New in 2016

Did last year fly by as swiftly for you as it did for us? It seemed one minute we were blowing off fireworks for the Fourth of July and the next minute we were spreading the table for Thanksgiving. We barely dried the dishes from that scrumptious feast and we were gathered around the Christmas tree, opening presents and celebrating the birth of Christ.

Now January 2016 is already behind us and I’m pretty sure this year will fly by just as quickly, which leads me to the specific and exciting purpose of this edition of the Praiseletter.

The End of 2015

Over year’s end, my wife Linda, my daughter Jennifer, our website and social media consultant Dave, and I spent several days discussing, strategizing, and praying about 2016 and beyond.

We looked at the past and rejoiced in God’s faithfulness: His provision, guidance, and protection. He has certainly protected us physically through the miles and miles of travel both here and abroad. Even more importantly, He has protected the integrity of this ministry and by His grace has kept us on a course that has not detoured from His call to present the gospel and lift up the name of Jesus.

We carefully examined the present to assess what things we are doing well, what areas if any need improvement or refocusing, and whether or not there are things that have run their course.

I’ve often said, “We run a lean mean machine” and I do believe that is an apt description of our ministry. We desire to remain unencumbered by anything not aligned with our calling.

As we look toward the future, I am very excited about several new opportunities which I believe will enable us to reach more people, stay connected with them in a more personal way, and minister more effectively into their lives.

The Frustration I’ve Endured for Over 45 Years

For over forty-five years I’ve traveled to every state in our country and twenty plus countries around the world. Always, I have sung and presented in testimony and preaching the truth of God’s word. As a result many have come to faith in Christ and lives have been truly transformed by the power of the gospel.

My frustration has often been that after we leave the concert venue and community, we are unable to have much continued interaction with those whose lives have been so significantly touched.

Years ago when we were touring with the band, Dallas Holm and Praise, we would jokingly say, “I wish we could figure out a way for all these people to come visit us.” Now of course, through the miracle of modern technology and the internet, that’s a very real possibility.

We, of course, will continue to travel and minister as we have for these many years, but I believe we now have opportunity to connect with the friends of our ministry in new and exciting ways.

I’ll confess, I’m not a computer whiz but I’m learning. Linda and I have been surprised how many of our generation and older do much, if not most, of their communication via the internet. Hence, we are embarking on a new course of action which will not in any way replace that which we already do, but I believe will greatly enhance it.

While there is much I will share in coming weeks and months, today I would like to share with you something that we are very excited about.

For the First Time Beginning In March

In March I will be launching the first of several Q & A session videos. As I mentioned above, leaving a location after the concert always left the desire to connect beyond the gathering. Now, as a faithful subscriber of the Praiseletter we can, indeed, connect beyond the gathering.

Next month all who are subscribed to the Praiseletter will receive a link to a special Q&A session with me. We will continue to produce additional Q&A session videos on the months the Praiseletter is not released. Each month subscribers will have the opportunity to submit questions and I will take time to answer some of these on video and share them with you.

How You Can Participate

So, now over to you! I’d love to hear what God has put on your heard and answer any questions or share any stories that might bless you, your family and the season of life you are currently in.

To submit your question, click here. Our team will go through all the questions and select the ones that we believe will build our relationship together as well as God’s Kingdom here on earth.

The next Praiseletter will be entitled, The God of All Comfort. The ministry continues….and as they say, “Stay tuned…”

In Christ,

Dallas Holm

The Christmas Story

We have in our family a Christmas tradition which has now endured for over sixty years. Our family has always chosen to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus and all related joys of the Christmas season on Christmas Eve day.

Some would argue that the “related joys” such as lights, presents, decorations, and all that accompanies what we call Christmas have no place in the Christian celebration. I would beg to differ however. I believe every twinkling light, every gift exchanged and even those poor inflatables that come to life in the yard at night and lie sadly deflated during the day, serve a purpose, though perhaps unintended.

They all testify to the fact that something happened! God invaded history in a manger in Bethlehem and the world has never been the same. Now I would certainly concede that one can go too far in all this celebratory extravagance, but the fact remains if Jesus isn’t given in a manger, there are no lights, presents, carols or anything we refer to as the Christmas season. Thus, “…all things in moderation” remains a good guide.

A Family Christmas Dinner

Our family gathers for the traditional Christmas meal (at least at our house) of Swedish meatballs, even though we’re mostly Norwegian in our heritage. Our children used to and now our grandchildren continue to suffer through the slow motion process of adults enjoying a wonderful meal. Comments like, “Oh, these mashed potatoes are the best!” or “I think I will have one more meatball,” seem so meaningless compared to the desire to dive into the sea of presents at the base of the Christmas tree.

Then the dreaded conversation every child mourns at the end of the meal…”Should we do the dishes before or after presents?” To a child anxiously waiting to see if they’ll get to utter those wonderful words…. “Oh, that’s just what I’ve always wanted”, a conversation about doing dishes is as deflating as what the blow up Santa in the front yard will experience in the morning.

Then, in a surprising if not miraculous turn of events, one of the adults (usually me) says, “The kids are excited, let’s open presents, we can do the dishes later.” (I’m good at the “presents” announcement but a little weak on the “we” part of doing dishes.)

