Amy Grant: The Journey Continues…..

Amy Lee Grant is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and author in the Christian music industry who became a crossover pop success in the 1980s and 1990s.

Amy Grant was born on November 25, 1960 in Augusta, Georgia. Her first album was released in 1977 on Christian label, Word Music and Grant left college to pursue her career. Her second album won a Grammy for its blend of gospel and pop. Her crossover was complete with the 1991 album Heart in Motion which reached number one on the Billboard pop chart. Grant is married to country star Vince Gill.

Upcoming concerts

Purchase Ticket via Songclick.com

Sunday 10 February 2019
Cincinnati Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH, US

Friday 22 February 2019
Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, US

Saturday 23 February 2019
Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, Mescalero, NM, US

Thursday 28 February 2019
Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis, MD, US

Friday 01 March 2019
Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park Hard Rock Live, Northfield, OH, US

Tuesday 30 April 2019
Amy Grant with Jordin Sparks, MercyMe, and 27 others
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN, US

Thursday 02 May 2019
Victory Theatre, Evansville, IN, US

Wednesday 19 June 2019
Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis, MD, US

Thursday 20 June 2019
Birchmere, Alexandria, VA, US

Background information

Birth name Amy Lee Grant
Born November 25, 1960
Augusta, Georgia, U.S.
Origin Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Contemporary Christian, pop rock, soft rock
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, musician, author, media personality
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1976–present
Labels Myrrh, A&M, Word, Sparrow
Associated acts Vince Gill, Gary Chapman, Michael W. Smith
Website amygrant.com

Early Life

Singer, songwriter. Born on November 25, 1960, in Augusta, Georgia. Grant helped revolutionize contemporary Christian music. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, in a close-knit, religious family. It was in church that Grant was exposed to the hymns and Christian stories that would influence her work.

As a teenager, Grant taught herself how to play guitar and worked part-time at a recording studio. She made a tape of her music for her parents, which had been discovered by a producer with Word Records, a Christian music label. This led to a recording contract, and her first album was released in 1977. The self-titled album was a big success in the world of Christian music. With her unique style, Grant charted new territory. She fused elements of existing genres of gospel, hymns, and Jesus music—which used rock music to convey Christian teachings—to create a fresh, new sound, not heard before. Her songs are often deeply personal as well as reflecting her spiritual faith.

Grant continued recording and performing throughout high school and college. After a couple of years at Furman University, she transferred but eventually dropped out of Vanderbilt University to pursue her career full-time. Grant met songwriter Gary Chapman while making My Father’s Eyes (1979) and he joined her on tour as her opening act for the album Never Alone (1980). The couple married in 1982. That same year, she released Age to Age, which received numerous critical accolades. It won a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance—Grant’s first. She also earned several Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association (GMA), including for Performer of the Year.

Crossover Stardom

With the 1985 album Unguarded, Grant’s sound began changing. Much of her music had a soft rock element to it, but this release sounded even more like a mainstream pop record. In fact, Grant had her first crossover success on the pop charts with the track “Find a Way.” She even had a music video for the song playing on MTV. But not everyone appreciated her new success. The lyrics on the album had few directly religious references, which upset some in the Christian music community.

Grant found more mainstream success with the album Heart in Motion (1991), which featured the song “Baby, Baby.” It reached number one on the Billboard’s pop chart. Grant found inspiration for the song in the birth of her first daughter, but the video for the song portrayed it as a romantic tune. The video and the album created a stir with some of Grant’s gospel fans and critics. They claimed that she was again abandoning her gospel roots for pop stardom.On her next release, House of Love (1994), Grant sang some love songs as well as songs reflecting her devotion to God. The album featured a duet with Vince Gill, a top country music performer, on the title track, which scored on the pop and adult contemporary charts. A cover of the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” and her composition “Lucky One” also found chart success.

Discography

  • Amy Grant (1977)
  • My Father’s Eyes (1979)
  • Never Alone (1980)
  • Age to Age (1982)
  • A Christmas Album (1983)
  • Straight Ahead (1984)
  • Unguarded (1985)
  • The Animals’ Christmas with Art Garfunkel (1986)
  • Lead Me On (1988)
  • Heart in Motion (1991)
  • Home for Christmas (1992)
  • House of Love (1994)
  • Behind the Eyes (1997)
  • A Christmas to Remember (1999)
  • Christmas Moments with Amy Grant & Friends (1999)
  • Legacy… Hymns and Faith (2002)
  • Simple Things (2003)
  • Rock of Ages… Hymns and Faith (2005)
  • Somewhere Down the Road (2010)
  • How Mercy Looks from Here (2013)
  • Tennessee Christmas (2016)

Personal life

On June 19, 1982, Grant married fellow Christian musician Gary Chapman. Their marriage produced three children. In March 1999, she filed for divorce from Chapman, citing “irreconcilable differences”, and the divorce was finalized three months later.

On March 10, 2000, Grant married country singer-songwriter Vince Gill, who had been previously married to country singer Janis Oliver of Sweethearts of the Rodeo. Grant and Gill have one daughter together, Corrina Grant Gill, born March 12, 2001.

In the November 1999 CCM Magazine, Grant explained why she left Chapman and married Gill:

I didn’t get a divorce because ‘I had a great marriage and then along came Vince Gill.’ Gary and I had a rocky road from day one. I think what was so hard—and this is (what) one of our counselors said—sometimes an innocent party can come into a situation, and they’re like a big spotlight. What they do is reveal, by comparison, the painful dynamics that are already in existence.

