Tag Archives: Doug Dykstra

Reality Check: Not Feeling Rich Today?

This afternoon, I read the Time.com post in which; “4, out of 10 Millionaires Do Not Feel Rich,”

I became stupified by the idea of having asset’s, revenue’s,,, (whatever they were using to show that they had a proposed net worth of at least a million dollars) and feeling as though I did not qualify as being rich!

Do you get how they could feel that way?

I had an instant flashback to my college years when I had the wonderfully humiliating experience of being almost out of gas in my car, nothing in the fridge at my apartment, a whopping .05 cents in my bank account, and another week and a half to go before my next paycheck from the grocery store that I was working at part time! Talk about Broke!!! I was seriously broke!

I remember very vividly, how I felt when I finally got my paycheck in my hand, (there was no direct deposit back then) and how I felt empowered! Rich enough to catch up my rent for the month, put gas in my tank and even take my girl out to a movie! I knew I wasn’t rich,,, but it wasn’t gonna take much to get me there!

It’s amazing how, looking back on those feelings from 25 years ago seems odd now, when comparing how little it took to give me the feeling of being rich then, to now;

  • having 3 children,
  • a mortgage
  • car loans
  • home/car/life and health insurance
  • utilities
  • education
  • vehicle and property maintenance
  • clothing
  • gas
  • groceries and
  • 2 pages of ancillary budget items (you get the point)

The amount that it would take to create that fuzzy feeling for me now, is at least 400-500 times greater, and even then, the feeling would be heavily influenced by the balance of my savings account.

This, sadly,,, is one of the primary reasons we as Americans are so driven to work more than 10-12 hours a day, spend very little time with our families and most importantly, invest little, or nothing into the Kingdom of God.
This is the reason why Paul, the Apostle of Christ wrote in an Epistle to the Hebrews (12) nearly 2,000 years ago, that we should cast off all of the weights that weigh us down, because they will eliminate our ability to “run the Christian race.” It’s why he referred to all of these things in Matthew (6) as “things that will be destroyed by rust and moth’s, or stolen by thieves and if these things are our treasure, it is where our heart will be as well.
To further complicate our pursuit of riches,,, history and scripture both provide a large number of examples where mankind, and his thirst for wealth, prestige, power, possessions, land, etc. are never satisfied,,, no matter how much we acquire.
Could this be part of the reason why these individuals who have so much, feel as though they do not have enough?
Even I do not even show up on the radar of being a millionaire, I am thankful everyday that I do not need to be a Millionaire in order to “feel rich,” because I am intimately familiar with life’s most fulfilling promises and even though I do not “feel wealthy with stuff,” I still “FEEL RICH” every day of my life with all of the blessings that I have received from God!
Most importantly, knowing that I have been saved from the consequences of sin,,, Yeah, I AM UBER RICH!

“Do you believe that Jesus is worth abandoning everything for?”

What is Jesus Worth to You?

In his recently published book entitled: “Radical David Platt invites us to encounter what Jesus actually said about being his disciple, and then obey what we’ve heard. He challenges us to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated a God-centered gospel to fit our human-centered preferences. (ouch)

Platt calls into question a host of comfortable notions that are common among followers of Christ in modern culture, then he proposes a radical response, in that we live the gospel in ways that are true, filled with promise, and ultimately world changing.

I love the idea, but how achievable really is this? How many people do you know that are willing to Abandon Everything for Jesus?

What part of the Gospel is optional?

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily… But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?

Do you understand the scripture to suggest that we should be ready to give everything up?
Would You?

COLOR BLIND

As you know, we launched this particular Blog series several months ago, entitled: “HOT TOPIX!” as an opportunity to address issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,

By the way: This information was compiled from the Pastor’s notes on the recently concluded Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra. See what you have been missing? Let’s begin with HOT TOPIX #7,

“COLOR BLIND”

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Cor 14:8)
Armies in the ancient world were trained to respond to trumpeted signals, If the trumpeter blew one sound, they would charge – if he blew a different sound, they would retreat, but, if his tune was garbled, or if he didn’t pipe it clearly, then the army would be thrown into confusion

Today, the church is God’s trumpet.
We’re responsible to set the moral tone, but on the issue of Racism, the church has failed – miserably.
If the church had been playing God’s music to our society for the 230 years of our nation’s existence, all the confusion on all the subjects we have discussed could have been avoided, instead the Trumpet of God – the church – has wimped out and failed to take a stand on each of these issues. And if the church isn’t blowing a clear signal, what will come of our world?

