, today is April 7; you would then read the seventh chapter of Proverbs.  I have tried to follow this advice as much as possible in my life, and now, in my fifties, I still read the book of Proverbs because I desperately need godly wisdom to direct my daily paths.

My hope is that you will discover at least two things in your life:  one, that you need wisdom to guide your life and, two, that this wisdom is personified in the life and teachings of Jesus.  The Bible says He is the living Word of God (John 1:1, 14), and devoting oneself to Him is the best way to starting and staying on the path of wisdom.

The lost art of evangelism: Part Two

“A burning heart will soon find for itself a flaming tongue.”  Charles Spurgeon

I have been fascinated by the subject of “revival” for as long as I have been a Christian:  approximately 30 years.

I describe “revival” as an unusual outpouring of God’s Spirit on a particular church, town or city that brings His awesome presence to such a degree on the people that they are gripped by His holiness.

Lives are permanently changed.  Hardened sinners who were  haters of God now become devoted followers of the Lord Jesus.  The great subjects of sin, judgment, holiness, sanctification, heaven, hell, etc., all become the dominating subjects of discussion.

A true revival changes not only the people in the town, but the town itself.  Crime is dramatically decreased.  Bars and places of prostitution close.  Drunks become respected members of society and now attend church.  As unbelievable as this sounds, this happened frequently in early America.

America is in desperate need of revival.

One way in which the fires of revival are kindled and the flames spread are through the bold preaching of God’s Word.  This is why evangelism is critical to the health of America.   The lack of evangelism is one main reason why America is in the serious situation she finds herself in today.

It says in the book of Hebrews that “…the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  (4:12 NIV)

God’s Word is alive.  Most never think of it in this manner.  Though none of us can plumb the depths of what this means, the rest of this verse tells us what the results are when this living Word is unleashed into the world:  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, penetrating deep into the souls of men and women and bringing conviction to their consciences.

To achieve its maximum effectiveness, such a living and life-changing entity must be “set free” from the cages where it has been long imprisoned within the four walls of the churches.  Certainly this living Word will works its miraculous effect on those inside the church walls who come to drink from its life giving fountain, but to revive society, it must be unleashed into the streets, lanes and other public gatherings of the common people.

Open-air preaching is one of the main methods that this transforming Word is introduced into society.

The Lord Jesus Christ was an open-air preacher.

Since this is true, why then are not hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of His followers not emulating their Master’s primary method of spreading His message in this way?

I will explore this in another post.

 

The lost art of evangelism: Part One

“And he (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”  Mark 16:15 (ESV)

Christian university students, generally speaking, are afraid to boldly share their faith in the public squares of their campuses.

The reasons for this fear are varied:  shyness, lack of training, not wishing to offend others, spiritual immaturity, sin in one’s life, etc.  But whatever the reasons, the consequences for disobeying the Great Commission found in Mark 16:15 are clearly seen.

What are these consequences?  Like the reasons for not sharing one’s faith, these are also varied, but one of the more serious is that the moral darkness pervasive on every secular campus has almost completely swallowed up the light of purity, righteousness and justice.

This has profoundly negative consequences that reaches into every nook and cranny of your average university and college campus.  When the gospel is not regularly and boldly proclaimed, its purifying effect on the students and faculty is diminished.  The power of sin and death gains ascendency over the power of righteousness and life; one must always give way before the other (Galatians 5:16-17).

Jesus told His followers that they were both salt and light (Matt. 5:13-15).  In His day, there was neither electricity or refrigerators.   Meat was kept from rotting by using salt to preserve it.  Salt was a preservative against rot.

Lamps were vital to keep people from stumbling around in the dark and possibly injuring or killing themselves.  It might have been suicidal back then to traverse an unfamiliar mountainous foot path at night without a lamp to illuminate your path; one wrong step and off the side you went.

Jesus tells His followers that we are salt and light.  We are the preservative that keeps the culture from rotting away in their sins and are the lamp that shows the world how to stop from stumbling around in the moral darkness.

We do this by being bold and unashamed in the public proclamation of our faith.  Being bold should not equal being obnoxious, rude, condescending, unmannerly or carnal (characteristics common to many Christians who claim to be open-air preachers and evangelists), but rather exhibiting behavior that reflects the character of Jesus.

Darkness and light cannot peacefully coexist.  One or the other must reign as King.  As sinners, we naturally gravitate toward the darkness:  selfishness, pride, laziness, greed, lust, etc.  Unless we are continually challenged to be vessels of righteousness, we go with the flow and are content to be like so many around us: self-centered and self-absorbed.

