I would like to share with you straight from my heart what I believe God has been revealing to the board of Worldview Warriors and me. Worldview Warriors has been doing ministry officially since 2006. We have reached countless students and equipped adult leaders to sink into these students, in person, in 22 states in just the last two years of ministry. We have also reached every state in the United States building up fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ through our internet presence. (We have reached 71 other countries around the world as well.)
This year we are entering into that crucial 5th year of ministry. As you may or may not know, many ministries and businesses fail before the 5th year or in the 5th year of operation. We know this is a big year for us. So let me share with you what the Lord has shown the board and me personally regarding the direction and focus of our ministry over the next year of 2011:
#1 – Slow down
I believe God has shown me that He wants to use our family as a testimony to those we come in contact with. We have already seen amazing fruit and encouragement to others through this. I need to make the order of my relationships / priorities as follows:
- My wife, Jaya
- My six children
- My relationships with others
- The ministry of Worldview Warriors
#2 – Get focused and do a few things with excellence
I believe God is calling me to stop booking and promoting the ministry of Worldview Warriors and focus on being still and meditating on God’s will. This will help me to focus on making our audio ministry even stronger than it already is. The board, staff and volunteers will be focusing in on promotions, syndication and booking. This focus includes:
- Our weekly 2-hour radio show called Do Not Keep Silent
- Our podcast, also called Do Not Keep Silent
- Our Worldview Warriors Fastcast / A 60 second nugget of truth for radio stations to play.
I am also called to focus in on writing. This includes:
- Weekly Blog posts
- The new book God is calling me to write
#3 – Continue speaking, but use our other speakers more often
The board, staff, and volunteers will be focusing in on promotions and booking. We also have an outside person booking for the ministry as well. This includes:
- Jason DeZurik speaking more this summer and less on tours and focusing on implementing God’s direction.
- Implementing our other speakers more into the mix this year.
#4 – We are to build up our support base this year
- Prayer Warriors
- Monthly Financial Donors
- Volunteers in the office and elsewhere.
- Educating people on how to give toward the ministry.
The ministry has already begun implementing the above changes to reflect what we believe is God’s direction. We have a full-time office person now. Her name is Marie Wise and she has been just amazing. We are honored to have her involved with what we are called to do here at Worldview Warriors. She is a major asset and will help greatly in implementing this pursuit of excellence in not only serving Christ but for us to pursue our mission of “Equipping Students to Impact This Generation for Jesus Christ.”
- I would ask you to please prayerfully consider God’s direction in giving Worldview Warriors an end of the year 2010 financial gift and/or becoming a monthly financial donor of the ministry if you currently are not a monthly donor.
- I would also ask that you please prayerfully consider telling people you know about the ministry of Worldview Warriors as we move forward into our 5th year of operation. We absolutely need more volunteers, prayer warriors, and monthly financial donors for this vision to move forward.
- Please pray for God to bring in the right people as we are looking to expand our board this year from 4 members to 6 members.
Some of you may be wondering to yourself, “Is this radio show really reaching people?” We can answer that question with an unequivocal, “Yes.” Just on Facebook alone in the last month we have seen our activity jump from an average of 250 people per day to over 1,000 people a day. That’s per day! On Sunday night when the show is live we generally see over 4,000 people that are active on our Facebook profile. Just last week there were over 9,500 people. Thanks for checking in and listening. We have also seen activity on discussion boards we put up and we are getting almost instant results from what we are doing for the Kingdom. People are not just listening, but they are learning and doing. We hope this includes you. We hope not only others are putting their faith into action but you are putting your faith in Jesus Christ into action!
I hope you can see the vision of where we are heading in 2011. God has blessed us in the past and we are leaning on Him to supply our needs with this aggressive vision. Maybe He wants to use you, or someone you know, as a vehicle to help supply our needs this upcoming year. If you have any questions please contact our office at 419-310-6249 and we will try to answer any questions you have to the best of our ability.
Thank you and God Bless,
President and CEO
P.S. A good friend of mine says, “When God supplies a vision He supplies the provision.” We are excited to see how God works in and through you and us to equip students to impact this generation for Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!
I’ve often heard the question asked, usually to a pastor: “Which version of the Bible is the best?” One pastor I know always said this as his answer: “The one you will read.”
There are lots of ways to interpret the Bible – just ask anyone who’s seen more than one English translation. Given the selection of tens if not hundreds of different English Bibles, obviously there are many interpretations. So which one is right?
In reality, we don’t have the exact, authentic Scriptures that were first written down. People make mistakes, even people who are copying the Scriptures. We think that the Greek and Hebrew texts we have today are pretty close, but we have no way of knowing for sure, since we have no original autographs of Scripture. Scholars have determined that as far as they can tell, the Greek and Hebrew texts we have are pretty close to being original, and we need to take it on faith that they are what God wants us to use.