UNFORTUNATELY, NON-BELIEVERS HAVE LED THE WAY IN OVERCOMING RACISM
Conservative, Bible-believing churches have largely stayed out of the whole issue of racism. Sadly, I’ve never to my recollection, heard a sermon on the subject, but in keeping our head low (so we can stay out of the fight) we have become silent co-conspirators in the ugly things that have happened in our nation’s history. Even worse, some churches have used tradition, or convenience, or even misused the scripture to justify racism, oppression, and prejudice. Take our worship services for example, many, are still the most segregated public place in our nation.
But here’s the most disgusting thing of it all: In the matter of racism, the church was more like a car’s taillight – merely trailing behind America’s Supreme Court and other secular agencies, when we should have been a headlight, leading the way.
~ It took the Supreme Court to handle a problem that the church should have
straightened out 230 years ago!

Tony Compolo is Italian descent, but he loves to preach in black churches because they are so expressive in their worship.
It’s true! I got the chance to preach to a black church once and it was a blast!
They never asked me back, though.
When whites go to church, they just sit there with their arms crossed and body language says: “Go ahead, say something interesting.”

Getting back to Tony’s story: When you preach, they amen you – like saying “sick‘em to a dog.” But one time, Tony wasn’t getting any affirmation from the crowd. He could tell that he was laying an egg that day. The crowd got quieter, and body language was telling him that he wasn’t ringing their bell. It got even quieter. Finally, there was a pause, and a brother from the back stood up and said: “Help him, Jesus! Help him, Jesus!”

RACISM
A. RACISM – is the attitude that says one human being is superior to another because
of the color of his skin – or his national origin.
Great comment written by a black man in Texas
When I was born – I was black
When I grew up – I was black
When I go in the sun – I am black
When I am cold – I am black
When I am bruised – I am black
When I am sick – I am black
When I die – I am black

Now, you white folks….
When you were born – you were pink
When you grew up – you were white
When you went in the sun – you got red
When you are cold – you’re blue
When you are bruised – you’re purple
When you are sick – you are green
When you die – you are gray
• So, who you calling “colored”?

B. RACISISM IS A PROBLEM ALL OVER THE WORLD
1. Neo-Nazi’s – Skinheads
2. Apartheid
3. Africa’s ethnic cleansing Hutus killing Tutsis, or is it the other way around?
4. Croats, Serbs
5. Japanese and Koreans
6. In Iraq, we seek the Shiites killing the Sunnis, and they both want to kill
the Kurds

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNDERLYING CAUSES OF RACISM?
I.e; Why does one person feel superior to another because of the color of his sin

A. PARENTAL INSTRUCTION
1. For many, our parents taught us to resent those who didn’t look just like us
Often prejudice is simply learned behavior.
a. Kids aren’t born prejudiced – They have to be taught to hate – very carefully taught
b. But, if you grew up with parents who had condescending attitudes toward blacks, or toward whites, or Orientals – whatever – then, you’ll probably carry those thoughts the rest of your life.
3. If you were carefully taught by statement or example to think that way, this is an area the Lord would have you reprogram your mind.

B. IGNORANCE
1. If we don’t know people from other races, we question their motives, or intelligence
We somehow diminish other races…find ways to think less of them as people
At a U.N. dinner, an Oriental fellow was seated next to a typical blowhard type. The blowhard, attempting to make conversation, leaned over and said: “You like soupee?”
The Oriental nodded
When the main course came, the guy said: “You like steakee?”
Oriental nodded
Then, they introduced the speaker for the evening, and it was the Oriental guy, who got up and gave an excellent speech, lasting 40 minutes — in perfect Oxford English.
When he came down and took his seat again, he looked at the blowhard and said: “You like speechee?”

