Friday, November 30, 2007

Church Members (Christians?)


LOCKED DOORS
OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH
Church Members
Chapter 17

Most every church member has heard the Ten Commandments at one time or another. But when was the last time you actually heard them preached in your church service? Has it been a few months? Today, it seems that pastors are more involved in preaching a “series” than preaching God’s Word on a weekly basis. Does this sound familiar? They might say, “today we are preaching the first of a three week series on stewardship” or “this is our final message of week seven of our core values at our church.” Theoretically it is possible that if a church has five core values that they could stretch that out to cover anywhere from five to eight months. A nonbeliever could walk into church for three weeks and hear nothing but messages on missions or stewardship. Don’t get me wrong, those are important messages but they would be better served in a Bible study or Sunday school class setting. For the church that has a lost soul in their midst it is extremely important that they hear the Word of God and His Commandments. Unless he understands why he needs a Savior, he will leave church more confused about why people go to church in the first place.
Now, seriously think about your church. There are people sitting in there who are not saved. They profess Jesus but they have no idea they need to repent of their sins. It is quite possible they do not even know what sin is. So what about your church? Do you go there because they preach the Word of God, not just Scriptural but preach judgment, repentance and God’s grace? If all you hear is grace filled sermons with no mention of Hell or repentance then go find a church that will help you to truly be a disciple of Christ. Sure they might offer a Disciple class 101, but unless you see them actually getting out in the real world reaching the lost then challenge them on it. Find out why they do not do what they preach. God hates hypocrites. Churches are full of them.

You shall have no other God’s before me.
You shall not make yourself any graven image.
You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.
You shall remember to keep the Sabbath Day Holy.
You shall honor your father and your mother.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not lie.
You shall not covet.

There you have it, the Ten Commandments. Do you have them memorized yet? At the end of this book I will show you a great way to learn and memorize the Commandments.
It might or might not surprise you but some of the best churches in America are not the mega-churches. They are the churches way out in the middle of farmland. They are the old country churches where the pastor still preaches against sin. He preaches the Ten Commandments and then offers God’s grace to the fallen, repentant sinner. They are the pastors who have stayed true to God’s Word. No bells, no whistles, no drama presentations, no foot stomping bands blasting through high-tech stereo systems. They have no fear in preaching against sin. Does your church offer every possible kind of support group but does not preach against sin? Does your church cater to special interest groups in order to grow the membership rolls? If so, you have a couple of options. Demand that your pastor start preaching the Ten Commandments in church, or leave. If you are a true believer, you know that church is a time of worship. Not an hour of entertainment filled with popcorn!
As a church-going Christian what does it mean to be a follower of Christ? Do your neighbors know you are a Christian? Do you possess these qualities?

Compassionate
Loving
Forgiving
Servant
Patient
Kind
Sincere
Peaceful

If you truly love God, you will love your neighbors as yourself. You have already seen how you are a sinner and how you need a Savior. Have you shared that same information with your neighbor? If you truly love them you will not want them to perish. Talk to them. Share the Ten Commandments with them then share the grace of God.
What does being a Christian mean to you? Go to church on Sundays, read your Bible, be a good person? What do your weekdays look like? Do you follow Christ on Monday? Tuesday? Wednesday? Do you take Him with you throughout the rest of the week? Have you talked to anyone about Christ? Have you presented God’s Law and grace to an unbeliever this past week? It is not just the pastor who is called to reach the lost and make disciples for Christ. We are all called to go!


The above was taken from my book, Locked Doors of the American Church. tomorrow the topic will discuss Christians who do not go to church.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Elders and Board Members!


LOCKED DOORS
OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH
Elders and Board Members
Chapter 16

To the Elders and board members of the church, please read the following chapter with a prayerful heart and see if your church has strayed from being a Biblical church.
Before getting into the preaching taking place in your church; I want to focus on your requirements for your pastor search team. What exactly do you look for in a pastor? After looking at this list would Moses be able to preach for you if all you had to look at was his resume? How about John, Peter, Timothy, Barnabas? How about Paul? I have gone to many websites with listings of open pastor positions. Up front, I will tell you that I am a single man (just like the Apostle Paul); I have a son (adopted and no longer school aged). As a pastor I have to ignore listings because of certain requirements set forth by search committees.
Here is a sample listing – is your church similar to this sample listing?

Church seeking Full-time pastor/preacher/minister/evangelist.
We are a loving congregation that is lucky to have a great youth group.

The pastor we desire must…
Be between the ages of 30-55 (Biblical?)
Be a talented speaker (like Moses?)
Be a leader who can help the church grow to its fullest potential (membership numbers or spiritual growth?)
Be married with a wife and children that are school aged (too bad for Paul! Too bad for guys with toddlers)
Have between 5-10 years experience (the early church grew from the message more than from the actual person)
Be able to sing or play a musical instrument (are you kidding? I am still looking in the Bible for this one!)
Have an Mdiv degree (already shown that a Seminary degree is not a true measure of a successful preacher)
Be able to get along well with people (nice, probably couldn’t think of anything else to say, huh?)
Be experienced with computer technology (again, it is God’s message that transforms lives)
Follow the leadership of the Elders (a pastor is “called” into his position by God. An Elder is someone who aspires to the position. Let the pastor follow the leadership of God. Work along side your pastor. Remember, Paul wrote letters to the churches encouraging them and admonishing them when they had fallen from their first love.)
Be willing to follow the leadership and work with the former gospel preacher (great, if he was truly a man of God who preached the Bible and preached against sin by using the Ten Commandments. But if the church members did not actually get out of the church to reach the lost, why follow him. Why not allow someone who is following God’s lead by making disciples for Christ? Sure he was probably a nice man but listen to God leading the way)

Do a Google search on pastor jobs and you will see that these requirements (or a variation of them) are expected by a very high percentage of churches.

Please understand that I have a lot of respect for Elders and for the Board members. It is their love for the church that they desire only the best for it. Unfortunately, many blindly do more harm than good for their churches.
Instead of allowing God to send the perfect man to your church, a man able to motivate and encourage and get people out of the pews into the streets doing real ministry for God, you have locked out potential leaders because of your unbiblical requirements.
A pastor does not have to be married. If he is married, he must be married to only one woman and not have been divorced. While I am at it, a marriage is between a man and a woman the way God created it to be. The Bible never ever says that it is a union between a man and a man or a woman and another woman. If a man is not married, just understand that the single man is able to devote his time wholly to the church (look at Paul). Maybe you worry that a single man is not able to minister to the married couples in the church. A single man that knows God and His Word can minister to any person regardless of the situation.
Too many churches are looking for the polished performance led pastor. He must be entertaining with a good sense of humor and able to relate the Bible to today’s society in a way we can understand.
Have you noticed though, that all of the pastors who relate story after story that the Bible is relevant for today, they fail in the one aspect that can bring about true change. They do not look you in the eye and tell you that adultery is a sin. They do not look you in the eye and tell you that looking at a member of the opposite sex with lust in your heart is a sin. They do not preach about Hell. More than entertainment, what this country needs most is a pastor who will speak for God. SIN IS SIN! Stop and repent now, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. We need a man of integrity in the pulpit.
(UPDATE) This post was taken out of my book, Locked Doors of the American Church. On Friday, Nov 30, I will post a message geared towards the church-going Christian. On Saturday, Dec 1, it will be a message for the non-church attending Christian and on Sunday, Dec 2, I will be talking about the non-Christian. Be sure to look for each article as I am sure you know someone is each category (including the previous post on Seminaries, Bishops and Pastors)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pastor's -- this is for you!