It can be quite difficult to accurately interpret a particular passage in the Bible, since there are so many unknowns for us today about the original audience and intention of the text. But, we can put forth a very good effort at accurate interpretation if we are willing to do some legwork in learning how to interpret the Bible. I will try and teach you what not to do and what to do.
The way we should never interpret Scripture is by doing what’s called eisegesis. Eisegesis is a fancy word for saying that we put our own meaning into Scripture (‘eise’ meaning ‘into’). We all read Scripture with some sort of bias, just because we are human beings. We all have a particular worldview through which we see the world, including the Bible. The difficult part is not to let our own individual worldview affect our interpretation of Scripture. Any time we apply our own culture to the Biblical text, we are doing eisegesis. Any time we read Scripture and make it mean what we want it to mean, we are doing eisegesis. Any time we pull a phrase or verse out of its context in the Bible, we are doing eisegesis. All of these things lead to inaccurate interpretation.
Instead of eisegesis, we should be doing exegesis. Exegesis is getting the meaning out of Scripture (‘exe’ meaning ‘out of’). When we do proper exegesis, our own individual worldview and thoughts do not affect the meaning of what is written in the text. This is much more difficult than it sounds, because we interpret everything in our world through that lens of our worldview.
To help us out with exegesis, there is a process called hermeneutics. Hermeneutics teaches us how to interpret the Bible in context. There are 4 key questions to ask when practicing hermeneutics:
1. What did the text mean to the Biblical audience?
2. What are the differences between the Biblical audience and us?
3. What is the theological principle in the text?
4. How should Christians today apply the theological principle to our lives?
Step 1 in the hermeneutical process is to determine what the text meant to the Biblical audience. This can be difficult because we may not know much about the people the text was originally written for or what its purpose was. But, here is where context can be very helpful. Look at the passages before and after the text you are studying. Look at the whole chapter of that passage. Look at the entire book of the Bible, and even the Bible as a whole. See where this passage fits into all of these contexts. If we look at the author of that particular Biblical book it may give us a clue as to why that passage is there.
We can also do research with sources outside the Bible to aide us in this step. Biblical dictionaries and commentaries are a great source of this information. Study Bibles also usually provide some insight. But, keep in mind that all of these resources are someone else’s interpretation – and they may or may not have interpreted the passage accurately.
Next in step 2 we need to determine the differences between the Biblical audience and us. Some things to consider are whether the audience was before or after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Consider whether the audience was Jews or Gentiles (non-Jews). Consider the place where they lived and the culture they lived in.
It can also be useful in this step to determine the similarities we share with the Biblical audience. For example, all people in all times and places are sinful and in need of a Savior. Consider cultural similarities that may exist.
When we have determined all of these things to the best of our ability, we can move on to discovering the theological principle in the text. The theological principle is a timeless truth that applied to the Biblical audience and still applies to us today. It is not something that applies to both their culture then and our culture now. The theological principle is the main idea in the passage. Be careful that you are not using your own worldview or what you want the passage to mean. Instead, we must look at the text itself to determine this principle. If you cannot read the original Hebrew or Greek, compare various English translations to get a better feel for what the passage is meant to say.
Finally, once we have the theological principle, we must determine how to apply it to our lives today. Learning how it applied to the Biblical audience may help us with this, depending on how similar or different we are to them. Again here it is important to look at the text as objectively as possible. Do not read into the text what you want it to mean or how you would like to apply it (eisegesis), but rather glean the meaning and application out of the text (exegesis). So many people want to jump right to this step while skipping the other three, which definitely leads to eisegesis.
This process of hermeneutics can help us to exegete the meaning of the text as accurately as possible. It takes some effort to accomplish, but the result of having a correct translation of a Biblical passage is priceless.
For more study on this topic, please listen to these links from Do Not Keep Silent:
Hour 1 & Hour 2
While on solitude at an amazing place in Amish country in Ohio a Jehovah’s Witness stopped by.
To be bluntly honest, at first I was really annoyed and told God, “Are you kidding me? Here I am trying to spend some time with you and this annoying Jehovah’s Witness shows up at the door.”
Just as I was about to finish the conversation with the Jehovah’s Witness, the conviction came. I heard in my spirit, “She is made in my image and I love her.” OUCH! I felt so small and selfish at that moment and invited her in to take a look at the place. She only came in to the door way but she was in the house.
After some pleasantries about the place I just came out and asked her, “So what do you think about Jesus?” She went on to say how He was the Son of God and was with Jehovah at the beginning of time, among a few others. I asked what her name was and she said, “Amy.”
I asked her, “Amy, is He God?”
She said, “You mean Jehovah?”
I asked, Are Jesus and Jehovah the same being?
She replied, “Well, no. They are separate.”
