Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Does God Love Muslims Too?

Seventh-day Adventist pastor Dwight Nelson shared 2 sermons in the Fall of 2006 at Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University that messed with my head.

He highlighted how Genesis 16
is the first time in the Bible where "the angel of the LORD" shows up in person [verse 7]. Used interchangeably for Jesus in the Scriptures [verse 13], this means that Jesus shows up first not to Isaac but to Ishmael to name and bless the father of all modern day Arabs promising to make his nation great.

Quoting the book by Stephen Dickie above, Nelson traces the history of Islam and "The Children of the East" all the way through the Bible leading the listener to some startling conclusions about how God used Islam in the past and how God just might be using them in the present.

What if the "Children of the East" aren't all fanatic terrorists? Does God love the 1.4 billion Muslims in the world too? Does the Biblical book of Revelation chapters 8-11 reveal a secret about God's forgotten blessing on the prophetic rise of Islam too many Christians are quick to criticize?

Listen to each of Pastor Dwight's sermons entitled "Rumors From The East: Star Rising Over Islam" [SEPT 30, 2006] and "Wisemen From The East: Star Still Rising Over Islam" [DEC 2, 2006] by clicking either of the graphics above or by visiting his website: www.pmchurch.tv

FYI, the book "Islam: God's Forgotten Blessing" is only available by request with a money order for $13 shipping included by writing to: Strawberry Meadow Association, PO Box 385, Kasson, MN 55944

Monday, February 26, 2007

Vacation With Purpose December 16-23, 2007


Cruise with a Mission is a one of a kind experience. Imagine the combination of an exciting vacation, a series of fulfilling outreach projects, and a meaningful spiritual retreat. Cruise with a Mission is all three rolled into one amazing journey for young adults ages 18 to 35 [and up]. This is the perfect opportunity to get away from the noise and confusion of everyday life and step out into a encounter with God, service, and other people.

Every part of this project is aiming for excellence - from the hundreds of cabins reserved aboard the lovely Holland America cruise ship to the growing list of service projects awaiting in Belize City, Costa Maya, and Santo Tomas De Castilla. Behind the gloss of these tourist filled cities are deep and lingering needs. Our mission is to engage those needs in a wave of service involving dozens of organizations at locations throughout the cities.

The Cruise with a Mission team is putting together a dynamite group of speakers, musicians, worship leaders, event planners, and programming experts. This is going to be a time of awsome spiritual renewal and fellowship. Young adults from all over the world are excited and getting involved.

Cruise with a Mission is a project of the Center for Youth Evangelism in cooperation with the North American Division Youth Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Cost is $787/person plus travel to/from Tampa, Florida.

21st Century Fulfillment of Joel 2?

THIS is a 3 minute clip from CNN’s Glenn Beck about a 12 year old girl named Akiane Kramarik who though born to an atheist mother, has since introduced her entire family [and many more she doesn’t know of] to God.

Selected as 1 of 20 most accomplished visual artists in the world by Tribute Entertainment (London) and ABI (United States), she has been featured on Oprah and in Time magazine and has had solo art exhibitions at the age of 9, 10, 11 and 12 in Idaho, North Carolina, Iowa, California, Washington and Virginia.

Akiane says, “I have been blessed by God. And if I’m blessed, there is one reason and one reason only, and that is to help others.” You can see more of her artwork on her website at: http://www.artakiane.com/home.htm

Joel 2:28-29 [KJV] says, “28And 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, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Faith Comes From HEARING -- Don't Read Your Bible, Listen To It!!!

A cast of more than 200 stars including Blair Underwood, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Denzel Washington, and Cuba Gooding Jr. bring their talents to create a one-of-a-kind dramatized audio recording of the Bible, complete with an outstanding original musical underscore.

Hear the words of the NIV Bible brought to life like never before.

Available new and used at Amazon for as little as $24.79!!!

Copy and paste this URL into your browser for more info:
http://www.amazon.com/Inspired-Bible-Experience-New-Testament/dp/0310926319

Quiet Christians

When David fought Goliath, everyone assumed he would wear King Saul’s armor. But when he tried it on, it didn’t fit. It was only when he used his unique set of skills that he found victory, even though it didn’t fit the pattern that worked for everyone else.

