The end of evil

… Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single buildin’ down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today


Anne Murray released “A little good news” in September 1983. The song rose on the billboard charts and reached #1 and remained there for 20 weeks. The lyrics of the song are timeless because the pain and problems do not change in our world. Sadly, they only get worse and are reported more often than ever. The headlines were the same for previous generations and continue to darken the monologues on the nightly news. Evil is among us and evil is here to stay. For now but not forever.

A feel good story is refreshing to our souls like a spring rain and soothing as lap full of puppies. Yes, we all sure could use a little good news today Ann Murray.

There are countless philosophies that people hold concerning evil. I don’t occupy myself with philosophical speculations as to why a man shoots into a concert venue killing 58 people. Or why a man rents a Home Depot truck with the sole intent to kill. I don’t need to wonder why these things continue and get increasingly worse because I know why.

I am a simple-minded evangelical Christian. I believe and teach the Bible. I believe in absolutes and I believe in truth. In a world of speculation concerning evil there is an answer to the big one word question.Why? I need not speculate as a Christian because truth is absolute and unchangeable. I know the truth about evil because my God has revealed it to me in his book of truth.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Romans 5:12 

This inflexible position is intolerable in our post-modern and post-Christian American culture. Christians are perceived as stupid, uneducated and arrogant pin heads. I accept this false diagnosis of me. The world did not accept Jesus and his diagnosis of evil and its cure. As I proclaim his message I can expect to treated with contempt as well.

Consider for a moment the following scenario.

Is an Oncologist a stupid, uneducated, ignorant liar when he accurately diagnoses cancer? Does a reasonable patient brush off the truth? Does he reject the doctor, the diagnosis and the treatment? No, because when the facts are absolutely true the patient will accept them and do all that is required so that the cancer does not kill them.

Life is full of facts, truth and absolutes. But when it comes to evil, its origins, and its consequences, the world rejects truth and enters into all kinds of religious philosophies and off the wall speculations. They reject the doctor, they reject the diagnosis and in so doing they reject the cure.

The bible diagnoses every man as having terminal spiritual cancer. There is evil present in us all that brings forth death for the soul and the flesh. The payment for sin is always death. That’s the bad news for all of us. We can reject the truthful diagnosis, we can reject the treatment, we can reject the gracious cure but if we do death will win and we have only ourselves to blame.

Breaking news! This is the moment where the headlines speak of rescue and heroism. A breath of fresh air in a landscape that reeks of death and disaster. When hope is seen in a hopeless world. We sure could use a little good news today, and there it is on the front page of the bible. Spiritual cancer was cured, life is given and death has no more sting! Yet the world turns off the good news and rejects the story of truth to their own demise. The story of the cross is foolishness to those who do not believe.

I stand with a few who hold this unbending way of thinking and faith. I am a Christian therefore I stand with Jesus and he stands beside me, therefore I am on solid ground. He humbly proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” and affirmed the scriptures saying to his Father, “Your word is truth.” I say what he says, and I proclaim the good news today of what he has done to crush evil.

The good news story concerning evil and its ultimate destruction took place in Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. On a cross, on account of sin, Jesus, the Righteous One, took our evil. He was made sin for us and imputed his righteousness unto all who believe in the good news, the gospel concerning him, his death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God.

But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not ony that, but we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now  received the reconciliation.  Romans 5:8-11

There is no greater good news story in the headlines than this. Evil was overcome, evil must run its course but evil has an ultimate end. Evil will eventually be history and evil has no future storyline. That’s the good news for today!

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21;3-5







Black Beauties: A commentary on Hidden Figures

Take One

I was born on the day that senator Robert Kennedy was shot by the hands of Sirhan Sirhan. On June 5th, 1968 I came into a world of terrible social injustice and hatred of black Americans. Two months prior to my birth on April the 4th, 1968 my Christian brother and fellow American Dr. King was shot and killed by James Earl Ray.


I am not old enough to remember segregation because I was born in the era to end it. When I see the historical images of the prejudice, hatred, segregation and oppression I am shocked by the America that preceded my birth. I am a white man in rural white northern Michigan without a context to understand those times.bobby

I was reminded of this America in a vivid way last Saturday evening. I rocked back in my theater seat enjoying my popcorn with my wife and friends as the struggle of the 1960’s was masterfully presented to us. We came to see the film Hidden Figures and it did not disappoint. Last Saturday many women assembled nationwide to be heard in Washington DC as I watched a movie about how black women changed American prejudice in a much different way. It may shock you to hear that it was done in a manner that was very quiet and very Christian.

