Religion is for Brainless Drones

“I have a question. Why do you insist on spreading the cancer that is religion? It’s a dirty lie and all your followers are nothing but brainless drones. ~ James”

Wow!  NOT one of the usual questions I get as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach!  I prayed and then responded:

“Dear James,   I’m sorry you believe we are spreading a cancer of religion. Actually, we do not promote religion.  Jesus didn’t start a religion. The religious people of his day were hypocrites, as many are today.  Jesus came to set us free from religion. Religion is mostly man-made rules.  Trying to obey rules will not save anyone. 

“Jesus Christ came to free people. Many years ago I surrendered my life to Christ and I was set free!  My life changed dramatically both inside and out. 

“You may call us brainless drones, but many of us are well-educated, professional people. A good friend and his wife are both medical doctors who recognize that Jesus is alive and has set them free from guilt and fear.  Our neighbor is a surgeon who has written books on the power of Jesus Christ to heal and bring peace.  Another good friend is a six-sigma engineer who believes and teaches the science of Intelligent Design. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does creation. 

“I have received countless letters from people worldwide who have medical or psychological problems caused by guilt and fear.  Once they receive the good news, they too are set free.

“What’s the good news?  That there is nothing you have ever done that God doesn’t WANT to forgive.  He loves you.  That is why Jesus came—to live a sinless life so that He could be the required sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world. He came to free us! 

“When people receive that free gift of salvation, then they also receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings all of His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. There are NINE fruit — as found in Galatians 5:22-23. This fruit is available to every follower of Jesus Christ. He/she only needs to exercise that fruit. When people begin acting on the Holy Spirit within them, they realize they now have the power to resist temptation. They WANT to do the right thing. They begin to experience a joy and a peace they have never known.

“This good news, James, brings permanent change, as it did for me. Marriages are healed, depression disappears, suicidal thoughts are forgotten.  This life is short and temporary. Blink your eyes one time and that is this life compared to eternity.  This life is a test. I want to pass the test. Don’t  you, James?

“Here are two helpful websites:  www.JesusFactOrFiction.com  and www.WhoIsJesus-Really.com     Please write back. I am here to help.”

James responded with a short note of apology.  

  • It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.     Galatians 5:1
  • Would you have responded to James’ letter differently?                                       Do you have “religion” or a relationship with Christ?  Do you see a difference?
  • For more information on Global Media Outreach: www.godlife.com 

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, GLOBAL MEDIA OUTREACH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Incarcerated Teen Sharing Jesus

One evening at the facility for incarcerated teens,  a new boy walked into my Bible study. He was carrying papers and explained they were from a Bible study he’d been doing.

I recognized the papers as those I had written myself and had given out as homework to the teens in another unit.  Curious, I asked “Where did you get these?”

He explained,  “I just transferred from Oakwood 3.   A guy named Mario was giving them out.  He was teaching me about the Bible and asked the guard to make copies of his own Bible study.”

I smiled.  I know Mario. He came to Christ a few months ago and has made great strides in his new faith.  The Lord has given him such peace and joy that he’s been sharing the Good News with others ever since.  Now he’s using my materials to help the others grow.

How I praise God for Mario and the others like him!

  •  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:37-38
  •  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  Acts 1:8
  • SONG:  SEVEN TIMES A DAY – Click here to listen:

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Showing Cleavage

I recently had trouble listening to a Christian speaker — trouble getting beyond her cleavage! My thoughts were preoccupied with the poor example she was setting.

Our appearance is a reflection of our relationship with Christ. It is not necessary to cover our entire bodies as some religions believe.  We can be tastefully dressed without being provocative.

I have well endowed friends who are careful to maintain their modesty. They will wear cover-ups to the pool, swim their laps and quickly cover up again. Husbands are pleased when their wives dress modestly. Unfortunately with today’s styles, we see more and more Christian women giving in to being hip rather than honoring God and His Word.

It’s true that Christ came into the world to set us free.  Yet 1 Corinthians 8:9 says, “Be careful that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”

One woman defended her exposed chest by saying she had no time to try on her new top before purchasing it and had nothing else to wear!  Nothing else to wear? Then perhaps she should stay home.

This is serious!  In Luke 17:1-3  Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.  It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.  So watch yourselves.”  

Very serious indeed!

  • Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.    1 Corinthians 10:32-33
  • I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes            1 Timothy 2:9

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, PEOPLE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Fishing On the Pier

What interesting people one meets while fishing on the pier with five grandchildren!

We first met a homeless guy who sold us his mussels for bait.  I did not realize what a HUGE undertaking it would be to attempt to bait four tangled lines.

