Holy Necromancy, Batman!

Just this past week I was teaching a Bible study, addressing various trends in our culture.  One of these trends is the prevalence of the occult.  We are a society beguiled and fascinated with witchcraft, sorcery, vampires, ghosts, zombies, paranormal powers and psychic phenomena.  This is a very perilous trend.  The Bible is explicit in its condemnation of all forms of the occult belief and practice.  There are scores of verses that address this matter.  The most comprehensive is found in Deuteronomy 18:9-14.  Here God expressly forbids His people from any involvement in the occult.

After my lesson was over, a lady came up to talk to me.  She was very concerned about a friend.  Her friend is an elderly woman who is a devout Christian believer, and has served the Lord for many years.  However, she has begun experiencing a new kind of spiritual experience.  This woman claims that the spirits of dead people have been visiting her, and communicating with her on a regular basis.  She talks with them, and they relay all sorts of information to her.  Indeed, in this woman’s neighborhood she has become somewhat of a celebrity because of this.  Someone loses their keys, they consult her—and she asks some spirit to reveal the keys’ whereabouts.  Someone has a problem, the spirits give counsel and advice through their matronly channel.  The woman has become the resident local medium for all sorts of help from the spirit world. Continue reading

Sure and Certain Resurrection

On Good Friday my wife and I went to see a new Christian film, The Case for Christ.  This is the true story of Lee Strobel, a Chicago crime reporter whose world turned upside down when his wife became a Christian.  Before this, they were both avowed atheists.  Strobel decided that the only way to win his wife back to reason was to disprove Christianity.  And the way to do this was to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as an historical event.  The film traces Strobel’s investigation into the nature and evidence about the Resurrection.  It is an excellent film, which I highly recommend. Continue reading

Patrick of Ireland: Native Missionary

The story of Patrick is one of the most dramatic in the history of the church.  This single man was used of God to literally change a nation.  While he did work with a team of fellow disciples and converts, it was Patrick himself who personally spearheaded a missions effort that is almost unparalleled in the annals of church history.

The story of Patrick has been embellished with many fanciful legends.  The true story is dramatic and stirring enough that it truly needs no embellishment.  We won’t go into all the details here.  You can read his full story elsewhere.  Suffice it to say that Patrick was a British Celt who God called to return to the land of his youthful enslavement and preach to the Irish Celts.  One Celt proclaiming the Gospel to a neighboring Celtic tribe.  This was a beautiful example of indigenous missions in action. Continue reading

I Am A Survivor

Last week I celebrated my birthday.  This was a BIG one… the big 6-0.  Seems huge.  I have told several people—60 just seems old.  When you are in your 50’s you can convince yourself that you are still at the upper reaches of middle age.  But 60?  That’s old.  Bordering on elderly.  Within sight of ancient.  (One friend reminded me that biblically I only have 10 more years left to live, cf. Psalm 90:10.)

But, it is not the demise of my fading youth that is on my mind this morning.  Actually, what I am thinking of is the difference between everyday life in the 21st century and what life was like when I was growing up.  My, what differences there are! Continue reading

Of Ladybugs and Things…

I first wrote this many years back while I was on staff at a church in Pennsylvania.  Yet, though it is somewhat dated, I thought you might enjoy it anyway.

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Today I have ladybugs on my mind. I guess it’s because we are somewhat overcome with a flood of them lately. They are everywhere. My house has bunches, especially in the bathroom. They are even at church! (We have very devout insects in PA!)

This past Sunday morning I rushed from my Sunday School class, made a hurried stop at my office, and hastened to the sanctuary, where the worship was already in progress. Sue and I always sit on the front row, so I went as quickly and unobtrusively as I could down the side aisle to my seat. The music filled the sanctuary, and everyone was dutifully engaged in reverent praise. Immediately upon reaching my seat, I began to sing, and then… in just a moment’s time I felt that delicious and yet frightening sense of God’s awesome and glorious presence. I lifted my hands in devout and delighted worship, raised my eyes heavenward in adoration, and there… there before my joyful, tear-filled eyes was a wondrous sight. Angels? Sunbeams of divine luminescence? The Shekinah Glory of God? Saintly beatific visions? Continue reading