Thursday, August 18, 2016


New York City will never be the same! 

Pale Male arrived in Central Park in 1991 as a first-year immature Red-tailed hawk. His attempt to nest in a tree was unsuccessful driven off by crows. Undeterred in wanting to make NYC his home, Pale Male roosted on a building on Fifth Avenue across the street from the park. Early in 1992 he found a mate, dubbed "First Love". Since then Pale Male has had seven wives (eight if you count “First Love”), produced many eyasses (offspring) some of whom have found a home in NYC to the delight of many, but not all.  

Pale Male’s present wife, Octavia, has been his mate since 2012.  They nest on ornamental stonework above a top-story window on a residential housing cooperative at 927 Fifth Avenue East 74th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Amazing how one Red-tailed hawk can turn America’s largest city upside down.  (BYW: The video Pale Male is worth the purchase and watch.  Amazing!) For many their lives were changed forever.

Monday, August 15, 2016




 I need not tell you there is no small controversy regarding the upcoming election.  If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you also know I have not been silent about our choices, what it means to choose the lesser of two evils, our part in all of this and God’s ultimate sovereignty.  

My first postings were simply asking people on Social Media to join me in prayer.  (show photo)  Instead of people saying, “Pastor, I’ll join you,” they were posting who to vote for or who not to vote for, and attacking those who disagreed with them.  Very Christian! (Not really!)  Three times I had to ‘nicely’ scold those “commenting,” reminding them that the post was asking people to pray … nothing more, nothing less.

Recently I posted an update on how I’m feeling about the election.  In so doing I raised the question “Is it right to even cast a ballot for the lesser of two evils?”  (show photo)  Let’s continue to pray; it’s not impossible for God to raise up a better choice.  Nothing is impossible with God. 

LET US NOT FORGET!  God’s ways are not our ways, and how He chooses to answer our prayers may not be the way we would want them answered.  But this we know, we CAN trust God.

B. After I shared this post (August 2), comments came in with four basic positions (244 as of August 9):

1. Some said not to vote for Trump was a vote for Hillary or not to vote for Hillary was a vote for Trump.

2. Others said they weren’t voting at all.

3. Others said they were looking for a viable alternative party.

4. Some, like me, said they were leaning towards writing in a candidate if for no other reason than conscience’ sake.  It’s DO RIGHT and Give the Consequences to God.  (show sticker)

C. One of the arguments that I often hear from good men and women who love the LORD is that as Christians it’s not our responsibility to legislate morality, such as abortion and same-sex marriage; our job is to change hearts with the love of Christ one person at a time.

As believers we know that the law cannot change a person’s heart, but we don’t do away with the law.  Without it our world would be chaotic and dangerous.  Because the law can’t change a person’s heart doesn’t mean we don’t fight for what is right in our culture and in our faith. 

In fact, what is faith without action?  What is love without action?  James said, “Faith without works is dead.”  James 2:14 

Some contend that matters such as abortion and same-sex marriage are sins and not crimes.  May I propose that all sins are crimes against God, but not all crimes are sins against God?  eg: When Jesus said He was God, the Jews said that was a crime punishable by death.  What they called a crime was not a sin; it was the truth denied by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.

Still others contend that Conservative Christians are selective in what we rail against and say little if nothing against other sins addressed in the Bible.  And, in honesty, that is true.  Maybe it’s because those sins aren’t where we live, or don’t seem as devastating to our culture or our personal conscience.

Yet another argument is that “morality” is a jurisdiction of the Church and not the Government, therefore to fight for the abolishment of abortion or same-sex marriage using the political system muddies the waters of separation of Church and State. 

PERSONALLY, I could live with that if the Government stayed on their side of the line.  I wrote this to a brother in Christ who recently proposed the argument of separation of Church and State regarding Christians wanting “righteousness” to be legislated:

“Mr A, this is not about singling out sins; it's about the government legislating sin.  Was it not right for Wilberforce and others to stand up against slavery? Do we say he was wrong in doing so?  No!  Therefore it is not wrong for us to stand up against a government that has chosen to oppose God and the legislation of sin.  The government has no business telling the American people what marriage is or when life begins.  They are becoming larger and larger forcing themselves upon us, making us accept what they believe is right and wrong.  We are foolish to do nothing.  

I agree our battle is not against flesh and blood; it is against principalities in Heavenly places, and we fight that war every day.  But there is always an action after prayer.  Faith is an action not merely a thought. If we want to see wrongs made right it requires an action.  God has called ‘believers’ to action.  That's my $0.03.”

D. As to whom I’m voting for – at this point in the process I don’t know.  I do know who I am not voting for, however.  As I have said in my Social Media posts, I’m leaning towards a write-in, but waiting on God. 

E. In the meantime, do we remain silent regarding the social ills, sins and crimes of our day?  No!  Say nothing, do nothing and the end result will be a society without restraint, which will eventually self-destruct. 

F. All throughout the New Testament, the writers addressed the sins of their day: Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 5, 6 & 8, Ephesians 6, Colossians 4, 2 Thessalonians 3, 2 Timothy 3, James 5, 2 Peter 2, Jude and much of the book of Revelation. 

G. In the midst of the evils of the apostle’s age, the call to Christians was, and still is, “we are not of this world” (John 17:16 & 1 Peter 2).  The Kingdom in which we live is within us therefore we NEVER lose.  Circumstances cannot dictate defeat; our surroundings cannot determine our joy, for the LORD is our joy.  The LORD is our Kingdom.  The LORD is our all in all.  

