About christianradio

My name is Greg Yoder and I've been a Christian radio broadcaster since 1984. I have been a radio announcer, news director, network news executive director and an executive director of a non-profit ministry. I've worked at WGNR (Grand Rapids, MI), WFLT (Flint, MI), WMPC (Lapeer, MI), Mission Network News/WCSG (Grand Rapids, MI) and Keys for Kids Ministries (Grand Rapids, MI).

Pageant, politics and racism

I am frankly beside myself today. I have always thought we live in a free nation. The United States — the land of the free and the home of the brave. I now have a different view. While our country was founded on those principles, I now believe our leaders (President Obama and the Democrat controlled legislature) want that to end. The frightening thing about it is there are influential people who want our country to dramatically change as well. Even more scary is that most of the American people DON’T care. The Democrats are unquestioningly following. And, Republicans are afraid to do anything about it.

Let’s start with the Miss USA pageant over the weekend. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Miss California Carrie Prejean (a Christian candidate) answers a question from judge Perez Hilton about legalizing same-sex marriage during the Miss USA Pageant. “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage,” Prejean said. “And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

Looking at blogs and other commentaries, many say Miss California lost the pageant because of her answer to the question. Maybe I shouldn’t be so amazed. It appears the United States has reached a new ‘sinful’ low. We’ve penalized a women for having strong character, who’s wholesome, ethical, and stands on her convictions. It’s amazing that she would be penalized for believing in something that may not be politically correct. To allow someone like Perez Hilton (an outspoken homosexual and blogger) be a judge on a television show that’s supposed to be an example to young women around the country.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Because, soon, it will be illegal to say anything negatively about homosexuality. News reports indicate a vote is looming this week in Congress on a bill that one conservative activist warns would not only silence Christian opposition to homosexuality, but also would legitimize deviant forms of “sexual orientation.” According to OneNewsNow.com A markup vote is expected Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee on the Local Law Enforcement and Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.  House Democrats only have to give 24 hours’ notice before the vote.  The measure (H.R. 1913) sponsored by Representatives John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) would add homosexuals and transgender people to the list of classes federally protected from so-called “hate crimes.”

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, says the bill is a serious threat to religious freedom.

“Your pastor could be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit a hate crime if it passes and become law,” she warns. “This so-called ‘hate crimes’ bill will be used to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute, and persecute pastors, business owners, Bible teachers, Sunday School teachers, youth pastors — you name it — or anyone else whose actions are based upon and reflect the truth found in the Bible.”

Now, a character on my favorite TV show has got me pretty ticked off. She’s called me and millions of other Americans, racists.  Janeane Garofalo, who plays Janis Gold on the television series 24, says the people who attended tea parties are racists with dysfunctional brains.  Here’s her quote:

“Let’s be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It’s not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. They don’t know their history at all. It’s about hating a black man in the White House,” she said on MSNBC’s “The Countdown” with Keith Olbermann Thursday evening. “This is racism straight up and is nothing but a bunch of *!(%#!~ rednecks. There is no way around that.”

I am not a racist, but I am opposed to Socialism and government spending MY money like there is no end to it. I am opposed to the president of the United States bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia and giving legitimacy to rouge leaders, i.e. Venezuela and Cuba. I’m also opposed the president giving aid to our enemies by releasing highly classified “Top Secret” documents about interrogation techniques. I’m also tired of hearing Obama apologize to the world for the United States. He’s caving in and it’s hard to stomach that Obama is going to give away part of the United States in order to make him look good. Those kinds of issues aren’t racist. Those are issues that violate the sovereignty our our nation. Obama is trying to re-write the constitution and American history. It’s sad.

Where does that leave us? On our knees before God pleading for mercy. Asking God to bring revival in a nation that’s rejected Him. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Obaminomics

In Honor of the 44th President of the United States , Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has issued a new flavor, ” Barocky Road ..”

Barocky Road is a blend of half Vanilla, half Chocolate, and surrounded by Nuts and Flakes.

The Vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient.