And saying, the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the Gospel.
Mark 1:15

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28

This chapter starts out with the Ten Commandments. Would you believe that there are actually pastors out there (maybe even you), who do not know the Ten Commandments? It is great to be able to recite Scripture verses from memory, but if you do not know the Commandments then shame on you. You are to be the teacher of the people. You will be held accountable for what you teach. We are told to go and make disciples for Christ. Are you doing it? Not the people who come to church each week, but the people who have no intention of coming to church. Jesus did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. So maybe you do know the Ten Commandments, are you sharing it with people? Do all of the people in your congregation know the Commandments? Without the Law, how are they going to know what sin is? If they do not know what sin is, then how can they truly repent of their sins? If all you are doing is trying to get someone to make a decision for Christ, you are doing them a disservice. They need to see their sinfulness. It needs to be brought out through Scripture.
The most effective pastor is not necessarily the one who has several degrees after his name. It is not the one who has been in ministry for over 20 years. While it is possible that it does include both of those pastors, the most effective pastors are the ones who know the health of his church and preach to it and faithfully listen to God’s leading. The Bible is full of references to “preach” the Gospel: To “go” and make disciples for Christ. After some long readings, I have yet to see where a whole sermon of jokes is acceptable. I have heard too many sermons that are filled with a joke every 3 minutes. And when a joke is not being told, a story is told. After 20 minutes of “preaching” there was not one mention of the Ten Commandments or any mention of the need to repent of our sins. These kinds of “feel good” messages are not what God wants from us as pastors. I was listening to a sermon on the Internet. The pastor started off by apologizing to the congregation for a couple of jokes he had told the previous sermon. He then went on to give an explanation of why” he tells jokes in his sermon. He said, “Sometimes God’s Word can get kind of heavy and convicting and I don’t want anyone to leave here with a downcast look on their face.” I always thought it was a good thing for God’s Word to convict us of our sins. What a tragedy to lesson the effect God’s Holy Word can have on a person. Hey, I have been guilty of doing this too in the past. No more! From now on, it will be God’s Law to humble the proud and God’s grace to lift him up. Do you think that this is too much of hell-fire preaching? I would rather preach about Hell now while I am alive than wish I had when I got to Heaven. I would rather preach about Hell now than be sorry I didn’t help the homosexual to see the sinfulness of his lifestyle (God’s holiness needs to be preached!) If you are worried about hurting peoples feelings, then the ministry is no place for you.
We are to do all of our talking in love of God. We are to share His love with all people. But we are not to turn a blind eye to sinful living. The pulpit needs to come alive again with the Word of God preaching against sin and proclaiming the judgment of God against the sinner. Just don’t forget to follow it up with how much God loves us that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Don’t let your congregation feel that believing is all they need to do. Even the devil believes and trembles. They must put on Jesus Christ. Their life should be a reflection of Christ: Without sin (repentant). We are all sinners and always will be until we are made perfect in Heaven. But unless we make that decision to give up our old way of living, we will not be pleasing to God. What messages are you preaching to your congregation?
What were the first words of Jesus’ ministry? Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Okay, without looking back a couple of pages. Can you name all of the Ten Commandments? Write it down on paper and keep it as a reminder to preach on them each and every week. Instead of preaching a “series” of sermons that last up to eight weeks, why not devote your preaching time to something that has everlasting value? You can incorporate the Ten Commandments in all of your sermons. Rather than spending several weeks telling your congregation that your church believes in service to others, why not spend your time showing them that sinners will go to Hell unless they repent? As pastors, many of us are giving our people a sugarcoated Kool-Aid diet instead of good milk.

What about those pastors out there that are only preaching one half of the gospel message? Can you say -- "seeker" sensitive?? The Bible says that no one seeks after God.




The above is taken out of my book, Locked Doors of the American Church. I pray that you have a great day! Tomorrow I will talk to the Elders and Board Members of churches!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bishops -- this is for you!


(click on picture to read article)
As a pastor with the United Methodist Church, I was disgusted one year at our annual conference for the church. Here is what happened...

All of the pastors from the churches within a certain area (an example would be from Dallas/Fort Worth and all of the area north of there in Texas would serve in one annual conference. While sitting with some other pastors, an issue came up regarding homosexuality and marriage between two gays. The Bishop decided we needed to have a vote on this matter.

WHAT? A VOTE?? WHY??? The Bible is extremely clear on God's view on homosexuality. He is against it! When one church in particular (an almost all gay church) got up to speak on the matter, the pastor said that they would lose a lot of money if they did not allow gay marriages. MONEY was the issue, not God's Holy Word. The Bishop did not stand boldly on God's Word found in the Bible but instead he stood on the shaky ground of money (the god of this world!) And just like the seminaries who are not properly teaching our pastors (not all seminaries -- there are some excellent ones like "Master's Seminary."), we have Bishops and other hierarchy of church denominations who are compromising God's Word. These are the same people responsible for hiring pastors to fill their pulpits. This is the same denomination that when I went through my training to become a pastor, they were teaching "inclusive" language. You know what I mean -- they were telling us that we needed to be sensitive to women so instead of saying God the Father, it should be God the Father or Mother. It isn't "He said..." it should also be "She said..." I guess you have to forget the fact that God revealed Himself in a male identity, we just have to cave into what ever any special interest groups charge at us.

I left the Methodist Church more because of the hierarchy of the church than anything else. The actual church members are not even aware of a lot of these decisions being made by the leaders. I love the church members but as a Pastor, I cannot and will not cave into temptation to change Gods identity and I will not allow a gay marriage in any church of mine! I do believe that they ultimately voted against the gay marriage. Fine! The problem is that they "actually" voted on it!

My previous post dealt with Seminaries. This one deals with Bishops and leaders. Tomorrow's post will look at Pastor's. Followed by Board Members and Elders. Be sure to check back as I am sure to hit every group of Christians and non christians. I will continue to give small excerpts from my book, "Locked Doors of the American Church."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Which came first?


Let's play a game!

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? (the chicken!); The man or the woman (it depends if there is a mall nearby!) (just kidding! man!); The Book of Habakkuk or the Book of Jacob? (Habakkuk, there is no book of Jacob!); Photocopiers or Fax machines? (Fax machines by over a century!); Morse code or Braille? (braille in 1824, MC in 1838); Dry cleaning or Blue Jeans? (dry cleaning in 1855, blue jeans in 1873); Insulin or Penicillin? (insulin in 1821, penicillin in 1843); and one more question...

Which came first? Poor preaching or poor teaching from seminaries?

Okay, the Bible teaches about the Synagogue of Satan in Rev 2:9 and 3:9. It also talks about false teachers, false apostles. But I want to bring it up to our current lifetime. How effective have our seminaries been in training up pastors? I guess that depends on which seminaries we are talking about. While I do not have extensive data for proof, but rather, my own opinions, there are good ones out there like Master's Seminary (John MacArthur) and on the other end of the spectrum there are extremely bad ones out there like...

(okay, so I chickened out on actually naming one here -- don't want to get sued! if you email me and ask my opinion, I will be happy to tell you). One more thing, I know that Foghorn Leghorn is not a chicken! I just liked his picture!

It has gotten to the point where poor teaching and poor preaching abounds. Most likely because it is so easy to do. When I went through my training, I actually had a class where the professor told a joke every day. They were ones that he liked to use behind the pulpit. Of course, when I got my own church, I had to use them to make people laugh! I wanted to be funny -- never mind about being serious about sin and repentance, I had to be funny! (I've said it before and I will say it again, it was to my shame that I had to be funny!) I know there are people out there that say that joke telling isn't so bad (because they use them). No, joke telling isn't bad in the right situation and in the right place. But I have to warn you that if you rely on telling jokes to make people relaxed and happy, then what are you going to do when God's Word starts to get heavy and convicting? Will you tell more jokes to relax them? Just remember that people should be coming to church to "worship" the Almighty God! They are coming to give their thanks to God for sending His Son to die on the cross for each one of us. They are coming to share in fellowship with other believers (a commonality to lift one another up -- Remember my chains!), they do not need to come to hear the latest jokes. They can download them on the Internet if they want to. I am sure that Jesus had a sense of humor, but when it came time to talk about hell and heaven, it was serious. What must you do to be saved? Why haven't you repented of your sins? Are you ready to go to hell? (is now a good time to tell a joke?)

Please, please, learn from my mistakes. I have told 100's of jokes (I would say thousands, but like so many pastor's, I forget which ones I have already told so I am doomed to repeat them!) from the pulpit. You have to be soooo strong in God's Word and in your own personal walk because you better believe that Satan will use that joke telling pastor as a way of softening the gospel. He will use those jokes as a way of blocking the church members from being able to remember what the sermon was about or what Scripture was read. It is Monday, can you remember what Scripture was read yesterday in church? If your pastor told a joke, can you remember the joke? If you remember the joke more than the Scripture then I pray for that pastor because he is going to be held accountable for what he is teaching God's people.

