- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- WAR ROOM -
STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
A GOOD FRIEND.....
Devices, apps, and more technology are constantly being developed for Internet communications, and that includes Christian service and the local church. There are the must haves, the wants, and even the retired technology to help them stay up-to-date. But, why do you want them?
Are you loading up on technology to make your life more useful to Christ and your friends, or are you simply collecting a big toy box of doo-wops to play with?
What are we talking about in regard to technology and service for Christ? There is Facebook where we can be part of a group of friends. More skill is needed to master a blog, and even more to publish a Web page. The opportunities to serve mount higher and higher as you move on to more complicated ventures in cyberspace. This journal has a worldwide readership, and my blogs are read faithfully by a fair number of followers. If my stats are the standard of faithfulness, then I missed the mark. I must admit though that when the Russians hit on my blogs more then the British I get the warm fuzzies. But, I still don't exactly know what it means.
In all of this, beware of letting technology become the driving force. If you set out to serve Christ by using technology, make sure you keep Christ and the readers top priority. Technology is only a tool, not an end in itself.
Your stats can drive you, and that is deadly because you will be tempted to write things that charm rather than to edify and teach. If you sign up for an ad service like AdSense, to make some income, you are a fool if you write and publish to get ad hits. Even AdSense tutorials tell us the we should publish to people, not to ad hits.
The most deadly temptation when using the Internet to communicate is to be politically correct and pleasant all the time. All the men of the Bible who were used of God were, at times, blunt. No topic covered in the King James Bible should be withheld from people you write to. Those who count will not mind, and those who mind don't count.
Proverbs 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
If the scorners are charmed by your site, you failed to serve Christ.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Watch for ways to drive people to your web site or blog. Use links to new articles at Facebook, and send email to like minded authors online and offer to trade links. That is perfectly reasonable, but keep thinking about serving up the Word of God and Christ crucified, the hope of Glory.
I have watched, since the 1950s, as audio video tools have evolved from slide shows and movies into computers and sensational tools to grab the eyes, ears, and lusts to titillate of the masses. Mega churches lead the way to more and more technology in Christendom, and as we look at it from the wee places, we assume these huge ministries got that way by using the right technology.
Wrong! They got that way by laundering out the whole counsel of God, that is, be trashing all the tough messages in the Bible. At this moment in time, the huge churches are pandering to adulterers and sodomites. They would grow if they met in a barn in Indiana with no microphone because they make their followers comfortable by keeping sin out of their messages. And, they have the sexy "worship leaders" and big hunks leading the worship. One church near us brings in the masses by having a church rodeo every Thursday night. There is no technology there, but the suckers come running to get the rush. It is a confusing question where the most bull is.The photo at the right shows the Jesus of cool heads who want to attract attention to themselves, not to Jesus.
So, big sound and strobe lights cannot buy success in the enterprise of the Christian walk with Christ, that is, if you are doing things his way.
Having said that, don't fall far behind so much that you look weird to humanity. If a preacher today came out with a double knit suit and a pink shirt with a narrow black tie, people would chuckle and totally miss what he was saying. But, we must stop assuming that the technology and methods of Mar Big will make us more useful to God.
AND, your friends and family will stay close if they only see Jesus in you.
Jesus said in John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
The danger these days is that we do not read enough. You need to feed your mind and soul. The Bible feeds your soul and your mind. Token reading of a passage every day is often as far as most Bible believers get. Some do not even do that. The biggest joke is the man who defends the King James Bible, can talk at length about why the Antioch Greek texts are better than the Alexandrian texts, but he seldom reads the Bible to feed his soul. What a loser.
If you do not read the Bible and books that feed your mind with new thoughts you will be a dull and boring source to other believers.“I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading.” ? John Adams
FIND THE REAL NEWS
Der Spiegel (Germany in English)
France 24 (English)
Kommersant (Russia in Russian- Right click and hit "Translate")
Pravda (Russia English)
RT (Russian bias, US based, English)
Charles Krauthammer (WP Editorial)
Trend Hunter (Fashion and Extreme Culture)
Breaking News (Nothing else)
Twitter (Breaking News)
World News by Country
Al Jazeera (Middle East bias- English)
Paste Bin (Search by news topic)
Democracy Now (Bias mixed)
Karen Hudes (Exposes World Bank and more- Former employee WB)
Texas Country Reporter (Gotta have one from Texas)
East African Standard (Kenya based- English)
South China Morning Star (English)
Times of India (English)
US Farm News
Jihad Watch (Exposing violent Islam)
Daily Mail (UK based, US version)Books to read:The Bible
Anything by J. Frank Dobie
Books on the Middle East and customs of Jesus' time
Books on country living
Discovery, early explorers, and pioneer books from the 1700s through 1900.
Old missionary biographies- pre 1940
Books about men of solitude
On the Internet- Go to the Wayback Machine and Project Gutenburg, and read out of print books from the categories above.This is only a start. I suggest you also occasionally read online on some subject you are NOT interested in. This forces you to broaden your world view and think outside your own little box. Also, stop going to Drudge for news. Go to the English language version for news agencies around the world. [ Click right the button, and hit "Translate to English" ] In other words, be an example to your Christian friends of an informed person who is not a ditto of every other Internet junkie.
If you carry a mobile phone, use it to the glory of God. Some member in your Christian fellowship is suffering in some physical or social struggle. Some brother is fighting temptation. Call them when you are having to kill time. You are reading you Bible (see above), and you hit on something that really blesses you. Call a fellow saint and share it with him.