Later Career

Grant went through a time of personal upheaval in the late 1990s. Her pain was apparent on 1997’s Behind the Eyes. The usually upbeat Grant seemed more maudlin this time around on such tracks as “Cry a River,” “Missing You,” and “The Feeling I Had.” Not long after this album, news of Grant’s impending divorce from her husband of 16 years broke.

Grant ended the 1990s by branching out professionally, acting in the 1999 television, A Song from the Heart, in which she played a blind music teacher. She also made other changes in her life around this time. She married Vince Gill in 2000, and a year later, the couple had a daughter together named Corrina Grant Gill. Corrina is Grant’s fourth child; she has three children from her first marriage: Matthew Garrison, Gloria Mills “Millie,” and Sarah Cannon. Since marrying, Grant and Gill have continued to work together on a number of projects. Gill acted as a producer on her 2002 Legacy . . . Hymns & Faith album and the couple sang a duet entitled “Beautiful” on 2003’s Simple Things.

During her long career, Grant has won numerous awards, including 6 Grammy Awards and more than 20 Dove Awards. Her most recent Grammy win was for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album for Rock of Ages . . . Hymns & Faith (2005). This same recording won the Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year in 2006.

In a February 2007 web chat on her web site, Grant discussed a book she was working on titled Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far, saying, “It’s not an autobiography, but more a collection of memories, song lyrics, poetry and a few pictures.” The book was released on October 16, 2007. In November, it debuted at No. 35 on the New York Times Best Seller list.[20] In the same web chat, Grant noted that she is “anxious to get back in the studio after the book is finished, and reinvent myself as an almost-50 performing woman”.

2007 was Grant’s 30th year in music. She left Word/Warner, and contracted with EMI CMG who re-released her regular studio albums as remastered versions on August 14, 2007. Marking the start of Grant’s new contract is a career-spanning greatest hits album, with all the songs digitally remastered. The album was released as both a single-disc CD edition, and a two-disc CD/DVD Special Edition, the DVD featuring music videos and interviews.

Grant appeared with Gill on The Oprah Winfrey Show for a holiday special in December 2007. Grant has plans to appear on CMT, a Food Network special, the Gospel Music Channel, and The Hour of Power.

In February 2008, Grant joined the writing team from Compassionart as a guest vocalist at the Abbey Road studios, London, to record a song called “Highly Favoured”, which was included on the album CompassionArt.

On June 24, 2008, Grant re-released her 1988 album, Lead Me On, in honor of its 20th anniversary. The two-disc release includes the original album and a second disc with new acoustic recordings, live performances from 1989, and interviews with Amy. Grant recreated the Lead Me On tour in the fall of 2008.

On June 27, 2008, at Creation Festival Northeast she performed “Lead Me On” and a few other songs backed by Hawk Nelson. At the end of the concert, Grant returned to the stage and sang “Thy Word”. She appeared on the 2008 album Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends singing “Could I Have This Dance”.

Amy Grant Transformation From 1988 To 2017 Then And Now

Awards and achievement

Grammy Award

Grammy Nominations

  • 1979: Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational – My Father’s Eyes
  • 1980: Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational – Never Alone
  • 1981: Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational – Amy Grant in Concert
  • 1990: Best Gospel Vocal Performance, Female – “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
  • 1992: Album of the Year – Heart in Motion
  • 1992: Song of the Year – “Baby Baby”
  • 1992: Record of the Year – “Baby Baby”
  • 1992: Pop Performance Female – “Baby Baby”
  • 1994: Children Spoken Word – Lion & the Lamb
  • 2008: Album of the Year (as featured artist) – These Days
  • 2011: Best Gospel Song – “Better Than a Hallelujah”
  • 2012: Best Country Song – “Threaten Me with Heaven”

GMA Dove Awards

  • 1983: Artist of the Year
  • 1983: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year – Age to Age
  • 1983: Recorded Music Packaging – Age to Age
  • 1984: Recorded Music Packaging – A Christmas Album
  • 1985: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year – Straight Ahead
  • 1986: Artist of the Year
  • 1986: Recorded Music Packaging – Unguarded
  • 1988: Short Form Music Video of the Year – “Stay For a While”
  • 1989: Artist of the Year
  • 1989: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year – Lead Me On
  • 1989: Short Form Music Video of the Year – “Lead Me On”
  • 1990: Country Song of the Year – “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
  • 1992: Song of the Year – “Place in This World”
  • 1992: Artist of the Year
  • 1994: Praise and Worship Album of the YearSongs from the Loft
  • 1996: Special Event Album of the Year – My Utmost for His Highest
  • 1998: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year – Behind the Eyes
  • 2000: Special Event Album of the Year – Streams
  • 2003: Inspirational Album of the Year – Legacy…Hymns & Faith
  • 2003: Song of the Year – “The River’s Gonna Keep on Rolling”
  • 2006: Inspirational Album of the Year – Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith
  • 2007: Long Form Music Video of the Year – Time Again… Amy Grant Live

