Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Hippocratic Oath

Did you spot the changes in the oath from its ancient origins? Take a look at these two sentences and see what you think.

I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion.

There are two recent changes to the oath that has stood unchanged, as far as I know for 2000 years. What has happened that is so urgent, important and critical to health care that this covenant of agreement had to be changed?

Two movements by special interests are at the root of the changes.

1. The movement to promote what is called, "assisted suicide". There are some politicians and Doctors who want to kill people instead of heal them. Dr. Jack Kevorkian is the best known for being called "Dr. Death" but he is not alone.

2. The second is the abortion movement. The right to kill one's child as long as it is attached to the mother in any physical manner. It is called "The Womens' Rights Movement" but no woman in the womb has ever been asked permission to take her life.
In fact, there are video tapes of women in the womb trying to escape from the Doctors of Death who are trying to kill them.

Several years ago I wanted to do some simple research on The Hippocratic Oath so I went online to read what was said in Microsoft's encyclopedia. I was shocked to find it had a new, "updated version that did not include the two phrases above that forbids suicide and abortion by Doctors. They said the Oath as written was the original but they lied to deceive the public. I contacted Microsoft and they changed it to the original.

We need to always be vigilant and watch out for any and all changes to the Bible and other ancient texts that have guided our social interactions for decades. Every one of these changes has had a detrimental effect on individuals and society because they devalue the sanctity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spiritual Interventions

We need to carefully approach an intervention. Make sure whatever we do is:

1.Congruent with their worldview, beliefs, values, preferences and practices. Some groups may not think it is appropriate for anyone other than a priest or pastor to pray for them.
2.Reduces anxiety and produces peace. A positive effect requires that the Seeker is peaceful.
3.Sufficient time to integrate experience into thinking and recovery. We must not open up a serious spiritual issue unless there is enough time to bring it to a place of significant closure. We can always do it when we have more time.
4.Mobilizes their support system. We need to take care not to urge the Seeker to engage in behavior that is contrary to his family and church support.
5.Offers hope for the future. Increasing faith and hope develops good aftercare.
6.Reduces guilt, shame and condemnation. Guilt and shame destroy recovery.
7.Consistent with the patient’s motivational level. Ask for permission to pray, offer scripture or make any other intervention.
8.Mobilizes positive belief and faith. Encourage Seekers to believe that hope and change is possible.
9. Is biblical
10. Is gentle

Go to for more information.

Asking Good Spiritual Questions

A Seeker's beliefs are critical to his/her ability to receive our care and counsel. Every person to whom we offer assistance needs to be respectfully asked about his/her faith, support system, and extra medical interventions. Most of the people who come to us know our commitment to God’s love and truth.

Research indicates that there are four factors leading to a successful outcome in therapy.

• A therapeutic intervention like medicine, advice, or insight. (15% of the outcome)
• Hope and trust in the therapist and her techniques. (15% of the outcome)
• The caring relationship between the therapist and client. (30% of the outcome)
• The client’s motivational level and his support system. (40% of the outcome)

Only 15% of successful outcomes are the result of counseling or medical techniques. A Seeker's trust in us is as important as the therapist’s intervention.

Secondly, the relationship of Genuineness, Respect, Empathy and Warmth between Helper and Seeker is twice as important as the intervention.

Third, the Seeker’s motivational level and support system, including her church, is almost three times as important as the therapist’s techniques.

By carefully analyzing the Seeker’s beliefs about faith we can more successfully enhance all four factors.

1. We know how to pray and suggest spiritual activities.

2. We build the Helper’s trust in us and our interventions and promote the placebo effect.

3. We show respect, warmth, empathy and genuine concern by asking good questions.

4. We tap into the client’s level of motivation and religious support system.

Use the acrostic FAITH to guide the interview.

F: Faith: Do you have faith in God, a higher power or something that encourages you to believe? How would you describe it? How often do you practice your faith?

A: Asking for an intervention. Have you or would you Ask for healing, health or assistance in your struggle with this illness? How do you do that?

I: Interacting with a community of faith? Do you attend services, a small group or a mentor? How often? Do you find it helpful? What is not helpful?

T: Trust in God’s love? Do you relate this problem with punishment or guilt? Are you trusting in God to be with you during this time or anxious about His presence?

