The Love Revolution

Recently I read a new book by Joyce Meyer, the Love Revolution.  I must say that it is fantastic.  It discusses the Christian duty to love and gives inspiration and education on the subject.  Joyce wisely teaches us more about love and how to love.  But really, Joyce doesn't just want us to read a book, she wants a revolution, one that I can proudly say I've joined.

I don't think we can overstate the importance of love to Christians.  Jesus said that by our love for each other people would recognize us as Christians.  Jesus said that the two most important commandments are for us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and for us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Then Jesus gave us a new commandment, enhancing the second one above, that we should love people as Christ loved us.  Christ sacrificed Himself so that we could be saved and have better lives, only because He loved us.  Therefore we must also learn to sacrificially love others. 

Furthermore, the Bible says that faith works by love.  Because the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God, if you are going to do anything pleasing to God, you are going to have to use faith.  But without love, your faith has no energy and effectiveness.  So if you have no true love, then you have no operational faith.  Therefore without true love, you can never really be pleasing to God.

Joyce knows that for the Church to rise up and take its place, and for Christians to truly begin living the lives Christ died to give us, we must start living with Godly love.  I know that I must begin to love in an unselfish, sacrificial, Christlike manner.  I also know that I need help, wisdom, and instruction to really begin doing so.  So I grabbed this book, and it totally edifies and inspires me to step up my love walk.  I also received the cds from Joyce Meyer's 2009 Women's Conference, where the speakers focused on The Love Revolution.  These messages are fantastic and they will greatly add to your wisdom on the subject and supplement your reading of The Love Revolution, whether you're male or female.

Everyone should get The Love Revolution, read it, and apply it to your life.  Please see the following links to buy The Love Revolution book and curriculum and to visit The Love Revolution home page.

Exploits for God wholly adopts and endorses The Love Revolution Motto:
"I take up compassion and surrender my excuses.
I stand against injustice and commit to live out simple acts of God's love.
I refuse to do nothing. This is my resolve.

Please also see this short introduction video from Joyce Meyer -


Christ in You - Laminin

I was blessed to hear Louie Giglio speak at the Chris Tomlin Christmas concert the other day in Clearwater, Florida.  By the way that was an awesome concert and I highly recommend you go.  But anyway I heard his sermon and remembered another sermon I heard from him over a year ago.  I love how the apostle Paul tells Timothy to avoid oppositions of science falsely so called.  Now I was an English major but I love certain aspects of science, especially theoretical physics (which often deals with the origin and actions of the universe).  I have never heard the first piece of credible scientific information that shakes my full belief in all the Words of the Holy Bible and the main doctrines of Christianity.

So here is a biology lesson that I know will bless you, by Louie Giglio.  Below the video please see another great diagram of laminin and how it interacts with other elements in our bodies.  This explanation of laminin is, admittedly, one of those things that skeptical people probably won't buy.  But me, I'm a believer and I'm looking for God in our lives all the time.  When you are open to God and looking for Him, you will see Him more and more.  When you don't believe in God and aren't looking for Him, without His supernatural grace you will never see Him.

"For by Jesus Christ were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."  Colossians 1:16,17 

Another great diagram of laminin, look at how the cross works in us -  Praise the Lord. 



No doubt one of my favorite Bible characters is Phinehas, the priest, grandson of Aaron.  While only mentioned in eleven verses, I believe the glimpse we see of his life gives us a powerful insight into God's zeal and desires.  After a brief mention of his birth, we encounter him in Numbers chapter 25.  Please read the following passage which illustrates his exploits and how he found favor with God.  To give you a bit of context, God was now rebuking the Israelites for taking heathen women and worshipping their gods.

"And behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping (because of God's judgment and shame) before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And when Phinehas . . . saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand . . . and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman . . . so the plague was stayed from the children of Israel . . . And the Lord said to Moses, 'Phinehas . . . has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, when he was zealous for My sake among them . . . Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after  him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.'"  (Numbers 25:6-13)

WOW!  So while most of the Israelites were in the middle of repenting and mourning because of their sins with these heathen women, one decides to try to walk by with such a woman.  Phinehas stood up and killed them both, pleasing God and stopping the plague from over Israel.  And what did God do, God highly honored him, giving him a "covenant of peace" and a "covenant of an everlasting priesthood."

I can think of few times in the Bible that God so openly and highly honored a man's deed.  What an Exploit!  What an example!  No, I don't mean we should ever kill or hurt non-Christians (any such talk by Christians is completely ungodly), but I do mean that if someone brings something ungodly into our lives we need to rebuke it and get it out immediately.  We should stand for nothing ungodly in our homes, in our families, in our churches, in our offices, or in our nations. 

For example, I used to be a major fan of the Simpsons, but I saw them mocking God in an episode and that was the last episode I watched.  I threw away all the dvd's too.  I should allow nothing ungodly in my house.  I'm talking about the movies, the evil dealings, the strife, etc.  Any unclean thing, I should remove it from my midst with spiritual violence and righteous judgment.

Not only that, God said that Phinehas was zealous for His sake.  Phinehas cared for God and took it upon himself to act on God's behalf.  We should do the same.  We can't just sit by and watch our church get infiltrated by the world and sin and every other evil thing that exists.  We must rise up, and purge our body of all things unclean.  When we do this, God will honor us.  God will give us covenants of peace, and the everlasting priesthood.  That gets me fired up.  I hope it fires you up too.  What are you going to do? Are you going to be like the other Israelites (even Moses!) who just sat and watched? Or are you going to do something about it when the devil tries to bring sin into your life.  You must protect yourself, your family, your calling, you must do like Phinehas and take it out.

