Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 25, 2010 1 comments
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
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 17, 2010 0 comments
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.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 7, 2010 4 comments
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.