So, is the seminary responsible for what kind of pastor's they put out into the world? yes and no! They are responsible for what they are teaching. They are responsible for what they are modeling to the classes. They are responsible for the example they set for everyone else. But the person attending the school is responsible for what they do and say behind the pulpit. God will not say to them, "I know, it is the fault of the seminary, that is why you are weak in your knowledge." No! We are each responsible to get into God's Word. We are each personally responsible for taking the knowledge we gain and taking it out into the world to reach the lost. How many professors at seminary are out reaching the lost? The one's I know -- NONE! What does that tell you about their love for Jesus and God's Word? What does that tell you about their desire to fulfill the Great Commission? What does that tell you about their love of their neighbor that is headed for hell? See, if the administrators of the Seminaries would hold their professors more accountable and make sure they are truly living their lives as a Christian "SHOULD", I think you would find much better results coming out of our seminaries and much better preaching would be the result behind the pulpits. And if you are getting much better preaching you will also see much better results from the church members in their growth and their ability to go out and reach the lost the way Jesus did!

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Let's stop playing games! If you know someone who desires to go to a Seminary, please make sure they do some research first. When you walk on a campus, take time to ask the people walking around these important questions...

1. Why are you a Christian?

2. What does it take to be saved?

3. How many people have you personally witnessed to this past month?

The answers will probably surprise you! From both the teachers and the students. Which came first?
(the above comments are somewhat found in my latest book titled, "Locked Doors of the American Church." It takes a hard look at Seminaries, Bishops and Church Hierarchy, Pastors, Elders, Church members and non church attending members and non Christians.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Remember my chains!


"Remember my chains" is one line of Scripture that has always intrigued me. There is something so simple and yet so powerful in that one line that has a way of challenging me and encouraging me at the same time. It is part of a personal plea from Paul in the final part of his letter to the Colossians.

When you go through difficult times...

Remember my chains.

When life seems to be bringing you down...

Remember my chains.

When you are not sure what the future holds...

Remember my chains!

Check this out ~~

I grew up as a church-going young child (I used to call myself a Christian but until recently, I have changed my thoughts on that!). When I was 14 years old, my parents gave me the option of going to church or staying home. I decided to stay home! I went the next 14 years, not going to church, but always feeling like I was going to heaven based on the fact that I "believed" in Jesus. When I was about 25 years old, I was working at Hardee's Restaurant as a manager. I was not making much money so I decided to take the exam to get hired by the US Postal Service as a mailman. I went to take the test and prior to the actual exam they let you take a practice exam. I took that exam and completely bombed on it. I didn't get any of the answers right! They then took that exam away from us and gave us two more minutes to study and practice. When it came time for the actual exam, I was able to go through the whole thing and I scored a 100% on it! I was the only one to get a perfect score. I was at the top of the list to be hired. I waited and waited and nothing was happening. After about a year I decided to go back to school. I went over to Bradley University to see about getting into mechanical engineering. I was accepted to attend there. I was supposed to put my deposit down for my dorm on August 31, 1985. On Aug 30th, I received a phone call from the Post Office saying I had been hired. I had to make a decision. Do I take the government job with the good pay or do I go to school for four years and make even more money down the road. I took the security of the Post Office job! After spending a year as a part-time carrier I decided to transfer to Arizona for an opportunity to work full-time. I went to work in South Phoenix and was living in Tempe, Az. I didn't know anyone out there so I got involved in coaching little league baseball. My second year out there, I met Cole (an 11 year old boy). He asked me if I could take him, his older sister and his little brother to church because his parents were going to be out of town. I said I would. When I went to church, everyone treated me so nice and I decided to join the church. It was a Mormon Church. I knew nothing about that religion. They said words that seemed to be Christian. I had heard about salvation, Jesus, God, the Trinity, Holy Spirit. My knowledge was only that of a 14 yr old. I got completely involved in the church. I ended up being the Youth secretary in charge of finances for youth camps. I read my Book of Mormon faithfully every day. I abstained from drinking Pepsi (I cheated some times!!) I was in the church for three years. I started having some questions about what they were teaching. Some things did not make sense. How could God discriminate against people with dark skin? That didn't sound like the God I grew up with. Common sense told me that man did not live on the moon and on the sun (even though that is what was taught by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young). I did not believe that I could be a god myself. I was single and was made to feel like I was less of a person because I was not married and would not be able to have spirit children when I die. (I will say that Cole and his family always loved me even though I was not a whole-hearted mormon). On my third year in Mormonism, me and Cole and his family all went to the Temple in Mesa to watch an Easter pageant. There was a group of concerned-christians there handing out gospel tracts on mormonism. As soon as it hit my hand, Cole's mom grabbed it from me and said, "don't look at that, it is from the devil." I never saw what it said. Later that year, around the end of the first week of October 1990, my heart rate went down to 26 beats per minute. It stayed that way for six weeks! I went to the hospital and to doctors and specialists and none of them could tell me what was happening to me. They all said I was the healthiest dying person they had ever seen. I was sleeping 17 hours everyday! Six weeks of sleeping 17 hours each and every day! My heart, my lungs, my brain (debatable!), my blood were all excellent. They could find nothing wrong with me. The mormon elders would come over every night and lay hands on me and pray ~~ "in the name of Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, we heal you." They would repeat that every single night. Nothing worked! I felt like I was going to die. It finally got to the point where I got so scared and frustrated that I threw my Book of Mormon down on the floor and cried out to Jesus to save me. The very next day, I woke up completely healed. That was on Thanksgiving Day of 1990! My heart has been normal ever since that time. Doctor's never did figure out what was wrong with me. So the next day, I went to a Christian bookstore. It was the first time I had been in one, and what did I see under the heading of "Cults"? Mormonism!! I bought every book I could lay my hands on. For the first time since joining the Mormon church, I was able to read Scripture and it all came alive to me. I could see where Joseph Smith had twisted the truths of the Bible. I decided to go to a United Methodist Church (I grew up in the UMC). I finally was in a service that I remembered from my childhood. As the next baseball season started, I met a boy on my team and I ended up dating his mom. We were engaged to be married in November of 1991 (I know, kind of quick, but I had been single so long!). In October of 1991, I receive a phone call from Rey (the boy on the team) and he said to me -- "he's back!" It seems her exboyfriend had moved back in with her and they were sleeping together. I asked her about it and she said she didn't think it was any of my business. I kind of disagreed with her! I called the wedding off. I was mad at her and at women in general. I was a new christian and this was not supposed to happen to me. I held on to this pain for over a month and a half. Finally in January of 1992, I gave all of my pain over to God and asked him to bring someone else into my life. In October of 1992, he did. I met my son. He was on my mail route as I was delivering mail. He had just turned 9 years old. It is a long story but a wonderful story. Around this time, I had an exposed nerve on my wisdom tooth. The pain was more than you can even imagine. I was bouncing off of the walls. I got in my car at 4am and started driving. Not knowing where I was going, I was screaming at God asking him to stop the pain. I was yelling at Him for not helping me. I finally pulled over at a phone booth and looked up dentists in the phone book. I found one that was just one mile down the road. I sat in the car still screaming at God because it seemed as though the pain was getting worse. When I was finally able to open my eyes enough to see, I drove to the dentist office. I pulled into the empty parking lot of the dentist office. There was one light on in the building. I walked up to the building and was able to walk inside. I found the doctor's name on the board and saw he was up on the second floor. I took the elevator up and as it opened up, it opened up to the room with the light on. The dentist was sitting in his chair drinking coffee and reading the newspaper at 4:30am in the morning! I banged on the door and he let me in. He took care of me and as I was leaving, i asked him why he was there so early in the morning. He said his wife's car broke down the night before and she had to take his car out of town so she dropped him off four hours early so she could leave. Here just one mile earlier, I was screaming at God and complaining that He wasn't helping me and yet, the night before, he had already put into motion events that would take care of my need at the time I needed it most! Remember my chains! As for the boy on my route -- I ended up adopting him as a single man and we moved from Arizona to Illinois. I am white and he is Hispanic and I love him with all my heart. He is now 24 years old and has two little boys (3 yrs and a 5 month old). I love them and his wife, Sarah. They are such a blessing to me. After moving back to Illinois, I got into the ministry. I felt God was calling me. I went back as a student pastor. I had to finish my associates degree while working at a church. I met a girl who was just out of high school. She was very depressed and almost suicidal. We became friends. After lots of phone conversations she finally got her life back on track. One month before I started in the ministry, my dad died suddenly. He was my very first funeral that I ever did. As a pastor, I told a lot of jokes. Let me rephrase that, I told way too many jokes behind the pulpit followed by way too many stories. I had a lady come up to me and ask me if I was going to talk about homosexuality. I said I wasn't. She asked me not to because her son was visiting at our church that day and she did not want to offend him. I didn't say a word about it in the service. I never saw the young man again. I lost my chance to witness properly to him about the need to repent of his sins. I never felt right about that. Remember my chains. After a couple of years, we moved to a larger church. Again, I was telling my jokes (just had to be funny!). During this whole time of my ministry, I was an unrepentant sinner. I was living a lie. I did not tell people about God's Law and the need to repent of their sins. I only gave the "feel good" messages. I can honestly tell you that I was not saved as a pastor. I was the equivalent of an emergent pastor, of a Rick Warren or Bill Hybel type of pastor. I had to entertain the masses! Look at how popular I can be!!!! I was about to serve a new church in Iowa when my son and I decided to move back to Galesburg, IL to visit my mom. She was not doing well. The car was not running, the yard had not been mowed for over 7 weeks, and her plumbing was messed up. I called the church and told them that I was going to take care of my mom. I still was not saved but was still calling myself a solid christian because I believed in Jesus (this time around, now that I was not a mormon!). My first day on the job at a local grocery store was 9/11/01. The tragic events of that day will be remembered forever. When I went to work, everyone was in a state of shock. I was able to minister to people about God's love. I went through some very difficult times in my life during the following years. By living a life that had no repentance, I was destined to fall apart. I must have hit rock bottom. I felt unloved by the world and desperately wanted to get that feeling back. I attended church over the next few years and saw things that bothered me. I could see my "feel good" messages were not working. I didn't feel good. Remember my chains! Finally, after hitting rock bottom, I somehow came across Way of the Master and heard a recording of Hell's Best Kept Secret. That changed my life forever. For the first time in my life, I could see just how exceedingly sinful I really was and that I was headed for hell. I was a pastor that was headed for hell. I was a christian that was headed for hell. I was a very good guy that was headed for hell. God's law was preached. I was a liar, a thief, an adulterer and on top of that, I was also a covetous person, a murderer (hate), a person that dishonored my parents. I had not put God first in my life, I worshiped a god that was not the God of the Bible (I always figured that God would not send me to hell for my sins), I blasphemed the name of the Lord by being a terrible example of a Christian to my family and I never kept the Sabbath Day holy. I broke all ten of the Commandments. There was no way out, I was headed for hell. I cried when I finally "got it" that Jesus completely paid the price by dying on the cross for my sins. I finally repented of my sins. truly repented of my sins. I still sin once in a while, but the change is so drastic from where I used to be it is unreal. I now get out and seek to reach the lost. I have witnessed to over 350 people since the beginning of the year. I plan to more than double that next year. Remember my chains!

