Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

HALLOWEEN 2

Halloween is an annual celebration, but just what is it actually a celebration of? And how did this peculiar custom originate? Is it, as some claim, a kind of demon worship? Or is it just a harmless vestige of some ancient pagan ritual? 

In North America, the yearly observance of Halloween amounts to a multi-billion-dollar industry, second only to Christmas…selling costumes, candy and food items, party supplies, greeting cards, tours of so-called haunted houses, and other forms of entertainment. But what is the history of this particular day? The story may surprise you.

More than two thousand years ago, a people called the Celts (Kelts) lived in what is now Ireland, Great Britain, and France. Among the Celtic people was an elite intellectual class known as the Druids, who served as religious priests, judges, lawmakers, and scientists. They had an elaborate pagan religious festival, along with certain rituals. Chief among these was the Fire Festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-en), observed at harvest time to mark the Celtic New Year. 

The Celts believed that on this night the barrier between the natural world and the supernatural was removed, and the spirits of the dead were able to move freely among human beings. Samhain was the most solemn and important night in the Celtic year.

After the Roman Catholic Church came to the Celtic peoples in the seventh century, some of their traditional folk customs were adopted by the church. In 835 A.D. Pope Gregory IV moved the church’s “Feast of All Saints” from the spring to November 1st to replace the observance of Samhain. All Saint’s Day, still observed today by many, honored believers who had died. The night before, which featured a sacred vigil in church, became known as “All Hallow’s Eve,” or Halloween. But the old practices of the Druids died hard and were denounced by the church as witchcraft. This is how Halloween became known as a witch’s holiday.

Dressing in costumes and going door-to-door comes from a much later tradition in the British Isles, a practice not restricted to Halloween. Masked players would go from house-to-house, putting on a simple drama or musical performance in return for food and drink. Often these performances had Christian themes. 

The “trick-or-treat” custom we know today is thoroughly American in origin. In the nineteenth century, when Irish and Scottish immigrants brought their Halloween traditions to North America, the night became an occasion for pranks and mischief. Vandals would go through the night, soaping windows, overturning outhouses, and pulling gates from their hinges. These pranks were playfully said to be the work of witches and ghosts, but by the 1920s the joke wasn’t funny anymore. The damage to neighborhoods was mounting.

To counteract Halloween vandalism, community clubs like the Boy Scouts began to organize alternatives that are safe and fun. Children were encouraged to go door-to-door and receive treats from homeowners and merchants, keeping the troublemakers away. By the 1930s, the practice was popular nationwide and young voices crying, “Trick or treat!” were echoing through neighborhood streets.

In this way, a combination of pagan, Christian, and civic elements formed the Halloween celebration we know today. In recent decades, however, a renewed interest in the old pagan beliefs has blossomed in North America. Popular entertainment, including television shows like “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” and even “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” make occult themes and witchcraft seem fun and acceptable. The result is that Halloween today has become strongly associated with the occult and a preoccupation with the dead—two influences that Scripture and the church have always warned against.

You see, Satan is not a joke. He’s real. Though the Bible clearly states that God is the world’s highest authority, He gave Satan a certain amount of power. With God’s permission, the evil in this world is under Satan’s control. This is why the apostle Paul said in Ephes. 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” 

Satan was the first one in history to openly defy God. He also started a way of life that was self-centered and rejected God’s authority. That marked the birth of sin, which is nothing more than rebellion against God. Today sin affects the entire human race. We are all guilty, and therefore all deserve sin’s penalty. “For the wages of sin is death….”

Halloween is rooted in paganism, but this is not the main reason I discourage its celebration.  If you want to, you can tie many of our modern practices back to ancient pagan practices…Good grief, pagans had a holiday in which they gathered around a tree, similarly to Christmas, but we don’t throw out our trees because of that ancient connection…don’t throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater…He is the present, dominant association of Christmas however you celebrate it.  But there’s much better Biblical reasons to avoid Halloween than just its pagan roots, for it continues in the ancient traditions it was founded in.

So why not celebrate Halloween?