H: How do you want us to relate to your faith and spiritual practices? Prayers? Materials? Advice?

Discernment and Action for Christ

Many of us are in professions where we are called upon to facilitate healing, growth and change. People come to us for advice, wisdom, counsel or consultation and we wonder how best to open the door of conversation to the things of God. There are four different outcomes to saying or doing something supernatural.

As we listen to people in need there are many things that we could do. We could preach, pray, quote the Bible, aggressively move into spiritual warfare or tell the person to repent. Before we choose to do any of these or other interventions we need to discern where the person is in his/her readiness to accept and cooperate with the Holy Spirit and with us.

Timing is also critically important to our success as a Helper. The interaction of a Helper and a Seeker goes through several stages of development. A Seeker will not likely accept or act upon our ideas and prayers unless he/she trusts us. We could call a person to repent of his sin as soon as we meet them but that would probably not be a good thing to do so quickly. In fact, in Luke 10: Jesus tells His followers to go into the world and "Pray peace upon the people and houses" as a first step in evangelism.

With those two key points let us look at the four possibilities of influencing a person in need.

Possibility I. We can do the wrong thing at the wrong time. This is the worst outcome. Both the intervention and the timing are poorly chosen. The results will very likely be resistance to God's plan.

Possibility II. The wrong thing at the right time. Perhaps we have listened carefully and understood what the person needs and we are discerning that it is time to speak to the Seeker. However, what we say is off the wall or inappropriate to the situation or person. The outcome will be less than stellar.

Possibility III. The Right thing at the wrong time. When we meet a person who needs Christ and we launch into The Four Spiritual Laws or the Romans Road too soon we may miss God's plan for that person. We can be either too eager or too shy and miss the moment that is just right.

Possibility IV. The right thing at the right time. Here is where it all comes together. You have heard the Seeker out and discerned that the Holy Spirit is telling you to speak and what to say. Timing and content work together to bring God's best for the Seeker.

See my web for more materials and books. Our book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty will give you specific hints to figure out when a Seeker is ready to change.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dreams and Visions

I attended a workshop way back in 1975 where an Episcopal Pastor held up a Bible with holes cut on almost every page. Why would he do that? What was his goal?

The answer is coming later.

I am reproducing a story that comes in a newsletter called Joel News from Holland. It is ma monthly message that reports what God is doing around the world. Take a look at it.

Dear reader,

In Tehran, the capital of Iran, thousands of Muslims have become Jesus followers over the last months. They gather illegally in house churches. This is reported by Iranian pastor Mahim Mousapour, living in exile in Germany. Iranian friends have told her that Jesus appeared to people in dreams, and in a number of cases sick people were surprisingly healed.

The new believers in Iran take courage and speak about their faith more publicly. Mousapour estimates that in Tehran alone there are now more than 100,000 Christians. At the same time, the oppression is increasing. Muslims who confess Jesus are arrested and tortured without any reason. Some of them are missing without a trace.

Over the past months many readers ordered the DVD 'More Than Dreams' with real stories of Muslims who met Jesus in dreams and visions. One of these is Khosrow, an Iranian teenager, who described his experience vividly as "waves of electricity flowed through my body over and over again. I wept for the first time since I was a child and joy filled my heart."

We still have a number of DVDs left and your donation will help us support the work in the Middle East. More information:

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Marc van der Woude

This is an exciting story that shows some of what God is up to in the Muslim world. It is very encouraging and tells me that God is inviting Himself into the societies controlled by Islam.

Now, back to my story about the Pastor who held up a Bible riddled with holes. He was showing what the Bible would be like if we deleted every passage that mentioned the supernatural in healing, dreams, visions, prophesies, etc. It would shrink by least 1/3.

The move in America and Western Europe is to aggressively attack and oppressively hold down the Supernatural aspects of Christianity. When we Christians lay down and go along with the secularists we are agreeing with a greatly reduced Biblical message.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Peace Makers

This is a blog about healing, growth and sanctification. One of the most important aspects of healing is making peace with one's enemies. Hebrews 12: tells us about the consequences of refusing to forgive.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 "Make level paths for your feet,"[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Being in conflict and bitterness with others keeps us from being holy and that prevents us from hearing God or experiencing Him personally.