The Nuts and Flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow.

The Cost is $100.00 per scoop.

When purchased, it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but then the Ice Cream is taken away and given to the person in line behind you.

Thus you are left with an empty wallet, no change, holding an empty cone, with no hope of getting any Ice Cream.

Aren’t you feeling stimulated?

AND…..

Read and become enlightened!

I became confused when I heard these terms with reference to the word
‘service’.

Revenue ‘Service’
Postal   ‘Service’
Telephone ‘Service’
Cable  ‘Service’
Civil ‘Service’
Customer ‘Service’
State, City &  County  Public ‘Service’

This is not what I thought ‘service’ meant.

But today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had
hired a bull to come ‘service’ a few cows.  BAM!!!  It all came into
focus..Now I understand what all those ‘service’ agencies are doing to us.

I hope you are now as enlightened as I am.

MSU wins now plays UNC

For the first time in my adult life, I have taken my family on a spring break trip. My sister and brother in-law are serving at a church in North Carolina. So, we decided to leave the cold of Michigan to travel to NC for a break.  To tell you about this, I have to go back a week.

A week ago (March 27). Because I was going to be away on a men’s retreat, my wife decided to go to New York to see our married son and grand kids. Unfortunately, when she go to Port Huron, MI (three hours away), the transmission in our car went out. Forutnately, the day before I decided to buy her a GPS to help in her navigation. When the car broke down she could just barely limp along. The GPS got her to a Chevy Dealer by taking the back roads. She got there safely. The dealer, gave her a rental, and sent her on her way.

Fortunately, the transmission was covered by an extended warrantee that we had purchased when we bought the car. But, because it was a Japanese transmission they weren’t able to get parts quickly. Long story short, it took them nearly a week to get the parts they needed and they weren’t able to get the car done in time. So, we had to take my 2001 Buick. It has nearly 100,000 miles. So, at 8:30 pm Friday, we started on our way…a 13 hour trip.

I love driving at night. I decided to would try to make a little past Cincinnati and look for a hotel. We made it there at around 1:00 am, but there weren’t any hotels available. Not thinking EVERYONE would be stopping around Cincinnati because of SPRING BREAK, we kept driving. We drove another hour before we found a Motel 6 who, “left the light up for us.”  We slept until 8:00 am and got back on the road.

We drove to Gatlinburg, TN where my wife, Ann, visited with an old friend. We had lunch and spent some time laughing and got on our way to NC.

We arrived at around 5:45 and traveled directly to the cabin we rented. Through the winding roads in the foothills of the smokies. We passed horse farms and streams. It was so beautiful. Our cabins are about 15 minutes from town, but it feels like it’s out in the middle of no-where. The great thing is the cabin has cable and wi-fi. So, as soon as I got the car unpacked I turned on the Michigan State vs UConn game. To my utter joy, MSU was in the lead.

What an exciting game. We watch the first half, leaving the cabin to go visit my sister and her family nearby. It took the entire half to get there and we arrived JUST in time to watch the second half. It was a great battle, but MSU got the upper hand with it’s up-beat style offense and tough defence and pulled off a great victory to win the semi-final game of the Final Four.

So, Monday will be a lot of fun. I’m in NORTH CAROLINA. I’ll be cheering for MICHIGAN STATE with my Green and White MSU hat and shirt. My goal is to go a location where there A LOT of North Carolina fans and be the ONLY MSU fan cheering my loudest for the Spartans.  Wait — no, I have a wife and kids.  I think I just watch it with my sister and her family. No, I’m not a chicken — I just don’t want to get hurt while I’m on vacation.

GO STATE!!!

Worship in silence can be moving

I knew today would be difficult. Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Today, I was dreading it.For those of you who know me, I love to sing. Not just to sing, but sing in worship of a Holy God. I really don’t enjoy it otherwise.

But, today was different. Today, I would be worshiping God WITHOUT singing, without talking, without verbally praying and even without whispering. I would be confessing sin, adoring God and praising whoGod is without a voice of any kind.