Let's look at the Bible's last mention of Phinehas, the (most likely) speaker is no less than the Psalmist, the great King David himself.  "Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed, and that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore."  (Psalm 106:30,31)

That is one powerful passage, especially considering the phrase "counted to him for righteousness."  That phrase is only used for two people and in two circumstances, Abraham believing God's promises, and Phinehas executing the judgment shown above.  I tell you what, Phinehas honored God like few people do, and God honored him with words and promises reserved for an extremely exclusive group.  Remember  Phinehas.  Honor the Lord.  When something ungodly comes near your life, do like Phinehas, and with a Godly zeal stand up and eliminate it.


Follow The Cloud

I was reading the book of Numbers again today when I came across a passage I had never really noticed before.  Don't you love that?  I know some of you have read the Bible several times through, but each time you find new treasures and receive new revelations.  That's one great difference between the Word of God and every other book.  The Bible is alive; it lives and will live in you.  It can read your heart and speak back to you.  The Bible is God (John 1:1).  So when you are spending time with the Bible, you are spending time with God.  So I suppose God wanted me to notice something new today, maybe because of the particular season of my life, or maybe so I could share it with you.  The passage comes from Numbers 9:15-23.  I really don't want to do long quotes here, but I think I should so you can see the power of this.

"And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of testimony: and at evening there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.  So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.  And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.  And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not.  And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.  And so it was, when the cloud abode from evening unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.  Or whither it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.  At the commadment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses." 

I don't know about you, but by the time I finish that passage I'm thinking to myself, "Enough already I get the point."  When the cloud moved the people moved.  When the cloud stayed the people stayed.  Sometimes the cloud stayed still a long time, sometimes only a very short time.  Regardless, the people followed the cloud.

But what an awesome picture the Word presents here, and how meaningful for us even so many thousands of years later.  The cloud represented the presence of God.  The tabernacle was the place where the priests would meet with God.  But God's presence wasn't confined to the tabernacle.  His presence would be outside, guiding them.  God would know everything about the local terrain, and God would move them perfectly throughout that wilderness.  Here the people learned to follow God's leading. 

We must also learn to follow God's leading.  We must learn to look for Him and His direction.  Then we must learn to follow.  Are you happy where you are right now?  Do you want to move?  Are you looking for direction from Heaven?  Well where is the presence of God?  Sometimes my job can be taxing, but I know the presence of God still remains here, so I know it's not time to get moving.  When I see the presence of God moving, then I will know it's time for me to move.  And by the same token, I know that because God's presence is here, this is the best possible place for me.  I can be content where I am, because I know God wants me right here, with Him. 

You might remember that God told Elijah to go to a certain brook, and then to a certain widow, and God sustained him in those places (1 Kings 17).  I know sometimes it can be difficult to find God's will for your life, or see where He wants you to be.  But I want to encourage you that God has a perfect place for you in this world, not just a spiritual place, but a specific physical place.  I believe God has a city and a job and a church and an abode with your name on it.  Sure you could probably go and get by other places, but only in the place God chooses for you can you be assured of His divine protection and provision. 

I'm glad we serve a God who so lovingly directs us.  Just like the Israelites had the cloud back then, we have the Holy Spirit and the Peace of God to direct us today.  We can also get dreams, visions and prophetic Words.  God has no shortage of ways to tell you where He is and where He wants you to go.  And God won't keep it a secret, God wants you with Him and in the proper place more than you could ever imagine.  Glory to God.  So seek the Lord.  Don't get out ahead of God, but also don't get left behind.  Follow God's presence, and you'll always find yourself exactly where you should be.


Mission Trips

Before reading my thoughts on mission trips, which are below, please see the following list of trip operators, which I update when I learn of new material.
  1. Youth With a Mission - Well known ministry with trip opportunities around the world at various times around the year and various projects.   
  2. Living Water International - Focuses on drilling clean water wells and teaching hygiene in Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Uganda, and Honduras.  We have a friend who works for them full time in El Salvador and loves it.  Lots of date options, but it looks like they book up fast.
  3. Global Aid Network - The humanitarian arm of Campus Crusade for Christ International.  Trips to various countries, but limited dates.  Various projects to be served, such as orphanages, hospitals, schools and aid to the impoverished.
  4. World Servants - Mission trips to various countries, mostly with construction projects. One nice focus of this ministry is that it supports group mission trips, even with group members of different ages. So several members of a church could go together. This could help strengthen your local church while blessing others around the world.
  5. Shorttermmissions.com - A cool search engine which can give you information on many trips to many places.  My first search turned up a home building opportunity in Mexico, where you sleep in tents.  I'm not sure that one is for me, but maybe one day. 
  6. Costa Rica - Pura Vida Missions - A great looking organization with mission opportunities to the beautiful land of Costa Rica.  I have been there and the people are great and the scenery is beautiful.
  7. Youth On Mission - Mission trips to several places domestically and abroad, giving you some great options.  I called about their Tampa mission trip (as a possibility for my siblings) and they seem very nice and flexible.
  8. Lifetree Adventures - A sophisticated looking group with lots of options for both services and destinations.  This group even organizes trips to Egypt and Israel. 
  9. Tree of Life Missions - Outreach focused entirely on Honduras, really seeking to change that nation.
  10. Experience Mission - Lots of great looking trips to several different countries, including Kosovo and Scotland.  They also have domestic trip options.
  11. Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association - Awesome evangelism ministry conducting mission trips to the Philippines several times a year.  Check out their newsletters, it's clear that those who go on these great trips really get a chance to interact with the local people and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Bob Tebow is the father of football great Tim Tebow. 
I have never been on a true mission trip.  I wish I could say that I have, but hopefully I will get to go on one soon.  I once heard Dr. Creflo A. Dollar say that many Christians want God to send them to the nations, but God can't send them to Publix.  I prefer to think of my entire life as one great mission trip.  But I still love missions and hope to go on many mission trips in my life. 