Life is finally good. I did a revival this past October and was totally persecuted by pretty much every church and even within my own church that I was attending. I count it as joy. Satan never had to worry about me when I was a pastor because I was not doing anything to bring people to God. I was creating false converts. Now that Satan is shooting his arrows at me, I can see that he is worried about me now. I count that as a tremendous joy! Remember my chains. Why did I write this long personal story? I want you to look back on your own life. Can you see where God opened and closed doors to you? Can you see any growth in your spiritual life? Can you see Satan actively going after you? Is Satan worried about the works you do for Christ sake? Remember my chains and remember your own chains. God is in control. He will not lose any of his children. He will gather them to himself! Rejoice in the truth of God's Word. Rejoice in His promises. Remember His chains!




Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Ten Suggestions...


The words -- Ten Commandments, sounds like such harsh words, so judgmental! Maybe we need to soften it a little bit by calling it the Ten Suggestions. And while we are at it, lets rephrase some of the "suggestions."


1. God loves you, so why won't you take some time to love Him back?

2. God will help you "prosper" so go to church and "make some money!" but don't bow down to any wooden idols, okay? but if you want to be a god, you can!! (just ask Tom Cruise or any other scientologist or Mormon)

3. God loves you, won't you please stop using His name as a cuss word? Please????

4. God created the world in six days! Isn't that awesome? You need to work six days too, okay?

5. God loves you and if your parents are two homosexuals or two lesbians, that's okay, because all that matters is that they love you like God loves you and you need to love them too.

6. Now put that gun down. we don't want to kill anyone. If you hate someone, just try to put yourself in their shoes for a second. Good boy!!

7. Just because you see people having sex on TV is no reason for you to do it. If you see people making a million dollars selling ice cream, would you do it too?

8. If someone takes something that is yours, just do an OJ and go get it back! But do it lovingly!

9. We aren't supposed to tell lies, okay?

10. If you want what your neighbor has, all you have to do is pray about it and God will give it to you!


UUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!

It makes me sick to hear the way today's contemporary church has fallen apart! We don't want people to feel offended so we sugar-coat God's Word. We are not doing anyone a favor by doing that. I love some of my Mormon friends. It kills me to think that they are headed to hell because they are following a Jesus that is not the Jesus of the Bible. They are being led astray by false teaching and they are blinded by the truth. Please, please, please -- Chris B, Kim, Cole, and Josh and Van, I pray that your eyes be opened to what Scripture says. Please read my blogs on Mormonism and do not let your lifetime in the LDS Church cloud your judgment. I love you all so much and I do not want to see you head to hell. Please also, do not look at today's contemporary church and feel that is an example of what Joseph Smith said when he said "all" churches were apostate. God's Word tells us that His Word will live on forever and will NEVER fail. There are many good churches and many good Godly preachers (such as John MacArthur), but unfortunately, Satan has infiltrated the contemporary church with his lies (much the same way he has been involved in Mormonism). You want the truth? Look below...


The Ten Commandments

1. You shall have no other god's before me (this does not say that there actually are "other god's" it just means don't have something that takes His place)

2. You shall not make for yourself any graven image (you show not bow down to false idols - much the way Catholics worship Mary and the Pope. Much the way Mormons worship Joseph Smith)

3. You shall not take the Lord's Name in vain (you shall not blaspheme the name of God. You shall not, in God's Name, proclaim another gospel and call it Christianity!)

4. You shall remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy (I know how LDS people keep Sundays holy, but if you are worshiping a god that is not of the Bible, you are wasting your time on who you give worship too)

5. You shall honor your father and your mother (only to the point that it does not contradict the Bible. Jesus said that if you are not willing to leave your father and your mother for His sake, then you are not worthy to enter heaven!)

6. You shall not kill (Jesus said that to hate is as bad as murder. There are Christians and Mormons both who are guilty of this one. They hate the other group.)

7. You shall not commit adultery (Jesus said that anyone who looks with lust is guilty of adultery in their heart. With the pressure of women to make it to heaven as eternally pregnant women, they have to rely on a temple worthy man to get them to heaven. Guys are looking to women because it is important for them to sire as many children as possible to be pleasing to God)

8. You shall not steal (don't take that which is not yours)

9. You shall not lie (or bear false testimony)

10. You shall not covet (or desire what your neighbor has)


The Bible tells us that no one has kept the first of the Ten Commandments and that we are guilty of breaking all of the commandments if we break just one of them. You are headed for hell by breaking His Commandments. What do you need to do to go to heaven? It is not have several babies (that is "works" based! salvation is a free gift), it is not do temple work (that is also "works" based!), it is not tithing (again, "works" based), it is not going to church ("works" based), it is not abstaining from certain foods ("works"). It is solely putting your trust and faith in Jesus Christ to save you. Repent and be obedient to His Word as you have been saved by grace and not of works. You might say that to repent is to do "works." No, when you are saved, you are given the "fruit of repentance." Again, I ask that you read the part of Mormo and the Mormons and also the 33 things mormons won't tell you. If you want me to provide you with documentation on what I am saying, I will. It will come straight from the Doctrine and Covenants (not taken out of context but shown in its entirety) as well as out of The Ensign, the Book of Mormon and most importantly THE HOLY BIBLE. The Bible is correct and is translated correctly as being God's Word. When you only look at one line of Scripture and try to make it mean something that it doesn't, you are defiling the Word of God. You are creating a God to suite your needs (which is breaking the 2nd of the Ten Commandments). I have had someone tell me that the 33 things were all lies and that I was a liar. You know me well enough to know that what I am saying is true. For all of the people around the world who are reading this...

