My father used to tell this story--it's one of my favorites:John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)
I once had a very good friend; we grew up together. He was really my brother’s buddy but I loved him just like an older brother. He was the most blasphemous, womanizing, boozing, absolutely degenerate human being I have ever met in my entire life—and I’ve met about every kind there is. He made his money in oil and he could buy anything he wanted, and he did. Every time I’d witness to him he would say, “You don’t really believe this Jesus stuff, do you?” And with that he’d really zing me. I witnessed to him until I was purple in the face. Man, he roasted me every chance he got. You would say, “It’s impossible—God’s never going to do anything with that kind of man.”Well, I met him in Singapore a few years ago and while we were chatting, I began telling him about the Lord. Oh, he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He didn’t need any of this stuff, and he went on and on about it. A few months later he came back to the United States and he contracted a rare disease—an inflammation of the lining of the heart. And suddenly, this great brute of a man was reduced to a shadow of himself: All of his money couldn’t help him, all his women were memories, all his strength was gone. Everything he had ever leaned on all of his life had disintegrated and disappeared.I made a special trip to the hospital to see him, and he was lying in bed—frail and hopelessly sick. When I came into the room he recognized me and said, “Help me up,” so I gently pulled him up in the bed. He put his head down, and said, “I’m dying.”“Did the doctor tell you that?” I asked.“Yes.”“Are you sure you’re going to die?”“Yes,” he said, “Everything’s in order.” His lip trembled. He was a courageous man.“It isn’t.” I said.“What? What do you mean?”“It isn’t in order, Jack. It’s not in order with God. But I’ve got some wonderful news for you! What I’ve been telling you all these years is still true. The Lord Jesus is here tonight and he wants to save you. Why don’t you trust Christ?” And then I witnessed to him.Afterwards, I took him by that great, massive paw of his and I said, “Jackie, do you want Jesus?” The tears rolled down his hardened face and he said, “Yes, I need him.” And we prayed together. That night, in just a moment of time, Jesus Christ came into that room, and into that man’s life, and into his soul and he was born again.Don’t ever give up on people.
Check out The Frank Pastore Show, KKLA today at 7:00 PM Pacific. I will be talking with Frank about the endlessly fascinating topic of Vampires (and it isn't even Halloween). Specifically, the teen romance Vampire series Twilight.
You can listen here: http://www.kkla.com/ and also on podcast.Here's my review of the Twilight series:Have you heard all the press for the new movie Twilight? Do you have a teenager fascinated by vampires?Stephenie Meyer's books about the secret world of teenage vampires have been very successful, and now have a following of at least 12 million worldwide--and that's before the movie's release (she gained this fan base in three short years). Meyer has just been chosen by Entertainment Weekly as one of their Entertainers of the Year. I've read all of her books and this is my assessment:1. They differ from the historical vampire genre in that Meyer's main characters have renounced humans as "prey". They are not vegetarians, though. They hunt large animals. This is good as far as the monster aspect of vampirism goes, but a vampire is still a vampire.2. There is some violence, although it occurs only a few times in books of500+ pages. The last book, however, is quite graphic.3. There is no sexual content in the first three books, other than innuendo (which is mild by today's standards). The fourth book does include quite a bit of sexual content, although the protagonists are married (and the young girl is now 18). This content is far less graphic than the average historical romance novel.4. There are no occult tools, ceremonies or spells other than Meyer's somewhat torturous explanations as to how the supernatural power of shape-shifting can be passed down through generations. When Meyer starts getting into the werewolf theme, she loses focus and wanders into some Native American mysticism (although this is limited in scope and detail).Meyer also bestows various supernatural powers on her vampires that read more like something from Superman than anything occult-related (although they could be construed as Psi powers).This series is unique in its lack of emphasis on the occult, which leads me to wonder about the author's beliefs--she graduated from Brigham Young University. However, it is still based upon what has historically been an evil, soulless creature, and Meyer does not explain what makes her vampires any different in this regard. In fact, Edward, the main character, talks occasionally about not having a soul and uses this as an argument to persuade Bella (the other main character) not to become a vampire. What Meyer never addresses is how her vampires can be kind and compassionate--valuing human life--and yet have no souls. The teenage Bella also dismisses eternal damnation like she would dismiss a visit to the dentist (not a good precedent).Interest in Vampirism is taking off once again, and unfortunately, this movie will probably add to its popularity. So far, it has been wildly successful. Look for a sequel in the not too distant future.
Just a heads up that I will be on The Frank Pastore Show, KKLA Los Angeles, this Friday night. Don't know the exact time yet but as soon as I do, I will post. Thank you, Frank and Gina, for your wonderful friendship and support.I was thinking about a song today that came out a while back--it's funny how God brings things to mind when He wants to tell you something. It's a song by Ray Boltz:When others see a shepherd boy, God may see a kingEven though your life is full of ordinary thingsIn just a moment, He can touch you, and everything will changeWhen others see a shepherd boy, God may see a kingSo many times people say to me, "It's an honor to meet you," and I am always touched by their words because I know it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my father. And the truth is, I am honored to meet them and very grateful for their kindness. I've always been puzzled by the whole media fame thing--especially in the Christian world. I guess I believe that we, of all people, should know how little it means to God.Famous or not, every one of us is valuable to Him . . . in Christ, the playing field is level. A friend of mine drives a Special Ed School Bus, and she told me what a wonderful Easter she had last year when she went to see one of her students in a big Easter production. He was playing a shepherd, and it was such a moving moment when he came onstage--all the more so because he has Down Syndrome.I thought about this story all day today--so touched by the thought of this little boy in his shepherd costume. And God brought this song to mind . . . .How amazing is it that God made each of us unique? How moving is it that He loves us no matter what we do, and sees us in a far different way then the world sees us?On my worst day, I may feel like a shepherd boy, (and the world may treat me like one) but the truth is that "When others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king . . . .""How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"1 John 3:1