Recently I've been working with my three younger brothers on their schooling and helping with our church youth group.  I have done some research and begun thinking about things that could help them, especially considering a typical American teenager experience, and I think a mission trip would be great for them.  I also think it would be great for me and most of the people I know.  There is nothing like going abroad, which I have been blessed to do many times.  It's great to get apart and have time seeing the world just with you, some loved ones, and God.  I know that going abroad, seeing the poverty, helping, and ministering as a Christian would be an incredible experience for anyone. 

We'd love to hear about your experiences, or any other Christian mission organization you know good things about.  We should be ready to serve God at all times, in any place.  But getting out in the world and serving God can do amazing things for one's perspective and passion.  "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us.  Then said I, Here am I; send me."  (Isaiah 6:8) 


Christians and Government

Today we see our Nation's political landscape torn apart by strife.  You all know the issues that our leaders fight about every day.  For our Nation they are all important, and these battles' outcomes will have significant and far-reaching consequences.  We know that America now has what some call the "Christian Right."  But many Christians align themselves with left-wing ideologies and causes.  I wish we could all look at the Bible together, and then vote and debate accordingly.  But unfortunately it's not that simple.  While I look at a passage and reach one conclusion for my political stance, another could read the same passage and reach the opposite conclusion. 
This hinders general Christian unity and prevents Christian political unity.  I'm not writing to address specific issues here, or even to advocate Christian political unity, although I think that would be great.  I'm writing to discuss a disturbing trend I see in Christians on both sides of the political spectrum.  Here are two profound passages that I think we should all take another look at:

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher power.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil."  (Romans 13:1-3)

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our saviour."  (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

I believe Christians are to obey the Bible.  I don't believe we have to argue with it, debate about it, or (skeptically) question it.  I believe we are to read it and follow it.  When Romans says that we are to subject ourselves to the higher powers, then we are to do it.  When 1 Timothy says we are to pray for those in authority, then we must pray.  God promises us a quiet and peaceable life in return.  If a Christian is sowing anger, strife and rebellion toward our government, then that Christian will "receive to themsel[f] damnation."  I didn't write it, I just believe it.  And I hope people will receive this message and look after their own welfare and the Church's duty. 

The disturbing trend is that these days so many Christians speak out against the government in strife and rebellion, personally attacking our leaders and constantly complaining about the institution as a whole.  You can vote however you feel led to vote.  You can petition and poll and write and call and assemble and do everything else our wonderful Constitution allows us to do.  But when you come together in a rebellious party spirit, or when you let that rebellious party spirit attach itself to you, you are in the flesh and out of God's will.  You can't tell me that this negative energy isn't of the devil.  Moreover, if those politically motivated Christians would spend half that energy winning souls and advancing God's kingdom, then they would undoubtedly be making serious headway for the cause of Christ in the Earth.

So what do you do, especially when abortion deaths increase and homosexuality continues receiving greater governmental approval?  You pray.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  You pray for the President.  You pray for the judges and leaders.  You (gasp) give thanks for them.  You pray for God's will to be done in the Earth.  You vote how you believe you should.  If someone asks your opinion, you should give your Bible-based thoughts on the issue, but never openly deride or criticize our leaders. 

Consider what Voltaire wrote in Candide, published 250 years ago, "I would be enamoured of the freedom inspired by English genius, if passion and partisan spirit did not corrupt all that is estimable in this precious liberty."  Then listen to Paul, nearly 2000 years ago, "Use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." 

My fellow Christians, my political opinions and passions run deeper than you would ever imagine given this posting.  But I believe God calls me to love and pray for those who govern me, regardless of their ideas or plans.  We have liberty in this Nation, glory to God.  But we must not allow it to stir within us strife and rebellion.  Those are not of God.  There is a fine line between Godly resistance and sinful rebellion.  The Holy Spirit will help you not cross it.  Love all people, pray for our Nation.  If God leads you into politics, wonderful, He will use you to accomplish what the rest of us pray for.

Finally, I believe the Bible only allows us to specifically break two types of laws: those requiring worship of anything other than God, and those forbidding our worship of the One True God.  I don't know of any such law in the U.S.A.  Should such a law arise, we will need to discuss this again.  Until then, pray and obey.  Trust God.  Regardless of whether some godless politicians remove "In God We Trust," from our money or motto, we must always trust Him and His Word concerning our hearts toward our government, and we will always be "One Nation, Under God."  


Life Impact Network

Two years ago my wife and I purchased a house.  When I told my mom the address, she said it sounded familiar.  Turns out, I was moving in next door to one of her close friends, a powerful woman of God with a voice, a vision, and a ministry.  The woman is Pat Layton, who is the President and Founder of the Life Impact Network.  The Life Impact Network is the parent organization for several wonderful ministries which focus on saving lives and helping children.  

The Network's most well-known division, A Woman's Place Ministries, provides free unexpected pregnancy counseling.  They educate women, especially the young and single, about their baby's growth and their options.  They go right up against the area's major abortion clinics, even having their offices in the same complexes when possible.  They aim to protect the lives of the unborn.  They use a variety of means to accomplish this, including free counseling and free ultrasounds.  They introduce the young mothers to their children, showing them the life inside them and encouraging them to keep it.   

But they don't just work to prevent abortion, they also provide post abortion healing and counseling.  Mrs. Layton's abortion healing program, Surrendering the Secret, has wonderful materials to help women forgive themselves and heal.  This material has received widespread support from the greater Christian community, especially considering its release by Serendipity House, a division of Lifeway.  For the abortions they prevent, A Woman's Place Ministries provides pregnancy counseling, doctor referrals, and also adoption assistance through their Moses Project (adoption information) and Woven Basket Christian Adoption Services (adoption service). 

