Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I have noticed a disturbing trend in contemporary Christian music, the lyrics and album art do not reflect anything Christian.  Music is a big part of my life and I like most styles.  Many years ago, God convicted my heart concerning the secular music I collected and listened to.  I trashed thousands of dollars worth of music and music related memorabilia.  What helped me most were bands like Bride and Bloodgood that had a great hard rock sound with blatantly Christ centered lyrics.  I discovered bands like Whitecross and Guardian, who looked and sounded like any other hair metal band, but gave glory and honor to Jesus.

Since then, I have collected hundreds of "Christian" CDs.  Lately, I have noticed that some of the biggest names in Christian music have been putting out a music that is indistinguishable from secular music.  The album art is questionable and often contain occultic symbology and the lyrics never mention God or Jesus. Toby Mac surprised me the most with his most recent album which has nothing in the artwork or lyrics that would lead anyone to believe that he is a "Christian artist".  A look at his website reveals not word one about salvation, a relationship with Christ or even a Biblical reference.  Instead, you get to read about his greatest musical influence being Bob Marley.

As I became aware of artists like Toby Mac and Skillet who leave the listener wondering where the message of faith lies, I became increasingly diligent in listening to the lyrics of the music I enjoy.  In so doing, I discovered a band that I never really gave much attention to previously, Kutless.  Kutless leaves no doubt about the fact that they are dedicated to Jesus Christ.  Often in this forum I draw attention to things that are negative, but today, I want to focus on some very positive and committed musical artists.

Most of the music I purchase comes from bands in Europe.  These bands are making the style of music I like best and they write very Christ-centered lyrics.  One band I discovered recently is called Affector.  They sing scripture - period.  Affector has a driving symphonic/metal sound but the words of their songs come straight our of the Bible.  Another symphonic/metal band that sings God honoring songs is Harmony.  Both bands are from Europe, both bands sing in English and both bands hold their own musically.  I have lent my CDs to unbelievers who love good metal and they were blown away.

Bands in the States that are making great Christian Rock are Theocracy, Place of Skulls and believe it or not Stryper, who just released a new album.  There is no reason for a believer to buy secular rock that dishonors God and promotes sin.  There is enough good music, in any genre, being made by fellow believers.

I am constantly in search of new bands that honor Christ.  If you want to discover some great rock and metal, head over to Youtube and check out the bands I mentioned above as well as some on the following list:

1. Rob Rock
2. Narnia
3. Golden Resurrection
4. Driver
5. HB
6. Grinmark
7. Joshua Perahia

If you know of good metal/rock bands that are praising God, leave me a comment an let me know.

Monday, April 21, 2014


As I drove to work today, I listened to the reading of an op-ed piece from our local newspaper.  In the article, the writer was expressing his views on the Bible.  I was refreshed to hear someone speak well about the Bible in a local newspaper and began to ponder the things that the writer stated.  I began to consider the Bible and how it was so intricately fashioned by God.  I began to consider that fact that the Bible is one book made up of many distinct books which made me consider the Trinity and how hard it is to explain to someone how God is one yet three distinct persons.

As I have had occasion to teach the Bible in numerous settings, inevitably, someone will ask about the Trinity.  In fact, one of the toughest questioners I have had on this subject is my son Daniel who often asks difficult questions and will not accept half answers.  I have used the egg illustration, and the water illustration, and the illustration in which I explained that I am a father and a son and a brother but still only one man.  Unfortunately, none of these illustrations can fully explain or capture the true nature of God being three in one.  The concept of God being trinity is indisputable(probably a good topic for a future blog) but explaining it in a manner that is understandable is another matter altogether.

I began to see a correlation with how the Bible is one book made up of many books and realized I may have discovered a simple, yet effective explanation for the Trinity.   In fact, I tested this new explanation out on my son tonight and it hit home.

The Bible is one book.  The word Bible means Book.  The Bible is made up of 66 books.  Everyone of those 66 books is Bible, yet each one of those books can stand alone and none needs any of the other books to be true and inerrant.  Each of the 66 books has a distinct purpose, style and personality.   Together, all 66 books has(not a grammatical error, as you will see below) one message and purpose, to reveal God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.