C. FEAR
1. “They’re taking over. They’re taking our jobs.”
2. ‘They’re taking over our neighborhood – property values may suffer.”
3. “My daughter may marry one of them”
4. “There’s getting to be more of them than there is of us”
5. Cultural stereotyping. Prejudging = prejudice

D. OUR SINFUL NATURE
1. Because we have inherited the sinful nature, we have a desire to feel superior to other people. We want to exclude, demean, humiliate other people because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
2. We feel better about ourselves if we can look down on others
3. Racism is arrogance, and ignorance….but the bottom line: it is sinful

1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show
favoritism. …..
8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as
yourself, you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers (Jas 2:1, 8-9)

III. IS GOD A RACIST?
A. GOD TAUGHT MIRIAM A LESSON
1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.
9 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them.
10 When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam—leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy;
(Numbers 12:1, 9-10)
1. Moses’ wife was “Cushite” = Ethiopian
2. But, the interracial marriage was dividing the family, as they do to this very day
3. God’s response: The Lord’s anger…Miriam got leprous…Moses pleaded for her healing, which the Lord granted – after 7 days

B. GOD TAUGHT PETER A LESSON
1. Peter was the poster-boy for racism in the first century
2. But God sent visions to him about that – and insisted that he go to a Gentile’s
house, which he did – begrudgingly
3. Now, this former racist made a remarkable statement
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. (Acts 10:34-35)

C. GOD TAUGHT THE DISCIPLES A LESSON
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)

D. GOD TEACHES THE CHURCH A LESSON
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.” (Rev 7:9-10)
Shouldn’t the church on earth look the way it will look in heaven?

OUR RESPONSE TO RACISM MUST BE…..

#1 CONFESS OUR SIN
Tony Evans, a nationally known preacher says: “Racism is not a bad habit. It is not a mistake. It is sin. And therefore, the answer is not sociology – it is theology.”
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8-9)

Most of us don’t think of ourselves as racist, but sadly, most of us are racist – at some level, just as we all have some measure of pride, greed, etc. We can’t get away with justifying ourselves by saying: “That’s how my parents taught me,” or…. “I had bad experiences with people from this or that race.”

I was so disturbed by the racist, anti-Semitic comments Mel Gibson made recently when he was arrested for drunk driving. The terrible thing about this is that so many Jews were against his movie, “The Passion of the Christ” because they said it was anti-Semitic. The continual response was that it wasn’t at all anti-Semitic. But when Gibson had that meltdown at his arrest, and spewed anti-Semitic comments, he undercut the value of a great film!
Likewise, we undercut everything our Savior stands for when we are racist! So, we need to ask God to:
#1 Reveal to us our racist tendencies
#2 Work with His Spirit within us to transform our heart and mind.
#3 BE COMMITTED TO RECONCILIATION

Reconciliation is God’s will for us.
Now he had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4) Jesus was traveling north, between Judea and Galilee. All Jews would take the long way around, crossing the Jordan River and then coming back across again, once they were above Samaria. But Jesus HAD to go through Samaria because the Samaritans mattered to God.
Jesus came not only to reconcile man to God – but People to one another

Paul writes to the Ephesians: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility(Eph 2:13-14)

The Jews put up a 5’ high wall in the temple that Paul here calls the “dividing wall of hostility” On that very stone from that wall, found recently by archaeologists, it says that “no Gentile is to go beyond this point, for if he does, he will only have himself to blame for his death which will surely follow.”

Obviously, God intended the church to be a place of reconciliation.

Martin Luther King’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream” on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial, said:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

Well, I have a dream of our church being a model of reconciliation to everyone we can touch. Here, people of every tribe, and language, and nation are unified under the banner of Jesus’ cross.
Our church is not a yuppie church, a baby boomer church, a DINKs (double income-no kids) church, a generation X church, a retirees church, a black church, a white church – – – Our church is all of these things! We are a Christian church, where Black/White, Asian/Hispanics rich/poor, young/old experience welcome hearts, where they feel wanted, needed, and appreciated.