This is the second time in my life I’ve done this. But, it was a totally different response from my first. 16 years ago I went through a similar situation where I lost my voice and couldn’t participate in worship, but the whole time I kept feeling sorry for myself. Each second was focused on, “What if I never sing again? Will I ever be able to talk with a clear voice? What would happen to my career? God, I don’t understand.”

Today, I only asked that question once. And, the reply I heard was, “Greg, it’s NOT your voice. I gave it to you. I’m the one using it. I’m the one who gave you the idea to sing. I’m the one who gave you that gift. And, I’m the one who CAN and did take it away.” That’s when I said, “You’re right — who am I to say ANYTHING.” So, I spent the remainder of my time in church marveling at how incredible it is that I have a relationship with God at all.

The songs that were selected were ordained by God (as they are every Sunday). But, I sensed they were for me today. Each one made me turn to Christ. Each one reassured me that everything was okay because God is in TOTAL control. He’s not depending and waiting on me. He’s not putting his trust in a doctor’s ability to treat me. In fact, He’s ordained everything.

Then Bible study hour came and I think I may understand why trials come in people’s lives. Let me give you my perspective.

In 2 Peter 1:10 is says, “Therefore, be even more diligent to make your calling (salvation) sure.” In 2 Corinthians 13:5 is says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” While may say it’s a ‘sin’ to question your faith, the New Testament talks about it more than once. It looks like a command to me. The problem for me is, I really don’t WANT to. I don’t want to test my faith and force myself to question the foundation on which I stand. If I don’t want to, wouldn’t you think God is going to do something to FORCE me to do it?

I think so. I think because I like my comfortable world, God shakes it. He wants to see what I’m made of. He wants to test my faith, I’M suppose to be “diligent in making my calling sure.” He wants me to examine myself as to whether I’m in the faith. When He rocks our world with life changing moments we will either fall on our face before HIM (if we’re in the faith), or we’ll cry out with disgust to Him for making our lives miserable. He wants these moments to be precious times we won’t forget because they’re life changing.

When my friend Dan Cummings was struggling with cancer, I couldn’t understand how he could say his cancer was a blessing from God. I just couldn’t wrap my arms around that. NOW I CAN. I finally see that in Dan’s cancer, he was forced to be closer to God than he’d ever been. He understood that this was a test from God, not to be a mean God, but to put Dan in a position of total reliance on Him.

While my voice problem isn’t ANYTHING like cancer, my lack of voice could have a devastating effect on my career. But, for the first time I can honestly say — “this IS a blessing from God.” If it weren’t for my lack of voice, I wouldn’t have been able to witness one of the most incredible worship services ever. While I shed lots of tears, they weren’t self pity tears. They were tears of utter joy that God loves me so much. Why?  It’s only because of His Amazing Grace.

That’s not to say I won’t get frustrated. I’m human. But, now I understand what’s going on.

Health always seems to change you

I was asked by several friends to blog about what’s going on with me the last couple of months. So, I guess I will. I don’t typically like talking about myself, but in light of what’s going on and the fact I CAN’T talk for another day and a half, will will.

I’m going to go back to the end of October, 2008. I got a little tickle in my throat which caused a MAJOR cough. It got progressively worse. I was sick with the cough for six weeks. It affected my voice, but not too badly. However, I just couldn’t stop coughing. It was terrible. I finally got back to work just before Thanksgiving. But, a week after Thanksgiving I was pretty much over it.

Fast forward to January.  In the middle of January I got a little tickle and a cough, which got worse. On February 3, I lost my voice. I couldn’t talk well enough to broadcast. I felt like there was something in there…gunk (sorry to be so graphic). I thought I would be okay. That’s happened before. Typically cold or cough related illness I’m hoarse for a while, then it goes away. This time it hasn’t gone away. I have a terrible sounding voice and it’s lasted for almost a month.

On February 3, I went to the doctor. He put me on antibiotics thinking I had an upper resperatory infection. He also gave me some cough medicine. Unfortunately, it didn’t do anything for me. On February 24, I went back to the doctor to find out what we can do. He told me to take it easy — meaning, don’t over use my voice, and referred me to an Otolaryngologist.

