Posts

One Salvation for All

Image
In 1985 Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie wrote a song that would unite singers from every race and genre to raise funds to help feed the starving people of Africa. The song, We Are the World, went quadruple platinum and is the 9th best-selling song of all-time. It mentions God twice in the lyrics and says, “Let's realize that a change can only come, When we stand together as one.” 
In 1982 Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder wrote a song that asked a simple question, “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony, Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we?”
In 1971 the Coca-Cola company used a song for a commercial featuring people from many different races and nations singing together, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing in perfect harmony.”
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation Where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by t…

Blinded By the Light

Image
In 1973, a young musician from New Jersey struggling to make it in the music business wrote what he thought would be his biggest hit ever. It flopped until Manfred Man’s Earth Band covered the song in 1977 and made it a hit. That song, Blinded By the Light, written originally by the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.
As we continue our series, Going Viral, we see another person who was certain that he was about to have a big hit on his hands. After standing idly by while Stephen was stoned to death, he actively started arresting other followers of the Way throughout Jerusalem and all of Israel.
Now, prepared for his biggest hit yet, he is found on his way to Damascus to round up some of those that had scattered following the stoning of Stephen. But wait, he will soon be blinded by the light.
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any me…

One and Done

Image
Kevin Durant was a one and done player. The controversial practice of playing one year of college basketball before moving to the NBA has not always been successful for these courted players, but Durant exploded onto the scene during his first year. One and done has been criticized by many, but the prospect of money and fame is very difficult to ignore when you are 19 years old.
The term one and done has been applied to many other activities that individuals participate in for one time only. We may talk about such things as mountain climbing or parasailing or skydiving with excitement; sharing the thrill of the moment. But when asked if there is a plan to do it again, many will respond, “No, that was a one and done.”
Today we look at a time when God did something incredible for the purpose of sharing the Good News of Jesus with someone from a foreign country, but it seems that the contact with this nation was a one and done moment. But you won’t believe what was discovered centuries …

Simon Says

Image
When I was a kid, cell phones, before the Internet, before video games, even before Pong, we played outside with our friends. Often we played sports, but we also liked to play the old standards: Freeze Tag, Cops and Robbers, Mother May I, Cowboys and Indians, and Simon Says.
I was never very good at Simon Says. You’re supposed to only do something if the person who is “it” starts with Simon Says. I don’t know if I was just too ADHD or had a listening problem, or perhaps I was just so anxious to win that I always got out the first time that someone said something like, “Put your hand down.”
I would get so angry that I lost because the only way to be “it” was to be the last person to get out. Since I almost always lost within just a few minutes of the round, during those rare times that I did get to be “it” I would struggle to figure out what I wanted to say. “Simon says…” would be followed by a very long pause as I tried to figure out what they should do. I was not a very good Simon.

Spreading Like a Virus

Image
Nothing seems to spread faster than a virus. Why? Because it continues to replicate itself throughout your body. When a virus spreads from one person to others and eventually to a group of people it is said to have gone viral. The same thing happens with a computer virus. It may begin with one system, but after a few emails or downloads or file shares it has suddenly gone viral infecting computers all over the world.

A virus can actually be a good thing. They have been used to hack into terrorists computers. Most computer hacking is now done by sneaking a virus into the system first. Such as the famous scene for Independence Day when they upload a virus into the data stream of an alien ship in order to hack their systems and defeat them.

Viruses can also be used to heal illnesses. Scientists are actually using viruses to combat cancer. They scientifically engineer common viruses that are programmed to home in on cancer cells and kill them without hurting the normal tissue surrounding…

Stoned Preacher Sees Jesus

Image
Even though we live in a time when fewer people go to church, the majority of people in the world still believe in a higher power of some kind. A 2016 Gallup poll showed that 79% of Americans believe in God, while 10% are unsure, and 11% don’t believe at all. Contrast this with a poll from 1968 which showed that 98% of Americans said they believed in God.
In 2014, Pew Research found that only 67% of our nation claim to be part of a Christian faith (25% Evangelical Christian, 20% Catholic, and 22% other Christian faiths) while 23% of Americans claimed to be unaffiliated with any faith (16% non-religious, 4% Agnostic, and 3% Atheist). Only 7 years prior 75% were Christian and 16% unaffiliated.
Regardless of beliefs, most people are still curious about what happens after death. Most of those that have experienced a near death experience (NDE) talk about a bright light. Some have mentioned seeing images as if they were standing over their own body looking down on everything. A few have c…

Addition Equals Subtraction: Solving For Growth

Image
Mrs. Smith had been a widow for more than 30 years. She and her deceased husband had been good friends for more than 20 years with the pastor and his wife in a small country church. She continued her friendship with them and kept herself busy helping out in the church. She was the organist, Vacation Bible School director, church financial secretary and clerk, Women’s Missionary Union leader, the church librarian and church historian. 
After 55 years at the church, the pastor retired. The church used to be full of children and teens, but now it was mostly senior adults. The church used to have a large choir each Sunday, but now they could only count on a handful of people to sing. The church knew that they needed to find a way to reach young families, so they called a much younger pastor to come and help them.
It only took a few months before the new pastor started to make some changes. The church started doing some community outreach and ministries. They started singing modern songs …