“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6 KJV)

Child abuse can take a number of forms—physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, etc. But any form of abuse is opposed to the ruling principle of God’s kingdom—unselfish love.

An abusive person does not know love and does not know God. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7, 8)

Biblical doctrines are designed to support the caring of the most vulnerable among us—children. Sadly, however, it’s not uncommon for adults to justify child abuse and neglect with religious church doctrines.

Many of these believers are fond of quoting Scriptures to justify their abuse—particularly the verse in Proverbs 13:24 that says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” But in Hebrew, the word translated as “rod” is the same word used in Psalms 23:4, “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” The shepherd’s rod was used to guide the sheep, not to beat them with it.

So what the writer of Proverbs was actually saying was, “He who refuses to GUIDE his children, hates them.” The point of discipline is to transmit values to children. The purpose of punishment is to coerce compliance, to control and to exact revenge. To inflict pain as a form of revenge, is something that the Bible says belongs to God alone.

There are only a few places that “rod” is possibly referring to a literal rod in connection with hitting someone. First let us look at Exodus 21:20: “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

This Scripture in Exodus says that if this rod were used on a maid or servant and killed them that it was punishable. So, one can see that it had to be a heavy duty instrument capable of killing someone which would be consistent with the idea of a staff or club. If it is ok to spank a child using this instrument, then it is not mentioned here and if it were, then the child could die by its use.

2014 Children’s Advocacy Center Statistics Highlights 

Among the over 315,000 children served by Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country in 2014, some startling statistics include:

• 116,940 children were ages 0 to 6 years

• 115,959 children were ages 7 to 12 years

• 81,025 children were ages 13 to 18 years

• 205,438 children reported sexual abuse

• 60,897 children reported physical abuse

• 211,831 children participated in on-site forensic interviewing


If these statistics represented a contagious disease like Ebola, the CDC would declare it an epidemic! And yet very little is being done to protect children who suffer from child abuse.

Why do people struggle to report child abuse?

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:4: “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.” This clearly indicates that the central purpose of a civil government is to do good. If that is the case, can there be any greater good carried out by a civil government than to punish those who violate laws designed to protect society’s most vulnerable members?

All 50 states have laws that mandate its citizens to report suspected neglect or abuse of children. Violation of these laws not only fails to protect children, but also enables the perpetrator to avoid criminal prosecution and encourages them to continue abusing children.

Besides biblical and legal grounds for reporting suspected abuse to authorities, there are also practical reasons to do so. The government has the authority to remove children from parents or guardians who are inflicting physical harm to children. However, this can’t happen if the authorities are not notified of the suspected maltreatment.

Oftentimes, a child’s very survival is dependent upon whether we take the initiative and report it. There should be little debate within the Christian community that the protection and survival of children is a God ordained responsibility that we cannot neglect or excuse.

Why do some churches and Christian organizations seem to struggle with reporting the suspected abuse of a child? It is the fear or unwillingness to get involved, or fear of angering the family. Some believe that someone else will speak up and do something.

But at the heart of the struggle is a fear that is rooted in the need to self-protect. It is a fear of losing the good reputation of a ministry, or the fear of losing ministry donors, or the fear of losing respect from congregation members, (What will they think of me if I’m wrong?) or the fear of losing a ministry altogether.

All of these fears have nothing to do with the ministry or Jesus. It is all about protecting self. The Gospel tells Christians that our identity is in Christ alone, and that our reputation and all that we possess belongs to him.

From God’s perspective, this liberates us to sacrifice personal and institutional reputations if doing so protects and preserves the lives of His little ones. Isn’t that what Jesus did for us? He sacrificed his reputation, his supporters, his ministry, and even his very own life in order to protect and redeem us. This should drive us to do the same regardless of the consequences to our church, our ministry, or our reputation, in order to protect children.

The next time someone tells you that reporting suspected abuse of children may  lead to more personal hurt and damage your reputation, tell them that our reputation is only damaged when we turn away and leave grievous sins alone in the darkness of silence.

If you suspect that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect you should report your concerns to your local child protective services agency. (CPS) Even if you are unsure of whether the child’s situation has already been reported to  CPS. Refer to What Should I Know about Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect?

Find other helpful links at: http://www.childrensadvocacycenter.org/links.cfm


But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Randy Stonehill and Phil Keaggy recorded a song called “Who Will Save The Children” for Compassion International, a Christian charity dedicated to helping children in poverty. But it could very well be a song for abused children. 

Today the world is facing many problems. High unemployment, poverty, homelessness, illegal immigration, racial unrest, gun violence and threats of terrorism—just to name a few.

And yet one of our most tragic problems that has spread world-wide barely gets a bi-line in the news—sexual child abuse.

There have been plenty of reports about the sex trafficking trade and the efforts that some law enforcement agencies have taken to combat this crime. We will even hear reports on how famous pedophiles like Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, are being arrested and prosecuted for their heinous crimes against children.

