See you Later, Jack

I am sorry to hear of the passing of Jack Van Impe; he was a prominent figure on Christian TV for decades with his wife Rexella. Those two could put on quite a dramatic show.

Personally, I don’t agree with Van Impe’s premillennial, pretribulation eschatological views; nor was I particularly impressed with his manner of quoting and applying the Bible to current events published in the press. But I admired his memorization of the Bible and the fact that their was no scandal concerning his ministry and he was faithful to Rexella.

Hal Linsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” was published and a best seller about the time I was converted in 1972. Many were reached and converted by this book, which I suppose appealed primarily to men’s fears. I think the Linsey and Van Impe had similar views of the “end times.”

Their ministries demonstrate to me that one doesn’t have to have everything right doctrinally and theologically to reach souls. Van Impe and Linsey were consistent in their overall understanding of prophesy, As for detailed application of the Scriptures to current events, maybe not so much.

It takes all kinds to reach the lost.

THE FACE WITH A NAME

Houston is known as the world capital of space exploration, of the international energy industry, and of petroleum exploration.

Houston is the only major American city that doesn’t have land-use zoning laws. That means anything can be built anywhere, taxidermy shops next to Italian restaurants next to hospitals next to gun shops or next to schools.

The song “Going Back to Houston” with the memorable lyrics: “Well it’s lonesome in this old town/ Everybody is putting me down/ I’m a face without a name/ Just walking in the rain,” was made famous by Dean Martin.

The city is named for Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas. He was nick-named “the Raven” by the Cherokee tribe with whom he lived for three years and went on to become governor of Tennessee, president of Texas (twice), member of the Texas House of Representatives, U.S. senator from the state of Texas and governor of Texas. Sam Houston is bigger than life in Texas.

Houston’s best known and most influential citizen today is a preacher, Pastor Joel Osteen. Today his name is more associated with Houston than even the late President George H.W. Bush, who resided in the city. Joel Osteen, though small in stature, has become larger than life in character and power with God and men.

Joel has the ear of Houston city officials and prominent businessmen and other notable citizens more than anyone else. He is friends with President Trump. I like that a Christian minister is placed in such a position of supremacy.

Is there anywhere else other than Houston that a man could have a vision for turning a basketball arena into the largest church in the world which seats 16,700 people and over 50,000 come through the church each week?

Houston is under the Big Sky of Texas and few, if any pastors, have ever had such large implemented vision as Joel Osteen. Joel is a man that puts his faith into action, as he teaches other to do by living up to their full potential by trusting in Jesus.

Back in the 80’s the governor of Oklahoma said, “Wherever I go; wherever I travel and meat dignitaries, the first thing everyone always asks me is, “’What about Oral Roberts.’” Brother Roberts was a man with a vision, who had the “Minas Touch.”

Joel is the son, who extended and excelled his father’s vision. Yesterday, when Joel mentioned this in his sermon; he was brought to tears.

Like him or not, Joel Osteen has largely become the face of Christendom to our generation over the last score of years. I say, Christendom, because of Joel’s world-wide impact through the media and his best-selling books.

Come to Lakewood Church and meet, Pastor Joel, the face with a name in Houston. He gives everyone the opportunity to meet him in his reception line. You have a friend in Houston. You need not be lonesome there are thousands who will love you. Come and let the latter rain of the Holy Spirit fall on you.

Play Ball

Pressure is being put upon the Astros players to apologize for “cheating.” The owner of the Astros is evidently promoting this apology thing. I can’t imagine that Astros fans care.

The White Sox signed an ex 1967 Astro pitcher this winter; he is the first one to apologize. Makes me wonder how much of a competitor he is. If the players apologize, I suppose many of them will do so with their fingers crossed behind their back.

MLB should have let the fans decide from the beginning on how serious this “cheating” was to the integrity of the game by allowing fans to cast their vote by buying tickets or not.

Unfortunately, the media fans the flames of this sort of thing. I strongly suspect that virtually all or at least most of the teams have some sort of electronic system of sign stealing, that they have used in recent years.

