As we all know, two American icons passed into eternity on the last Thursday of June, 2009 – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.
Farrah Fawcett was once regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful women. Her hairstyle was copied by countless girls in her day, and her posters hung on many a young man’s wall. Tragically, she contracted cancer and eventually succumbed to it. Prior to her death, when she was still trying to beat it, a TV special chronicled her fight and her hope to overcome this dreaded disease.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, and Farrah Fawcett entered eternity. Her memorial service was held this week. Her boyfriend Ryan O’Neal and her family had been hoping for a miracle. In an interview he gave before her death, O’Neal said he would only talk about Farrah’s recovery, because ”the alternative is too painful to accept. It would be an awful conversation to have.”
It’s understandable, isn’t it? People don’t like to face — or even talk about — the reality of death. It frightens, even terrifies us. The New Testament speaks of those who are ”held in slavery by the fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15).
But as we all know, there is no escaping it! The Bible says, ”There is a time to be born, and a time to die … .” Across our world, 3 people are dying every second …180 every minute … nearly 11,000 every hour. That means that 250,000 people enter into eternity every single day.
In addition to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, other recent notable deaths include Ed McMahon, legendary sidekick to Johnny Carson, as well as TV pitchman Billy Mays. This reminds us that death is no respector of persons. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, famous or unknown. Death knocks at every door.
King David said, ”Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5, NIV).
In days gone by, people thought about such things more than many of us do today. In his book, “Heaven,” Randy Alcorn points out that ancient merchants often wrote the words, ”Momento Mori,” or think of death, in large letters on the first page of their accounting books. Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, commissioned a servant to stand in his presence each day and say ”Philip, you will die!” In contrast, France’s Louis XIV decreed that the word ”death” not be used in his presence.
Although many knew Farrah was fighting cancer and might die soon, the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson was a shock to many. Now, as more comes out about his life, it would appear that he had been on a downward spiral for months, even years. Jackson had unprecedented success, winning 13 Grammys and selling a staggering 750 million records worldwide. He was one of the few artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. The Guinness Book of World Records declared him to be ”the most successful entertainer of all time.”
Before his death, Jackson was preparing for a series of 50 concerts that would have been held in London, England beginning July 13, 2009. But then death came, as it does to everyone. Even so, 50 years of age sounds like way too young an age to leave this life — and it’s sounding younger all the time!
I don’t know where Farrah and Michael were at in their spiritual lives. I only hope they had put their faith in Christ, and have both gone on to be with Him, the true and living King. On the same day that this news was breaking, I was called to visit a man on his deathbed. He knew he had cancer and that he only had days to live. We talked about eternity, and though he claimed to have faith, we went over God’s glorious plan of salvation and prayed as he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
I told him that I would visit him again on Saturday, but he didn’t make it. In fact, he ended up passing into eternity, into the arms of the Lord, only hours after our visit. I’m so glad I went to visit him! Thursday was an extremely busy day and I had considered waiting to go until Saturday, but felt prompted by the Lord to go that day.
This is why, as a pastor and an evangelist, I want to spend my life telling others about Jesus. Because we never know when life on this earth will end. If you know someone who is not yet a believer, go tell them today how to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, the living Lord. If you yourself are not a believer, check out this link that will explain how to become one.
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock, is dead.
James Brown, the King of Soul, is dead.
Kurt Cobain, the King of Grunge, is dead.
And now Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, is dead.
But Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, is alive forevermore! Let’s tell people that, so they too can live forever.
Jesus said, ”I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.”
It was my privilege to speak to a crowd of at least 65,000 last night (Friday) in Mount Union, Pennsylvania, for the Creation Festival.
This Woodstock-style gathering, led by Harry Thomas, features the best in contemporary Christian music and draws massive crowds year after year. They also include speakers, and I was invited to address this modern-day multitude after a stellar performance by Lincoln Brewster.
Rain keeps following me!
So guess what happened right before I spoke and while Lincoln was singing? It rained, and I mean it rained hard!