But it seems that nothing is being done to stop pedophiles who sexually abuse children in their own homes!  Most victims know and trust their abusers. It isn’t strangers our children have to fear most—It’s those who live in their own home!

Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are 20-30 times more likely to be victims of child sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents. Studies show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. That means that there will be 500,000 babies born in the US this year that will be sexually abused (Many in their own homes) before they turn 18, if we do not prevent it!

In it’s most recent study, the CDC estimated the lifetime cost to society for dealing with all issues related to child abuse of just one year’s worth of traumatized kids is $585 billion! An astonishing figure that obviously repeats each year!

One of the reasons that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. And some never disclose their abuse.

Another reason is that many people rely on the court system and law enforcement alone to take steps to protect children from child predators who would do harm to our children.

But the Nebraska Legislature finds that sex offenders present a high risk to commit repeat offenses. They further find that efforts of law enforcement agencies to protect their communities, conduct investigations, and quickly apprehend sex offenders are impaired by the lack of available information about individuals who have pleaded guilty to or have been found guilty of sex offenses and who live, work, or attend school in their jurisdiction. (nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes/ 29-4001.01 – 4003) http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=29-4001.01

In spite of this, many judges continue to issue light sentences and probation to child sex offenders. And many people believe that once a sex offender is convicted, he or she is restricted on where they can live and travel.

It may surprise many to know that in many states the only restriction imposed on a convicted pedophile is that he or she register as a sex offender at the sheriff’s office within the required time. (Usually within 72 hours)

That means that someone convicted of sexual child abuse may freely visit schools, public parks, children museums, public swimming pools and beaches—basically anywhere that children frequent.

From the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website:


The Nebraska Sex Offender Registration law does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders.  This is a common misperception.  The SOR law also does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restrict an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain from living with or socializing with children or vulnerable persons.  The SOR law can only mandate the offender to register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’s office within the required time.


Nebraska legislation simply enacted guidelines in July 2006 for those cities who wish to adopt a living restriction ordinance. It is not a state-wide law. Therefore, it only applies to those cities or designated entities that pass such an ordinance which only applies to schools and day cares; furthermore, it will be up to the local agencies to enforce the restrictions if adopted. The city ordinance only applies to sexual predators that moved to the reported address after July 2006. Sexual predator means an individual who is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration act, who has committed an aggravated offense and who has victimized a person eighteen years of age or younger. The Nebraska State Patrol does not track which cities choose to enact or enforce the ordinance. Please contact the local city office, police department or sheriff’s office of the city in question. https://sor.nebraska.gov/FAQ

I experienced the pain and anguish of this crime personally when my granddaughter was sexually molested by her step-father several years ago. After two years of attending hearing after hearing in court, the judge only sentenced him to two years probation. Less than ten days later he was arrested again on charges of physically abusing another child still living in the home! The remaining children were placed in foster care and the father is currently serving a year in the county jail. Because Nebraska has no Grandparents Rights Law, we have not been able to visit our grandchildren in foster care.

I wrote to 18 Nebraska senators about this and out of the 18, only Senator John McCollister responded to me. We recently met for coffee to discuss my concerns about this. He is planning on setting up a meeting with me, himself and another senator to see if we can come up with a solution that will allow grandparents visitation rights to grandchildren in foster care and protect children without violating the perpetrators’ civil rights.

Protecting our future

We have all heard politicians and others quote that “children are our future”. If that is true, (And I believe it is) then why are we so bent on destroying our own future? Adult survivors continue to deal with physical symptoms of sexual child abuse even when the abuse occurred long ago.

A 2001 study supported by the CDC showed that early childhood abuse could affect areas of the brain that impact language, cognitive and emotional development and mental health. This could result in hyperactivity and sleep problems. Another CDC study revealed that the risk of adult chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, liver disease and high cholesterol is increased.

When a child is abused, emotional and psychological trauma can result. A long-term study by the CDC found that, “As many as 80 percent of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21.” These disorders include anxiety, depression, eating disorders and suicide attempts. Child abuse victims may also suffer from learning, attention and memory problems. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another common problem for child abuse survivors, resulting in constant frightening memories and thoughts, feeling emotionally detached or numb and sleep problems.

Adults who suffered abuse often turn to drug or alcohol abuse. A report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that, “as many as 2/3 of people in drug treatment programs report being abused as children.” Additionally, some adult survivors turn to lying, stealing or other illegal criminal behavior and end up arrested and incarcerated.

Things you can do to protect your children:

  • Talk to your child about the dangers of sexual abuse. And talking about personal safety should be an on-going dialogue, not just a single event.
  • Teach your children appropriate names for their body parts.
  • Use everyday situations to keep the conversations about personal safety ongoing.
  • Set the rules about internet safety and your values early on.
  • Learn about the websites your children use regularly and limit how much time they spend online.
  • Visit websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other sites your child visits.
  • Teach your children that they should not seek relationships with online friends and that they should never meet online friends in the real world. If you think that your child is smarter than that, think again. Many teens and pre-teens get involved in online relationships only to find out later that the “other teenager” is actually a middle aged pedophile. So make sure that your child has a support system in the real world.