I took her through John 1:1-3, John 14:6 and 7. I also showed her how Jesus received worship from Thomas after His resurrection where Thomas exclaims, “My Lord and my God.”
She wasn’t buying it but I must admit I could see her wheels spinning a bit and I began to get a little prideful. Then I heard in my spirit again, “This is not a game. I created her in my image. I love her. Show her My Glory.” At that moment I realized that I was moving toward trying to take the glory from God and confessed it to God quickly.
She said, “This is too much of an argument I need to go.”
I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to argue. Besides, I’m just asking questions.” She stayed.
I then took her to Revelation21:6 in her Jehovah’s Witness bible (It is called The New World Translation).
It says something about Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. So I asked her, “Who is that?
She said, “Jehovah God.”
Then I took her to Revelation 22:13. It says something to the effect, I am Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and The End.
I had her read it and then asked, “Who is that?”
She said, “Well, that’s Jehovah.”
I then took her to Revelation 1:8 in her bible and asked her who is saying “I am Alpha and Omega?”
She said, “That’s Jehovah.”
I then took her to Revelation 1:17b – 18 and asked, “Who is this speaking of?”
She read it and said, “Well, that’s speaking of Jehovah too.”
In this text it speaks of the First and Last having died and that now He is alive.
I asked her, “When did Jehovah die?” She looked again and said, “Well, we read that differently. It is Jehovah but it is clearly Jesus too.
(Silence, Silence, Silence)
“Well, we just disagree.” she said.
I encouraged her to keep studying and let truth take her where it may.
She said, “Well, I better get going.” I asked her, “Can we pray together before you leave?”
She paused and then said, “No, it’s clear that we pray to different gods so I better not.”
I encouraged her to keep seeking truth and to study. I sensed that she had some major qualities as a leader and encouraged her to use those talents while still searching for truth. We then said goodbye and she left.
Looking back on this conversation I should have done the following differently: When she said, “No” to praying together I should have said something like this, “Well, how about we pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob then? Let’s pray to the Creator of the universe and ask Him to reveal His truth to each of us so our relationship with Him grows.”
But I didn’t. Maybe next time.
I hope this has encouraged you to learn and stand up for your faith in the real Jesus Christ. I also hope this has helped you see that we are in a spiritual battle that is not against people who believe misinformation and wrong teachings. We are against the Father of Lies: Satan.
Ephesians 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Please listen to the two podcasts we will be releasing this week on the subject of witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses and equip yourself for the real struggle.
As I take a few minutes away from the busyness of life, I reflect upon someone who had a major influence on my life. Let me share the story with you.
As a young teenager, I discovered a passion that would impact the rest of my life — thanks to the encouragement and persistence of Renee King, my middle and high school music teacher. In seventh grade, there were too many boys who sang tenor in our choir. So some of us were asked if we might want to do something else for that period. Some of my friends at the time said, “Sure, we’ll do something else” and quickly signed up to leave the class. I was a little hesitant but wanted to be with my friends, so I said I would go too. Mrs. King said, “Jason, are you sure you want to do this? You are a good singer. How about staying with us?” I said, “No, That’s okay, I’ll go with my friends.” She persisted though, “Just stay with us through this quarter and see how it goes.” So I relented and decided to try it out.
At the time, I didn’t realize how that one decision would change my life. She must have seen some potential in me as a singer because once I went down that road of music, I have been consumed with it ever since. At the age of 16, I became the lead singer in a band with my best friend and two guys I hardly knew. We did pretty well too.
After graduation I headed out to Seattle to try to become a rockstar. Literally. I did that for almost 6 years.
Once back in Minnesota, I still worked with bands and even started a small little festival called “Jammin’ for Jesus.” We just trusted God. He brought the right people into our paths, and the events came together.
Music has been a huge part of my life and now because of Renee King’s loving persistence so many years ago, I am now trying to encourage and affirm others in their gifting. She saw potential in me and was an amazing encourager in my life. Without her loving guidance and care, I definitely would not be where I am today. I can even say this, “The ministry of Worldview Warriors, more than likely, would not exist without the encouragement and affirmation from Mrs. Renee King.”
So Renee (I can call her that now), thank you! Thank you for taking a chance on a young whipper-snapper and encouraging him to do something he was afraid to do. Without your encouragement, I don’t know if I ever would have known how much I really love music. What a great gift from God.
Here’s my challenge: Is there someone you need to thank? That person may not even know that something seemingly insignificant to him/her had an impact on your life. If there is someone like that in your life, write that person a note today. It is a blessing to receive such a letter, for one can revisit it again and again to be encouraged. God Bless.
For Further Reading: 1 John 4:7-21
It’s a God-given right for all humans to have freedom. Depending on how you view the issue, freedom could be curse or a blessing.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given a free will. They had total freedom to do whatever they wanted. They even had freedom to go against God and His good and right ways. God understands true love. If He had created them to have no choice but to do His will, He would have been nothing but a God of tyranny. However, in His infinite wisdom, He allowed them to choose whether they would love Him or not. They chose to defy Him. As a result, the human race today suffers the consequence of physical, mental, and spiritual death, a product of their sin and ours.