The Life Impact Network also works to improve the lives of older children.  Their Impact division seeks to train teens and their parents about healthy lifestyle choices, including abstinence.  They also have classroom education programs.  First and Second Corinthians chapter 6 discuss how we must honor our bodies as God's temple and avoid sexual immorality.  If we can show the younger generations that abstinence protects the body, honors God, saves lives by preventing abortions, and provides for better marriage beginnings, then we will truly do them a great service.  But only God and the Holy Spirit can convince them, not fear tactics or guilt trips, and God needs people like those at the Life Impact Network to spread His message.

Yes, I realize this is a divisive and controversial subject, even for some Christians.  Exploits for God believes that life begins at conception.  Therefore EFG believes abortion ends life.  Jesus came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).  EFG believes all Christians should work to protect and preserve life.  Moreover, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward (Psalm 127).  That verse has no qualifications, limitations or exceptions.

Pat Layton and the Life Impact Network are undoubtedly champions for children.  Please visit the website for the Life Impact Network and the web pages for their various divisions.  (Those links are found throughout the body of this post.)  Life Impact Network is truly doing a great Exploit for God.  It inspires me, and I hope it inspires you.



A friend recently told me about an awesome ministry that focuses on helping orphans, LUO.  Based in Georgia, these young and committed Christians have partnerships with organizations in South Africa and Nicaragua.  They saw the needs of the poorest in the world, the impoverished orphans who have nothing and no one to help them.  Then they started helping.

How many of us see needs all the time.  Just today I passed a family selling water roadside to help pay the bills.  Need is all around us, and most of us are blessed to be able to help some needs of others.  We can't help everyone, we can't do everything.  But if we listen to God, He will put a powerful stirring in our heart for some particular need.  We must listen to the Holy Spirit, for He will guide us into our area of ministry, into our calling.  We may not all be called to a pulpit, but we are all called to share the love of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What need breaks your heart more than all the others?  I'll bet God calls you to help satisfy it. 

Well this couple heard God's call and found the need they would help, the world's orphans.  Now they are building a mighty ministry to serve God's children.  They focus on nutrition, Biblical curriculum, academic education, and medical care.  They want to help empower these children and raise them to new levels, so they can escape the bondage of poverty.    

I almost hate to go there, but I'm so excited to read their story and see their (approximate) ages.  I am probably just two or three years older, and I don't buy for one second that Christ is losing our generation or the generations to come.  There is a powerful move of God in our generation.  The world says Christianity decreases, but we know it increases with the increase of God.  Sometimes you can't see it, but it always continues.  I believe as you continue reading these posts you will hear more about young couples like this, the next generation of the world's Christian leaders.  Glory to God. 

Please visit the LUO website.  Also check out the LUO blog, available both on blogger and on the blog page on their main website.  Get stirred up, get encouraged.  Pray for their ministry and the orphans.  Pray to God that He would show you where you can help in this world.  When you find the area where God calls you to minister, and you actually start helping, you truly begin feeling complete. 


Going to Heaven?

I once read that good websites enable viewers to reach the most important pages in one click from anywhere else on the site.  Therefore you should now see a new "Heaven?" tab at the top of every page on this site.  Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, is more important than your personal salvation.  No other Christian encouragement or instruction even comes close.  If you died today, are you absolutely sure that you would go to Heaven?  I am.  Let me help you also have this assurance.

I meet countless people of all denominations who think/believe they will go to Heaven.  They say something like; I'm a Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, whatever.  They tell me how they go to church.  They say how they are a good person, or the most common, that they try to be a good person and do what's right.  I assure you, none of that matters.

"If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  (Romans 10:9,10) 

There you have it.  All you have to do is believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess the current, living lordship of Jesus Christ in your life.  You will be saved.  That, to me, is the most important passage in the Bible.  Yes, Jesus came to deliver us from death, and sickness and poverty and bondage and fear.  But most importantly, Jesus came to save us from our sins.  "For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Jesus, the spotless son of God, was made to be sin so that we could be made the righteousness of God.

Every person has sinned (Romans 3:23).  Because of our sins we should have spent eternity in hell (Romans 6:23 and John 3:18).  But Jesus came, the perfect Lamb of God.  He sacrificed Himself to pay our penalty for our sins (John 1:29).  But if you don't believe in His death and resurrection, if you don't accept His Lordship and reality in your life, then you don't make His sacrifice personal to you.  He that believes in Jesus is not condemned, but he who doesn't believe in Jesus is condemned already (John 3:18).

You will never reach Heaven because of your works.  In fact, by design this possibility is specifically excluded by God.  (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:26-28)  When you die and stand before God, you will never be able to prove yourself based on your works.  The Bible says we all have sinned, and if you have no one to pay that death penalty for you, then you will pay it yourself.  Time doesn't forgive sins, good deeds don't erase them.  Only God can forgive them.  And only the blood of Jesus Christ can wash you clean of them (1 John 1:7 and Revelation 1:5).

I must also mention another verse - "Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish."  Luke 13:3,5).  When we accept Christ we die to sin.  How can we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?  If we love Christ we should love the light and hate the darkness.  If we love Jesus then we should keep His commandments.  We must repent of our sins and turn to serve the living God. 

I first believed in Jesus Christ as a child.  I believe I received salvation and a "Heaven Ticket."  But I didn't start serving Him until age 23.  While you may have your positive afterlife assured, and I pray that you do, you will never truly experience this life until you actively serve God.  When you begin serving God everything changes.  Yes, it takes time.  Yes, it can be hard.  But the fellowship with Him, with His Spirit, the supernatural occurrences, and the superpowered existence, only these come when you give your Earthly life to Him.  I'm glad you believe in Jesus, and I want you to experience everything He has for you, in this world and the world to come.

If you aren't positive that if you died today you would go to Heaven, I implore you to pray the following prayer out loud right now.  (Remember, "with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.")

"Dear God, I thank you for sending Jesus to the world to die on the cross and pay the penalty for my sins.  I thank you that He came to save me from my sins.  I believe that after Jesus died you raised Him from the dead.  I believe He is still with you in Heaven today, and always will be.  I confess that Jesus Christ is the new Lord of my life.  I repent of my sins.  Help me to live for You.  Show me Your ways and Your plan for my life.  I love You Lord and I thank You.  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen." 