Above all, build trust between you and your child so they know that they can talk to you about anything.

Think about this: I once attended a dedication ceremony of a friend who just had a baby. As the father was holding the baby in his arms, the pastor asked him, “Who are you to this child?” The father replied proudly, “I’m his father.” “No.” the paster answered. “You are God.” As the father gave the pastor a confused look, he continued, “You are the only God this child will know. So as far as he knows, you ARE God. And it is up to you to teach him all he will know about God.”

If we may be the only God that a child will know and that child experiences abuse from us or another adult, what will that child think  about God? What will his impression be of God?

Collin Raye – 11th Commandment 

Some believe that Christians are not required to observe the feast days because they believe that they were given only to the Jews. And since Jesus fulfilled the Law when he was crucified and rose from the dead, Christian’s today no longer have an obligation to observe the feasts.

The Hebrew word for “feasts” (moadim) literally means “appointed times.” God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of the seven feasts to reveal to us a special story. The seven annual feasts of the Lord were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God.

Although they are still celebrated by observant Jews today, both Jews and non-Jews who have placed their faith in Jesus, our Messiah, demonstrate the work of redemption through God’s Son by observing these special days.

“The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.” (Leviticus 23:2) Did you notice that God did NOT say to the Jews, “These are YOUR feasts.” He said, “These are MY feasts.”

Yet for most of traditional Christianity, these “feasts of the Lord” are thought to have been kept only by the Jews and are deemed meaningless for Christians. To make things worse, the apostate church of Rome has substituted God’s appointed feasts with pagan based holidays—And Christians all over the world have been led to believe that they are celebrating religious holidays that supposedly center on Jesus Christ!

Did Jesus fulfill ALL the feasts?

The first four of the seven feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Weeks), and they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament.

But the final three holidays (Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) occur during the fall, all within a short fifteen-day period.

Many Bible scholars and commentators believe that these fall feasts have not yet been fulfilled by Jesus. However, the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)

for all true believers in Jesus Christ is that they most assuredly WILL BE fulfilled in the future.

As the four spring feasts were fulfilled literally and right on the actual feast day in connection with Christ’s first coming, I believe that these three fall feasts will likewise be fulfilled literally in connection to the Lord’s second coming.

Why is it important to observe God’s feasts today? In a nutshell, there is prophetic significance of each of the seven Levitical feasts of the Lord:

Passover (Leviticus 23:5)

In the New Testament, the Gospels record that Christ kept the Passover with His disciples several times. On the night before His death, Jesus knew he was fulfilling the symbolism of the Passover lamb by voluntarily giving his life for the sins of the entire world.

Passover points to the Messiah as our Passover lamb whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening. (John 19:14)

“When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 22:14-16)

Jesus then instituted the new symbols that represented not the sacrifice of a lamb, but his far greater sacrifice. The Passover symbols would now represent Christ’s complete sacrifice—the unleavened bread representing his sinless body that was beaten for us, and the wine, signifying the lifeblood he would shed to wash away our sins.

From then on, this feast took on a much greater new meaning to the Church. Instead of being abolished, this feast now revealed its true, ultimate meaning. The disciples now realized that the Passover lamb was only a physical forerunner of that perfect sacrifice which was Jesus Christ. And now they would keep this feast with far greater significance and comprehension.

The apostle Paul understood this ancient feast of the Passover had now revealed its true meaning with Christ’s sacrifice. It was part of God’s plan for all of mankind that Jesus would come and sacrifice himself for the sins of the world—and Passover was a prophetic symbol it. So, instead of being obsolete, the Passover was revealed to have a vastly important meaning—Not only for Jews, but also for Christians, with Jesus Christ being at its very center.

The apostle Paul explained this new understanding of the Passover to the Corinthian Church when he instructed them on how to observe it:

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ “In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

So in the New Testament, the Passover becomes an annual reminder and symbol of Christ’s sacrifice for all of us.

Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6)

The Feast of Unleavened Bread coincided with Passover and reminds us to rid ourselves of all leaven, symbolic of the sin in our lives. because leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible it also points to the Messiah’s sinless life, making him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life. (John 12:24)

First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10)

The Feast of First Fruits was a celebration to thank God for the harvest that He provided. It also points to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”

Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16

Although celebrated by some as the day that God sent down his Holy Spirit to His people, Pentecost was commanded by God as harvest celebration and an obligation to give God our first fruits. The Israelites were also commanded to leave part of their harvest for the poor. (v.22)

Pentecost occurs fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and points to the great harvest of souls for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age. In Acts 2 Peter was merely obeying what God said  in Leviticus 23: 21: “And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation.” That is exactly was Peter and the disciples did when the early Church was established and God poured out His Holy Spirit on a crowd of 3,000 Jews, gentiles and proselytes of many nations who gathered there and responded to Peter’s great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel!

Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24)

The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the fall feasts—A memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. Much like the prayer and praise gatherings we have in churches. I believe this points to the day when Jesus our Messiah will appear in the heavens as He comes for all true believers—both Jew and Gentile.

Many Christians associate this with the Rapture because of the mentioning of blowing of a loud trumpet in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. But if you read 1 Corinthians 15:52, you will find that Jesus will not come for us until AFTER the last trumpet is sounded. So what happens BEFORE the last of the seven trumpets are sounded? (See Revelation 8) The word “trumpet” is used throughout the Bible to describe what is called a shofar—A ram’s horn that is used for two specific purposes:

1: To assemble the people for worship.

2: To assemble the people for war.

At any rate, this should encourage true believers and warn the apostate and worldly of the judgment and wrath to come.

Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27

The purpose for The Day of Atonement is a day of repentance.  We are to “afflict our souls” by repentance, contrition, and humiliation for sin, and our bodies by fasting. I believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when he will return to rule on earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive him as their Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36)

Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34)

During the Feast of Tabernacles we are told to live in temporary shelters (or booths) for seven days: “All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (v. 42-43) The shelter or booth of The Feast of Tabernacles is called a sukkah. These shelters consist of at least three walls and are framed with wood and canvas. The roof or covering is made from cut branches and leaves, placed loosely atop, leaving an open space for the stars to be viewed so that we remember the promise that God made to Abraham, that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. (Genesis 15:5; 26:3-5)

I believe that this feast day also points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when he returns to reign over all the world. (Micah 4:1-7)

In Zechariah 14:16-19 we read that “everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.” and “there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.” Why would Jesus punish someone who refuses to celebrate something that we are not required to observe?

The apostle Paul clearly understood that these biblical feasts were harbingers of what was to come in God’s master plan of salvation. In a passage frequently misunderstood by many, Paul warned the brethren not to be intimidated by some who were questioning their manner of keeping God’s feasts, as well as the Sabbaths, new moons, and eating and drinking. He said, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come.” (Colossians 2:16-18)

Paul was not saying that we were no longer required to keep God’s feasts, as some believe. He was combating a group of people who were introducing several strange doctrines, including worshiping angels, (verse 18) and abstaining from wholesome food and drink. (verse 21)

He told the brethren to ignore them and continue observing what he had taught (And Paul certainly taught keeping the Passover and other feasts, as we can see in the New Testament) Regrettably, the Colossians were starting to shy away from observing these feasts. So Paul mentions how important they are, as foreshadowing coming events in God’s plan for mankind.

Now you have a choice to make

As we approach the season of Christmas, I am reminded of when I spent nearly an hour sharing Scripture with a friend of mine of how December 25th could not possibly be Jesus’ birthday, and explaining how traditions of Christmas, ( mistletoe, Christmas wreaths, singing carols and even Christmas trees) are all steeped in pagan worship. But after I finished, she said, “I know that of what you said is true, but we’ve always celebrated Christmas this way and I won’t be changing anything.” I thought to myself, “You just went from ignorance to rebellion.” And as far as I know, she remained true to her word.

Observing God’s commandments and keeping His feasts have nothing to do with salvation. But Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) We now have a choice. We can show that we love Jesus by obeying God’s commandments, or we can cast aside God’s will for us and join the pagan celebrations of the world.

You see, I don’t obey God’s commandments so that God will love me more, or because I’m afraid He won’t love me if I don’t—I keep God’s commandments BECAUSE I love Him.

Drew Carey’s amusing rant on the origins of the Christian holidays

Most homeless people have already heard about Jesus. And most of them like Jesus. They just don’t care too much for Christians. Why is that? Because many of them believe Christians are unloving, mean, angry, hateful, bigoted, homophobic, judgmental and hypocritical. Who of us would want to join up with any group that met those descriptions?

There are many wonderful ministries that focus on the needs of the homeless. And I believe that Christians SHOULD help the homeless in practical ways, whenever they have the means and the ability to do so.

Sadly, however, there are many Christians, whether they are church-based or acting on their own, that fall short when it comes to ministering to the homeless.

Many have been taught to believe that the homeless are either lazy, mentally ill, and/or addicted to drugs and alcohol, and therefore are homeless by choice.

But the homeless are people just like us—sin-stained, fallible human beings who will either spend eternity with God and his saints, or be destroyed with the devil and the rest of the wicked.

So many Christians today feel that they need to evangelize the homeless—That it’s up to them to save these wretched souls. I know that this may sound unscriptural to many, but nothing could be further from the truth!