On Friday, I met with my doctor. I told him I have a hiatal hernia, which had caused acid reflux before. I was told it created a voice issue with me before. He used a fiber-optic scope to look at my voice. It went in through my nose and went down into my voice. The doctor said my vocal cords looked red and swollen. He said there was damage, but it wasn’t irreversible. He didn’t seem certain about whether or not it was caused by acid reflux or not. He quickly put me on COMPLETE voice rest — no talking or whispering for three days. He also put me on two kinds of meds. One (Astelin) to get get rid of my congestion. I was also given Omeprazole to protect my esophagus from acid reflux.

It’s day two of no speaking. I cheated a little bit just to see if things were getting better. It’s not any better. If anything, it’s worse. So, I stopped making noise, hoping it will improve by the beginning of the week.

I’m trying to be positive about this. If I didn’t NEED my voice this week, I would settle back and wait for what God has for me. Unfortunately, my producer (and backup voice) is off Tuesday and Wednesday. The question is — will God give me my voice back?  It’s not totally gone. I have a voice. But, it sounds like I have laryngitis. It sounds like I’m on the beginning or tail end of a cold, which I’m not.

I have been praying throughout all this that God would use this to bring me closer to Him. I truly want that. But, I also want my voice back. I’m sure you all understand. Unfortunately (or fortunately), this is NOT my timing. It’s not MY way. It’s HIS way. He has me in this situation to bring Him more glory. It’s more of Him. Less of me. I am HIS slave. He chose me, bough me, provides for me, disciplines me, and guides me just as any master does. But, the great thing is that relationship doesn’t end there. He calls me FRIEND. That’s the best relationship to have — a slave with a perfect master. Perhaps I’m going to start talking Monday and my voice is going to be back with no issues. THAT truly would be amazing and totally from God. Or, maybe He’s going to allow me to struggle for months so I’ll seek Him more often.

What ever the case, pray with me that God’s will would be done and that MY will would be overcome.

A tribute to Dan Cummings

“We’re beggars who happened to have found bread” is a quote I remember vividly sitting under the teaching of Dan Cummings. As I looked at Dan for the first time I thought, “Wow, he’s small.”  Then after listening to him for the first time I thought, “Dan, I want MORE…give me more.”

We moved to West Michigan from East Michigan. I had never heard Grace preached like Dan preached. Deep inside I knew what I believed, but

Pastor Dan Cummings

Pastor Dan Cummings

was never able to verbalize it. Then I heard Dan preach the Gospel as I have heard no other preach. It was a breath of fresh air. Knowing that God had forgiven my sins completely and that He CHOSE me before the foundation of the world to be His.  That there was absolutely NOTHING this dead person could do to save himself. ‘But God, being rich in mercy…’ It was an unbelievable thing to process. How could he love me and want me to be His so badly? And, more importantly, what was I doing in return for this gratitude.

I had so many questions about salvation. “If God chooses us, why do we need to do ANY evangelism? If He can choose people, why doesn’t He choose everyone?  If God is, “not willing that any should perish and that all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9) Do people really have a free will? All of these questions were answered by God’s Word with love and grace. I was truly amazed by his love for the Word and the answers he gave.

Today, I’m a man who LOVES the Gospel because it means so MUCH to me. I’m truly amazed at grace. I marvel that God chose me for “honorable use” (Romans 9:21). I certainly don’t understand why he chose ME? There are certainly other people who deserve it more. I’m just a beggar who found bread given to me by a merciful and loving God.

I sat under Dan’s teaching for just three short years. But, today I still consider him THE man who helped me understand my salvation and what Christ’s death on the cross accomplished for me.  HE’S the one God chose to share the truth of the Gospel at a pivotal point in my life. He was the man God used to help Grace Community Church to start being a church of Grace in our community. He was such a gifted communicator that even my young kids came home talking about the messages they heard each Sunday, not just once in a while. Each Sunday we sat riveted, wondering what new truth he would help us understand.

