Christianity in Today's AmericaTweet
Posted 8/2/10 at 11:19 AM | Michael Youssef
Most of the questions we ask concerning life will not be clearly defined in God's Word. For example, there is not a Scripture advising one to marry a certain person on a certain date. However, there are guidelines about marriage and other life events that are perfectly outlined in God's Word. It is up to us to take the time to pray and ask God to reveal them to us.
THE QUEST FOR ANSWERS
Prayer not only helps us discover the will of God for our lives, it also deepens our relationship with the Savior. Through prayer, we discover the depths of God's mercy and love for us. It is also where we confess our sin and receive His forgiveness.
Prayer is an opportunity for us to communicate with the Lord of heaven and earth. In prayer, we ask God to do what only He can do. Jesus gave us a pattern to follow in prayer when He prayed what we now know as the Lord's Prayer — recorded in Matthew 6.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth
As it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. FULL POST
Posted 7/30/10 at 7:57 AM | Michael Youssef
Many historians have attested to a phenomenon called the "cycle of nations." All nations go through a cycle of various levels of freedoms. Most nations start out in bondage, which they use to propel themselves into faith, then courage, then liberty, then abundance. After a time of abundance, they enter into stages of selfishness, then complacency, then apathy. Once a country becomes apathetic, it becomes dependent upon the government, which leads back to bondage.
We have become a nation of bondage-economic bondage, moral bondage, and social bondage. We have abandoned our faith and courage and liberty in exchange for selfishness, complacency, and apathy. We are becoming more and more dependent on our government and less dependent upon our God.
We see our Christian liberties being slowly stolen away from us. Some are quietly being hidden while others are openly attacked in the public eye. If events continue down their current path, soon we will have little freedom in sharing the Gospel or speaking biblical Truths. We will have to put away our crosses and Christian symbols. We will be silenced in prayer and action. Our nation is heading for a secularized nation of bondage-and our government is only too happy to step into this role and replace God as the authority in this land. FULL POST
Posted 7/29/10 at 10:05 AM | Michael Youssef
How do Islamic extremists regard Christianity?
1. First and foremost, Islamic extremists see Christianity as an expression of infidel values and practices.
2. Islamic extremists see Christianity as the most potent ideology they face – far more potent that other religions, communism or atheism. If the most potent foe can be subjugated, all other foes will become simply “a mop up action”.
3. Although they regard Christianity as a potent ideology, Islamic extremists tend to regard Christian people as passive “easy” targets – especially Christians who live in the democratic West, who seem to Muslims to have a “live and let live’ attitude as part of the freedom of religion they enjoy in their democracies. Islamic extremists see very few defensive measures set up against their radical activities.
4. Islamic extremists see the Christian West, and primarily the United States, as being responsible for many of the “ills” experienced in the Middle East:
– The establishment of the State of Israel.
– The establishment of military bases in Saudi Arabia and other nations.
– The introduction into the Middle East of Western culture in all its forms that are opposed to Islam FULL POST
Posted 7/26/10 at 12:42 PM | Michael Youssef
We've heard a lot of talk about change in this country over the past couple of years. But the only lasting and positive change that can occur is the spiritual revival that needs to begin in the hearts of Christian believers across this great nation. Our country was founded upon a complete dependence upon God, not government. Our liberties were based on spiritual freedom, not manmade rules. The Founding Fathers knew that their blessings and successes came from the Lord.
Today we have turned our backs on God's providence to seek out success in our own terms. Americans have allowed materialism to overshadow godliness and selfishness to replace our generosity. We have become more concerned with our careers and portfolios than with spreading the gospel.
This attitude is nothing new. Even within the first century of this country's birth, people were wandering from God in search of their own desires. In those days, there was one man who stood up against the growing secularism and materialism of the people. He was not a preacher or an evangelist or even a theologian. He was a New York businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier who began a series of small prayer meetings in 1857 at the Dutch Reformed Church in New York City. FULL POST
Posted 7/22/10 at 12:39 PM | Dale Garris
"In a things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing incorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." Titus 2:7,8
I used to think that sound speech meant not saying any curse words ... and be careful how you use hell and damn. I suppose that is still true, but looking deeper into the Greek, I see that there is much more to this little, obscure phrase of "sound speech" than just tiptoeing around raw colloquialisms. There is something here that smacks of a stiff reproof to our idea of sophisticated preaching today.