This sort of thing will come back to you. Friends you call may start doing the same thing to you or their friends. Also, when you are about to enter a battle zone spiritually, call on some saint who is restricted but is a prayer warrior. Put him to work with you in the battle at the Throne of Grace. Call or text him. But, be sure to call him after the battle is over and report.
I once called Ed Arnold, a retired brother in a church I pastored. I was about to enter spiritual warfare, and I needed him praying. The battle came and went, and I experienced the victory in Christ. About two hours later Ed called and said, "Are you still in the battle Pastor?" Ugh! I felt terrible. I determined to always call when the crisis was over from then on. People who hold up their end of the battle in prayer are priceless, and they must be treated with much consideration.
I recall a story of a Japanese soldier who hid in the forests of the Philippines when General MacArthur returned to defeat the Japanese Army during WW II. No one found the Japanese soldier in the forest, and he stayed there for many years surviving and not knowing the war was over. No one told him. Do not enlist help unless you intend to keep your fellow soldier in Christ informed.
Now, back to you the example. When you bring a brother into the battle in prayer he learns from you that (A) No one should do spiritual battle alone (See Jonathan above), and (B) the prayer warrior is just as important as the man on the front lines. As the saying goes, "Attack, carry ammo, or get out of the way." Do you put your friends in Christ into the "get out of the way" category?
Get busy with that mobile communications toy in your pocket.
Social Media Tips:
Christians instinctively fear social media. This may be prudent to some degree. A lot of time is wasted chattering to air heads, and NSA is recording it all to boot. But, social media is slowly being forced on us by our work place and Caesar. Those who refuse to participate are actually being punished by being marginalized.
I have a real problem with this one myself. I am over 79, and I recall the party line of the 1950s in Oklahoma. No one had a secret they would confide on the telephone. If not one else was listening, the operator was. It was a hoot to hear about someone trying to give directions over the phone and having the operator butt in and finish the instructions.
In this journal I publish my thoughts on all sorts of issues. I may write something that is too harsh or is inaccurate. No problem, when it occurs to me that I have blundered I can change the thing and move on. I suppose NSA makes a copy of this journal every time I upload, but I have the feeling that I have covered my tracks. Not so with social media. There is no way to go back and change what you wrote in a post. You may delete it, but any discussion about it stays put forever. So, I get nervous knowing that my nanny on high, NSA, is listening to everything.
Social media is safe in as far as you are under the control of the Holy Spirit. If you write something on Facebook that glorifies God, and Homeland Security does not like it, the devil take the hindmost. You could conceivably suffer persecution for it once the nation becomes 100% fascist, but that is the risk of being faithful to the Truth. Tyranny is wicked indeed, but one must not let the nanny state destroy one's witness for Jesus Christ. Paul and Peter did not.
So, I dropped off of Facebook because of these issues, and I am about to jump back in. I intend to start a "Group" where people can discuss errant Christendom and moral issues of the Christian life. It will parallel topics in this journal. Why do this? I want to be an example of zeal and fearless faith to YOU.
So, where are you in the forums of cyberspace? There are so many opportunities. If you could do a YouTube channel and are not doing so, get your posterior moving my friend. So, you teach a Sunday School class once a week-- how about a five minute teaching session every day on YouTube? Furthermore; you can make income with the ads while you serve the Lord. You get a little reward now, and a lot more reward later when you stand before God.
Do not tell me you are not sure it is the will of God. There is the door. You think it is closed, and it is, but have you pushed on it? God might let you walk right into something very useful to him. You Calvinists are so stupid worried that you will try something God did not think of. Bah. PUSH ON THE DOOR. God gave you a will whether, Calvin likes it or not. And, are you helping your friend become a spiritual wimp as he watches you hold back in the battle?
A German jackboot soldier in the Bismarck's Army panicked and ran during battle. He was caught and brought before the Bismarck for a verdict, which was usually the firing squad. The Bismarck asked the soldier why he ran, and he said, "I don't know why I ran. Usually I attack when the command comes, but I was terrified of the enemy. So, I ran." The Bismarck broke his own tradition with deserters, and said, "I to am also terrified sometimes. Tomorrow, when we go to battle again, you stay beside me all the time. We will both be terrified together, and we will both attack together, and we will both be victorious together." The soldier did as commanded and became a very reliable soldier. That, sir, is your friend. If you cut and run, he will too.
Social media is just one of many ways you can use cyberspace to bless God's people. Starting a web page like this one you are reading is very simple nowadays with all the helps in print and online to tutor you. Many domain hosts will make you a web page free with the hosting fee. Blogs are absolutely free.I am available to help also. Go here to send mail of phone me.
The end of a spiritual venture is often what we remember as we reminisce. Take time to remember, or even do this out loud with your spouse or a friend in Christ. But, make a point of asking yourself or each other, "What started that event, and what was the first thing we did?" If things almost went bad in some past venture, try to think of how you could have also avoided that. The fact that things worked out to the good is not a tribute to your cleverness-- it may simply be that God was merciful to you. Do not repeat the same dumb thing over and over and expect God to keep rescuing you.
We are talking about helping a friend by example in this article. So, take a journey back along the road you and your friend have traveled together. How did it start, and what turns in the road would you do another way? If you begin to see something serious, are you friend enough to bring that up and apologize if need be? Maybe you need to ask your friend to consider taking corrective action in your future with that friendship.