Special awards and recognitions

  • 1992: Junior Chamber of Commerce Young Tennessean of the Year
  • 1994: St. John University Pax Christi Award
  • 1994: Nashville Symphony Harmony Award
  • 1996: Sarah Cannon Humanitarian Award – TNN Awards
  • 1996: Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award – Columbia Hospital
  • 1996: Voice of America Award – ASCAP
  • 1996: Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award
  • 1999: “An Evening with the Arts” Honor – The Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Symphony, and Tennessee Performing Arts Center
  • 1999: The Amy Grant Room for Music and Entertainment – The Target House at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
  • 2001: Easter Seals Nashvillian of the Year Award
  • 2003: Inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame
  • 2003: Summit Award – Seminar in the Rockies
  • 2006: Amy Grant Performance Platform – Nashville Schermerhorn Symphony Center
  • 2006: Hollywood Walk of Fame star unveiled
  • 2007: Charter member of Tiffany Circle – Red Cross
  • 2007: Inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame
  • 2008: Class of 1966 Friend of West Point award with Vince Gill
  • 2012: Honorary Doctorate Degree of Music and Performance – Grand Canyon University
  • 2015: No. 52 in The Top 100 Female Artists of the Rock Era (1955–2015

Bibliography

References

  1. Official website
  2. Amy Grant on IMDb
  3. Amy Grant at AllMusic
  4. Amy Grant Biography – Songwriter, Singer (1960–)
  5. Brounstein, Laura (November 2006). “In Perfect Harmony: Vince Gill & Amy Grant”. Ladies’ Home Journal. Archived from the original on July 29, 2013.
  6. Ruhlmann, William. “Amy Grant – Music Biography, Credits and Discography”. AllMusicMarch 7,2013
  7.  Jump up to: “Amy Grant Receives a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame”. Getty Images. September 19, 2006.
  8. Michael Goldberg (June 6, 1985). “Amy Grant wants to put God on the charts”(PDF). Rolling Stone. Archived from the original(PDF) on November 20, 2008.
  9. Stephen Thomas Erlewine. “Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith – Amy Grant – Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards – AllMusic”. AllMusic.
  10. “30 Songs / 30 Days for Half the Sky”. Half the Sky Movement. August 30, 2012. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012.
  11. “Amy Grant”February 12, 2016.
  12. “Amy Grant Chart History”November 29,2017.
  13. “Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith Announce 2017 Christmas Tour Featuring Jordan Smith, Winner Of ‘The Voice,’ Full Symphony Orchestra”. August 8, 2017.
  14. “Past Winners Search”. grammy.com. The Recording Academy. Retrieved April 19, 2017.


The Eastern Christian Churches

Jesus Christ Savior | Eastern Christians share many cultural traditions but not the same religious traditions, Christianity divided itself in the East during its early centuries both within and outside of the Roman Empire in disputes about Christology and fundamental theology, as well as national divisions (Roman, Persian, etc.). (Images of the Holy Sepulchre, detail of the dome over the Katholikon, Jerusalem by Berthold Werner).

Christianity spread throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa. The Eastern Christian Churches are characterized by a rich heritage with Apostolic origin, and are treasured by the universal Church, for the East was the home of Jesus Christ our Redeemer!

Jerusalem is the birthplace to all of Christianity throughout the world. The Levant, the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, served as the cradle of Christianity. Antioch, Syria became an early center for Christianity, especially following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Indeed, followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). They also became known as Nazarenes (Acts 24:5), particularly in the East. St. Mark the Evangelist founded the Church of Alexandria, Egypt. Philip the Deacon introduced Christianity to a minister of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians, on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza in Acts 8:27.

Detailed Jerusalem Holy Sepulchre

Detailed Jerusalem Holy Sepulchre

One of the earliest centers of Christianity was Edessa in the Kingdom of Osroene, located in Northern Syria and Mesopotamia across the Euphrates River. Eusebius of Caesarea in his Ecclesiastical History reported that King Abgar of Edessa was afflicted with illness and contacted Jesus in the hope of a cure. Upon his healing by St. Jude Thaddeus, King Abgar converted to Christianity.

Edessa became home to such writers as St. Ephrem of Syria (306-373 AD), a Father and Doctor of the Church. St. Ephrem wrote his beautiful hymns and religious poetry in Syriac, a dialect of the Semitic language of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Syriac became the biblical and liturgical language of early Christian Churches in the East. The theology of Eastern Churches often developed independently, outside the sway of Roman and Byzantine thought. Syriac Christianity would expand throughout Asia, extending to Chaldea and Persia along the Silk Road all the way to India and the Far East, reaching China, Tibet, and Mongolia. The first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion was Armenia under King Tiridates III in 301.

Eastern Christian Churches allow clerical marriage, for they accept the gift of human sexuality given by God, who said, “It is not good for the man to be alone”(Genesis 2:18). Those Eastern Churches that are in communion with Rome are known as the Eastern Catholic Churches. 8-16

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko | What a privilege it is to serve together with you in God’s mission through SIM. Thank you for your sacrificial gifts and support for us as a family and for SIM ministries around the world.

This year, untold numbers of new believers will spend their first Christmas worshiping Jesus. Not one of them had a star or an angel to summon them to Christ. They had a missionary, a local Christian worker, a friend, a family member or a neighbor. You all have been part of the team that has supported us to make Christ known where He is least known. As a result of your participation in the gospel through your partnership with SIM, there are many who this year have come to faith in Jesus and will join in celebrating the greatest gift on earth for the first time.

What a privilege it is to serve together with you in God’s mission through SIM. Thank you for your sacrificial gifts and support for us as a family and for SIM ministries around the world.  We praise God for you and your role in making disciples for Christ in communities where he is least known.
May your hearts be lifted in praise this Christmas for the wonderful gift of Jesus and the joy He brings to our lives, for He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Thank God with us that Joel’s semester ended well and he did amazingly well academically. Praise God for answered prayers for him and give thanks that Jochebed could be home for Christmas. We are glad that we could all be together for Christmas. Thank you for your love and prayers.

