Wednesday, December 07, 2005


It's getting very close to Christmas. Less than three weeks to go.
Should we be celebrating even though we know there is no real connection with the 25th December and the birth of our Lord? Should we shun the celebration because the REAL source of the holiday is a pagan celebration?

Some Christians proclaim we should "Put the Christ back into Christmas". I've heard others saying we should take the Christ out of Christmas because the event was never really about Him anyway - pointing to all of the closely held traditions that originate in pagan practices.
But please let me make this point. At what other time of the year are unbelievers willingly confronted with hymns praising our Lord - even singing along.

Despite attempts to replace the "religious" carols with American songs about Jingling Bells, snow men, and reindeer with unusual facial colouring, the Christian songs still hang in there among the favourites. At this time of the year, despite attempts to secularise Christmas, in our western tradition - even among unbelievers - it has remained acceptable to remember that our Lord was born into this world as a human baby.

Surely, while this acceptability remains we should make the most of it. There is a starting point for the preaching of the gospel while people have this seasonal awareness of the beginnings of Jesus human life.

How can we "expolit" this situation? By belittling the occasion because the date has no historical fact? By shunning celebration because of its pagan roots? Or by recognising an opportunity to make people aware of Jesus BEYOND the manger?

I recall several years ago one radical group of Christians in my home town joined a Christmas parade. Their contribution was a man dressed as Jesus carrying the cross being whipped as he walked along. The person with the whip was dressed as Santa Claus. Now did THAT cause an uproar in the local press!

Now this brings me to another point I'd like to make - the difference between Christmas and Easter (yet another pagan celebration appropriated by the church). Around the time of Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ" I was astonished at the reaction of the major movie reviewers. These people who can eagerly type their praises of intensely violent and ugly films like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and others - somehow found the brutality of Jesus being scourged and crucified as intensely offensive.

I realised then how acceptable Jesus can be when He's no more than a baby in a manger. But Jesus suffering and dying for our sins, the brutality of the crucifixion, the sheer ugliness of torn flesh and shed blood - well it's just not acceptable is it? At least not in the world's eyes - it's too confronting. A baby receiving birthday presents and visits from angels and shepherds - all of the peace and goodwill messages THAT is what they can accept. But move that baby on to adulthood and look at the end purpose of His life and the world doesn't want to know. They'll celebrate His birth with songs of paraise - but His death?

Just pass them more chocolate eggs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


In Galatians Paul denounced attempts by Jewish Christians to reintroduce aspects of the law into Christian life.

Galatians 2: 4 false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the
Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the
freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into
bondage [under the Law of Moses].

Jude highlights a different problem with the church that is more or less opposite to the problem Paul exposes.

Jude 4 For certain men have crept in stealthily. Their doom was predicted long
ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual
blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality,
and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the
Anointed One).

In Galatians we have those who would reimpose the Law, in Jude there are those who bring in lawlessness. Two almost opposite problems brought into the church by men trying to pervert the gospel.

Both groups of men are described as entering by "stealth" or secretly". I also see these two situations have something else in common.

1) The Galatian example has people replacing the grace of God with a need to observe the Law. Salvation is again made dependant upon OUR actions rather than on the grace of God. It comes back to earning salvation through works. It centres on self and self-effort. How much do we need to DO to be acceptable to God.

2) Jude’s example exposes an abuse of the grace of God. It takes it to extremes. Instead of looking at how much do we need to do to be acceptable to God (salvation through the law); these people take the other extreme – how much can we get away with without becoming unacceptable to God.

Both of the above centre on SELF. Both are centred on the acts of man.

Both situations take the centrality of the gospel away from Jesus and His sacrifice, in effect denying Him and our need of Him.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Phil 2: 1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Have your ears tickled in the comfort of your own home.

Ever been tired of running from conference to conference hoping to hear a word confirming your established beliefs? Are your finances suffering due to costs of travel, accommodation and conference fees in addition to love offerings?

And what about the cost of all of those tapes, CDs and books purchased from the conference bookstore - the ones you buy so the anointing of the conference can be prolonged - or shared with your loved ones.

Forget about all of that.

Now, with little inconvenience, the ear tickling preachers and prophets can be brought directly to you - to the location of your choice.




The choice is entirely yours.

With thousands of expert, ministries available at the touch of a few keys, never again find yourself sitting in the wrong auditorium listening to the wrong preacher (how misleading those advertising brochures can be!).
You can move from preacher to preacher, prophet to prophet at your own pace and according to your own need - the choice is totally yours.

Many of the available ministers even sprinkle their words liberally with scripture - so you don't even need to open up your own dusty bible to see the truth of what they're preaching. They give you their proof right there in their own messages.

Internet ministries bring the prophets you choose directly to you.

Now to get serious. What is this all about?

One person grabs the prosperity "prophets" and runs with them. Another clings to the "prophets" of doom.

No need to listen to anyone else, we choose our favourites who preach what we want to hear. Things that support our world view and suit our own personality. We don't need to be challenged - we can be content to let someone tickle our ears

The "prophetic ministry" -AS THE LORD WARNED - has been perverted by false prophets. People run here and there looking for what the latest and greatest prophet has to say. The internet makes this MUCH easier. No need to "run" - it's all controlled by a few keystrokes. And none of these prophets are accountable to those who latch on to their words, because their words are scattered to the winds and they don't know who is receiving them. (However, the Lord holds them accountable).
Some "prophets" even offer "personal words" on cassette tape - just send a "love offering".

I have some suggestions.

1) Stop chasing after prophets and prophecies.
If you need (NOT want) a word from the Lord - seek the Lord Himself.

