You want real Christian music?

Friends, burn your CDs and your iPods, the Song of Solomon is the only music you need. Take a lesson from me, when I became a Christian, the first thing I did was burn my music. Sure, Cat cried when I burned our Sound of Music CD, but who needs songs about rainbows and mittens when you’re on Team Truth? Nobody.

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In preparation for my radio show

I’ve gone ahead and sent three questions to the radio station as well as the answers to make sure the conversation stays on a very natural, organic path.  What I’ve learned in all of my years as a teacher is the importance of control when it comes to the Holy Spirit being able to move.

Mr. Shore, we’re glad to have you on our show. What keeps you so famous, is it your wit?  Your provocative blogging?  Your seamless integration of the lion and the lamb attributes?  Tell us.

Before I answer that, are you a shock jock, Mr. Hall?  Because that’s  my style.  I’m a shock author if you will, I’m like the Howard Stern of preaching. I like to jab people with the Holy Spirit when they aren’t looking.  This is reflected in my teaching.  

When dealing with atheists, what is your best advice?

Non believers are like toddlers and the gospel is nothing more than a great game of hide and seek with adults.  When they aren’t looking for a conversation about God,  you simply sneak it in under the guise of caring about their work or their children. Then you catch them. 

What is your greatest fear?

As a christian I don’t have many.  I suppose if I did have any, it would be not having enough exposure in order to change this nation in the ways I’ve been called to do.  That and I am terrified of kittens, I believe they are out to destroy us.  

Be gone, devil!

Well sell me an illegal firecracker and set me on fire on the 5th of July, I do believe we’ve got ourselves a spiritual battle! What am I talking about?

Well some of the mail I’ve received on this little blog of mine would indicate  that there are a few folks out there who are a little angry with what I’m writing. As a professional writer who’s written a number of different books and is now appearing on Christian radio shows all over the nation, I understand how important it is that I – as a teacher of the Word – am conducting myself worthy in the manner of a teacher. Of someone who frankly knows more than you do, who’s been given the spiritual gift of discernment.

What is the gift of discernment? Well this is one of God’s most holiest of gifts.  It’s difficult to describe, but basically the gift takes over when I enter a room. It could be a church building, a paint-your-own-pottery store that Cat and I enjoy going to on our date nights. It might even be a virtual room, someone’s small little corner of the internet. It doesn’t matter where it is, or who’s inside. What matters is when I enter, the spirit settles upon me and I can immediately discern what is wrong with everyone I’m interacting with.

See friends, the gift of discernment is the ability to read what one offers, hear what one says – even take a quick peek at what one is wearing and immediately discern the true quality of their relationship with God.  Now some of you are writing in and I want to provide an example of the gift of discernment in action:

“Dear FakeJohnShore,

I don’t know who you are – if you’re the real John Shore or what – but I find you distasteful and boorish. John Shore may have some views that I don’t agree with, but at least he signs his real name so we know who he is.  Know that integrity really is a value, why don’t you go get yourself some. You’re not very funny. Be an original.”

Signed,

Sally

“Dear Sally,

First, thank you for writing.  As a professional writer of many books, people don’t often know that I have some manual labor in my background as well as the fine arts. In the spirit of that, please allow me to take that white-washed tomb you’re living in and let Cat jazz it up with a little  sparkle paint.

I hope it will help.

Blessings,

FJS

Shake Your Money Maker (modestly, wearing a loose-fitting turtleneck)

Friends, I’m on fire. I’ve just returned from a weekend seminar entitled “Discovering Your Financial Blessing; God takes care of the Christian Sparrows First”.  And let me tell you, I’ve never been more encouraged!  I can’t wait to share with my readers.

The seminar was being held in Southern Oregon, so Cat and I packed up the Hummer and headed north. We fired up the Stryper playlist on our brand new iPod Nano, and arrived a few hours later.

Friends, let me tell you!   The facilities were beautiful. The Oregonian National Tea Party for Patriots has some land on a hazelnut farm  that they generously allowed for our time together for a very small fee and promise of false residency in order to vote in the upcoming local elections.  Gorgeous! What a place for fellowship, food and fun.