The world isn’t much impressed with beautiful church buildings – but what captures their eye is a group of people who treat each other with respect and grace – across the board …. Where genuine love flows like a river. Where they see people living in peace and acceptance where elsewhere, there is hostility.
– – – That’s where Jesus is praised!

#2 BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER RACES
Jesus didn’t just say “Hi” to the Samaritan woman – he deliberately struck up a conversation with her. She was so impressed she went to her village and brought out the whole town (also Samaritans) to meet him. He stayed there for two days, teaching them
The first thing that we can do to someone who has sucked up all the courage they can find and come to our church is to look them in the eye and warmly greet them.

#3 FORGIVE PAST OFFENSES
Don’t get caught up in bitterness, holding grudges is like mixing poison for someone else and then drinking it yourself.
Everyone is bitter! Whites are bitter about affirmative action and reverse discrimination, Blacks are bitter when slighted by whites, or treated unfairly, etc. But we are supposed to respond differently than the world! Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph 4:31-32)

Keith Richburg is a Washington Post reporter who spent three and a half years in Africa as a reporter. After this, he wrote a book “Out of America,” in which he talks about the negative view of Africa that he developed in his time spent there; “I am not a hyphenated American. Though slavery was a terrible sin, I’m thankful to be living in America and not Africa today. Is there anything left of Africa in those slaves who made that torturous journey across the Atlantic. Is there anything left of Europe in the white Americans who sailed that same ocean – English Americans, or Dutch Americans?
I see the flaws in America, I curse the intolerance, but even with all that, I recognize that it is the only place I truly belong. It is home. And, I feel for Africa’s suffering and empathize with its pain, but most of all I thank God my ancestors got out. I thank God I’m an American.”

Reminds me of Joseph, in the O.T., sold as a slave into Egypt. When he had the chance to return vengeance on his brothers, he refused, saying he’s not bitter. “You meant it for evil, but God has used it for good.”

So, none of us should play the race card – we must play the grace card because the Bible says: “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

CONCLUSION: THE STORY OF JOHNNY LEE CLARY
Johnny Lee Clary was raised by a racist father who taught him to stick his head out the car window and shout racial slurs as they passed by blacks. Dad would pat him on the back and say: “That’s my boy!”
His mother was an alcoholic, who didn’t pay him any attention. His grandmother was a Christian who took him to Sunday School every week until one time he came home singing:
“Jesus loves the little children – All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
From that day on he wasn’t allowed to go to church.

When he was 11, he was in the room when his father put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. His mother couldn’t take care of him, so he was sent to California to live with his older sister and her ex-con boyfriend, whose only interest in him was the government check she got each month.

One day while watching TV, he saw a guy talk about the Ku Klux Klan, and found out how to join. In essence, they adopted him and he counted the KKK as his only family. He rose rapidly through the ranks and ultimately became the Imperial Wizard of the KKK, then, one day, Johnny got the chance to do a radio debate with a state leader of the NAACP – a preacher named Wade Watts.

Preacher Watts completely shook up Johnny Clary. Instead of coming in with an angry spirit, preacher met him in the hallway, and put out his hand and said: “Hello there, Mr. Clary. I’m Wade Watts. I just want to tell you I love you and Jesus loves you.” Clary was so stunned he shook Wade Watts’ hand. Suddenly he realized he broke a major KKK rule, and Watts saw him looking at his hand with a stunned expression on his face. Watts laughed and said: “Don’t worry, Johnny. It don’t come off.”

Johnny started calling him names, and Preacher said: “God bless you, Johnny. You can’t do enough to me to make me hate you. I’m gonna love you and I’m gonna pray for you, whether you like it or not.” Clary says he didn’t know how to deal with that. He had never had that happen to me before.

After the radio debate, Wade Watts came running up to Clary, holding his baby. “Mr. Clary, this is my daughter Tia.” He held her out with her shining dark eyes looking straight at Clary and he said: “You say you hate all black people, Mr. Clary. Just tell me – how can you hate this child?”

