America is spinning out of control at a dizzying pace. Gender has been totally turned upside down from the two God created (male and female), to more than 50 different ones a person can choose from today. Marriage has been redefined from God’s design of one man and one woman to homosexual marriage, or whatever one wants it to be. Our kids are indoctrinated into these perverse ideas as early as elementary school. Premarital sex, adultery, and pornography are firmly entrenched in our culture. Mass shootings are becoming the norm. Racial unrest is at a boiling point. Abortion is still legal and celebrated, to the extent that a law legalizing infanticide in New York was welcomed with a standing ovation. Drug abuse continues to be widespread and destroys lives daily, but our governing bodies pass laws legalizing marijuana and setting up “safe injection zones” in cities. The family structure is in shambles. Technology has consumed society so much that it is hard to go anywhere these days without seeing numerous people looking down at a five inch by three inch black screen. God’s moral absolutes have been replaced by relativism. And incivility and vicious vitriol is everywhere.

Where is the church, the body of Christ that has been empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit to impact society for Jesus Christ? The church has fallen asleep.

It’s time to wake up Church!! It’s time we get our head out of the sand and take a realistic look at what’s going on. We’ve deluded ourselves into a “lala” land of “positive and encouraging” while our nation crumbles around us.

Wake up,Church! It’s time to stop putting our energy and time into showing the world how “cool” we are and start falling on our faces before our holy God in repentance, crying out to Him for mercy. While our world is barreling into the abyss, the church is too busy “thinking outside the box” and being emergent, emerging, and seeker sensitive. It’s time we be the body of Christ! We’ve been too preoccupied on being relevant – many churches have made their facilities look like coffee houses where one can come in their lounge pants, tank top, and flip flops and get a mocha latte to sip while sitting back and watching the musical extravaganza and then listening to a motivational speech centered on “me” that’s filled with cool jokes and cute stories. We want people to come to church and have “fun” , feel good about themselves, and laugh. I’m sorry, but there is nothing funny about the condition of our country. We’ve amused and entertained ourselves to death.

Wake up, Church! Jesus never called us to be cool. He called us to be holy, He called us to be His surrendered disciples who die to self and live solely for His glory.  He called us to live in spiritual brokenness, where we are totally dependent on Him in every facet of life. He called us to have a deep, intimate relationship with Him, and to be hungry and thirsty for Him, and for holiness. And He called us to be His witnesses in a sin cursed world.

Wake up, Church! We have become so culturally relevant that we’ve become spiritually irreverent. We know all about the latest box office success, app for our Iphone, or best selling book, but are ignorant about the Bible and clueless about theology. We have become an inch deep and a mile wide, having settled for a shallow, mediocre walk with Jesus that wants just enough of Him to get into heaven but not enough of Him to make Him the absolute Lord of our lives. We’ve lost our first love and gone after other lovers. We have played the harlot with the world, and the world saw through our phony coolness and has cast us aside like dirty laundry.

Wake up, Church! The most powerful entity on the planet, the church of Jesus Christ, has become powerless to impact our world. We have become powerless because we have become passionless, and we have become passionless because we have become prayerless. And as a result we lost the culture.

Wake up, Church! We’ve lulled ourselves into a false sense of God’s approval and have become blind to our own sin. We have become like the Laodicean church in Revelation 3 where Jesus says to it: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…”

Wake up, Church! If judgment comes to America God will start with His church, just as He did with ancient Israel. Some of the most chilling verses in Scripture are found in Ezekiel 9:5-7 where God said to the angels who He commissioned to bring judgment on Judah because of their gross sin:  “But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. ‘Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.’ So they started with the elders who were before the temple. And He said to them, ‘Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!’ Thus they went out and struck down the people in the city.” God tells the angels to start the judgment in the sanctuary. Do you see, my friends, God’s judgment had start in the very place where He was supposed to be worshiped and glorified. And it will be the same for His church.

Wake up, Church! If God brought judgment on His covenant people Israel, do we dare think he won’t start His judgment now with His new covenant church? Are we so clueless and smug that we have convinced ourselves that we will get a pass because we are His bride?

Wake up, Church! It’s time to stop everything and fall on our faces in humility and repentance for our own personal sins the sins of the church, and cry out to Him for revival. We need a third Great Awakening! Is it too late? Have we crossed the line, and has His righteous judgment been ordained? Only God knows. But, even if we have crossed the line, we can still pray that God would rend the heavens and come down in a powerful move of true revival one more time before His judgment comes. In ancient Judah, King Manasseh was so wicked that he crossed the line and God determined to bring His judgment on Judah. Even though Manasseh repented at the end of his life and his grandson, Josiah, brought about a revival in the land, it was too late, and judgment was coming at the hands of the Babylonians. Manasseh’s wickedness was that bad. Is this a picture of America? Is judgment looming on the horizon as determined by God? I don’t know, but I do know that we need to repent regardless of what God has chosen to do.

Wake up, Church! We live in dire times and need to live with a sense of urgency. We can take back the culture for Jesus in these last days, but only is we repent and humbly cast ourselves at His feet for mercy and cry out for revival. This is our only hope.

Wake up Church! Will you who is reading this right now be one of the remnant who does this, or will you fall into the sad reality of what God said in Ezekiel 22:30 when He was about to bring His judgment on Judah:  “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.”  How tragic! God could not find anyone who would humble themselves in repentance and cry out to Him for mercy on the nation. Will He find a Christian today who will stand in the gap for America?

