Friday, September 30, 2016

Forever Country - the Legends Gather

If you like country music - and like some of the country singers I grew up on - you will love this!

The Hidden Lives of Presidents: the Eyes of the Secret Service

“Hillary smiles and acts graciously [when in public].  As soon as the cameras are gone, her angry personality, nastiness, and imperiousness become evident.”

“She is also nasty to the little people she professes to care about.”

“Publicly, Hillary courted law enforcement organizations; privately she had disdain for police officers.”

“She is a totally different person behind the scenes than what you see when she is being interviewed.”

So writes New York Times bestselling author Ronald Kessler in his book The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents.  

Kessler shares numerous stories collected from interviews with a variety of SS agents.  Incidents and memories abound all the way back to the days of JFK and LBJ.  The author gives a behind-the-scenes look at the attitudes, actions, and integrity – or lack of it – from some of America’s leading figures.

Many of the Presidents, VP’s, and their families were difficult to guard.  
Did you know that LBJ used to strip down to his underwear or completely naked when he would get into the stateroom on Air Force One, regardless of who was around?  

Johnson, who publicly claimed to be a champion for minorities, called them “niggers” in private.  When discussing the importance of his civil rights bill with two governors, he said, “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred  years.”

The SS considered Nancy Reagan difficult to work with.  Precise and demanding, she “stage-managed” her husband, who the SS agents considered down-to-earth and good-natured.  The agents found Nancy aloof and cold.

While Jimmy Carter liked to appear compassionate publicly, behind the scenes “it was a different story.”  One charade was to appear to carry his own luggage when traveling.  He carried his bags when the press was around – but the bags were completely empty!  It was a ruse to make him look good.

Unlike Carter, agents found that “Ronald Reagan was the same decent, affable man in private that he appeared to be in public.”

George W. Bush’s daughters drove the SS crazy.  

In stark contrast to Joe Biden, whose detail no agent wants, Dick Cheney was one of the best protectees they ever served.  One agent said, “He never questioned security.  He never questioned how we did things or why we did things.”

Kessler saves his harshest criticism for none other than Hillary Clinton.  One agent says, “There’s not an agent in the service who wants to be in Hillary’s detail.  If agents get the nod to go to her detail, that’s considered a form of punishment.”

Kessler writes that her nastiness and contempt for law enforcement have earned her “the distinction of being considered the Secret Service’s most detested protectee.”  Hillary exudes a decades-long, off-camera disdain for law enforcement, military, and security agents. 

She looks down on the agents like they are servants.  She cusses at SS drivers.  One agent who spent years guarding her said, “Hillary did not speak to us.  She never said thank you.”

What Kessler and SS agents do reveal is a woman who is completely different on screen than in real life:

“When she’s in front of the lights, she turns it on, and when the lights are off and she’s away from the lights, she’s a totally different person.”

“Hillary was so mistrustful and vengeful,” one former agent says.

One agent recalls his time in the Clinton White House: “If Hillary was walking down the hall, you were supposed to hide behind drapes used as partitions.” 

She had a standing rule that no one spoke to her while going from one location to another.  Anyone who saw her coming would step into the first available office.

One long-standing agent recalls that "[m]ost all members of first families would talk to us and smile.  She never did that.”

In contrast to Hillary, Kessler writes how much respect the SS had for both Bush couples and Ronald Reagan.  Those leaders treated their staff and the SS with much respect, grace, and dignity.

For example, Patrick Sullivan recalled how Barbara Bush gave him one of her husband’s furry hats when he was guarding them in the winter.  Sullivan remembers, “That was Mrs. Bush.  She was everyone’s mother.  She was a sweetheart.”

Unlike Hillary, who curses at SS drivers if they get lost or take a wrong turn, Lady Byrd Johnson would simply say something like, “My, my.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this way before.”  Kessler writes, “She was gracious and respectful to the agents.”

And what about Laura Bush?  Kessler writes that though agents think highly of her husband George, "it is nothing compared to their feelings about his wife." 

One agent described how caring was Laura, who talked to him for half an hour one Christmas and seemed apologetic for taking him away from his family.  Another agent says, "Laura has the undying admiration of almost every agent.  I've never heard anything negative about Laura Bush.  Everybody loves her to death."

In his senior years, the senior President Bush learned that a two-year old son of an agent on his detail lost his hair in treatments for leukemia.  Bush had his own head shaved and donated to a fund to help the medical costs.  Bush said, "I said, why not me?  It was the right thing to do."   