Remove all obstacles, stupid.
Do not be afraid to look back over a disaster and ask yourself where you might have been your own liability. If you cannot think of anything in which you blundered or abandoned Christ's example, then you have to realize that some ventures for God do not come out looking like a success by our standards. Remember, Jesus spent three and one half years trying to offer Israel the Kingdom of God on earth, and that venture ended in his crucifixion. It looked like a failure on the day of his crucifixion, but very soon his disciples realized that a glorious new era of God's work was now going to the whole world, not just Israel.
But, stop claiming your folly and foolish choices "must be the will of God." God takes the rap for a lot of dumb things Christians do. Calvinists love "the sovereignty of God" as their refuge when they drop the ball or make a mess of things, as if God just loves cleaning up messes after his sloppy Calvinists. Arminians love another one-- "God is working," as if our stupid mess making is part of a long process in which God will eventually get the glory. He will, you idiot, but ONLY in spite of you, not because you were in his will.
I am not talking, in the hindsight discussion, about self dissection. Contemplation of ones life must not become an autopsy. To avoid this, ask God to enlighten your hindsight:
Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
The other side of hindsight is to review your victories and find priceless lessons and experiences in the power of God which you can reuse in the future. If nothing else, past victories will lift you up when you are preoccupied with some dull life experience right now.
Now, here is an ancient concept. Keep a diary. If you do it on the computer put it on a thumb drive so the snoops do not find it. A diary can be a real help later when some issue repeats itself. But, remember, after you go to be with the Lord your kids will be all over that thumb drive.By using hindsight principles you can be an example to your brother by sharing with him times when you made a mess, and by telling him how you are determined to not do it again. He should also be invited to hear war stories where God got the victory through you.
Only the Best:
Excellence to the world is all about me being the greatest.
President Obama, during his second term in office, made a speech about how "exceptional" America is. This was during a period when the whole world was turning against the USA because of our spying on everyone on earth, even national leaders who were supposed to be America's trusted friends. His boasting was crass and brought even more shame on America.
The ONLY exceptional thing about the life of a Bible believer sure better be Christ in you the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
So, how about your friend whom you claim to want to help? Does he or she see Jesus in you, or does he see YOU? The most grievous aspect of the Christian "ministry" today is the narcissic manner of most preachers.
Do you remember the introduction where we talked about being "cool"? My friend, we have way too many idiots in pulpits around America and the world trying to be cool and enlist people to praise and exalt them. That is blasphemy, and most of these people are damned to hell rebels against Christ. If they loved him the way they claim to, they would be exalting him ONLY.
Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Running to Extremes
There are two extremes to which one can go to in taking stock in one's life and progress.
If we get to thinking we are very clever and useful, yet we forget that without Christ we are a disaster, we run to pride. If we examine our lives and become immersed self-judgment and self-condemnation, we end up in depression. Both of these ends are of no use to God and must be rejected. I found a video online that actually talks about both depression AND pride.
Are you leading your friend in either of these directions by your example?
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Please watch for the word "Ambition."
So, when you hear your friend talking about how clever he is, or when you hear him talking about what a failure he is, you now know what your job is. If you are to be a faithful friend, you need to rebuke all pride, but you need to stick closer than a brother to the depressed. Only in this way are you worth anything to your Lord and to your friend.
A word to pastors:
If you talk about how wonderful your local church is, and if you toss numbers and growth statistics around in pastors' fellowships, you are a worthless hireling. Christ said HE would build his Church, and you are a gross liability in that process if you take any credit for the results. If you have been faithful to Christ, give HIM the glory.
You would do better to look around the foyer at the next pastors' fellowship, and look for that pastor who stands alone, neither boasting nor participating in the boasting session. I have learned from experience that the quiet pastor is often feeling like a failure at that moment because he has no numbers and growth to brag about. If you understand what I am talking about, you are serving the devil if you do not go to the next pastors' gathering with the full intent to act upon this problem. Come along side that slump shouldered man, and use the love of Christ to lift that burden before it turns into full blown depression.
Now I will make you preachers declare me an heretic, but here is where I become a real friend to you. That deacon or leader in the church you serve-- you consider him your best friend, right? Well, tell me, have you in love rebuked him for something in his life that you know is defeating him? No? I know why. You do not want to risk losing his giving or his help fixing the plumbing or driving a bus. You are a rebel against everything you have preached.
Do what you know your friend needs, or God will chasten you.
Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Richard Baxter on pride- A videoFlattery- A tool of Satan
While we are talking about pride, let's not forget flattery.
Nothing will destroy your friend in Christ easier than flattery. There is virtually no instance where flattery is well spoken of in the Word of God. This is because flattery facilitates pride. Satan appealed to Eve's pride in Eden by suggesting that she had the unfulfilled potential to be a goddess.
Many men have dealt with Pastor Jack Hyles with all manner of stories of his sexual deviations and his facilitation of his son Dave in adultery while pastoring. I attended two pastors' rallies where Jack Hyles preached, and I found his art of flattery the most revolting thing I ever learned about him. He fawned over the younger pastors in the audience until they virtually glowed with pride as he cleverly exalted them. He inspired an order of the peck which was all too obvious and disturbing.