With great excitement and unbridled energy the children rush to the living room as meatball, mashed potato laden adults follow carefully and slowly behind. Still, before presents are exchanged there is one more detail to take care of, a tradition to be observed. The reading of the Christmas story.

My Christmas Story Tradition

When I was four years old, my mom and dad bought a Christmas story gift set. It contains a spiral bound book containing two Christmas carols: While Shepherds Watched and Away in a Manger. It also contains a short and sweet account of the age old Christmas story replete with wonderful illustrations. The set also contains a 3D cardboard nativity scene which must be assembled by inserting tab A into slot A and so on.

As I write this account, I’m a little teary-eyed as I remember being a small boy sitting around the tree as mom, dad or perhaps my brother would read the story. One day I would be old enough to read the story myself and this would surely be a significant rite of passage.

Speaking of passage, the years have come and gone, our daughter and then our son have read the story often. Now our grandkids have read it. Not that long ago our now fourteen year old grandson, Jacob, read the story while Sophia held the all-important star of Bethlehem (a flashlight) to illuminate the manger scene. Sophia is now twelve and such a reader of books. In recent years Sophia has read the story and Alex held the star. Maybe Alex, now seven, will read this year while Caleb (3) holds the star, though I fear the star will be moving and shining everywhere. Ava, just short of a year old is waiting in the wings to someday shine and read as follows:

Mary and Joseph were on the way to Bethlehem. Mary rode on a donkey. Joseph led the donkey carefully over the rough roads. They had traveled all day and now it was growing dark.

At last they came to an inn. “Have you any room for us?” Joseph asked the innkeeper. “No, there is no room in the inn,” the innkeeper replied.

The innkeeper looked at Mary. He saw how tired she was. Then he said, “If you like, you may sleep in the stable. There is some clean hay that will make a soft bed for you.”

“Thank you sir,” said Joseph. Joseph helped Mary off the donkey. He led her into the stable. They were both glad to have a place to rest.

There in the stable, In the quiet night-time, God sent His Son to be Mary’s Baby. There was no bed for the little Jesus in the stable.

“I will make a bed for the Baby in the Manger,” Mary said to Joseph.

Mary wrapped her Baby in some soft, white cloth and carefully laid him in the manger on some sweet hay.

Out in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were watching their flocks. The sheep were resting quietly while the shepherds were gathered around the fire talking together.

Suddenly a bright light shone around them. The shepherds had never seen such a bright light before. And they were afraid.

Then an angel appeared. The angel said, “Do not be afraid, for I bring you tidings of great joy. Jesus is born in Bethlehem. You will find Him lying in a manger there.”

And as the shepherds listened to the wonderful news the heavens were filled with angels saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

“Let us go and see this thing that has happened,” the shepherds said. And they hurried across the fields to Bethlehem.

(The Christmas Story By: Ruth S. Gray Warren Press 1952)

So this Christmas let’s read the story again. Let’s tell the story every day of our lives through the words we speak and the way we live. Let’s shine the light on the reality of Christ and the truth of His word just as surely and clearly as God lit up the sky over that little manger in Bethlehem so long ago.

May all we are and all we do express The Christmas Story

In Christ,

Dallas Holm

Enlightened. Equipped. Engaged.

After writing a couple pointed articles concerning false teachers, I had sort of hoped to “lighten up” a bit this time around. Though I’ve received many letters, texts and comments from people saying how much they appreciated the bible based, direct, “Take no prisoners” approach to highlighting and exposing the realm of false teachers; still I felt maybe we all needed a little respite.

These however are increasingly difficult and darkening days. There is an eternal rest for all true believers just ahead, but now, perhaps more than ever before, it’s time for every true Christian to “discern the times”, be serious about their calling and be enlightened, equipped and engaged.

Be Enlightened. Be Equipped. Be Engaged

Enlightened as to what the “enemy” is up to and how he is attacking: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8) “The Thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy…” (John 10:10)

Equipped with the whole armor of God: “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

Engaged in the struggle: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)

I was watching a program just recently that was highlighting five different Americans who because of their religious convictions had either been terminated from a vocational position, sued by someone, shamed by the media, persecuted by the government or in some cases, all of the above. Recently a county clerk in Kentucky was jailed for refusing to sign marriage licenses for homosexual couples on the grounds of bible-based religious convictions. Some argued the clerk was a public official and must therefore obey the law recently delivered by the Supreme Court. That’s a valid discussion to be had and explored, but my point is that in each and every case it was Christianity that was being attacked, not protocols, floral arrangements, wedding cakes, T-shirts or even in the case of one, exemplary service in a high position of law enforcement. No, it was their biblical beliefs, religious convictions and Christian character that was the real target of the persecutors, and persecution it is!

We Are Not Protected from Bullies

Though our religious freedoms are clearly to be respected and protected under the constitution, there is a tidal wave of non-tolerant, politically correct “bullies” who have had just about enough of this Jesus!

The real question is, are there enough sold out, “crucified with Christ”, blood bought warriors in the Army of the Most High God who have had just about enough of this Devil?