As a result of this, the KKK set fire to Watts’ church, drove by his house calling him names, threw trash all over his lawn. Then they showed up wearing their sheets and hoods, and called out to him: “Get on out here, boy, we got something for you.” And he comes outside and he says, “Boys, Halloween’s four more months away. I got no trick or treat in here for you. Come back in October.” And he went back in the house.

They were running out of ideas, but one day they burned a cross across the street from his house. He came outside and asked us if they needed hotdogs or marshmallows for their barbeque. One day Clary called him up and disguised his voice and said, “Hey, boy, you’d better be afraid. We’re coming to get you, boy. You don’t know who we are but we know who you are.” Watts: “Hello, Johnny. Let me do something for you, and he began to pray: ‘Dear Lord, please forgive Johnny for being so stupid. He doesn’t mean to be so ornery, he has a good boy trying to get out somewhere in there.’”

One day they were watching Preacher Watts, when he went into a restaurant, so they gathered about 30 KKK member’s, went into the restaurant, surrounded his table and Clary said: “I’m gonna make you a promise,,, I promise we’re gonna do the same thing to you that you do to that chicken. So you think real hard before you touch that chicken.” So he looked at me and looked at the Klan, then he picked up the chicken and he kissed it. And when he kissed the chicken, the whole restaurant exploded in laughter. Even Johnny’s KKK buddies started laughing, so he got mad at them and told them they couldn’t wear their hood and sheets for 2 weeks.

Johnny Clary concludes this story by saying: “And that’s how one old black man defeated the entire Ku Klux Klan.”

Eventually Johnny left the KKK, drank himself half to death, put a gun to his head and said: “Well daddy, I’m following in your footsteps….”
Strangely though, the light coming through the grimy window of his apartment fell on an old Bible, gathering dust in the corner. Hoping for another way, he put down the gun, picked up the Bible and it fell open to Luke 15, the Prodigal Son. And that night another prodigal decided to come home

Johnny joined a multi-racial church, studied, and grew in his relationship with Christ. 2 years later, he picked up the phone and called Mr. Watts. When he came to the phone, Watts said: “Is this that Ku Klux Klansman? Hello, Johnny Lee.”

Johnny told of his conversion, and the interracial church he’s attending. Watts could hardly contain himself and insisted he come and preach at his pulpit, which he gladly did.

Now, Clary finds himself preaching to a mostly black church, where he tells his story. He told them that racism is a learned characteristic – but that love can be learned as well. When he was finished, a teenage girl got to her feet and ran down the aisle, threw her arms around him and hugged him. A weeping Preacher Watts leaned over and told Johnny: “That’s Tia, my baby.”

THE GROUND IS TRULY LEVEL AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

“AVOIDING sATAN’S TURF”

DID YOU HEAR?:
Newspapers reported on the story of a 5 ft tall, 90 lb fortune teller who had escaped from jail. The headline of the article was:
“SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE” Get it?… LOL

At a recent meeting of the International Association of Fortune Tellers, we’ve heard they began the meeting by reading the minutes of next year’s meeting. :o)

As you know, we launched this particular Blog series, entitled: “HOT TOPIX!” several months ago, as an opportunity to address issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,

By the way: This information was compiled from the Pastor’s notes on the recently concluded Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra. See what you have been missing? Let’s begin with HOT TOPIX #6,

“AVOIDING SATAN’S TURF!”

SATAN WILL DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES TO ENTICE YOU.

It’s true, he has a vast arsenal of attractions to draw you into his grasp. In addition to the whole range of sinful opportunities he places before us every day, there is the world of temptation called the “occult.”
The word “occult” comes from the Latin word “occultus” which means “hidden.” So, it’s all about seeking to know things that haven’t been revealed yet.
Initially, occult activities seem to be harmless, and even many Christians often see no wrong with them, yet, one thing leads to another and people become addicted to seeking knowledge by godless means, not to mention, occult activities are forbidden by God, and are therefore, sin, and must be purged from the Christian’s life.