God wants us to love Him freely and on our own accord. We have the choice of following Him or not. I once heard a pastor say, “God is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on you. He will wait patiently for you to turn to Him.” There is such truth in that statement.
I believe we are living in a crucial time in the United States. In my opinion, many people want to return to a slave-like state, much like the Israelites wanted to return to slavery in Egypt after escaping it for the Promised Land. Many of them were hungry and uncomfortable. They believed that living in Egypt as a slave with a full belly and some shelter was better than living in the desert, not knowing where they were going to stay for the night, let alone what they were going to eat the next day. But they were free. Some wanted to trade in that freedom for the security of being under very cruel slave masters who not only would tell them what to do for the day, but would punish them if they did not obey or did a poor job.
In a nut shell, they trusted and respected humans more than God. More than the God of the Universe that created everything. More than the God who could and would supply their needs every day if they only trusted Him. Even if they didn’t trust Him, He still supplied their needs.
The same principle is true for you: Even if you don’t trust or obey God, He still supplies your needs. Consider these examples of His provision:
- You have air to breathe.
- You are able to read this right now.
- Have you eaten in the last three days?
- Have you eaten today?
- How about the clothes you are wearing?
These are just a few needs that He provides, not to mention all the wants with which He also blesses you.
Some of you might be wondering what I meant earlier when I said that we are moving to a slave-like state. (I would say some of you are already there and may not even know it.) Here are just a few examples of how we place ourselves into a form of slavery:
- Living outside of your means and going into debt because you want to have something to please your flesh.
- Being forced by the federal government to pay for programs and things with which we disagree. (I’m not simply talking about the current administration either. We were slowly numbed into this state of slavery under the guise of its being good.)
- Not taking responsibility for our own actions and putting our integrity into question. Some of us have blasted our integrity so badly that even non-Christians don’t believe our testimony anymore. For some of us, our witness is giving God a bad name, and it needs to stop.
There is hope though! Start living for Christ today. You have the freedom to make today a new day! That is how much God loves you. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are a new creation in Christ, and it is time to start living a new life. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
As Christ followers, we need to embrace this text and not only believe it to be true, but actually put our faith into action. If you are stuck in bondage and have chains of debt, insecurity, or doubt wrapped around you, seek the Holy Spirit. He will direct you, but you must be willing to obey His guidance. I also encourage you to find a brother or sister in Christ with whom you can share your praises and struggles. Find someone that you both trust and respect in the Lord.
Remember: God is God. We are not. People will usually let you down, but God is always faithful. Lean on Him and His wisdom. Choose today to love and follow Him.
Have you thanked the Lord lately for His many blessings? Maybe it’s time for you to repent, stop being selfish, and give thanks for His provision and your freedom in Christ.
For further study, read the account of the Israelites and their doubt of God’s provision in Exodus 16:1 – 17:7.
It has taken me a quite a while to grasp this concept but I think I have finally taken hold of it. I hope I can easily share it with you at this early hour of 4 a.m. on May 22, 2010.
The God who created us and put us on this planet loves us so much that He desires us to love Him freely. However, in order for this to happen, He must be willing to allow us to go against Him and His ways. For instance, He has given us rules and guidelines by which we are to live in this world, and ten of them are found in Exodus 20. They are called the 10 Commandments. One of these tells us to worship no other gods but Him. So if we worship only this God who created the whole universe out of nothing, He will be pleased and we would not be sinning in that. But will God allow us to choose to worship another god or ourselves in place of the one true God? Yes. He loves us so much that He will allow us to turn our backs on Him. Does He want it to happen? Of course not. But He is willing to allow it to happen. Will God allow us to choose to have sex with someone other than our husband or wife? The answer is yes. Will God allow us to choose to disobey and dishonor our parents? Again the answer is yes. He loves us so much that He allows His creation to go against Him. He does not force us to love Him or to do His will. He also doesn’t force us to obey.
This is where His people come in. Christ’s followers are called to speak the truth in love. I believe this means that we must tell – sometimes warn – people what the truth is. If these people choose to follow Him, that is between them and God. Should they choose to not follow God and His ways, that again is between them and God. Even if they do not believe in Him, it is their free will to choose. Are you willing to love as much as God does or at least strive to do that? We are called to love. In other words, we need to tell people the truth and leave it up to them to believe or not. If they choose not to believe, the Lord will deal with them, be it ever so severely.