This is why the bold and public proclamation of the gospel is vital to the health of a university, town, city or nation.  Things, left to their own power, always disintegrate and break down–a mathematical and certain reality.

But it is the power inherent in the bold and unashamed preaching of the gospel that acts like a preserving agent for society.   Preaching  awakens and stirs the conscience, acting like a “seat belt of restraint” to those who are contemplating criminal acts.  How many crimes have been halted because the criminal heard someone preaching and decided they could not go through with the deed?

The United States is bearing a heavy toll for God’s people refusing to be bold in their faith.  When the church began to turn inward and the emphasis was placed on a “come ye” (“come into our church building”) instead of a “go ye” (“go out into the highways and by-ways”), this was part of the beginning of the end of America as we knew it.

The old saying, “life doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” has special meaning here; something must fill the empty spaces of society’s existence.  In other words, whose voice or morals will exist in the public square?  The answer is the voice or moral values that shouts the loudest, because “life doesn’t exist in a vacuum.”  Something must, and will, fill the voids in our society.

When the gospel was boldly, lovingly, and loudly trumpeted throughout this nation by innumerable circuit preachers crisscrossing the nation, a national consensus of justice, truth and morality permeated the people’s conscience.  Certainly not all Americans were Christians, but the message of righteousness and faith in Jesus was as tangible as an early morning fog, felt throughout the nation.

In part two, I will discuss in more detail the necessity of bringing gospel preaching back into the public square.

The tragedy of a wasted life


“O you sons of men, how long will you turn my honor and glory into shame?  How long will you love vanity and futility and seek after lies?”  Psalm 4:2 (Amplified)

It is possible to for a person to live their entire life pursuing the wrong things, majoring on the meaningless and worthless.

It is possible to come to the very end of your life and, looking back on it, say, “What a total waste!”

That would be horrible and a tragedy beyond tragedies.

What is the purpose of life?  Question #1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?”  The answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

I often ponder this and think about it often, desiring to bring my life into harmony with its simple beauty:  glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

Do you share my conviction that this is how our lives should be lived, that the goal of our existence should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?

Some might claim this is the thinking of a religious fanatic, that such a medieval mindset has no part in our modern world and puts up unnecessary hindrances to the pursuit of happiness in today’s technologically savvy society.

If you think this way, I urge you to ponder Psalm 4:2; you are perhaps in the very condition that God’s Word is telling you to avoid.  You might be loving vanity and seeking after worthless pursuits that will leave you, at the end of your life, regretting you put so much time, energy and treasure toward.  That would be horrific.

The Psalmist is warning us that we can “love vanity and futility and seek after lies.”  This is usually due to the fact that we fail to give God His rightful place of prominence in our lives.  When He is not Lord, we make ourselves out to be our own little gods and everything we then do is just additional steps in the wrong direction, leading to futility and a wasteland.

Jesus said many incredible things; here is one statement that is astounding in its relevance to today’s post:

“And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.'”  (Luke 16:15 NASB)

Allow me to repeat this for emphasis:  “for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”

The examples we could give to put flesh on this bone of truth is endless, but let me mention just one of these highly esteemed things which men delight in but are detestable in God’s sight:  sports in general and football in particular.

Many Americans worship football and all that surrounds this colossal waste of time, money and energy.  I don’t want to spend much time on detailing why I believe this, and perhaps this would be a blog worth writing at another time; suffice to say, most would agree that there are people in this country and around the world that love football far more than they love God.

Can I be so bold as to say that God despises football, mainly because it is something that so many men highly esteem?  I believe I am dead center and right on track, particularly when we see that the epitome of football, the Superbowl, has degenerated into a national orgy of alcohol consumption, overeating, sex, pride, lust and rock n’ roll…pure foolishness.

If there is any concrete example of one “seeking after lies,” “loving vanity and futility,” it is football, pure and simple.

But one will never see the truth of my statement until God opens their eyes.  Until this happens, men–and women–will continue to pay huge bucks and waste gigantic amounts of time and energy to indulge themselves in this national act of vanity.

On a side note, if you doubt what I say about football and sports in general, check you blood pressure as you read these words; this will give you the best evidence that what I’m writing about is absolute truth.

We are all going to die, some sooner than later.  I think one reason why the Lord allows us to slowly age is because it gives us the chance at gaining some much needed perspective on what is truly valuable in life.