Please keep our Mormon friends in your prayers. Please keep our churches in your prayers as too many of them have fallen away from biblical preaching. And please, get out of your house today and go and reach the lost the way Jesus did -- PROCLAIM THE TRUE GOSPEL!!
There is only ONE WAY to heaven and that is through the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Sorry, Oprah, you are headed to hell if you don't acknowledge your sins to God and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Sorry, Tom, you are headed to hell if you don't put aside your own theology and realize that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Noah and the bad guys!


While sitting here at the computer my grandson (little David is three years old), he makes a comment...

Noah and the bad guys! (we have a little Noah and the ark display)

In this particular case we have talked about how Noah was told to take his family into the ark. We talked about how all of the other people thought Noah was crazy for building an ark...


It got me thinking...

Who do we look at and wonder if they are crazy for doing what they are "called" to do by God? Is it "our" place to question what other people are doing for the Lord? Some people feel called to do street evangelism. Some people are called to preach and yet others are called to do prison ministry. Still others feel called into missions overseas. It is not my place to tell them they have to do one thing or another for Christ. I honestly do feel that God has called ALL of us to go into all the world preaching the gospel to every creature. We are all called to fulfill the Great Commission. Unfortunately, many of today's churches do not feel it is necessary to teach God's Word without fail.

I have made assumptions on here that it was only in the good ole USA that the "contemporary" church has failed but as I hear from people from other parts of the world, such as in Taiwan, the Contemporary Church has infiltrated that part of the country. I guess I never realized that when we send missionaries overseas, we are not always sending people who preach the whole gospel message. If we are sending people overseas and they are not teaching people about God's Law and the need to repent of their sins, then we are aiding in creating false converts. If in your church, you actively send out missionaries, please take time to find out for sure what they are going to preach. Don't wait until it is too late to find out that they are only preaching "feel good" messages. We need to keep these other countries in our prayers. My friend in Taiwan that is out witnessing to people would really appreciate your prayers for Godly preachers to come over there. She said that the people there are so open to hearing about God that they are ready to listen without objection when you talk to them. Unfortunately, if the preachers over there are only giving them the feel good messages, they will never understand the need to repent of their sins.

To those of you in other countries, I want you to know that you have my prayers. It is a different kind of challenge than what we have here to deal with. May God bless you in all you do. For those of you in America, my prayers are with you to get out and reach the lost, and to do it with an attitude of thanksgiving. Why not? God sent His Son to die on the cross for each one of us. Be thankful. God sent His Son to show us the way to live. Be thankful. God created the world and all that is in it. Be thankful. God gives us His Word as truth. Be thankful. God came to seek and save that which was lost (each one of us) Be thankful. Be thankful that God loves you so much that while we were yet in our sins, he sent His Son to die, to die a death that is so painful, so bloody, so undeserved. He took on all of your sins, past, present and future. Be thankful and get out of the house and show Him how thankful you are. Get out and reach the lost for Christ. Repent and put your faith and trust in Jesus alone. God bless you all.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Yes, but what did the turkey do?


The Parrot

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said: "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


As a Christian, maybe you are living a lie...

Do you kick and scream at people who cut you off in traffic?

Do you use language that is not pleasing to God?

Are you living with hate in your life?

Are you rude to your neighbors?

Do you find that you are just going through life as a "shadow" of what a Christian should be?


There will come a time when you will be judged. You will either be judged for all of the sins you have committed and will be sent to Hell, or

you will be facing God and your works will be used to base your rewards on your eternal salvation. Are you searching and reaching for righteousness?

Are you doing your best to be obedient to His Word?

Have you repented of your sins?

What excuse have you made for not repenting of your sins? See, when you live in your sins, you are missing something in your relationship with God. When you live in your sins, you are living a life that is in direct "disobedience" to God! That is DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD!! I hope and pray that you understand that. When you choose to live in a way that is contrary to God's Word, then you have chosen "whom you will serve!" The one "who believes not" is the one who is disobedient to God's Word and is also the one who will end up in Hell. The person who "believes" is one who trust in Jesus and puts his whole faith and trust in Him.

The Gift of Thanksgiving is given to those who are saved. We are to be thankful that God sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins (we have broken His Commands!). We must expect our pastor's to preach the True Word of God line by line and word by word. Be thankful if you have such an expository preacher. Be thankful that God has shown you the way to salvation (through Jesus Christ alone!).

You show your thankfulness each time you get out and speak to people about Jesus to show them their sinfulness in God's eyes. Do what you can to reach the lost for His sake!

Here is a clip of my sermon at the revival I held back in October. I hope it blesses you all on the wonderful day in the Lord!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone all around the world. My prayer is for each one of you to share God's love with everyone you meet. I pray that you remember all of the times that God has been working in your life. I also pray that you will be able to discern the difference between God's Word and false teachers. May He give you strength to face each new day with the courage to resist the Devil. May you always know that you are being prayed for and I pray that you will repent of your sins and totally put your faith and trust in Jesus.

Thank you by Ray Boltz
May people be thanking God for your faithfulness in reaching the lost for His sake!

This is a short post because I am going to spend time with my grandson!! You can bet I am thankful for that!!!!

have a safe and blessed day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

it's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring -- in church!


Is it a sin to fall asleep in church?

Is it a sin to let your mind wander while in church?

Is it a sin to look with lust (even if you are single?)


Is it a sin...


In my run for President of the United States, I have encountered many problems.

1. Lack of Knowledge

2. Lack of Name recognition

3. Lack of Interest

4. Lack of Funds

5. Lack of Experience

or what I like to call -- KNIFE

See, I am going to cut right to the point. How can you gain knowledge of God's Word if you are sleeping? How can you recognize what a Christian should look like if you only are into easy-believism? How can you truly love God if you lack interest in learning more about Him and His Word? How can you give your tithes to a church that you know is not biblical? How can you gain experience in reaching the lost if you never get out of the house or out of the church and actually try experimenting on the lost people out there?

As for my Presidential run, I will just keep running since it is a great way to keep in shape!! Maybe if I had Batman as my running mate, I would be sure to win the votes of all of the pre-adolescent children (of course, I will have to wait 10-15 years before they can vote!)

The children are our future! The children who sit in church and who learn that church youth groups is nothing more than a place to have fun and games and little drama skits, but no mention of what it takes to go to heaven. Little cute songs are nice and they are easy to remember, but we must remember that even little children can learn the TRUTH. My three year old grandson (little David) has more knowledge than a lot of teenagers (maybe even adults) do. Little David heard that someone had died. And his response to me was that Jesus died too, to save him. It is a very simple response and as David continues to grow he will learn about repentance of sins. Right now, he understands words like obedience and not doing bad things again. I can see him by the time he is 4 years old being able to not only say the words but actually know what he is saying about salvation. Why? Because he is hearing it on a daily basis. He is being trained in God's Word. He already knows about the cross and can tell anyone that Jesus died on the cross to save us. He already knows that Jesus is God and that we pray to Him. When I asked the youth in the church I was attending, "Why are you a Christian?" and not a single teen could tell me, it scares me. When I asked them what it takes to go to heaven and they didn't know. It scares me. When I asked them what happens to homosexuals who continue to live in disobedience to God's Word, none of them were willing to say that person would go to hell. They have been trained by the World!

Christians are falling asleep. "AWAKE! Awake! Stand up! O Jerusalem, which has drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou has drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out." Isaiah 51:17


We need to rouse the church. We need to wake them up. They all know that God sent His Son to die on the cross for their sins. They all know that if they would just believe in Him, they will be saved. Then why aren't they doing anything? We are saved by grace, but where is the fruit of repentance? Where is the fruit of thanksgiving? Where is the fruit of love? The kind of love that says, my neighbor is headed for hell and I need to go talk to him and I need to do it RIGHT NOW!

If you are worrying about whether it is a sin or not to fall asleep in church, there is a pretty good chance you are missing something in your relationship with Christ. Only God knows your heart but we are to examine ourselves to see to it that we are in the faith. Jesus said, " verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." John 14:12

Why did Jesus come? To seek and save that which was lost. And that is the Great Commission that we have all been given. Are you doing it? Why not? Can you actually think of an excuse that will PLEASE GOD? In all we do, we should be glorifying God. We are here for His good pleasure and for His glory. It's not too late people. Almost 2 people die every second of every day. How much time have you wasted in not reaching the lost? 150,000 people a day are dying. Do you know when your time is up? Do you know when your unsaved neighbor's time is up. Don't waste another second. Seek and save the lost the way Jesus did!