And, Jack Hyles lived a full long life with no sign of chastening from God. I have met, or received email, from men who attended Hyles Anderson College or were very close to Hyles. These men were all full of mindless pride. The apple does not fall far from the tree. MORE ON HYLES HERE
Do you flatter your friends? If so, you may be telling them to go to hell, and you are using the tools of Satan which his Antichrist will soon use.
Job 17:5 He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.
No wonder you kids cannot tell when they are looking at evil-- they are going spiritually blind.
Change vs. Tradition:
Consider how things have changed and what has not changed in your friendships. Identify the change (gradual or instant) take stock of what traditions have continued and why. That which you determine must never change-- is it because it is a tradition of Christ and the Apostles, or is it a tradition of the flesh and society around you?
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Do you see the difference between traditions? Unless we are willing to go to the absolute source of every tradition in our life, we are doomed to hang onto rubbish until we die. If you are limping along clinging to dead weight, you can count on it my friend, that friend you wish so much to bless in Christ will pick up the same stupid weights you carry.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses (like your friend), let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
When a kid is sitting in the stands watching an athletic event, the kid sees a hero. If the hero wears Nike shoes, that kid will ask his Dad for a pair of Nikes. If the hero down on the field is carrying a cigar, even though the hero may win the prize, that kid in the stands will also want to carry a cigar.
This could well be the most important discussion about friendship in this article, at least to some particular readers. Do not rush on without pausing here please.
The fact that God may give you some victories in your Christian experience does NOT imply that you do not have some issues to take care of. Your friend will see God using you, but he may very well pick up on the same nasty little sins that you refuse to deal with if you do not deal with them.
Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Damn those "little foxes."
What is your reputation in the community? Many Bible believers, especially jackboot preachers, will tell you they do not care what men think of them. This is wicked.
Listen to Christ himself:
Mark 8:27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
The answers were good. They revealed that people were associating Jesus with men of God:
Mark 8:28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
The lost will not hold you in reputation righteously, but whom they think you are better remind you of someone else with a good reputation.
When Al Capone and his gang were running from the US Law Enforcement he would slip into the back of a religious meeting to appear to be in the midst of religious fanatics. He did not go to a Catholic Church or an Episcopal Church. He slipped in the back door of the Billy Sunday Tabernacle and sat through a revival meeting. He knew what the real thing was, even though he did not want it.
Why do men approve or disapprove of you? Why do your friends like you? I did not write this article to pamper pabulum sucking babies. Some of the questions I am asking hurt you, right? They hurt me too, and I need them.
In the 1970s we had a next door neighbor in California in the High Desert who came fleeing to our home several times. She was studying to be a "minister" in a New Age Center of Light "church" nearby. This is the first New Age center in the USA, as best I can tell, that called itself a "church". I learned later that is was a cell group of Satanic witches also.
Our neighbor lady's husband was also in training to be a minister of the group, and she told us that he was given the "ministry" of killing her and their baby to please Satan and get power for himself. We did not know whether to believe her of not, so we let her sit in our dining room, and my wife talked to her about Jesus and the Gospel. She listened, she seemed to be drawn to this, but she would not give in.
The point here is that she wanted to be near us because she knew who we belonged to, and the power of God which we represented was a safe zone. In fact, when she was with us, I suspect she felt the power of God in a way that we did not. We were pleased that we were her "friend."
Do you have any friends who hang out around you because they need refuge from devils or evil men? If not, why not? Jesus had one disciple who hung out with him for his whole ministry and then betrayed him. I believe Judas knew very well that Jesus was the Messiah. Are we willing to take the same risk Jesus took with Judas? Hmmmm
Compel With Humor and a Merry Heart
Humor often breaks barriers.
2 Chronicles 7:10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
Do you send people away merry of heart? Or, are you all about Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and the latest conspiracy of wicked men on high?
Psalms 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
How do we establish the just by morbid conversation? The best way to get a reputation that is attractive is to have a merry heart. I find that when I cultivate a merry heart and show it in the check out line at WalMart, I often leave people smiling or laughing. Later, when I go back another day, they smile as I roll my shopping cart up. Ain't that peculiar?
Also, I find a merry heart is good for me when I am down.
Psalms 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
I may not feel very merry as I go here and there in the market place, but if I force it a bit, people are charmed, and my own burdens seem lighter. Try to smile and be mad at the same time. Go on, try it. It does not work.
So, do you spend hours with your friends hashing over the latest wickedness of men in high places, or do you have a merry heart and then move on to talk about Jesus?
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Make Christ Attractive
Let's not become existential about this. Jesus Christ is attractive with or without me showing it. But, It is clear in the Word of God that Christ choses to be seen by the world in the believer.
Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The mystery of Jesus Christ, unknown in the ages before the Church Age, is made known and proven by his presence in the believer. The Jew in the Old Testament era looked forward to the coming of messiah, but the whole world now sees Christ the Messiah in the believer. If the lost cannot see Christ in his Church, that is, in Christians, then they may never see Christ at all. You may argue that they can see Christ in the Word of God, and there is truth to that. But, the above Bible text goes much further than to expect the world to find a Bible and see Christ in a vacuum of social interaction.
1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
So, do your friends see Jesus in You? Do your unsaved friends ask you about your faith as if they see you are different?
Take a break and think. Mentally list methods that you employ to make people crave what you have- Jesus Christ. Next, list failures when it comes to showing Christ to your friends or family.
Do you make Jesus beautiful to your friends?
When I pastored a country church in Michigan I realized I had no rapport with some of the men in the extended families of kids and ladies attending our church.