Wake up, Church! Will you, reader, stand in the gap, repent, and cry out to Him for revival. Will you risk being laughed at and being called a “doom and gloom negative Nellie” or will you just go with the flow and care more about your reputation and comfort and leave the urgent call to repentance and revival to someone else, who will leave it to someone else, who will leave it to someone else…? My friend, if not you, who?



The concept of fearing God is not a popular topic in churches today. Most Christians aren’t interested in a God who commands us to fear Him, they would rather have a God who is syrupy sweet, easy going, permissive and who winks and smiles at their sin and says “its okay, don’t worry about it”.

However, the Bible is crystal clear, and it is repeated often, that God commands us to fear him. But what does it really mean to fear God?

it is very common to interpret the fear of the Lord as simply having reverence for Him. But this is a soft translation. While the Hebrew and Greek words for “fear” do include the idea of reverence, they also carry with them the idea of genuine fear or dread. The word “fear” in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word yare, which means to revere or to frighten, In the New Testament the Greek word is phobos which means to be alarmed or to frighten. So fearing God includes both reverence and actual fear. Indeed, in the Old Testament, everyone who experienced a theophany (an Old Testament appearing of the Son of God before He became incarnate as Jesus Christ), or experienced a glimpse of God’ s awesome glory fell on their faces in reverence and at the same time were so overwhelmed that they were afraid that they were going to die (Exodus 33:18-20; Deuteronomy 4:33, 5:22-26; Judges 6:22-23, 13:18-22; Isaiah 6:1-5).

God is that awesome.

Fearing God, which He commands us to do, means that we hold Him in utmost reverence and respect, and knowing that He is a righteous and just God who does, and must, punish sin. Fearing God means that we walk in strict obedience to His commands, not wanting to experience His discipline if we stray from Him. To be sure, it is not a cowering terror that causes us to purposely stay distant from Him, but a healthy understanding and a keen awareness of who He is – the majestic, transcendent, eternal, righteous, just, holy One – and who we are – His creations who are sinners saved by His marvelous grace.

Additionally, and importantly, the fear of God must also be balanced with the love of God. This supremely awesome all powerful God is also our Father who loves us and cares more about us than we will ever be able to grasp. In Matthew 22:37 when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He repeated what Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”.

Through Jesus, we have the incredible privilege of coming to the Father as Abba, which is the Aramaic word for “father”, and is used in an endearing emotional context. The English equivalent would be “Daddy”. On the cross Jesus reconciled us to the Father, and when we, by faith, trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are adopted into the family of God and become His sons and daughters, which connotes that we have both an intellectual understanding of our relationship with Him – the fear of God – and the relational connection to Him – the love of God. Indeed, when we truly understand the theology of the cross we can’t help but pour out our love, and fear, for Him.

Yes, both fear and love are crucial in our relationship with God. If we focus on just the fear of God, it can lead to cold, mechanical legalism. But focusing on just the love of God can lead to sloppy, casual, mediocre discipleship. Both the fear of God and the love of God must be grasped and held in a Biblically balanced way if we are going to have the deeply intimate relationship with Him that He wants us to have, and will lead to a life of holiness that brings Him glory.

Unfortunately, we tend to avoid or ignore the fear aspect of our relationship with God because we think it will be a life of drudgery and misery. However, Scripture tells us just the opposite:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise“. Psalm 111:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”. Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death” . Proverbs 14:27

“Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life”. Proverbs 22:4

“The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble”. Proverbs 19:23

The fear of the Lord is not to be avoided but is to be robustly embraced because it is the path that leads to real meaning and purpose – the life that glorifies God. And, my friends, that is the reason we exist. You are breathing and your heart is beating this very second for this sole purpose – to bring glory to God. It is not about us, it is, has been, and will always be about Him. And when we bring glory to God, we experience the reality for which we were created, and experience life at its pinnacle. Nothing this world offers comes even remotely close to living in God’s presence with deep intimacy. And this becomes operative in out lives when we anchor our relationship with God on a Biblically balanced understanding of the fear of God and the love of God.

Do you love Him? Do you fear Him? These two profound foundational truths will be the catalyst in developing a deep intimate relationship with Him. And possessing this relationship with the God of the universe is life at its utmost best.


The church today has a desperate need. It’s not for more individuals with PhD’s or ThD’s. It’s not for more talented singers and musicians. It’s not or more eloquent speakers. Nor is it for more people with dynamic, charismatic personalities (those that possess the proverbial “it” factor). I believe what the church needs now more than ever is deep Christians. Followers of Jesus that leave the safety of shallow, superficial Christianity and risk it all to plunge into the depths of discipleship. Those who are not satisfied with a safe, predictable, status quo relationship with Jesus and dare to launch out to know Him as well as a human being can know Him in this life.

What is a deep Christian? Deep Christians are those who really understand the cross and have a solid theological foundation in which to anchor their relationship with God on. Deep Christians understand their total unworthiness and God’s mind boggling grace, Deep Christians have a profound sense of humility, understanding what they were and yet understanding their present position as a child of the living God only because of His incredible grace.

Deep Christians come to God in spiritual brokenness and are totally dependent on Him in every aspect of life. They die to self and surrender to Him completely, knowing that the only reason for their existence is to bring Him glory. And this brokenness, surrender, and dying to self is with gladness and joy. They don’t care what anyone thinks about them, they only care what God knows about them. Deep Christians hunger and thirst for holiness, and hunger and thirst to know Jesus more. They bear fruit for God’s kingdom, and desire that He, and only He, gets the glory.