As the Psalmist said, The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  (Psalm 118:6)  Can they take my life?  Yes!  But so what!  They can’t take my soul – that belongs to my Father. 

In Psalm 46 the sons of Korah proclaim these prophetic words relational to the “man of lawlessness” and the second coming of Christ:

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah

4  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts.

7  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8  Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations He has brought on the earth. 9  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, He burns the shields with fire. 10  "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

11  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

H. Let us pray!


8  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming.

A. Who is it that defeats the antichrist?  The LORD God Almighty.  As we noted last week, don’t face your battles alone.  Call on God for help and let other Christians come along side of you.  As the Wiseman instructs us, “Two are better than one.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9

9  The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,

B. Miracles, signs and wonders:

1. The word miracles (dynamei) emphasizes the inherent power behind the works Antichrist will perform.  Dr Nicholas Depace, a renowned cardiologist in the Delaware Valley, says, “A miracle is something that can ONLY happen when God shows up; it has no possibility without God.”

2. The word signs (sēmeiois) refers to the fact that the works will have significance.

ILLUSTRATION: When on this years Ohio Deacons’ Crusade, five of our players hit back-to-back homers, that sent a message of ‘sign’-ificance to the opposing team and to us as well.  The star the Wisemen followed was no ordinary star; it had ‘sign’-ificance. 

3. The word wonders (terasin) indicates the attitude of awe these works will evoke when people behold them.  Antichrist will, in short, perform such powerful and spectacular miracles that those who do not know God will be convinced he has supernatural power, and people will stand in awe of him.  (Revelation 13:2b-4 and 17:8)

C. Note that the words miracles, signs and wonders are preceded by the adjective “counterfeit.”  What does the word counterfeit mean?  It looks real but it’s fake.  (show photo – PB’s head on body of former My Olympia, Dorian Yates)

WHAT DOES THIS TELL US ABOUT THE SIGNS AND WONDERS OF THE ANTICHRIST?  They are fake!  In reality it is a magic trick.  (show video Paul Daniels Cup & Ball Trick/ 60 seconds)  The ASV & KJV describes these miracles as “lying wonders.”  The NASB, NCV, ESV & TEV describes these miracles as “false wonders.”

D. It’s the same old same old snake, deceiving people with the “lie.”  He’s always offering us (human beings) a “false wonder” that is nothing more than the lie he offered Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden.  It’s what he offers:

1.  the dissatisfied married couple
2.  the impatient single adult
3.  the discontented wage earner
4.  the senior adult let go for someone less qualified (and typically less money)
5.  the frustrated athlete
6.  the unsung artist
7.  the questioning teenager
8.  the misinformed college student
9.  the unwanted or abandoned child
10.     the child rattled by divorced parents
11.     the disadvantaged neighborhood
12.     the angry white man
13.     the disgruntled black man
14.     the unwanted immigrant
15.     the slighted church member
16.     the person born in poverty
17.     the person born in extreme wealth
18.     the analytical mind
19.     the failed business
20.     the terminally ill patient
21.     the disappointed believer
22.     and the list goes on. 

E. There’s a reason why God says, more than once, in more than one way:

1.  “Rejoice in the LORD always again I say rejoice” Philippians 4:4
2.   “In everything give thanks”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
3.  “Giving thanks to the Father for everything” Ephesians 5:20

GRASP THIS TRUTH!  Any other posture fills the “atmosphere” (to coin a word introduced to us by Wayne Hilliard of Higher Ground) with negatively, doubt and fear, but praise fills the atmosphere with positivity, assuredness and love. 

F. Let’s wrap this up!

10  and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12  and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.


A. Let’s see if this illustration can put flesh on the bones.  Sheryl and I were newlyweds and I was serving as Youth director at Mt Pleasant United Methodist Church in Pleasantville, NJ.  The church would put on concerts every Sunday night.  Some groups were good, some were memories you didn’t want in your photo album.  LOL! 

Well, on this particular evening we had a group called the Young Apostles.  Dr Huber thought, since this group was comprised of young people, the Youth Pastor (that was me) should give the invitation.  It was my first.  I believe twelve people gave their lives to Christ that night. 

I remember two of the young men who came forward because they both started attending church regularly.  One was an atheist who came with the sole intent to poke fun at the service, but the Holy Spirit poked his heart and he was gloriously saved.  The other was a professional figure skater that, too, responded to salvation’s call.  But time revealed the posture of the hearts of these two young men.

The former atheist is faithfully serving God today; the professional figure skater died at a young age of AIDS.  The former atheist, now a believer, chose to live in the truth; the professional figure skater chose to reject the truth and live in the lie. 

Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life.”  Believing anything other than His words, living anything other than His words, is death and not life. 

You may say: “That Christian lives in poverty; that sinner lives in wealth,” and that may be true, although my observation is that Christianity elevates one’s lifestyle.  But Jesus also said, “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soul.”  Mark 8:36  I don’t know if God has appointed you to a life of poverty or wealth, but what I do know is He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you, and choosing to live a life for Christ, choosing to live a life in accordance with His word, is life and life everlasting.

B. Will you choose life?  Here’s how:

Father in Heaven, I’m sorry for the things I’ve done that are wrong: I am a sinner; forgive me.  Thank You for loving me and sending your Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for my sin.  Holy Spirit, come into my heart; Jesus be my Lord and Savior.  I give You my life.  Amen.

ser3554, Immortal Combat – Angels & the REAL War, Pt 19  (A Different Approach - 3)  (Words w/ Invitation 2349)