This is true of God as He expresses Himself to us as Tri-une.  One God, three distinct persons with distinct purpose(ministry), style and personality.  God the Father does not need God the Son or the Holy Spirit to be fully God nor does the Holy Spirit need the Father or Son to be fully God and so on.  Each member of the Trinity is God yet together, they are God with one purpose, to express the fullness of His love to His creation.

Whenever the topic of the Trinity comes up, I am always reminded of Deuteronomy 6:4.  In our English Bibles it reads: Hear O Israel, the LORD our God the LORD is one.  A literal translation would actually read as follows: "Hear O Israel, YHWH our God, YHWH are one."  (YHWH is God's name with the vowels removed.  The Hebrew scribes removed the vowels so no one could pronounce God's name, that it might not be taken in vain.)  Notice the grammatical mixture of the singular with the plural.

Just as God has given us His word, one Book made up of 66 books, so to God has chosen to express Himself to us as Trinity, one God - three persons.

I hope this makes sense and allows for a better understanding of the person and nature of our glorious God.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


                                                               He is risen indeed!

What a blessedness it is that we celebrate the most significant event in all of history, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  This one event sets Yeshuah Ha Messiach apart from all other so called religious figures, our Savior conquered death and the grave in order to give us life eternal.  This week, as our family observed Passover, we looked to the death of our Lord and today, we join all of our brothers and sisters around the world in celebrating His walking out of the grave on the third day.

The significance of this single event is the hinge that all of history turns.  This event changed how we recon the calendar, this event proves, once and for all that Jesus is the Word made flesh, this event gives us hope of a future resurrection and eternity with God.  As I have been studying the Psalms the last couple of weeks, I have seen specific Psalms that pertain to specific events in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

Firs, in Psalm 69, we see what may very well could be the attitude and heart of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane:

Psa 69:1  To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David. Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. 
Psa 69:2  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. 
Psa 69:3  I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. 
Psa 69:4  More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore? 

As I read this passage, I am reminded of the anguish with which Christ prayed, in the Garden, prior to His arrest, as He shed "sweat like drops of blood" and asked the Father to "let this cup pass from me.." but in obedience relented and prayed "Not my will, but yours be done."  Jesus, as a man, feared the cross, as we saw in His words, "the flesh is weak," but Jesus in His deity proclaimed, "the Spirit is willing."

Then we come to Psalm 22, a graphic foretelling of the crucifixion of our mighty Emmanuel:

Psa 22:1  To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 
Psa 22:2  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 
Psa 22:3  Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
Psa 22:4  In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 
Psa 22:5  To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 
Psa 22:6  But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 
Psa 22:7  All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 
Psa 22:8  "He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!" 
Psa 22:9  Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breasts. 
Psa 22:10  On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God. 
Psa 22:11  Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 
Psa 22:12  Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 
Psa 22:13  they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 
Psa 22:14  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 
Psa 22:15  my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. 
Psa 22:16  For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—
Psa 22:17  I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 
Psa 22:18  they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 
Psa 22:19  But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 
Psa 22:20  Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 
Psa 22:21  Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! 

In this we see not only the physical pain of the cross but also the emotional and spiritual anguish our savior suffered on our behalf.  In the opening line we see the horror of the Beloved Son as he, for the first time is separated from the presence of His Father.  This all done to rescue us, who deserve no rescue, all this done to demonstrate the depth of His love for us, His rebellious creation.

Then, we come to Psalm 30, the foretelling of the proclamation of Christ at his resurrection:

Psa 30:1  A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. 
Psa 30:2  O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. 
Psa 30:3  O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. 
Psa 30:4  Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 
Psa 30:5  For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. 
Psa 30:6  As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved." 
Psa 30:7  By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. 
Psa 30:8  To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: 
Psa 30:9  "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? 
Psa 30:10  Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!" 
Psa 30:11  You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 
Psa 30:12  that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! 

God has revealed His plan of redemption way before He brought it about.  Jesus, the Word made flesh, told us His plan thousands of years prior to His death, burial and resurrection.  Mankind anticipated redemption, we celebrate the work of Christ and now look forward to the final chapter - the return of Christ, also well documented throughout the Psalms!


One day we will follow Christ in resurrection and so be with the LORD forever.