Jesus was from Nazareth, a northern Galilee hick town with a bad reputation. No one significant ever came from there. But Jesus, the oppressed and unjustly hated Jew became the most significant and single most influential person ever to walk this earth. In the face of injustice, prejudice, mocking and eventual murder he overcame it all and turned our world upside down. Nothing in our world would ever be the same after he gave his life.

In many ways these black beauties working for NASA overcame similar injustices. The film beautifully pays tribute to the manner in which they defeated racial and sexual discimination. What stuck out to me most in Hidden Figures is that these obscure no name women responded to oppression the same way Jesus did. Through humble service and meekness they dramatically changed their world and the world of those who followed in their wake.

Take two – America first

The women were driven by a higher purpose than themselves. America was in the space race and nothing else mattered except getting John Glenn on the moon before the end of the decade. Despite the oppression and injustice they put their noses down and did their jobs making themselves invaluable to the mission. There was never a more unjustly oppressed man than the sinless Son of God yet despite this he set his face towards the cross to accomplish his Father’s mission. In a similar way these black beauties were selfless and driven for something greater than themselves. This is truly a dying spirit in America I am afraid.

The women suffered in the workplace but overcame the cruelty in a very Christian way. These black beauties were humble, respectful, and gracious in the face of ugly oppression. There was a Christian principle they followed throughout the film, it reads like this-

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. – 1 Peter 2:18 ESV

The hidden figures suffered wrongfully but were never presented as harsh and retaliatory. These ladies had an internal beauty that was obvious to God and all who observed their good conduct. (1 Peter 3:1-6 ) They followed the example of Jesus in refusing to speak evil against their oppressors, nor did they pursue vengeful retaliation as Dr. King taught them.


For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.- 1 Peter 2:21-23 ESV

My take

True Christianity rejects moral relativity and the culture is growing increasingly more intolerant and hostile to absolute truth and Christianity. Opposition and intolerance are the embers of persecution and the fire has already started in America. Will the American Christian stand up and march, or will we humbly follow Jesus as these African-American women did? We are getting a slight taste of persecution, injustice, oppression and what will our response be? Perhaps American privilege has caused us to forget our higher calling to suffer joyfully for the name of Jesus.

As the credits rolled I thought that these women shined as examples of the Christian faith in the face of terrible injustice. I am not sure if they were confessing believers but their life sure reflected it. The film inspired me to follow the example of Jesus and of these women to persevere in the faith whatever the cost.

Live godly in a godless culture and you will suffer persecution. But the benefits must never be forgotten by those who desire to live this way. There is the benefit of grace and glory for all who suffer wrongly for doing all the right things. Jesus suffered and the Christian will suffer because of his name as well. Remember, and be encouraged by the words of Peter the persecuted apostle on how to defeat the roaring lion.

Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11 ESV

I am not a film critic, I am just an American Christian. I give this movie a five-star rating and two thumbs up despite my lack of credentials. I recommend it as a must see!

A Christmas confession

I am struggling with holiday depression. I feel its heavy pull today so I write with the reins in hand pulling back hard to keep me from writing too deep into the darkness I feel. All is well and good in my life and yet my soul is cast down- and so it goes, no reason to be sullen but darkness overshadows me.This is our third Christmas without Jacob and this is my current struggle without him during this Christmas season. IMG_1437

The world loves to expose a Christian hypocrite. A hypocrite wears a pretentious mask and desires the applause of men rather than that of God. Hypocrisy is nauseating to God and man so I decided to reveal what Christmas has become to this Christian since the death of my son. Confession is good for the soul they say. Maybe…hopefully.

It is Christmas time, I am a Christian, but my mind is rarely on the incarnation of Son of God at this time of year. Actually my thoughts concerning the birth of Jesus are elevated more around the Easter season- he was born to die and give his life a ransom for many. My confession to you (so all pretense is gone) is that Christmas for me is more about family than about Bethlehem, and Easter is more about Jesus and Calvary and less about family.