I recalled how my Dad, when he was pastoring in the river bottom of the Canadian River in Oklahoma, would head for the general story about every other day. Dad would join the men on the porch of Bolen's General Store and just talk. These were mostly older men with time to sit and whittle and spin yarns about days past.
Dad voted in 1948 when Harry Truman won the election against Thomas Dewey. In those days in Oklahoma a man could vote on behalf himself and his wife, and Dad voted Republican. Later, one day when Dad went down to the general store, the old timers told him, "Preacher, we found out that there were only two Republican votes in our precinct. Do you have any idea who they might be?" My Dad told them it must have been his and Mom's votes. The old timers got an empty nail keg from the back of the store, sat it on the porch, and told Dad that the nail keg was for the only Republican in town. These men were pranksters, so Dad knew this was all in fun. I would love to have that nail keg for the memories.
As time passed Dad became deeply respected in the community. The reason was that Dad, a city boy from Los Angeles, immersed himself in country life. He hunted rabbits in the winter, trapped them in the summer, and Dad helped farmers in the area shuck and shell their corn. Many farmers still used hand operated machines to do these tasks.
Dad's zeal to bear burdens resulted in a farmer sharing a fresh milk cow with us, and Dad was often invited to join a group helping a farmer butcher and dress hogs. Dad always came home with a load of home made sausage or a ham. My Dad was generous with his time, and his friends kept us from starving.
Back to the good old boys in the community were I pastored in Michigan. I found out that most of them spent time every day sitting around the big round table at the Hill Top Cafe in Bailey. So, early in the morning, one day a week, I got on my woodsman's hat and old flannel shirt, and I climbed into my old beater Plymouth Valiant. It was red, but the doors were black. The salt they spread on the roads in winter had rusted the doors so badly that I found four good doors from a black Valiant. Next to the old beater farm trucks at the Hill Top Cafe my Valiant fit right in.
The first time I walked into the Hill Top Cafe several of the old timers recognized me and said hello. For a couple of weeks I sat in a side booth. I knew I had to be invited to the round table. That is country cafe protocol. I once saw a salesman come into the cafe, get his coffee, and sit down at the round table with the old timers. They all went dead silent, stared at their cups, and the poor salesman had a lonely time that morning.
About the third week I had been drawn into conversation some, but I was still in a side booth. On a later visit, Frank Hall said, "Come on over here preacher so we don't have to break our necks talking to you." That was a landmark day, for I felt, like my Dad, that I had to be the friend to men I wanted to reach for Christ. But, I want to tell you something-- those men were not just opportunities for Christ-- they WERE my friends. There was no better place to learn how to coon hunt, raise carrots, or change your own alternator on your car. I also heard who was sick, who was getting a divorce, and why some farmer was going bankrupt. These facts turned into real opportunities for Christ.Your brother in Christ will never be a really close friend to you until you pick up his burden and carry it from time to time. And, you have to make time, any time, for your friends if you want to be of any use to them.
Appeal to Emotions
Emotions are not evil when the truth rules their use. Jesus used emotions:
Jesus lingered when told his friend Lazarus was severely sick. Why?
John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
Many people later wondered why Jesus did not come rushing to see Lazarus and heal him. He allowed Mary and Martha, and all Lazarus neighbors, to go through the death and burial emotions so that a more exalting and historic emotion would set them in awe of Jesus' ultimate power..... power over death. After his resurrection they would again have that same emotional experience when he appeared to them in the upper room and said, "Shalom".
Do not be fearful to appeal to the emotions of people you love and minister to. But, again, it better be in the model of Jesus Christ. If not, you are a brute and a wretch. Be thoughtful, and ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.
What is the standard?
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Why the "fear and trembling"? Answer: We must fear giving way to the temptation of vanity and self-exaltation. Do you recall the discussion of "cool"? If you really want your friend to follow Jesus, then you will avoid every temptation to wonder how your friend feels about you. You will only wonder if your friend is becoming more like Jesus.
Most pastors and Christian leaders today are self-possessed, though they will all claim they are not. One way to find a Christian leader who is really a good friend will be by his virtual hate for introductions and flattery. The other way will be that a real friend who leads in Christ will gravitate to plain people who appear to need something. Lonely Christians stay lonely as long as they stay in the company of "cool" Christian leaders and narcissist pastors. This is an epidemic in the modern world.
I figured out Jack Hyles, not by the gossip about his behavior with the ladies, but by watching him in person. He glowed as the introduction of him dragged on and on. And, when we broke for lunch, he gathered around him the power people of the Baptist fellowship in the area while the little people stood afar off. He flunked. He would never be my friend, leader, or point of reference.
Tell a Story
God made men to learn by stories. In the Bible they are called parables. In the Greek, Para ballo-- "throw along side." If you want ladies to learn, teach them. God made ladies to take truth in at face value. Men are skeptics, and they need reinforcement to learn. This is why Jesus used parables to teach everything.
Mark 4:34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
This is why men gossip worse than women when there are only men present. They thrive on stories, and the best story teller commands respect. I live in Texas, and the art of story telling is correctly assigned to Texans. Texans do not exactly add to stories or make them up, but they have been known to improve on a story somewhat. In old Texas they called it "stretching the blanket."