Jesus told his disciples to go into the world and make DISCIPLES of all nations. He did not tell them to go into the world and evangelize all nations. It is God who draws all men unto himself by his Holy Spirit.

So many times I have witnessed Christians stand behind a pulpit at a homeless shelter and tell the people there a story of how Jesus has blessed them in so many ways, and if they would just accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, he would set them free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol and sin.

This has almost always failed to convince people to follow Jesus because you will come across as having a “big me, little you” attitude. Besides, many of those “wretched sinners” are not there because they want to listen to you—They are there because they want the meal that comes afterward.

If you’re going to share the gospel with the homeless, know that many of them are more wise, more spiritual and more content than you are. The best way to share the gospel with people, (homeless or not) is to become Jesus for them.

I remember in my own early days of “evangelizing” the homeless that I met a man living in a homeless shelter who was dressed rather shabbily. After sharing the gospel with him, he explained that he was already a believer and had a full time job. I asked him, “If you have a full-time job and a car why do you live here at the homeless shelter?” His answer both humbled and shamed me. He said that he wanted to live at the shelter so that he could get to know the people there so he could better minister to their needs. This man sacrificed the comfort of his own home in order to be Jesus to those around him and caused me to repent of my shameful indifference and prejudice!

Our job is not to be the Holy Spirit to the homeless. And it is not our job to save them. Almost none of these folks go to church. The church has not been kind and loving to them in their opinion. In their hour of need, whether it was when a family member who was gravely ill or died, or when they lost their job, or when they lost their home, or even when they ended up on the street, the church was not there for them. The church was too busy sitting in a building singing praise songs and listening to sermons.

We’re not selling soap, insurance, or vacuum cleaners! So try to love people and build friendships and relationships with them. THAT is how we reach people.

Our job is only to speak the truth in love. That’s what Jesus did. There is nowhere in the New Testament where Jesus spoke down to sinners. In fact, he welcomed them with open arms. It was the religious people of his day that had a problem with the drunkards and prostitutes that surrounded him.

Awaken from your slumber, church!

Awaken and walk among the people of this world. Touch them, hug them, love them. Share the love of Jesus with them, that they may see the real Jesus—Not the Jesus they think they know. You are the church. For many of these people, you are the only church, the only Bible, the only truth they will hear. And for them, you are the hands and feet of Jesus.

And remember, just as you are Jesus to them, they are also Jesus to you.

In the midst of a very turbulent and discouraging time in our nation’s history, God intervened in a supernatural way during a five-year period from 1968 to 1973. A grass roots spiritual movement burst forth on the scene with a spiritual explosion that revolutionized millions of lives.

By most accounts, the revival of the ‘70s began in 1967 with the opening of a small storefront evangelical mission called the Living Room in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district that catered to the unchurched hippie generation of the day.

Within a short time, a number of independent Christian communities sprang up all across North America spawning a number of other Christian coffeehouses  and “street ministries” as well.

New converts began enthusiastically pointing their one-way finger heavenward and hitting the streets to tell others about a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. They were baptized—many in rivers and in the ocean. They found themselves gathering informally in coffee houses where they shared testimonies about the living God. Like wildfire this move of God spread across the country from city to city. And this was before the advent of cell phones, computers, smart phones, tablets, Facebook, Twitter and other social media!

In order to proclaim the message of the gospel, these new Christians, referred to as Jesus Freaks, simply adopted existing forms of communication. Christian publications with names like Right On!, The Fish, Street Level, and Cornerstone became a fundamental component of each street Christian community.

Realizing the need to open their churches to these “Jesus Freaks”, many conservative pastors recruited hippie liaisons to their ministerial staff. People like Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, in Santa Ana, California, soon found their churches being radically transformed.

The revival of the 60s and 70s also birthed many prolific writers such as Leonard Ravenhill, Winkie Pratney, David Wilkerson and many others who influenced many who were involved in the revival.

Another development was Jesus Music, the controversial combination of rock music and the gospel as one of the most effective—and subsequently the most lasting, result of the revival.

There has been a long legacy of Christian music connected to the Jesus movement. Jesus music, also known as Gospel Beat music in the UK, primarily began when some hippie and street musicians of the late 1960s and early 1970s converted to Christianity. They continued to play the same style of music they had played previously but began to write lyrics with a Christian message.

Many music groups developed out of this. Most notably: Barry McGuire, Second Chapter of Acts, Petra, Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, Keith Green, Glenn Kaiser and the Resurrection Band, and Larry Norman. Many of these artists traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, performing in festivals held underneath giant tents.

As Christian coffeehouses and Jesus music festivals emerged as a popular alternative to popular rock music, many mainstream church-goers lamented that this Jesus Music was a spiritual compromise and a trick of the devil to entrap young people. But these pioneers of Christian music maintained that they were combating the negative influence of mainstream rock music. In an attempt to develop an apologetic for their evangelistic efforts they echoed the sentiments of reformer Martin Luther when he asked “why should the devil have all the best tunes.”