The word "speech" comes from the Greek "logos". We all know what that means - the Word. Jesus was the "Logos". Literally, it is intelligent speech, but it is also given the added emphasis as the intelligent speech that comes from the mouth of God. As God's ambassadors on Earth, our speech should reflect that same divine Logos. FULL POST
Posted 7/22/10 at 10:18 AM | Michael Youssef
What happens to a tree when its root system is destroyed? The tree can no longer access the nutrients it needs, and it begins to weaken. The leaves wilt, the branches droop, the fruit ceases to grow. Eventually, the tree dies. America was formed and developed from biblical roots, but today our leaders chop away at our foundation. They deny the core of our purpose. They allow invasive roots to choke out the Truth. Yet what do Christians do? We cling tightly to the rotting fruit on the drooping branches, while underneath us the truth of our country's past and the hope for our present and future are being destroyed. Without the root system, there can be no fruit.
The secular thinkers of this country would like us to think our country was founded on humanistic values and ideals. They view our country's birth as a philosophical and political event. However, the original words from the colony charters, the Declaration of Independence, and early political speeches all point directly to our country's foundation upon the Christian faith and biblical Truth. Our Founding Fathers believed that this is a nation with its roots in the Bible.
The Mayflower Compact specifies that the colonies were established "for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith." The Virginia Charter instructs the colonists to help "in the propagation of the Christian religion to such people as yet live in ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God." The Delaware Charter defines one of the purposes for its settlements as the "further propagation of the Holy Gospel." The charter of Rhode Island commits to "the true Christian faith and worship of God." The Charter of Maryland explained a "pious Zeal for extending the Christian Religion." FULL POST
Posted 7/19/10 at 12:31 PM | Michael Youssef
Allah and God
Islam: Allah is distant and unknowable; Allah does not reveal himself to mankind; merciful (forgives at his will). Allah is capricious (both leads and misleads); vengeful (honor restored only by "getting even"); Almighty (emphasis on power)
Christianity: God is personal and you can know Him; God revealed Himself in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ; loving; just, holy and forgiving; Almighty (power balanced with love) FULL POST
Posted 7/16/10 at 8:03 AM | Michael Youssef
These are challenging days in the history of America. Thomas Jefferson said, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." What we see more and more today is our government's intent to intimidate people, particularly those in the pulpit. They are trying to silence people like myself from proclaiming the Word of God freely and openly. They would rather we fear the government, instead of the government fearing the people.
We are now witnessing many leaders among the Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are accessories to the destruction of this great nation. I am an equal-opportunity critic. No political party is completely free of blame in our country's downturn. How are these leaders to blame? They have departed from the foundational truth of our nation and rejected the Christian principles that America was founded upon. They are contributing to the moral, financial and ethical collapse of our country. We must wake up and lead this great nation out of tyranny and back into liberty.
Have you witnessed the tyranny around you? We see it as the government removes Christian symbols from all aspects of public life. Christians can no longer fully express their convictions without fear of reprisal. Prayers are omitted even during private functions involving certain military officials. More and more, our Christian voice is being denied. Politicians want to make speaking certain biblical truths a hate crime -- silencing pulpits across this free land. I, for one, would be happy to go to prison for my faith. Politicians are trying to control the lives and behaviors of their fellow citizens and are moving the country toward total secularism and dependence upon the government.
Spiritually sensitive people understand that God is the One who has protected this great nation in the past by His divine power, blessed us through the years and guided the country by His power. The only way we can combat the growing threats of tyranny are to return to our biblical roots. We must come back to the God of our Founding Fathers in order to receive His protection once again. FULL POST
Posted 7/15/10 at 10:14 AM | Michael Youssef
As part of our God Save America national call to prayer, we are uniting our prayers this month around praise and thanksgiving to God for America - the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, the sacrifices of previous generations, the Christian heritage of our country, and the blessings God has provided in the past.
You can see a quick 2 minute video overview of July's prayer focus here:
Posted 7/12/10 at 10:31 AM | Michael Youssef
Over the past few years, many people have asked whether or not God is really in control. Trials, tragedies, and feelings of insecurity have altered the way we live. However, there is no need for us to give in to fear or to doubt the goodness of God.
Tragedy and triumph frequently work together as partners. Ultimately, as we patiently trust God, we experience restoration and resurrection ... He can bring a dying dream back to life. He can heal broken bodies and mend shattered lives.
In a beautiful cathedral in Europe, a magnificent stained glass window towered above the altar. One day a violent storm shattered the resplendent window into a thousand pieces. The church's custodian hesitated to discard the multicolored fragments of glass. Instead, he carefully put them in boxes and stored them in the church basement. FULL POST