The Confidence to Witness

Couple of young men talking on the stairs

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

There’s a deeply spiritual lady in our church called Caroline. Sadly, she has a social phobia (the exact opposite of confidence) that cripples her life. In spite of this, she has brought more people to church and to ‘Alpha’ courses than anyone I can think of. I find that inspiring. She recently told me that at a conference two years ago someone shared a word from God that ‘Two men will pull you out of this.’ She’s been waiting for these two men. I told her that she should really only be waiting for one because her husband, Steve, is the other. Steve is a convinced atheist but he’s also a wonderful guy. He teaches college math. He’s kind and funny. He loves his wife deeply and has hung in there for all this time. Then it occurred to me that as her pastor, I must be the other. So I got Steve to meet me for coffee.

I shared testimonies of God working in my life in ways that are unexplainable apart from the supernatural. I told him that there was power in togetherness and that my idea was to pray together with him for his wife. He said, “You’re asking me to pray to a brick to make my wife better and in all sincerity I can’t do that.” I asked him if he would do anything to make his wife better including praying to a brick. In the end he said, “I’ll do it for you, Chris. It’s not for Caroline and it’s not for me, but I can see that it’s important to you.” So right then and there I prayed a short prayer and squeezed out an ‘amen’ from Steve. The next day I heard from Caroline. In her e-mail she said:

“Thank you for meeting up with Steve. I’m so glad he was able to talk to you about my illness. He said he’s never had anyone to talk to and it felt good to open up. He also came away questioning himself about what makes him so sure that there is no God, and that if God was to reveal himself to Steve, then he would accept him.”

This testimony is still unfolding but I believe in Caroline’s healing. I believe in Steve’s salvation. I believe in God’s goodness and power, and I believe that if we boldly witness, then we can not only have confidence in our own futures, we can even change the future for others.

Written by Rev. Chris Thompson: Chris is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and Pastor of Enderby Mission Church in Leicester, England.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 121; Proverbs 29

Daily Quote: Fervent prayers produce phenomenal results. ~Woodrow Kroll

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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Praying Powerfully – Part #1

Christian man praying with hands crossed

And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God…” (1 Samuel 7:8a)

This verse speaks to a people that were in dire need of their God; and they prayed. Prayer is powerful, a vital part of our Christian walk. We need it, and if we claim that we are in an intimate with relationship with Him, it shouldn’t be burdensome. In this first Power of Prayer, I want to share the power of praying for our wives or significant other. The power here starts by being intentional.

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7)

I first started this with a counselee, to encourage him to change his perception on his wife. But God! He showed me it was me that needed adjustments. Prayer is where the real fights are won. This is the channel that allows to us to express our love and protection over the women God put in our lives. It reminds us that God, and Him alone, is center of the relationship f

Is it hard to pray for your wife, or do you struggle what to pray for, or are you praying for her in a way that would benefit you? Try taking her needs to the altar.

Written by Juan Mendez: Juan is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and full time staff member at America’s Keswick.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 120; Proverbs 28

Daily Quote: Time spent in prayer is never wasted. ~Francis Fenelon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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For 3, Not 4

Calculator and pencil

“The Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” ~Matthew 18:21-22 (NASB)

Don’t go grabbing your calculator I’ll give you the answer right here. 490. Yeppers you can forgive someone 490 times before you get to say, “Sorry but you’ve used up all my forgiveness towards you. Now please exit the room and consider yourself dead to me.” If you really think that then maybe today’s Freedom Fighter is not for you…just kidding it is for you and for me as well. This past Wednesday night’s Bible study was an eye opener to something that I haven’t seen in Scripture before. The concept of forgiving someone 3 times but after that you’ve used up all your “get outta jail free” cards.

Pastor John Mol has been in Matthew for quite some time and he’s just getting done with chapter 18. So we stopped in to see what the parable of the unforgiving servant was all about. Basically when it’s condensed we see that this is a message for Christ’s church. Yes, it deals with the topic of forgiveness and I’ll get to that but it is a huge glimpse into how Christians should treat Christians…and dare I say how we should treat Secular Lands citizens.