What a blessed day to commemorate is our Blessed Resurrection Day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Today, Barna Research Group released the findings on it's annual "State Of The Bible" survey.  The results are not good, from a faith based standpoint.  In the study, Barna found that the Bible is becoming less relevant to today's American culture, at the same time, findings indicate that the majority of Americans agree that moral and ethical values are in decline.  Interestingly, while 8 in 10 Americans agree that the country is in moral decline, most do not attribute a departure from the Bible as a contributing factor, but rather point towards entertainment's influence as the main culprit.  I believe that the lack of Biblicaly based values leads to poor entertainment choice, which does contribute greatly to the decline in today's morality.

Barna reported 5 key findings based on their study.  Overall, Barna still views America as a "Bible friendly" nation, but trends indicate that this is rapidly changing.  According to Barna, antagonism towards the Bible is on the rise, while those who view the Bible as God's word and relevant to daily life is declining, especially among the younger generations.  As churches continue to embrace purpose driven and seeker/emergent concepts and Christians continue to live dual lives, this trend will only continue.   If believers do not lovingly model Biblical lifestyles, how can unbelievers see the Bible as anything other than an ancient book of platitudes and parables?

Barna's first finding is that, for the first time ever, just as many people are ambivalent towards the scriptures as those who embrace the Word.  Nineteen percent of Americans see the Bible as God's word and actually read it at least 4 times per week.  At the same time, nineteen percent of Americans see the Bible as nothing any more special than any other book written by men, stating emphatically that they do not believe it is the Word of God.  Just 3 years ago, only nine percent of Americans felt this way.  A 10% jump in 3 years is alarming to say the least.  

Barna's second finding is that young Americans categorized as Millennials(born between 1984 and 2002) are far more likely to hold the Bible in disdain.  A full 39% claim to have never read the Bible - ever.  This is very troubling, as this group is moving into positions of leadership and influence.  Even as 50% of Americans, overall, claim to believe the Bible has all the information needed to lead a fulfilled life, only 35% of Millennials hold this view.  What kind of Biblical legacy will the generation being raised by Millennials inherit if only a third of Millennials  currently believe the Bible is worth passing on?

Barna's third finding is that Americans do not have time to read the Bible.  This is a common  complaint I here form many fellow believers.  The truth is we find time to do things that are important to us.  Of the 47% who claim to be frustrated that they do not have time to read the Bible, I wonder how many miss their favorite show each week or miss dinner regularly.  We have time to do what we see as important, so if you are in the 47% who claim lack of time as the reason for not reading, chances are reading your Bible is just not a priority.  

Barna's fourth finding is that fewer people attribute lack of Biblical influence for the moral decline of society.  As stated above, entertainment is blamed by most Americans for the decline in moral values.  Because the culture sees the Bible as less relevant, less impact is attributed to it's decline in societies esteem.  As fewer people hold the Bible up as inspired, fewer people will realize that the current moral decline is accelerated by lack of Biblical standards of conduct.  

Barna's fifth finding, and most encouraging, is that technology is affecting the way people utilize scripture.  Of he those who claimed to be newer readers of the Word, 26% attributed it to downloading a Bible app onto their phone.  I have the ESV app on my phone and find it to be a very useful tool.  As technology grows, so to will access to Bible helps and teachings.  

The spiritual future of America does not bode well if current trends continue in the same direction.  Bible teaching churches are challenged with holding firm to the truth of scripture while at the same time presenting the Word in a way that is relevant to a younger generation that embraces immorality as a cultural norm.  The temptation is to move to a more seeker sensitive model that allows people to feel accepted and loved without ever confronting sin and it's destructive nature.  Sin is still dangerous, even if our society endorses it in every way imaginable.  The Bible is still the inspired Word of God and does not change with the whims of the culture.  I would like to encourage you, as a believer, to take the time - make the time- to read your Bible daily and ask God to allow it to speak to you and shape your lifestyle.  The future of America just may depend on it! 

Monday, April 7, 2014


If you are, or ever have been a part of Calvary Chapel, you know former pastor Bob Coy.  Coy was the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, a 20,000 member mega-church.  This past Sunday, Bob Coy's congregation was informed that he had resigned, citing "moral failure" as the reason.  Subsequently, unsubstantiated rumors and suspicions have been flying around the internet, rumors that will not be given any credence in this forum.  The news hit me last evening like a punch in the face, as I pondered all the ramifications of this news going public in a big way.