CURIOSITIES

The danger of even talking about this stuff is that it may awaken the curiosity of some, and may intrigue people into seeking out more on the occult. Still, it is vital for the Christian to be informed about these things because satanic practices are common in our society, and we need to know the approaches that satan will use to destroy us and those around us.

Paul wants Christians to be alert to satan’s methods and deceptions: “In order that satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (II Cor 2:11) Paul is emphasizing that we are being stalked by a wise adversary, who schemes against us.

SOME OF sATAN’S SCHEMES:

Billy Sunday, an exuberant revival preacher from the early 1900’s used to say: “I know there is a devil for 2 reasons:
#1 The Bible says so
#2 I’ve done business with Him

I’ll bet that 99% of us have done business with him. Let’s see…..
HERE’S A LIST OF SOME OF THE OCCULT ACTIVITIES:

  • Séances
  • Table tilting, or levitation
  • Necromancy – (consulting the dead)
  • Ouija Boards
  • Consulting Mediums, palm readers, fortune tellers, or crystal balls
  • Reading Tarot cards
  • Psychic Hotline
  • Astrology, horoscopes
  • Psychics and prophets
  • Clairvoyance, and E. S. P.
  • White and black witchcraft

…..And a host of other things!

Christians must approach occult practices with the same dread as we would approach satan, himself, for in practicing these things, we are shaking the devil’s hand!
• Yet, most of these things seem so innocent…..and this is what makes the devil’s trap so effective.
• Will any trap be effective if it looks dangerous to the prey?
• satan’s success at entrapping people with these temptations is shown by the millions who read their horoscopes faithfully every morning, or consult their psychics through the numerous “psychic hotlines.”

satan can be very clever,,, he lures people through gradual methods, because he knows that if he pushes people too fast into the occult, he’ll only scare them away. So, he “gradualizes” people into the occult by starting them out with seemingly innocent activities that only serve to whet their appetite.
Sadly, those who have become accustomed to these practices move deeper and deeper into the activities which once would have frightened them off. They become attracted to an imaginary sense of knowledge and power that are now available to them.

OUIJA BOARDS – A GATEWAY TO THE OCCULT

A survey was done of 1,700 high school kids…

  1. 416 admitted to having involvement with Ouija boards. This is a slippery slide that could easily plunge a person into the realm of the underworld!
  2. 321 admitted to having some involvement with astrology/horoscopes, which was part of the Tower of Babel disaster
  3. 192 of them admitted to involvement with palm readers or psychics to tell future events…the ultimate insult to our God Whom we are supposed to trust with our future
  4. What’s more disconcerting about these figures is that this survey was done in a Christian School!

A few years back, Ben Alexander was at a CIY rally in Oklahoma, and he asked how many of the 2,500 kids had played with an Ouija board. 2,000 of them raised their hand.

Ouija boards: “Ouija” = oui, (French) – ja (Dutch/german) words for “yes”
I can tell you from personal experience that the thing really works. In my younger, dumber days, I didn’t realize this was anything but a childish toy. When it worked, I knew this was not of God, and I dropped it like a hot potato.
Using the Ouija board is practicing a form of divination—it is an attempt to obtain secret information from spirit world.

THE MEDIA MAKES THE OCCULT LOOK SO HARMLESS, with movies like “The Wizard of Oz” with funky looking, harmless witches. The old “Bewitched” TV show makes it appear harmless, or better yet, good. Then there’s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

The Pagan federation credits these shows with a rapidly growing interest in witchcraft among children. In response to the increased interest of kids, they appointed their first youth officer in September of 2000.

ALSO, I’M VERY CONCERED ABOUT THE HARRY POTTER SERIES that has made it into so many homes. It is obvious that the Harry Potter series is fun to read – but it is based on occult practices. This is a serious threat to our kids.