I loved his passionate plea for a church to be more like an AA meeting — “Hi, I’m Greg Yoder, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner since birth…”  Instead of people in the pews putting on some kind of act, thinking they’ve got it altogether, when in reality we all fall short of God’s Holiness every day.  I remember when he actually did this in front of church and someone yelling from the back and said, “But, we love you Dan!”  Apart from Christ we can do absolutely NOTHING.  Even on our best day we’re smelly rags before God. “But, God….” We can’t help but love our sin, “But, God.”

If the world had more preachers like Dan Cummings, we’d have a lot less churches preaching ‘another Gospel, which really isn’t another Gospel’ (Galatians 1).

I wish I could write more about this man I called my captain. That comes from a movie both Dan and I enjoy, “Dead Poets Society.”  It’s a scene that reminds me of how many of us ‘reformers’ are viewed by those who claim Christ does some and we do something to earn our salvation.  Since Dan is the man who helped me understand truths of the Gospel, I’ve called him oh captain, my captain.

Oh, captain, my captain, a young pilgrim on his way to the City has arrived. Dan Cummings completed his journey Thursday February 5 at around 9:30pm at the age of 48 after suffering from cancer. He was a great fighter.

Here’s a quote from what Dan called HIS pastor, Jonathon Edwards:

“To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husband, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.”

On Dan’s blog on January 19, he wrote: “Jonathan Edwards’ physicians’ note to Sarah captures what I want for my life in these days: “This afternoon [Mar 22, 1758], between two and three o’clock, it pleased God to let him sleep in that dear Lord Jesus….”

If you’d like to see Dan’s writings during his sickness, you can go here: http://5pointscc.org/dan/

If you want a sense of Dan’s passion for the Gospel, watch this from John Irvine’s wonderful tribute. 

Thank you Dan for being true to God’s Word, true to your faith in living and in dying.  Til we meet again oh captain, my captain.

Mourning in Dan’s loss, rejoicing in Dan’s gain,

Greg Yoder

Democrats are Hypocrites

‘Change’ that’s all we heard about during the election. Elect Barack Obama and we’ll have change. He told us he would do away with corruption. He told us the sky is the limit, but I don’t think any of us understood completely what he had in mind.

It’s been a little over a week in the Obama administration. Let’s take a look at all he’s accomplished.

1. Obama names Timothy Geithner, who today won a closer-than-expected Senate confirmation Monday to become Treasury secretary after taking a pounding for his past tax flubs. (We’ll talk about this later)
2. He signed an executive order closing Guantanamo Bay Detention facility.
3. He put a halt to all terrorist prosecutions at ‘Club Guitmo.’
4. He revoked a ban on federal funding for international groups that provide or promote abortions.
5. He restricted interrogation techniques by the CIA.
6. Imposed lobbying restrictions.
7. While not yet completed, he’s pushing for an $800 billion bailout.

Those are just the highlights. I’m sure I left out a few. Let’s tackle them one at a time.

Obama’s Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is incredible. Under a Republican administration, this pick would have been crucified by democrats. They would have put out a full court press with the help of the media to oust him. However, because he is a democrat, everyone ignored his failing to pay self-employment taxes. Why the double standard?  While the vote was closer that expected, why was it even voted on at all?  Under a new administration who wants ‘change’ this is change alright — change for the worse.

Why did Obama sign an order to close Guantanamo Bay without having a plan on where to put the detainees.  With proof that many of those who have already been released are rejoining terrorist ranks in the Middle East, why would you deliberately cause this kind of instability in a country with a war on terrorism. What kind of signal is that sending to the enemy.

Coupled with that, he eliminated interrogation techniques. So, not only will we no longer have a place for terror suspects, now we’ll have to ask them politely what they know. I’m sure that because we’re being nice, they”ll give up information freely and graciously out of thanksgiving for good treatment.

And, to add insult to injury, all terrorist prosecutions are on hold. Isn’t that nice of the U-S?