All the Christmas sights, the sounds, the smells and the bells lead my heart and my mind to one place this time of year. My Jacob. Everything about this season reminds me of him and family, not of grandiose thoughts of my Lord. This admission to myself last week was a bit of a personal revelation. I concluded after much thought that Christmas for me is more about family than about Christ. This confession makes me feel very unchristian but at least I am not a hypocrite I suppose. Lying is always bad, but lying to God and myself is worse and just plain stupid.

We say the cliché, “Remember the reason for the season.” What exactly does that mean? It can mean many things to different people. I know what it should mean to me as a Christian but it’s just not evidenced in my life. Jesus is the reason for the season but how I long for family more than him most of the time. My heart aches terribly for my son this time of year. All I see and hear reminds me of him and stirs up my pain. I wish I could say that all that I see and hear makes me ache for the Son of God; but it doesn’t and that is my terribly honest confession.

Merry Christmas my friends

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David as preached in my gospel. -2 Timothy 2:8




Grief withdrawals

It is 3:45 AM and I can’t sleep again. At least this time I wasn’t awakened by night terrors. Stress seems to trigger certain things in grief like restlessness and nightmares. There is a veiled part of grief that I carry that most do not see or recognize. I am struggling with it greatly at the moment, it is something I hate and have dealt with before and assume I will deal with in the future.

I call it the withdrawals of grief. Irritability to commotion and disdain for group gatherings  heightens, stress seems to be the trigger and grief tends to be magnified with the stress. I want to pull away, I need to escape the chaos so I begin to withdraw myself from group gatherings.

I find it hard to be around happy people during these times. It is difficult to laugh and I find it hard to smile. Life takes on a more serious tone and silliness is annoying to me. I feel like oil and water in large groups and I just can’t blend in naturally. Irritability greatly heightens and it is just better for everybody if I pull away and disappear for a while.

This desire to withdraw creates an unnatural dilemma in my life. There is a large group of people I love greatly who have been an anchor for me in troubled times and in good times. They are my church family of whom I find myself pulling away from at the moment. It is unnatural because the church is the place where Christians go for fellowship, to be built up, strengthened and encouraged. The building itself is troubling to me at times as well. My kids grew up there and four of my family members including my son laid in caskets in the very place I teach from every Sunday. Bitter sweet memories grab me every Sunday as I enter this place. I want to run, I want to fly away, I want to withdrawal.

My heart is severely pained within me,
And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me,
And horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off,
And remain in the wilderness. Selah

I would hasten my escape
From the windy storm and tempest.”

Psalm 55:4-8







Even the birds have a song

I still have no song in my heart and I feel almost unchristian to make such an honest confession. I do not make melody in my heart, or whistle a tune or catch myself humming a hymn. My harmonica is tarnished and dusty from lack of use and I have not desired to play it in a long time. I am not nearly as pained by the sound of music as I was 28 months ago but I still react and withdraw from much of it most of the time.

I can evaluate my grief and sorrow by the way I react to music. I know I have a ways to go in my healing by the response I feel in my heart. Solomon said, “Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes of a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.” (Proverbs25:20) I know the chill that he speaks of and have experienced the explosive internal reaction that is described in this truth.

My church family stand to sing praise to God and I feel no compulsion to join in but am rather satisfied to just pray and listen to the harmony of their praise. I wait eagerly for the last note of music to be over so I can listen to the sweet sound of the word of God. I am an enigma I suppose, few people in this world can get through a day without music but I happen to be one of them.

Solomon had the wealth to purchase his own personal singers and musicians and he said in his pursuit of meaning that it was all an empty endeavor (Ecclesiastes 2:8). Some may wonder if I even have joy without a song to sing but I can assure those who might doubt that I definitely do. I affirm with the greatest songwriter ever that my joy, like his joy, is found someplace other than music. Actually many of the songs David wrote were the epression of his deepest joy that he found in the word of God. He said, “The precepts of he Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” (Psalm 19:8) and “My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.” (Psalm 119:172)

My joy is found in the same place as David but is expressed differently than song.
I want a song in my heart again. I really don’t like this about myself and as I said, I feel very unchristian because of it. It is unnatural. Even nature sings the praises of God their creator, this truth became alive to me each morning as I watched the son rise in Mexico. The birds sang beautifully, the waves roared loudly and the palms clapped their hands in the wind. Yet here I sit, without a song on my lips- it is natural for all God’s creatures give him praise and certainly we who are made in his image should shout to the Lord as well.