HALLELUJAH.  If you did that then you can be assured you will be with God forever.  You will be in a paradise of love and joy.  How do I know?  Because the Bible tells me so.  Read your Bible daily.  Start in the Gospel of John.  Find a good Bible-based church.  EFG stands ready to assist you in any way we can.  God bless you, and welcome to the family of God.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  (John 3:16)


Food for the Hungry

This past Saturday Shannon and I attended the Follow You Tour in Clearwater, Florida.  It was an awesome concert featuring Brandon Heath, Leeland, and Francesca Battistelli.  The bands did this tour in connection with Food for the Hungry.  During a brief intermission they showed a video about their trip to Cambodia, where they met some seriously impoverished people, especially children.  They danced and sang and played games with them.  Your heart went out to these wonderful children.  In the midst of extreme poverty they seem so loving and happy. 

Food for the Hungry currently operates in more than 26 nations.  They focus on the two hungers facing much of the impoverished world, spiritual hunger and physical hunger.  Their wide range of operations includes providing food and water, emergency relief, church development, and even local business development.  Clearly this group wants to feed both the spirits and stomachs of the people.  And more than that, they want to help people feed themselves.

Another awesome ministry of Food for the Hungry is child sponsorship.  I'm sure many of us can remember various commercials pleading for us to sponsor a child in some impoverished nation.  I always wanted to do that, and I'm sure you did too.  I know that the desire to give and help others doesn't just come with Christianity.  Many of us wanted to help those hurting babies before we ever knew Christ.  Desires to help and love are inborn from God in the human heart.  But now, with Christ in our lives, we should realize that we must help.  It's more than just "want to," it's "have to."  We are instructed and empowered to help. 

One problem with many other such operations is that they only feed the flesh.  Now that I can help a child's spiritual and physical well-being for only about a dollar a day, I am without excuse.  I am stirred to action.  I always wanted to do it and now I have found the perfect organization to partner with.  I hope you feel the same way when you visit the Food for the Hungry website.  The saddest part is how many children are available for sponsorship.  Won't you help them, won't you help the least of these, as God commands. 

I should add two other notes to this post.  A dear friend of mine recently told me that he believes the Church still lacks true supernatural prosperity because of its continued neglect of widows and orphans.  We must begin doing more to help the most fragile and helpless among us.  Also, Shannon and I believe that this sponsorship is a great seed for us to plant, as we look to begin having our own children.  Find out more about Food for the Hungry.  Pray about getting involved.


Everything Church Skit

This video really speaks for itself. It has be viewed over 11.5 million times on youtube.  Jesus is our everything. Watch it all, the end is the best. And be blessed.


Dr. Nasir K. Siddiki

I like to watch the Trinity Broadcasting Network's telethon whenever it comes on. To help raise money for their ministry, they have some of the world's most well known Christian ministers teach on finances (and other subjects) while they have open phone lines for donation. The ministers receive nice amounts of time to really delve into God's Word and preach. The average show on TBN lasts 25 minutes or so, but each minister usually preaches for at least an hour during the telethon. Watching this will expose you to powerful teaching and new ministers which can contribute to your Christian life.

I first heard the preaching of Dr. Nasir Siddiki during this telethon.  He spoke powerfully about the Biblical laws of seedtime and harvest.  He has the type of anointing that I can listen to for hours.  He preaches quickly and powerfully, filling his sermon with Scriptural references and useful anecdotes. 

I believe one way I sense the anointing is when I hear the combination of true conviction, Scriptural reference and speed of speech.  Sure you can say that such ministers simply have good public speaking skills, and that these traits don't evidence the anointing.  But I don't buy that.  I believe the Holy Spirit speaks fluidly and intently and powerfully.  There is a popular charge against many megachurch ministers today, that they simply have great rhetorical skills.  I think that is a perversion of the truth.  I think many of these ministers, which God uses mightily, have the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit has great rhetorical skills.  It just may be that the doubters haven't ever sat under a minister with the true influence of the Holy Spirit.  (I also believe Paula White has a powerful witness of the Holy Spirit when she preaches, which witness evidences these traits.  I'm aware of the public problems which have occurred in her life.  No need to mention them, I believe she is a powerful teacher and awesome ministry gift.)

Dr. Siddiki has the traits of a powerful, anointed, Holy Spirit preacher in abundance.  When I first saw him on tv, I sat and was blessed for nearly 45 minutes without distraction.  It was like the Holy Spirit was speaking right to me.  He knows, as well as any one, God's Word and God's laws when it comes to Biblical finance.  I would highly recommend his book, Kingdom Principles of Financial Increase.  His life and ministry have demonstrated a commitment to God's Word and seedtime and harvest, and God has blessed him.

Dr. Siddiki and his wife, Anita, also know a great deal about God's healing power.  Both tapped into this power to recover from completely debilitating diseases.  Much like with Brother Kenneth E. Hagin, God raised them both from the bed of sickness to deliver His message to the world.  God healed them so they could preach freedom from sickness and poverty to millions.   Dr. Siddiki, born into a muslim family, called out to God from his deathbed, asking a God he didn't know for healing.  God answered his cry and raised him up a Christian convert and ministry gift to the world. 

Dr. Siddiki now travels around the world holding crusades and doing great exploits for God.  He ministers through a television show that reaches millions around the world, Winning with Wisdom.  He even developed the curriculum for Biblical Economics for the American Bible College, see the book mentioned above.  I highly encourage you to begin receiving from their ministry, Wisdom Ministries.  Watch the television show.  Read his materials and listen to his messages.  You'll hear the Holy Spirit speaking through him and downloading wisdom right to your spirit.