Remember, we must love the sinner as Jesus does (and most certainly did with us) and demonstrate His love toward them as…”God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)

We must not however, confuse loving sinners and hating sin. In fact, it is in our commitment to fight the enemy and expose his lies and his schemes (according to scripture) that we do show our love and concern for the sinner because “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

Persecution Is Coming to A Theater Near You

Persecution is coming to a theater near you!

That’s a bit of a twist on a clever little saying that’s bounced around for years. It is however, and I’m convinced, a reality with ever increasing momentum, the effects of which, we who believe, will feel more and more in the days ahead. “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Eph. 6:13)

Are we doing everything? Are we “fighting the good fight”? Will we live in fear, or confidence, knowing that where sin abounds, grace will abound more. (See Rom. 5:19-21)

Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Ephesians: “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, (truth brings freedom) and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (live holy) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (trust in the power of the gospel) in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith (our protection) with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, (His crowning glory) and the sword of the Spirit, (our greatest weapon) which is the Word of God.” (Eph. 6:14-17)

We’re in the battle of the ages
In the Lord’s army there’s no retreat
Fighting against the powers of darkness
For us there is no defeat

Truth has defeated the deceiver
Hell has no power to wound the Son
So why do we fight like we’re losing the battle
When the victory’s already won?

From: It’s War, Change the World, Dallas Holm

Be Enlightened. Be Equipped. Be Engaged!

In Christ,

Dallas Holm

A Request to Help Us Continue Our Work

Continuing the work God has prepared for Praise Ministries relies on your financial support. Last month, there were many of you who generously gave. If that was you, thank you.

If you’d like to continue to donate to the continuing of our Kingdom work, you can do so on our website here. I would also like to challenge those of you who currently do not have any causes you contribute financially to, to consider making a donation to our ministry. You can make your first contribution here.

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to what God has next for us – “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Wolves Among the Sheep

In my last post (Hey Jude) I expressed my concern in regards to false teachers that seem to abound these days. Like the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, they seem to be among us in an often discomforting close proximity. Under the guise of “ministry” they sneak in amongst the flock, having an outward appearance that’s rather sheep-like but underneath are ravenous predators seeking to devour both the weak and the strong.

That last statement is noteworthy! I am amazed how many Christians who have presumably walked with the Lord for many years are being deceived and led astray from the true gospel by these false teachers.

I have a close friend who is a rancher up in Wyoming. Some years ago when mis-guided, uninformed environmentalists sought to re-introduce wolves into the Yellowstone area of Wyoming, my friend became a significant voice for the ranchers who expressed great concern about this re-seeding of highly skilled predators in their backyard. Sure enough, it’s been a disaster on many levels, but that’s a whole other story for discussion elsewhere.

Killing Only the Weak and Wounded?

I would like to point out however, that one of the most popular lines used to promote the “pro-wolf ” movement was: “they only kill the weak and the wounded.” Absolutely, categorically not true! There is ample and credible evidence to the contrary. Many verified accounts and photographic documentation of the dozens of elk, herds of sheep, prize domestic bulls and more, bear testament to the fact that wolves kill both the weak and the strong.Does this mean wolves are evil, demon possessed animals? No, they’re just wolves doing what wolves do. I had a close encounter some years ago with wolves as I was hunting in Alaska. An entire family of wolves, a male (probably 180 lbs.), a jet black female and four half grown pups presented themselves at about 50 yards. We viewed each other for a while and then I shot them all….with a video camera!

Had you worried for a moment, didn’t I? They’re a beautiful animal, and I have a great respect for their cunning and ferocity. As I consider God’s creation of both the sheep and the wolf, I am reminded of the scripture, “I am the Lord….causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” (Is. 45:7) As someone said, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf!”

I think it’s interesting that of all the creatures He created, the one He uses to symbolize the terrible danger of false teachers is the shrewd, cunning and highly efficient predator, the wolf!

The Wolf that Puts On Sheep’s Clothing

Many are probably familiar with one of Aesop’s Fables which talks about a wolf that put on sheep’s clothing so he could fool the shepherd and the flock into believing he was a lamb. Where do you suppose Aesop got this idea for that fable? It’s interesting to note that in Aesop’s story, the shepherd returned to the flock at night to gather meat for the next day. The wolf in sheep’s clothing was killed as one of the sheep! Oops!So, how do we recognize false teachers? What will their judgment be? How do we stand against them?

For the answers to these questions we must go to the Scriptures.

Peter, in his second epistle, writes to warn believers about the false teachers who are peddling damaging doctrine. He contrasts the life of a Christian, typified by moral excellence, self-control, knowledge, perseverance, godliness, and selfless love against that of the false teacher. He says (by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) they are sensual, arrogant, greedy and covetous.

I believe it’s interesting to note that false teachers are identified more by how they are and how they act than by what they say. If you are greedy you will pervert scripture in a way that will satisfy your greed. Beware of those ministries that spend most of their time continually, if not exclusively, asking for your money, promising such things as “large miracles for large offerings.”

Oh the shame of selling or putting a dollar amount on a miracle! Arrogance abounds these days as self-proclaimed “prophets” presume to be the only ones qualified to “speak the word of the Lord” when in fact, God has spoken clearly, definitively and completely through His Word.