15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

How do we "miss the grace of God"? By requiring justice. Justice demands that people get what they deserve. Do you come to God and demand that He give you justice? I do not. I always ask for Mercy and Grace. God's mercy removes Justice or what we deserve. Grace gives us what we do not deserve.

If you demand that God delivers Justice to your enemies you plant seeds of bitterness that will bloom throughout your lif and the lives of your offspring.

Bitterness toward others is like drinking rat poison yourself in an attempt to kill the rats.

Go to my web page at and download a great paper about making peace from the "Downloads page".

Prayer for Healing

While I was walking down the hall to see my mother in law, I heard a voice say, "Hello Gary. How are you today?"

I stopped and turned toward the voice and saw a lady who was in our church many years ago. She looked sad and down. I responded, "Hello, Eve, How are you doing?'

She started to cry and said, "Oh, I am not doing well. In fact, I am doing really badly. Did you know that Joe died last month? I just miss him so much."

I listened to her as I placed my arm around her shoulders and said "Hello" to her youngest daughter. She talked for a minute or so and asked if I had a Counselor to recommend to her for depression. We chatted on for a few minutes and I asked if I could pray for her. She quickly agreed that she wanted me to pray for her and I lifted up my voice to God right there in the hallway.

Through tears of grief mixed with relief Eve said, "You prayed for me to be healed many years ago and I was healed. Do you remember that?'

I tried to remember that event but we prayed for hundreds of people every month so I was a blank. I said "goodbye" to her and her daughter and walked on down the hallway feeling so blessed that we can go to the Lord in prayer any time and any place. And, I rejoiced in the fact that my friend had faith to believe because God had touched her life once before.

You can call on the Lord for any issue or any concern with or without a Clergyman or Priest to speak for you. God is present 24 hours each day 7 days each week. Although God may not answer your request exactly like you want, He will answer it. God had touched Eve and healed her knee as she had asked and I am sure He gave her some relief last week when we prayed again.

Whey is there so little prayer for people in need? How often do you read a blog that says, "I prayed for a person in pain"? It is rare because prayer for people is rare. In fact, some churches and clergy teach that God no longer answers our prayers so don't even try it. Others say that only clergy are allowed to pray and then in a "holy place". These are excuses and pretty pitiful ones at that.

I often carry my anointing oil with me in a brief case. Since I was visiting my mother in law that day I failed to carry the oil. However, I did not allow that to keep me from taking her care to God in prayer. Nor did I allow the fact that we were in the public hallway keep me from praying.

Be bold. Be fervent in the spirit and take the initiative. Pray for people.
Minister in the Holy Spirit.

Show God's love in practical ways and see if He won't show up.

Go to Sweeten Life web page for more on these ideas.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Healing and Love

Sunday afternoon we stopped over at the Mason Christian Village to visit my Mother in Law, age 94. Hazel and I have been partners in Pinochle for over 48 years. I know how long it has been because Karen and I started dating close to 49 year ago. In fact, our first date was May 6, 1961.

Hazel and I had spent an afternoon defending our spectacular record of beating Karen and her sister Toni some 46 of those 49 years. Here is the problem; at age 94 Hazel can barely remember the trump suit let alone how to bid and play.

But we played and had loads of fun despite the fact that we lost every hand. We laughed and kidded around and talked about the old days. Hazel, who has an inoperable disease, was almost like her old self and perked up all day without a nap. Yes, being together in warmth, and love had a very positive impact on her.

At 94 Hazel is not going to be cured but she can be healed substantially. Nothing cures old age but faith, hope and love can bring a person new joy and energy. That is exactly what happened to Hazel. She normally sleeps many hours each day but with us there she took no nap and was mentally alert all afternoon and even attended church that night.

Sharing life together in the joy of the Lord can have wonderful effects. It is free, easy to do and can be entered into with little or no preparation. Many people spend their lives in desperate isolation. They need someone to stop by and say hello or play a game of gin rummy. We don't need special training or deep religious understanding to be a vessel of God's love, grace and mercy.