 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

May you experience the fullness of all the joy that Christ brought to our world this season. And, wishing you a Happy New Year!

Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko

Joshua & Joanna Bogunjoko

Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko has been the SIM’s International Director since June 1, 2013. Joshua and his wife, Joanna, began their mission careers as members of the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS), the mission arm of the ECWA church, which today sends more than 2400 Nigerians cross-culturally. They were commissioned by the national ECWA church in 1993 and their home church in Lagos in 1995, where they were sent out as seconded associates of SIM. They have served at three mission hospitals in West Africa and became full members of SIM in 2001. Joshua served on the SIM International Leadership Team since 2006, dealing with global issues related to mission.



Please pray for our leaders!

by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko | But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” —  Exodus 18:21.
Happy Thanksgiving to  those in the United States! Three of us in our family (Joanna, Joel and Joshua) joined friends at the home of our dear friends the Ogunros to celebrate the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness over the past year. It is always good to get together with friends and family to give thanks to the Lord. Jochebed celebrated her Thanksgiving by volunteering to serve the homeless in San Francisco. It is a very special way to give thanks to the Lord for all He has given to us by giving to others.

This is a special request for prayers as we (Joshua and Joanna) leave on Monday morning for Kenya. We will be getting together with the new SIM International Leadership Team for a week of fellowship, training and also meetings. This is a very important meeting for Joshua and his team especially because this is the first time that the new teams, his six Executive Team (ET) members and his larger International Leadership Team (ILT), will be getting together since the new structure came into effect in October. We invite you to join us in prayer through this time together. Members of the team started arriving in Nairobi on Saturday, the meetings start this Tuesday night and will finish next week Tuesday.

Please pray for safe travel for all those who will be traveling to this meeting.
Pray for a good fellowship and a spirit of unity in all that we would share, learn and discuss.
Pray for the Holy Spirit’s work in our midst and in each of us, that our hearts will be in tune with the Lord’s. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” — Proverbs 4:23
Pray for David Sherbino who will be teaching on “the spiritual formation of a leader”. Pray that the Lord will speak through him and that our hearts will be open to what the Lord wants to teach us. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” — Psalm 32:8
Pray for good health for everyone throughout the meeting.
Pray for the families that each of us will be leaving behind in our various homes that the Lord will watch over them.
Pray that we will be able to focus on our time together and we will not be distracted by any emergencies in our personal lives or in our mission as a whole.
Pray that this meeting will give us a good foundation to serve as a team, to serve SIM well and to serve our Lord with commitment, grace and love for Him and for one another.
Please pray for a leadership rooted in righteousness, integrity, capability and hearts seeking to delight in the Lord!

Thank you for joining us in prayer. Please remember us each day through this week and the next.

“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” — Psalm 78:72

Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko

Joshua & Joanna Bogunjoko

Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko has been the SIM’s International Director since June 1, 2013. Joshua and his wife, Joanna, began their mission careers as members of the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS), the mission arm of the ECWA church, which today sends more than 2400 Nigerians cross-culturally. They were commissioned by the national ECWA church in 1993 and their home church in Lagos in 1995, where they were sent out as seconded associates of SIM. They have served at three mission hospitals in West Africa and became full members of SIM in 2001. Joshua served on the SIM International Leadership Team since 2006, dealing with global issues related to mission.



How God and My Church Helped Me Overcome My Alcohol Addiction

by Patrick Bailey | This is a story of how my Church and Pastor Fred used Mrs. Andrews to get me a specialist at the Mountain Springs Recovery who helped me create a concrete recovery plan after detox and treatment to keep me focused and aligned with my sobriety goals. My recovery process has been a daily lifelong journey. Connect via http://patrickbaileys.com (images: Pixabay)

I used to think that it was unfair and more than a little bit cruel of God to make alcohol an integral part of Christian church services and even in iconic Bible stories. How could this substance that rendered me dazed and irresponsible be put in such a place of honor? Now I’m simply grateful for the anointed people of God who prayed for me and guided my way and into alcohol rehab before it was too late.

There is simply no other explanation. Only God’s touch could have made my own personal miracle possible. And I’m very grateful He chose the right people (and one person in particular) to make His miracle possible.

You probably think that it was our pastor. You would be wrong. Sure, Pastor Fred would come up to the house every now and then. But I was single and, in my thirties, while he was a childless widower several years older than me. I think it was awkward for him to say the least.

Besides, I wasn’t really a public drinker. I never made a scene in public, never physically hurt anybody. And thanks to online jobs and a bit of money that mom left me when she passed, I was able to buy alcohol and still pay my bills. So, I guess I never really became Pastor Fred’s top priority.

Instead, he trained his sights on those whom I also agree needed him more than I did. Kids who were in the brink of or also in the throes of substance abuse. Overwhelmed widows and widowers. Orphaned children. Struggling large families.

But then one day, she came. She was Mrs. Andrews, a tiny septuagenarian, my mom’s best friend. The first day she came was on my Mom’s birthday. Which I didn’t remember clearly at the time or did I?

“Hi, My Name is Mrs. Andrews”

Maybe that was why I started drinking so early in life. Mrs. Andrews came at a little before 8:00 in the morning. By then, I had already finished a pot of coffee. See, I had just discovered the recipe for espresso martini the week before, and I had immediately fallen in love with the concoction. What wasn’t to love? Each part of coffee called for one and one-half part of vodka plus another one and one-half part of coffee liqueur. I can still remember how I told myself that I wasn’t really getting drunk but getting a coffee fix. The way regular people did.

