Sunday, July 31, 2005

Who Wants to be a Millionare?

Me, that's who. So, I went to Lakeview, Minnesota on my day off to audition for the game show. I think I have seen the show twice but both times I yelled at the people competing for being....... hmm........not smart. Anyway, my wife and daughter convinced me that I should put my brains on the line and stop yelling at the TV. The auditions started at 9am.

I stood in the sun at a car dealership for 4 hours to take 2 ten minutes tests, 30 questions each, ACT style. The tests were simple, however, I knew there was a trick to this whole matter when the producer who introduced the testing said, "It is our policy to never announce what your test scores are and that we have our own model for what constitutes a satisfactory score for being invited to participate in our game show". Translation = We are looking for people who don't drool when they think but we are not looking for people who are can answer all of our trivia questions. That way we can create the drama of contestants who need to call lifelines, ask the audience, etc. I suspect that the test scores have to come in at about 85% to 92% to be considered a winner. I did not win.

I don't think I missed that many questions, but I really don't care. My day was made with a 2 to 3 hour conversation I had with a CEO of multi-city company who was standing in line with me. When he found out I was a pastor, his first question was, "So, are you part of the 'Left Behind' **** crowd?" Wow! I could not ask for a better lead. I asserted that I had enough integrity of soul to refuse to buy in to those fantasies sold as theology in story form......I am out of time for now......I'll finish this later this week. (Check out my profile; especially the answer to my pro wrestling finish manuever).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I'm back for a second posting. I don't have much time today, but I do sense a need to stay at this project if for no other reason but my own discipline.

I have heard it said that when the church stops transforming lives, we will substitute transformation with information. When we lack the power to transform lives, we seek to placate our conscience by informing lives. Sad.....especially when the promise of Christ is abundant life as contrasted with decaying life (John 10:10).

I think another substitution we make is offering "heaven" when you die. That way we convince ourselves that we've done something. Problem is, it does not come close to the reality of what Christ did. Blind people could see. Deaf people could hear. The lame walked. While I believe in the present day work of healing, I don't think it is exclusive to the physical. What about blind minds, deaf emotions, lame living? The difference is where we base our faith. Jesus clearly said, "heal the sick....and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.'" (Luke 10:9).

When we base our faith in "Receive Jesus! when you die you'll go to heaven!" any life changing that happens is in spite of us and our ignorance. But when we base our faith in, "Confess Jesus Christ as Lord and let His Kingdom order and power change everything about you into an abundant way of living." then heaven is the bonus, not the goal.

Get it?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to my new Blog site. My name is Randy Dean and I am pastor of Living Word Chapel in Forest, Wisconsin. I love to tell people that I pastor a church of 200 in a town of 15; We've reached our city for Jesus, now we're coming after yours! Seriously, it is a pleasure to serve God in this beautiful setting. We are an hour from the heart of the Twin Cities which gives us the best of all worlds...quiet country living and great dining, entertainment and shopping just up the road.

My reason for posting this new blog in the vast wasteland of blogging is to take advantage of every tool at my disposal to put out the Word of God in my heart. That Word finds its root and anchor in the good news of the Kingdom of God. Not a message of hopeless "end of the world" fantasy, not a message of "when you die you go to heaven", not a message of "any minute now, the church will disappear and let all hell brake out", not a message of "God wants to blow the earth to tiny bits".....But a message of "Thy Kingdom come! Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

When I speak at youth conferences or any other venue, my altar calls are not "tonight if you die, will you go to heaven or hell?" MY call is, "If you LIVE another day, are you living in heaven or hell?" I follow that up by saying that everyday, in every decision we make, we set our eternal destiny. If my choices are hellish and reckless, then by extension, when I die, hell is waiting for me. But if by the grace of God, in this life, I chose the Kingdom of God, where Jesus Christ is already Lord of lords and King of kings, then by extension, the Kingdom of God (and Heaven) are waiting for me when I die.

I also add to any call to salvation that I want all heads UP and all eyes OPEN. I ask, "Is there anyone here who has never publically declared for their life, that Jesus Christ is Lord? Are you willing to keep on living, die to yourself and believe in your heart that resurrection power is yours, for life NOW, come forward in the view of everyone here." That way, I believe, we give spiritual birth to warriors not cowards who come or confess in secret.

This is just a small slice of the call of God on my life. I have been in ministry for 33 years serving in Texas, Ohio and now western Wisconsin for the past 17 years. God has taken me to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tallin Estonia, Helsinke Finland, Krivoy Rog Ukraine, Valles Mexico, Saltillo Mexico and countless cities, burgs and "middles of nowhere" here in the states. This blog may or may not be an ongoing expression of God's gifting to me. We will see where it takes us. Stay tuned....if you are hungry for Truth that might slay sacred cows, check back at this site. If sacred cows are happy to pasture with you and lead you to their anemic pastures, this site will outrage you.

A great man of God, Ern Baxter, once said, "I do not seek to offend you, but if offended you must be, then I am your man." So say I.