We prayed and, sure enough, just like in Long Island, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared, and sunshine came beaming down. I spoke and also had my son Jonathan come and give some of his testimony. It was a great day.
I will speaking at one more Creation Festival on July 23 in George, Washington. If you are in that area or would like to know more, click here.
I will be back in my Essentials series this Sunday at Harvest. I will be speaking on the topic of “Angels and Demons.”
The primary focus of my message will be on the purpose and work of angels in the life of the Christian. Angels are powerful spirit-beings that do the bidding of the Lord. They are more active in our lives then we may realize. We will look at that together.
Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett
Last Thursday, two American icons entered into eternity. I will talk about that a bit in my message tomorrow as well.
Join us if you can, or watch the live or archived webcast at harvest.org.
And finally . . .
I have a article posted at WorldNetDaily this weekend. To read that, click here.
And to read my long-form weekend devotion, click here.
I am speaking in the O.C. tonight from my series Essentials: What Every Christian Needs to Know. My topic is “Angels and Demons.”
We live in a natural world, but all around us is a supernatural one–the realm of God and Satan, angels and demons. I will focus specifically on the work and mission of angels, especially in the life of the believer.
I hope you can join us.
The new iPhone
You know that I am a sucker for new technology, so yes, I have the new iPhone 3GS. Now for my quick personal review.
I like it overall. It is indeed faster the the iPhone 3G. The programs launch at twice the speed, including text messages. The form factor is the same, but it has some very cool new features, including video!
I have shot a few videos and I have to say I have been really impressed. I will post one or two in the near future.
The disappointment for me personally is the battery life. It seems to be about the same as the iPhone 3G, which for me barely makes it through a day.
But overall, I would I would give it a “thumbs up!”
For all of you Bible students out there, you need to know that Logos software is the best thing going. It is just amazing how much they have loaded into these programs that you can install on your computer. When it comes to sermon prep, this stuff is so helpful.
And now, Logos has released a version that is native to Apple computers! That is great news for all of you Mac users out there. I highly recommend this software package for any serious student of the Bible.
For more info on their product, click here.
Well, it’s official now. We are going to hold our first full Harvest Crusades event in the great city of Chicago next year!
Chicago is the third largest city in America and, of course, the home of one of the greatest evangelists who ever lived, D.L.Moody. It is also home to some amazing churches that have invited us and offered their support.
I have always wanted to preach in Chicago, so I am really looking forward to it. I am hoping that some of you might even be able to join us for what will be a historic event for Harvest Ministries.
The dedication of Lucy Christopher Laurie
I dedicated my second granddaughter–and daughter of Christopher and Brittany Laurie–yesterday at church.
Christopher and Brittany picked the name Lucy together (It means “light”). Brittany picked the middle name of Christopher after my son went to heaven, in honor of him. Christopher means “bearer of Christ.”
So we pray that little Lucy will be a light who brings Jesus to others. She is just the sweetest little girl and it was a pleasure to dedicate her to Her Father in heaven, who happens to be holding her earthly father in His tender care.
I will post a copy of the video of that dedication soon.
A challenging day
Many of you prayed for our family, as yesterday was our first Father’s Day without our oldest son, and I thank you for that.
Being a graphic artist, he always designed the most amazing Father’s Day cards.
We missed him and miss him so very much, and loved and love him. Yes, it was a hard day, but we made it!
I asked my good friend Don McClure to speak, and he did a wonderful job. If you would like to watch his message, click here.
We are looking forward to what the Lord will do this week. I will be speaking in O.C. this coming Thursday from my series, Essentials: What Every Christian Needs to Know.
My topic this Thursday is “Angels and Demons” (no relation to the movie out of that title). We will talk about these mysterious creatures and the role they play in our lives.
Also, this coming Friday, I will be speaking at Creation Fest Northeast in Pennsylvania.
This annual Christian music festival is attended by thousands and thousands of people. So if you know anyone in that area, let them know I will be there. My topic will be “Down-to-Earth Talk About Heaven.”
For more information on that, click here.