So, Mrs. Andrews came inside the house as soon as I opened the door. She’s in and out of the house all the time when my mom was alive. Even more so in the last few months when my mom was very sick. I remember how the two of them looked reading their Bibles on the couch, my mom wrapped in the newest shawl that Mrs. Andrews knitted. She must have made my mom a dozen of those labor-intensive knitting’s in her last few months.

In any case, everything happened so fast. By the time she sat down on the couch, I had somehow agreed to drive her over to the cemetery to visit my mom’s grave. She claimed she couldn’t remember where my mom was buried.

Of course, ‘driving her over’ turned out to be a figure of speech. She drove us. After she came into my bedroom and found a blue dress that she said she helped my mom choose for one occasion or another. I’m pretty sure she didn’t dress me but as I said I was dazed out of my mind from the espresso martinis.

The Regular Visits

Two days after, Mrs. Andrews visit; she said she needed a company to go to the dentist two towns over because she didn’t trust the 40-year-old ‘young man’ who had taken over the practice after Dr. Sheldon passed away. I tried to get out of going with her but couldn’t even get a word in.

Almost a week after that, Mrs. Andrews came again. But this time she said she was looking for a baking dish that she and mom had used. She said it was an heirloom, so she simply had to have it back. So, I gave her leave to rummage in the kitchen while I pretended to work in the study and drink coffee (Yes, laced with vodka and coffee liqueur).

After an hour, the smell of baking wafted from the kitchen. It was lasagna. Her version was my favorite in the world. And she knew it. She explained that she couldn’t find the heirloom baking dish, but she found my mom’s. So, she decided to bake two trays because she just happened to have ingredients in her car. She apologized profusely that she couldn’t eat with me, but she sat me down and waited until I had finished a plate before she left. I remember thinking to myself that she had lost her touch because the lasagna was blah.

The fourth time she came in was on Sunday. She wanted me to take her to a Church service because her arthritis was acting up and she felt that her legs would buckle at any time. She made me wear the blue dress again.

Two days after, Mrs. Andrews came in to do my laundry. When I came down, the whole house smelled of detergent. She said her machine had broken down and that she always trusted my Mom’s machine, so she just took her laundry to my house. And did my loads as well, which she took from my bedroom while I was sleeping off the effects of binge drinking till two o’clock that morning.

The chaos of clean clothes strewn on the just cleaned kitchen table did me in. I just lost it. I screamed at Mrs. Andrews for being a busybody and told her to get out of the house. She simply said that she planned to after she had finished her load. Then she went back to the laundry humming as she walked away.

The day after that, she was at it again. This time she wanted to know if I had come around to dropping off my old mom’s clothes at the Salvation Army yet. My mom had made us promise to do this together. So, we spent the whole day sorting through my mom’s cabinets. She would not allow her shawls to be given out, though. And I was glad because I wanted to keep them.

The Rehab

For three months after my mom pass away, Mrs. Andrew always drop by my house. Sometimes with a tray or two of more blah lasagna. On my mom’s birthday, we were both in the garden planting daisies — my mom’s favorite — when she finally said what we had been both waiting to hear.

“Dear, I think you should go to alcohol rehab.” I think I tried to formulate a half-hearted protest about not being an alcoholic. But by then she had simply worn me down. She had even chosen a place for me in Colorado who offered Christian Base treatment and offered to pay for the part that my insurance wouldn’t cover. I agreed, but only on the condition that it was a loan. Less than a week after, Pastor Fred, Mrs. Andrews and I made a six-hour drive to the Golden State.

The first week was difficult to say the least. But as soon as she could, Mrs. Andrews visited me along with Pastor Fred in tow. And when I came home from rehab, she was waiting for me at my house with two trays of lasagna again. They were delicious! It turns out it was my taste buds that had a problem and not her cooking.

She had also gotten me a job clerking for the new dentist twice a week and an appointment at the beauty parlor down the city. Her treat. She was even more overwhelming than before. But I loved it.

The first Sunday after the rehab, Mrs. Andrews and I went to Church; Pastor Fred was preaching that day. Afterward, everyone came over and said my hair looked great. I accidentally looked over and saw Mrs. Andrews with the biggest smile on her face.

Goodbye Mrs. Andrews

That was four years ago. A month ago, we buried Mrs. Andrews. She died in her sleep, peacefully and happy. I was sitting with her the way I did for my own mom. Because she had been my second mom. She had given me a second chance at life and returned me to my Church and to God.

Later, I learned it was Pastor Fred who suggested that Mrs. Andrews work with me. I also learned that the Church congregation prayed for me daily. And every time, I was again overwhelmed with love; many will say that I was just lucky. But I really wasn’t. I was blessed with God’s miracle.

Patrick BaileyPatrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempt to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.



The Future of Ownership

K. E. Colombini | Exploring how technological and cultural developments are transforming our understanding of property.
Two recent articles take a look at the effect of technology on our consumerist society and reach startlingly different conclusions. One laments that we don’t own as much stuff as we used to, while the other talks about how online shopping has created a nation of hoarders. Can both be true, at the same time?

Writing for Bloomberg, Tyler Cowen makes the first argument. He is an economics professor at George Mason University, where he also directs the Mercatus Center, and he admits to worrying about “the erosion of personal ownership and what that will mean for our loyalties to traditional American concepts of capitalism and private property.”