Those of you who know me, especially from Florida, know that Calvary Chapel was a very big part of my life for a number of years.  I did not serve at the Ft. Lauderdale church, but I was a deacon at a smaller Calvary across town, where I oversaw a myriad of ministries. During that time, I witnessed more than a couple "moral failures", many of which were swept under the rug.  I did attend Calvary Chapel Bible College classes at the Ft. Lauderdale church where I had occasion to meet Bob Coy and trade pleasantries.  We were vague acquaintances at best and were on opposite sides of a minor dust up over a church plant in Boca Raton.  Aside from all that, what I know about Bob Coy is what I have gleaned from the many sermons I have heard him preach on the radio and in person.  I have even been in the habit of listening to his sermons on the radio, here in Knoxville.

Having said all that, this news about former pastor Coy is devastating on a number of levels.  It is devastating to Coy as it has destroyed his image as a man of God, it is devastating to the Coy family as their pain and humiliation is on public display, it is devastating to any people who might be directly involved in Coy's "moral failure" and it is devastating to the ministry of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.   Moral failure is not a victim-less crime.  As I pondered the ramifications of this news, I felt physically sick, primarily because of the high profile black eye this gives to the church in the secular media.  This "moral failure" only goes to reinforce my conviction that the church needs to start policing itself and promoting holiness and sanctification within it's membership, a conviction I have been writing about for some time.

How do we react when christian leaders fail?  I have been reading a great deal of articles and comments on this story and have witnessed everything from anger towards Coy to full support.  What is the proper response?  At first, I felt a twinge of anger towards Bob Coy, but that was completely unwarranted.  Bob Coy did nothing to me personally and I have nothing to forgive him for or be angry with him about.  I certainly do not condone his actions that led to his resignation,  I applaud Calvary Chapel for not making light of this tragedy.  The thing that I keep coming back to is that an omniscient God knew this was going to happen 30 years ago when Coy and his family moved to Ft. Lauderdale to plant a church, just as God knew David would fail with Bathsheba, when David was anointed king over Israel.  This does not excuse "moral failure" in any way, but it does help put things in an eternal perspective.  Just as David suffered great loss over his sin with Bathsheba, so too will Coy, and rightfully so.  I do not know the nature of Coy's "moral failure" nor do I know the circumstances leading up to his confession and resignation, I do hope that he came forward of his own accord, not because he got caught and had no choice but to own up.  I find it hard to imagine a man who is in the pulpit up to 8 times per week could be engaged in a lifestyle of sin and continue to be effective in ministry.

Coy's failure is further evidence of the fallibility of man.  No one is immune to the attacks of the devil.  Coy, being such a high profile servant of God becomes a very high profile target of Satan as well.  Undoubtedly, Coy enjoyed rock star like accolades and praise heaped upon him by many of his congregants.  I imagine it would be hard to remain grounded in such an environment.  Moral failure is inexcusable for anyone, and even more so for a minister of the Gospel.  Calvary Chapel has reported that it is currently working towards Coy's restoration, I just hope that the people of God in his life do not sugar coat his behavior but take the time to minister to him in a meaningful way.

Romans 8:28 is still in play - All things work together for good, for those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose.  After all the hooplah in the press dies down, there is good that can come from this.  I would hope that at the very least, this will cause believers to examine their lives and submit to God privately, as God has demonstrated that He is not adverse to bowing our knees publicly.  Now is a time for prayer.  Prayer for Bob Coy, prayer for his family, prayer for any one directly impacted by his "moral failure" and prayer for Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, but most of all, prayer for personal conviction and church wide revival.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I went into this movie expecting great things and I was not disappointed!  First off., the story was well crafted and believable.  The main story revolves around a freshman college student who is asked to sign a statement that God is dead.  Due to the fact that the student is a christian, he refuses to sign the statement. He is tasked with defending his position to the rest of the class.  Many other sub plots surround the main story and every one is right on target. This review will be spoiler free so if you have not seen the film, I hope to encourage you to go see it.

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of God is Not Dead. The acting was superb, with well known actors such a Dean Cain and Kevin Sorbo.  David A. R. White's presence lends weight and credibility to the production as well. The script and dialogue were also right on target.  This movie is a shining jewel among the lumps of coal currently marketed to the faith community,worthless  movies such as Son Of God, Noah and worst of all Heaven Is For Real.  God's Not Dead is a truly evangelical film that does not sugar coat the truth or water down the Gospel to make it more user friendly.  In God's Not Dead we find a strong presentation of the Gospel message, emphasizing the love of God but not neglecting His righteous judgement.  