Well, that’s all for now. Have a blessed day walking with Him.
I took this photo from my hotel window last night.
I wanted to wish all of you Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.
What a special and needed role you play in our culture today. I do not think it is an overstatement to say that fathers who stand by their wives and children, honor their vows, and, most importantly, provide much-needed moral and spiritual leadership are the unsung heroes of America today.
I have an article at WorldNetDaily this weekend where I talk more about that. To read it, click here.
As I write this post, it is very early in the morning in one of the great American cities, Chicago. In fact, it is the third largest city in the country.
Yesterday, it was my privilege to speak to a group of the most influential pastors and leaders here on the topic of potentially bringing a Harvest Crusades event here, possibly as soon as next year.
I was told they have not had an effective evangelistic event here in more than 30 years! That’s hard to imagine, considering Chicago is home to one of the greatest evangelists ever, D. L. Moody. In fact I quoted this statement from Moody in my my talk yesterday:
“I would a great deal rather see a hundred men, thoroughly converted, truly born of God, than to see a thousand professed conversions where the Spirit of God has not convicted of sin. Don’t let us cry, ‘Peace,peace,’ when there is no peace. Don’t go to the man who is living in sin and tell him all he has to do is stand up and profess, without any hatred for sin. Let us ask God first to show every man the plague of his own heart that the Spirit may convict them of sin. Then will the work in our hands be real and deep and abide the fiery trials which will try every man’s labor.”
Very strong response
From what we could see, there was a very strong response and strong support here for us doing an event there next year. I count it an honor and privilege to be invited. I pray that this idea will become a realty.
My friend James MacDonald (who pastors Harvest Bible Chapel here) really stepped up to the plate on this one and had the original vision for this and called on his fellow pastors to prayerfully consider this.
I would appreciate your prayers as we take steps toward seeing a Chicago Harvest become a reality.
Here’s a great e-mail I recently received:
Over the past eight months, the Lord has used you so much in my life personally through your daily devotional book, your podcasts and now through your e-mail devotionals.
Last night was the highlight of being blessed – I caught my 15 year-old son on the computer in his room watching your program (and really enjoying it).
I just finished reading Lost Boy, and he wants to read it now.
Thank God for your obedience and your love for the lost.
Soldiering on for Christ,
Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I last blogged, so here goes . . .
We had a great time at our two-night outreach in Long Island. It was one of the most beautiful venues I have ever preached in, as it is right on the water. It was almost like I was on a little island preaching to the people.
I must say that the people were very receptive and attentive to my messages as well. They even laughed at all my stupid jokes!
We had a tremendous response to the invitations,and are still thanking God for what He did there, especially in holding back the rain. Thunderstorms were predicted, so we were especially thankful for only a few drops and some really nice weather.
Hanging in NYC
Cathe, Jonathan, and I are hanging out here in NYC for a couple of days. I will be off to Chicago on Thursday (more on that in a moment).
We went to lunch with Marty and Jennifer Goetz–who just happened to be in the city–and Misha, their wonderful daughter. Misha just graduated from high school and is off to our state to attend Azusa Pacific University in the fall. Happy graduation, Misha!
We got her an Apple iPod nano for a present, and no, I did not preload it with my sermons!
We heard about a restaurant that is supposed to have the best blueberry pancakes in NYC and met up there, but there was a two-hour wait (they must really be the best)! So we went elsewhere instead.
I just may go and try to get in that pancake place again tomorrow, but earlier!
Off to Chicago
I’m off to Chicago on Thursday for a couple of meetings with pastors there. My friend James McDonald has been spearheading an effort to bring a Harvest Crusades event to Chicago in 2010, which I am really excited about.
There are certain places I have always wanted to preach the gospel. One of them was Madison Square Garden, where we were the last two years, so it would be great to have an event in the Chicagoland area.
We will be presenting the vision of what we do at Harvest Crusades to the pastors there, so please pray that there would be a receptive attitude among the pastors to get on board and support it, if it is His will for us to hold an event there.
Well, that’s all for now.