Deep Christians are definitely not spiritually weird in that they have their heads so far in the clouds that they can’t relate to others, or are smug and obnoxious Bible thumpers who act superior to others. Nor are they perfect super saints who have “arrived”. They just live their lives in the power of the Holy Spirit and and emanate the sweet aroma of Jesus wherever they go, even if they are hated by others, criticized, or laughed at.

Deep Christians know Jesus intellectually, pursue Him relentlessly, approach Him reverently, love him intimately, follow Him unconditionally, worship Him passionately, stand up for Him unashamedly, serve Him excellently, and enjoy Him gladly. 

Are you a deep Christian? My friend, don’t settle for shallowness and superficiality. Don’t be like so many Christians who are an inch deep and a mile wide. Leave the safety and predictability of the shallows and dare to plunge deeply into our incredible God. He wants you to. Dive deep, you’ll never regret it.


Father God,

We enter this new year in serious trouble. Our country has lost its way and is sliding at lightning speed into the abyss. We’ve turned our backs on You, and the evidence is everywhere. We continue to slaughter babies in their mother’s wombs by the millions. Your design for sexuality has been totally discarded and its perversion is rampant – premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, polyamory, and every other type of perverted behavior that is now called “normal”. Marriage can now be defined as whatever we want it to be. Gender is now determined by our own sinful whims instead of how You created us. Your absolute moral truth has been replaced by relativism and situational ethics. Racism, anger, and hatred define our society. Many facets of our culture have given in to political correctness instead of standing up for what is right. Greed, selfishness, and entitlement have become the prevailing mindset of our culture. We have become slaves to technology, which has actually alienated people from one another and forced us to look down at a little device in our hand instead of looking up to our Creator and out to others. Lord, we’re in trouble!

Have we finally exhausted the limits of your patience and crossed the line into certain judgment? Is it too late for America?

Father, only You know the answer to this, but would You raise a remnant of your people to cry out to you for revival in this new year. We need a Third Great Awakening! You are our only hope. We need a powerful move of the Holy Spirit in a heaven sent revival, and it must start in Your church. Father, Your bride, the church, has lost her purity and has gone after other lovers. We are to blame for many of the evils that exist in our culture because the church is the most powerful entity on the planet because we have the indwelling Holy Spirit who empowers us to do your will, and yet we have become impotent to impact the culture. On the contrary, the culture has impacted your church and we have become just like it.

The church, Your bride, has become like the Laodicean church, thinking we’re just fine when we are actually lukewarm, and wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. We have become like the church in Sardis, thinking we are alive when we are actually dead. We have become like the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira, which compromised truth and tolerated sin. We have become the Ephesian church which had lost its first love.

We have become pragmatic instead of prayerful, entertained instead of worshipful, cool instead of holy, relevant instead of reverent, spineless instead of bold, wishy-washy instead of passionate, compromised instead of radical, and comfortable instead of convicted.

We, your bride, need to repent of our own sin and fall on our faces before You in humility, acknowledging our own sin because the most grievous sin is not “out there”, it is within the walls of the church. Break us of our lukewarmness, pride, compromise, and laziness.

Oh Father, break us of “self”.

The revival must start in the hearts of Your people, who will then be able to go out and impact the world for Jesus. It is only through a revived church that is totally sold out to You that the hearts of our nation will be transformed and our nation healed. Convict us, Lord, and may we respond to You. This is our only hope.

May 2019 be the year where we get serious, get transparent before You, acknowledge our own sin, and seek Your face for mercy and revival. Have we crossed the line? Is too late? We don’t know, so we repent and cry out to You in this new year. Oh Sovereign Lord, rend the heavens and come down, one more time.

And may the revival start with me.


I believe that one of the major deficiencies of modern day Christianity is our view of God. In order to attract more people to church and make them feel comfortable, the church has presented God as just a shadow of His true essence. We have made Him too ordinary, too common, and too plain. We have brought Him down to our level, thinking people will see Him as more approachable and more relevant. In the quest to make Him more likable, we have portrayed Him as a cosmic genie who is just waiting to grant our wishes, or “Joe” down the street who we watch football and eat guacamole with, or some cool dude who plays video games and lives on social media. In short, we have created God in our image.

How utterly tragic. Today’s Christianity has lost the understanding of the awesome holiness and majestic glory of God. In the Bible, everyone who caught a glimpse of the incredible awesomeness of God was overwhelmed beyond words. Indeed, the very nature of God– His sovereignty, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, eternality, holiness, righteousness, justice, and immutability is so profound that it causes us to fall on our faces in worship of such a magnificent Being.

This unbiblical view of God is evidenced, I believe, by a couple of things. One is the worldly lifestyle and sloppy discipleship of many Christians. Since God, in our recreation of Him, is basically just a good ol’ boy, there is  no need for holiness, no need for deep discipleship, no need for surrender, brokenness, or dying to self. We set the bar of discipleship too low because, after all, God is “cool” and lets us slide. However, Jesus set the bar of discipleship extraordinarily high – just read, for example, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Luke 9:23, or Luke 14:26-33. The sloppy, discipleship of many Christians is a direct result of a faulty view of God.

