A Stroll At Leisure With God

Halloween and the Word of God

As I reflect over the course of my life when it comes to Halloween, I do see a progression of sorts.

When I was a kid, I dressed up in a costume. One year, I wanted to be a baseball player, and the second I walked into my classroom, one kid yelled out, “Look at Talbert. He has pajamas on!” I hadn’t even thought about it, but immediately, I realized that “my accuser” was right! I wanted to run and hide.

After that debacle, Halloween was never the same, even though Marilyn and I did do it for a few years. We even walked up and down our street, Trick or Treating.

Then, we got to the point where we were too mature for such child-like activity, that is, until we got to college.

While we were at Baylor, people would dress up for Halloween, but it became a contest about who could be the most wild and crazy or innovative. At one gathering we had at church (yes, at church), one guy in our group came as a driver’s license! He just got a large placard, replicated his own driver’s license, and cut a hole in this large poster board where his face would be! It was hilarious.

That was the kind of thing that went on through college and seminary.

Then, as I started as pastor and we began AWANA, we allowed the boys and girls to “dress up” for Halloween. We gave stipulations and guidelines—nothing inappropriate or related to the devil in any way such as witches. We never really had too many problems.

Let me just add at this point that I will be anxious to hear how our ministry to the school down the street went last night. We helped them with their Trunk and Treat party for the kids at the school. It was an opportunity for ministry. I’m sure it went well.

Anyway, I guess I should say that I didn't ever get too worked up about this holiday until this year.

First, I am amazed at how many people fix up the outside of their homes with a Halloween theme in the neighborhood in which I walk. It is crazy. Here are the things I see: spider webs, spiders (one home has this huge inflatable purple spider), skeletons, ghosts, tombstones, and other stuff.

I guess I am incredulous that people would actually take the time to put that stuff in their yards! It seems rather innocent, but I don’t think it is.

Plus, now, I’m seeing more and more people of all ages dressing up in various costumes. Whatever.

Third, it is amazing how many of those costumes have a “devil” connection. For example, Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres, a hero in the game last night (I’m not really a hockey fan, but I saw this on “Sports Center,” a show that I watch as I eat breakfast) dressed up as the devil in Sabres Halloween program where each player had a costume for Halloween. Again, all in innocent fun. No big deal, right?

Again, I don’t know why, but somehow, all of this bothers me more than ever, and now, I realize that this is anything but innocent. This is simply the way that things become mainstream and part of our culture.

Someone might say, “John, this is the way it has always been. We’ve always celebrated Halloween.” I would answer, “Not this way. Not with as much emphasis and folks on Satan and evil as before.”

So, what to do? Well, I am not going to spend my time in preaching or teaching railing against the evils of our culture, giving them even more press. Anyone can do that. And, lost people are going to follow their father, of course, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2, NASB). Of course.

No, I would rather play offense than defense (I hope the Broncos do BOTH against the Packers on Sunday, but that is another topic—ha!).

Two passage stand out in my reading in Professor Horner’s plan this morning. First, here is what Solomon prayed in the dedication: "Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers” (1 Kings
8:56-58 NASB). Solomon’s focus was not on the building (I wish that the Jews really would have taken his words to heart through their history, but they did not. The culmination of this false perspective occurred in the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7).

Likewise, we need to get our focus off of church buildings and get it on the opportunity we have to go to God for forgiveness and for the strength to live godly lives as never before.

This may sound rather pedestrian, but we need to pray for our country as never before. Idolatry is becoming mainstream. The devil is getting a lot of press, and it is “no big deal.” But come out as a Christian and use the name of Jesus and see what happens.

But in addition to this passage, I also read Acts 28 in the Lexham English Bible. Here are the final two verses of the book: “So he stayed two whole years in his own rented house, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance” (Acts
28:30-31 LEB). I love it!

As Frank Stagg in his commentary on Acts argues very convincingly, the whole key to understanding Acts is in the final word of the book. Not good English, but good theology. The best English translation is “un-hinderedly.” Acts is the story of the Gospel overcoming every hindrance as it goes out in the world. Here is Paul in prison but the gospel is not.

Nothing, not even Halloween, can stop the Word of God. This is why we should share it even more.

Lord, I believe our country is in sad shape and this day—Halloween—demonstrates that fact more than ever. I lift up our nation. I pray for our country and everyone who laughingly gives credence to the enemy. I do not. I submit to You. I resist the devil. I stand on the unhindered Word of God. Amen.
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