So what happened? Why did the revival of the 1970s die?Long-haired evangelists, and Jesus rock musicians were portrayed throughout national magazines like Time, Newsweek, Life, Rolling Stone, and U.S. News & World Report. In 1971 the Jesus People were the religious event of the year while ranking third in Time Magazine’s story of the year. Press articles, and other media reports all detailed various facets of what was now being called the  “Jesus movement.”

With Watergate and President Nixon’s promises to end the war in Vietnam dominating the front pages, the cynicism born of societal fears towards “cults” and their “brainwashing” techniques made evangelism a less fruitful endeavor than it once had been.

Soon those involved in the revival began to believe the world’s description of the revival as a “movement” rather than a move of God. And as the revival came to an end, Jesus People groups either disbanded, or joined the institutionalized church, following traditions of men as though they were doctrines of God. (Matthew 15:8-9; Isaiah 29:13 ) Sadly, many simply returned to their countercultural roots of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

And those who stood firm in their faith and followed the truth of God’s Word have been labeled legalistic or fanatical.

Leonard Ravenhill was one of those who were labeled too fanatical. Ravenhill argues in his book “Why Revival Tarries” that, “We do not have revival for the simple reason that we really don’t want revival. We are simply too contented, too smug, too self-satisfied, and too carnal. Our hearts are not broken and we do not earnestly long for a powerful move of God.”

Ravenhill reminds us that “As the Church goes, so goes the world. The world is in a mess because the church is in a mess. And the church is in a mess because so many of its leaders and preachers are in a mess: The tragedy of this late hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people.”

Until we are broken and repentant, we will see no fresh move of God’s Spirit. As Leonard Ravenhill says, “The church must first repent; then the world will break! The church must first weep; then our altars will be filled with weeping penitents.”

Like John the Baptist, Leonard Ravenhill was a voice crying in the wilderness as he continued to preach, “This generation of preachers is responsible for this generation of sinners.”

Strong words, but true. Our problem is ourselves and our spiritual leaders. We need to break up our fallow ground and seek God’s truth and his righteousness. (Hosea 10:12) That is what happened during the revival in the 70s. People rejected man’s religion and returned to the practices of the early Church.

We simply cannot keep blaming the world and others for all our troubles because In many ways, we have only ourselves to blame. So let’s humbly learn lessons from the errors of the past and seek God with passion so that he, in our time, might be merciful, and revive us again, however and through whomever he sovereignly chooses.

“From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.” (Ezra 9:7-8)

There is no question that we are reaching a tipping point and a place of desperation in our land. I pray that God will leave us a remnant and bring a fresh move of God before the clock runs out.


Most people never question why they believe certain things or why they practice certain religious traditions. In a world filled with popular customs and traditions, very few seek to understand the origin of those things. People most generally accept common religious practices without question, choosing to do what everyone else does because it’s easy, natural and comfortable—they can go along with the crowd without rocking the boat.

Most follow blindly along as they have been taught, assuming that what they believe and do is right. They never take time to prove what they believe is true. Nowhere is this more true than in the observance of Christmas, Lent, Good Friday, Easter and other supposed Christian holidays.

Many millions keep these days without knowing why—or where they originated from. Most suppose that they are found in the Bible because they see millions of professing Christians observing them. Surely hundreds of millions of people can’t be wrong—Or can they?

Many Christian churches have agreed that the upcoming holiday of Halloween is rooted in paganism and witchcraft, and yet, these same churches have tried to “Christianize” even Halloween by calling the celebration a “Harvest Party”—complete with “more appropriate” costume contests, (No witch or devil costumes) games and bobbing for apples! (If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…)

Here is what Jesus said about the popular customs and traditions of this world: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” (Mark 7:6-9 ESV c. Isa 29:13)

The proof is overwhelming that these modern holidays that the churches embrace and promote are “traditions” and “commandments of men.” But vast multitudes keep them anyway, seemingly content to worship God in vain!

Open your Bible and your mind

You must be willing to open your Bible and honestly accept what it says about the holidays of men—and about God’s Holy Days. It has been almost universally taught that the annual Sabbaths and feasts mentioned in the Bible have been done away with—that they were only for ancient Israel, or just for the Jews. Many churches teach that Jesus “nailed them to the cross” along with most everything else in the Old Testament.

The majority of people will strongly defend what they have been taught simply because they have been spoon fed these beliefs in their churches. And believing them to be true, they will read with prejudice anything that contradicts their assumptions—even if it is proven to be false in Scripture.

II Timothy 2:15 commands us to, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” God expects us to study his Word so that we can act on it.

No matter how comfortable a lifelong practice may be, shouldn’t we base our decision on proof from God’s Word instead of what some man has told us?

Since the Bible condemns these almost universally observed “Christianized” holidays of men, how did they come into popular practice?