Kessler writes that today, "[A]gents say he and Barbara Bush are as considerate of them as ever."

Those things still matter in a Presidential couple.  

And Hillary Clinton is one woman who does not have the temperament to be the President of the USA.

Encouraging Pastors to Speak Up

Since biblical times, spiritual leaders have boldly addressed government officials and their public policies. Indeed, from the very beginnings of this nation, pastors were on the leading edge of shaping public debate and the choice of public servants with the transcendent truths of Scripture.

Seven Marks of a Praying Church

1.     Most members have a strong devotional prayer life and are committed to praying for others.

2.     Church members have a biblical understanding of who God 
    is and how they can relate personally to Him through prayer. 

3.     Leaders are praying people and set an example of prayer for the congregation. 

4.     Prayer is a way of life throughout the church. Rather than being seen as an isolated program, prayer permeates every ministry within the church and every outreach of the church. 

5.     Corporate prayer meetings are given high priority in the lives of the church leadership and congregation.

6.     Spending time in the presence of the Lord produces humility, purity, unity, and compassion, and Christ-likeness in the lives of leaders and the congregation. 

7.     God’s presence fills His house. Perhaps the single most distinguishing characteristic of a “house of prayer” is that it is filled with the tangible presence of God. A lack of spiritual appetite in the congregation is replaced by spiritual hunger. Unbelievers’ hearts are converted by the life-giving messages preached from the pulpit. The spiritual objectives of the church begin to move forward, not so much by human ingenuity and hard work as by the supernatural assistance of God’s Holy Spirit. Striving ceases; it often seems more is accomplished with less effort. 

-        ThePrayer-Saturated Church by Cheryl Sacks

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 Election Prayer & Fasting, Day 2

2016 Election Prayer & Fasting, Day 2

Thursday, September 29th, 2016 (39 Days until Election Day)

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1Tim 2:1-4).

The Bible books of I & II Kings and I & II Chronicles record brief histories of the Kings of ancient Judah and Israel. They highlight each leader's righteous acts, sins, and acts of obedience and disobedience to Him to whom we must all give an account-the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (2 Cor 5:10). Furthermore, they record the consequences of those righteous and unrighteous acts upon the nation and the people. In Deuteronomy 28, God outlines the blessings that come to nations that are obedient to Him and the curses that come to nations that are disobedient to Him. Thankfully, we have God's promise; that if we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and HEAL OUR LAND (2 Chr 7:14).

In Exodus 18:21, we are exhorted to choose leaders who fear God. In the ancient Hebrew Republic, the people participated in the selection of their leaders. In our nation, we, too, have the privilege, right, and as Christians, the duty to choose our leaders. The call to pray for our leaders obviously includes praying for those from among whom we must choose to become our leaders.

As we begin this prayer journey, as believers in Jesus Christ, may we humble ourselves across America and pray. May God forgive the multitude of our sins-including our apathy and indifference toward the political process by which we choose our leaders!

  • May we repent for not having done our part to make sure more God-fearing men and women were on the ballot from which to choose. May no believer be discouraged, nor pull back from the process; rather may every American Christian seek the face of God, study the party platforms, and pray daily for all the candidates (especially those they believe God is guiding them to support), and determine to help get as many God-fearing men and women to the polls as possible. May God bless His people and enable us to make the difference in this election, and through us, bless our nation, and the nations of the whole world (see Gen 12:1-3; Leviticus 19:15; John 7:24; James 1:6; Heb 12:11-13).

Rev. Pierre Bynum
Chaplain & National Prayer Director

FRC Prayer Team

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pastor Andy Stanley Says the Bible is Too Hard to Defend

For more than twenty years I have enjoyed the teaching ministry of Andy Stanley.  I have listened to him since he was the Associate Pastor at First Baptist of Atlanta in the early 1990's.

Recently he made headlines for comments about the Bible he made during a series.  Andy basically said that Christians focus less on defending the veracity of the Scriptures and focus more on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I have no stones to throw at Stanley.  However, I (and others) disagree with him on this point.  But this time the issue is important enough to speak up to conform to biblical authority.

