Tuesday, October 21, 2014


INTRO: Some years ago when the Harry Potter books were being made into movies, people wanted me to address the subject from the Pulpit. In so doing, I addressed Halloween and Harry Potter. In order to keep this relatively short, this column only addresses Halloween. If you’d like the sermon (#2038), email darleen@gcccpray.com or call 856-582-0222.
Every year at Halloween people ask me, “Is it alright to celebrate Halloween?” And every year I tell people the same thing: “To the pure all things are pure.” What I mean by that is, if you have a problem with it, “Don’t,” if you don’t have a problem with it, “Do it and have fun.” Personally I have no problem with Halloween. Here’s why:
ILLUSTRATION: Now that I look back on it, this is somewhat surprising. Remember I grew up “Pilgrim Holiness.” As “Holiness,” practically everything was wrong except going to church – yet we were allowed to celebrate Halloween. And celebrate it we did! We’d go out with pillowcases, fill them up, come home, empty them, and go out again. Afterwards, those of us who went out together would compare our goodies and even trade for our favorite candies. Never once, not for a moment, did any of us think we were honoring Satan by going “trick or treat.” Why? We never even thought of it as Satan’s day, it was a time for us to have good clean fun and get all kinds of goodies. 
I still remember the Halloween parties where we would get prizes for the best costume. The person who remained unidentified for the longest time won the ultimate prize. How clearly I recall Bob Westcott – we were all night trying to figure out who was under that outfit. Finally, somebody recognized the boots – Bobby boy won first place. 
When Sheryl and I directed the Youth group at Mt Pleasant Church we would run a Scare Mare at Halloween. Hundreds of kids came through. The last room was a funeral parlor. By then they’d be scared to death. We’d give the plan of salvation. We had hundred’s of “decisions.” How many “disciples” was another story. We would say afterwards, “Just because you scare the hell out of people doesn’t mean you put them in heaven.”
WHAT AM I SAYING? If you want Halloween to be an evil holiday, then most likely for you it will be. If you want Halloween to be a time of clean, wholesome fun – it will be. “To the pure all things are pure.” 
1 Cor. 8:4-6 tells us:
[4] So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. [5] For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), [6] yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
IN OTHER WORDS Paul is saying, “I could eat food offered to idols and it would never bother me, because I know idols are nothing. Only God is God.” Again, “to the pure all things are pure.”

Thursday, October 16, 2014



As I have mentioned in the past, the LORD spoke to me about closing each day with Him.  (I have since the age of 13 started the day with the LORD.)  It took me way too long to make what He asked a discipline.  Three years ago I decided to use a devotional to close the day, and that worked.  For two years I read Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening.  One year the Morning, one year the Evening.  This year I’ve been using On This Day by Robert J. Morgan.  The book takes each day of the year and highlights an event in Christendom.  Here are a few one-liners from the book (I call them One Sentence Sermons). Here is a OSS from each of the first six months:
  • Faithfulness eclipses fame as the mark of greatness.  Jan 7 (John Hooper)
  • It is not in due time - but in divine time Feb 8 (St Paul)
  • The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.  March 7 (Tertullian)
  • Few assume greatness by themselves.  April 12 (Guillaume Farel)
  • When you have something to say, you have nothing to fear.  May 11 (David Marks)
  • Hard times should never make us hardened people, and adversity should never make us abrasive.  June 28 (Luther & Melanchthon) 
What stands out in my mind is how many Christians today, especially those living in our western American world, base their end-times theology around the comforts we are presently experiencing.  When I mention that the hour may come when we as believers will have to pay a price for our faith, I am ridiculed and mocked.  Seriously!  When you read On This Day, you’ll be staggered by the great price men and women have paid for the legacy of our faith.  BTW: Even as I write, children are giving their lives, refusing to recant their faith in Christ, in Iraq.  Look around you!  It’s happening before our very eyes — we Americans will one day, too, pay a price (maybe even with our lives) for believing in Jesus Christ.

Let me close with this OSS, which was my tweet/Instagram/post today: Man makes himself God through pride; God makes Himself man through humility!  Jacques Bossuet

In Jesus,

The best of all is God is with us. Psalm 46:7/JBS