The second evidence of our unbiblical view of God is seen in how we dress for church. Most churches tell people to come in whatever they are comfortable in – short shorts, flip flops, lounge pants, baseball caps, etc. After all, they say, God is more interested in your heart than in your attire. While this is true, I believe that this has been taken way too far. Sloppy dress has a direct correlation to a lesser view of God. Think about it – when you go to a place that requires nicer attire, it becomes more special than going to a place where you can wear your sloppy jeans and worn flip flops. Going to  a nice restaurant where nicer dress is required is a lot more special than jumping in the car with your well-worn “work around the house” clothes and heading to McDonald’s. Yet, many people come into the presence of the King of Kings looking like they just finished cleaning the house. For most people, it is just not a special thing to come into the presence of our awesome God because we have recreated Him into a lesser God.

Thus, sloppy dress follows our sloppy view of God. I’m not saying we need to wear fancy three-piece suits or evening gowns to church on Sunday, but, at the very least, dress with respect for the KIng of Kings and Lord of Lords in whose presence we are coming. At the church I pastor, in the FAQ section of our church brochure regarding what to wear we say this: “Wear whatever you like as long as it is in good taste and respectful in coming into the presence of the King”.

Yet, this majestic, sovereign, awesome God who we worship is also our “Abba”, our daddy who we can have a deep intimate relationship with. Jesus died on the cross to bring justification for our sins (He died in our place to take away our sins and give us eternal life), but also to bring reconciliation between us and the Father (to restore the broken relationship between Him and us because of our sin). These two aspects of our salvation – justification and reconciliation are so crucial in our understanding of, and approach to, our awesome God.  Justification reminds us of the majestic holiness of God, and that we must approach Him with reverence and awe (the intellectual understanding of who He is). Reconciliation means that we can have a deep, intimate relationship with Him as His children (the emotional connection with Him).

This Biblically balanced understanding of God will lead us to the incredible relationship that He desires us to have with Himself. Both of these – intellectual and relational – , in proper balance, are necessary because having just mental knowledge (without emotion) leads to cold legalism, and having just an emotional connection (without mental knowledge) leads to sloppy mediocrity (which, I believe, is the prominent attitude of most Christians today).

No, we don’t need to “change” God to make Him relevant to our culture. He is always relevant, and He is enough! Know God intellectually and worship Him. Love Him intimately and have a deep relationship with Him. When you have a healthy balance of these two, you will know our awesome God as He wants to be known.





A year ago I wrote a post on this blog titled “Lord Break Me – A Bold and Daring Prayer”. In the post I mentioned that I prayed this prayer 37 years ago, and how God has been in the process of answering this prayer since the day I prayed it. Well, since writing that post, and especially in the last few months, the Lord has heightened His work in my life in answer to this prayer. I have always taught that, as followers of Jesus, we need to be transparent, open, and honest with each other regarding our lives, and thus He has led me to write this very transparent testimony. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever written because it is so personal, and writing this makes me extremely vulnerable before you, but I have nothing to lose. I write this from a place of brokenness. Hopefully, it will shed some light on the breaking process and give you some encouragement as you walk with Him along the “Broken” road.

I need my to start my testimony in March, 1998. At this time God was working in a powerful way in my life. He brought me into a place of deep intimacy with Himself, and I started experiencing incredible mountain top times with Him and in ministry. It was at this time that He called me to be a “watchman on the wall” – definitely not a prophet, but someone who He would reveal the true state of the church and society, and  preach, teach, and write what He placed on my heart regarding these. It would not be a popular message, and not many would want to do this type of ministry (even me), but I responded to His calling and started to be that watchman on the wall.

Because the burdens He gave me to speak and write about weren’t positive and upbeat, I was basically ignored by many, and opposed by others (I’ve been called all sorts of derogatory names through the years). Because of this I started to grow hard and, inwardly, started to develop a critical spirit against those who didn’t think like me or embrace what God had given me to say. Additionally, and unbeknownst to me, I had a sense that I was God’s gift to the church and that I had, in some ways, “arrived” to that special place in His kingdom because I was doing what very few would do. Because of this, I had this idea, deep in my heart, that I didn’t need anyone, which led to developing an unteachable spirit, which led to spiritual arrogance. No one would have ever guessed that I felt like this because outwardly I appeared just the opposite – humble and selfless. Shockingly, I didn’t even realize it myself, I was blind to my own wretched condition.  But deep in the recesses of my soul this ugly attitude festered.

So God began the breaking process in earnest, and in 2004 He started to shatter these prideful characteristics. Having been approached to start a new church in another part of the country, I resigned my position at the church I was pastoring. We sold our house and were excited to begin this new area of ministry. However, this opportunity fell through soon after we sold our house, and there I was, having resigned my current pastorate and having just sold our house. Needless to say, I was devastated. At this same time my 14-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a condition that required expensive medication, which exhausted my medical insurance prescription benefits. We ended up renting a condominium in an area where my kids could stay in the same school, or so I thought. A week into the school year we were told that our kids had to change high schools, which was really hard on them, and it crushed me to see this happen to them. On top of this I was applying to many churches around the country that had pastoral openings, but couldn’t get hired. I was a finalist in four or five churches but didn’t get hired. So I took on some temporary jobs in the field I used to work in before entering ministry. My income from these jobs wasn’t enough to meet our monthly bills so we had to dip into our savings, which started to get smaller and smaller. This was a bleak time in my life. I argued with God, yelled at God, and accused Him of not caring about me or my family. After all, I reasoned, I had given up everything to follow Him and I had boldly taught and written what very few pastors were willing to say.  I thought that since I had kept up my end of the deal by being a watchman on the wall, God owed me blessings. At one point, I was so low that I just wanted to walk away from ministry and from God, but in His infinite grace and mercy, He wouldn’t let go of me.