Lita Costner and Stan Gillis of Creation Ministries Int'l do a great job responding to Stanley's comments in their rebuttal article Pastor Andy Stanley says the Bible is too hard to defend: Evangelical pastor preaches that the Bible isn’t the foundation for the Christian faith:

Andy Stanley has a church network of over 30,000 people in the Atlanta area, and his church was rated the fastest-growing in America in 2014 and 2015.1 Recently, he has been criticized by many evangelicals for saying that we need to take the focus off the Bible and put it on the Resurrection, because he claims that gives us a firmer foundation for our faith. As Stanley put it: “We believe Jesus rose from the dead not because the Bible says so. It is way better than that! Christianity does not hang by the thread of ‘The Bible told me so’.”2 And: “The original version [of Christianity], the pre-Bible version, was defensible, it was endurable, it was persecutable, it was fearless, it was compassionate, and it was compelling,” but he claims “it is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible”.2
We actually have no desire to contradict and ‘blow the whistle’ on a well-known Christian pastor. So, it is with a heavy heart that we believe this issue is so important that we must ‘speak up’ to confirm the authority of the Bible’s history.

It is important to understand Stanley’s goal for this 6 part series, because we always want to be accurate when we are offering critiques of someone’s position. And his goal is quite admirable, even though we will disagree with how he goes about trying to accomplish it. In Part 4 of the series, he says, after noting that some critics have misunderstood him:

Read the entire excellent article here.

Gingrich: Trump Won the Debate

Newt Gingrich, one of the most skilled and respected politicians and thinkers of our day, shares his perspective on Monday night's Presidential debate . . .

"After all my years in public life I am sickened by the intellectual dishonesty, arrogance, and smugness of what Nassim Taleb calls the Intellectual Yet Idiots.

The IYI's showed up immediately after the debate.

They stacked the deck against Trump with Lester Holt's one-sided questions and interventions."

Read the entire article here at Fox News. 

Also, you can hear Gingrich discuss the first debate with Sean Hannity below.

Perkins on the First Debate

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council offers his perspective on the first Presidential Debate . . .

Last night was supposed to belong to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But the biggest story of the first debate wasn't the candidates answering the questions -- it was the person asking them. In one of the most talked-about plots of the first head-to-head, moderator Lester Holt seemed intent on making the debate a three-person affair -- injecting himself with almost as many challenges to Trump as the person officially opposing him. For most of the night, the Republican nominee was fending off not one -- but two -- attackers, repeatedly put on the defensive with topics that had nothing to do with the major issues facing America.

Meanwhile, the former Secretary of State, who's probably spent as much time under investigation by Congress as she did as a Member of it, skated by virtually unscathed by Holt's one-sided fact-checking. While he fiercely pressed Trump on his tax returns and concerns over President Obama's birthplace, he couldn't spare a single question on the corruption of the Clinton Foundation, her role in Benghazi, or the intentional deletion of tens of thousands of sensitive emails, or her outrageous "basket of deplorables" comment. Social media lit up with criticism for the NBC anchor, who many accused of shilling for the Clintons.

Holt's bias is difficult to argue when you consider that he interrupted Trump 41 times demanding clarification -- six times the amount he interrupted Clinton (seven). He "emerged as bruised and partisan," The Hill argued. "Holt entered the evening largely respected as non-partisan. He [exits] as the toast of left-leaning media..." Part of the problem was Holt's lack of focus. At a time when America is dealing with terror attacks on our own soil, a military in complete disarray, and a culture melting down before our very eyes, voters deserved to hear about more important things than Trump's tax returns.

Read the entire article here at the FRC.

Monday, September 26, 2016

43 Days to the Election

43 days until the Presidential Election. In biblical terms, and according to early American practice, believers fast and pray when facing major decisions, crisis, and threats facing the nation. Greg Frizzell prepared an excellent 40 day prayer-guide to pray before a national election called 40 DAYS OF SEEKING GOD FOR REVIVAL, ELECTIONS, AND KEY LEADERS. Our church is using it now. Believers, regardless of who wins the 2016 election, we still need God's hand of Providence, favor, and blessing on our nation. Fast and pray for the United States!!!

Praying for Our Nation

Great, short video of a letter Anne DeLaet wrote to Dr. Tony Evans, asking him to mobilize Christian in America to begin praying and fasting together for our troubled nation. Very timely!! In biblical thoughts, when the nation is in trouble and the stakes are high, believers should fast and pray.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Quotation of the Day

"We never know ahead of time the plans God has for us.
You and I must learn from this! We never know what a day will bring, whether good or ill. Our heavenly Father's plan unfolds apart from our awareness. Ours is a walk of faith, not sight. Trust, not touch. Leaning long and hard, not running away. No one knows ahead of time what the Father's plan includes. It's best that way. It may be a treasured blessing; it could be a test that drops us to our knees. He knows ahead of time, but He is not obligated to warn us about it or to remind us it's on the horizon. We can be certain of this: our God knows what is best."
- Charles Swindoll

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Hypocricy of the ACC

On Wednesday, the Athletic Coast Conference announced it would move its December ACC Championship football game out of Charlotte, North Carolina. The move is a reaction to the HB2 law that protects women and children in bathrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms.

Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, responded to the move, writing this letter to ACC Commissioner John D. Swofford with a copy sent to the presidents of its 15 member schools:

Dear Commissioner Swofford,

As a lifelong resident of North Carolina and current CEO and president of two organizations employing nearly 1,500 North Carolinians, I am saddened—even outraged—by the vote of the ACC Council of Presidents to move conference championships from our state in protest of legislation requiring people to use public bathrooms that correspond with their birth gender.

While I recognize this legislation—and legislation like it in other states—is complicated by society’s continued blurring of the lines of gender and sexual identity, I also recognize the profound hypocrisy of the ACC, the NCAA and other companies and organizations who are making calculated business decisions disguised as moral outrage.

For example, the football championship game your conference voted to move from Charlotte in December is called the “Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship.” Dr. Pepper and its parent company, Cadbury Schweppes and Carlyle Group, proudly sell their products in countries where homosexuality is illegal. Will the ACC drop its title sponsor? And why isn’t the LGBT community demanding you sever ties with such a “bigoted” corporate sponsor?

Read the entire letter here.

40 Days of Seeking God

EXCELLENT 40-day prayer guide in preparation for a national election: Forty Days of Seeking God: For Revival, Elections and Key Leaders. Our church is using this now, and I highly recommend it!

 The tool is perfect for churches, small groups, denominations, seminaries, schools and individuals who want to seek God’s guidance for our nation and revival in the land. In the forty day format, individuals, small groups and whole churches experience fervent prayer and deep spiritual revival. With signs of judgment rising rapidly and a most pivotal election ahead, it is time for forty days of deepest prayer and repentance not just the same level of prayer as the past fifty years. Now is the time for more than just another prayer event! We must embrace a genuine return to God through fervent prayer and deepest repentance, not a reliance on politics.

In Forty Days of Seeking God (Revised Study Edition), believers will learn to seek the Reviver, not just revival. Covenant now to diligently seek God’s face to revive the Church, send a sweeping global harvest and glorify His Holy name! There is also an attractive Bible insert of the Sixteen Prayers for Revival, Elections and Key Leaders and the Covenant to Seek God’s Face as companion tools for this book. For interest in these pieces, contact our office at 

E-book versions of this book are also available for Kindle, Ipad, Ipod, Sony and Nook as well as a pdf format.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

For the Love of Your Pastor

Keith Giles pens an article that hits the bulls-eye.  Pastors are struggling in North America in epic proportions.  Studies from sources such as Focus on the Family and other trustworthy ministries show frightening statistics for pastors in American churches.

One of the reasons is that for many Christians, a consumer-oriented mentality prevails.  A close look at biblical texts reveals that every member of a church is to ask the questions, What are my gifts from the Spirit?  What ministry should I be a part of in this particular body?  How does God want me to use my gifts and resources to serve and build up this body of believers?

The emphasis in the New Testament church is How can I serve God and other people through this body of believers?  In American church culture, the emphasis is often instead, How can this church meet my and my family's needs? 

In the biblical concept of church, every member is a minister.  And every member should be ministering. 

Giles shares, "The overwhelming evidence throughout the New Testament is that every baptized believer in Christ was automatically ordained by the Holy Spirit into the ministry of Jesus. There was no separation between clergy and laity.

Were there some within the Body who were gifted to teach and to encourage and to lead? Yes, of course. But the entire life of the Church did not revolve around these few. Instead, every single believer was empowered to contribute and to speak and to use their gifting as the Holy Spirit directed.

According to the New Testament, when the Church actually becomes a real Body, and when Jesus is really the only Shepherd, the entire Body will be healthy and operate as God actually intended all along.

God does this so that everyone in the Body is necessary and so that everyone contributes and shares the burden of ministry.

If you really love your pastors, the best thing you can do for them is to encourage them to stop trying to carry all of the weight of the entire Body on their own shoulders. Pray that the Church will return to a New Testament model as God originally intended. Pray that we would affirm with Peter that God has indeed answered the prayer of Moses and the promise in Joel to pour out His Spirit on all flesh so that every member of the Body of Christ can serve and love one another in love."