Examples are clear, starting with books. When we buy a book in hard or soft cover, it is a physical object we own and can sell. When we buy an ebook for our Kindle or similar device, we don’t own it in the same way. In fact, the argument can easily be made that we don’t own it at all. We actually buy a license to read it, and Amazon has control over the terms of the license. “Kindle Content is licensed, not sold, to you by the Content Provider,” the agreement states, adding: “We may change, suspend, or discontinue the Service, in whole or in part, including adding or removing Subscription Content from a Service, at any time without notice.” The analog analogy would be if I buy a book at a bookstore, and the bookstore owner comes to my home and demands it back, without even offering to pay me back. The same applies to other media, of course, such as music or movies, as we transition away from hard copies to streaming or digital files.

Another similar example can be offered easily enough, although it is one most consumers don’t think about. When we buy a car, we don’t actually buy all of it. The software that runs important components is often managed through a licensing agreement, something most consumers don’t pay attention to. Over the years, this has proved controversial, with General Motors and John Deere stressing the importance of software copyright and licensing and using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to bar consumer or private auto repair shops from repairing them themselves. More and more state legislatures are looking at so-called “Right to Repair” legislation to help the independent operators.

At the same time we are using Amazon to—rent?—ebooks for our Kindle, we are using the online service to buy a lot of physical stuff, even things readily available at the local supermarket, and that is where the other argument about becoming a nation of hoarders comes in.

Writing in The Atlantic, Alana Semuels tallies the high cost of our consumerist society. She notes that last year, we spent $240 billion on possessions (goods like jewelry, watches, books, luggage, and telephones and related communication equipment, reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis), twice as much as we spent in 2002. Semuels also notes that the number of self-storage facilities has doubled in the same time frame, to 52,000. “Thanks to a perfect storm of factors, Americans are amassing a lot of stuff,” she writes. “Now, we can shop from anywhere, anytime—while we’re at work, or exercising, or even sleeping.” One pathetic example: Semuels reported that the students who moved out of the Michigan State University dorms left behind nearly 150,000 pounds of their junk, from clothes to furniture.

At the same time we think about the compatibility of these two phenomena—a shift from material ownership to digital licensing, and the ease of acquiring more things—we must consider a third observation, the concurrent trendy interest in minimalism. The Kindle is supposed to be a great example of a minimizer, allegedly removing the need for bookshelves full of dusty volumes and with our smartphones we don’t need a stack of CDs to enjoy music. They were almost designed with the “tiny house” trend in mind.

Not too long ago in The New York Times, the writer Kyle Chayka called minimalism an “oppressive gospel,” one that pits wealthy elites against the common riff-raff of society. “The movement, such as it is, is led in large part by a group of men who gleefully ditch their possessions as if to disavow the advantages by which they obtained them,” he writes. “But it takes a lot to be minimalist: social capital, a safety net and access to the internet.”

It gets worse, when you consider where the technology is made, he says. “The technology we call minimalist might fit in our pockets, but it depends on a vast infrastructure of grim, air-conditioned server farms and even grimmer Chinese factories.”

Another critic poses minimalism as an example of Western privilege, talking about how it is the opposite of how some immigrants look at ownership. Arielle Bernstein, whose family left behind home and possessions when they left Cuba in 1968, explains why it is hard for some to accept the new minimalism. “Embracing a minimalist lifestyle is an act of trust,” she writes. “For a refugee, that trust has not yet been earned. The idea that going through items cheerfully evaluating whether or not objects inspire happiness is fraught for a family like mine, for whom cherished items have historically been taken away.” The article is a response to Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo, perhaps most famous for her idea of keeping only possessions that “spark joy.”

Lacking in the vast majority of these discussions in the mainstream media is the spiritual side of the equation. What should be our relationship with our possessions? Do they own us, or do we own them? Even in talking about the benefits of minimalism, we often are taking a secular approach. By shedding our possessions, we become liberated from them, freer to travel and spend our money elsewhere. If there’s anything “tiny houses” are built for, it’s not for large families, or for entertaining and showing hospitality to large groups.

We have become a consumerist society, to be sure, and one where it is cheaper and easier to replace your television than have it repaired, and where obsolescence is built into the newest gadget. Chayka’s point about the destructive nature of our technological age is a strong one, and we get the idea easily enough that it will be harder and harder to find real, lasting “joy” in many of the possessions that our obsession with one-click shopping provides.

K. E. Colombini

K. E. Colombini is a former journalist who served as a political speechwriter before a career in corporate communications. A Thomas Aquinas College alumnus, he also studied English literature at Sonoma State University in Northern California. In addition to Crisis, Colombini has been published in First Things, Inside the Vatican, The American Conservative and the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. He and his wife live in suburban St. Louis, and have five children and four grandchildren.



The Mercy of Intolerance

by Regis Nicoll | Thankfully, the love of Jesus was not the poison of tolerance, but the medicine of intolerance. (Images: Detail from a painting by Pedro Berruguete of Saint Dominic presiding over an auto-da-fé, c.1495).

Some years ago, I told a friend that I had visited a local evangelical church. Unhesitatingly, he remarked, “Oh, you mean that homophobic church!”

While such remarks reveal a lack of understanding about Church teachings, I can see why some people make them. It’s because of something I call “selective tolerance.”

While Christians are known for their high regard for Scripture, their acceptance of certain behaviors at odds with that standard has not gone unnoticed. As Anglican cleric Robert Hart has noted, “[Christians] have become more and more accepting of sexual relations that fall far below Christian belief in chastity, to the point where many churches accept unmarried couples, as long as they are not homosexual.”