Obama is now allowing our tax dollars to pay for abortions, killing the people we need to to be consumers. With nearly 1.1 million abortions each year in the U-S alone, we’re causing more problems for our nation. We’re already feeling the effects of the fewer number of Americans. We could really use those extra tax dollars from working people who purchase things like cars, homes, etc. That what drives our economy.

I have mixed feelings about lobbying restrictions. We live in a free county. It seems to me that we should be able to lobby if we want to. But, at the same time, many people have abused this. So, again, I’m not coming down on either side until I know more about his executive order.

And, finally, he’s pushing a socialistic plan that will basically bring government owned banks and other industries under the guise of economic stimulus. Under this package, officials have not been able to say how many jobs will be created. Some have projected about 2 million, but figure the cost per job and you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. Does that sound like a good deal to you?  Would you invest $300,000 of your own money so YOU could get a job?  First of all, I don’t have it. Secondly, I think I would rather come up with my own way to get a job.

So, how do I feel about the new administration?  I’m a little angry. I’m wondering how many of my freedoms will be taken away. The Obama administration has already talked about passing hate speach legislation, which will limit what Christians can say about people. Since the Bible calls homosexuality an abomination before God, that would be viewed as hate speech. The Bible says Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation, “No one comes to the Father but by Me.”  That, too, could be viewed as hate speech.

The Democrats have also suggested they will bring back the fairness doctrine, which should be called the unfairness doctrine. That could hurt Christian radio, especially (see christianradio.wordpress.com for more on that).

Greg In Ukraine — IEMF

I am on my way home from Ukraine, where I covered an historic event. It was the International Evangelical Missions Forum, sponsored by Russian Ministries.

The forum was the first of its kind to address a crisis in the church in the former Soviet countries.

The crisis is difficult to completely explain, but I will try. First, the church is on the decline. There are fewer people attending churches in these nations and it stems from a number of reasons. Many believe it’s because the church is stuck in tradition/legalism and not interested in providing worship that reaches and touches young people. Other suggest restrictions on religious freedom is causing part of the decline. Other suggest the emigration is causing part of the problem. And, yet other say evangelicals aren’t working together — not talking about these issues to help end the negative growth.

This forum saw nearly 200 leaders from many organizations and denominations from many countries in the former Soviet Union and they began talking. While no decisions were made about what to do about these issues, the groundwork was laid to see even more discuss to take place.

I’ve uploaded a short video for you to see what I saw.  Obviously, it’s not professional, but it was fun to do.

Guatemala Team finishes trip – October 11

What an incredible week we had in Guatemala! There were 26 of us from Michigan, Illinois, Texas and Edmonton who traveled to Guatemala to reach out to kids and see what Orphan Outreach is doing with orphanages, churches and communities.

Days one and two took us to Mrs. Patricia Arzu’s schools for poor children. Many of them are considered orphans by the U-N (they’ve lost one or more parents) and are either living in single parent families, or being taken care of by relatives. Mrs. Arzu, is the wife of Guatemala’s mayor (and former President of Guatemala) and has established child care center and schools to provide a place for poor adults to bring their kids to, to get an education, health care and most importantly, the Gospel.

Day three and four took us to Panabaj. We drove three hours west of Guatemala City, to see the work of Pastor Diego at The Good Shepherd’s Church. His church see more than 600 children in church. He wants to start a school. He’s also reaching out to the needs of those displaced by the mudslide of 2005 where an entire village was wiped out. The government says the area isn’t fit to rebuilt, so they’ve been abandoned.

Day five took us to Antigua where we visited an orphan called Casa Aleluyah, founded by Mike and Dottie Clark. They over see about 600 kids from infant to over 18. Their desire is to teach these kids how to be kids, give them an education, point them to Christ, encourage them to lead their peers in discipleship and church planting. The older kids now want to build a church for the community, so they can reach out with the Gospel.

Below, you’ll find a video about the entire week.  Enjoy it and continue to pray for the kids of Guatemala!