These three remain; faith, hope and love but the greatest is love. I CO 13:13.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great Service at Church

When I am not traveling or teaching on Sundays I can be found at The Dwelling Place congregation in Loveland, Ohio just outside Cincinnati. This little fellowship has been meeting since the Jesus Movement brought a group together out of sin and pain in the Seventies.

The congregation back then looked around and saw that it was dying. The ten to twelve members were in their Sixties and Seventies and saw the hand writing on the wall about sustainability. They approached the thirty or so members of a Bible study that met there and asked if they would like to have the building. The groups decided to pray about it and, after some time, agreed to accept that generous offer.

The church is still very much like it was Forty years ago. Then it was a small number of young men and women who were sold out to Jesus and who came together to study the Bible, love God and each other and help the poor and needy. Rich Femia was a member of the fellowship then and he is Pastor now. He has grown a lot but the style of the fellowship is still intensely Bible and Holy Spirit focused.

I am never present at Dwelling Place without being blessed. The teachings, the fellowship, the attitude of the leaders and the people and with the presence of God in worship, prayer and study are always real and relevant. Today we studied Romans 12:11 sent out in advance by Pastor Rich. He asked us to study the passage before we go there and bring a Bible and so we would be ready to share our insights. The focus of that verse is: "Be fervent in spirit."

We were fervent in our discussion. It was a great time of sharing and insight. About half of the crowd of twenty or so came ready to talk about what God had led them to see in the preparation. It was respectful open, challenging and insightful. I liked it a lot. I have never been in a Sunday morning service like that before. I imagine it was much like the early church.

Karen and I had to leave before the group got to some serious worship but I am sure the Holy Spirit was invited to inspire, lead and speak to the gathered hearts. It was healing, growth producing and convicting. Just what I needed.

The Medical System is Broken

Is it? When we travel to other countries it doesn't look bad at all. In fact, most wealthy and famous people almost always choose to come to the USA for medical care from their home nations. Ken Blackwell writes about this in his recent post on the Huffington Post.

Blackwell points out that "World famous tenor Plácido Domingo has undergone surgery for the removal of a cancerous polyp. The surgery took place at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. The hospital's spokeswoman announced that the cancerous growth was small and the opera star is expected to make a full recovery."

Despite the fact that Mr.Domingo is a millionaire man from Spain he came to America for medical care. Why did he not stay in Spain or go to the countries with the supposedly vaunted Socialist medical care such as Norway, Denmark, England? Why not Canada? Well, even the Canadians who head their health care system come to America for treatment.

American health care can be improved. It can be made less expensive. The insurance issues can be made more efficient and human. But those are things that need to be accomplished in small steps not by a take over by the Federal Government.

We are just finishing up a year long study of families with severely disabled children. One of their greatest complaints was the bureaucracy and lack of compassion they found. That kind of thing can be and needs to be changed. However, adding Federal oversight by the IRS will not reduce the coldness and inhumane treatment. Has anyone ever told you that the IRS is a model of care and compassion?

Medical care in the USA is superior at the technical level to that of any nation on earth, and it can be made better. Let's all work to improve it but not by giving more power to the Feds.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Healing ADD/ADHD

A lot of people struggle with brains that are easily distracted. They are fidgety, restless and can't sit still. Parents are uptight with their messy rooms and seeming inability to listen, teachers are frustrated because they are up and sown and all around the room and society wonders why both parents and teachers don't do a better job of keeping them focused.

There is no "CURE" but medication, training and counseling can be helpful. I also suggest a lot of prayer. (Especially for parents and teachers.)

The Wall Street Journal has a nice article about this problem in adults and I suggest that you read it online.

Who Changed the Hippocratic Oath?

Did Dr. Hasan follow the Oath?

As noted in my last post, the writings of Hippocrates have guided medicine and doctors for two thousand years. He strongly emphasized the notion that medicine is an ethical calling much like religion.

Read the original and see if you can spot the part that was recently removed from the oath traditionally taken by doctors.


I SWEAR by Apollo the physician and AEsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation -- to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others.

I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons labouring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves.

Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.

Do you see any changes in the traditional oath? Is Hippocrates spinning in his grave? What does this mean to medicine? What does it mean to us?
HIPPOCRATES was a Greek Physician whose studies of medicine and ethics have guided us for thousands of years. Below is one of his most famous statements about the importance of helping people who are ill. Note how much strongly he emphasizes the morality and ethics of medicine. Historically medicine has been considered to be a calling much like the ministry. However, with the placing of medicine in the hands of third party payers medicine has lost much of its moral and ethical strength. What will happen when the Federal Government takes it over?

1. Medicine is of all the arts the most noble; but, owing to the ignorance of those who practice it, and of those who, inconsiderately, form a judgment of them, it is at present far behind all the other arts. Their mistake appears to me to arise principally from this, that in the cities there is no punishment connected with the practice of medicine (and with it alone) except disgrace, and that does not hurt those who are familiar with it. Such persons are the figures which are introduced in tragedies, for as they have the shape, and dress, and personal appearance of an actor, but are not actors, so also physicians are many in title but very few in reality.

2. Whoever is to acquire a competent knowledge of medicine, ought to be possessed of the following advantages: a natural disposition; instruction; a favorable position for the study; early tuition; love of labor; leisure. First of all, a natural talent is required; for, when Nature leads the way to what is most excellent, instruction in the art takes place, which the student must try to appropriate to himself by reflection, becoming an early pupil in a place well adapted for instruction. He must also bring to the task a love of labor and perseverance, so that the instruction taking root may bring forth proper and abundant fruits.

3. Instruction in medicine is like the culture of the productions of the earth. For our natural disposition, is, as it were, the soil; the tenets of our teacher are, as it were, the seed; instruction in youth is like the planting of the seed in the ground at the proper season; the place where the instruction is communicated is like the food imparted to vegetables by the atmosphere; diligent study is like the cultivation of the fields; and it is time which imparts strength to all things and brings them to maturity.

4. Having brought all these requisites to the study of medicine, and having acquired a true knowledge of it, we shall thus, in traveling through the cities, be esteemed physicians not only in name but in reality. But inexperience is a bad treasure, and a bad fund to those who possess it, whether in opinion or reality, being devoid of self-reliance and contentedness, and the nurse both of timidity and audacity. For timidity betrays a want of powers, and audacity a lack of skill. They are, indeed, two things, knowledge and opinion, of which the one makes its possessor really to know, the other to be ignorant.

5. Those things which are sacred, are to be imparted only to sacred persons; and it is not lawful to impart them to the profane until they have been initiated into the mysteries of the science.

Autism and Allelluia

My friend and adviser Kathy Bolduc, has written, Autism and Alleluias, a powerful book about rearing a child with Autism. Kathy and her husband along with many other prayer warriors are deeply involved in healing prayer for any person in need. But in this book Kathy follows up on her two former titles to share in story, verse and principles the joys and sorrows of having a child with a severe disability.

Kathy is a wonderful writer along with being a sensitive and jarringly honest reporter. Her books are designed to take us into the depths of her own struggles with life and with seeking God's wisdom as a mother.

If you know someone with a severe, chronic disability then this book will aide you in developing a better understanding of how to care for them more appropriately.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Christianity and Healing

It is no fluke that Jesus was called the Great Physician, and it is no accident of history that every charity hospital in the world can be traced back to Judeo-Christian teachings, philosophy and traditions. Some historians trace the western emphasis on health and healing to famous Greek leaders such as Galen or Hippocrates. However, the primary impetus for the strong healing tradition in the West comes from Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is said to have "Gone about doing good, healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out evil spirits, and raising the dead."

I am a Clinical Counselor by training, but I am deeply interested in the healing ministries of churches. To use the words healing and counseling or therapy is redundant. They each find roots in the same Greek term. To do therapy is to heal, and to heal is a therapeutic act. Each has the same motivation and purpose and is the highest expression of the Christian life. In fact, it is so important that the term salvation also comes from that same root word.

Jesus was called "The Great Physician" yet few churches today have healing ministries or even refer to healing except when they send someone to a Doctor. Why have so many Pastors and churches stopped doing what Jesus did and said to do? I think a major reason comes from the "Secular Humanist World View" that dominates us,including our Pastors and Seminaries.

A Secular Humanist World View believes that: "The universe operates on a uniformity of natural causes is a totally closed system". If I believed that all of life can be explained by natural causes then I too would refuse to pray for the sick, try to evangelize or have hope that God's love can change people.

Why do you think so few of our churches actively pursue healing with prayer?

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

The Trinity

The classic creeds of Christianity have all emphasized the fact that we believe in the Trinity; three Persons and one God. We do not believe in three gods nor do we believe that there is only one name for God and that name is Jesus or The Father.

With the world becoming a global village we in Christian America have seemed to get sloppy about our theology. We seem to place friendship and harmony above clarity and principle. Thus, when we read about or get to know folks from other religions or persuasions who have a very different theology we tend to reduce everything to what we call "love" but is really "like".

I have some good friends who are Muslims. In fact I worked among Muslims in Asia and I "liked" them quite a lot. I "liked" some of them better than I "liked" some of the Christians I knew. But, I did not agree with these Muslims theologically. I agreed to disagree with them and I did disagree in an agreeable manner.

One of our friends confided in my wife Karen that we were different from most Christians. "You will listen to my story and my beliefs but most Christians will not listen to me. They will only talk with me if they can preach about their beliefs." Karen and I listened respectfully to this lady and her colleagues. We continue to have faith in the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. We do not agree with the Muslim's hyper-works approach to salvation.

My Muslim friends treated us with warmth, care, concern and respect. I laughed with them, ate with them and shared counseling ideas with them. But I disagree with them on theology, salvation and healing.

The last lines of my post about "Hiding the Resurrection" was a quote from Matthew 28 that told the story about the Jewish High Priests who tried to cover up the resurrection. They paid some soldiers to say that the Disciples of Jesus came and rolled the stone away and stole His lifeless body. Here is the kicker: "that story is still circulating today" says the Gospel. And, it is told by Muslim scholars and laity all over the world. This is why we must base our faith on truth not whether we like a person or not.

I read a news story recently about a Muslim student who was offended that his diploma from Trinity University had "Year of our Lord" printed on it. He wants it removed. I hope they do not remove that statement. Here is my question: "What does he think the term "TRINITY" means?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hide the Resurrection

Matthew 28

The Resurrection

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Everyone has a different point of view about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. You will remember that not everyone was happy that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Mary and Martha were happy. Many of their neighbors were happy but Judas was not happy. He wanted money.

The Chief Priests were not happy. They wanted power and glory. Not everyone is happy to hear good news.

We have the same kind of thing happening in this story. The followers of Jesus were happy and excited but confused. The women were the first to hear that good news. They told everyone but were not believed. The same is true today. I know the resurrection occurred for it affected me and I can still sing the old hymn: "I serve a risen Savior; He is in the world today. I know that He is living; no matter what men say!"

Read the following passage and see that many of the same characters who wanted to kill Jesus and Lazarus in the first place now wanted to cover up the truth.

The Guards' Report
11While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' 14If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.

And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

This last line reminds me of the resistance of many people today, 2000 years after the resurrection. Some people still do not want to hear good news. They are still trying to hide the fact that Jesus is alive. He is not dead. They may try to hide Jesus but He keeps coming back.

But don't give up. The Holy Spirit is still moving among the people of the world bringing them to Jesus.

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Church Planting in Eastern Europe

I was shocked to hear Peter Dyhr of Denmark say that there are hundreds of new churches being planted in Europe and the Eastern Bloc. Secular Humanism and Communism had about destroyed Christianity in Scandinavia and Europe but God is doing a great work there now.

Peter works for the ECPN - European Church Planting Network and Pastors a new church plant in Copenhagen, Denmark which is a nation filled with dead state churches. Wait until your hear how they are doing it.

Peter works with every denomination and every ethnic group and has them cooperating to share the gospel. It was very exciting to hear what God is doing and Galina Chentsova and I were chatting with him about having the Russian Ministry Liferoute that she heads train the Russian speaking church leaders in the skills of healthy Christian living. The Sweeten Life Systems sponsored Liferoute is very successfuly bringing healing and growth in Russia and Ukraine. Peter wants the same kind of love, healing and growth to occur in the networks he facilitates.

Many of the new churches in Europe are organized around, now get this, Black Gospel Music!!! There are numerous secular groups singing Black Gospel all over Europe so the church planters are following the Spirit and using the music to draw people to Jesus. it is working and the churches are prospering. Praise God!

Remember on this Good Friday that the uprising is coming.