We were there for teaching, so the women stayed in one cabin, the men in another. Now at first, Cat and I had some problems with this arrangement as a happily married couple for over 20 years, we’d not slept apart too much, I don’t allow that.   But as the weekend went on, this time with the men where we could really process the teaching we were receiving in-depth in order to edify both one another and our households turned into a blessing. The separation also gave the women plenty of opportunity to talk amongst themselves, sharing ideas of how to create a business from the home. At some point, I’ll consider allowing my bride to be a guest blogger here, she’s got an awful lot of ideas on how to be a proper help-mate.

Let me now offer the three things the Lord has impressed upon me and has asked me to teach all of you regarding what you need to understand about money.

1.  Your taxes aren’t part of the Kingdom of God.
You know what the Word says about taxes – more importantly, tax collectors. Folks, taxes just aren’t spiritual funds. Taxes are nothing more than this government playing Robin Hood – an atheist one at that! What’s important about your taxes is finding loopholes out of paying them. Fight them with all the passion in your being because this secular government is going to take your money that you work for and apply it to programs and public schools that have nothing to do with you, your family or restoring the values of this nation.

The Bible says that taxes are evil – when Jesus went to the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce at that time and turned those tables over yelling “Why do you pollute my Father’s house?” He was making a statement against taxes and those who collect them. The Prince of Darkness rules this world and taxes are his Ninja stars. Fight against this evil by fighting all programs that do not directly benefit your children, children that have been promised wealth, health and prosperity. Continue to tithe and make sure that all of this funding goes to sending your children to christian camp.

2. If you are following the Lord, the wealth is sure to follow.
Some of Team Jesus have been through a trying financial season the last few years. Many have lost their jobs due to the current administration’s bungling of this economy.  Many of our God-given investment portfolios have been compromised due to our investments in banks and oil being corrupted by those who continue to disrespect and defame the good men and women within these corporations who are fighting to preserve the backbone of  this nation – the center of the world.

Thankfully, companies like Walmart are here to assist with lowered prices and cheerful greeters, reminding us of the importance of putting a positive face on this difficult time.  As for me, I appreciate these fine men and women who are often retired and have decided to head back to work in these valuable positions with a smile on their face.  Sure, they may have lost their small hardware business when Walmart moved in to town or their entire retirement was wiped out due to the blip in the real estate market a couple of years back, but they are in their golden years. Remaining active is important.

But what you need to know is that the problem may not be financial – it more than likely finds its roots in the spiritual. We are promised wealth, wealth of all kinds. Financial being just one. When one is wealthy friends, it’s a sign of obedience. That’s why in my next book, I devote an entire chapter to being cautious when interacting with the poor. God calls us in his Word to be “equally yoked”.

What do I mean by equally yoked? I’m glad to clarify, as many take this verse to mean something about marrying non-believers. It is actually fine to marry a non-Christian if they meet a certain standard of wealth.  No, this verse is encouraging us to be wise to not associate with anyone who happens to be beneath us in terms of wealth and property accumulation. Of course we are to love the poor, I’m certainly going to allow a fellow brother or sister to drive me to the Dairy Queen in their ’98 Ford Fiesta. It is made in America and there are times when a man just needs a Blizzard. But it’s also an opportunity for me to help get this believer on the straight and narrow again. By the time we’re through the drive through, the goal is that we’ve both hit bottom. He his pride and dignity, and me? Well, hopefully I’ve struck Oreo.

3. When atheists challenge us on our wealth, they are just jealous that we are more special to God than they are.
Friends, atheists have very peculiar views on Jesus. Some even claim to have studied Him, even admire Him. We all know this is simply a tactic to woo you in and then destroy you and your family. Stand up against this foolishness.  We all know that injecting things like poor people into conversations about money are inappropriate and manipulative (except of course when we put pictures of kids we’re saving in Africa on our fund-raising calendars).

One popular argument atheists offer to counter Christians and all the good we’re doing in the world is how little we acknowledge the role of money in our lives. But how can we? Our energy is as it should be, devoted to raising wholesome kids and fighting the moral battle against the gays. So what if our pastor drives a new BMW, there’s nothing wrong with this. Prosperity is a sign that God loves us. He assures us in His Word that He takes care of the sparrows who are called according to His purpose, that he saves them first and throws all of the other birds into a lake of fire. Now I’ve gotten some mail that suggests I may get a few verses mixed up or the Greek is the Hebrew, but I ignore these spiritual attacks. My Bible is in English, thank you. That’s all I need.