Sadly, selective tolerance encompasses much more than acquiescence toward heterosexual immorality. Moral silence on various forms of self-indulgence, pride, gluttony and other “socially acceptable” sins has allowed Christians to remain in a spiritual orbit overlapping that of their secular neighbors, while the moral voice of the Church has dampened to a murmur.

How did it come to this?

The Supreme Virtue
One factor is the desire to measure ourselves by looking around rather than up. We believe that a loving God would not condemn a majority of mankind to eternal destruction; so, we set our sights on the righteous midpoint—or maybe just a smidgeon above it.

Instead of looking to Jesus to become holy as he is holy, we look to our neighbor. If our sins are not too different than his, we can chill. If they are, we can either work ourselves up to the moral mean or assuage ourselves by what is legally permissible. In fact, civil law has been an effective tool in “defining deviancy down.”

Within a generation after Roe v. Wade, the number of abortions increased 30 percent. During the same timeframe, “no-fault” legislation helped skyrocket the divorce rate by a factor of two, affecting nearly half of all marriages. The de-criminalization of homosexual sodomy and the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and assisted suicide continue the tradition of normalizing what were once considered deviant behaviors.

Another factor is cynicism. As noted by George Barna and others, belief in unchanging moral truth is held by a waning number of Christians. I’ve had Christians tell me that Jesus lovingly accepted everyone and wasn’t too particular about moral absolutes. It is a strange argument regarding someone who claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life.

However, the rejection of absolutes is never absolute. As the acid of cynicism dissolves the obelisk of objective truth into relativistic rubble, one spire remains: tolerance—the supreme virtue in a “live and let live” world that keeps seven billion “sovereigns” from mutual destruction.

An Insidious Ruse
Tolerance means that any biblical passage can be trumped by sincerity and goodness. As long as a person is sincere and lives an otherwise upright life, his lifestyle choices should be free from criticism or correction. Through this moral lens, even “loving neighbor as self” takes on a twisted shape.

Since I would be uncomfortable—yeah, offended—if someone pointed out my faults, I’ll not point out those of my neighbor. By relieving myself of that rather unpleasant task, I avoid mutual awkwardness and discomfort, and I fulfill half of the great commandment to boot! It is a deception more beguiling than the one that charmed Eve.

When Eve took the fruit, it wasn’t because she rationalized that, in some contrived way, she was fulfilling God’s command; she violated it because she rationalized that God’s command was unreasonable. In the modern ruse, you can do what Eve couldn’t: reject God’s commands and fulfill his moral standard at the same time. All ya need is love; and that’s spelled:

T-O-L-E-R-A-N-C-E. But the truth is another matter.

Tolerating the sin of a brother for fear that a disapproving word might offend, is like the physician who neglects to correct a 300-lb. patient about his lifestyle—it may look like compassion, but it is selfish indifference, if not outright cowardice. What’s more—it’s hazardous. As Robert Hart warned, “Replacing the mercy of disapproval with tolerance is replacing medicine with poison.”

Thankfully, the love of Jesus was not the poison of tolerance, but the medicine of intolerance.

An Intolerant Messiah
The popular felt-board depiction of Jesus as a soft-spoken story-teller—bordering on the effeminate—with a wide grin and open arms, welcoming all into his inner circle with nary a discouraging word couldn’t be further off the mark.

Jesus began his public ministry with the call to “Repent!” From there he launched into a lengthy exposition of attitudes and behaviors identified with kingdom living: he exhorted an adulterous woman to leave her life of sin; he disqualified a rich, young man for his self-sufficiency; he instructed his disciples to rebuke sinful brothers; he nearly started a riot in a violent outburst at the temple; and he was even boorish enough to criticize the religious beliefs of a woman who was merely trying to draw a jug of water.

To those who had supplanted the word of God with the traditions of men (like today’s prophets of tolerance), his words were stinging, even hurtful. In one discourse, Jesus delivered seven scathing shock treatments, each beginning with “Woe!” and followed by a moral indictment.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus never skirted wrong-headed beliefs or behaviors. He addressed them head on to the point of rudeness according to our modern sensibilities. But his corrections were never meant to crush or condemn; they were intended to awaken his audience to the truth that gives life.

Even Jesus’s rebuke of the Pharisees was driven not by anger, but anguish over their spiritual condition. At the end of his sevenfold indictment, he grieves, “How often have I longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

To generate introspection, Jesus often told parables. One concerned a wedding feast.

The Wrong Attire
A king threw a banquet in celebration of his son’s wedding. It was staged as a gala event, complete with clothes provided by the king to all attendees. Astonishingly, all of the invited guests refused to come. So the royal invitation was given out in the streets and alleys. Once the banquet hall was filled and the festivities set to begin, the king noticed something out of place: a man dressed in his own garb. Incensed over the man’s disregard for the graciously provided attire, the king had the man removed from the royal premises. The story has haunting similarities to the Genesis narrative.

Adam and Eve were guests in the royal residence of Eden. Everything needed for the good life was generously given them, including beautifully adorned bodies, fearfully and wonderfully made. Then they ate the fruit.

Hoping to conceal their guilt, Adam and Eve hurriedly covered themselves with fig leaves. But their plan unraveled as their newly sewn garments didn’t match the setting. They were in deep trouble. They had violated a decree punishable by death, they were found out with no credible defense, and were face-to-face with their Judge.