It all starts when Peter, possibly thinking himself more highly than he ought, approaches Jesus and, possibly stroking his beard, asks Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Now Peter had been taught by the Jewish leaders of his time that you can forgive your brother 3 times and things were to be cool between you and he but that 4th incident occurring meant you could after him. Now Jesus being Jesus, sees right through this and wants Peter to change his thinking from one that keeps account of forgiveness to one that forgives unconditionally. But what’s up with the 3 times stuff? Got your Bible? Then let’s go to Amos 1.

When you look at verses 3,6,9,11,13 and even continuing into chapter two we see this written; “Thus says the LORD, “For the three transgressions of (fill in the blank) and for four I will not revoke its punishment,” and then we read why the LORD is doing what’s He is doing to the ENEMIES of His people and for the reason’s He is carrying it out. Guess those wacky Pharisees saw this as a way to punish their own. After all, we shouldn’t be sinning against our own people anyway and if we do and we go too far with it…like 4 times, they are no longer with us but are against us (ENEMIES) and we should be allowed to “send a fire upon the walls of (my brother), And it will consume her citadels.” Seems kinda extreme but those filthy sinners need to learn their lesson!! After all, do they not know who I am? Hmm…

When we look at the parable that Jesus teaches in Matthew 18:21-35 things should be quite clear to us. If a certain KING has forgiven YOUR huge debt who are you to not forgive a smaller debt owed to you by others. By the way, that dollar amount forgiven by that certain king in the parable was about $16,000,000 in today’s money…I ain’t got that kinda pocket change laying around, do you?

See the bottom line here is that whatever we think is a great offense done to us isn’t even measurable to the sin we commit against a holy and righteous God. But for some dumb reason we think it is and what is even more troubling is we tend to wanna punish our own when it’s done by our own. Now we can rest on Jesus’ words “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” when it comes to those in Secular Land but we forget to say this when it comes to those folks that are in The House with us on Sunday morning. What a wretched bunch we are, huh?

Here’s something to glean from this as well…even though the unforgiving servant got his just desserts, he wasn’t cast out of his master’s kingdom. Why? For the same reason he wasn’t punished for not having $16,00,000 in hard currency…LOVE. The king loved him, just as our King loves us. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, “After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” (Hebrews 12:4-6) Pretty cool stuff, Amen?

Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 119; Proverbs 27

Daily Quote: We trample the blood of the Son of God underfoot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only reason for the forgiveness of our sins by God, and the infinite depth of His promise to forget them, is the death of Jesus Christ. —Oswald Chambers

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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119 Years

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And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee; fear not, neither be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Yesterday was a very important day in the life of the ministry of America’s Keswick. 119 years ago tomorrow William Raws, his family and a small group of staff gathered on these grounds, and after a short Bible study, pooled their resources and discovered they had $1.87 and that was the beginning of the America’s Keswick story.

119 years later, the vision of William Raws is still very much alive and well. His passion for investing in the lives of men and now women was a baton that was passed to his son, Addison, the his grandson, Pastor Bill, then to Roger Williams, John Bryant and then to me.

Last week we gathered at Shady Maple, America’s Keswick and Dock Woods Community to celebrate God’s faithfulness to this ministry.

From its very inception the plan was that God would get all the glory, the Word of God would be preached to the men (and now women) and that pray would be a driving force of all we do.

While the buildings don’t look the same as they were in 1897, the program has been through many changes, the core message has never changed. The message we share today is the same one that William Raws taught when God allowed him to see the birth of his vision.

119 years later and 20,000+ men and now women who have graduated from the program, we are even more committed to share with men and women that life-transforming truth that Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer to addiction, and that through Christ, a man, woman, teen or child can live a life of victory.

Thirteen men who have graduated from the program now serve on our full-time staff which is 20% of our staff. And who knows – somewhere down the road I can see a graduate of Barbara’s Place serving full-time on our staff.