Now where was I? Oh yes. The atheists, I apologize they’ve derailed me once again. But as a Christian, Bible verses are in my quiver and if I hit the target somewhere between the bullseye and the kidney, I trust that God’s Grace is going to cover any damage.

With atheists, a suggested tactic is to talk about money and the poor as little as possible. Run from the topic if you must, particularly if it starts getting uncomfortable. Always remember this friends; that anxious, unsettling “Wow, they might be right about this, we’re focusing almost all of our efforts on the gays and moral values instead of helping the vulnerable” is a feeling from the Evil One. An atheist will never convict you, God is God but even He is not big enough to teach you something about His character through someone who is not a team Jesus member.

Be wise. Remember that Jesus said that the poor will be with us always, and the way to interpret that is to just not worry about them, let them take care of themselves. The poor is our lowest priority. Accumulating our taxes and Money is the heart of our Christian ministry. But what we forget is how important it is to use as a tool of evangelism. Sure, we give our 10% (more or less), but what I learned is how we’re called to talk about it with others as we’re sharing the Gospel, particularly when they bring up what they don’t think we’re doing well.

I hope this helps.

Blessings – big fat juicy dollar sign ones!

FJS

Let’s Talk about Truth, Bay-Bee. Let’s Talk about You and Me.

Dear Readers,

Christians today? We’re on the run. We’re refugees. The world has become a hostile place and we seem to be its target. I was just sharing with my good friend Tony Robbins how Christians are the last legitimate group of people who are discriminated against. He seemed confused and brought up minority groups, but most educated people understand what I’m saying.

It’s hard out there, isn’t it? Team Truth is taking some hits. In honor of you fallen spiritual soldiers who just keep getting up and pushing, I want to share some tips that I as a professonal author of several very well-known books (as well as a very provocative blog with hundreds of visits a day) have cultivated along the way. I hope they will help you communicate what the world needs.

1. Humble = right. Right = humble.
Mother Teresa once said, “The surest path to humility is humiliation.” While a wonderful and well-intended woman, this is terrible advice.

The goal of any Christian today is to be right. Right at all costs. Someone has to be the moral center for this nation. For this world. When Christians begin admitting we’re wrong, that’s not Kingdom thinking. Being wrong is for the weak of faith.

2. Approach atheists with caution.
Atheists are interested in one thing, and that one thing is destroying you. When they counter you online or off, it’s not to express their views. It’s not to share their story. It’s not motivated by the desire to understand. They want to destroy you. Me. Us. It’s important to not approach them with the desire to have a relationship, friends. Atheists should only be part of a strategy. I know, I know – it’s uncomfortable that atheists are all around us. Teachers, lawyers, chefs, parents, maybe even the parents at your school. Remember that all of these are simply roles they are playing in order to infiltrate the church and destroy it. Do not enter into relationships with them. Don’t take an interest in their career or their children. And whatever you do, do NOT ask them for advice. This sets up the wrong power dynamic with the atheist, it is always essential to remain the teacher – them the student. So let’s huddle up, backs to one another and go out into the world knowing who the enemy is. Phasers set to “preach”.

3. Drive by Truth is powerful.
Friends, the truth is like a bomb. It’s most effective when you drop it into a conversation when no one’s expecting it, and then get the heck out. Despite what others might say? How truth is delivered doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t. Sure, you’ll hear things like the tone argument when you’re debating the horrors of caucasians who are facing racism, for example. But in fact, even talking about tone in the first place is derailing. If you’re in doubt about that? I point you to Jesus calling people vipers. Case in point. Done and done. Cut, edit, film at 11. Finis.

At times, those who need the truth will manipulate you with their feelings. They do so by their pleas of “All I wish you would do is listen to how your approach and your behavior make me feel. You’re pushing me away, I wish you would respect me.” Do not let this sway you! You know what people really need, you know when they need it and you also know that as a Christian, you communicate on your terms. Because your terms, your timeline? Both are dictated by the Holy Spirit. So don’t bother with timing or tone of voice. Don’t worry about picking up on any emotional or body language cues that someone is uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, don’t bother with emotions at all, they can’t be trusted anyway. Drop the bomb of truth and if it doesn’t work? Drop it again. Do it over and over again.