  • Author, J. K. Rowling admits that the potions, curses, and spells that she writes about are authentic, and that she obtained them by research from books that promote witchcraft
  • Harry Potter books promote witchcraft, Necromancy (talking with the dead), and reincarnation – all heathen, pagan concepts
  • Book six of her series earned The Guiness World Records award for being the fastest selling book ever, selling more copies in 24-hours than The Da Vinci Code sold in a year. 300 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide, and 4 have been made into movies
  • Now, Universal in Orlando has opened up a Harry Potter attraction and now we have children who are attracted to the occult – or at the very least, they believe that the occult is fun. That’s like saying Cocaine is fun – only cocaine only kills the body, not the soul

I know some are saying that this is a really good thing because it’s getting their kids to read. Do you see the fallacy in the thinking here??? With that kind of thinking is this? We may as well get our boys some smutty magazines, – I guarantee they’ll read that,,, every page! They’ll become great readers!

SO, WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION OF THE OCCULT?

* FOR SOME, IT’S POWER – We must not forget that for some, the power of Satan means voodoo, hexes, and all manner of “black magic.” And we should not assume that such people are fakes!
* FOR OTHERS, IT’S REBELLION – For them, it’s all about rebellion against God. There are people who, if God tells them to turn right will go left every time.
* BUT FOR MOST, IT’S ALL ABOUT FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE – We all eagerly desire to know the future. We feel that if we know the future, maybe there is some way we can control it.
But, it doesn’t work like that!
Like Jay Leno says: “If these psychics know so much, why aren’t we reading headlines like: “Psychic wins lottery!”

KNOWING THE FUTURE IS GOD’S TURF
He tells us as much of the future as He wants us to know, and expects us to trust Him for what has not been revealed. That is what “faith” is all about, and God expects nothing less from us. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (Deut 29:29)
Therefore, our passion to know our future is evidence of an absence of faith and without faith it is impossible to please him. (Hebrews 11:6)
If we really trusted His power, we wouldn’t feel such a great need to know the future.

WHAT DOES GOD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE OCCULT?

MOSES LISTS 8 OCCULT PRACTICES – Deuteronomy 18:9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deut 18:9-12)

GOD CALLS THOSE WHO DO THESE THINGS DETESTABLE – do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deut 18:9 & 12)

GOD FORBIDS THESE ACTIVITIES – Do not practice divination or sorcery. Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:26, 31)

OCCULT ACTIVITIES WERE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH
1. Do not allow a sorceress to live. (Deut 22:18)
2. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of
the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, (I Chron 10:13)

Do you read your horoscope? If so, pay attention!
GOD MOCKS ASTROLOGERS

Horoscopes are very popular – they have become part of our everyday language

Disaster = dis (bad) aster (star, as in asteroid) = The sense is astrological, of a calamity blamed on an unfavorable position of a planet.

French King, Louis XI (11th) was a devout believer in astrology, but he had come to doubt his astrologer’s true skill. So he summoned the astrologer to his palace, and told his servants on a given signal to throw him out the window.

The King said to the royal astrologer: “You claim to understand astrology and to know the fate of others. So tell me what your fate will be and how long you have to live.”
Astrologer: “I shall die just 3 days before your Majesty.” The shaken king cancelled his plans to kill the astrologer, just in case the astrologer was right….

In Isa 47:11-14, God is telling the pagan city of Babylon that they shall fall; 11 Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you.
12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror.
13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. 14 Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by. (Isa 47:11-14)

If People ask what “sign” you were born under, tell them it said: “Maternity Ward.” Say, “I was born under a maternity ward sign and born again under the sign of the cross – and I don’t need astrology.”

It’s important to remember that…. OCCULT PRACTICES WILL KEEP US OUT OF HEAVEN

In the O.T., it had spiritual consequences; “I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.” (Lev 20:6)
It has consequences for the N.T. age, too; “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)

MANY TODAY THINK OF ASTROLOGERS AND PSYCHICS AS QUAINT, BUT GOD DOESN’T

How can we tell a real prophet? In contrast to the astrologers, palm readers, fortune tellers, etc…..
GOD’S STANDARD FOR PROPHECY IS PERFECTION!!! – (20) “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” (21) You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” (22) If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” (Deut 18:20-22)

PERFECTION
God’s not into making an occasional hit. His self-imposed standard: a home run every time up to bat! In fact, if a man claims to speak for God and makes inaccurate prophecies, he was to be stoned- – -for he claimed to represent God, and was lying. But, God’s prophecies are so accurate —and so specific— that the Bible’s critics used to claim that the prophecies were written AFTER the events actually took place!