I. Because It Glorifies Death.

A. First it is important for us to realize that death does not come from God.

Death is a result of man’s own choosing. The Scripture plainly tells us, Genesis 2:16-17 
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” 

God told Adam the only thing he was not to do was to eat from this tree, but if he did, he would die. It reminds me of a kid, If you tell him not to do something he will do it or burst.

Adam was just like you and I, he had to touch and taste the untouchable. How many of you when you see a sign that says, “Wet Paint” just have to go over and touch it?

Adam made a decision to eat and Romans 5:12 tells us the result of his actions, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” 

God is not the cause of death, man is.

B. The second understanding we must hold onto is that death is an enemy. 

We are in a battle with an enemy called death. But why is death our enemy? It is because it destroys life, it takes life away, whereas God is the Creator and Author of life. In God’s original creation there was no sin nor pain, disease or death, remember man chose to sin. 

The Bible teaches that death is the enemy of mankind. 

I Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 

Christ was subject to the great enemy of man: death. Note that death is the last enemy that will be destroyed.

Death has an end; death will cease to be; the reign of death will be stopped.
Man shall be delivered once-and-for-all from death. Death will be swallowed up in victory.

“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8).

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes” (Hosea 13:14).

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

“[God’s purpose and grace] is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10).

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Rev. 20:14).

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

II. Because It Honors Satan and Demons.

God is not honored on Halloween. God is not even mentioned. Satan, witches and demons are honored. The Bible teaches that Satan and demons are the enemies of mankind. 

I Peter 5:8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

Throughout Scripture Satan is described as:

He is “the god of this world” who blinds men’s minds (2 Cor. 4:4).

He is “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; John 14:20; John 16:11)and “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephes. 2:2; Ephes. 6:12).

Satan’s purpose in making war against God is twofold.

A. Satan’s purpose is power and worship, to receive as much of the power and worship of the universe as possible (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-17).

Satan’s purpose is to hurt and cut the heart of God. Why? Because God has judged and condemned him for rebelling against Him. Therefore, Satan does all he can to get back at God. The best way he can do this is to turn the hearts of people away from God and lead them to sin and to follow the way of evil.

But the Bible says “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4); and, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

III. Because People Sin On Halloween. 

Many people get drunk and take drugs. People dress in horrible, occultic costumes. All of this is sin. It’s considered the holiday of hell, and the bad boys come out for it!  In NM they would kill people’s livestock and drink the blood on this date, and kidnappings is always a great fear on this night…be very careful!

I Corinthians 10:20. But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 

Participation in idolatry is fellowshipping with devils. The devil and his angels or demons are behind all idolatry, whether the idolatry of a heathen society or of an educated society. Scripture definitely declares:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephes. 6:12).

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

It is utterly impossible to participate in the true worship of God and in the worship of devils.

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils” (1 Cor. 10:21).

“Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them” (Deut. 11:16).

IV. Because God Himself Hates Halloween. 

God says, “I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:104.

God does not hate mankind, but He hates man’s evil ways.
Genesis 6:5-7 
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repentant me that I have made them.”
God is wearied by man’s sins.
“Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities” (Isaiah 43:24).
God is broken by man’s sins.

“I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations” (Ezekiel 6:9).

God is grieved by man’s sins.
“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways” (Psalm 95:10).

God is grieved to the depths of His heart with man’s sins.
“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Genesis 6:6).

These are good reasons not to celebrate Halloween, and reasons why we are proud to offer a great Christian alternative in our Fall Family Festival.  We need an alternative, and many in our community benefit from it, as do our own children.  We can bury our head in the sand if we want to, or we can rise to the occasion of the biggest opportunity we have each Oct. 31st!

Invitation:

Man was God’s creature, the most noble and dignified creature ever created, but man abused God’s love and purpose in creating him. Man rebelled against God: he rejected God’s love and purpose in creation. Man chose to reject, ignore, neglect, and deny God, his Creator.

You need Jesus Christ to save you from the penalty of your sins.

Make the right choice today and choose to put sin aside and turn to Jesus.