The need for the ministry of addiction recovery is greater now than it was in 1897. Heroin is talking our country by a storm. By the end of this calendar year we may see more deaths to heroin overdoses than what we experienced during some of our wars.

Addiction is tearing apart families. Addiction seems to pass down from a parent to his kids and grandkids. Addiction is not only impacting kids in non-Christian homes – it is happening to Christian kids.

The sad thing is that the enemy is going after our kids and grandkids. The average age right now is 8 years old!!! That is frightening to a man who has grand kids are close to that age group.

With your prayers and your financial support, we will continue to do what God has called us to do. Thank you for being a part of the Freedom Fighter blog family. As God brings this ministry to your minds, please pray for us. May God bless you. Happy 119 year anniversary to America’s Keswick.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 118; Proverbs 26

Daily Quote: Not only does honest confession of sin lead to fresh experience of His forgiveness, but it also helps you let go of the chains and walk in greater freedom in the future. From Living the Battle Plan

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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Don’t Assume Jesus is with You: Luke 2:41-51

Yellow boots on the road

“43 But when the feast was over, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but (because they assumed that he was in their group of travelers) they went a day’s journey. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:43-46)

It is understandable that Jesus’ parents lost track of Jesus given they were most likely travelling in a large caravan full of family and friends from Nazareth to Jerusalem and back. If Jesus was hanging out with His cousins (possibly playing tag) then His parents could have easily lost track of Him. However, it is interesting that the text says that “they assumed” Jesus was still with their group. And this should be familiar to us all. How many times have we as Christians in America ventured off with our plans, and our goals, all while assuming that Jesus is with us? It is as though we presume that whatever we do Jesus will automatically endorse, offering His divine stamp of approval.

This can be seen in big and small decisions we make every day or through the materialistic and financial focus we operate by. We often are trying to climb the corporate ladder or accumulate more toys, like big houses and fancy cars. We just chase after our dreams and take for granted that God also wants that path for our lives.

Jesus’ parents are disrupted from this assumption when they realize that Jesus indeed was no longer journeying with them. How devastating it must have been to realize their child had been left behind in the big city (remember, they are small time country folk from Galilee), and they have no clue as to where He is. As a father myself, I can only assume that they felt helpless, vulnerable, broken, and scared. It is no coincidence that they must go three days in Jerusalem, because for them the loss of their child would have begun to feel like God had abandoned them in their despair.

After three days of searching, they finally decide to look in the Temple. Contrast the parents with Jesus. The parents are anxious and frantic while Jesus is hanging out, seemingly un-phased by this familial separation. Like any Mom, after realizing that their child is fine, Mary digs into Jesus, disturbed with how their child could put them through such agony. Jesus simply says “didn’t you know” that I had to be “in the things of My Father” (that’s the literal Greek translation). Again contrast the parents’ posture and approach with that of Jesus. The parents began assuming that Jesus was journeying with them. However, Jesus had actually intentionally aligned and arranged His life with, and around, the things of His Father. And there we find a timely challenge for us to follow after. May we, like Jesus, surrender our will to the Father and rearrange our lives and decisions around the Lordship of the Messiah. And may we join God in His radical in-breaking kingdom rather than assuming Jesus will go along with all of our pursuits.

Written by Dr. Drew Hart: Dr. Hart is a professor in theology at Messiah College, author of “Trouble I’ve Seen”, and an activist with ten years of pastoral experience. Dr. Hart recently spoke at a America’s Keswick this past summer with his father, Dr. Tony Hart.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 115; Proverbs 23

Daily Quote:God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. ~C.S. Lewis

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

A Bit Clearer

cleaning glasses “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” ~1 Corinthians 13:12

While watching my wife upgrade her prescription for her glasses I tried on her old pair of glasses. Wow! For a person that never checked his vision I was blown away at how much clearer the world appeared. The details, the rich colors, the ability to read a bit better. Then she received her new glasses, which were HD lenses, and just when I was captivated with the clarity of the sight from the first pair of glasses, these enhanced every element further. It was like transitioning from an old tube TV to LED flat screen or VCR tape to Blu-Ray disc.