WHAT SHOULD OUR RESPONSE TO THE OCCULT BE?
A. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
satan’s prophets can only guess at the future, so they can sometimes look foolish, but there is power there, and it’s controlled by demons.
The worst part of this is…
Getting into these occult practices is like shaking hands with the devil, so we should approach the occult as though we were approaching satan himself… DON’T!
There is a ton of evidence to show that demon possession results from these
activities.

B. AVOID AN UNHOLY FASCINATION
People get curious about these things, start dabbling in them, and get hooked, it’s a curiosity killed the cat sort of thing. “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. (Deut 18:9) The proper attitude is to be repulsed by it….

C. REMOVE ALL OCCULT MATERIALS FROM YOUR LIFE AND YOUR HOME
Your family has a right to a clean house, in Acts 19, Occultists who became Christians burned their Occult books, worth a fortune because they knew that, allowing Satanic things into your home is parental malpractice. 2 Kings 23:24, “Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord.” Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction. (Deut 7:26)

D. Watch your kids
Closely monitor their friends – who they visit – what they’re doing
Watch for signs that indicate they may be dabbling in:
1. Séances 3. Movies
2. Ouija 4. Rock stars

E. WE MUST TRUST GOD FOR OUR FUTURE
Isaiah 8:19, “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa 8:19)

GOD CONSIDERS IT A BETRAYAL IF WE CONSULT THE ULTIMATE ENEMY ABOUT OUR FUTURE

A Behind the Scenes Look at Scripture

As a student of scripture, I am constantly wondering what was going on, behind the lens that scripture is told from. For example: I can easily imagine having been on the boat with Peter and the rest of the Disciples in Mat. 14:22-33 when Peter and the other Disciples were told by Jesus to get into their boat and go to the other side of the Sea.

So,,, they did just that, but somewhere between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m., while the sea worked up a frenzy and tossed them around in their boat, they saw what appeared to be a ghost walking by on the water and they were totally freaked out until Jesus (knowing of their fear) yelled out and identified himself.

Bam! Just like that, Peter pop’s the question and suggests that Jesus ask Peter to come out to him. Now, with a show of hands,,, who would have been the person to do what Peter did? Seriously? Odds are, less than 1 in 1,000 have the type of personality that is so daring!

Keep in mind though, according to research, even those people would need some kind of confidence in the waters ability to support them, before they extended the dare.

Now imagine you are in the boat and you are taking this whole thing in, when suddenly, you see Peter throwing his leg over the side like he has something to stand on! But you know that it is dark! It’s deep! It’s tempestuous and it’s totally CRAZY! But your friend Pete is stepping out into what is almost certainly going to end completely wrong!

What are you saying to him at this point? Are you yelling? Are you raising your voice very calmly? Are you reaching out to grab his arm and hold him back? Are you suggesting he has gone INSANE? I can imagine you are not expecting him to stand up as though the water is supporting him once he has pushed himself off of the side of the boat! And you are most certainly not expecting him to walk on the water once he does… Right? Here’s how the story goes:

MATTHEW 14: 22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Scripture does not tell us what is going on behind the scenes and I enjoy being able to imagine what his friends were thinking as Peter stepped out… What would you do? By what we see in scripture, Peter was not looking for a dare,,, he was not out to prove anything to his friends, he just wanted to be close to and doing the same things as Jesus!

Do we know anybody that has the same degree of passion about being close to, or like Jesus? Here’s a defining question, do we know anyone who has the kind of faith that is willing to step completely out of the logical place to be?

Think about it; The boat was intentionally designed to get them across the water, but what Peter was doing was by all accounts, illogical and just plain idiotic!

No wonder Jesus loved Pete’s attitude enough to build the entire New Testament Church off of his passion.

I want to find that place,,, do you? I want to know that level of pleasure in the eyes of God… How about you?

Unforgiving and tumultuous, deep dark seas

Would you have stepped out!