If I were a professional movie critic, I would rate this film two thumbs up, 10 stars, and whatever other top rating the pros use to endorse a film.  Take the time to see it - bring an unbelieving friend if possible. This is a must see film!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Bible prophecy is very clear, in the last days, Israel will stand alone.  Just a few years ago, it was unfathomable that the United States would abandon Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, yet the rhetoric coming from the current administration seems to suggest just such a scenario.   Weeks ago, President Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if Israel did not accept the peace deal offered by the U. S., Israel could find itself standing alone in the international community.  Friday, peace talks broke down between Israel and the Palestinians.  Secretary of State John Kerry announced, on Friday, that the peace talks have failed.  What does this mean for the relationship between Israel and the United States?  Will the president make good on his threat to abandon Israel in it's struggle for it's very existence?

Other questions must be asked, questions that at the moment have no solid answers.  Syria is a known threat to Israel, and the rebels fighting in Syria are not friendly toward Israel either, what will that scenario hold in store for Israel if the U. S. turns its back?  Can a flare up between these two neighboring countries lead to the total annihilation of Damascus, the capitol of Syria?  I believe it can.  In the past, when Israel has come under attack, the U. S. has called for restraint on the part of Israel, concerning retaliation.  If the U. S. steps back from Israel, will Israel feel the need for a strong response if attacked?   We know that Israel destroys Damascus at some future point, as the prophets Amos and Jeremiah both foretold it.

Iran continually maintains a threatening posture towards Israel, could a retaliatory strike on Damascus entice Iran and it's allies(namely Russia) to make a move against Israel leading to the Gog and Magog war prophesied in the Bible?  Could this failed attack on Israel lead to the fated treaty that will be signed between Israel and it's enemies, a peace treaty brokered by the man the Bible refers to as the Anti-Christ?  If so, the signing of this treaty will signal the final 7 years of life as we know it, on earth.

Many questions remain unanswered, many pieces need to fall into place, but the are some things that we do know for sure.  We know that at some point in the future, Israel will stand alone in the world. We know that at some point in the future, Israel will retaliate against an attack from Syria and destroy Damascus utterly and completely.  We know that at some point in the future Israel will be attacked by a coalition of nations led by Iran and Russia, an attack that Israel will survive due to supernatural intervention from God.  We know that at some point in the future, the Anti-Christ will broker a peace deal between Israel and it's enemies in the Middle East, marking the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel known as the Seven Year Tribulation.  We know that at some point in the future, Jesus Christ will return, rescue Israel, set up a kingdom in Jerusalem and reign for a thousand years.  We know all these things because the Bible tells us they will happen.

I believe, for a number of reasons, we are living in the days leading up to these events and we will see many of these events take place soon.  If you have not read my blog post A NEW POPE, A METEOR AND A REALLY GOOD BOOK... I encourage you to take a look.  If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will see that I am fairly convinced that Pope Francis is set to fulfill the role of the False Prophet foretold of in the book of Revelation.  In the aforementioned blog, you will find a link to a Youtube video featuring Rabbi Gary Cahn as he discusses his book the HARBINGER.(I strongly urge you to get this book and read it).  Also of interest is the upcoming Blood Moons, this year and next year.  A number of Bible Prophecy experts believe these Blood Moon occurrences, two this year and two next year, all four coinciding with major Jewish Feasts, are a signal of the immanent return of Christ for the Church.(here is a link to an interesting site regarding the Blood Moons and prophecy:
 http://www.bloodmoonprophecy.com/?gclid=CKbXmuvMyb0CFWEV7AodURMAHw  )
Much of the turmoil in the Middle East seems to be positioning prophetic events towards fulfillment.

What does all this mean for the believer in Christ?  The Bible tells us that no man knows the hour of Christ's return, but we are told to watch for signs of the times and that we should be able to discern the season of Christ's return.  It may well be that Christ could tarry another 100 years or more, though I highly doubt it. As always, we should sense the urgency of the Great Commission.  We ought to be living out our faith, pursuing holiness, learning our Bibles and preparing for our call Home.  We must remember that neither our entertainment, nor our leisure, nor the acceptance of our peers  is worth one lost soul.  It is time for the Church to wake up, clean it's own house and start loving people into the kingdom.