By telling stories I am not suggesting you share your past sins and wickedness. Those are forgiven, and they are not good for teaching. When some famous Amos comes to your church, and he bases his teaching on his testimony of evil and crime before his conversion, that man is not a Bible teacher. He is simply a celebrity preying on Christendom, and he is too lazy to get up some real Bible teaching.
We may talk about blunders or mistakes we made when trying to do right and please God. Those are very useful as teaching points. We also may tell about life situations and how someone got through them, anything from training a dog to getting out of a snow bank to confronting a trouble maker.
If you men got this far in this article, and I confess that it is long, you got here because my stories kept you reading for more. Come on, now, admit it. :-)
Here is how story telling works, and this is a true one:
When I was in about ninth grade and growing up on the missionfield, I would go home, and return to school, three times a year. This was the British system in which we were at school three months and home one, and this was repeated three times a year. This way we got to be a home with our parents more often.
I was scheduled to leave on the lake steamer to cross Lake Victoria and go on by train to school and another school term. There were about twenty-five of us missionaries' kids leaving by ship that evening. I decided to break up the sorrow of the moment by going to the African market and buying a whole stalk of bananas to give to the kids after we all waved good-bye to our parents, some of us having to work hard not to cry.
I walked to the open air African market where bananas were sold. I had only about five shillings, and I knew a stalk of bananas would cost me around seven shillings. I figured I would bargain in Swahili and plead for mercy, and maybe I could pull it off. When I started bargaining with various African merchants the price was stuck-- seven shillings was the best I could do.
As I wandered through the market I spotted a huge stalk of bananas with monster bananas. I asked the price-- three shillings. That was an astounding bargain. I figured the guy was desperate to make a sale. I bought the stalk and staggered off down the road carrying the bananas on my shoulder. It was a long walk back to the mission compound.
I was wheezing and sore by the time I walked up the drive to the mission buildings. But, I was very satisfied with myself because I knew I would be famous (as in cool) later when the lake steamer left port and I shared the bananas with the other kids. My, my, I could hear all the nice things they would say about me.
Several missionary men and my Dad were standing in front of the mission headquarters talking and killing time. They looked at me and stopped talking. I figured they were admiring my acquisition, and I was about to announce the bargain of the hour I had managed to cop off of the African merchant. Then my day of glory was destroyed when one of the men asked, "Steve, what are you going to do with those plantains?"
Plantains! I had never been shown the difference in appearance between bananas and plantains, but I knew the difference in flavor-- I knew what plantains tasted like. If you want a cheap substitute for potatoes, something starchy but totally bland and tasteless-- sort of like Styrofoam but with less flavor than Styrofoam, you would like plantains. I walked around to the kitchen of the mission guest house and donated the plantains to the African cook. He probably fed them to his goats.
What did that story have to do with this discussion?
Almost nothing, but you men read it, right? I proved you men NEED stories, and you will be much more useful to your friend if you learn to illustrate serious discussions by telling stories that go along side the truth and illustrate it from daily life. And, you Dads, you MUST use parables and stories to teach your kids. Kids love stories.
There is a moral though to my story above, and some of you already know it. I was trying to be the cool kid on the poop deck of the lake steamer, but God wanted me humbled. I have thought of that experience many times over my years when I was waxing eloquent trying to be the life of the party. God can really mess with our pride if we don't get it under control.
One final thought here. Reformed preachers often teach with great eloquence, using big words and complicated theological reasoning to prove one thing-- they have a degree from some Seminary in their hip pocket. So what? Martin Luther, father of the Reformation, told his disciples that there are three steps to good Bible preaching and teaching--
Read the Word of God distinctly,
Explain what it means by what it says, and
Illustrate it from daily life.
The most worthless preaching on earth comes from a preacher who reads long quotes from John Gill or John Calvin instead of using parables.
See if you can finish this story:
Is your preaching and teaching a lot of disconnected dry bones? You better get your act together if you are guilty.
I shall lead by example here-- share them.
I am not talking about some contrived nonsense like the story I heard from a Charismatic side show in which everyone was trying to one-up the others. The story that is typical of these fiction events was when this preacher claimed that God filled the tank on his Volks Wagon with gas because he forgot to fill it. Or, the flaming fool who said his toilet clogged one morning, and he was all befuddled trying to get ready to go forth and lay hands on arthritics. He began to agitate himself about his lack of faith, and suddenly-- taa daa-- he reached over and flushed the toilet, and it flushed splendidly. Bah! It had soaked for a while, and typically that causes the clog to dissolve and to flush.
So, here is a a miracle to show you how to help a friend for real when God enters in a special way:
When I was growing up in Africa, our family lived for a while in a large town named Mwanza, and my parents managed a mission guest house. These places were found all over Africa and India with larger missions. They were there for the missionaries to come and buy up supplies for the coming year and hang around to find fellowship and charge their batteries spiritually with fellow missionaries.
I was walking from the guest house up the hill to visit another missionary kid, and I passed by Mother Sewalka's little cottage. Mother Sewalka was in her nineties and widowed. She and her husband had been pioneers in the mission work in Tanganyika, and she refused to retire to the USA in her old age. She was in good enough health, so the mission allowed her to retire on the field. She kept very busy though proof reading literature printed in African languages she knew.
As I came up the path by her house it had just stopped raining-- a short cloud burst. Mother Sewalka came hustling out of her house and called to me. I had my sling shot hidden well-- she hated us boys to shoot at birds-- so I knew she was not going to scold me for that. She told me, "God just did something special for me, and I want to tell someone so that I give God the glory."
