Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thoughts on Halloween - 2013 edition

Thoughts on Halloween 2013

From: Original post from Nov 5, 2010, 8:32pm

Okay, so here's the deal. Every Oct 31 churches go through the debate - should we or shouldn't we participate in Halloween? While I don't agree with dressing up as something like a zombie or vampire or so on, I do think we can use Halloween as a time to be a witness. It's amazing that some people think it is a religious holiday. Maybe for the church of Satan and so on, but not Christians. I respect when people choose not to be part, not hand out candy, not allow their kids to go out trick or treating and so on. For them it is the right thing to do.
For us as a family, we have always tried to use this as a means to witness for God on a night when it is usually not seen as such. I will carve Christian themes into pumpkins such as the image of Christ, a cross, a crown of thorns and nails, or something like that. My boys are allowed to go out as long as they dress as something from the Bible or something Christian themed.
Another thing we did was to play Life 100.3 FM throughout the entire time of kids coming the door. A night when the atmosphere is usually not glorifying to God, we made a statement to praise God and be that light in the darkness with what we did. I have done this type of thing since before I got married, and my family carries on the tradition now. Just one way to bring the Light of the Gospel out on a night when it would usually be forgotten.
 Here we are again. I thought it would be interesting to see if any of my posts from 3 years ago and more have change about this issue. Today we still hold to the notion of not hiding in our homes on this day. We will have Life 100.3 playing on our porch, we'll have Christian themed pumpkin carvings with the candle light shining the truth of Jesus to anyone who comes to our door. Our kids still have to dress up as something or someone from the Bible, or a Christian superhero like Bibleman or Angel Wars or Archangels comics series. 

We have thought about handing out tracts - and we have before with candy. I don't hand out ones that show grimacing images to turn people off, but friendly ones that share about Jesus love and what He saves us from. 

I know some people won't do anything and just stay home or go to a Halloween alternative party instead - and that's fine. What does the Bible say? 

Romans 14:5-7 (NIV)

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.

So if you are convinced that not participating in any way is right for you - then go with that, if you think you can make a difference by doing something like what we do - do that. Go with your convictions is what Scripture says to do. Whatever you decide about this - I would ask you (and I) do not say the other person is wrong. Respect the conclusion they have come to. God bless!

Pastor Andrew

By the way... here's a history lesson on the day...

Halloween originated with the ancient religion of the Celtics in Ireland. The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it - such as by helping their over 300 gods to defeat their enemies in battle, or by imitating the gods in showing cleverness and cunning. It was originally called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween) at the end of summer (Nov. 1). They believed Samhain was a time when the division between the two worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished.
"During this interval the normal order of the universe is suspended, the barriers between the natural and the supernatural are temporarily removed, the sidh lies open and all divine beings and the spirits of the dead move freely among men and interfere sometimes violently, in their affairs"
(Celtic Mythology, p. 127).
During the Festival of Samhain, fires would be lit which would burn all through the winter and sacrifices would be offered to the gods on the fires, this would include animal and sometimes human sacrifice. Note, that sacrifices still occur on Halloween even here in North America, but by other cults and Satanic rituals now. This would happen just down the road only about 10 – 20 mintues away from the Bible college I went to in New York State for a year. We would be praying on our campus while these types of animal sacrifices would be happening not far away.
As the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands, in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs, to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. In 834, Gregory III moved All Saint's Day from May 13 to Nov. 1 and for Christians, this became an opportunity for remembering before God all the saints who had died and all the dead in the Christian community. Oct. 31 thus became All Hallows' Eve ('hallow' means 'saint').
In 1517, a monk named Martin Luther honored the faithful saints of the past by choosing All Saints Day (November 1) as the day to publicly charge the Church heirarchy with abandoning biblical faith. This became known as "Reformation Day," a fitting celebration of the restoration the same biblical faith held by the saints throughout church history.
What should Christians do with Halloween?
As an alternative to the celebration of evil and death, Christians should rather do what Christians are supposed to do every day and that is shine the light of Jesus Christ. We should emphasize the Christian influences and strive to make Hallow's Eve a celebration of the acts of God through his people the saints. We should make it a day when acts of charity and a day that emphasizes the light of Christ instead of the darkness of evil. A day when people meditate on the acts of Godly people instead of ghosts and goblins.