No one I have been reading has picked up on is the obligation of the other team to watch for sign stealing and constantly be changing signs. Likely, more successful teams with smart coaches and managers are doing this, thus neutralizing the sign stealing or even making it counterproductive.

The “scandal” might end up doing the Astros good; now they have more to prove, that they can win W.S. without using the electronic devices.

What is the answer?

In April we will hear the magical words: “PLAY BALL!” After the game, let the media report on the performance of the individual players and the teams.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FELLOW HOOSIERS

On the 11th day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen Indiana became the 16th State of our Union.

The Preamble Indiana Constitution of 1816:

“We the Representatives of the people of the Territory of Indiana, in Convention met, at Corydon, on Monday the tenth day of June in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States, the fortieth, having the right of admission into the General Government, as a member of the union, consistent with the constitution of the United States, the ordinance of Congress of one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven, and the law of Congress, entitle “An act to enable the people of the Indiana Territory to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such state into the union, on an equal footing with the original States” in order to establish Justice, promote the welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity; do ordain and establish the following constitution or form of Government, and do mutually agree with each other to form ourselves into a free and Independent state, by the name of the State of Indiana.

The preamble to the current constitution (1851 version is even clearer in its reference to Almighty God, demonstrating the Christian roots of our nation state:

“TO THE END, that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated; WE, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution.”

I WAS WRONG

Sister Pat and I went to see, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which is an uplifting character sketch of Mr. Fred Rogers. The show is based about a feature article published by Esquire magazine, when Mr. Rogers was still alive and on the air. He died at 74 years old of stomach cancer.

The theme of the film deals with the necessity of readiness to forgive and reveals how to deal with anger and other bad “feelings.”

I must confess that if this film is an accurate portrayal of Mr. Rogers, I was wrong about the man. I always considered him too nice and overly gentle and not masculine enough, even though I never watched an episode. Many times, I saw the opening scene of Mr. Rogers coming through the door and changing into his cardigan sweater and sneakers. Then I would turn off the program.

This is a “feel good” show but much more. Fred Rogers had the ability to deal with the issues and crises of life in a simple, yet profound and practical manner by showing us how to overcome bad feelings and not letting such feelings ruin our lives or the lives of others.

Don’t miss this movie. It is a good one to see with your family, no bad language and no sex. Finally, who could ever find fault in the acting of Tom Hanks? Hollywood, when it wants to, can do some really good things. This film is among the best of such genre.

STOLEN BANNER RECOVERED

Three weeks ago I had my banner stolen at Georgia College. Recently, I received an email from Reid who had recovered my banner and mailed it unto me postage pd., enclosed was a check for $250. Below is a email I received today from Reid in response to my thank you note:

“Bro. Jed,

I am glad the package found you safely. Yes, you are correct; it was at GC that I first became acquainted with your ministry. I first heard you preach in 2014 as a freshman there and to be quite honest, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it at the time. I was raised by wonderful parents in a Christian household, but had never encountered anything quite like when you came to campus. Nevertheless, it made quite an impact and stuck with me. In the years since, I have grown in my faith and relationship with God and have come to understand and appreciate what you do.

As for the banner, I am sorry that I was unable to recover the poles as well; the banner itself was all that I was made aware of. My brother is currently a senior at Georgia College and although I graduated in 2018, I go back from time to time to visit him. While visiting one weekend, I heard one of his friends mention that her roommate had taken a sign from you. Not only had they taken the sign, but the roommate was displaying it as some kind of sick trophy in their living room. The friend was upset by this, but lacked the courage to stand up to her roommate. I told my brother’s friend that I was a “friend of Jed’s” and that I would gladly return it if she could get it for me. With my brother’s encouragement, she went and retrieved the sign. She told me that she felt much better because the sign was going to its rightful owner.

Feel free to share the story (testimony, really!) in any form with anyone you see fit. I know it was God’s doing from start to finish, and I am thankful that He allowed me to be a part of it.

Reid”

Echo (Conway) and Narcissus (Trump)

President Trump is constantly accused by his political and media opponents of being a narcissist. George Conway, husband of Trump’s close counsellor, Kellyanne, has added to the echo of Democrats, Never Trumpers and the fake media by accusing Trump of having the personality disorder of narcissism, which has become a psychological construct of the Greek myth of Narcissus.