Most books on evangelism focus on witnessing methods more suited for extroverts. There’s nothing wrong with those methods. But for an introvert, those methods don’t usually fit. Reading them, I always felt like a turtle being taught by birds the best way to walk. But that wasn’t how God made me.

And while I’m capable of standing up in front of a bunch of people and extending extra ordinary invitations full of risks and sacrificial living, I have a feeling that many more of us than we care to admit were designed for quiet persuasion and reaching people who will never respond to such a public approach.

And that’s okay. Because God hasn’t designed introverts to be aggressive in evangelism. He made them sensitive, patient, and thoughtful. Which are characteristics that are extremely effective when we’re prepared to care for the lives of others.
Colossians 4:6 [NIV] says, "6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

If God created introverts, doesn’t it make sense that He would want them to do His work through that personality?

Mike Bechtle is the author of
Evangelism for the Rest of Us: Sharing Christ Within Your Personality Style. For more benefits of being a “quiet Christian”, you can read his entire article by clicking on his book to the left on which this post is based.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Do You Really Think Jesus Would Worship On A Saturday?

THIS is a parody people...Thanks Brendon!!! Worth 60 seconds of your time!!!

Mosaic Viagra NOT Needed

I'm reading this massive book right now called The Source by James Michener. It's all about the Bible and the various empires that have grown up from the middle east. It's a novel. But very readable. And in my opinion, WAY more reliable than Dan Brown's DaVinci stuff. I'm finding it gives me a better insight into Bible things. It's my treadmill reading.

One interesting thing it said is the Jewish people are very hearty and robust and proof of that is found in the eulogy of Moses.

Deuteronomy 34:7-8 [KJV] says Moses was 120 years old but basically, still good in bed. "His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." But in Hebrew, it reads "His moisture was not fled." Is that hilarious or what? Happy Valentines Day!!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Questions Are Good Right?

Having secured Leland Kaiser's permission to share, what follows is an email conversation I initiated that took place between Sunday February 4, 2007 and Thursday February 8, 2007.

For those of you who don't know, Leland is a thought provoking Seventh-day Adventist from Brighton, Colorado known for his motivational speaking and his ability to change the way organizations think. A recognized futurist and acknowledged authority on the changing American healthcare system, he is a mentor to many hospitals and healthcare organizations in the U.S.

Having heard him at the Conference on Innovation the last 2 years and having read his blog, I had some questions I wanted to ask him which he gladly responded to below.
--------------------------------------------
From: Mike Fortune [mailto:mike4tune@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 9:11 PM
To: Leland Kaiser
Subject: Question from Mike Fortune

Hi, Leland:

Have been reading your blog. But am having difficulty reconciling what I've heard you say in person regarding John 14:6 with what you've written here: "God has no religion. We are invited to practice several. All religions are valid pathways up the same mountain. At the top there is no religion. There is only God."

Have time to elaborate?

Mike Fortune
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Answer: Thanks for asking. As John 14:6 tells us – Jesus formed the bridge between the Father and our fallen planet. His sacrifice makes possible salvation for all people regardless of their religion. All people are saved by his sacrifice whether they know Him or not. There is no other way.

God has no religion. Religions are created by people. The Holy Spirit has worked with all people, in all times, in all places. The Holy Spirit works through any existing religious form to bring people to God. If this was not true – God would be very unfair. He would say – "sorry – you were born at the wrong time."

We can be Christians but also borrow where appropriate from other religious traditions. God's truth is everywhere. The study of Judaism tells us a lot about Christianity. Native American spirituality tells us a lot about how to care for our earth.

God has no religion. God is not a SDA. God is ……. That is how he defined Himself. He is limited to no human religious system. People are judged by Light they have. Most people on the new earth will not be Christians. They could not be, by time and place of birth. However – Christ saved them all.

God bless!

Leland Kaiser
------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Mike Fortune [mailto:mike4tune@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 7:38 AM
To: lkaiser@kaiser.net
Subject: Re: Question from Mike Fortune

Thanks for your response Leland. What I take from it is it highlights the universal heart of God to save everyone [John 3:16]. Fritz Guy wrote a good piece in Spectrum recently about Jonah and the universal heart of God to save everyone--even when those He calls to proclaim the kingdom of God act like they don't want everyone in it! And while I'm convinced heaven will hold many surprises, especially for Adventists, I'm not prepared to say everyone will be saved [and maybe you aren't either?]. If that were true, Satan would be saved too. And Revelation 20 would have to be ripped out of the Bible.