We were thankful when Mario and Jose came to our rescue. Mario shared that he’d been clean and sober for two years, ever since graduating from G_____ Academy in Central California, a school for at-risk teens.  I asked him if the rumors I’d heard about G____ were true—that they only allow 30-second showers.  He said they were true!  I was glad my grandsons could hear this!

Mario said he entered the academy weighing 300 pounds and graduated ten months later weighing only 150!  He learned a trade and was grateful for the experience.

Jose, on the other hand, was having trouble finding employment because employers say the large stretch-earrings in his earlobes are distracting. I shared a Jesus booklet with him.

He read it and afterward came over to thank me.  Then he offered us some of his squid, apparently a much-preferred bait over mussels.  So I gave him another booklet to read, and then another.  These young men had lots of spiritual questions while answering our fisherman questions.  It was a delightful exchange.  All the while the children were watching, listening and learning—about life.

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in BEACH, PEOPLE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blessed be Your Name

I walked into the day room at the juvenile facility for incarcerated youth. The deputy saw me and made the announcement for Bible study.  A group of guys headed for the classroom, leaving a new guy, Brett, sitting alone on the sofa. I asked him if he’d like to join us.

“What is it? I’ve never been before.”

“I have my guitar and we’re going to sing a couple songs and then we’ll learn something that God wants us to know from the Bible.  Why don’t you come!”   He did.

I opened with the song, Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman.  Here are the lyrics:

Blessed Be Your Name, In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow, Blessed be Your name                                             Blessed Be Your name, When I’m found in the desert place                                                 Though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say                                                                   Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your name                                                       Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name, When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’, Blessed be Your name                                                     Blessed be Your name, On the road marked with suffering                                                   Though there’s pain in the offering, Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out, I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say                                                                       Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your name                                                       Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your glorious name                                              You give and take away You give and take away                                                                          My heart will choose to say Lord, blessed be Your name”

When we finished Brett spoke up, “I’ve heard that song before.”

I said, “Perhaps you’ve heard it in church.”

“I don’t go to church.”

I said,  “It’s also a song that is sometimes sung at funerals.”

“That’s it!  They sang that at my dad’s funeral!”

“I’m sorry.  How long ago was that?”

“It was five years ago when I was twelve. Would it be possible for me to get a copy of those words? I’d really like to have them and read them again.”

When our Bible study ended, Brett wanted to pray and receive Christ.                                 The deputy made a copy of the song lyrics for him before I left for home. It was a very good evening.

  • Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.   Psalm 113:2

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Surprise Evening Visitor

Recently at 8:30 PM I received a text from a young college friend in another city.  “I know this is last-minute, but what are you doing tonight?”

“Just some paper work. Why?”

“I decided to take a little drive to clear my mind.  Now I realize I’m only a half hour away from you.  I would love to see you.”

I wrote, “I would love to see you too, but we are not late night people. We’ll be heading to bed around 10 PM.”

“I can be there by 9 and won’t stay long.”

I put on water for tea and brought out the cookies. A few minutes later I opened the door to bubbly Elena. She told me about her classes, her two jobs and then her boyfriend.

“We’ve been dating a year. He’s 24, attends Bible college and someday wants to teach the Bible.”

I was familiar with the school he attends—one of the best.  My immediate impression was favorable.

She explained that their parents are from the same country. They’ve attended the same church all their lives and knew each other as kids. They both love the Lord and want to serve Him together. They plan to become engaged in a year since they both need to complete their studies.  She showed me his picture and I could see them serving God together.

I suggested it might become difficult to maintain a God-honoring courtship for such a long period. She explained that they avoid spending much time together alone. Rather, they intentionally spend time together with groups of friends with whom they do ministry.

I gave my blessing and we prayed together before she headed back.  She left before 10 PM. What a precious ending to the day!

Thank You, Lord, for the privilege and the joy of knowing precious Elena. Keep her close to You. Guide and direct her ways and help her to love You more and more each day. I pray in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.

  •  The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”    Genesis 2:18

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in BEACH, COLLEGE CAMPUS, Love & Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A 15-Year-Old Wants Jesus

I was leading a Bible study for incarcerated teens when I noticed a boy sitting alone two tables away. He was looking the other direction, but his ear was toward me. After awhile he moved to a closer table, still looking another direction, but his ear was toward me.

Toward the end of the lesson he looked at me directly and I motioned for him to come over.  I said, “I’m just finishing with these guys, but I’d like to talk with you.”

I spent nearly an hour with this precious, fearful 15-year-old who poured out his sad story, and then opened his heart to Jesus. He went to his room with hope,  a smile and  a new awareness of God’s love and forgiveness.