 

 

HOMOSEXUALITY – “THE SIGN” OF THE COMING ANTICHRIST

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“And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.” Rev. 6:2

 It’s all around us, from every small town in America to the big City lights of the Metropolis, this spirit of perversion is sweeping the United States of America and the rest of the world like a dark plague – and a plague it is. Who could have thought that within the span of a mere 100 years we would go from a nation of Christian values, morals and principles, to literally delve into a nation full of madness and spiritual idolatry. And at the center of this moral dilemma is something which almost no one saw coming – save the Holy Spirit thru his prophets. 

There are many signs of the coming end of the age, from wars…

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Kermit Gosnell Murder Trial Jury start Deliberating…..

“The abortionist faces 258 counts total and other charges against him include one count of infanticide and one of racketeering, 24 counts of performing third-trimester abortions and 227 counts of failing to follow the 24-hour waiting period law before an abortion so women can consider its risks and alternatives.

…..one woman says she was drugged and tied up and forced to have an abortion. Authorities searching the facility found bags and bottles holding aborted babies scattered around the building, jars containing babies’ severed feet lining a shelf, as well as filthy, unsanitary furniture and equipment.

The grand jury investigation also shows state officials did nothing when reports came in about problems at Gosnell’s abortion center, which has upset incoming pro-life Governor Tom Corbett.

Gosnell’s abortion center was inspected only after a federal drug raid in 2010.  It was the first time the facility had been inspected in 17 years because state officials ignored complaints and failed to visit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society for years.”

Read full article: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/05/01/kermit-gosnell-murder-trial-jury-reaches-no-verdict-again-after-two-days/

A Compromised Gospel Produces Compromised Fruit

F-Brown Nancy-G-Brown

  (© Nancy G. Brown)

Written by Dr. Michael L. Brown (president of FIRE School of Ministry and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire.)

“The dawning of the 21st century finds the church of America in a moral and spiritual crisis. Decades of self-centered living and worldliness have taken their toll. Years of compromise and toothless gospel preaching have had their effect.”

Thirteen years ago in 2000, I wrote that admonition in my book TheJesus Manifesto. Ten years before that, in 1990, I sounded a similar alarm in my book How Saved Are We?:

“For years, we have preached a cheap gospel and peddled a soft Savior. We have taught salvation without self-denial and the crown without the cross. We have catered to the unsaved and compromised with the world. Now we are paying the price.”

Tragically, what I and others warned about has now run its dangerous and deceptive course.

You don’t have to look too far today to hear Christian leaders teaching that it’s wrong to expect born-again believers to change their conduct, calling those who do “religious” (as if that’s a bad word) or, worse still, “legalistic” if they preach repentance to the church and to the lost. Today, you can practice almost any sin, work in almost any ungodly profession and still be accepted as a follower of Jesus Christ.

How in the world did we depart so far from the transforming power of the gospel  of Jesus?

Consider these examples:

  • A glamorous spokeswoman for conservative Christian values explains that, “I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos.”

  • A well-known rapper claims a conversion to Christianity and states, “I love God, Jesus Christ is my savior, and I’m still out here thuggin’.” He has been baptized, attends church regularly and says, “I still love the strip club, and I still smoke and drink. I’m faithful to my family, so I wanted to make an album where you could love God and be of God, but still get it poppin’ in your life.”

I am not making this up.

And we don’t dare call out anyone on their sinful, public lifestyle lest we be guilty of what is now considered the worst sin of all—judging. Yes, these days it’s considered worse to judge someone for sinning than it is to commit the sin.

With regard to the lingerie model and, even more so, the rapper, it would be one thing if we said that they were spiritually and morally confused, totally immature in their faith, in need of serious discipleship and a real encounter with the Lord. But so often that’s not what you hear. Instead, many believers in America today find nothing wrong with the idea of a “Christian” lingerie model or a “born-again,” profanity-using, smoking, drinking rapper who frequents strip clubs. What kind of nonsense is this?

The New Cross for Sinners

More than 50 years ago in his classic article, “The Old Cross and the New,” A.W. Tozer wrote, “The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey.” In contrast, he noted with profound insight, “The new cross does not slay the sinner; it redirects him.”