This also goes for our own Christian brothers and sisters. You can tell people the truth about helping the poor and poverty stricken, but once you force people to help them, you have stepped over the line. A great example of this is the account of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. They sold a piece of property and said they gave all of the money from the sale to the church. A quick check on the context of this passage shows us that believers who were a part of The Way began to sell their possessions and goods for the betterment of the whole body of Christ (the Church). You will notice that they were not forced to do this and were not required to give everything to the group, for Peter says in Acts 5:3-4, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Here’s a little more background: Ananias and his wife Sapphira owned a field and sold it. They told the church that they gave them all of the money from the sale when they had actually kept part of the sale for themselves. So their sin wasn’t that they kept part of the money. In fact, Peter never mentions that! What does he mention? That they lied to the Holy Spirit.
I think it is also easy to deduce that part of their sin was their desire to receive praise and glory that they did not deserve. If they had given all of their money, I think they would have received a blessing. If they had given only part of the money and had been honest and actually told the truth, I think they still would have been fine. The point is that God is the judge, not humans. Their consequence for lying was instant death. This helps us to see that the choices we make have consequences – good and bad. We can either choose to live God’s way or not. And our choices affect more than just us; they affect others as well, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. But forcing people to follow God’s ways is not freedom at all.
Let me try to further illustrate this point. I currently have a daughter who is two years old. My wife and I love her very much. She has her own will to do what she likes and will do what she pleases. As her father, though, I would be doing a terrible job raising her if I did not correct her actions now that are sinful. For instance, if I didn’t expect and require first time obedience from her now, what would I be teaching her even at this young age? I would be teaching her that she does not need to obey the first time I tell her to do something. If I tell her to stop running somewhere, and after the third or fourth time she finally obeys, why would this be a big deal? If she does not receive a consequence at this young age for disobeying the first time, she may run out into the street and get injured because she was taught that she needed to only obey after the third or fourth time. And if she isn’t corrected at this young age, many of us know the teen years would be quite a challenge.
This is why being a parent is such a huge responsibility. We are to train our children not only to accept Jesus as Savior, but also teach them to follow Jesus Christ and hear and obey the Holy Spirit.
I want to challenge you to not just be saved in the name of Jesus Christ, but also to be hearers and doers of the Word of God. We need to obey God’s leading. You need to obey God’s leading. Hear the Holy Spirit and obey. If you’ve messed up, our heavenly Father is there to welcome you back into His loving arms.
For further study on this subject, read Luke 15:11-32 and James 2:1-26.
I have heard people discuss how the United States of America has become like ancient Rome: an empire that has not only become unstoppable, but is also using all the resources of the world for itself. People say we take advantage of weaker countries in regard to their natural resources. At one time, I even believed this to be true. I have come to see that this is not the case anymore, but rather we are really like another country during an even earlier time in history.
My discipleship group began discussing this very subject. My good friend Dan Schilling, who is now on staff with the new financial ministry with Howard Dayton called Compass, quickly refuted my comparing ancient Rome with our society today in the United States. His statement was something like the following:
“Jason, do you really think we are like ancient Rome? With all of the debt we as individuals are in, our federal debt with the government, and all of the foreclosures and bankruptcies that are happening right now, do you still believe we are like ancient Rome? We aren’t living like ancient Rome. We are living in modern day Egypt, for we are in slavery. We still think that we are the land of the free and the home of the brave, but we are in bondage and don’t even know it.”
That seriously got me thinking. I started praying about this, asking for God’s wisdom and knowledge on this subject. And you know what?
I think my friend Dan might be closer to the truth than maybe even he realizes. Oh sure, you may have a brand new vehicle, four wheeler, and a house that is probably bigger than you need, but what do you seriously own - with no payment? Do you have anything of great value that isn’t leased or doesn’t have a note attached to it? Are you getting yourself in more and more debt because of what you want, and you cannot control yourself? Are you able to save any money at all? Or are you mortgaged to the hilt with no end in sight?
I hope this is hitting home for some of you out there because I want to encourage you to start asking the Holy Spirit for help in self control and patience. Ask for this fruit of the Spirit.
Maybe it is time to pay the piper and get busy trying to pay off these debts. You may need to tighten your belt for a while and not eat the best food, or get rid of satellite or cable TV for a time. Maybe for some of you, it is actually time to get rid of your huge lease or car payment. Maybe it’s time to buy a car that is cheaper so you can pay it off more quickly. After you get rid of the more expensive ride, you could actually buy an older car with cash. It is possible. As another idea, since car insurance is expensive, you could carry only liability and not collision for a time. You will probably save a lot of money right there, and you would might start to be a better driver because you don’t want to get into an accident at all. It has worked for me.
The road to freedom is not an easy road. You may have to do without for a while, but I’m here to tell you that freedom is so much better than slavery to a creditor. It’s so nice when you can lay your head down at night with no worries. If we just read the Word of God in context and obey it, this world would be such a better place.
I pray that you will listen to and obey God however He guides you. God bless you.