The only exception I can find in the bible is the one I quoted at the start. I guess I still walk with a heavy heart and only God and time can mend the broken hearted. Some morning I will awaken and sing a new song and someday I truly believe that I will hear God himself sing over Israel. For he has promised them this, “Fear not O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:16-17)

Even so, come Lord Jesus and sing over us all.



20 years of amazing grace

I have a terrible confession to make. I drive over the speed limit most of the time….there it’s out, and now you all know my darkest secret. We travel allot and I tend to set the cruise at 75mph on the expressway. I do this because there is an unwritten understanding between drivers and cops, 5 to 10 over will get you a pass but anything over 10 you are at risk of getting stopped. A person might be danger of receiving a $75 ticket on their way to a Good Friday service if they went too fast. (Confession #2) Jesus showed me grace and mercy on that Good Friday but unfortunately the officer did not.

I grew up around conservative Christianity but was totally confused about what a Christian was. Christian home, Christian churches, Christian education, Christian culture, Christian this, Christian that, was nothing more to me than a speed limit that I continually exceeded in life. Sammy Hagar rocked out a song in the 80’s called, “I cant drive 55” and I felt like keeping the “Christian” speed limit in life was impossible. You know what? I was right and I didn’t even know it.sign

There was picture painted for me that I was confused by in the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. Evangelicals set the rules of conduct with all the do’s and the don’ts and I made efforts to conform to their image, but my square peg never fit into their round hole. What I know now and didn’t know then was this, “For by the works of the law NO HUMAN BEING will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:30) I think back to those days and wonder if I ever heard a message about grace. I am sure I did but not to my recollection. I just remember all the set rules and speed limits. Thankfully the true message of grace pierced my soul and I was redeemed by Jesus.

My spiritual birthday is in a couple of weeks, I was born again on February 5th 1996. 20 years of the abundant life is behind my back now and the longer I am in the faith the more I realize I am still exceeding the speed limits. The more I understand scripture (the law of God) the more I realize I need grace everyday. Confession #3, I am still a filthy habitual sinner who cannot keep the law of God but thankfully my sin is no match against the grace of God. Paul says, “Now the law came to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20) This is good news if you are a sinner. If you say your not a sinner then you just lied, which is a sin, and now your in the same boat with me. Welcome aboard! (1 John 1:10)

20 years ago I entered into a, “no condemnation” relationship with Jesus, I am fully clean in the eyes of God because of the imputed righteousness of Christ on my behalf. (Romans 8:1) He took my sin and I received his righteousness. This truth scares the pants of of some Christians so they become heavy on law and externals and create a plastic faith without depth, hence all my past confusion about the faith.

Then there are those Christians or “Christians” who see the forgiveness of Christ as a free pass to live as they choose to live because of grace. These are often the people who see God as love but not as a just judge over sin. Paul answers this issue, he said, “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means.” (Romans 6:15) Anybody who truly loves Jesus Christ will not have this attitude.

20 years ago Mike Fekete died and a new Mike Fekete was born. I was enslaved to various passions and lusts, I was breaking the speed limits that God had posted in my heart but I ignored them. God pulled me over and offered me grace to cover my sins and set me free from my debt. In 20 years of walking with Jesus I have learned that his law is in place for my good and I am commanded to obey it. Yet I don’t, and this is why I need grace for today, I am in process- he’s still workin’ on me. But I love him too much to treat lightly his grace and mercy.

When I was young I was shown a Christian rulebook that frustrated me, I couldn’t keep the rules so I quit trying. I was a slave to sin. I got caught breaking the law and had to enter traffic court and stand before God the Judge, I was guilty. God waived the penalties and set me free by his mercy and grace. When I stood from my knees on the February evening in 1996 I became a liberated and un-condemned man when I left his courtroom. Court is adjourned and his verdict is final, I am not waiting for death to be judged, he has judged us all already. (John 3) Now I live for him who died for me and am careful not to tread over his grace by sinning against him. Praise God for his boundless grace!

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22-23)