Sunday, September 7, 2008


When I first saw this photo I felt a wave of admiration and compassion for her. She is making a photograph of the massive storm damage to her home and neighborhood in China. It broke my heart and I desperately wanted to give her a big hug and find a way to help her and her family.

Every major Religion teaches compassion for those who can't help themselves. It's the very nature of God. (2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, {4} who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

When Pharaoh's daughter saw baby Moses pulled from the river he cried and she had compassion on him knowing he was one of the Hebrew children. (Exodus 2:6) Compassion is mentioned 41 times in the Bible. (21 times in the New Testament.) O.K. How do we do it?

(1 John 3:17-18 NIV) "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? {18} Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Islam teaches compassion and mercy. In the Muslim tradition, foremost among God's attributes are mercy and compassion or, in the canonical language of Arabic, Rahman and Rahim. Each of the 114 chapters of the Quran, with one exception, begins with the verse, "In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate".

The Muslim Quran urges compassion towards captives as well as to widows, orphans and the poor. A good Muslim is to commence each day, each prayer and each significant action by invoking God the Merciful and Compassionate, i.e. by reciting "Bi Ism-i-Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim". (الرحمن Ar-Rahman) The Arabic for compassion is rahmah.

Unfortunately Muslim extremist have ignored this part of the Quran. They have gleefully killed, and brutally murdered innocent men, women and children. They seem to delight in providing video tapes of beheading and murdering people around the world. WHY?

Compassion is a wonderful thing. However in my almost 60 years as an Ordained Christian minister I've seen very little of it being practiced by many who claim to be a follower of Jesus. I wonder if the problem is because preachers are often so focused on being a "success" (huge churches and lots of money) that they constantly search the Bible for "desert" text. "Be a Christian, have faith and God can't wait to give you everything your heart desires".

"Those empty promises sound good, they appeal to the carnal nature but they are not based on the Teaching of Jesus. If we really want to know what Jesus taught we need to carefully read "Matthew 25".

He talked about people being invited to a Wedding... and through careless lack of preparation they missed the joy and delight of their friend.

He talked about servants who were given an opportunity to make a handsome profit for their master. One, out of fear, did nothing and was rejected by his master.

Then Jesus gave a shocking teaching about a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats. Sheep were the good people, and the goats were the bad, selfish people.

Jesus said to the good compassionate people: "(Mat 25:35-40 NIV) "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, {36} I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

{37} "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? {38} When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

{39} When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' {40} "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Then he said to the bad, selfish, people: (Mat 25:41-46 NIV) "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

{42} For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, {43} I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

{44} "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' {45} "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' {46} "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Sorry, we may not like this... but it's in our Bible. Let me explain some of it for you.

(Mat 19:23-24 NIV) "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. {24} Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

The Health, wealth and prosperity doctrine that is preached every Sunday all across America is dangerous, false, and unscriptural. It panders to the selfishness and greed of millions. How do I know that? I've personally known dozens of multimillionaires who called themselves Christians. They worked every day to turn their ten million dollars into a hundred million dollars. (They love money and can never have enough of it.) The poor waste their money buying lottery tickets trying to get into that exclusive club.

They give away tiny amounts of "their" money - well publicized of course, and usually poor elderly ladies living on a meager Social Security check will out give them. Ten percent of a Million dollars would be $100,000.00. Ten percent of a $500.00 a month social security check would be $50.00. If I can figure that out - do you suppose God will also understand it?

I pastored a church years ago and rarely talked about tithing. I knew the poor would often give God their best... and the multimillionaires in the same church would give ten percent of their "coffee money". (Pocket change for meals, and what ever else they wanted. They called it "tithing". )

Several years later I was a Missionary Pilot and needed money for maintenance, upkeep, fuel for my plane and the free Christian Literature we were giving away. I received no salary, and my wife and daughter trusted God to provide for our meager daily needs. We accepted with thanksgiving what God provided.

A former church member wanted to help us and got these wealthy church members together so I could tell them what we were doing. They owned very large and prosperous businesses. I'll never forget it. I met in a hotel banquet room with a dozen very wealthy men who called me their pastor. I told them the vision and calling I had for this missionary work. They were warm and friendly, asked questions and seemed interested. They took up an "offering" to help with the work. At the end of the night I was presented $50.83. Was I angry? Of course not.

I wasn't surprised. I've never been good at asking for money to support us. God assured me that he would take care of that and he has. What happened to them? They long ago passed away. The hurricane's have completely wiped away the businesses they owned. Sadly they owned nothing but the life God gave them. They missed a golden opportunity to be compassionate and help people who had never heard the good news of Christianity.

Compassion creates a wonderful feeling of joy within us. Take a tiny step and try it.

Luke 16:19-31. "gives us a clue". Jesus did something most Christian Ministers have never done and probably never will. He preached a sermon about Hell and the meanest man in the world whose only sin was indifference. Jesus clearly taught that there is a heaven to gain and a place called Hell to avoid at all cost

Luke 16:19-22 NIV. There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. {20} At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores {21} and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. {22} "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried."

(Luke 16:23-25 NIV) "In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. {24} So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' {25} "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony." (Remember Jesus is preaching this sermon).

There is absolutely nothing in this story showing that the Rich man ever did anything mean and hateful to Lazarus. He didn't run over his feet with his chariot wheels, never told his kitchen staff not to let Lazarus have the crumbs that fell from his table. He just ignored him. He had no compassion for this poor man struggling to survive from day to day.

You can see in this story that the rich man had absolutely no compassion for Lazarus. He wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to be his servant in Hell. "Lazarus bring me a drink of water". "Lazarus go back to earth, die at the gate of my seven brothers and try to warn them not to come to this place".
If someone told him he was the meanest man on earth he wouldn't believe them. "Why I've help lots of people climb the ladder to success and I've always thrown big parties for my influential friends."

In 1990 my wife and I were weary of Pastoring churches. In every church there are many good people who do their best to live a Christian life. They are always a joy. But there are always those "nominal" (in name only) church members who can cause terrible suffering and trouble in a church. They think the church is "some kind of business" and want to run it to suit their carnal mind. We had suffered many things at their hands. We wanted a simple ministry as close to the life of Jesus as we could be. So we started "Christian Ministries."

We made a decision to take what God supplied through kind and compassionate friends, and to freely give ourselves and our resources to those we meet who need help.

Over forty years ago my wife Maggie wrote a song called "I don't need to Understand". It's been recorded and sung around the world. It's on a CD I made of her singing "Songs for troubled hearts" and thousands of people have been blessed by her singing". I write, design and print full color illustrated booklets on a variety of subjects and we have given away literally thousands of CD's and booklets to needy people. The compassion and kindness of generous people who know us has made it all possible.

We would love to have you join with us in this ministry. You can be sure we want to keep our ministry as close as possible to the example of the life of Jesus. We love going anywhere there is someone to talk with - starting a conversation and sharing the love of Jesus. We make it a point to be compassionate to everyone we meet. We encourage you to read about the ministry of Jesus - join us and pray for us as we follow his example.

You can read about the ministry of Jesus on our blog at:

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