As we lie on death’s door, thinking back on our lives, I don’t think one of us will ever regret that we didn’t buy that new boat or car that we had always longed for.  No, we will regret not spending more time with our kids and grandkids, or helping out the poor and needy, or making a real difference in the world.

If we are particularly astute, we will weigh our lives in the balance of God’s measurement, regretting that we did not spend more of our lives in getting to know Him and serve Him, bringing honor to His Name and advancing His causes in the earth.

I’m sure nobody, when they realize death is right around the corner, wishes they had spent more time in building up their bank balance or thinking, “I should have painted the garage floor when I had the time and chance to do it.”

Let’s stop pursuing vanity and futility in our lives and start today to rearrange our priorities in line with those that Jesus Himself modeled and practiced.  We will never regret it.

The disturbing rise of Islam: Part two

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.…” (1 John 2:22-23 NIV)

There are hard truths in the Bible; the verses above are just a sample.

Here is a question that eventually must be faced by those who call America their home:  does the Bible, or the Quran, teach truth?

You don’t have the luxury to sit on the fence on this, because the rise of Islam in America will soon force you to choose one or the other.

Islam is not content to be just another religious group in the world, peacefully co-existing along with others of different religious persuasions.  No, Islam seeks to dominate and exercise control over all others.  This is the problem.

Certainly there are moderate Muslims in the world who don’t share the jihadist mindset of many of their brethren.  These peaceful Muslims are much like you and I:  they want to live peacefully, desire to practice their religion free from governmental interference, and raise their families in an environment free from prejudice and fear of persecution.

But the problem with Muslims in general and the Quran in particular comes into sharp focus when they choose to live here in the United States and seek to alter the fabric of our Judeo-Christian foundation by claiming that the Quran is the inspired Word of God that all must follow and practice.

Again, for peaceful Muslims who simply want to do their best to raise their families alongside their American Christian neighbors in an environment of mutual respect and tolerance, the inherent differences between Islam and Christianity remain hidden and don’t usually create undue tension between the two faiths.

But when a group of Muslims begin spending big money in the heartland to put up billboards that boldly proclaim that Jesus is a Muslim, sparks are sure to fly and a line has been crossed in the sand.

I mentioned in my last blog how absurd it would be for the Mormons to dot the landscape with billboards that read, “Jesus was a Mormon!”  This would naturally cause a stir among evangelical Christians who recognize the falsity of this statement and the Mormons could rightfully expect a reaction from the Christian community.

It is unclear what kind of a reaction the Muslims expected the Christians living in Columbus, Ohio, to have when they woke up and were greeted with several billboards in their city which read, “Jesus is Muslim.”  Maybe they thought there would be no reaction at all, having already observed how lackadaisical the majority of people are to religious discussions and subjects.

Personally, part of my reaction is to comment on my blog and to point out that, according to the Bible in 1 John 2:22-23, anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ is a liar and, even said more strongly, is an “anti-Christ.”

Those words from the apostle John, revered for his many references in the Bible to “loving one another,” suddenly take on an entirely different force and meaning when we use them as a measuring stick to determine the truth or falsity of the teachings of the “prophet” Muhammad.

Islam flatly rejects the belief that Jesus is either the Christ or the Son of God.

Islam finds it blasphemous that Christians believe that God has a Son whose name is Jesus.

Islam denies that Jesus died on a cross (Quran 4:157), striking at the very heart of Christianity and gutting it of its central message of John the Baptist when he exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 ESV)

If Jesus did not die on the cross, the concept of the “Lamb of God” is a mere sentimental idea that does nothing to reconcile guilty sinners with a holy God.  The death (crucifixion), burial and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah, is the cornerstone of Christianity.  Remove it and the entire edifice falls (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

This is why the billboard erected with Muslim money is not only repugnant to Christians, but blasphemous.  When Muslims claim that Jesus is a Muslim, they are denying that He was crucified, that He died on the cross, and that He was raised from the dead after being buried in the tomb where He was laid after His death from being crucified.

Since this is true, what two things can we confidently assert about Muslims and the teachings of Muhammad when we compare their beliefs with 1 John 2:23-24?

Hard truths may not be easy to digest, but so are lies.

 

The disturbing rise of Islam: Part one

By now, you have probably seen the billboards in Columbus, Ohio that brazenly trumpet, “Jesus is Muslim.”