Narcissism was coined as a mental disorder in the early 20th Century. Often forgotten in the Greek myth of Narcissus is his frustrated lover, Echo.

Echo was a nymph. Zeus lusted for nymphs and often rendezvoused with them. Hera, his jealous wife, followed him trying to catch him in the act. However, Echo, would distract Hera with long-winded conversations, giving time to Zeus to evade her. Hera realized the ploy of Echo and she cursed her to only be able to repeat the last words that another person just said.

After being cursed, Echo came across a handsome young man named Narcissus, but was unable to talk to him because of the curse. She simply followed him in the woods. Narcissus, having been separated from his hunting companions, started shouting “Is anyone there?” Echo, given the opportunity, repeated the words. He yelled again “Let’s come together” to which Echo rushed onto him repeating his words. However, Narcissus rejected Echo, and she was left in despair.

Narcissus came across a lake and there, he fell in love with his own image, causing his death, unable to move he eventually turned into a flower. Echo mourned for him and finally died away herself, leaving only her voice behind.

Donald J. Trump is not like the mythological character. Trump is a mover and maker and a shaker.

George Conway is nothing but a failed wind-bag, whose notoriety is based primarily on his wife, Kellyanne, without her, he would have no platform. George wanted a position in the Trump administration and when he did not get it, he turned against Trump. George Conway would be a man of no consequence without Trump as his foil. Weak men need foils.

The Democrats, the Never Trumpers and the phony media are constantly echoing one another in their mythical narrative concerning Trump’s actions and mental condition. Trump is no echo of the mainstream of the Republican Party represented by the Bushes. Trump is a creative conservative. Barry Goldwater presidential campaign slogan in 1964 against LBJ was, “A Choice, Not An Echo.” Choose TRUMP IN 2020!

The psychologists and psychiatrists in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM) keep adding disorders with the passage of times. Yet they never tell us what orderly mental health looks like. We should look to Jesus in that he was the most mentally fit man who ever walked the earth.

In the OT we have strong personalities to whom I have compared President Trump, like Samson, David, Solomon and Cyrus. Let’s look to great men and women of history for guidance of good mental health instead of mythical characters and psychological constructs of sick minds usually made ill as a result of bad choices.

Jesus was perfect; the other Biblical characters I have mentioned had their faults and sins, which corrupt the mind depending on the depth of the sin. We all need and may acquire the mind of Christ through faith in Jesus.

I suspect that George Conway is envious of Trump’s strong and confident personality and his great success in life and now in politics even though he is a novice in the political arena. Trump may think more like Christ than any president other than the Father of our Country, George Washington.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

The Psalms of Ascent that Kanye West’s Choir sang Sunday night at the Temple Joel Osteen built in Houston are comparable to Psalms 120-34, which are otherwise known as the Songs of Degrees.

There were 15 steps ascending to Solomon’s Temple. The Levite singers paused at each step to sing a Psalm as they were preparing to minister at the Temple. Others say these psalms were sung by pilgrims as the ascended road to Jerusalem for Jewish festivals.

The Kayne West Choir took the congregation higher and higher, until it reached the top with an altar call for salvation to which thousands had the opportunity to respond to Jesus’ sacrifice. Thus marking the beginning of their ascent into Heaven.

Tonight, manifested a new level of super Holy Ghost energized gospel music, which will set an innovative standard in contemporary worship. West’s singers surpassed the Maranatha or Hillsong Singers.

There was no doubt that the choir was singing to the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Jesus’ name was exalted as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the Savior of mankind.
The video of tonight’s service has already gone around the world and will no doubt be used of God to extend saving grace to countless multitudes.

There were only a few songs with which I was familiar. I had difficulty catching the words; so, I will have to review the concert. Sister Cindy was able to tell me some of the words that were being sung; however, she was distracted from the service by a few phone calls.

I had little idea of what to expect except that I had confidence that Joel would not have any music in his church would not glorify God. My expectations were surpassed.

Remember, I am a traditionalist, who doesn’t relate that well to contemporary worship; however, West’s choir is rooted in traditional black choir spirituals with the Pentecostal flare.