You get the picture; bad character promotes bad theology and false teaching.

One might ask, “Why would a Christian minister go down this path?” I would submit that they likely were never on the right path to begin with.

John addresses this issue in his first letter starting at the eighteenth verse: “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us…” (I John 2:18-19)

If that was a problem and a prediction two thousand years ago, how much more should we heed this warning today.

Could anyone knowingly perverting scripture, taking out of context Spirit inspired words to build their own kingdoms and live their own pockets be considered for Christ?

I’ll let you answer.

Building Different Kingdoms

Let me pause for a moment and clarify a point some of you may be raising. Is every ministry that asks for financial help wrong in doing so? Absolutely not! My wife and I support several wonderful ministries and have for years. If they didn’t make their needs known we wouldn’t know how to respond appropriately. I think you understand the difference between these types of ministries and those that seem to exist for no other reason than to build their kingdoms, their bank accounts, and their image.Jude gives us ample description of false teachers. “…these men defile the flesh, reject authority…..are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 1:8-13)

How will they be judged? Jude continues; “And about these (false teachers) also Enoch…prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Let’s pause for a moment. Remember, the context of these verses is not about the ungodly in general but false teachers in particular. He goes on to say, “…they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” (Jude 1:14-16)

What is our defense against such as these? It’s really quite simple I believe. The Word of God! “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Ps. 119:105)

Hunting Predators at Night

Most of you know I’m an outdoorsman. One of my favorite things to do is hunt predators at night. We have a significant problem where we live with both coyotes and wild hogs. There have been some coyote attacks just recently in the news, due to overpopulation of these predators. Both children and pets have been cited as victims of these confrontations.I like to go into the woods at night – predators usually prefer the cover of darkness, sit down by a tree and begin to make a sound like a wounded rabbit – predators are particularly drawn to the helpless. Often, in extreme darkness I can’t see the coyote or wild hog but I can hear, sometimes smell them – many predators smell.

I hope you’re getting all the symbolism!

When through sound, smell or sometimes just God given instinct, I sense the predator is within range, I hit my light mounted to my weapon and in that moment of illuminated exposure I dispatch the varmint.
So should we now be able to expose the false teaching predators by the light of God’s Word and so will His judgment one day dispatch those who have preyed on the sheep of His flock!

What We Are Seeing Happen In Our Country

Harsh, you may say? Friends, these are critical times. We have seen things happen in our country in recent days that we would never have imagined a short time ago. Lawlessness is on the increase, evil men are growing worse, as scripture predicted and the church is being assaulted and sadly often weakened by political correctness, shallow preaching and compromise of all sorts.But The Shepherd is not fooled and neither should His sheep be led astray!

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them…I am the good shepherd; and I know my own and my own know me.” (John 10:11-14)

He knows and we should know and be aware as well that there are true sheep and there are Wolves Among The Sheep.

In Christ,

Dallas Holm

A Special Request

In the past supporting our gospel work was supported primarily through my music and concerts. You can still purchase music here and see my concert schedule here.

Today, our ministry relies on your financial support. If you’d like to donate to our continuing Kingdom work, you can do so here.

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to what God has next for our work together.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
(Lennon – McCartney)

I’m sure the writers of this well-known Beatles classic did not receive their inspiration from the book of Jude in the Bible.  It is interesting and often beneficial however, for us to glean from the secular, things which point our attention to the scriptures.

I recently was studying the book of Jude and of course the song, Hey Jude, became firmly lodged in my brain for the rest of the day.  I went online to find the lyrics of the song and, as is often the case with Beatles songs (especially in their drug-induced, eastern religion days), just about the time you think you may know what they’re saying, you realize you actually don’t have a clue.  This becomes apparent as you find yourself singing along with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.  You’re in Strawberry Fields Forever proclaiming I Am The Walrus! 

All together now… “I’d like to be under the sea in an octopus’s garden in the shade.”  I rest my case!

It occurs to me that there may be some reading this letter who are not familiar with the Beatles or their music.  Before you send in your “Please cancel my subscription” notice, allow me to continue…

In reading the book of Jude, I was struck with how pointedly the author exposes false teachers.  Historically, God revisits His judgment on those who willfully depart from His instruction, citing those who fell into disbelief after God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt.  Jude 1:5 says:  “the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.”

He goes on to reference the plight of rebellious angels.  “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6

Jude goes on to point out Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities who indulged in gross immorality and incurred the punishment of eternal fire.  In each case, the inference is that the aforementioned had all at one time heard the Word of the Lord and known the truth, but willfully departed from that very truth.  It is assumed that there were some who led the rebellion against God and truth and others simply followed.  However, in the end they all received the same judgment and punishment.

Most scholars believe Jude was one of Jesus’s brothers.  It must have been quite a journey to have grown up with the Son of God as your brother.  Prior to Christ’s resurrection, Jude apparently did not believe (see John 7:1-9).  Ironically, Jude probably grew up thinking his brother was some kind of false teacher, when in fact, He was not just a dispenser of truth, He was The Truth!