Finally, in August, 2005 I was called to the church I currently pastor. Many other heart wrenching things happened along this journey (things that brought me to my knees before Him) but I would need volumes to write them all down. Suffice it to say that similar things like I described in the preceding paragraph continued to happen. Deep down I continued to be bitter at God and my heart became old, cold, and hard. I continued to preach, teach, and write what He led me to say. I never compromised His calling, and He graciously continued to use me in a powerful way in spite of myself. But my heart just wasn’t right. Then a few months ago God started to peel me back like an onion, layer by layer. He showed me my spiritual pride: thinking I was His gift to the church, that I had somehow “arrived” to that special place in His Kingdom,  being critical of those who didn’t agree with me, and having an unteachable spirit. When He revealed these attitudes to me I was absolutely floored. I had never realized that this was the condition of my heart. He let me know that my spiritual arrogance had robbed Him of His glory, and this absolutely devastated me. You see, when I had entered ministry in 1997 my prayer was that I would always point eyes to Him and would never rob Him of the glory that was due to Him alone. I cannot explain how grieved I was to realize that this is just what I had done – robbed God of His glory, and was shocked to see what I had become. It was a gut punch that left me breathless and crushed. What God told Job in Job 40:8 applied directly to me: “Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?” I had, in a sense, condemned Him to justify myself.

Then for the first time, I could see why God allowed all of those trials to enter my life and why  He needed to bring me so low. In His infinite wisdom He brought these trials as part of the breaking process to bring me to this very point in my journey. I didn’t know what to say to God other than what Job said in Job 42:5-6;  “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.  For the first time I started to understand what it meant to be broken. I cried out to God in repentance, and wasn’t sure what to do next. I had this feeling that, perhaps, He had given up on me for ministry, I know that I am still saved (by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone), but the shame of my spiritual arrogance and the fact that I had robbed God of His glory was overwhelming. The fact that I am still standing and breathing, and the fact that I am still in ministry is a testimony to His grace. Now, each week when I preach and teach, and when I write these blogs or articles and letters in the newspaper, I am overwhelmed at His grace – overwhelmed that I am still fulfilling His call on my life, as I definitely don’t deserve to be in ministry. He hasn’t given up on me, still wants to use me, and still loves me in spite of myself.

Psalm 119:65, 67, and 75  is so applicable in my life: Psalm 119:65 –  “You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your wordPsalm 119:67 – “Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word“; Psalm 119:75 – “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me“. 

Is the breaking process over. No. It will be a life long journey, but I’ve experienced and learned so much. I know that I have nothing to offer Him but my brokenness, and I am nothing and have nothing apart from Him. Has the breaking process been hard. Definitely! Do I wish that I hadn’t have had to go through this painful process? Oh yes! However, am I glad that He has done this in my life? Absolutely! Without this breaking process, I would have continued in my spiritual arrogance, robbing Him of His glory, and been ignorant of my pitiful condition. My prayer now is that, in the rest of the years He has me on this planet, my original motive would be true – to point all eyes to Him and to bring glory to Him alone, and that He would rebuild this broken, shattered bond slave of His into a vessel worthy of His glory. In faithfulness and love He has afflicted me, and I love Him so very deeply!  Amen.



Immigration is a very controversial and emotional issue. I haven’t seen too many articles expressing a Biblical world view concerning this topic, so in this post I will endeavor to present a Biblically balanced worldview on this issue that is so dominant in our society. While the Bible doesn’t pointedly address the specific immigration issues we are currently facing in 2018, it does lay down general guidelines on the treatment of foreigners, and the role of government in a society. As uncompromised followers of Jesus, we need to know what these Biblical principles are regarding this issue, understand what they mean, and then apply them to our situation. While I am aware that everyone won’t agree with me, it is hoped that this discussion will encourage Christians to take a deep dive into Scripture in order to look at the issue.

Both the Old and New Testament mention foreigners and the treatment of them. In terms of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, this was usually in context of non-Jews living in their midst.

When the Jews were redeemed out of Egypt by God many foreigners went with them (Exodus 12:37-38, Numbers 11:4, Joshua 8:35). These folks were accepted by the Jews and received special protection (Exodus 22:21, 23:9) and were to be loved by the Israelites (Leviticus 19:34). Additionally, they were granted privileges conditioned on their obedience to certain regulations. For example they were not to blaspheme God’s name (Leviticus 24:16), engage in idolatrous worship (Leviticus 20:2), participate in acts of sexual immorality (Leviticus 18:1-26), work on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10), eat leavened bread during the Passover remembrance (Exodus 12:19), and eat blood or flesh from animals that had been ripped apart by other animals (Leviticus 17:10, 15). As long as the foreigners followed these laws they were to be protected and were given the same civil rights as Israelite citizens. Additionally, they could even own property (Leviticus 25:47) and offer sacrifices to God (Numbers 15:14, 22-29).

If a foreigner desired to be a citizen of Israel, he had to undergo circumcision, which then bound him to observe the entire law. He was then identified with the nation and included with it (Exodus 12:48), and then would enjoy the privileges of the covenant that God made with Israel.