Read the entire article by Keith Giles here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Empress with No Clothes

The following article is my column today in The Clinton Chronicle . . .

Recently I read two books about Hillary Clinton.  Former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne explains details of his days guarding the Clintons in his best-selling book Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate.

Byrne shares numerous details of the Clintons up close and personal.  Guarding the Oval Office and seeing the Clintons daily provided more soap-opera fodder than a season of Dallas or Dynasty.  

The screaming matches between the First Couple entertained the guards and made them wonder how to protect the President should his wife actually hurt him.  Showing no affection for each other, when the camera came on or a big-money donor appeared, “they could flip that emotional light switch . . . and then back off again when the crowds and cameras departed.  It was all business for them: Clinton, Inc.”  The guard writes that portraying them as a warm, middle class family was simply a calculated marketing ploy – more political theater.

Byrne observed an immensely arrogant couple who mastered the art of the lie and cover-up.  Their pattern was (and is) to deny, deny, and deny.  But behind the scenes, the “Clinton Machine slut-shamed accusers, impugned their integrity, and supposedly even paid then off and intimidated them.”  For all of their repeated scandals, they blamed everyone but themselves.

In stark contrast to the way the Fords, Carters, Reagans, and Bushes treated their staff and security, Byrne writes that to the Clintons, “we were like furniture.”  Hillary regularly berated and cursed them, threw massive tantrums, and exhibited erratic behavior.  

Byrne actually believes that the discovery of Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress saved his life.  Guarding the President, he knew first-hand of the President’s numerous sexual trysts.  When called to testify in court about Lewinsky, Byrne feared the Clintons would have him killed before he could testify.  The blue dress surfaced, and the truth came out.

While Byrne writes like an earthy security man, Peggy Noonan writes like a professional author.  She should, since she worked under Dan Rather at CBS, became a White House speech-writer for Ronald Reagan and the senior George Busy, and today writes for the Washington Post.  

Noonan, compelled to warn the country about Hillary Clinton, wrote a book in 2000 called The Case Against Hillary Clinton. With the professionalism of an insider journalist, with a breadth of experience and a multitude of contacts, she unpacks the deception, scandals, ego-mania, entitlement to power, and philosophy of Mrs. Clinton.

The goal of the Clintons has been and remains one thing: “the mere continuance of Them.”  Never in modern American history, Noonan writes, has such “tenacity and determination been marshaled to achieve such puny purpose.”  

They have operated for forty years in the same way and for the same goals: “Together they stand for one thing: maximum and uninterrupted power for the Clintons.  What they want is self-advancement, and what fuels them is a sense of self-importance.”  

Bill and Hillary thrive in a culture of deception.  It is in their DNA: “The Clintons are unusually brazen.  They lie in plain sight, with boldness, with utmost confidence in their ability to carry it off.”

Noonan says, “Clintonism is a way of governance based on a dishonesty so pervasive and all-encompassing . . . that you cannot believe they expect you to believe the bizarre story they just peddled because no one would lie like that.”  It is the air they breath.  Their lies are not subtle but flamboyant.  They are masters of covering their scandals, creating the spin, and causing a diversion and looking away when substance is discussed.

One of the most disturbing things about Hillary is “the disconnect between the reality of Hillary, the image of Hillary, and the ruthlessness with which she will go to any length to protect that image.”

They are the most dangerous political couple to arise in recent American history.  As Newt Gingrich aptly said, Hillary Clinton is likely the most corrupt person to ever run for the President of the United States.

Gary Byrne and Peggy Noonan do remarkable jobs exposing the Emperor and his Empress who have no clothes.  I wrote reviews for both books on my blog. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Centrality of the Scriptures

Mark Dever, in his excellent book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church provides a helpful reminder:

God’s Holy Spirit creates His people by His Word. We can create a people by other means, and this is the great temptation of churches. We can create a people around a certain ethnicity. We can create a people around a fully-graded choir program. We can find people who will get excited about a building project or a denominational identity. We can create a people around a series of care groups, where each feels loved and cared for. We can create a people around a community service project. We can create a people around social opportunities for young mothers or Caribbean cruises for singles. We can create a people around men’s groups.  We can even create a people around the personality of a preacher. And God can surely use all of these things. But in the final analysis the people of God, the church of God, can only be created around the Word of God.