After the resurrection and surrounding events, Jude becomes a believer (see Acts 1:14) and I believe this is one of the reasons he offers such an indictment against false teachers.  Now, knowing The Truth in a unique and full context, he is most compelled to expose liars!

Jude goes on to list characteristics of false teachers.  They’re dreamers, they defile the flesh (immoral), they reject authority and flippantly revile angelic majesties (referring possibly to heavenly angels, but certainly to Satan’s hoards).

He makes this clear as he writes, “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him (Satan) a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”  (Jude 1:9)  But these men (false teachers) revile the things which they do not understand…like unreasoning animals” (Jude 1:10).

Now, you may be thinking, “where is he going with this?”

I believe false teachers abound today in far greater numbers and with much greater potential to influence millions than was ever the case at the time of Jude’s letter.  I see them on Christian TV programs, I see them holding conferences drawing thousands, and I hear them preaching their perverted persuasions from pulpits in churches large and small all across our great land!

The lyrics to An Octopus’s Garden, quite frankly, make for more sense than much of the false teaching coming from the present crop of false teachers.  In fact, I would submit that strange lyrics from a drug-induced state are far less concerning or offensive than false teaching calculatingly mined from the very Word of God.

Remember, God’s judgment and punishment will fall not only on those who lead the rebellion against the truth, but on those who follow as well.

Friends, it’s a serious state of affairs!  How will we detect a lie if we don’t first know the truth?  How can we spot a false teacher if we’re not well and intimately acquainted with The Great Teacher and the Word of God?

At the risk of sounding presumptuous, let me join in spirit along with Jude as he writes, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  For certain persons have crept in, unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”  (Jude 1:3-4)

I anticipate there may be some who will write me and say, in so many words, “Hey Dallas, ease off… don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better.”  In other words, “Sure there are some problems, but let’s just put a positive spin on it and make it better.”

Maybe the Beatles’ Jude just needed a pat on the back but the Bible’s Jude says we must contend or as Webster’s Dictionary defines, “struggle in opposition, strive in rivalry, and dispute earnestly,” for the faith!

As I wrote in a song some years ago:
It’s time to turn back the darkness
Time to believe what we’ve been told
That the earth is the Lord’s and its fullness
So be strong, be brave, be bold
(It’s Time – Dallas Holm
Going Holm Music)

In Christ,

Dallas Holm

P.S.  Next Praiseletter we’ll look at ways to identify false teachers, the future judgment of false teachers and the defense against them.  Until then, our prayers are with you and our desire is for God’s greatest purposes for your lives to be realized.

No Going Back

The unknown stretches out before us. This very day will all too soon see the setting of the sun. There is much that cannot yet be determined and even the remaining fleeting hours of this day are unsure. Amidst the shrouded uncertainty of the future there do, however, remain some “unchangeables.”

One being—“there’s no going back!” Recently I watched a favorite movie of mine; The Time Machine, starring Rod Taylor. I believe the movie was made in the 60’s from a book by H.G. Wells chronicling the adventures of a man who had created a machine by which he could either travel back in time or forward into the future. In the process of this ongoing experiment he realized how his actions could have a domino or ripple effect on others, on events, and ultimately on the world. A lighter treatment of this same point was viewed by millions over the holiday season as they watched Jimmy Stewart consider the “what if” scenario presented in the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.

We can’t see where we are going or what lies ahead, hence we put our trust and faith in the One who can.

We can, however, see exactly where we’ve been and what we have (or have not) done. My question for each of us is what would we go back and change if we could and in view of that, what will we commit to do or achieve in this new year of opportunity? I don’t pose this question to in any way accentuate guilt or regret, but rather to enlighten us to the privilege we have before us to accomplish great things for our Lord and Savior, for the enrichment of the Kingdom and the benefit of our own souls.

At this point in my life I am continually struck with how swiftly my life has tallied up the years. According to average life-span statistics I’m in the final quarter or so of my life. In the natural that can sound kind of depressing, but in God’s economy it represents the pinnacle of pre-eminent possibilities! I have walked with the Lord longer; I know Him and His word better than any time in my life. I have a lifetime of the precious provisions of His grace and He has demonstrated His faithfulness throughout history and throughout our journey together.

Our culture would have us believe that our lives are like a de-crescendo in a piece of music, denoted by two lines spread apart, gradually coming together to tell the musician to go from loud to soft to softer to softest. In fact, God, the great conductor of the universe, the Chief Musician, intends our lives to be a swelling crescendo, beginning in the soft intimacy of born again union with our Creator, to a loud grand finale as our spirit breaks the bounds of earth and ascends to the heavenlies where forever we will play our part in the “eternal symphony” of God’s design. In that crescendo aspect of our lives, we have each and every year the privilege and opportunity to do more, to do better, to please the heart of God and accomplish more for His Kingdom.

Have we fallen short, have we missed opportunities and do we have regrets both large and small? Absolutely; but if He is our Father and we are His children, let us hear Him say, “There is therefore now NO (emphasis mine) condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1)! The “therefore” in that verse refers back to the struggle that Paul articulates in the previous verses regarding his own failures, shortcomings and regrets. His own inability to reconcile the war raging within himself causes him to define his lot as that of a wretch! But “Amazing Grace” saved Paul and if it has saved you and me, we can also say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25).