This is a glimpse of how our walks unfold. By faith, We move through our Christian life growing more aware, more clearer, from the world and sin, to kingdom living and peace, from selfish ambitions to Christ centered love, from lovers of evil to loving God and His people.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

“I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” C. S. Lewis

I thank God that his promises are not limited to the world or elements that are seen, but our hope rest in a greater more eternal glory. We can only imagine!

Written by Juan Mendez: Juan is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and full-time staff member at America’s Keswick. 

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 114; Proverbs 22

Daily Quote: True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. ~C.S. Lewis

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

No More Scorekeeping

Old baseball scoreboard background

I’ve decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would not only climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets; I wouldn’t only jettison my hot water bottle, raincoat, umbrella, parachute, and raft; I would not only go barefoot earlier in the spring and stay out later in the fall; but I would devote not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth. No, not one. ~Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him. ~Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Colossians 2

Oh beloved, it is true. There is an accuser of the brethren. He is a liar. And beyond his continuous attempts to pull us back into remembrance of our failures (that we might repeat them – have no doubt about this), this liar has an accomplice.

Us.

The liar will tempt us towards the things that will kill us, and so will the desires of our flesh. And have no doubt that sin is a very bad idea. We can indeed kill ourselves in our stupidity. But worse, is that the evil one – and our religiously-minded flesh – will attempt to kill us off too.

Plus, sin takes us off of our main purpose now in Life. We have the opportunity to be the friend of G_d. This now, is never in doubt. But sin is painful to our souls, it is like poking ourselves in the eye, or hitting our finger with a hammer. It is, as the author says, “Grace is no more a license to sin, than electricity is a license to electrocute ourselves.”

So, yes, it is vital to see sin for what it is: Sin is that “self-ness” within me which is paid with death. It is such an enormous deal that Jesus Himself died to pay off the payment. It was a payoff so gargantuan that none other could have ever even come close to making this payment.

But, it is here where we miss it.

Can we see it? Jesus has bought a freedom for us that is so large, that condemnation (that of the accuser, or of our own false shame) is no longer appropriate. Jesus has given His very own blood for us. Jesus has experienced the death we could not have endured – and has triumphed gloriously over it all, that we would be free.

Free from condemnation

Free from worrying about our spiritual growth

Free from wonder about our standing with G_d

Free from the lies of the Liar

Free from my own screaming voice of shame.

Now, before you readers go off at think this is some sort of “feel good” gospel, this fool of a writer is going to ask you to do a little considering of your last failure. What helped pull you back into freedom? Was it you groveling in some sort of false guilt and condemnation? If your experience is anything like most of us, that kind of approach is just a path to further sin and pain.

However, now consider the time (hopefully many times) where you have honestly agreed with G_d that you are in need of the forgiveness, mercy, and grace He has already provided. Do you remember that sense of the weight of your failure falling off your shoulders as it is swallowed up at the foot of the cross? Yes, you may remember this, because any of us who have, are experiencing The Truth.

So, are you looking at a recent failure in your life? May i suggest something. Don’t. Because He doesn’t. Do not touch the foul thing of guilt and shame. It is a trap! It will do you no good. Tonight is your night. Time to believe you are forgiven, and loved, and free.

The word of knowledge was exceptionally sure that night, and the second minister and his wife marveled at the accuracy and truth in the prophetic word. The third couple stepped forward for ministry, and again the word of knowledge was present. The prophet spoke to the husband, revealing his past, present, and insight into his future. Then the man of God turned to this third minister’s wife. As he began to speak of her past, suddenly he paused. Then he said, “There was a very serious sin in your past.” The woman, with her worst fear upon her, turned pale and closed her eyes. The congregation hushed and moved to the edge of their seats.

Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 113; Proverbs 21

Daily Quote: The prophet continued, “And I asked the Lord, ‘What was this sin that she committed?’ And the Lord answered, ‘I do not remember!'” ~Francis Frangipane

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

Who Can Imagine Life Without Worry? THE WRAP-UP

 

anxious

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” ~Matthew 6:26-27 (NLT)

Time to put this baby to bed. As you may know I’ve been covering something that can be a deterrent to our faith and that deterrent is worry. My friend Matt Henry says, “There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life.” Guess that’s his way of saying we shouldn’t be so worldly-minded and so much so that Jesus came right out and addressed it during the Sermon on The Mount. Jesus wants us to understand that we have a Kingdom value to God and that we need to stop questioning our worth in this world.

A great deal of us tend to dress ourselves in material security when we only need to put on the garment of Christ and suit up in the armor of God. Guess it’s a matter of answering a simple question…Can you serve two masters? Maybe for us it’s like having two jobs at once in order to make ends meet. Eventually one is gonna dominate the other depending on what can rule your ambition better. You can call it “Doin’ what I gotta do” all you want but misplaced ambition is a joy killer and when your joy is gone worry can flow into your life to fill the void. That’s why Jesus says “Therefore I tell you do NOT be anxious about your life…”

Now what do I mean by misplaced ambition? Well what I’m not saying is that planning ahead is foolhardy. J.C. Ryle (the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool 1880-1900) once said that “Prudent provision for the future is right; wearing, corroding, self-tormenting anxiety is wrong.” If all you live for today is to make sure you have a tomorrow Jesus pretty says you’re missing the point. “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Bottom line here is that worry is incompatible with the Christian faith (Stott) so when we worry about stuff that hasn’t happened we ain’t addin’ nuttin’ to our lives (well maybe acid reflux). It doesn’t make sense to carry a fear over something that may never happen…it stunts your growth of faith in what God has already planned for you.

This may be easy to read or write than to live out but we need to develop a true Christian ambition for God. I mean everyone is ambitious to be or do something. When Jesus took to The Mount that day it was to split anxiety down the middle. We have a false ambition where all its about is building up stuff on this earth and being bogged down by worrying if we’re gonna get what we think is ours. Then we have a true ambition where the spiritual matters and we strive to build up treasures in heaven. To quote John Stott on the matter, “In the end, just as there are only two kinds of piety, the self-centred and the God-centred, so there are only two kinds of ambition: one can be ambitious either for oneself or for God. There is no third alternative.”

I started a journey into a book titled “Laugh Again…Experience Outrageous Joy” and what I gleaned outta the whole thing was I let worry over an issue dominate my whole existence. My joy in serving the Lord was crushed and I wanted out from serving God’s people. My faith got seriously rocked and I wondered why I even bothered being in His House. I dove into my job with a fury that said “All that I got going right is this job” Man was I so wrong. Truth be told brethren I straddled the fence (was doing it for months) but my God loves me too much to have allowed me to stay that way…and God’s people wouldn’t leave me alone either. So what is a boy to do from this point forward? How about a little diddy from a guy who found his joy in the Lord while in prison?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” Amen?

Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 112; Proverbs 20

Daily Quote: So anybody who divides his allegiance between God and mammon has already given it to mammon, since God can be served only with an entire and exclusive devotion. This is simply because He is God; “I am the Lord, that is my name; My glory I give to no other” (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11) To try to share Him with other loyalties is to have opted for idolatry.” ~John Stott

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

How To Communicate With Millennials – Part #3

millennials

Well here is one more blog about communicating with millennials. I appreciate the guys who have shared that this discussion was helpful in understanding this generation that is so much a part of today’s world.

I want to finally answer the question: How do I communicate with millennials?

There is no magic bullet. I want to answer the question by asking YOU a question: How do YOU like to be communicated to/with?

That pretty much answers the question. With any generation the Bible lays a pretty solid foundation to help us with communicating. Proverbs is a classic book of God’s Word that addresses how much I need to think about my words and how I communicate with my words.

I don’t really think communicating with millennials is any different than communicating with the silent generation, the boomers, or busters.