For further reading: Proverbs 31:10-31, Philippians 4:4-9
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
- 2 Peter 3:3-7
Before I begin this blog, I’d like to add this little tidbit of information. Many Christians and non-Christians alike seem to deliberately forget that at the beginning of time everything was perfect. This means that there was no death or disease. It also means that things were very different from today’s world that we live in. If sin caused us to begin to die, then what other things were very different from the creation we live in today?
Like many of you, I spend some of my day online. I often don’t know where I’m heading; I’m just surfing.
Not long ago, I landed on a page for atheists. For a time I just sat back and watched the comments roll in. The people stated that there is no god and anyone who believes in a god is basically an intellectual midget and totally illogical. After a time, one of my Christian friends showed up without knowing I was watching. I was pleased to see that he was doing quite well discussing with them cordially. He seemed logical to me and, I believe, had some convincing responses for the atheists’ questions and comments.
After a while it was obvious that most of these people were not open to a differing opinion. Many of them just wanted to argue. Some even admitted so.
I must admit that I couldn’t take it and started engaging in the conversations on the threads. I actually thought things were going well, as one of the people on the site and I started to at least find some common ground on a different topic. We were actually having a good conversation about the current political spectrum, and then the personal attacks started from a new person to the site. I then realized that this was unfortunately going nowhere and any common ground this other person and I had started to have was now gone.
From this experience, I learned that even if we can have the most convincing information and are very well versed in what we believe, until that person is willing to hear and the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to them, they will not hear. All we need to do as Christ followers is to be faithful. Speak the truth in love, help humankind, and let God do the rest. Go and serve Christ in all you do.
Three years ago was quite an amazing time for my family and me. I was leaving a position as a youth minister where I had been quite successful and had learned many things under some great men. It was a job which I had come to rely upon for a paycheck, to build friendships, and to have health insurance, among other benefits.
It was a very secure position, and at least on a human level, moving on seemed like a huge mistake. With a wife, five children, and number six on the way, this did not seem like the most opportune time to start a new career path. I’m sure that it looked irresponsible, foolish, and impossible to many people.
God made it very clear about eight months earlier that it was time to move on and start a new ministry, for the place where I was serving was taking a different direction than in the past.
I was a bit hesitant about this leap of faith that my family and I were about to make. Part of it was my own uncertainty about the future and whether or not I was hearing from God correctly. It was also difficult to leave the security I had in this wonderful position. So we had to deal with the insecurities that came along with completely stepping out in faith and trusting God and His people. If you haven’t sensed it yet, it was tough.
One thing that was very difficult was leaving behind our health insurance for our soon-to-be family of eight! It cost over $14,000 a year. With my wife being five months pregnant, we were seriously concerned about how we would pay for this pregnancy, let alone deal with the expenses of a new baby. We could not afford a much cheaper health insurance plan, let alone this very expensive health insurance we had at the time. I tried to work something out with the church to help us out with the insurance costs, but it never materialized. It was a very hard time for my family and me. We were on our own with this issue. We were also on our own with God. We had to put our complete faith and trust in Him that He would supply our need and take care of us. Looking back on that time, we recognize that it was for our own good, but it can be hard to see the daylight when you are in the middle of a very long tunnel.
Now don’t get me wrong: many, many people pray and help support our efforts for the Kingdom, but it’s eventually up to God to supply our needs. He has been faithful in supplying our needs and we have learned to go without. We have learned more and more the difference between needs and wants. God has supplied in many ways, from supplying someone to pay completely for the pregnancy of our sixth child (God told them to do this; we did not tell them or any one about this need.), to shoes for our children. God has supplied and continues to supply our needs in and through His people and in miraculous ways.
One of these needs is how we take care of our health care. If you live in the United States, I believe it is high time to start thinking differently and actually practice what we see in the Bible. The biblical example in the book of Acts is clear. Act 2:42–47 says we need to share with one another and help each other out. If we start living the biblical mind set, get ready for this, we may not even need health insurance. NO JOKE!!
How about cutting out the middle man and working directly with your doctor? This actually works and is in practice today by many people throughout the United States. We are currently in our third year of being in a health co-op called Samaritans Ministries International / http://www.samaritanministries.org/. We have had to deal with a broken collar bone, an asthma attack, and even a major miscarriage, just to name a few medical needs. In this co-op we all share in the cost of each other’s health care. My family and I have begun to eat better because we want to help others and not be a burden to the whole group. Plus, you just feel better, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We send our monthly check to other people in the co-op that need help for that month. We write a personal check directly to them! You will notice the government and insurance companies are not involved in this process at all. It is God’s people being God’s people, sharing and caring for one another. We pray for one another and rejoice together when new children are born. We do all of this with no health insurance or government interference, and we deal directly with our doctors.
You see, I once believed that the church in Acts was promoting a way to socialism, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. The government was not involved in their method of caring for each other. I have a question for Christians who want the federal government involved in our health care: Why should we involve the government? The New Testament church took responsibility in the book of Acts for themselves and shared among themselves freely without being forced. They freely gave and shared their gifts, whether finances, food, or talents, and they freely received from everyone.
I think we all could agree that something needs to change.
Instead of trying to fix a broken system, we should think completely outside of the box and start acting like the church of Christ that we are called to be. Let’s show the world how Christians really should live. Then maybe the world will start to care about receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
One last idea for you to consider: I don’t care what you call yourself - liberal, conservative, libertarian, progressive, or whatever. If you call yourself a Christian, we need to take care of each other. How about if you’re a lawyer, you share your knowledge and gifts with those in the church? Or farmers share what they reap with the body of believers. Auto mechanics could share their talents and fix vehicles for the body.
Evangelists could speak encouragement and challenging messages to the church.
Engineers could use their talents and gifts for furthering the Kingdom in buildings and site work. The possibilities are endless! If everyone pitched in and did their fair share, maybe the world would finally take notice. Please consider this as you read for yourself the early Christians’ example in Acts 2:42–47.
Our new intern recently asked me a very interesting question: “How do you explain to imperfect people (who believe there is nothing wrong with them) living in an imperfect world about Someone who is perfect?” Our intern also stated that many people in the church (lay leaders as well as those in the congregation) do not seem to understand that they are imperfect and need more than simply a religion. They need Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit working within them.
This thought intrigued me, so I began mulling over what our intern had said. I asked God to reveal to me how we as Christ followers can reveal to our neighbors – both inside and outside the church – that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. I also asked God to help me show others that the solution for this state is found in Jesus Christ.
As I continue to wrestle with this issue of recognizing and turning from our sinful state, I discovered an illustration of this challenge that we face.
As I pondered the issue, I watched the movie trailer for “Daybreakers,” starring Ethan Hawke. This may sound weird, but I had always been drawn to this movie trailer; now I think I know why. I have only seen the preview, and I am not a huge fan of vampire movies. However, the storyline that I understood from the preview is that being a vampire is normal, but being a human means that you are an outcast. Vampires hunt humans and harvest them for their blood. The vampires put a human into a machine as a “battery” and suck the human's blood over a long period of time. Thus, humans live their lives in this battery-like state and then die.
However, it is clear from the trailer that Ethan Hawke's character runs into some humans that have found a cure to transform vampires into humans again. Ethan’s character asks them, “Who are you?” The human character played by William Defoe says, “We’re the folks with the crossbows.”
The humans want to help the vampires become human again. Ethan’s character (who is a vampire) wants to tell the vampire world about this cure, but his boss and some in the vampire community care nothing for a cure. Ethan’s character says, “I found a cure; I can change you back.” His boss responds, “What’s to cure?” Some vampires want the cure but many think nothing is wrong with them. All they have known is their vampire state. In other words, they may believe, “This is how I was born,” or, “This is just how I am.”
After thinking about their perception of their life, I realized how relevant it was to my conversation with our intern. I believe it is a picture of the spiritual battle that we fight.
The humans with the cure stated, “We are the folks with the crossbows.” As Christians, we carry the spiritual “crossbows.” We have the Cure for the deception that ails the human race. The Cure's name is Jesus Christ, who lived, died on the cross, and rose again. He IS the answer (read John 14:6-7). As Christ-followers, we need to point people to the cross and to life in Christ. We need to share the truth with others – that we are sinful people in need of transformation through Jesus Christ. Many people will not understand or will reject the truth. A few will listen and accept the Cure. Once that happens, the healing and deprogramming process begins – discipleship.
Read Hebrews 3:7–19, paying close attention to verses 12–14.
Follow Christ in everything you are and do. It is time for all Christ-followers to hear and obey God’s leading.
Dear Ann: Rev. C. Glalea was assigned to the Guelph Correctional Center for summer work. While there, he developed an excellent rapport with many young lawbreakers. He asked the boys for clues as to why they had ended up into that institution. He then asked them to draw up a code for parents, zeroing in on specific areas where they had failed.
- Keep cool. Don’t fly off the handle. Just keep the lid on when things go wrong. Kids need to see how much better things turn out when people keep their tempers under control.
- Don’t get strung out from too much booze or too many pills. When we see our parents reaching for those crutches, we get the idea that nobody goes out there alone, and it’s perfectly OK to reach for a bottle or a capsule when things get heavy. Remember, children are great imitators. We lose respect for parents who tell us to behave one way, while they behave another.
- Bug us a little. Be strict. Show us who’s boss. We need to know that we’ve got some strong supports. When you cave in, we get scared.
- Don’t blow your class. Stay on that pedestal. Don’t try to dress, dance or talk like your kids. You embarrass us and you look ridiculous.