Paul goes on to say, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:12-13). We know elsewhere in scripture that, “…though the outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). Let me put it another way using the musical analogy. Our bodies are de-crescendoing but our spirits are crescendoing!

Let’s take the testimony of Paul, the words of scripture and the gift of our own will and determine to go forward into 2015 with renewed vigor and commitment; “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, let us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

In Christ, let us move onward and upward because there’s “No Going Back”!

P.S. I feel I must take a moment to say a special thanks to those who remembered us at year’s end and honored God by sending an offering to help and sustain this ministry. It was greatly appreciated. Please remember, the need continues every month and without your support we would cease.

Most importantly, remember us always before the Lord in prayer, that we may accomplish His purposes and finish well. Thank you and God bless you.

Lord Speak

As I was reading the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke, I was struck by what an amazing moment it was when the angel Gabriel announces God’s plan to Mary.

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.

Keep in mind, Mary was probably a young teenager and a virgin. As far as we know she had never seen or spoken to an angel previously. Suddenly, one of God’s chief messengers appears to this young girl and tells her she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit of God and bear His son and His kingdom will have no end. What thoughts must have raced through her mind? Is this really true?

Did this really happen? What will Joseph do? What will my family and all the people say?

I would imagine a mix of panic and almost uncontainable joy raced through her being simultaneously.

Is this not in a way akin to our own salvation experience. When I was saved I realized the awesome fact that God was speaking to me by His love through conviction. I too questioned whether this was real or just my emotions. I thought about others and what they would say and do if I allowed this re-birth to transpire. Would I agree to His Son living in me?

Mary’s ultimate response to God was, “be it done to me according to your word.” In receiving Christ through the salvation experience we too are saying, “Thy will be done.”

My point in proposing the similarity of these experiences is not to draw some particular parallel between the Virgin Mary and ourselves, but rather to ask the question, has God spoken to us so profoundly and specifically recently?

All through scripture God speaks to people, often in amazing ways. God spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden. God spoke to Abram and gave him instructions where to live and later in His old age spoke the promise of a child and an inheritance. God told Noah to build a boat. He spoke to Moses in a burning bush. Isaiah overheard God speaking and as a result asked to be sent. Many heard God say, “Thou are my son…” when Jesus was baptized by John. Peter, James and John heard God on the mount of transfiguration. Saul heard God on the road to Damascus. On and on we could go. Down through centuries and up to today many testify of hearing God’s voice.

If you’re like me sometimes you wish you could have one of those burning bush conversations so you could be absolutely sure, due to the supernatural circumstances, that it must be God.

Do you need for God to speak to you now? I do.

January 1st will mark forty years of ministry for me. To quote from one of my songs:

It’s been a lot of years
Been a lot of tears
Every now and then
There’s been some pain

Forty years is a significant number in God’s economy. Moses was trained for forty years in the desert, tending sheep before he was ready for God’s main objective, to lead His “people” out of Egypt in to the Promised Land.

I too have a sense that all that has thus transpired is only preparation for that which lies ahead. And I have something much
better than a burning bush…so do you!

We have God’s complete revealed Word. Everything God wants us to know, historically, doctrinally and specifically in regards to all aspects of our lives, past, present and future are addressed in that book, the Bible.

We have an advocate; Him who sits at the right hand of the Father, always making intercession on our behalf; the risen Christ to whom has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth.

And we have an intercessor, the Holy Spirit who searches our innermost being and prays at levels we couldn’t articulate.

How we often wish we could have the experiences of some of those previously mentioned. But don’t you see how they longed for and by faith waited for that which was to them yet ahead in the future though now possessed by us through Christ?

In days gone by only certain priests at certain times could even approach God but now He invites us all to come even boldly into His presence and make all our requests known.

Perhaps God speaks to us in direct proportion to how much we speak to Him. I’m going to speak more to God and listen with a more sensitive ear. I will pray for you as I know you too need to hear Him in regard to the next season of your life. Please pray for Linda and me as we seek God for His plans and purposes for our lives and ministry in this coming year. To complete a portion of the song I referenced earlier:

Though sometimes I’ve failed
When the storms prevailed
He has always stayed the same

I still love Jesus
He’s my dearest friend
Faithful till the end
I still love Jesus
And He still loves me

(I Still Love Jesus)
Dallas Holm

God will always be found faithful. If we hear and obey His voice, we will have a testimony of faithfulness as well; Lord speak!

PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

Oh God our help in ages past
Our hope for years to come
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home
Oh God Our Help in Ages Past
Isaac Watts—1674-1748

These rich words, penned from one who died exactly two hundred years before I was born, give comfort, confidence and clarity.

At this time of year I always am reflective, not only of the past twelve months, but also the years that have come and gone so swiftly. I rejoice in God’s faithfulness to keep me unto Himself, and to use this ministry to touch so many lives, often I’m sure, in spite of myself.

We look back over forty-four years of ministry and gain comfort knowing God has guided, provided and kept us from, in and through many a “stormy blast.” As a result, we are confident that we stand today on a foundation, the integrity of which is sure, having as its substance the truth of God’s word.