Thank you God for healing hearts!

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Praising God is a Sacrifice?

We had just finished singing about bringing the “sacrifice of praise to the Lord,” when a 16-year-old incarcerated youth asked a question.

“I don’t get it.  Why would singing praises to God be a sacrifice?”

“Good question, Jack!  Let me ask you this:  When God does something really wonderful in our lives is it natural to want to thank Him and even praise Him?”

“Sure.”

“What if things are not going well? Sometimes it’s not easy to thank God or to praise Him. Yet this is the very thing He wants us to do—even when we don’t feel like it.  When we obey God in this way, it shows we are trusting Him.  Trusting God is what the Christian life is all about.

“When we praise Him and thank Him, He blesses us with His peace. That amazing peace which is beyond our understanding actually protects our minds and hearts.

“So initially, it may seem like a sacrifice because it’s something we don’t feel like doing.  But whenever we obey God, He rewards us.”

  • Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.    Hebrews 13:15
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.     Philippians 4:6-8

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity
Posted in DOCTRINE, JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pol Pot’s Dictatorship

It was 1975.  Little Bona was the youngest of five sons. One night the Communist forces of the Khmer Rouge came to his village in Cambodia and took his father away, never to be heard from again. Pol Pot’s vicious four-year dictatorship had begun.

Cities were evacuated, factories and schools closed.  Those believed to be intellectuals, such as teachers, medical doctors, those who spoke a foreign language, or in possession of eyeglasses or a wristwatch, were executed as enemies of the state.  Millions were herded into rural collective farms. Between 1975 and 1978, nearly two million Cambodians died by execution, forced labor and famine.

Bona’s mother used a bicycle to provide for her family. On the front end was a net to carry little Bona. On either side of the bike she carried fish sauce she made and sold.  Behind the bicycle she carried cultivation tools to sell: hoes, plows, machetes and sickles.

Thankfully, in 1979 Pol Pot was overthrown.  Food was scarce and Bona’s mother struggled to feed her sons.  After a few years two of the boys escaped to Thailand to live in a refugee camp where they learned English. They returned three years later and began teaching English to their younger siblings.

When Bona was 16 he began working in a restaurant in hopes of practicing his English.  A tourist entered and a conversation ensued. John, a schoolteacher from Brooklyn, told Bona he wanted to meet his mother.  Bona brought him home and when John saw their poverty, he said he wanted to help Bona get an education.

They went to the bank and John deposited $60 in an account and handed Bona his very own bank book.  Thus began five years of education for Bona.  Every month John would send $150.  This paid for Bona’s tuition, books, housing, clothes and food while he completed high school and four years at the university. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science and engineering.

Today Bona is married with children, has a successful career and still keeps in touch with his good friend John from Brooklyn.

  •  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.   Hebrews 13:16
  • What are your thoughts?   Do you think John from Brooklyn has any regrets?                   (To leave a reply, simply scroll to the bottom.)
  • Song:  I KNOW HIM by Kathleen – Click here to listen: 

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    [This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com

 

Posted in HERE & THERE, PEOPLE, TRAVELING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Read the Bible to the Sick

Do you ever wonder what to say to a sick person?  Did you ever think to read the Bible to the sick? Where would you start? How would you go about it?

Remember Charles, the paralyzed young man I visited in the care facility?  He asked me to read the Bible and pray with him before I left.  I did.  Since the facility is in another city, I asked our friend Grayson who lives there, if he would follow-up and visit Charles occasionally.

Today he reported that visiting someone he didn’t know was outside his comfort zone, but he’s glad he went.  The experience affected him in a way he did not expect.  Charles asked questions and there was good discussion.  Grayson read to him from the Bible,  prayed with him and agreed to return.

As Grayson was leaving, he saw patients in wheelchairs sitting alone in the hallway, staring at nothing in particular.  His heart went out to them.  “I’d like to get permission from the administration to visit some of these people and read the Bible to them one-to-one.”

Then he referred to a book called One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm.  It’s a simple guide to help Christians help others by reading the Bible with them.  The book suggests reading plans to do with non-Christians, with new Christians or with established Christians. It suggests questions for discussion to make it an easy and rewarding experience.

Grayson’s visit created in him a desire to serve God in a new and exciting way. I too am eager to begin implementing the reading plans from this delightful book.  Perhaps you’ll want to check it out yourself!

  •  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.   Matthew 4:4
  • For 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.   Hebrews 4:12

[If you were to read the Bible to the sick, where would you begin?]

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, ILLNESS or HOSPITAL, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments