URGENT:Prayers needed for missionary family in Philippines!

Posted: November 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Last night, there was a massacre of people, including women in the Philippines.  The LA Times picked up the story and are reporting at least 30 people dead.  One of the men where I work is close friends with a missionary family there, and here is the email .  Please PLEASE pray for God’s protection for them!  Please pray for the families of those who died, and please pray for those Muslim families to come to the knowledge and belief in Christ so His glory will be known!

Dear praying friends,

We are used to sporadic and senseless violence in the areas where we work.  Last week when I drove to spend time with our underground believers I found out about a looming, politically related conflict between two warring clans in the same Muslim people group.  This morning the unthinkable happened.  To lessen a potentially violent reaction to a candidacy registration, some delegates from one clan sent their women representatives with the hope that the other side wouldn’t harm the ladies.  This morning at approximately 9:30 am, one clan ambushed and kidnapped a contingent of over 40 people on their way to the capitol of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.  No one survived.  The women were raped and beheaded and were members of a prominent and powerful family.  Lawyers, family members, body guards and media personnel were also massacred.

This is only a few kilometers from where we have our oldest and most established ministry!  Presently our staff are hunkered down at our school with my orders to evacuate as soon as possible.  The problem is that it is night and no one can travel safely after dark.  Hopefully there will be public transportation available tomorrow or one of our staff in a nearby city will try to run the gauntlet and pick them up.

For those of you who don’t live here it may be hard to understand the gravity of this situation.  In the culture where this happened revenge is considered a virtue.  Everyone expects an indiscriminate and unprecedented blood bath.  This is worse than the wars and kidnap threats we have endured in the past.  Much, Much worse.

This effects everything.  Our school will probably have to shut down for the rest of the school year.  No parents will send their children to school when by virtue of them being a distant relative of one of the clans become targets of a blood feud.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SAFETY OF THE PGC STAFF AND THE BELIEVERS FROM THIS CULTURE!

PLEASE PRAY FOR WISDOM TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS THAT ARE MOST EFFECTIVE FOR THE SAFETY OF THE PEOPLE AND MINISTRIES WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR.

PLEASE PRAY THAT JUSTICE WILL BE DELIVERED TO THE GUILTY (EVERYONE KNOWS WHO IS BEHIND IT) AND THAT THE INNOCENT WILL BE PROTECTED.

Thank you for standing with us,

Tom


Help! I’m Drowning!

Posted: November 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »
drowning_man_by_the_psycrothic

©2008-2009 ~the-psycrothic

When I was a kid, our family went to Watercountry USA in Willamsburg, VA as part of our vacation.  It was an amazing place full of incredible water rides.  One in particular really got my attention, the wave pool.  It looked like a football field of yellow donuts with people popping out where the jelly should have been.  People were screaming as the waves threw them around and people were being tossed in every direction.

I had to get in on the fun, so I hijacked an empty tube. Well, by hijacked, I mean I jumped as far as I could to try and reach one.  I missed.  What had before appeared to be an awesome time turned into terror as the field of happy faced yellow donuts morphed into a suffocating yellow blanket filled with angry, thrashing legs.

Panic set in as I tried to reach the surface, but I could not escape my prison, and my lungs began to burn.  It’s crazy, but everything became peaceful, and I felt OK.  At that moment, someone pulled me out of the water.  I don’t know who, and I don’t know how, but he did.

And I was safe.  I was saved.  I was coughing a bit, and my lungs still burned, but I was no longer in my desperate, life-threatening situation.  And it felt wonderful.  I still smile, because I never saw the guy who helped me.

Now I think about the world we live in, and how it too is in a desperate place.  It is lost, and searching for some sign of hope; a hand to reach and pull it out of the sea it is drowning in.  They are trying to scream for help, but the water muffles their cries and fills their lungs.  And I look at my life and see that God wants me to be the hand, He wants me to pull as many out water as I can.  And it hurts, because I’m standing at the edge of the pool with my hands in my pockets, thinking of what a great time I am having just being alive.

Church, we need to reach out.  There is a world drowning, and we are to be His hands.  God, that I would be like C.T. Studd and “…run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”

(sorry mom and dad, should have told you when it happened, instead of 23 years after the fact)


Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist ?!

Posted: October 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

This is a recent story from the Barna Group, which does extensive studies on Christianity.  My reaction is , “What are we doing wrong that professing Christians do not believe Satan or the Holy Spirit are REAL?”

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)

Click on the heading to go to the article…

Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist

altApril 10, 2009

A new nationwide survey of adults’ spiritual beliefs, conducted by The Barna Group, suggests that Americans who consider themselves to be Christian have a diverse set of beliefs – but many of those beliefs are contradictory or, at least, inconsistent.

The survey explored beliefs about spiritual beings, the influence of faith on their life, views of the Bible, and reactions to faiths other than their own.


Views on Spiritual Beings

The Barna survey asked questions about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Satan, and demons.

All 1,871 self-described Christians were asked about their perception of God. In total, three-quarters (78%) said he is the “all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who rules the world today.” The remaining one-quarter chose other descriptions of God – depictions that are not consistent with biblical teaching (e.g., everyone is god, god refers to the realization of human potential, etc.).

For the other survey items a four-point opinion scale was used to measure people’s reactions to statements about each spiritual entity.

Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.


Promises, Promises

Posted: September 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NeverGiveUpPromises. As kids, we are taught that promises are to be taken seriously, and so we grow up trying our hardest to keep them.  Maybe it’s because we remember a promise being made to us by a parent or friend that ended up being broken, or maybe we try hard to keep them to avoid causing others disappointment. Maybe it just goes back to “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No’ be no.” (Matt. 5:37)

I think sometimes that we only say “I promise” to the easy stuff.  “I promise, I’ll take out the trash before I leave.” “Tomorrow we’ll go the park, I promise!”  You know, the incidentals.  If the promise isn’t kept, it’s not a big deal.  Maybe that is where our problem started, because it seems today that promises don’t mean much at all.

Maybe the best example is that of the politicians. They make all sorts of promises to get elected, and a majority never come to fruition.  Part of that may be it is not in their sole power to deliver on them, to which I say, “Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.”  To others, I would say, “Don’t make promises you never intend on keeping.”  Either way, it really is setting a bad example.

Maybe more disheartening the example that 50+% of married adults (even Christian adults) make: “Til death do us part.”

I know, I know, crap happens, people “fall” in and out of love.  People change. People fight. People cheat.  The fact remains, a promise was made.  It’s one of the most important promises we can make, yet it is taken so lightly by so many.  If you think I am being harsh, I am, but please keep reading.

I ask a question.  Would you keep a promise, if it meant someone else being uncomfortable?

Like,  “I promise not to smoke any more.”  The chances are, if you make this promise, you will be grumpy for awhile, I know, I have been around plenty of people trying to quit.  But I have patience and tolerate them, because in the end, them keeping their promise is better for their health.  If fact, in their hardship, I even encourage them to keep this promise.

Now, would you keep your promise if it meant hurting someone’s feelings?

Scenario. “I will help you move next weekend.” Here, a promise is made to help someone, but on that day, your kids are not feeling well and your spouse asks you to stay home and help out.  What do you do? Well, you feel sympathetic toward your spouse and children, and you know it may hurt their feelings, and maybe they feel they are not number one for a few hours, but you go and help your friend move.  Why? Because your word is your word, and it sucks sometimes, but you do it.

Moving along, do you keep the promise when it causes harm to yourself?

“I promise to protect my family.”  A robber breaks in, and without hesitation, a man or woman will do whatever necessary to protect their loved ones, even if it costs them their life.  Makes sense right?  One of the most costly to follow through on, but we do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do.

Now the difficult one: Would you keep a promise if it cost the life of your child? I know someone who did.

A man was promised that a nation would be made from his offspring, but to follow through on it, his own child had to die.  The promise was made by God, to Abram, at the cost of Jesus’ life.  Not only did God follow through on the promise, He made the promise knowing what it would cost.

Now I challenge myself and you to keep our word.  Make your yes, yes, and your no, no; especially when it comes to your marriage.  We make mistakes, I know, I have made plenty, but we can’t give up.  I doubt very highly that keeping the promise “Til death do us part” will cost us the physical lives of our children, but it is killing generations in many different ways (broken homes, broken relationships, bitterness, even hatred being passed around like Halloween candy all in the name of “What’s best for the kids” translates to “what is best for me.”).

It’s not easy sometimes, but it’s worth it.  It’s work a lot of the time, but it’s worth it.


To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain

Posted: September 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This is a great bit of audio.  Here is the video from youtube, or if you like, you can follow the link and download the mp3.

Words that hurt so good: “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” John 16:2

Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?   As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.   Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,   Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Download Now! To live is Christ, to die is gain (compilation) by Compilations


The Jonah Effect

Posted: September 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »
Copyright Eric Morris 2006

Copyright Eric Morris 2006

There are a lot of things going on in the United States today, politically speaking (bear with me a minute, this is not a political rant).  It isn’t hard at all to see that our country is at a fork in the road and the vehicle is stalled until we decide on a direction.

In times like these, the opinions on what the problems and solutions are vary, and some who carry them speak louder of it than others.  I have heard that the Obama administration is taking the country to a socialist, Marxist, communist direction, and I have heard many solutions varying from impeachment, to voting out all incumbents in 2010, to outright revolution.

Now, others feel this is a great direction.  There are millions of individuals who need the health care programs being proposed, the programs afforded by the stimulus to help with heating bills and home renovations, and the incentive at a corporate level to be more environmentally responsible.

Regardless of which camp you are in, I offer the following:

There was a man named Jonah, you’ve probably heard of him.  God speaks to the prophet that he is to go to Nineveh, and we know his reaction.   He gets on a boat and heads the opposite direction.  In response, God sends a violent storm and everyone on the ship is afraid that the storm will sink the ship.

Here is the how the rest goes down (Jonah 1).

All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.   But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.   So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”

This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)”

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Let’s bring it into today’s world.

The ship (country) is in troubled water, and people (especially conservatives) are running around screaming, “The sky is falling!”  They are crying out to their gods (representatives, radio talk shows, and the like) “What do we do? Why is this happening?”  all to no avail.  They think they are being punished for some wrong doing of theirs, or those around them, but this is not the case at all.

See, the story is not about them, and it is not about the storm: It is about the saving of a people.

The entire time this storm is going on, where is the prophet?  He is in the bottom of the ship, hiding.

And there it is.  Jonah finally faces the truth that all of this is happening solely because he is not doing what God commissioned him to do.  See, the answer for the men of that ship (and our country) was not to throw the captain (president), crew (congress), or cargo (legislation) overboard.  None of these would stop the storm, and did not cause it.  The only thing that can stop it is the obedience of God’s people. Our problem is, we’re running and hiding in the bottom of the ship still and not recognizing our wrong.

Jonah had to realize his disobedience was the problem, own up to it, and then obey.  Once he decided that he was responsible for the calamity around him, he jumped overboard (died to himself and his own ideals).  Instantly, the storm was gone, and I love this part, “God provided…”  We need to get to that place as believers where we say, “It is our fault that this storm is on you.”

So what is the believer to do in the current political climate?  Obey God’s commissions.  If we simply lived (and I am including myself in all this) as Christ taught, none of these actions the administration is purposing would even be necessary.  God told us to take care of the fatherless and the widows.  He calls the believer to give all to those in need and not to worry about himself.  He calls us to be good stewards of the earth.

As for the health care bit?  Where is the believer in this?  See Matthew 4:23-24 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.”

If we as Christians would stand up and pray for our leaders first, without prejudice, malice, or selfish motivation, that in itself would be a milestone.  Let’s take care of what Jesus called us to do FIRST, and he will calm the storm around us.  The revolution that needs to happen needs to be in the hearts and actions of God’s people.

- mooney


Free Sample?

Posted: August 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

free_sampleWe’ve all been there.  You’re walking through the food court of your local mall, bee-lining it to the restrooms because one of the kids can’t “hold it” any longer, and you hear the words, “Free sample?”  Your thought process stops for a moment and your mouth begins to water as the smell of General Tsao’s chicken hits the back of your tongue.  Your head turns past a smiling lady and your gaze turns toward the tray she is holding.

“Free sample?”

Little Johnny is tugging at your arm, and it is the moment of decision.  What do you do?

At this point, my senses override my child’s pleading to relieve himself and I say, “Sure!”  Now, I have no intention or time to indulge in the delicacies the Flaming Kitten, I mean Wok, but I know a little dab will do for now.  Maybe next time I’ll get the veggie with three meat special, but for now, it’s off to my fatherly duty.

Maybe you find these people annoying and just brush by them in annoyance.  But you know, they really don’t mind it.  It’s a time proven effective way to generate sales: Get the product before as many people as possible. Some will buy, some will not.  The number of people that buy will go up exponentially however, if you you can get them to taste its savory goodness.

What is this all about?  The gospel.

In Matthew 4, Jesus tell his potential followers, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Most of my life that translated as, “Let’s go catch some people.”  Intriguing, right?  But how do we do it?

Most of today’s literature would suggest that you become good friends with someone, then over time share the gospel with them.  Honestly though, if you are a Christian, how many non-church friends do you really have, and of those how many do you actively try to tell the good news too?

I think this is a flawed method, and unscriptural.  See, in calling the disciples to be fishers of men, they new exactly what it meant.  Their method of fishing was not to put bait on a hook and pray that a fish would bite.  No, they took their boat to where they knew the fish were, and cast a net.  Some times they caught many fish, others they caught none.  When they cast where Jesus told them, their nets were overflowing to the point of breaking.

Are you starting to get it? Jesus wants us to spread the net wide, and offer our free gift to everyone.  Sure, some people are going to blow you off, maybe even be angry; but in the end, if we offer as many as we can something they can sample, many more will receive the gospel willingly.  Some will chose to follow Christ, others won’t, let the Holy Spirit worry about the results.

For now, let’s try to get over our shyness, and offer the one thing that actually matters in life.  maybe the next time you ask someone “Free sample?” will be the one time they accept.

God bless!


Don't let it be said by God, "I never knew you."

Posted: August 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Saw this recently.  Wow.  About 10 minutes long, but it will really make you think about.  There is a way to pursue righteousness that leads to hell!


Forgiveness: A Martyr's Prayer

Posted: July 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ravensbruck-1Recently I read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.  Wow.  The atrocities and torture that thousands have endured for the cross is humbling.  To think that somehow the largest sacrifice I have to make on a daily basis is laying down my pride just seems petty.  Anyhow, in reading other articles about martyrs, I ran across a portion of  “Prayers of the Martyrs,” which is equally humbling.

The story was of a child that was taken to Ravensbruck (a German concentration camp for women).  In this camp, approximately 92,000 of the 132,000 women there died from gas chambers, malnourishment, sickness, and other violent acts.  I cannot conceive of what it must have been like there, but despite all of these conditions, this humbling prayer was found written on a paper in the coat of a dead girl:

forgive-4

O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will.  But, do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us; Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering — our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble.  When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.”

Oh that I could learn to forgive others for the offenses that seem petty in light of this suffering.


Lifestyle Abundantly?

Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

prosperity1I was surfing the “God channels” on my TV a few weeks ago and after skipping through a couple of the regular faces, I ran into an individual I generally enjoy, and though I only caught a snippet of what was said, John 10:10 was mentioned, followed by some pretty heavy prosperity doctrine.

Here is the verse in several translations:

NIV: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Message: “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

NKJ: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The last version was the one used.

I have taken the time recently to listen to some of this theology (names like Dollar, Meyer, White, Roberts, and Robertson (I love how some of their websites are .org)) I would like to pose the question, Is Jesus saying that if we follow Him, we will have “life abundantly,” or “lifestyle abundantly?”

The consensus I have come to is that these individuals are teaching “lifestyle abundantly.”

prosperity-gospelHonestly, I’m glad they have succeeded in making some money, and I would say they are definitely gifted fund raisers, but do they honestly believe that is what God wants for his people?  Is it wrong for followers of Christ to have wealth? By no means do I believe that.  I just think that these preachers (as well as parishioners) need to be more prudent in explaining that in the Bible, God’s blessing is not equal to an overflowing checkbook.

Looking in the Old Testament, you can clearly see that one sign of God’s blessing is wealth.  The short list contains Abraham, Job, David, and Solomon, who all had wealth that few today have achieved.  But it is just as clear that wealth does not always follow a faithful servant of God.  I think this list is just as long, including most of the prophets and disciples.  Clearly individuals like Elijah, John the Baptist, Peter, and John the Beloved were following the ways of God, yet their life in no way reflects this monetary blessing.  I still believe however that they did have the “abundant life” that Jesus says will follow his disciples.

With titles like 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want, Your Best Life Now, Total Life Prosperity, Miracle of Seed Faith, and Rich Church Poor Church it’s pretty clear the message that is being sent.  Why they are pushing this agenda for personal gain, or out of a misinterpretation of what Jesus says of abundant life, I am not sure of their motivation.  God alone knows their heart.  But it is clear that they need to bring some balance to the message.

The blessed abundant life that Jesus speaks of is one of relationship, joy, suffering, obedience, and service. See Matthew 10, Mark 10, and John 15 to start with.

I don’t believe it is wrong for Christians to have wealth, but don’t let it be your ambition.  Seek God first, and He will provide your needs.

prosperity-dummiesAnd unless it wasn’t already obvious to you, sending some minister on TV your first paycheck of the month, sowing a seed of $500, and becoming a “Gold Member” of someone’s ministry will not guarantee you any sort of return or Godly influx of cash.  Listening to the Father and obeying Him will however keep you in His blessing, and I am sure that whatever He decides your blessing will be is worth it.

Lastly, Abraham first left all, Job first lost all, David first suffered all, and Solomon, well you can read Ecclesiastes to know his thoughts on wealth.

Thanks,

- mooney