Monday, November 19, 2007

In my next book... UPDATE!

UPDATE -- I FORGOT TO MENTION MY EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE ACTUAL POST. THANKS TO ALL OF THE SUGGESTIONS THAT I POST IT IN THE LETTER HERE! THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN AWESOME. PLEASE CONTINUE TO SEND YOUR EMAILS WITH THE RESULTS TO: brianculver@yahoo.com

I am planning on writing another book. And I am in need of your help. (Locked Doors was my second book that I wrote! The first book I wrote was, "I Feel A Laugh Coming!) Would you please send me an email or leave a comment with your answers so that I can compile data for my book?



Here are the questions that I want to ask you...


It has to do with how you view your church and your pastor. I have assigned a point value to each question. I will be happy to send you your score after I get the results from you. I want to use it to help people get a feel of what their church might be missing.



Questions


1. Are the Ten Commandments preached regularly?


2. Is repentance of sin preached as a turning away from sin?


3. Is obedience to God's Word taught as necessity for salvation?


4. Is righteousness expected of the church members?


5. Are you told you must be born-again to be saved?


6. Does your church practice church discipline?


7. Does your pastor actively talk to the lost outside of church?


8. Has your church compromised the Bible with inclusive language?


9. Do members in your church feel they are saved based solely on John 3:16?


10. Is your pastor an expositor of God's Word?


11. Is your pastor a story-teller?


12. Is your pastor a joke-teller?


13. Is your church program driven?





Here are a few more personal questions.


1. Do you feel you are growing in knowledge of Scripture?


2. Have you been taught how to evangelize out in the real world?


3. Which is more important to you -- be in a large church or a small church?


4. Do you like hearing your pastor tell jokes? how many jokes are acceptable for him to tell? How many are too many?


5. Did your pastor go to seminary and in your opinion, do you think he got his money's worth? (in other words, is he able to exposit the Word and truly train you and edify you?)





The title of my next book is going to be called --


The Synagogue of Satan


better known as


Today's Contemporary Church




I want to thank you in advance for your help and cooperation in answering these questions.


I look forward to hearing from you all.


God bless


Brian

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mandatory Prayer in Schools (Illinois)

Is that what we are coming to as Christians?
I see some "christians" who do this!

There is a law that states that all schools "shall" have a moment of silence for a personal time of prayer in Illinois. Of course, there is an atheist who is against this and is planning to sue all of the school districts in Illinois to have it removed. You will hear the arguments of separation of religion and state. I have questions about the motive of the state mandating that there be a time of silence in schools so that people can pray "to their god."

I wonder if it is nothing more that an Illinois Democratic Government trying to appease the Christians by putting in a law requiring a moment of silence for prayer. And at the same time, promoting abortions, and other anti-christian movements.

I really have no problem with the atheist who wants it removed from the schools.

If a child does not know how to pray at home, he will most certainly not gain anything from a moment of silence at school.

We all cry about the fact that we used to have prayers in schools back in the 50's and even the 60's, be we didn't cry out when the churches stopped preaching about sin and repentance in church.

We didn't cry out when churches stopped preaching about God's Law, the Ten Commandments.

We didn't cry out when churches stopped expecting Christians to be obedient to God's Word.

We didn't cry out when we were no longer expected to strive towards righteousness.

We didn't cry out when reverence of God's Holy Word was no longer relevant.

We didn't cry out when joke telling became the "in" thing to do in church.

Why should we start crying out now, when an atheist wants the moment of silence removed from schools?

We cried out when the people said we could no longer say the pledge of allegiance in school, and yet, none of us teach the pledge of allegiance to our children at home. And we don't teach what it truly means to "pledge our allegiance" (be sure to watch this old clip)

We cried out when we were told to remove the Ten Commandments from governmental buildings. And yet we are silent about the Ten Commandments not being preached from the pulpits. Or better yet, we are angry about God's Law being brought up to us in church because we are offended by His Word because it makes us look guilty and besides, who does the church think it is to point a finger at us?? And one more thing about God's Law...

How many of you can name the Ten Commandments? From the people I have asked, I would venture to say that only about 5% of the people have been able to name all ten of the Ten Commandments! Pretty sad, huh? considering that Paul said he had not known what sin was "but" by the Law! The Law is to be used as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The Law is used to shut the mouth of the self-righteous person. The Law is perfect for converting the soul.

And only 5% of us can name all ten of the Ten Commandments!

It amazes me how much Christian's get "involved" in the political world and yet stay out of the business of discerning how their church is equipping the saints (or NOT equipping). If we would take care of our church and require all pastor's to get back to biblical preaching...

if we as individuals would get on-board and be obedient to God's Word...

if we as Christians would repent of our sins...

if we as Christians would love our neighbors enough to talk to them about heaven and HELL...

if we would not just follow WWJD (what would Jesus do?) but rather we would WDJD (what did Jesus do) we would be much better off. We need to follow the way of the master!


So, for the 95% of you who cannot name all Ten Commandments, don't you think it is time to get back into God's Word? Let's make sure our walk matches our talk!

1. You shall have no other god's before me. (God is NUMBER ONE!)

2. You shall not make for yourself any graven image (no false idols)

3. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain (blasphemy)

4. You shall remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. (have we forgotten what "holy" is?)

5. You shall honor your father and your mother

6. You shall not kill (Jesus said you shall not hate either!)

7. You shall not commit adultery (Jesus said if you look with lust you are guilty of adultery)

8. You shall not steal (regardlss of the value)

9. You shall not lie (bear false witness)

10. You shall not covet



Let's get back to the basics. You have been in a church that has been feeding you potato chips (junk food) for a long time. How about having them feed you some real milk for a change?







Friday, November 16, 2007

Evangelizing is energizing!


It was an interesting day today. I had a chance to witness to a person at work today! It was awesome. He said he grew up in church and his parents were heavily involved in church. I asked him if he could name the Ten Commandments. He was able to name about five of them. I then did the Way of the Master with him (Law to the proud, grace to the humble). By the time I finished with him, he was in tears. He said he had never heard the gospel presented like that before. He had never repented of his sins. He just felt it was okay to believe in Jesus and all was well. He was still living in his sins. When he left, he said he was going to go talk to his parents because he knows that they have some "issues" that they need to change. He wants our prayers, so please keep Bill in your prayers.




In the afternoon, I met with someone at my watering hole, (McDonald's), and we discussed how to witness and how to use the Law in witnessing. We started to use the "intelligence test" with a girl working there but after getting halfway through it she got real busy. In the mean time, I happened to drop a million dollar bill on the floor. As I was leaving a gave the girl "a gift for you" which is a gospel tract. She apologized for not being able to do the rest of the test. She liked the tract. As I was walking out the door, I saw two young teenage boys pick up the million dollar tract and they were reading it.




It's not hard to reach out to people. Just do it! You get such a great feeling when you do it for the Lord. It is not us who do the saving. It is God, so get out there and reach the lost for His Sake.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kristy McNichol, Church and the Battle of the Network Stars


An example of a Christian Church can be seen in this old after school movie clip. It has Kristy McNichol in it back when she was maybe around 13 years of age or so. I have to admit, I used to have a big crush on her back then. She was in the TV series called "Family" and I never missed it. Not because of the actual show, but because I did not want to miss seeing her! She used to compete in the old "Battle of the Network Stars!" but I digress...

It's a place that we hope you will be very happy...
You know, you two are very funny, I'd bet you could make it on TV...
Don't talk to me during "All My Children!"
I only wanted to make you feel welcome...
Make me feel welcome during commercial.

This dialogue between a foster child and the foster parent sounds eerily close to Contemporary Church.
First, let's get you in the door any way we can. We want you to be "happy!" Second, let's stand behind the pulpit and tell lots of jokes and stories to show how entertaining we can be!
Third, if something is more important to you, we won't disturb you, in fact, we will provide you with your own cell group and you can all discuss whatever you want.
Fourth, we mean you no harm, we apologize if we have offended you (we didn't mean to use Scripture in our sermon!) and...
finally, the person becomes so jaded by the whole experience that they are more lost than when they first showed up.