It must be noted, however, that there were certain people who were excluded from fellowship with the nation of Israel: the seven Canaanites nations that lived in the Promised Land were destined to destruction and thus excluded permanently (Exodus 34:12-17, Deuteronomy 7:1-4), the Edomites and Egyptians were excluded until the third generation (Deuteronomy 23:7-8), and the Ammonites and Moabites were excluded until the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:3; the tenth generation could symbolically mean forever).

In the New Testament, Jesus constantly interacted with non-Jews, and came to declare God’s love for all people (John 3:16). In Jesus there were no longer racial or ethnic divisions (Galatians 3:26-29), but all humanity had the privilege of participating in the New Covenant of grace through faith in Jesus. Additionally, followers of Jesus were to treat all people, including foreigners, aliens, and strangers with love and respect (1 Peter 4:9, Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2).

Interestingly, believers in Jesus are, in a sense, considered aliens and strangers in this world as our true citizenship is in Heaven (1 Peter 2:11). However, even though “foreigners” here on earth, we still must obey the laws of the land we live in unless these laws contradict God’s moral absolutes as seen in Scripture (an example is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refusing to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image in Daniel 4) just as the non-Jews were expected to obey the laws of Israel and the Jews of Jesus’ day were expected to obey the laws of the Roman empire (again, obviously, unless they contradicted God’s commands). For example, Jesus said that we need to pay taxes (Luke 20:20-26), which was reiterated by Paul (Romans 13:6-7).

The next topic we need to look at is the Biblical teaching on the role of government in society. Civil governments are established by God to preserve order in society and to protect its citizens. Governments have been empowered by God for this task, and have the mandate to punish those who break the laws of country (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:11-17). Citizens and, yes, aliens and strangers, must obey the laws of the land. Without this, chaos and anarchy abound. Additionally, the government has the right to exclude certain people from immigrating into the country if they pose the potential of doing harm to the citizens and residents of the country (refer to the exclusion of the Canaanite nations and the Moabites and Ammonites mentioned above).

To summarize our points so far, all people are to be treated with respect, and thus we are to welcome everyone, even foreigners (aliens and strangers) and treat them with love and respect. However, all people, even aliens and strangers, must be subject to the governing authorities and must obey the laws of the land. If not the government has the mandate to punish those who break the law.

Now that we have our Biblical foundation, how do we apply it to the illegal aliens, DACA individuals, and others who want to immigrate to the United States today?

First off, all people are to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of ethnicity or country of origin, and we welcome all of those into our country who enter legally, who will not be a potential threat to our safety, and who wish to participate in our society. Secondly, we are a nation of laws, and our laws must be obeyed. If not, the government has the responsibility to punish those who break the law because there must be consequences for illegal behavior or chaos will reign. (As an aside, there are some churches today that harbor illegal aliens from the government. I believe that this is wrong because abetting those who are lawbreakers is rebelling against God’s command to obey government. Remember, we obey the governing authorities as long as they don’t cause us to violate God’s commands. Our immigration laws are not in violation of God’s moral laws).

In regards to illegal aliens in our country today, they have broken the immigration laws of the United States and there must be consequences. But what about those who have been in this country for many years, have worked hard, been law abiding citizens, and have assimilated into our society? That’s a tough question, but I believe, using a Biblical world view, that there could be an approach that balances the spirit of the law with human compassion. For example, in cases like this for such illegal aliens a possible solution might be as follows:

  • If an illegal alien has committed a crime or has just used the welfare system they would be deported
  • For the others, allow them 60 days to start the process for a obtaining a one year temporary workers visa
  • For those who obtain such a visa, and when the one year is up, they must appear before an immigration official and prove that during the year they held the temporary workers visa they held a job, did not committed a crime, and learned enough English to be able to converse with the immigration official without an interpreter
  • if they pass these, they would be given a five year provisional visa
  • after the five years, they must show that they have held a job and not committed a crime
  • if they pass they would be given a permanent resident alien card
  • they could never become naturalized citizens because they initially entered the country illegally, and there must be consequences for breaking the law

Obviously this isn’t a perfect plan, but it is just an example of a solution that would keep consequences for breaking the law (by not allowing illegal immigrants to be naturalized citizens) while still showing compassion (by allowing them to stay permanently in the U.S as a legal resident). It would take some concerted effort to go through the process and learn English, but if they really want to stay in America and enjoy the opportunities that exist here, one would think that they would be willing to do whatever it took to see this through.

For DACA individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally  as children by their parents, the same procedure mentioned above (including the time line) could be used, with the exception that they could earn citizenship instead of a permanent resident status. Since they didn’t have a choice on whether to cross the border illegally, citizenship could be obtained..

For those who want to immigrate to the U.S. in the future, a thorough vetting procedure must be set up and only those who don’t appear to be a threat to our country should be let in.

What about a wall on the Mexican border? I see nothing inherently evil in this. There is nothing immoral about a country clearly defining its borders.

I know that my discussion on this issue is far from  the ultimate solution, but I pray that it will help followers of Jesus get a better understanding of the issue and compel them to search Scripture for the questions they have. The Bible is always the final authority on all magters of theology and life. Christians must not be led by emotions, but must build a Biblical worldview on the moral issues of our day. A Biblical world view always brings the best solution.




