THE BOGUS ALTAR CALL

Today in the West a church ‘altar call’ (if they even have one) often consists of the pastor asking for every head bowed and every eye closed while they ask for a show of hands raised by those who want to ‘accept Jesus’. That is so very Western, for an Easterner or an Oriental would never think they have the privilege of merely ‘accepting’ the King into their lives. Instead, they would give their lives to the King, humbly asking that He accept them.

Two minister friends of mine were having lunch one day. They were talking about some of these differences between Western and Eastern thinking, and one friend mentioned a trip to India and what one of the Indian pastors had said.

“You in America preach a different gospel that we do in India”, the Indian pastor said. “You preach that if you accept Jesus He will heal your family, He will heal your money and give you more, and He will heal your body. You will be blessed if you accept Jesus. But in India we preach that if you believe in Jesus your family may reject you, you may lose your health, you may lose your money, and you may lose your life.”

Altar Calls

The West invites Jesus into their already busy lives, while the East gives their whole life to Jesus to the point of immediately being willing to die for Him if called upon to do so. The West doesn’t understand Jesus is a King, but instead think of Him first as a friend, one who is on our side to improve our life and make us prosperous. The East realizes He is the King who will rule the earth, and even now as Head of the body of Christ, rules and reigns as the God-Man.

One is horrified that God in the flesh would be betrayed by a supposed friend over an intimate dinner while the other merely sees a dinner in which one of the attendees left to carry out his plan.

I look around at the body of Christ in the West and see so much sin, so much love of the world and all that is in it, and I wonder why there is such a lack of revelation about Who Jesus is. And that is the key, our churches have largely left receiving revelation from God as the purpose for meeting, and for prayer and worship, in favor of entertainment copied from the world. Instead of attracting people with the banner proclaiming they can know God, the church tries to attract people under the banner proclaiming Jesus can make your life better if you include Him in it.

But to the remnant who know Him as King, Who can indeed also be a Friend (but not one without the other), great grace and peace be upon you.

Do you want to survive or thrive in this decade? You must take an uncompromised stand for truth and righteousness. Please get my new book, The Tumultuous 2020s and Beyond, to discover all that’s at stake in the coming years. We must be bold, fearless, and strong in the Lord. 

For more of the same please make some time to listen to the Charisma podcast interview I did this past week. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support! 

Also, The Real Salvation, The Real Jesus, and The Real Gospel are poignant and prophetic books that combat the departure from the faith we are seeing in our day. These are books that have had a deeply sanctifying effect on many of our readers lives. 

MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF HOW I CAME TO KNOW JESUS AND THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

In the summer of 1979, while sharing a rented house with several of my college fraternity brothers in Bangor, Maine I came under the conviction of the Holy Ghost.

I was living in an old room adjacent to a garage and sleeping with just a mattress on the floor. While lying on that mattress one night after a drinking binge I turned on the television to see and hear a fiery preacher boldly proclaiming the gospel.

Immediately my senses were arrested, and I sobered up. My conscience was smitten. I knew I was not living right. I knew the things I was doing were sinful in God’s eyes.

As the gospel program came to an end, the preacher extended an offer for the viewer to write him if they had made a decision for Christ. If my recollection is accurate, I was held back by a thought. How can I stop sinning? So I wrote a letter to the television preacher asking him that very question. I never received a response so I continued to live a sinful lifestyle, but a great seed of repentance was planted in my heart.

THE FAITHFUL WITNESS

At this time the college mail room clerk who was a stalwart Christian had taken an interest in me and was a gospel witness in my life. This man was just a few years older than I and shone with the peace and presence of God. My curiosity was aroused by his disposition. One day, I saw his Bible open on his desk and knew instantly the secret of his bright countenance. I was intrigued by that.

Over a process of time, he shared many things with me, always answering all of my religious questions with, “the Bible says.” One day, in a moment of exacerbation, I asked him if he could not think for himself and give me his own opinion instead of quoting the Bible all the time. His response: “The Bible says that the carnal mind is enmity or hostility against God.” Aarrgh!

I saw that this man really believed the Bible to be the unadulterated Word of God, and he lived by it. That impressed me. As a devout Roman Catholic, I had never met anyone like him. (Below is an old photo of me and the faithful witness who brought me to Jesus (circa 1981). I’m forever grateful for his mentorship in those early days.)

Gradually we became good friends, and he led me to Christ and taught me to observe the things He commanded from His Word. Immediately, he baptized me in water. The desire to drink, smoke weed and live a party lifestyle departed from me as I read His Word.

THE FRUITS OF TRUE REPENTANCE

I also quickly proved my repentance by getting rid of my rock-n-roll albums that promoted sex, drugs and evil. I also made restitution by paying for some pornographic magazines I had stolen from a convenience store.

I spoke to the store manager and offered an explanation as I handed him the money and a letter with my testimony—quite different from many so-called conversions today when a prayer is made, a preacher’s hand is shaken, but no change is forthcoming.