How sad it is when we lose our focus on what is important. Preachers -- there are people going to hell each and every day. Will you continue to stand behind your pulpit and do absolutely nothing to bring the Truth of God's Word to them? If the only reason you are leading a church is to see how many people you can get to come to "your" services, then we might as well pack up the bags and say "You Win!" on second thought, you don't win. In fact, God is going to judge you more harshly, so rethink your motive and please make sure you get back to biblical preaching. Be an expositor of the Word. Get away from "Entertainment Tonight" theology and do what is right. You never know who is watching you and wanting to be like you. If they don't see the Jesus of the Bible (the one who used the Ten Commandments to expose sin) being modeled by you, then they will expand on that and create and even more disastrous ministry which is sure to decieve many many people. All because you wanted to entertain the people.
If you are not a pastor but are someone sitting in church...
Do you go because the pastor is entertaining?
Do you go because no one can tell a joke like he can?
Do you go because it is "the thing to do" in your community, to be "seen" at that church?
Do you go because your friends go there?
Be careful, if Scripture is not being opened up to you (expository preaching), then you are only getting sour milk. It is time you get fed by God's Word. Challenge your pastor to quit the joke telling and the story telling and encourage him to go line-by-line on the Scriptures.

Oh, I used to really like Kristy McNichol. And I used to really like telling good jokes in the pulpit. Kristy was someone I was never going to have as my own. The jokes in the pulpit were something I should never have done in the first place. We make mistakes and hopefully we grow and learn from those mistakes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Growing Pains...Popcorn in the face!


Growing Pains -- Oww, those unpopped ones hurt!!
I put this little video on here as a tribute to one of our Way of the Master hosts --Kirk Cameron. Sorry about that Kirk, I couldn't resist the little popcorn tossing between you and your tv sister.
Why did I choose this scene?
When I started out as a Pastor of a local church, I have stated before that I don't think I was truly saved at the time. I lacked the fruit of repentance. I was constantly living in sin. One thing that really hit me was that while I was a pastor, I cannot remember a single time when Satan was really firing those arrows at me (or those unpopped kernals of corn!). I had a pretty easy ride for the most part. You know, it wasn't until I was truly saved and decided that I wanted to do a revival in my home town that Satan really got agitated. It was as if "all popcorn broke loose!" (I watered that down didn't I?). It was as if Satan was not happy that I was finally serving God and doing something that was totally going to glorify God. It was as if, people were going to hear the gospel in a way they had not heard it before and Satan was mad. Not only was he mad, he was mad AT ME!

I have to wonder, we are told that there will be persecution because of our faith. I never experienced it until I was truly saved. Now, everytime I want to do something for God, it is like Satan just keeps firing those darts (or those unpopped popcorn kernals that make you go "OWW") at me. I rejoice in that! I pray that we all learn to withstand his arrows -- because we "can" withstand them, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

I respect Kirk Cameron for taking a stand for Christ in Hollywood. It is an unpopular stance and without blinking, Kirk decided to do what was right. Too many "christians" (those people who wear a cross or have bumper stickers but fail to be obedient to His Word) will fall away at the first sign of loss (financial, family, jobs, friends, fun times??) Please keep your prayers up for Kirk as he interacts with some of his Hollywood friends. I am sure there are some people out there who would like to take a stand and are scared. Are you scared about what you might lose if you decided to walk with Christ in your daily life? The gain far outweighs the loss. I am sure Satan has shot his arrows at Kirk. Praise God that he did not back down.

So next time you feel Satan is attacking you, just rejoice in the fact that you are walking with Jesus and the world hated Him before it ever hated you. It is God and His Word that they hate. So preach it, teach it, model it, examine it, share it, exposit it, and in all you do, do it heartily as to the Lord! You might feel like you are all alone. You're not!

Repent, be obedient to God's Word, put your faith and trust completely in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Do "you" disagree?

"I appreciate your interpretation(s), but I must respectfully disagree on the points you present."

The above is a quote from an email I had received from one of the Mormon Leaders (Tom Olson). I sent him an email off of the main LDS website. I told him that I used to be a Mormon and that I remember back in the late 80's a person new the Book of Mormon to be true because they had a "burning in the bosom." I asked him if that is still the requirement that tells people the book is true. He wrote back very proudly and said, "Yes, in fact millions have had that feeling!" I asked him if it were possible for Satan to give that burning feeling in the bosom. I asked him what his thoughts were on Mormo and the definition of it. I asked him about the Temple ceremonies and the obvious Masonic leanings it had. I asked him about being a god of his own planet. I asked him what it would take to go to heaven. I presented God's Law to him. I pleaded with him to read the Bible and to allow the Holy Scripture to come alive for him. But it did not happen. He is blinded by the truth, or should I say, he is blinded from the truth?

It is such a hallow feeling when you try to get people to understand how important it is to follow Christ and to repent of their sins, and they either reject it or just give an answer similar to the one Tom gave.

If you have struggled with this kind of outcome, I want to encourage you to keep trying. Don't spend all of your time on one person trying to get them to see the light. Plant the seed and let God take care of the rest! We will not always see the immediate outcome of our evangelistic endeavors.

"I appreciate your interpretation(s), but I must respectfully disagree on the points you present."

Tom will one day have to face God and his response is not going to get him into heaven.

What excuses have you made for not being obedient to His Word. You see, there are people who are no different than Tom. There are people who profess to be Christians (just as Tom as a Mormon wants to be thought of), there are people sitting in church putting on a happy face about their Christian walk, and yet, when it comes to evangelizing and reaching the lost, they don't even try. When it comes to putting sin away and repenting, they don't even try. They just want to bank on the fact that Jesus died and they don't have to do anything. (yes, we don't have to do anything to merit our way into heaven, it is a gift from God), but as a result of our faith, we should be thankful for what God has done, we should be repentant and do those sins no more, we should be bearing "good" fruit! If you are not showing good fruit, if you are not repenting of your sins, if you are not being obedient to His Holy Word, then what excuse have you made for when you come face to face with God?

No matter what excuse you have, it will sound just as ridiculous as the one Tom will be giving.

"I appreciate your interpretation(s), but I must respectfully disagree on the points you present."

Monday, November 12, 2007

King of Queens in Church?

I attended a church in Arizona that would always have some kind of TV show that they would have clips of for church. During the one time I was there (I couldn't stomach being there any more than that!), they were showing a clip from the tv show, King of Queens. Now, for those of you who have not seen this show, it is a married couple that fights all the time, there is no respect between the two, and there is no mention of God in the show (at least not in a positive way!).

Why promote an ungodly tv show?

To me, this is just the lazy pastor's way of filling in time for his sermon. You see, churches today have gotten away from doing expository preaching (I point the finger at myself on this one, I used to be a joke teller and a story teller behind the pulpit -- notice, I said, I "used" to do that!). When you only do story telling behind the pulpit, you will find nothing wrong with using TV to "fill in" some time. It helps people to laugh and of course it is a "great" substitute for Scripture! THAT WAS BEING SARCASTIC!!
TV IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR SCRIPTURE. Come on Pastor's -- do the right thing. Put the TV show clips away and watch them on your own time. Do not waste the time of the people who come to be EDIFIED FROM GOD'S WORD!! You job is to preach His Word. PREACH HIS WORD. If you have the "gift" of preaching -- then PREACH HIS WORD!!! you do not need to have "examples" from TV for people to understand what you are saying. We are smart enough to hear God's Word and understand how to relate it to our life.

If you are a pastor and you are in the business of "entertaining" your congregation -- then get out from behind the pulpit and buy a clown outfit and join the circus. Because, I have to tell you, you are an embarassment to God for the way you have "softened" God's Word. Are you ready to stand up and do the right thing?

then PREACH HIS WORD!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Make sense!!


Here it is...

WATCH The clip to use when someone is just rambling along making absolutely no sense whatsoever.

You can use it when you listen to Rick Warren ramble on about how to be saved! He sidesteps the issue when confronted about Jesus being the only way.

You can use it when you listen to Joel Osteen ramble on about how to be saved! He sidesteps the issue when confronted about Jesus being the only way.

You can use it when you listen to Bill Hybels talk about his church and what it takes to be saved. They have just recently realized that their way of doing church has been wrong all these years!

You can use it when you listen to your own pastor start telling jokes in church instead of preaching God's Word. When he tells stories of his life instead of telling you that you need to repent of your sins. When he only wants you to "feel good" about yourself, instead of showing you that you are exceedingly sinful in God's eyes. Use it when he is wasting your time by not being an expositor of the Scriptures.