Answer: No – I am not saying everyone will be saved. I am saying some people will be saved on every spiritual path and in every religion. Jesus died for all men and women who choose the light and live according to their best understanding of it.

You're a really bright guy Leland. And I'm glad I know you. It's so encouraging to know there are people within Adventism that haven't parked their brains at the door. We need you probably more than you need us. You have stretched my thinking and encouraged me to dream big. I recently asked my church board [just moved to Toledo] for $50K to do some big ideas for outreach. Not everyone fell off their chairs. Because Jesus said the "harvest is ripe" long before the Samaritan woman and disciples did a thing [John 4:35]. He IS at work in the world. In all religions.

Answer: Good for you!

But I guess I don't understand why you would imply that all religions are the same when some outright deny the deity of Christ which 1 John 4:3 says is the spirit of antichrist? I also don't understand why someone leading Adventist innovators would title their blog "gnostic notes" knowing that the 1st heretic of Christianity was gnosticism? Sure, in the Greek, it means knowledge. Which John 1 uses to talk about Jesus. And widom paths and knowledge, especially of Jesus [John 17:3], is eternally significant. But why take the risk? What is your reward? Is it worth it?

Answer: I am not saying all religions are the same. I said they are all paths up the same mountain. I would not be a SDA if I thought all religions were the same. I have defined the kind of Gnostic I am in Gnostic Notes. A Gnostic is a person who pursues gnosis or knowledge. The first question you have to ask if someone says he is a Gnostic is what he means by the term. Jesus was a Gnostic. He pursued gnosis. That is why he could reason so effectively with the Jewish teachers. If people want to look up a definition in some book and say that is what I am – that is their problem, not mine. I am also a construct alternativist, an empiricist, a mythologist and a Seventh-day Adventist. I suppose some folks will be looking up those terms also. It might be easier to just ask me rather than play this weird type of guessing game.

You don't owe me anything. So don't feel like you have to answer these questions. It makes me nausous to think we're willing to crucify a brother or sister in Christ because of anything they say or think when judging others is what got Satan kicked out of heaven for in the first place. We have no problem with Danny Shelton having multiple marriage/divorce/remarriages leading Adventist TV but have all kinds of issues with people smarter than us that make us uncomfortable.

Answer: I respect your motivation and your desire to do the right thing. As a fellow Christian brother, of course I owe you something. We worship the same Lord.

I was just curious. And a little sad, that I'm not [at present] comfortable having this conversation online on your blog for all to read. Fortunately, my conference leadership doesn't feel the same way. Hope to see you at Innovation 3.

Answer: The blog is written for people of all religions and those with no religion. Its purpose is to light the fire of Spirit in those who read it. It is one avenue of my ministry. It is not written primarily for a SDA audience, although as far as I know there is nothing on it that contradicts SDA doctrine. Much of it does go way beyond where most SDAs are comfortable. That is O.K. I respect people wherever they are on the spiritual path.

God bless your ministry! Thanks for taking the time to ask – rather than throwing stones.

Lee
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From: Mike Fortune [mailto:mike4tune@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2007 9:56 AM
To: lkaiser@kaiser.net
Subject: Re: Question from Mike Fortune

Thank you Lee!!! Sorry to keep bugging you, but I was wondering if I might share our dialogue with my pastor friends in Ohio?

Answer: Please do share. And remember – our Kaiser website is a business website. I invite all of my business partners to write on the site. Most choose not to. There are many things on the website, I do not agree with. How could you believe in reincarnation and be a SDA? Unless my name is signed to an entry on the website, you should not assume I necessarily approve of the ideas. My associates express their own views. We have a business relationship with each other. So I run around with Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sufis, New Agers, Reincarnationists, born-again Southern Baptists etc. We all love one another and respect one another. Nothing on the site is "cleansed." I do not practice thought control. I also maintain this posture in my work at the university. I am not afraid of what other people believe. I do like to know what they believe. If you are a Christian I expect you to have read the Gita, the Koran and the Kabbalah. If you have not - – you probably don't know why you are a Christian, except you were born in a Christian country.

Lee

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

ET Phone Home


Here's our new home phone number: (419) 841-5949
Our cell phone numbers stay the same