Here is a picture:

In doing research on this, I discovered that this type of Muslim advertising campaign is not new and a similar campaign was done in Australia.

Here is one link to the article:

http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/4080773866.html

These signs are disturbing, for several reasons.

First, the claim that Jesus was a Muslim is absurd.   Muhammad, the founder of Islam, lived in the years c. 570 – June 8, 632, at least 550 years after Jesus was resurrected. The claim that Jesus was ‘Muslim’ when Islam was not even on the radar screen during the life of Jesus is disingenuous at best.  At worst, the claim is an outright lie, intended to incite the religious sensibilities of Christians in the United States.

A Mormon making the claim that “Jesus is a Mormon” would be equally ridiculous, for the same reasons cited above.

Second, the claim is disturbing because it reveals an Islamic hostility toward Christian orthodoxy in general and a decidedly unfriendly  and disrespectful attitude for these Muslims living in Columbus, Ohio toward their Christian neighbors in particular.

I have to admire this particular group of Muslims for their boldness, but they fail the test when this action is graded on diplomatic finesse.  If they believe that a billboard like this is going to create good-will among Muslims and Christians and bring the two groups closer together, they could not be more mistaken.  Their lack of sensitivity and wisdom is shocking.

Imagine the uproar in the American Muslim community if a similar billboard was erected throughout, say, Dearborn, Michigan, that trumpeted “Muhammad was a born again Christian!”  This would neither be factual nor effectual in bringing Christians and Muslims closer together.  It would be the same glaring public relations disaster that this billboard in Columbus is guilty of.

Third, the statement that Jesus is a Muslim is incorrect and this particular Muslim group responsible for putting up these billboards are spreading falsehoods.  It is one thing for someone to make the unfounded claim that a Chevy truck is a better vehicle than a Ford, but to make a blatant, false statement about the founder of Christianity and the Lord of Glory is to potentially bring out understandably negative and hurt feelings in the Christian community.

Fourth, the complete lack of wisdom that this Muslim group is exhibiting by putting up such a divisive and outrageous claim leaves one scratching their head and asking, “Why? What possible good can come out of such a brazen and offensive statement?”

It is not a move that will “gain friends and influence people” and endear non-Muslims to sympathize with their agenda.  The billboard is an act of foolishness which will only cause the already deep divide that exists between Christians and Muslims to grow ever wider.

Fifth, this unwise decision only reinforces the stereotype that many people already have of Muslims that they are intolerant, divisive, unwilling to peacefully co-exist with their neighbors, and are trouble-makers.

Again, they score high points for their shocking brazenness, but fail miserably on their diplomatic skills.  “Nation (or neighborhood) building” is an attribute that these particular Muslims need a fair amount of tutoring in.

If there is any good that can come from this foolish and unwise display, it is this:  God’s prophetic Word has once again been proven to be uncannily accurate.

We find the following prophecy in Genesis 16:12 about Ishmael, the father of the Arab race:

“He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” (NIV)

Clearly, this billboard and all it represents, is a stunning fulfillment of this amazing prophecy made over 3,500 years ago, proving once again the singular uniqueness of Holy Scripture.

Refreshingly, some Christians in the Columbus area are not allowing this affront to the faith to go unchallenged.  One man in particular, Dave Daubenmire, has rallied the troops to hold a peaceful, non-violent prayer vigil and rally.   Peaceful and non-violent are the important words here, and there can be no cause for anyone, Christian or otherwise, to react in any other fashion but to follow the words of Jesus when He said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

Here is a quote from Mr. Daubenmire taken from the linked article above:

“Although we support the Islamic community’s right to free speech, as well as their right to post messages on billboards, we do not support the hi-jacking of the name of Jesus Christ in their attempt to lure uninformed Christians into their religion,” Coach Dave Daubenmire said.

“‘Jesus Christ was crucified, died, and resurrected over 600 years before the birth of Mohammed.  Although Islam honors Jesus as a prophet, they do not believe that He is the risen Son of God.  During this most Holy Lenten Season we find the messages on the billboards to be insensitive, dishonest and deserving of a response from concerned Christians. We will be on the streets to proclaim Jesus is NOT Muslim but Jesus is Lord!’, he continued.”

Daubenmire has a Facebook page dedicated to the upcoming rally:

https://www.facebook.com/events/303710629778422/

If you are in the Columbus area, I urge you to attend this prayer rally.  Stand up and be counted for the sake of truth and the honor of the Lord Jesus.