Dr. Ravi Zacharias

Dr. Ravi Zacharias was born in India and later moved to the United States.  Possessing a powerful intellect, inspired by the Holy Spirit and wise from his considerable experience and studies, he preaches and lectures persuasively on behalf of Jesus Christ. 

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries focuses largely on Christian apologetics, seeking to persuade others of the reality of Christianity through reason and rationale.  Dr. Zacharias lectures frequently on the superiority of Christianity to other religions, often in that Christianity is the only true religion because only Christianity has a completely rational basis which can help us understand every aspect of reality.  Dr. Zacharias has extensive knowledge of the world's religions, viewpoints, and opinions, and openly debates their accuracy against the truth of Christianity.  He shows their fallibility with Scripture, natural observations, and logical arguments.

The website for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries notes that the ministry seeks to influence "skeptics, cultural influencers, and critical thinkers across the globe."  I would never say that the Gospel is not enough to persuade any man's spirit.  But sometimes you can't get people to listen to the Gospel long enough to make a change.  Some people, especially the intellectuals in America, think that Christianity is foolishness, much like the Greeks did during the time of Paul.  These people often won't listen to Spiritual dialogues or church sermons.  They will sometimes, however, listen to an intellectually based argument.  People who fancy themselves intellectuals want to listen to intellectual things.  Dr. Zacharias has forced open a door to these groups.  He is a renowned scholar with opportunities at many respected universities.  He speaks to world leaders throughout the globe.  Coming from India and traveling extensively, Dr. Zacharias also has a unique perspective on many world cultures.  He understands the world's diversity and diverse viewpoints.  He therefore can relate to and minister to people around the world.

I am a well educated man.  When I listen to Dr. Zacharias I find mental stimulation that few other sources provide.  I know Christianity is true by faith.  Dr. Zacharias helps me see how all of nature also testifies to Christianity's reality.  All other gods are idols.  All other religions are false and fruitless.  I believe these things because the Bible tells me so.  Dr. Zacharias helps me see this reality with my mind as well as my heart.  He debunks the arguments of atheist, heretic, and heathen alike.  His ministry helps create unity of belief between my mind and spirit, which unity makes me a more convinced, powerful, and persuasive minister.

I highly encourage you to visit the website for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.  Get some of his audio materials, watch him on tv, and/or listen to him on the radio.  Your mind will be touched by the power of the Gospel in new ways, I promise you that.  I recently received a mailing from his ministry and the quote thereon was, "Helping the Thinker Believe and the Believer Think."  Find out for yourself what that feels like.  You will be blessed.



I know in my life I have had some crazy dreams.  I imagine most of you have too.  Many times dreams include elements from the previous day, like a restaurant where you ate, for example.  Other times dreams seem to contain only bizarre elements, leaving you with a "where did that come from" type feeling.  Dreams can produce powerful emotional and physical responses.  We can wake up sweating, scared, or even laughing.  Some dreams fill us with hope that they might come true, others fill us with dread for the same reason. 

God speaks to people in dreams, and God might be speaking to you in yours.  In Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see God speak to several people this way.  This group includes both Joseph, a servant of God, and Abimelech, the heathen king of Gerar.  God showed Joseph the future, and God warned Abimelech not to mess with Abraham's wife.  God's use of dreams continues through the Bible, and includes Paul having a night vision where God directs him to go preach in Macedonia.  These are examples from both the Old and New Testaments, good people and bad, indicating that regardless of "believer status" or Christian acceptance, God speaks to people in dreams.

Indeed, in the Book of Joel God said, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions."  The Apostle Peter affirmed that we are now in that time during his speech in Acts 2

So have you ever considered the potential Divine significance of your dreams?  Do you wake up thinking they are wild and completely unrelated to what has recently occurred in your life?  This might be a dream from God.  I remember my first dream from God; it came the night after a week of partying in the Bahamas for spring break.  I won't bore you with the details, but God basically said I had so messed up my mind that I couldn't even perceive reality anymore.  That dream got my attention.  (Unfortunately it would be three more years before I became a committed Christian.)

So I encourage you to pay attention to your dreams.  Even if you currently have no relationship with Him, God still might send you dreams.  He might want to show you His love and possibilities for your life.  Or, as in my case, He may want to correct and warn you.  If you are already a Christian, look to your dreams for potential correction and direction from God.  Write them down and pray about them. 

I believe God wants to use this time of sleep, time away from work, TV, other people, and other distractions, to teach us and show us important things for our lives.  If you like you can also read another Bible study I wrote, "Do You Dream."  Most importantly, I pray you hear His voice more clearly every day, whatever way you can.  God bless you.


Operation Mobilisation

Operation Mobilisation International operates around the world, sharing the Gospel and blessing people. I felt amazed and inspired while reviewing their website, really in awe of God for empowering these people to do so much.

Operation Mobilisation's heart is missions. This group trains, equips, and sends out thousands of ministers to over 100 nations. They preach the Gospel and also help the practical needs of the people. They have many operations in these countries dedicated to starting new churches, teaching practical skills, and helping the poor and downtrodden.

This organization has truly established a worldwide ministry presence. If you are looking for an awesome job, albeit unpaid, working your trade while also serving God's kingdom, then you should check out their opportunities page. They also have terrific mission trip opportunities which provide life changing experiences for thousands each year. Operation Mobilisation also sends two ships around the world, the Doulos and the Logos Hope, providing aid, witnessing, training, and blessing the nations. They have even developed Middle Eastern and Muslim evangelism ministries, glory to God.

Truly God has mobilized this powerful ministry to shake the nations for Him and to show the love of Jesus Christ to the world. You can see that God won't be left without a witness in any nation. In fact, God has His hands across the globe, in towns and villages, cities and states. God is determined to see the lost and unchurched come to Him, and God clearly uses this strong ministry to do His work. Check out the Operation Mobilisation website for more information.