So why have a Halloween Alternative like All Saints’ Day? To celebrate those who have gone before us that have been faithful to the Lord and have been an example to follow, to remind us to be an example to follow as we walk out our faith. The tradition of dressing up for Halloween was to try and fool spirits to think that the wearer was one of them so as to not be tricked by them or worse. So why have a dressing up contest here for us? Biblical themed costumes remind us of what God has done for us, what He is doing, and what He will do. It is not to appease some evil spirit, but more a reflection and celebration of our faith. Seeing examples of Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Samson, an apostle, even the very creation of the Lord from animals to trees to rocks tell of the Creator’s love for us and how He has been faithful, and continues to be that way to us. The tradition of carving out a pumpkin was originally to show the ancient symbols of damned souls, and to ward off demons. Today we can use the pumpkin to carve out testimonials to Christ such as the symbol of the cross, a carving of His face, the crown of thorns and the nails, other symbols of our faith to cause others to stop and think of Jesus. I once had Jesus carved out on my pumpkin on the front step and a kid at the door asked who the hippie was and his friend said, “That’s God stupid!” So pumpkin carving can be a time to share our faith through visual representations. So as we move into the activities tonight, think about these things. We are not celebrating Halloween; rather, we are celebrating God and His faithfulness to us as shown through the testimony of His saints over the years. This is why we celebrate All Saints’ Day and not Halloween. We can participate in Halloween in that we can testify about Jesus through our costumes and hand out candy with maybe tracts, play Christian music at the door like having Life 100.3 FM playing through the night instead of haunted house music, and more.
Scriptural References:
• The apostle Paul said Witchcraft is one of the acts of the sinful nature and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:16-21; see also Revelation 22:15).
• As believers, we are called to "Put everything to the test. Accept what is good and don't have anything to do with evil. [1 Thessalonians 5:21-22] or as other versions put it "Abstain from all appearance of evil." [1Thessalonians 5:22]
• Who can deny that virtually all of the symbols of Halloween are evil? Witches, monsters, ogres, vampires, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, devils and demons all portray evil. Christians are to "Don't take part in doing those worthless things that are done in the dark. Instead, show how wrong they are” [Ephesians 5:11]
• " Stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord! Can someone who is good get along with someone who is evil? Are light and darkness the same? Is Christ a friend of Satan? Can people who follow the Lord have anything in common with those who don't?” [2 Corinthians 6:14, 15]
• " Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.” Or devour as other versions put it. (1 Peter 5:8)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another year, another page turns in the grand scheme of life

Another year, another page turns in the grand scheme of life. Just a fancy way of saying that today (October 18th) is my birthday and so the page turns to the next chapter of my life. By the way - I'm 42 today...

People get so concerned with birthdays, especially as they get older. The thing is, there's nothing to worry about. Matthew 6:25 - 33 says, 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Birthdays, no matter what age, should be a celebration of life, and what God has done during the past year to grow us, mature us, and prepare us for what lies ahead. Don't get the mid-life crises or anything, just accept that you're one year closer to seeing our Lord Jesus Christ!

Be sure to have fun though! Cake is a must! Balloons? Not so much... presents from people? Nice but not necessary. Dinner out somewhere? Sounds good - especially if there's beef involved! Right?

My birthday is shared by at least one person I know (John Mc), and so I would say to anyone looking down the barrel of another birthday and dreading it - don't! There is a time and season for everything - for every activity under the sun as Solomon would say in Ecclesiastes 3. So don't fret it - enjoy it! Embrace it! God bless!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Former Power Ranger turned MMA fighter shares his testimony!

Jason David Frank - Former Power Ranger turned MMA fighter 
shares his testimony!

If you grew up in the 90's you knew this guy's name - or at least saw him in action on the show Power Rangers as the Green Ranger, then White, then Red, then Black. He since became an MMA fighter, but the cool part? He's a Christian! The video shows his testimony after two introductory testimonies for a young adults group in the USA. 

He has uploaded his baptism on youtube, and in this testimony video makes no apologies for his faith in Jesus Christ! Go Green Ranger go! 

Cool that he is so open about his faith, and yet is such a huge positive influence for many generations now. He'll be back in the role that made him famous this coming year - the Green Ranger in the Ranger War to celebrate the franchise's 20th Anniversary. 

God bless this guy for being willing to standing up in the crowd of Hollywood for Jesus Christ!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Speaking for Life 100.3

I am one of the people who rotate speaking for Life 100.3 at churches when they ask for us to come and speak and I like this role as I get to see how other churches do things from a wide variety of backgrounds. I get to speak about different topics, and sometimes to get to join their worship as a bonus using the keyboard and singing too. 

I enjoy this activity. I enjoy the opportunity to share God's word with a congregation not knowing what's happening in the life of the church and then having people say how much it was needed in the church right that time or similar comments. God works His will in all situations and I love seeing how He brings together events and shocks everyone!

The New Living Translation of the Bible from Isaiah 45:15 says, "Truly God of Israel, you work in mysterious ways." I love it when God works out the details of a service to match across the board and yet person leading worship, the speaker, and the life of the church were all veiled from each other! God worked it out showing He's in charge! Love it!

I count it a privilege to be able to go out and speak on behalf of Life wherever I go. If I'm due to come to your church? Mind if I join your worship team that day too? :) See you around and God bless!