The Prophecy of the “Little Horn” that changed everything

Daniel 7 contains an extraordinary prophecy that reveals exactly how the professing Christian world came to celebrate “Christianized” pagan holidays in place of the annual days that God made holy.

When carefully examined and compared to other Scriptures, it becomes clear that Daniel’s vision describes four world-ruling empires as four beasts. Beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire, they would span the last 2,500 years preceding Christ’s Return.

Virtually all serious students of Bible prophecy will recognize that the ten-horned fourth beast is the Roman Empire, and the ten horns are its ten historic resurrections. (or revivals) Verse 8 introduces a “little horn” that arises among the ten horns of the Roman Empire.

Here is what Daniel records: “I considered the [ten] horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”

Verse 20 describes this little horn as one “whose look was more stout than his fellows.” (he looked greater or more important than the others) Those who understand even the most basic elements of Bible prophecy will recognize that this “little horn” is a small kingdom or government that took a prominent position in history within the ten successive resurrections of the Roman Empire.

It is also obvious from the description of this little horn that it is a small but powerful religious hierarchy government associated with and controlling Rome. Because Daniel states, “And he shall speak great words against the most High God, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws.” (Dan.7:25)

For those with eyes to see, God gives tremendous insight into the work of this little religious kingdom. Over the last 2,000 years, only one church fits Daniel’s description. Only one church has continually spoken “against the most High God” by trying to change the LAWS and the TIMES that God has made holy! Only one church has continually persecuted the true Church and saints of God, who have not been willing to compromise his laws and times. And there is only one church that all other denominations are derived from and continue to uphold its doctrines, laws and times of IT”S holidays!

It is time for God’s people to really study and obey his Word, so we can truly be a people separated for God’s own purpose! (Deuteronomy 7:6; 1 Peter 2:9)

With all the numerous and varied “winds of doctrine” that are blowing around us these days, without examining Scriptures to see what is true, (Acts 17:11) many Christians find it difficult to discern the difference between truth and error.

One error frequently taught to unlearned Christians is Replacement Theology—The belief that God rejected Israel and replaced her with the Church. Elements of Replacement Theology can be traced as far back as Marcion (A.D. 160), who carried on a theological crusade to purge the Church of what he perceived to be dangerous Jewish errors and influences. Later, many of these same anti-Judaic sentiments found their way into the thinking (and writings) of the early Church fathers. Irenaeus (c. 180) for instance, wrote, “The Jews have rejected the Son of God and cast Him out of the vineyard when they slew Him. Therefore, God has justly rejected them and has given to the Gentiles outside the vineyard the fruits of its cultivation.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, [1885-1887], Volume 1, p. 493)

Over time, statements like these became the basis for full-blown anti-Semitism in some sectors of Christianity. Anything Jewish was renounced as an attempt to subvert and “Judaize” the Church. The Early Church, which was clearly and undeniably Jewish, was described as “primitive,” unenlightened, and beset by erroneous notions that were carry-overs from ancient Judaism.

Justin Martyr once proclaimed: ”The true spiritual Israel, and descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham . . . are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ.” (Justin Martyr, “The Anti-Nicene Fathers” by A. Roberts and J. Donaldson vol. 1 1885) That erroneous statement was made as Justin Martyr and his Jewish opponent, Trypho, debated about Christianity almost 1,900 years ago. (A.D. 155) Some anti-Semitic Christians had already come to believe that their church had replaced the Jewish people and that the only thing the Jewish nation could look forward to was condemnation.

The dangers of replacement theology

Martin Luther articulated this position when he wrote: “For such ruthless wrath of God is sufficient evidence that they [i.e., the Jewish people] assuredly have erred and gone astray. Even a child can comprehend this. For one dare not regard God as so cruel that he would punish his own people so long, so terrible, so unmercifully … Therefore this work of wrath is proof that the Jews, surely rejected by God, are no longer his people, and neither is he any longer their God.” (“On the Jews and Their Lies,” p. 265) Near the end of his life, Luther said that “synagogues and Jewish schools should be burned to the ground, Jewish people run out of their homes, their prayer books and Talmudic writings burned, and the rabbis forbidden to preach or teach on penalty of death.” (“On the Jews and Their Lies” pp. 268-271) Luther also declared that Jewish people in Germany should be confined to their own homes and neighborhoods—a plan the Nazis implemented literally when they quarantined Jewish families in ghettos in Poland and other places before shipping them to the death camps for extermination.

But what does the Bible say about Replacement Theology?

Romans 11:1-2: I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

Isaiah 49:15-16: Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

Jeremiah 31:37: Thus says the Lord: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.”

Psalm 94:14: For the Lord will not forsake his people;he will not abandon his heritage;

Romans11: 25-27: Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;  “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Romans 3:3- 6: What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

The point that Paul was making in Romans 3 was that, despite the fact that some Jews didn’t believe in God, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God in the matter of keeping the promises He made with Israel that are contained in the unconditional covenants that He made with them. Paul states plainly, “By no means!” God is not unrighteous so as to break His word, is He? Absolutely not!