I thank God for my humble beginnings and for a faithful witness who taught me what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Isn’t this what we should all be doing for those who are still lost?

REMEMBER THIS AS YOU CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

This week, as I celebrate yet another Christmas—my 38th in Christ, I am reminded that just as Christ was birthed and formed in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, so has He been birthed and formed in each of us who are His disciples. In a real way, His incarnation 2,000 years ago repeatedly reproduces itself in human flesh every time someone is truly born of the Spirit and follows Jesus.

Although I strongly despise the many pagan rituals and commercialism that surround the Christmas season, I still celebrate our Savior’s birth with great joy and cheer. What I grossly detest is the perversion of the message the angels brought to the shepherds concerning His birth.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men!” (Luke 2:13-14).

The message the angels announced was not man having peace and goodwill towards one another, but it was a communication from the heavenly Father to mankind: “The armies of the heavenly host have not come to destroy you but to bring you a message of peace and good will. The Father has sent His Son as a Lamb (that is why He was born in a stable) and a peace offering to all of mankind.”

How sad that the peace and goodwill the Father offers to all of mankind in His Son has been reduced to, “All human beings be nice to each other and give each other gifts.”

His birth and incarnation—God becoming man—should remind us all of God’s ultimate purpose to be embodied in mankind, and for each of us to represent Him and His attributes.

“Christ in [us], the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27b). This is the real Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all.

MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF HOW I CAME TO KNOW JESUS AND THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

In the summer of 1979, while sharing a rented house with several of my college fraternity brothers in Bangor, Maine I came under the conviction of the Holy Ghost.

I was living in an old room adjacent to a garage and sleeping with just a mattress on the floor. While lying on that mattress one night after a drinking binge I turned on the television to see and hear a fiery preacher boldly proclaiming the gospel.

Immediately my senses were arrested, and I sobered up. My conscience was smitten. I knew I was not living right. I knew the things I was doing were sinful in God’s eyes.

As the gospel program came to an end, the preacher extended an offer for the viewer to write him if they had made a decision for Christ. If my recollection is accurate, I was held back by a thought. How can I stop sinning? So I wrote a letter to the television preacher asking him that very question. I never received a response so I continued to live a sinful lifestyle.

At this time the college mail room clerk who was a stalwart Christian had taken an interest in me and was a gospel witness in my life. This man was just a few years older than I and shone with the peace and presence of God. My curiosity was aroused by his disposition. One day, I saw his Bible open on his desk and knew instantly the secret of his bright countenance. I was intrigued by that.

Over a process of time, he shared many things with me, always answering all of my religious questions with, “the Bible says.” One day, in a moment of exacerbation, I asked him if he could not think for himself and give me his own opinion instead of quoting the Bible all the time. His response: “The Bible says that the carnal mind is enmity or hostility against God.” Aarrgh!

I saw that this man really believed the Bible to be the unadulterated Word of God, and he lived by it. That impressed me. As a devout Roman Catholic, I had never met anyone like him.

Gradually we became good friends, and he led me to Christ and taught me to observe the things He commanded from His Word. Immediately, he baptized me in water. The desire to drink, smoke weed and live a party lifestyle departed from me as I read His Word. I quickly proved my repentance by getting rid of my rock-n-roll albums that promoted sex, drugs and evil. I also made restitution by paying for some pornographic magazines I had stolen from a convenience store.

I spoke to the store manager and offered an explanation as I handed him the money and a letter with my testimony—quite different from many so-called conversions today when a prayer is made, a preacher’s hand is shaken, but no change is forthcoming.

I thank God for my humble beginnings and for a faithful witness who taught me what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Isn’t this what we should all be doing for those who are still lost?

This week, as I celebrate yet another Christmas—my 38th in Christ, I am reminded that just as Christ was birthed and formed in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, so has He been birthed and formed in each of us who are His disciples. In a real way, His incarnation 2,000 years ago repeatedly reproduces itself in human flesh every time someone is truly born of the Spirit and follows Jesus.

Although I strongly despise the many pagan rituals and commercialism that surround the Christmas season, I still celebrate our Savior’s birth with great joy and cheer. What I grossly detest is the perversion of the message the angels brought to the shepherds concerning His birth.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men!” (Luke 2:13-14).

The message the angels announced was not man having peace and goodwill towards one another, but it was a communication from the heavenly Father to mankind: “The armies of the heavenly host have not come to destroy you but to bring you a message of peace and good will. The Father has sent His Son as a Lamb (that is why He was born in a stable) and a peace offering to all of mankind.”

How sad that the peace and goodwill the Father offers to all of mankind in His Son has been reduced to, “All human beings be nice to each other and give each other gifts.”

His birth and incarnation—God becoming man—should remind us all of God’s ultimate purpose to be embodied in mankind, and for each of us to represent Him and His attributes.

“Christ in [us], the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27b). This is the real Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all.

THE REAL JESUS