Of course, when it comes to validating your feelings? That’s an entirely different animal. Your emotions as a Christian are valid. If you are offended or hurt, it’s important to give yourself license to communicate that. We are so frequently victimized by those we are trying so desperately to help. They are often rude and invasive, sometimes they shut us out of their lives. They even disagree with us! This is all very painful and you should feel entitled to express that without anyone challenging you.

4. Ask good questions.
When debating Christianity on the internet or anywhere, really – even when evangelizing – it’s important to realize that questions don’t even have to be questions. They can sometimes be used as traps to help the non believer understand how much they need what we’re offering. So listening to the answer? That’s fine to do, but I’d not focus on it too much. Doing so takes time and effort. Instead, try focusing on forming your next question while the atheist is taking the time to answer you thoughtfully. This works very well.

Another effective question is a statement in the form of a question; for example, “Why do you think that your heart is so hard that you’re not open to what I’m saying?” another favorite, “Why don’t you want to know what real Love is?” These questions help the listener understand that you’re not here to understand. You’re here to provide good news. Seek to talk through your questions, not to understand. Because what an atheist is or knows isn’t important until we say it.

5. Never let anyone suggest that you don’t know what you’e talking about.
This is the cardinal sin of any evangelist – giving up ground, regardless of how shaky it might be or how uninformed you might be about a particular topic. Never let anyone suggest that your understanding of Scripture is simply one interpretation. Others may have an interpretation, but you have the distilled, purified Jesus-only Christianity. Never let anyone suggest otherwise. They are trying to destroy you and if you admit that you might be wrong about something? They will. Poof. You are gone.

I hope you’ll reflect on these tips and as always, I hope they were helpful.

Blessings,

FJS

Pen Pals with the Holy Spirit

I was talking to my good friend yesterday, Representative Richard Martin.  Last year, Cat and I met his lovely wife Jazz at a fundraising campaign.  We had an instant, kindred spirit kind of connection, so Cat and I ended up inviting them over for Sprinkles cupcakes and a game of Settlers of Catan.  They’ve been members of this particular team Jesus ever since.

Representative Martin (I don’t call him Richard) is a true servant of the Lord. He navigates his tremendous following with dignity and humility. I knew he could discern with me. So we had the women step out in order to have a frank discussion.

“Lately I’ve been getting a lot of mail from my followers”, I told him. “Some of it quite unkind, but I rise above it with Yoga and centering meditation. And that’s because I’m a writer. More of a warrior, really, I’m fighting for the justice of God – in other words, the American way.  Which makes me provocative. I’m a catalyst. People consider me their mirror. I reflect back their uncertainties and their shortcomings.”

We grieved for our world’s misplaced moral compass. We marveled at how many reach out – so lost, so longing to be right-sized in their thinking. As we talked late into the evening and then went straight into prayer while the women waited in the car, the answer became so clear. What I’ve decided to do is publish their letters and my response in order to help others.  Like this one, for example:

Dear FJS,

I recently starting dating a great gal.  She’s petite, awfully cute and she bakes one heck of a pie (though I’ve had to educate her on the merits of using fresh fruit vs. canned. It’s OK, it takes time to learn these things).  My question to you is that she’s taken to wearing pants. As someone who is a believer in Our Lord, you and I both know the dangers of  a lack of modesty. She’s oddly stubborn when I’ve provided the Biblical direction regarding a woman’s dress, saying it’s what is within the heart that makes a person unclean. Nonsense, etc.

What advice might you provide?

Signed,

Guy Anxious With Dress

Dear GAWD,

From what I can tell, you’re just not listening.  Have you asked her why she’s wearing pants? Women like to feel like their mate is interested in their lives (even though we’re often not).  Your lady friend may very well be feeling like she has to overcompensate in this world that was basically built for us guys.  Sit her down over a nice dinner and ask her how confident she is in the role God has placed her within this world; a help mate.  Perhaps send her Etsy links or some tips on how she  can craft more, sometimes women often just need to be guided back into the ways of being a woman.  This is a very difficult world for women who are dealing with so many mixed messages. Do I work? What if I make more money than a man? (God forbid).   Use the internet to remind her of who she is at her core.

Blessings,

FJS