GOD WANTS A “PENTECOSTAL” CHURCH

God wants the church more “Pentecostal.”  The world needs the church more “Pentecostal.”  And, we will never be more than a faint shadow of “church” until we ourselves become way-more “Pentecostal.”  Thus, I am praying and hoping the church becomes more “Pentecostal.” If I wrote this 40 years ago, I wouldn’t be writing it now.  That’s because if I wrote this then, I would never have been ordained in my own church and might well have decided to do something else with my life.  I’m confident this is true for at least two primary reasons.  First, among the leaders of the church “Pentecostal” would have meant speaking in tongues, extraordinary signs and wonders, or at least claims for such, and …

PRAYING FOR AUTHORITIES “MISSIONALLY”

One of the most blatant and common ways Bible-believing people sin is when they (we/I) fail to pray for governing authorities.  The Apostle Paul urges, as a matter of priority, to pray for kings and all in authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2).  Later in the same passage he says, “I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting holy hands (suggesting sincerity, passion, urgency) without anger or disputing,” (v. 6). As I say, most Bible-loving Christians I know—myself included—disobey at this point with regularity.  Most of us do not pray consistently for leaders, but many of us do regularly express our anger and disagreement, and so lift up (un)holy hands in disgust over the outrageous things the government is doing now.  We …

The Word that Reads You

We who are learned in the ways of Scripture, whether by professional preparation or by personal devotion or both, are vulnerable to a grave danger.  We are vulnerable at the point of taking control of the Word for our own designs.  Pastors may do this by taking the Word as a tool of the trade by which to earn a living, while other followers of Jesus as a means of various forms of gain.  How to be happy, raise children, make a million dollars, overcome depression, affirm self-esteem and much more. Here, then, is a challenge: Let the Word work!  You may have much of the Word down, but does it have you down?   You own it, but does the …

HEALING FOR GENOCIDAL HEARTS

24 years ago, over a 100 day period of time, nearly one million people were slaughtered in Rwanda.  It was not war, per se, and it was not a fascist government eliminating the opposition, per se.  Rather, it seems to have been anger and hostility smoldering beneath the surface, stoked into full flame by calculating leaders, spreading lies and fears, suspicion and schemes until erupting into murderous frenzy that was not spent until much of the country was turned into a cemetery.  After all these years, in numerous locations, many of them churches, the clothing, skeletal remains, and sometimes even corpses of the dead remain preserved, frozen in time, as a memorial to what happened.   Every April throughout the country …

MLK’s “Auto-Eulogy”

Fifty years ago, tonight, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of a Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.  I believe that all Americans, and people from every other part of the world, who love freedom should grieve this tragic and traumatic event in our history.  Likewise, every American, and all others, who cherish the hope of recovering the Image of God in all persons, should thank God for the courage of conviction, strength of character, and lasting legacy that continues to bless the world through Dr. King’s life and work. I do not know whether he had a sense of what might happen to him, but two months prior to his murder, Dr. King spoke at the Ebenezer …