The Holy Ghost flames roared at Lakewood tonight and will spread throughout Houston, Texas, the United States and the world. Kanye’s testimony is going to spark a not only a spiritual revival but a political awakening in the black community as they will leave the party of demons in mass.

A toughing moment occurred when Kayne’s daughter stood beside him singing as he was playing the piano. In Kayne West, we definitely have a new creature in Christ.

BILLY SUNDAY WAS AN ECUMENIST

A few years ago I received much negative feedback when I laid claim to the title of “Ecumenist of the Year.” Billy Sunday (1862-1935), who was a significant influence in my evangelism, was also ecumenical in his approach to revivalism.

Sunday was America’s most celebrated and influential evangelist of the of early 20th Century. He preached the fundamentals of the faith. Sunday was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in 1903 but his ministry was nondenominational.

Wikipedia says, “Sunday refused to hold meetings in cities where he was not welcomed by the vast majority of the Protestant churches and their clergy.”

Wikipedia continues, “Sunday was not a separatists as were many Protestants of his era. He went out of his way to avoid criticizing the Roman Catholic Church and even met with Cardinal Gibbons during his 1916 Baltimore campaign. Also, cards filled out by “trail hitters” were faithfully returned to the church or denomination that the writers had indicated as their choice, including Catholic and Unitarian.”

In his ecumenicalism, Billy Sunday set the stage and example which Billy Graham was to follow in the second half of the 20th Century.

THE MOVES OF BILLY SUNDAY, BRO JED AND MICK JAGGER

When I was called to preach, I studied and adopted Billy Sunday’s moves. Sunday, a former professional baseball player, was athletic in his preaching style. His favorite gestures were baseball poses.

Some clergymen thought that Sunday was undignified in his preaching style and placed too much emphasis on hell, fire and brimstone.

Good moves are helpful in drawing the attention of an audience who are not usually interested in religion. I like to brag that I have better moves than Mike Jagger; we are the same age, 76. I never tried to imitate the moves of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, because his moves were effeminate.

When I first started on the campuses a leader of Chi Alpha was critical of me, claiming that the Billy Sunday model was out of fashion and not appropriate for an intellectual setting.

Students have fun imitating my moves and voice inflections while I am preaching and later in the dorms. They enjoy regaling their friends with Brother Jed tales. I want to appeal both to people’s audio and visual senses, which will make an indelible impression on their minds.

The following is quoted from the New World Encyclopedia:

Part of Billy Sunday’s near universal appeal was his unapologetically vigorous and bombastic homiletic style. At a given meeting, Sunday would wait until the moment felt right, and then would launch into his message. Sunday gyrated, stood on the pulpit, ran from one end of the platform to the other, and dove across the stage, pretending to slide into home plate. Sometimes he even smashed chairs to emphasize his points.

His sermon notes had to be printed in large letters so that he could catch a glimpse of them as he raced by the pulpit. In addresses directed to an audience of men, many of which attacked sexual sin, Sunday’s delivery could be graphic (at least for the era). Some religious and social leaders criticized Sunday’s exaggerated gestures as well as the slang and colloquialisms that filled his sermons, but audiences clearly enjoyed them.

Further, some modern scholars argue that Sunday’s approach can be seen as an instance of the muscular, virile Christianity that was arising at the time in response to the perceived “weakness” inherent in stereotypical Christian values. Indeed, his ministry did “share the conviction [common in his day] that Christianity must be a muscular, masculine religion to be effective. Through the content of his message, his aggressive style of evangelism, and the remarkable story of his own life, Sunday’s revivalism both reflected and addressed some of the gender-related concerns of his day.”

In 1907, journalist Lindsay Denison complained that Sunday preached “the old, old doctrine of damnation,” getting results by “inspiring fear and gloom in the hearts of sinners.” But Sunday himself told reporters “with ill-concealed annoyance,” that his revivals had “no emotionalism.” Sunday told one reporter that he believed that people could “be converted without any fuss,” and, at Sunday’s meetings, “instances of spasm, shakes, or fainting fits caused by hysteria were few and far between.”