There are so many awards in the the area of the arts – Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, CMA Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Tony Awards, etc, etc, etc. These awards are very coveted and give the winners prestige, plaudits, and fame.  And, sadly, the church has adopted the practice of rewarding its artists.

Dove Awards are given each year to Christian musicians in categories such as Song of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Group of the Year, Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the year, New Artist of the Year, Worship Song of the Year, and Praise & Worship Album of the Year (and many more). Also, these recording artists tape music videos of their popular songs, which are videos of them lip syncing their song with creative camera shots of them in while they “sing”. In the ones I have seen, the focus is always on themselves.

Another award in the Christian arts arena is given by the Evangelical Christian Book Association (ECBA) to Christian authors for books written in categories like Bibles, Bible Reference Works, Bible Study, Ministry Resources, Biography & Memoir, Christian Living, Faith & Culture, Devotion & Gift, Children, Young People’s Literature, and New Author. And, sadly, many books that are written by big name authors are really not written by them at all. They have “ghost writers” who actually write the books (using the authors main ideas), with the author putting his or her name on the cover as the writer of the book. I’m sorry, but this is just dishonest, even if they put the “ghost writer’s” name in much smaller print under their name (which is in very large print).

When these musicians and writers are given their awards on the big night, they thank God and say all praise goes to Him, but then they grab their awards and joyously receive all the adulation that comes with winning. The winners of these awards will tout their achievement, and make sure that everyone knows that they are a “Dove Award” winner or an “ECBA (or “Gold Medallion”) Award” winner when they come out with a new album or book. Additionally, when they appear on a Christian radio talk show or TV show, they are introduced with accolades about how many Dove Awards or ECBA Awards they have won. The more the better.

I don’t want to sound like a killjoy and a stick-in-the-mud, and I know that many don’t agree with me, but I think this is just wrong.

Awards for worship songs? Are we really competing with each other for who writes or sings the best worship music? Do we really compete with each other for who sings the best, or which band or soloist gives the best performance on stage? Are spiritual gifts given so we can compete with each other on whose is better? Is worship a competition?

And book awards for Bibles? Correct me if I’m wrong, but God is the author of the Bible. All the notes at the bottom of the pages are just extras. And regarding the other categories, do we really compete with each other to see who writes the best about God or the Christian life? Is the measure of a book determined by how many copies it sells and how popular it is with people?

All spiritual gifts are given by God and are given for one purpose – to bring Him glory. We should use them with humility, knowing that they are not ours to use for recognition, applause, or self gain. We don’t use them to compete with others who have been given the same spiritual gift for an award and a bigger recording/publishing contract. If anything, the very fact that God would give us certain gifts and use us at all should bring us to our knees before Him in humility and awe. It should compel us to recognize that we need Him in using these gifts, and that these gifts are useless when we exercise them in our own power for our own recognition.

I would love to see the recipient of one of these awards leave the trophy on the podium and never mention it again. And when one of these individuals is a guest on a radio or television show or at a conference, I would love for them to be introduced simply as a bond slave of Jesus, not as someone who has won “x” amount of Dove Awards with “x” amount of gold or platinum albums,  or the winner of “x” amount of Christian Book Awards with “x” amount of best sellers.

Don’t get me wrong, we all need encouragement as we serve our awesome God, and it gives us joy when we know that what we do is making a difference for the kingdom of God. But when we go out of our way to congratulate ourselves, to reward ourselves, and use these awards to promote ourselves, we have let pride take over and have actually robbed God of the glory that is due Him alone. We have put ourselves in the spotlight instead of Him, no matter how “Christianese” the acceptance speech is in saying that all glory goes to God, while the winners clutch their trophy and basks in their victory. Church, we have congratulated ourselves to death.

Serving God by using the spiritual gifts He has given us is both humbling and joyous. Humbling in the fact that none of us is worthy or capable of serving Him in our own strength, and joyous in the fact that serving Him in His power and strength for His glory makes Him smile and pleases Him.

Knowing that He is pleased and glorified is our reward. And no trophy or applause can ever rival that.



In the second and third chapters of Revelation, John records seven letters that Jesus wrote to the churches in Asia Minor. Many believe that the seven churches represent seven stages of the church throughout its history since its birth at Pentecost, with the last church Jesus wrote to, the Laodicean church, representing the current church as we near the end times.

The Laodicean church was characterized by compromise and apostasy, as can be seen in Jesus’ statement to the church: So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:16-18) 

Then Jesus said this to the church:  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me”.  This verse is usually used in evangelistic meetings, but, when taken in context, it has nothing to so with evangelism. Jesus is talking to a church, and thus, it is assumed, to believers. What Jesus is saying to this church, and, thus, too us today (if indeed the church of Laodicea represents the current church, which I believe it does) is to make the church about Him once again.

What a horribly tragic statement for Jesus to make. The church belongs to Him (Matthew 16:18), and He is the head of the church which is, spiritually speaking, His body (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 4:15). The church exists to exalt Him, and thus He is the main focus of everything we are about. And yet we have, in a sense, ushered Him out the door. In this verse we see Jesus knocking on the door of His church, waiting for us to open the door to let Him back in.