Therefore, we gain clarity to look ahead, albeit through the eyes of faith, with a sense of hope “for the years to come” and ultimately to the final destination of “our eternal home.”

“Thank you” is not adequate to express to you our deep gratitude for your love and friendship through the years. This ministry is truly a partnership based on a common desire to love God, present the truth of His word, reach the lost and equip the saints.
Recently as I was studying Ephesians I read once again Paul’s charge to the saints in Ephesus:

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).

If there were a motto to describe the essence of this ministry I think it would be difficult to find a more desirable standard to strive for than that which is presented in this verse.

It is my sincere hope and prayer that this has, does and always will describe who we are, partnered together in this ministry as we seek through every opportunity given, to represent Jesus.

Looking ahead, we will continue to minister in churches across this country as God gives opportunity. I love the fact that He has opened the doors to so many different denominations and we have true fellowship with our brothers and sisters from so many varied backgrounds.

We have recently had the privilege to minister in some retirement communities and at senior banquets hosted by church senior ministries departments. As my wife and I are now bona fide senior citizens, we have great appreciation for the “senior saints” and look forward to more opportunities to target this demographic.

We also are developing what we’re calling the In-Holm concert series. These will be a few selected dates where Linda and I will do a very intimate concert/ministry event at someone’s home. This will enable some to host perhaps an elegant dinner or a backyard barbecue, inviting friends and neighbors who may not go to church, into a warm friendly atmosphere to hear the “good news” in song and word.

Please pray with us about these opportunities as they develop further.
I’ve never cared so much what our ministry looks like or where it takes us as long as we can be effective.

Let us pray for one another that His will shall be accomplished in every aspect of our lives. May the faithfulness of God shine through always—Past, Present and Future!

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure
Sufficient is Thine arm alone
And our defense is sure
Oh God Our Help in Ages Past
Isaac Watts


 

P.S. I always like to remind our friends and partners at this time of year to please remember us in your year-end giving. This has been perhaps our most challenging year ever financially. Prayerfully consider what you might be able to do to send us out into the New Year unencumbered by financial concerns. Thank you so much and may God richly bless you and provide for all your needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The End Is Near

The statement “The End Is Near,” encourages an image of some poor soul on a street corner in a major city like New York. Long messy hair, unshaven, a long wool coat worn on a hot summer day, gloves without fingers and the exposed fingers pointing to the sandwich board sign hung around this street person’s neck proclaiming the stark prediction. Passersby shake their heads in disbelief, more at the appearance of the person than the content of his message

Conclusion: The person looks like some kind of kook so his message must be kooky also, right?

John the baptizer must have looked and seemed pretty strange with his fur garments and his insect diet. He was certainly not politically correct in calling government officials “snakes”. Yet his announcement of one coming whose sandals he was not worthy to untie was spot on.

How about Isaiah walking about naked for three and a half years prophesying against Egypt and Ethiopia? Many, including Isaiah, probably would have been thrilled to have him wear the sandwich board sign, yet he remains as one of the greatest prophets who spoke God’s word and it came to pass.

If it’s possible to be called by God and look so strange yet speak so true, is it then possible to not be called by God, look terrific, but speak falsely?

You may think this is a strange journey I’ve embarked on and what can possibly be its destination.

I believe the end is near, Christ’s return is sooner than we can imagine and we are living in one of the greatest end time signs, yet failing to discern it.

I Timothy 4:1 says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in latter times some will fall away from the faith…”

I have often heard through the years many teachings on the apostasy or the great end time falling away. I used to think it would be a very visible event as thousands upon thousands simply left the faith, backslid, turned their back on God and just plain quit! I think I saw it happening as somehow more outside the church or away from the church.

Sadly, I believe it’s happening within the Church.

In Paul’s last epistle he warns Timothy, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant….holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth.”

Recently I saw on a Christian TV program three self proclaimed prophets boasting in their successes, sharing the new revelations that only they had been given to enlighten us thereby releasing us into our destiny if we would release to them our money. You’ve probably seen something similar. It’s not my intent or purpose to expose some as I have mentioned here who are at least, in my opinion, misguided and often in error.

My purpose is however to point out that Christianity and the church here in America are taking a big hit from without and within. Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 pastors a month are leaving the ministry. Approximately 7,000 churches a year close their doors, being replaced by about 4,500. Sixty nine percent of our young people leave the church upon graduation from high school. Sunday night church services are mostly a thing of the past as well as mid-week prayer meetings being usually the least attended service.

Our president announces we are not a Christian nation. Muslims are given special prayer rooms in schools and businesses but Christians are given lawsuits for the most minimal expression of our faith. Need I go on?

Who is to blame? Or, as I wrote in a song years ago,

Whose fault is it anyway
Who assumes the blame
Is it those who know You well
But are afraid to speak
Claiming to be strong in You
But in the end are weak.

(This Breath of Life – Words and Music by Dallas Holm)

There is a weakness, an anemia, especially in church leadership these days. Preaching has often degenerated into motivational speeches with more emphasis on lifting ourselves up than dying to ourselves and lifting Him up.
Youth groups are too often more about fun and games than discipleship with a goal to build a strong scriptural foundation upon which our kids can live their lives.