- Light a candle. Show us the way. Tell us that God is not dead, or sleeping, or on vacation. We need to believe in something bigger or stronger than ourselves.
- Scare the heck out of us. If you catch us lying, stealing or being cruel, get tough. Let us know why what we did was wrong. Impress on us the importance of not repeating such behavior.
- When we need punishment, dish it out. But let us know that you still love us, even though we have let you down. It will make us think twice before we make that same move again.
- Call our bluff. Make it clear you mean what you say. Don’t compromise. And don’t be intimidated with our threats to drop out of school or leave home. Stand up to us and we’ll respect you. Kids don’t want everything they ask for.
- Be honest. Tell us the truth no matter what. And be straight arrow about everything. We can take it. Lukewarm answers make us uneasy. We can smell uncertainty a mile away.
- Praise us when we deserve it. If you give us kids a few compliments once in a while, we will be able to accept criticism a lot easier. The bottom line is, we want you to tell it like it is.
- A reader who loves kids
From Ann Landers’ column
This famous mother of nineteen, including Charles and John Wesley, set down these rules.
1. Allow no eating between meals.
2. Put all children to bed by 8 o’clock.
3. Require them to take medicine without complaining. (Those were the days of cod liver oil.)
4. Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul.
5. Teach each one to pray as soon as he can speak.
6. Give them nothing that they cry for and only what they ask for politely.
7. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
8. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
9. Never punish a child twice for the same offense.
10. Commend and reward all good behavior.
11. Reserve property rights, even to the smallest matters.
12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
13. Strictly observe all promises.
14. Teach children to fear the rod.
Note: “Old fashioned?” The world could do with some men like John and Charles Wesley.
- Honor your womanhood that your days may be long in the house which your husband has provided for you.
- Expect not your husband to give you as many luxuries as your father has after many years of hard labors and economies.
- Forget not the virtue of good humor, for verily all that a man has will he give for a woman’s smile.
- You shall not nag.
- Remember the frank approval of your husband is worth more to you than the sidelong glances of many strangers.
- You shall coddle your husband, for verily every man loves to be fussed over.
- Forget not the grace of cleanliness and good dressing.
- Permit no one to assure you that you are having a hard time of it: Neither your mother, nor your sister, maiden aunt, nor any of your relatives; for the judge will not hold her guiltless that lets another disparage her husband.
- Keep your home with all diligence, for out of it comes the joys of your old age.
- Commit your ways unto the Lord, and your children shall rise up and call you blessed.
by Henry W. Mack
My mother-in-law shared these with me years ago and I just found them. With Valentines Day coming up, I hope they encourage you to be a better husband.
For those of you not married yet, I hope they help you to get focused on how you should treat your future wife. I also hope that they help you to realize you should honor the woman you are dating no matter what (because she may be someone else's wife someday). Treat her with honor and respect. You would want that for your own wife, wouldn't you?
In fact, maybe it would be a good idea to trust God to bring the right woman into your life anyway and wait for her.
Enjoy. "The 10 Commandments for Women" will be posted next week.
- Remember that your wife is your partner and not your property.
- Don’t expect your wife to be your wife and wage-earner at the same time.
- Think not that your business is none of your wife’s business.
- You shall hold your wife’s love by the same measure that you won it.
- You shall make the building of your house your first business.
- You shall cooperate with your wife in establishing family discipline.
- You shall enter into your house with cheerfulness.
- You shall not let anyone criticize your wife to your face and get away with it (neither your father, mother, brothers, sisters, nor any relative).
- You shall not take your wife for granted.
- Remember to keep your home to keep it holy.
by Henry W. Mack
Philippians 4:4-9: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I have seen so many people complaining on the Internet, in newspapers, and in practically every media outlet about how horrible the beginning of the 21st century has been. I disagree. Here are some reasons why it has been exciting for me:
- All of my children except one were born in the 21st century.
- I have been married to a wonderful woman during all of the 21st century.
- I moved on from a stable job which I thought I might never leave and have been able to be used in bringing many people throughout the United States into knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.
- I have some great friends and have better understood what a true friend really is.
- I am blessed to be discipled by an incredible man of God.
- I am involved in a great discipleship group where we encourage and challenge each other in our faith in Jesus Christ.
- Throughout the world, people are taking a discerning look at who they are and what they believe.
- More than ever, people are searching for the truth. What a great opportunity for us to not only talk about the truth but also show people the truth in love through our actions.
- The church of Christ is making some difficult decisions and determining the definition of the “Church.” Even people whom I would call pew sitters are beginning to recognize the need for something to be done.
How about you? What are the good things that happened to you in the first part of the 21st century? What can you praise God for today?
Have we had troubles as a country? Yes. Have we had troubles in our families? The answer, most likely, is yes. However, we need to focus on the good things and rejoice in the Lord and His ways always. Have a great 2010!