Numbers 23:19: God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

After reading these verses we must conclude that followers of Jesus could not possibly have replaced Israel as God’s “new” covenant people or “spiritual Israel”. Paul states plainly in Romans 11:1-2, “has God rejected his people? By no means!” Followers of Jesus are people of God, but they have not replaced Israel, which is also a people of God. Since the Day of Pentecost God has been orchestrating his plan to bring Jew and non-Jew together for the benefit of them both, for his own divine purposes, and the glorification of his Name.

The danger of Replacement Theology is that it misrepresents God as one who breaks His promises. If God breaks His promises, then how can we know that God will not find another people to replace the Church for the great sins that she has committed? And if God can break his promises then how is one to know that his salvation is secure? (Which is the whole point of Romans 9-11)

Is there such a thing as Spiritual Israel,” or a Spiritual Jew?Similar to the belief that the Church has replaced Israel as God’s covenant people are the beliefs that the Church is now spiritual Israel and its members are all spiritual Jews. Whatever the reasoning, there is nothing in Scripture that agrees with this.

If you examine all the phrases in the entire Bible in which “spiritual” is used, you will have to come to some obvious conclusions: spiritual gift or spiritual gifts (Romans 1:11; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 14:1,12; 1 Timothy 4:14); the Law is spiritual (Romans 7:14); spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1); spiritual things (Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 19:11); spiritual thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:13); spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:13); he who is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:15); spiritual men (1 Corinthians 3:1); spiritual food (1 Corinthians 10:3); spiritual rock, spiritual drink (1 Corinthians 10:4); if anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual (1 Corinthians 14:37); spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44-46); you who are spiritual (Galatians 6:1); every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3); spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)); spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12); spiritual wisdom (Colossians 1:9); spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5).

Notice that:
1. “Spiritual” is never used in conjunction with one’s race.
2. “Spiritual” is never used in reference to a believing Gentile being a spiritual Jew.
3. In reference to people, “spiritual” is used only of one who has a mature walk in the Lord irregardless of whether he or she is a Jew or Gentile. In fact, according to scriptural usage, even a believing Jew whose walk is not mature should be not called a spiritual Jew. How then can the Church be called Spiritual Israel and all of its members Spiritual Jews? There is no reference anywhere in Scripture of Gentile believers being referred to as a “Spiritual Jew”.

Although many misinterpret Romans 2:23-29 to refer to this, the circumcision of the heart renders one inwardly righteous, not inwardly Jewish. This is consistent with what we read in Acts 6:5 when Nicolas, who after converting to Judaism had come to believe and was inwardly circumcised, was still not called a Jew in any sense, but a proselyte.

Another Bible passage used by those who believe that the Church has replaced Israel is Romans11:13-29. (Emphasis mine throughout)

13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?16 For if the first-fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” 28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Many mistakingly believe that the olive tree represents physical Israel and that the believing Gentiles are the wild olive branches that are grafted into Israel on the basis of their faith and are therefore Spiritual Jews; and that the Church is now Spiritual Israel—the New Israel.

The key question we need to answer is, does the tree really represent Israel?

Let us consider:

  1. Paul is speaking to Gentiles. (verse 13)
  2. He is speaking about literal Israel. (verses 15, 25-27)
  3. He identifies his Gentile audience as being cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and being grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree. (verse 24)
  4. Believing Jews (verse 17) and believing Gentiles (verse 20) are presently attached to the olive tree and are partakers with believing Jews. *Notice that Paul says that SOME Jewish branches were broken off, but not all.

If the olive tree represents physical Israel as many believe, Israel does not belong to Israel; Israel belongs to God. “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”(Deuteronomy 7:6) And if the wild branches grafted in represent Gentile believers who are now Spiritual Jews, as some take it, Gentile believers do not belong to Israel; believers belong to God. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Remember all the branches represent Jews and Gentiles who were either cut off or grafted into the root. Since the olive tree (the root) is not physical Israel in any sense, then the believing Gentiles grafted into the olive tree cannot be said on the basis of this passage or any other, that they have been added to Israel in any sense, or that they are now Spiritual Jews that have replaced Israel. Not only can the tree not be Israel, it cannot be Messiah, the Gospel, or the Church either. Because Israel does not own any of them either.

What, then, is the cultivated olive tree?
I believe that the cultivated olive tree represents a place of peace and blessing, providing nourishment to those who are attached to it—something that can be given to believing Jews and Gentiles alike. What else can be derived from the passage without contradicting any Bible fact except that the cultivated olive tree is the place of spiritual blessing of which both Jewish and Gentile believers are partaker of on the basis of their faith, (Ephesians 3:6) and that is rooted in the unconditional covenants that God has made with Israel?