Christian media often seems to promote the latest “prophet”, best-selling author or Christian artist whose communications are sometimes not even scripturally sound nor backed by lives of integrity and brokenness before a holy God.
Do I sound a little upset? Perhaps. I’m just tired of the packaging of the prominent, the marketing of the mediocre and the showcasing of the shallow.

We live at the threshold of His coming where we need to be nourished at the table of His bounty but often seem to be content to grab a bite at some person’s new fast food drive-thru.

I believe we are living in the time of Paul’s warning to Timothy (by the Spirit):

For 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.

II Timothy 4:3-4

May I encourage you to read Ezekiel 34:1-11.

Lest you think I’ve become as one of those who rails against everything and everyone, let me assure you, I have not.

God has a people. He has a church and He has many wonderful shepherds and leadership throughout His body. I know this and I rejoice in it. But remember, we know as the Day draws near, many will grow cold and Satan will do his best to distract us from the faith often by using some who seem to be within our own ranks.

Stay in His Word and on your knees! Use discernment, try the spirits and measure any and all messages against God’s unfailing Word.

As an old hymn says:

In times like these
You need a Savior
In times like these
You need an anchor
Be very sure Be very sure
Your anchor holds
And grips the solid rock
The end is near so let us look up and rejoice for our redemption draweth nigh!

As always, thank you for your prayers and support. He is honored and we are blessed by your commitment to help this ministry.

More

More about Jesus would I know
More of His grace to others show
More of His saving fullness see
More of His love who died for me

Linda and I just returned from a wonderful one-week vacation with our daughter, son-in-law, and four grandchildren.
We went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The weather was great, the rides were fun and the crowds were ridiculous, but nonetheless we had a wonderful time.

Our grandchildren are twelve, eleven, five and sixteen months. I knew the older three would be big enough to ride the big rides and fully appreciate all that the Disney empire has to offer. It was Caleb, the little one, I wondered about. Would it be an overwhelming assault on his senses for which there could be no adequate response or would he “get it” or at least some of it?
We found out pretty quickly he got it, or at least enough of it to want MORE.

All of our grandchildren learned the same sign language as toddlers to meet a few of their basic needs and express some of their desires. The universal sign for “more” (universal to our grandkids) is the grouping of all the fingertips of the left hand together with the grouping of the fingertips of the right hand in like manner. Then, in a sort of clapping motion, press the two groups of closely knit fingertips together repeatedly.

This motion always denotes more food, read more of the story or as in the case of Disney World, I want to ride the Dumbo ride again! (and again and again…).

And how could we loving grandparents possibly refuse such an emotional request. And it was emotional at times.
During the ride, Caleb was enthralled by the sheer spectacle of life at Disney at the lofty elevation of about twenty feet, from the inside of a flying elephant with unusually large ears! Who wouldn’t want more of that?

As the ride would begin to finish and the Dumbos began their descent, Caleb would initiate the “more” sign language.

A couple times he stiffened his body in such a way as to make one contemplate the necessity of surgical removal from the elephant’s cockpit.

He wasn’t really being defiant, he just couldn’t consider the possibility of not having more of something so wonderful.

More about Jesus let me learn
More of His holy will discern
Spirit of God, my teacher be
Showing the things of Christ to me

And now for the spiritual application:

I’ll admit to you now, but will tell my grandkids perhaps later, that I thoroughly enjoyed our vacation and all the excitement, but it was mixed with a certain bit of sadness as I daily witnessed the lengths to which many people will go to grasp a moment of fun in the midst of un-happy lives.

Linda and I enjoyed Dumbo and all the rides as much as all our grandkids, maybe more because there’s a double blessing that comes with age and perspective.

I love amusement parks; they’re amusing! However, in the midst of all the amusement there’s always the evidence of so much emptiness and unhappiness. You hear it in the raised voices, and feel it in the stress of waiting in long lines for short rides. Sometimes you can literally see the weight of burdens in the body language of those seeking a moment of relief, if not weightlessness, amidst a roller coaster’s steep plunge.

These same people live next door to you and me. We stand in lines together at the grocery store. We too deal with life’s burdens, as do they. No ride can truly lift their spirits; no amusement park can give true lasting joy. Wishing upon a star is an exercise in futility.

Faith in Christ is the only hope!

Do they see and hear in us the true thrill of life in Jesus?

Are we to them as those who get off the roller coaster just ahead of those about to embark: smiling, laughing, even screaming with a delight that makes them covet the experience?

I wonder sometimes in the privileged opportunities of fellowship, worship and teaching in our churches if our true heart response is Caleb’s more sign. Would we brace ourselves so no one could remove us from our seat or are we relieved when it’s over so we can exit quickly?

Just some questions to ponder…

I want more of Jesus and less of the world’s enticements!
More about Jesus on His throne
Riches in glory all His own
More of His kingdom’s sure increase
More of His coming, Prince of Peace

(More About Jesus) Words: Eliza Hewitt 1851-1920, Music: John Sweney 1837-1899

In Christ,
Dallas Holm