But let me offer some insight: 

1. This generation will not be motivated by the false guilt that worked for some generations. I shared before that they don’t want to just talk about issues – they want to do something about it. Recently I was taken to task because it appeared that America’s Keswick was not addressing the who black/white/racism issue. Quite frankly I was stunned at the comment that was posted on my Facebook wall. The reality is that America’s Keswick HAS addressed these issues. This summer we had three black preachers share God’s Word for our summer conferences. Two specifically addressed the racism issues. Over the past 20 years, our ministry has become a ministry of color and every ethnic group. 50% of our Labor Day weekend guests were comprised of ethnic groups: Hispanic, Black, Asian and Indian. It was cool. My response to my critic was that we are not talking about it – we are living it.

All that to say is that if you want to motivate this generation – tell them the issues and then give them the freedom to use their giftedness to address that issue – not just financially – but hands on.

2. I am 62 years of age and I laugh because some of my “senior” friends still speak to me as if I was still 20 years old. Robert Hayes and I often joke that we must wear signs on our foreheads that read “ Village Idiot.” Sometime we are treated like we have no clue how to run a multi-millionaire non-profit ministry. So what am I say? The millennial generation are not just “kids!” They are educated, well-read, technologically equipped and connected, and eager to learn. Don’t come on to them as “I have all the answers and you are just a kid” mindset. Open your ears. Open your heart and let them verbalize what they are thinking. Listen to how they will solve a problem, address an issue, handle a task. Want a secret? Sometimes there ideas are even better than ours and you might be able to say, “Why didn’t I think about that?”

3. Focus on what’s right with millennials, not what’s wrong with them. They are far from perfect. But guess what – neither were we. The good old days were not necessarily all the good old days. My wife had to take me to task once in how I was communicating with our son, Zach. I was focusing in one all the things he wasn’t doing the way I thought he should. She looked me in the eye and said, “He’s a good kid. Keep this up, and you are going to lose him.” That really hurt and was a HUGE wake-up call. I wish I could tell you that I get it right with Zach all the time. But I have made huge progress – we’ll maybe you need to ask Zach that question.

So there you have it. I’d love to hear your feedback. Thanks for letting me share my heart.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 111; Proverbs 19

Daily Quote: Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. RUDYARD KIPLING

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

Who is Your King?

Golden royal crown

“Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” – 1 Samuel 8:19-20

In 1 Samuel 8, we see the people of Israel approaching Samuel to ask God for a king. This doesn’t seem like a big deal. All the other nations had kings, Israel was under constant attack, and Samuel’s sons had become corrupt judges who did not walk in the ways of the Lord. Someone looking at the situation from the outside could see how their plea for a king was warranted. The only problem was that they already had a King: God. In verse 7, the Lord says, “for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” The people failed to recognize that God was their King, that he was sufficient, that he was their security, their protection, their justice, and their peace. Israel looked to the outside world and saw that other nations gleaned their confidence and security from a king, and therefore Israel sought to become like the outside world. Despite Samuel’s warning (1 Samuel 8:10-18) of impending oppression from the very king they sought, the people still insisted.

Who is your king? Who reigns over your life? Where do you turn when you feel threatened? What do you look to when injustices seem to be happening all around you? Who or what do you put confidence in when the difficulties of life become too much? Do you look to God as your conquering King or do you look to the world around you? It’s easy to become like the Israelites. It’s easy to look at the world around us and reason that we should find our comfort and security in the same way. We look to money, possessions, relationships, education and success to provide us with the security that can only be found in the King who already reigns over us. We try to replace God as king of our lives. We even boldly ask Him, as the Israelites did, to provide us with these God-replacements. We ask God to provide us with the amount of money that would make us comfortable or with the relationship that would make us feel loved. We ask Him to put into power the political leader who makes us feel the most at ease. We ask Him for the things we think we need to provide us with the sense of security we are looking for instead of resting in the sufficiency of His grace, His love, His wisdom, His presence.

Who is your king?

As we face the uncertainty of the future, let our confidence be in the one and only true King.

Written by Jim Lang: Jim is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and full-time staff member at America’s Keswick.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 108; Proverbs 16

Daily Quote: If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life. Rick Warren

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

~Romans 8:35-37