Today we could take his insights one step further and say that the new cross does not slay the sinner; it empowers him or her: Jesus came to make you into a bigger and better you. Jesus came to help you fulfill your dreams and your destiny. Put another way, the gospel is all about you—not Jesus.

Scan the programming on Christian TV and listen to the latest “hit” sermons, and take note of how often you hear messages about all the wonderful things God can do for you—including prosper you financially. Contrast that with how seldom you hear messages about the wonderful things we’re called to do for the Lord. And see if you can count even five times in the last year that you heard a message challenging you to sacrifice and service for Jesus (and I’m not talking about making a financial sacrifice for the TV preacher).

Yet Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24, NIV). When is the last time you were stirred to the core of your being with those words? Yet their message runs throughout the Gospels and forms a fundamental part of the message of the Lord. (See Matt. 10:37-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 14:26-33; 17:32-32; John 12:24-25.)

“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:3), as opposed to, “Enjoy personal success with me as a good entrepreneur of Christ Jesus.” And he exhorted Timothy to use the Word to “correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction,” warning him that, “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (4:2-4).

The Gospel of Hyper-Grace

We are living in such a time today, a time in which the gospel of personal success has been merged with the gospel of hyper-grace, thereby rendering the listener impervious to warning or correction or rebuke: “If it doesn’t make me feel better about myself, it’s not from God. If it draws attention to my sin, it’s not from God. If it challenges me in any way, it’s legalism, it’s bondage, it’s the law.”

According to the latest version of the message of hyper-grace:

  • Nothing you do will negatively affect your relationship with God.

  • As a believer, you never need to confess your sins to God or repent of your sins.

  • God doesn’t see your sins; He always sees you as perfect through the blood of Jesus.

  • You can follow Jesus effortlessly.

And still, there is more. We have become obsessed with the need to be “relevant,” trying to become like the world to win the world. We want lost, confused sinners to know we are just like them: “Is your life messed up? Our lives are messed up, too. You will feel completely at home in our church. And you will really be able to relate to our pastor. He’s up on the latest hit movies—even the raunchy ones—and sometimes he spices up his sermons with off-color language. We are not uptight religious people here.”

Misleading Our Young People

Moreover, as young people leave our churches by the droves, we compromise our message even more. We fail to realize that young people are leaving our churches because they have not seen us living out the gospel. We haven’t told them the truth, and we haven’t ministered to them in the power of the Spirit.

But where the gospel is going forth with power and conviction, young people are flocking to hear the Word and be changed. The more we water down the message, the fewer disciples we will produce and the less God will back us.

During the days of the Brownsville Revival, I wrote a little poem called “Pablum From the Pit.” It seems apropos to share it again now:

Cootchie, cootchie, cootchie-coo,
God loves me and God loves you!
Smile sinner, don’t be sad;
God’s not angry; He’s not mad.
Even when you leave the path,
There’s no hell and there’s no wrath.
So don’t you fear, just do your best.
Judgment Day won’t be a test.
God sees your heart and that’s enough.
The Judgment Seat won’t be that tough.
For you can’t sin away His grace
Or take that smile from His face.
’Cause God is love and love is good:
He’ll treat you like you think He should!
Just trust me, sinner, to the end.
My name is Satan, I’m your friend.

May God awaken His church again today beginning with us, His leaders. And may we take up the cross and preach the cross regardless of cost or consequences. 

In more ways than we realize, the fate of the nation is in our hands. And if a compromised, watered-down message could bring death and destruction, an uncompromising, Spirit-empowered, compassion-birthed message could bring life and transformation. 

Now is the time.

Jesus is coming!!!!….how do you expect His coming?

Jesus is coming!!!!

How do you expect His coming?

In the comfort zone of doing nothing?

You are ready for new steps in your life and your ministry?…like a leap of faith in.. unknown?

If you need an extra thrust, I challenge you to listen the message (39:54 min) of Pastor Loran Livingstone, preached this morning (March 10, 2013) at the Central on Charlotte, NC.

BUT HURRY….the video will be available ONLY for three weeks!

Also, you will understand WHY we ( http://www.go2ri.org ) start a new ministry in Phoenix, Arizona:

http://tinyurl.com/a7n5uhb