A New Beginning

While I attended graduate school God led me to write a series of Bible studies that I mailed or emailed to family and friends.  These were called "A New Beginning.  As you will see we covered a wide range of topics.  This lasted for nearly two years until I felt God's urging to take a break.  That break lasted about 2.5 years, and ended with God encouraging me to begin this website.   

This was really my first public ministry effort.  These were fun to send out, for I really found out which of my friends considered themselves Christians.  I also found out which didn't.  But much good came from doing this, and truthfully this completely changed the direction of my life and relationships.  I went from regular guy to minister of the Gospel.  Start publicly preaching your Christian faith and you'll see what I mean. 

I encourage you to read some and see what you think.  Then you could come back whenever you want some encouragement or guidance in a particular area.  Most have many Scripture references, so this could also be a good Bible study resource for you.  So enjoy and be blessed.  (There are, I'm fairly sure, some spelling and grammar errors.  I'm sorry.  The picture is of the orphan rhinoceros, Maalim, we adopted and visited in Kenya.  Please check out The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to adopt your own orphaned elephant or rhino.)


Love Others

While living in Atlanta, I attended World Changers Church International, pastored by Dr. Creflo A. Dollar. Now, everything Pastor preaches comes out with the fire of God and the full backing of Heaven. But I realized not every sermon finds the same crowd reaction. You see, some sermons focus mainly on God’s promises and how to obtain them. These sermons often inspire furious note taking and loud shouts of “Hallelujah.” Other sermons focus on appropriate Christian behavior and obeying the commands of God. These often inspire a far more subdued crowd reaction. For example, preach a sermon on giving only because you love God, without highlighting the potential harvest, and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.

The irony is that the less exciting sermons contain the keys to receiving the personal manifestation of the more exciting sermons. During my time at World Changers Dr. Dollar preached a multi-week series on love. Now Dr. Dollar has a very mature flock. And I’m sure many of my fellow World Changers saw the importance of this series. Dr. Dollar clearly understood this, even saying that he wanted to be the ambassador of God’s love. Yet love is a topic that easily falls by the wayside. I know enough now to sow seed all the time. I know I need to be praying in tongues and saying my confession. I know to read and meditate God’s Word. And whenever an opportunity to unexpectedly bless someone practically slaps me in the face, I’m smart enough to take it. I know many Christians who also have this practical knowledge. But the practice of living in God’s love, this I find often escaping Christians.

How many times have we heard that faith works by love, yet on Monday morning we are yelling at the kids to get ready, yelling at traffic, and yelling (either inwardly or outwardly) at coworkers. As a body of Christ we have got to change our focus. The time is at hand. I know Joyce Meyer has taught and written now about a “Love Revolution.” God wants to manifest Himself through the church to this world, more than we could ever imagine. But God, who is love, can’t do it through a loveless church.

Remember Jesus saying to the church leaders about how they tithe on mint and cummin, yet they omitted the weightier matters of the law. “These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23) Church, in large measure we have left the law of love undone, which is clearly the weightiest matter.

I don’t know a single Christian who doesn’t have a laundry list of wants that they regularly present to God. Now we should always believe God for increase, promotion and a greater witness, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I see countless people not living in the full manifestation of God’s promises. This isn’t God’s fault. I believe our lack of love causes the malfunction of God’s spiritual operation in our lives. If without faith we can’t receive from God, and if faith works by love, then we won’t be receiving much if we have no love. Moreover, something tells me that if I got truly focused on walking in God’s love all the time, the windows of Heaven would open such a blessing deluge on my life that I wouldn’t have room enough to receive it.

Let’s also talk about our witness to the world. We spend so much time preaching on what not to do: don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t see “R” rated movies, don’t touch your premarital relation too much, don’t curse, and so on. And these days we also get all political about things, further driving away many people who need the Church the most. Yes, the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. But the Bible also notes certain other specific things that will draw the world to God: power, prosperity, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

We need to get love focused and love controlled. We need to put on love goggles and see the world with eyes of love. Love should be the chief motivation of our lives. And then, as Dr. Dollar point out, love will be the activator as well. Love the lost, love the world, love the sinners, even our greatest enemies. Love your neighbors, love your friends. Love those around you. Teach love, preach love, witness love. I tell you right now I have been terrible about this. But no more. God showed me my problem and I’m going to fix it. I know a lot of people. And when they see the love of God oozing from me they will come closer and receive. The world will know us by the love we have for another, absolutely and amen. But remember, if at the same time we are hating them we can’t expect them to join us.

Get your love straight. When your love for God and for people lines up with God’s Word, you will see God bless and increase every aspect of your existence. When you are a walking, talking fire breathing love superhuman, God will put a world changing anointing on you. The lost will see and come. Your prayer’s manifestation will come. Your family will come. Even God will come, for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all abide with the person who obeys the commandments to love.


Worship Works Ministries International

While in high school Byron attended a church pastored by Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne, The River at Tampa Bay.  That church first introduced me to the awesome ministry of Pastor Joe Cruse and his family.  Pastor Joe led the worship there.  Now Pastor Joe and his wife, Becky, along with their children, have a church, worship school, and Christian academic school in Austin, Texas.

Pastor Joe and Becky have an anointing to worship the Lord in song that truly blesses the nations.  They travel all over the world leading worship, teaching, training worship leaders, and blessing people.  Within seconds of meeting them you'll feel their genuine love for people, as their warmth and friendliness (and Texan charm) radiate and fill the room.

God inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3).  We are to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Ps. 100:4).  The importance of Spirit-filled worship can't be overstated.  I personally believe that worship can usher us into a place where we can clearly hear God's voice.  That worship opens a channel between Earth and Heaven, through which God can funnel revelation and direction directly to a worshiper's heart.  Praise acts like water to our souls, helping God's Word sown therein to grow and manifest.  I also believe that nothing hastens the manifestation of answered prayer like thanksgiving and praise.  For all those reasons and more, you just can't spend enough time praising God.