She said she had just done a load of laundry and hung it out to dry, and then she returned to some proof reading and was on a short deadline to get it to the print shop. She saw the storm coming, and she told the Lord she did not have time to run out and take the laundry off the line. She kept working, the storm came and passed, and now she pointed to her laundry. I was maybe 14 years old, but I still remember being awe struck. It had rained heavily all around the area, but the ground under the laundry on the clothes line was bone dry.
Mother Sewalka did not wait to tell this miracle to some mission patriarch, and she did not save it for some meeting where people would make a big fuss over it. Mother Sewalka did two things that day. First, she trusted God, and a miracle was done so she could keep serving the Lord as she desired. Second, but more important to me, she let me feel like Mother Sewalka, God, and I had that moment all to ourselves. I felt like God let me in on something priceless, and so it was. I also learned that giving God the glory was part of any miracle.
Did this change my perspective as to my belief that Jesus actually did miracles in Galilee? No-- I believed that. But, God was showing me that he still does miracles from time to time for his children.
You see, God does not necessarily heal everyone who asks him for healing. God does not promise that Christians will not have auto accidents. We pray, and we ask, and God decides what he will do next to glorify himself. So, when you get what you asked for from God, do you at once tell your friend? THAT is why God did the miracle or answered your prayer-- so that he would get the glory.
Now, in the context of being an example to other believers, take inventory. How many small miracles have you experienced but failed to find someone with whom you gave God the glory? That miracle was NOT your private property. Jesus did his miracles so that you could be encouraged by them as you read your Bible 2000 years later.
"Pass the power around" is a trendy buzz phrase used by Charismatic gurus. But it can and should be your way of life, to give God the glory for his works, but not by roaring "heal" at some hapless victim. The power of God is passed around as you and I exalt him by sharing his mighty acts of power with some saint or friend in Christ who is limping along having a faith crisis. If you don't share your blessings with your friends, tell me, what kind of friend are you anyway?
Law of Attraction:
The world talks about positive visualizing, and mega church preachers peddle this heresy. You cannot force the world to come your way by getting a mental picture of it any more than I can get a Bentley Continental GT sports car by holding my hand on the monitor as I watch one roar along on YouTube. If you want to try this Benny Hinn hocus pocus trick, the video of the Bentley is HERE.
Joel Osteen is the most potent servant of Satan right now who teaches people to make themselves over by visualizing what they want to be.
What does God say?
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
You just cannot drag good things, indeed life changing things, out of your imagination. That is like trying to fish pearls out of a sewer. Anything good that comes to the life of a Bible believer comes from OUTSIDE of that believer.
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
So, all of the issues of Christian victory we have discussed above are not cultivated as acts of your will or by jerking hard on your boot straps. Any way in which your life is attractive to your friends, or sinners you meet and work with, must be a product of the work of the Holy Spirit in you.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
But, is it biblical to attract people to you for a good purpose?
Yes, but who gets the glory when they come? It sure better be Jesus Christ because if you are getting anything right it is only because the Lord Jesus took residence in you long ago, and he wants to be known through you.
And I am not talking about this false "Praise Jesus" hollered at the masses in faith healing rallies. Those hucksters of the emotional rush praise Jesus only when it helps hypnotize the audience so they will give more when the offering is taken.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
If you can attract someone to Jesus, in such a way that Jesus Christ gets ALL the credit, go for it. In fact, you better be doing this. You may be the only way your friends in Christ learn what Christian victory looks like.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Men WILL see Jesus in you if you are all about Jesus instead of yourself. This is how Jesus has chosen to make himself known to men, and to your friends.
I was in boarding school in Kenya when my parents were missionaries in Africa. I was in ninth grade, and several pals and I were assigned, as our dorm room, the "corner room" over the school office. I went to open the window one day, I grabbed with two hands, and I jerked it all the way open. When it hit the top, two scorpions dropped down onto the window sill. There had been one on either side of my right hand when I grabbed it. I jumped back, but that was a pointless gesture.
Is God really in the details? I am sure he is, but every once in a while God is watching us, and he decides that we are not as aware of his care for us as we once were. So, he arranges a little surprise to remind us he is there. It is almost like God has a bit of a sense of humor in this sort of thing.
Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Does it seem a bit extreme that God numbers your hairs? Knowing that God is omniscient and all powerful, it is no effort to God to simply KNOW the smallest details. But, arranging for me to grab a window precisely between two hibernating scorpions-- that is attention to detail the I can grab hold of. Sorry about the pun-- it sort of fell into place.
And, in being an example to a brother, you may really lift him up in the faith by being a surprise from God in something you say or do. I am not suggesting you plan surprises in the flesh. I have known men who do that, and I avoided them because I felt like they were playing God. But, I do encourage you to drop in on your friends or show up when you know they may be weak or discouraged. There is something true about the statement that God is in the details. Nothing done in Jesus name is wasted. It may look like it went nowhere, but God is doing his work, and you are part of the plan for your friends in Christ.
Pastor Landis pastored the Weslyan Methodist Church about three miles from the church I pastored in Michigan. We had gotten to know one another and share Bible issues when I was tuning pianos at his church. One day I was in my garden working, and Pastor Landis was driving by and stopped. I went out to his car to visit for a while, and he asked, "Steve, how are things going, brother?" He may have sensed that I was troubled. I tried to put a good face on things, but then I mentioned several things happening with families in the church I pastored. Then, I looked at him, and he was crying. My troubles were actually very terrible, and being a pastor, he knew very well that I was having a horrible time dealing with them. I knew he was a tender hearted man, but his tears for me made me realize that I had a lot closer friend in Christ, in him, than I had ever imagined.