2) If the Lord has a word for you HE will deliver it. If via a prophet He will send the prophet to you or bring you into contact with the prophet.

Prophecy is NOT a consumer product to be bought and sold.
Prophecy is not entertainment; to be sought out and shared, one prophecy after another.
Prophecy should be treated with caution until it's source is clear. (God, the devil, or self)

TRUE PROPHECY is the word of the LORD, given for a PURPOSE and it should be treated with respect .

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Recent events in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have resulted in predictable claims that the city and/or the USA had come under the judgement of God. These claims came from diverse sources. Some Christians have joined in agreement with Al Quaeda in their views regarding the source of Hurricane Katrina. Regardless of the unliklihood of this "alliance", I find the claims to be disturbing. Not because I think God has no right to judge and punish unrighteousness; but because I know, that by His grace He has chosen a different way. Through the Lord Jesus Christ He has made a way for us to avoid the punishment we deserve because of our unrighteousness.

So what do we make of disasters such as Katrina? I believe that Paul gives us a clue in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 8:
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Jesus used similar imagery when He described the signs that would precede His return.

Matthew 24 (Amplified)
5 For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [ appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place;
8 All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish].

The time of the birth pains has been here for some time. The pains are being felt throughout the world. That means things will get worse as ungodly and unrighteous acts increase; and as natural disasters increase (due to human exploitation of the earth).

These added pressures will cause greater conflict between the believer and the unbeliever. Then conflict will arise between believers. At no other time will it be MORE important to make sure we are GOOD soil for the word of the gospel, to make sure we don't fall away. At no other time has it been more important that we know our God rather than knowing Religion. Those who cling to religion will turn further away from the Lord, and will join the world in persecuting the believers, justifying their acts with a religious veneer. Some will see themselves as serving GOD as they turn on the true believers. Look to the past for a pale imitation of what lies ahead. Look to those times when the judgmental attempted to pre-empt God by taking it upon themselves to determine who needed to experience God's wrath. The days of Inquisitions will be nothing compared with the Great tribulation experienced by the Lord's saints.

Matt 24
9 Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
10 And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.
11 And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error.
12 And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity,
13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.
14 And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end.

For those believing that the Great tribulation is God's judgement on the world after the rapture - prepare to be disappointed. Use the Lord's own words in Matthew 24 as your starting point for studying "end-time" prophecy. The great tribulation is directed AT the church by the unbelievers. God's wrath against the world is His response, delivering His vengeance on behalf of those who are persecuted and martyred, and comes after the tribulation.

Matt 24:
21 For then there will be great tribulation (affliction, distress, and oppression) such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now--no, and never will be [again].
22 And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive, but for the sake of the elect (God's chosen ones) those days will be shortened.

Rev 6:
9 When the Lamb broke open the fifth seal, I saw at the foot of the altar the souls of those whose lives had been sacrificed for [adhering to] the Word of God and for the testimony they had borne.
10 They cried in a loud voice, O [Sovereign] Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?
11 Then they were each given a long and flowing and festive white robe and told to rest and wait patiently a little while longer, until the number should be complete of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

God's wrath is the outpouring of punishment after a judgement of guilt has been made.
I have seen a false idea of judgement being held by believers, presupposing guilt. Judgement itself is the act of determining guilt or innocence. It is not the resulting punishment. We will ALL face judgement. Not all will face God's wrath.

As far as I can see, God's wrath under the New Covenant, is reserved for unbelievers AFTER death, when they will be sentenced to the second death. And also for those responsible for the persecution of Christians during the Great tribulation. Therefore God's wrath upon the living is reserved until AFTER the time of tribulation has been completed, when the full "quota" of martyrs has been fulfilled.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The "Great Commission" is reported in two different ways. Firstly the command to go and preach the gospel, secondly to go and make disciples. Matthew reports it one way, Mark the other.

But really there is no difference between the two. There is no gospel without discipleship. Salvation is only available to those who would become disciples of the Lord.

Preaching, but leaving out the condition of discipleship, is NOT preaching the gospel.

I've read a lot of criticism of the use of a "sinner's prayer" to gain converts. Personally I have nothing against "sinner's prayers" - as long as it is made clear that this is only the starting point; a first step, an initial confession of intent that leads to action.
But all too often the sinner's prayer is merely the result of laziness.

There is more to establishing a potential saint into the body of Christ than a quick "drive through" approach to salvation, like serving up a fast food order.

It's too easy for preachers to justify their ministries by pointing to the number of hands raised, or decision cards filled out in response to an altar call.
But it's not enough to sow the seed and see it fall onto soil away from the path. Leading someone to accept the gospel message is only the first stage. There's still a lot of weeding and rock clearing to do until we can expect to see the seed grow to bear fruit.

The road to salvation is not a free and easy option. There is a cost to be counted beforehand. It is a pearl of great price that is not obtained cheaply. Is this the message being preached? Or is the message one of cheap grace, an easy salvation?

Salvation is NOT the mere crossing over from Unsaved to Saved. Salvation is a continual journey. Paul describes it as a race with a finishing line that needs to be our goal. We must complete what we have started. It's not enough to start.

For too long Christianity has been preached as the way to escape hell. The purpose of Jesus's sacrifice was NOT to save us from hell after death; it's purpose was to save us from sin and its effects in life. NOW!
As Reinhard Bonnke has said, " The gospel is more than a formula for getting to heaven when you die. The gospel offers life not a lifeboat".

Salvation from hell is merely one of the benefits of submitting ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus. But it is not a benefit that can be seen by an unbelieving world. The world needs to see changed lives. It needs to see a difference that shows the reality of a LIVING Jesus.

Relevant references:
Matthew 28: 19
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:15
And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.
16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.