When truth is not preached, mercy isn't understood, and the world therefore lacks the knowledge of God. The result is an idolatrous perception of God. The world isn't offended when the church preaches that God loves them, but when the truths of Judgment Day, God's Law, Sin, Hell and Righteousness are preached, those who do not know the Lord become offended. The direct result of failing to preach His truth is: lawlessness, transgression of the moral law, such as swearing, flipping people off, lying, killing, hatred, murder, stealing and committing adultery (not just physically but with lust in our heart). Following lawlessness is judgment upon the land -- droughts, famine, etc.

Charles Spurgeon said, "No sort of defense is needed for preaching out of doors; but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting place."
What kind of argument does your pastor make for not doing this??

Does your pastor complain that they took the Ten Commandments out of the court house? And he does not preach the Ten Commandments in church?!

Does your pastor complain that prayers should be allowed in schools? And yet, he does not preach the Lord's prayer and what it means?!

Does your pastor say that "you" need to follow Jesus? And yet, he follows Him in name only? lacking obedience, repentance, evangelism, etc.

Does your pastor always have a joke to tell in church? And yet, he condemns those people who refuse to follow Jesus? even though, he takes away the convicting power of Scripture by making light of it with his jokes! if he wants to be a stand-up comedian, have him sign-on with The Improv and get him out from behind the pulpit.

Do you wear a christian cross around your neck? Do you have christian bumper stickers on your car? Do you have a Bible laying out on your table for the world to see? and yet, you use language that is not pleasing to God; you flip people off who drive past you; you get offended when the Word of God is spoken; you have no true understanding of "why" you are a Christian and are unable to tell others why; you sit in church and you look down your nose at others. In other words, you want to show the world that you are a Christian and yet, you are not being obedient to His Word. You have no desire to reach the lost. You have no desire to repent of your sins. You are a false convert and will be the one that will say on that final day, "Lord, Lord, and Jesus will say to you, depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you!"

I pray that you will follow Jesus with a true desire to put all of your faith and all of your trust in Him. Repent of your sins and be obedient to His Word.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is Judas sitting in your church?


You see him or her sitting in your church...
they smile when they see you...
they laugh at all of the jokes the pastor tells...
they carry a Bible but cannot teach their children about "why" they need to be a follower of Jesus...
their attitude about sin is very flippant...
they have their foot in the door of every church activity...
they like to tell others about how much they love Jesus and yet they look down their nose at others in church...
they brag about how good their pastor is even though he is a story teller and a joke teller more than an expositor of Scripture...
they highly influence the direction the church takes even more than the pastor does...
Do you recognize the Judas in your church yet?
"And he said, Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will you also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? - you have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve." (John 6:65-71)
Jesus said that "one of you is a devil!" He was speaking of Judas Iscariot. And yet, the other apostles did not know that Jesus was speaking of Judas Iscariot. He was not a true convert. He hid it well.
When Jesus said that one of them would betray him, each one of them said, "Is it I, Lord?" Even Judas said it. No one suspected it could have been Judas. Want to know how well he hid it?
Judas was involved in many of the same activities as the other disciples so he put up a good front until it was his time to "shine??"
Mark 6:7 says, "And he called to him the twelve, and began to send forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits."
I have to wonder, which disciple was sent out two by two with Judas Iscariot? Wouldn't that be a bummer? Hangin' out with the devil!
Suppose it was Peter that got "stuck" with Judas. We don't know for sure but in Luke 22:31, we read, "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren."
We don't hear that anything went wrong with whoever went out with him. Judas put up a good front and hid his true feelings. Just like many people in your own church. There are people possibly sitting right next to you who have no desire to reach the lost. They have no desire to be obedient to God's Word. They just want the security of hearing the pastor say, "If you pray this prayer you will be saved." They might be able to hide it from you, but you need to remember that they will be known by their fruit (or lack thereof). "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." (Matthew 7:18)
Can you walk the talk? Do you get into Scripture each and every day in order to better understand and to grow in your knowledge? Can you spot the Judas sitting in your church? Is it you?
REPENT-- BE OBEDIENT -- PUT YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN JESUS

Friday, November 9, 2007

It's so simple that a...


Why are people clueless on how to witness to people? read the clip. Simple seems to be the answer that many people use. Just smile and let people see Jesus living within you and the changed life you display and they will want to have some of that for themselves! The blog clip that you read is from a church I attended in Oklahoma City several years ago. It is a Saddleback/Willow Creek wannabe. Everyone is so lively and having such a good time in church. Unfortunately, many in the church are not saved and do not know it. They have been given a gospel that is soft and they do not realize the importance of repentance of their sins. I would be willing to guess that over 90% of the people in that church cannot name the Ten Commandments. If it isn't important enough to preach then why should they learn them? Why should they acknowledge their sinfulness? There are many churches in my hometown of Galesburg, IL that have the same problems. A local pastor here thinks all the local pastors should come together

and yet, when it came time to support a revival in town that was going to preach on the Ten Commandments and the need to repent, he was a no-show. Want to learn about morality? God's Law says thou shall not commit adultery. Jesus said, that any man who looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. When we understand that unless we repent of our sins, we are all headed for hell. This pastor did not feel this was something he could support. Most likely because his church is "seeker sensitive" which is another way of saying, "I will preach to you but I will not offend you with God's Word." Seeker sensitive churches have a habit of asking non-christians what they want in a church. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT! As a pastor we should KNOW WHAT THEY NEED!! They need to hear the TRUTH. That they are not going to heaven by being a "good person." Don't create cell groups that keeps people "in" the church. Train them to go "out" into the world to reach the lost. And as a pastor, please, please, please do not tell them you have a goal of reaching ONE person per month. You must have more love than that for your neighbor. If we truly love our neighbor we will be crying out daily striving to reach the lost. We will look for opportunities on a daily basis because we know that hell is real and we do not want anyone to end up there! 150,000 people die every day. Almost 2 people per second. It's simple really...

Present God's Law

Present the need to repent of sins

Present the wonderful sacrifice that Jesus made for them

Present the need to be obedient to Him

Give God all of the glory and the praise.

We exist to bring Him pleasure and to glorify Him.

Are you doing it?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I want to run for President of the United States! UPDATE!!!


Yes, I am throwing my hat into the ring! I am wanting to be your next President. I am not qualified and do not pretent to be. But here is what I have to offer...


I am an American. Yes, born and raised in good ole Illinois! I have lived in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Iowa. (See, I can relate to 10% of the country!!)


I am above the minimum age of 35 and am just 5 yrs older than JFK was when he was elected.


I am a custodian. Who better than me to "clean up" government in America? I have an understanding that you have to use chemicals to remove some of the old grease and grime (and isn't that what has happened to our political parties? they have become so "stodgy" that it makes you sick)


I am a single father. Who better than me to relate to all of the single moms out there? (but i do know what it takes to have a successful marriage. My parents were married for over 35 years!)


I have a son and a wonderful family which includes two grandsons! They are my life! (I want what is best for them)


I am a hard worker. I am a fearless worker. I work as though I am working for the Lord! If I please Him, that is all I care about.


I have $75 to my name and am not a millionaire! (I bought a Pepsi so I am down to $74.40)


I only want to surround myself with the best people regardless of what party they are affiliated with. (the best way to describe who the best people are is to find people who have integrity and a strong faith in Jesus)


I am not running as a republican or a democrat. (Our government was originally to be a government of the people, for the people and BY the people. In government today and for the past 35 years at least: it has become a government telling the people what they are going to do. I want to make it a government where the people, the majority of the people, have a say: so long as it doesn't contradict what the Bible says!)


I am a Christian and I am not afraid to go on National TV to tell the world that the only way to heaven is through JESUS CHRIST! I am sick of listening to supposed Christians wimp their way out of a conversation about who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. (If you can get me on Larry King Live then please contact me!!)


There is only one year left. Can I count on your vote?


I am a "good guy"


No wait, I am not a good guy. I am a lying thief and an adulterer at heart. I have dishonored my parents and I have not always put God first. I have been guilty of murder by hating someone. I have coveted what others have and I have been guilty of creating a God to suite me and my sins. I have not always kept the Sabbath Day and kept it Holy.


And even though I am not a good guy. I am still the guy for the White House!


Remember me when it comes time to vote. Brian Culver, and may God bless America!