Pastor Landis prayed for me with a sense of being deeply burdened for me. That surprise visit, which by the way, was a classic case of him hacking his schedule, is a priceless memory to me. Also, his prayer for me was answered over time.
Don't just sit and wait for God to surprise YOU. Try to BE a surprise to a saint you know and love.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Is that possible?
I have to understand this to mean all the saintsI know. But, I want to talk to you about your close friends and family. Do they even come to mind throughout your day? We love and enjoy our friends and family when we are with them. I don't question that.
So, when you just had a close call in traffic, do you think of a brother or sister in Christ who may be in traffic right now just like you are? When a coworker lies to you or makes a suggestive sexual pass, and after the victory is won, do you think, and then pray, "Lord, Bill works with a bunch of sexually perverted women-- please help Bill survive the way you help me."
How about making a list, a short one, of your close friends, and pray through them on lunch break? Post them by first name, and put them on your computer at work or at home. And, let them see it so they know you are in the battle with them.
And, when you said, "I will pray with you about that, DO YOU? It is a comforting thing to say such things, but the proof of the thing, and the real comfort to your friend, will be when you meet him next time and say, "Bill, how is the problem going with your son? How should I be praying?"
I want to deal briefly with something I get quite often. As a piano tuner I was in thousands of homes over my 30+ years of tuning. When some people would learn I also pastored a church, they might say, "Please pray for me. I have a son who is into drugs.....," or all sorts of other personal issues. I knew these people were mostly unsaved, but many unsaved people, when they get to the absolute limit of a horrible life issue, crave help from God. Being unsaved, they don't believe God will hear them. But, when a pastor is present, one they feel they can trust, they suddenly ask for prayer.
What should we do with this?
I tell them I will pray, but I then tell them, "Look, let's just pray about this right now." If they seem pleased, I do just that, and with sincere intentions. While they are not saved, I am, and since God is not willing that any should perish, I can pray for them to receive the Gospel in Jesus Christ after I pray that God will help them with their problem. God makes it rain on the wicked, so why would he not do good to a sinner if it could draw them on to seek Christ also?
If they get all nervous when I suggest we pray at once, I assume they were not serious, just trying to act out some form of piety.
But, on a few occasions I have finished my prayer, and when I looked up they were crying. One man told me, "No one has ever prayed for me like that" through his tears.
Prayer is not an event.
Prayer is an ALL thing that fits ALL the time for ALL occasions.
Only our limited notion of what prayer is can limit the power of prayer.
I hope you do not feel like I have been hammering you too much. My motive here is to help you be the best friend you can be to your few personal friends. Most men, I am told, only have eight really close friends in their whole life.
I know some church house guru will piously claim you should be spreading yourself all over town, but just look at the example of Jesus. He had twelve close friends, and then one of them betrayed him. When you look at the powerful way in which those eleven friends of Christ turned the world upside down after Jesus' return to heaven, then you can see the value of pouring yourself into a few friends. Stop trying to herd hundreds into victory. Spend your life on those few friends God has given you.
And, this is obvious, your first friends are your spouse and your kids, right?
Now, please go back and read down all the paragraph titles. Highlight three or four that really moved you. Pick one from that short list, and make yourself a stick up note and stick it where you will be reminded that you want to change your way of life with your friends. Use some code words so that only you and God know what it means. Later, add another stick up note. Do not try to do all the things in this article at once.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Now, go do the right thing.
I wanted to find this hymn which I love and would fit this article on being a good friend.
I went through 400 listings on Google videos looking for the hymn "There's Not a Friend like the Lowly Jesus." I found only Black Churches jiving it, mega church sex pots night clubbing it, and Hollywood flakes ruining it.
What makes White race Bible believers avoid this hymn? I was greatly agitated by this discovery. I read the lyrics carefully. Do they have some poor doctrine? No, that's not it.
The only thing I can conclude is that the White race Fundamental Baptist and Bible believing churches do not want Jesus as a friend that much, at least not the lowly Jesus. Why? This scares me folks, and I cannot figure it out. So, here are some Black Christians singing it, and then a men's group in Kenya singing it in Swahili.
If you don't understand the hymn, maybe you could go live on the south side
of Chicago for a couple of months
That should make the message clear.
End of video
End of video
Maybe the reason you and I, we White theological masters of Churchianity, are such lousy friends to other Christians is because we just don't want Jesus to be that close to us. So, we get used to going it alone without close friends. And, the last friend is the doctor who prescribes us the Valium. Huh? Is that IT?
Or is Jesus too lowly for the White race? They want a macho Jesus !!!!!
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Here are the lyrics of the hymn:
There's not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one
None else could heal all our souls’ diseases:
No, not one! no, not one!
Jesus knows all about our struggles
He will guide ’til the day is done:
There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one!
No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! no, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! no, not one!
There's not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! no, not one!
No night so dark, but His love can't cheer us,
No, not one! no, not one!
Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?
No, not one! no, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
No, not one! no, not one!
Was e'er a gift like the Savior given?
No, not one! no, not one!
Will He refuse us the bliss of heaven?
No, not one! no, not one!