How have we kicked Jesus out of His church? In our attempt to be relevant and popular with the culture we have become the focus of church instead of Him. Sermons are too often centered around “me”, using pop psychology, and shallow “feel good” messages that tickle our ears. We have become afraid to challenge the congregation with the true meaning of discipleship. How many sermons have you heard that teach absolute surrender of all we are and all we have to His lordship? Or sermons about dying to “self”, or spiritual brokenness, or biblical holiness? Have you been taught theology and doctrine (without good, sound theology we have no foundation on which to grow in our walk with Jesus…theology is absolutely crucial).  In my travels over the last twenty plus years of full time ministry, I have seen way too many shallow, lukewarm, mediocre Christians. And, disturbingly, most are totally comfortable and content to stay that way.

Unfortunately, the church has become only a shadow of what Jesus intended it to be. It is no longer a place of extravagant, heart felt worship, but has become a place of entertainment. I’ve come across numerous church web sites that tell potential visitors to just come as you are, bring your latte into the auditorium, and sit back and enjoy the “show”. They say to come and have fun. Fun? We don’t come to church to have “fun” (fun is what you experience a an amusement park). We go to church to worship our awesome God in reverence and awe. We go to bring a sacrifice of praise and to grow closer to Him, not to be entertained and given a pep talk on how to be successful and happy. To be sure, we do receive joy when we are in His presence worshiping Him, but that is a totally different thing than “fun”. Fun has its roots in our senses and emotions. Joy, on the other hand, has its roots deep within our souls.

Additionally, the church is supposed to be a place of prayer, but we have made it a place of pragmatism. Prayer should be the most important thing we do, and is indeed the very life blood of the church, but it has become just a quick interruption that we feel we need to do (if we do it at all) in the midst of our overbooked church calendars. Instead of prayer we have become self-reliant, self-sufficient, and self-empowered. We use Madison Avenue marketing techniques to make the church grow, secular business practices for managing the programs and staff, and statistics to measure our “success”. My friends, the church is not a business!  It is the body of Christ that is empowered by the Holy Spirit, and when we use worldly pragmatism we only get natural results, but when we pray and are empowered by the Holy Spirit, we’ll get supernatural results.

What a tragedy! Jesus, the Founder and Head, is no longer leading His church, the body. The body has severed itself from its Head and the results have been devastating. The church is scorned and mocked by the very culture we have been called to impact, and are now considered irrelevant and, shockingly, the biggest threat to the advancement of society.

The Laodicean church indeed!

My friend, Jesus is knocking on the door of our churches. He wants to come in and, once again, take His rightful place as the center focus and Head. Will we open the door and let Him in?



One of the popular buzzwords in the church today is “nonthreatening”. I’ve seen many churches tout their “nonthreatening” services, “nonthreatening” Bible studies, and I even saw one church invite people to their “nonthreatening” prayer meeting. When they say “nonthreatening” what they really mean is that they don’t want to offend anyone and want everybody to feel comfortable. It is their desire that everyone enjoy the service, Bible study or prayer meeting without feeling uneasy about what is said.

Simply put, “nonthreatening” Christianity is compromised Christianity.

This “nonthreatening” Christianity compromises the gospel message. You see, the gospel, by its very message, is very threatening. It tells me that I am a sinner separated from God, and the result is hell forever. It tells me that I’m not okay, and that I cannot earn, bribe, work for, or persuade my way into heaven. It tells me that Jesus had to go through a horrible physical death on the cross because of my sin, and had to endure the wrath of the Father that I deserve. It tells me that I must repent of my sins and put my trust solely in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

The “nonthreatening” gospel is crossless and bloodless. People are invited to “accept Jesus in their heart”, and they will be on their way. There’s no mention of confession, repentance, conviction of sin, the cross, or the blood of our awesome Savior. Just accept Jesus in your heart. It’s nonthreatening and not offensive, but it is also worthless. Today;’s church is filled with people who think they are saved but have no clue what the true, biblical gospel is, and are on their way to a lost eternity. The “nonthreatening” gospel is cheap grace at its ugly best.

Additionally, “nonthreatening” Christianity compromises discipleship. To be a follower of Jesus, the Bible says that I need to surrender totally to Jesus and follow Him unconditionally. It tells me I need to die to self daily and, in spiritual brokenness, live as a bond slave of Him. It tells me that the cost of following Jesus may indeed be everything, and that I must be willing to forsake all for Him if He should ask me to do so. In a “me” focused culture, this is definitely offensive, and is very threatening to our self absorbed mindset.

“Nonthreatening” discipleship is void of any mention of holiness, sanctification, surrender or dying to self. In the minds of many in today’s church, following Jesus means owning a Bible, coming to church when it doesn’t conflict with other activities, and throwing a twenty in the offering plate once in a while. It is a cheap imitation of what the Bible clearly defines as being a Christian. This Christianity “lite” had weakened the church dramatically in the last couple of decades.

Yes, the truth may be hard to take because it is so convicting, but it is still the truth and the only way to real life. When we compromise the truth to make people feel comfortable and safe, we lead them on the dangerous path of eternal destruction (the “nonthreatening” gospel) and the pathetic road to a mediocre, shallow relationship with Jesus (“nonthreatening” discipleship).

We don’t need to be cute with Biblical truth. Just preach it, teach it, and share it, and let the Holy Spirit do His job in the hearts of people. Yes, the uncompromised proclamation of the gospel will be threatening and offensive to the unsaved, and the uncompromised truth about discipleship will be threatening and offensive to Christians .  But do we dare teach anything less? We were never called to make comfortable people in all nations. We were called to make disciples of all nations.

The truth may hurt, but the truth will set people truly free.