True worship involves more of the heart and less of the hymnal.  We can all praise the Lord in song.  Ministries that focus on worship emphasize a crucial part of the victorious Christian life.  Visit the website of Worship Works Ministries InternationalPurchase some of their terrific music albums.  They will provide you with countless hours of exciting listening and Spirit-led worship.  Also be sure to check out Joe and Becky Cruse's blog.  Lastly, I am so excited to say that Pastors Joe and Becky Cruse will be visiting our home church, Covenant Christian Center of Tampa, next Wednesday, September 30, starting at 6:30pm.  Be there and be blessed.


Kenneth and Gloria Copeland

I first learned about Kenneth Copeland through the ministry of Dr. Creflo Dollar. Dr. Dollar considers Brother Copeland his father in the faith, and Dr. Dollar talks often of him and their fellowship. I then learned that my mother had some old tapes from Brother Copeland, so I began listening. I also downloaded a free book from his website, The Laws of Prosperity.

I believe Brother Copeland and his wonderful wife, Gloria, are two of the most precious ministry gifts the Body of Christ has today.  You see I know that Christians could differ on so many topics, and I want this to be a place where we can discuss things in love and fellowship. But if we only talk about things without controversy, we'll end up not talking about very much. I believe that the end times are here, largely because of the current revelation I see given to the Body of Christ.

Today we see God's people with a greater understanding of "the believer's priesthood," than ever before. More than ever we understand that Christians are the children of God, and that the very life of God flows through their veins. This revelation began returning to the Body of Christ around one hundred years ago, with Dr. Kenyon and Kenneth Hagin really spreading it abroad. (There were others, but we won't mention them all here.)

That revelation came to Brother and Sister Copeland, and now they have carried it around the world, and added much to it. They teach us about the glory that God wants to give us, the love God has for us, the power of our Christian faith, and so many other wonderful topics. We now begin to see Christians beginning to act like Christians should. Not broke, busted and disgusted, but risen, shining, wise, prosperous, and anointed with the Holy Ghost and power.

The glory God wants to see in the church, that will be manifest to all the world, must be preached to the Church before it can be seen in the Church. Kenneth and Gloria have that mantel, and they wear it boldly and tirelessly. Their spiritual and biological children will carry it after them. They preach God's Word,and build our faith, and the Body is growing to maturity.

Ephesians 4 says we will have ministry gifts until we "all come in the unity of The Faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." The Copelands do whatever they can to raise the body to maturity and edify us worldwide. They are generals in the Faith. They are warriors for Christ. And they are loving symbols of His glory.

Yes, I know much has been said about them these days, but the critics don't know them or sit under their ministry. Go to the Kenneth Copeland Ministries Website. Watch some of their meetings online. See their heart for yourself. You'll see they long for the true worship of God like all good Christians. You'll see they are worthy of our admiration and our thanksgiving to God for them.


Serving God Should Be Fun

Last Wednesday I led our church children's group, which we call Generation Faith.  My three younger brothers all take part and the comedy ensues whenever they speak.  After making fun of the teacher, the oldest made a profound comment for his sixteen years.  He said (paraphrasing) - why is it so easy for me to watch tv or read non-Christian materials, but so difficult to commit to reading the Bible.

I must admit I was proud of him for this observation.  I know you all have never had this problem, but I have and so I'm sure at least a few other people have too.  Why is it that I can easily sit through a two hour movie, but it would take a serious amount of focus to study God's Word for two hours?  I believe it comes down to original sin, and the fact that our pre-Christian lives influenced us more deeply than we suspect.  But more important than the cause, let's focus on the cure. 

Nothing is more important than God's Word.  Nothing else on earth can give us such wisdom and life.  God's Word is even health to our flesh.  No work of literature has stories more fascinating or beautifully written.  Spending serious time in God's Word helps us prosper and do wisely in life.  (See Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1)   I didn't know these truths before I came to Christ.  But now, after reading the Word and hearing them preached.  I know them.  I know I must daily meditate God's Word to effectively live Christian. 

But while my brain knows this, my brain has somehow associated this with work.  My brain associates the newspaper and sports with recreation, but it associates God's Word, church, service activities, and all the like, with work.  And I don't mean "work" in a physical labor sense, but these things are often viewed as unfun or task-like responsibilities.  They are not viewed as recreational, relaxing, or fun.  But this is wrong.

The truth is that God is the coolest being in existence.  God invented fun.  God invented recreation.  God said we should labor to enter His rest.  Nothing should be more fun or relaxing or enjoyable than spending time in God's Word and presence.  So now we need to rewire our brain this way.   We must first decide that the above statements are true.  We must then confess that in Jesus' Name, we decide that God's Word and presence are awesome and fun and relaxing and we love to be in Them.  That is one of the beautiful liberties of Christianity.  I can believe whatever I decide to believe.  I can decide whatever I want to decide.  And when my beliefs and decisions are in line with God's Word, then all of Heaven backs them up.

Now I am choosing to delight myself in the Lord, knowing that He gives me the desires of my heart.  I then begin to walk by faith.  I decided reading the Bible is fun, so I start reading the Bible.  No, I may not enjoy it much at first or feel any differently, but God is with me.  The Word will open like never before.  God will comfort me and strengthen my mind.  Overtime I will enjoy the Word more and more, as it lives more and more in me.  The same process applies to church.  I love God with all my everything, and I still find myself looking at the clock on Sundays.  I must change my thinking.  Church is fun, church is great, I love church.  I love serving others, I love being there late just to fellowship, and so on.  Job 22:28 says if you decree a thing it will be established.

We need to renew our minds to the goodness of God and His Word.  Renew your mind to the true fun of God.  Use Spiritual weapons to renew your mind, and cast down every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  Spend more time with Him, and you will grow to love every second in His presence and His Word.