The King had three choices: he could execute the sentence immediately, demonstrating his justice; he could commute the sentence and demonstrate his mercy; or he could grant a temporary stay and demonstrate merciful justice. He chose the latter.

Fig Leaf Religion
After expelling Adam and Eve from the garden, God removed their hand-made attire and covered them with the skins of animals. Their coverings would be a constant reminder of the blood shed for them. More significantly, it prefigured the sacrificial system that reached its culmination and fulfillment at the Cross.

Fig leaves, on the other hand, came to represent man-made constructions to cover up faults and defects—like the “fig leaf” of tolerance.

Masked behind an ever-affirming face that looks like love, tolerance is neither compassion nor charity but, as Dorothy Sayers put it, “a sin which believes nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and only remains alive because there is nothing it would die for.”

The thread of Scripture is clear: It was not the apathy of tolerance, but the mercy of intolerance that led to the ultimate revelation of divine love—the Incarnation. Like our Lord and Savior, let us courageously and lovingly impart a correcting word to those who are being marginalized by poor choices and wrong-headed thinking.

Regis NicollRegis Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture. His new book is titled Why There Is a God: And Why It Matters.



Jehovah Rapha: The Lord, Our Healer!

by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko | You may or may not have heard of the killings going on in Nigeria. We are so sad that many lives have been taken and it does not seem like the government is doing anything to stop the killings and prosecute the perpetrators. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or their means of livelihood or have been injured. We need God’s intervention as it is ongoing and just a few days ago, more people were attacked and killed.

It has been some time since we sent out a news and prayer letter. Thank you for your unceasing prayers and faithful gifts that keep us going in our ministry, in our work with SIM teams and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ around the world.

The last two to three months have been full of ministry activities as well as family activities and challenges. The month of May kicked off with Joel’s return from school at the end of his second year in the University. However, it was a difficult time for him. He has struggled with some level of general anxiety for some time, but this was aggravated by additional academic stress. It all came to a head this past semester when he was taken to a nearby hospital during a panic attack. Joshua made a dash to Columbia to be with him through the hospital visit and spent the night with him in his hostel. Thankfully, he was able to finish his exams the following Monday and return home. This situation prompted us to bring him along for our trip to the UK where he spent two weeks with his aunt and uncle while we went on to a prior commitment in the SIM North East India office. We are grateful for the Lord’s care for Joel. He has done well so far and has continued in counseling. He also recently had surgery and is recovering well. His surgery led to our decision to have Joanna stay with him at home while Joshua went on to Malawi for the SIM Spiritual Life Conference and the 125th Anniversary of SIM.

This has been a challenging year health wise. Starting in December with Joanna going through hospital visits for back-aches, then suffering from pneumonia in January/February with three additional hospital visits. Joshua was also treated for pneumonia, followed by strep-throat; now Joel with anxiety, and topping it all with surgery. It has only been the Lord’s grace that has sustained us, and we are very grateful for your prayers. Of course, one of the impacts of these multiple hospital visits are the bills that keep coming. We have continued to receive new ones almost every week. Please pray for us and for our finances, that we will have wisdom from the Lord and He will meet all these financial needs.

Another item of prayer in relation to this is Joel’s college scholarship. Due to the serious anxiety issues with the class that resulted in his ending up in a hospital, he failed the class. He had received special accommodation recommendation from a psychologist for this class, but it was not implemented by the university. Despite doing well in all other classes, his GPA still fell below the necessary 3.0 by just 0.0023. As a result, we have been advised that he will lose his scholarship. Joel has an option of appeal. Please pray as we appeal this decision, that the Lord will go ahead of us and that he will receive a sympathetic hearing and a favorable consideration for the continuity of his scholarship.

In all that has gone on in the recent months, Joel was also recently diagnosed with adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is something that we had wondered about over the years and which Joel himself, through his readings had wondered about. However, now that some of his struggles have a clear diagnosis we look forward to simply and prayerfully journeying with him as he works through its implications. One thing that we are grateful for is his better understanding of himself and our own better understanding of the root of some of his struggles. Pray for this journey with us that we would be able to serve him well and that he will trust in the Lord in all his ways not allowing any form of illness or diagnosis to pull him down. He is full of potentials with a desire to serve the Lord. We want to see the Lord accomplish all His plans in his life. Jochebed was also diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and mild PTSD a couple of months ago, and we pray the Lord will guide her as well as she deals with the implications.

The last few months have not just been all about illnesses. We have also had tremendous opportunities of ministry around the SIM world. We participated in the SIM anniversary celebration in the UK in May on our way to North East India where the Lord opened to us many doors of ministry. We met with several denominational leaders of churches who are currently sending missionaries with SIM from North East India. This office just marked ten years this year and so far, they have already sent more than fifty missionaries with SIM, with 45 currently active on the field. We give thanks for what He is doing with the SIM North East India.

We were back briefly in the International office and then left for Namibia and Mozambique. We spent a valuable week with the SIM team in Namibia with a visit to the SIM related churches in the North of the country. Very grateful for the work that is going on in the heart of God’s people across the country. There is a spark of light towards mission sending from Namibia by these churches but there is a great need for discipleship. Please pray that this spark will become a burning flame for the gospel and in the heart of God’s people.

We wrapped up that trip with speaking at the SIM Mozambique Spiritual Life Conference. This is a small SIM team but a very committed team nonetheless. Joshua spoke seven times in the four days that we were there while Joanna spent an afternoon with the women and many one on one moments. We were truly blessed as we listened to their vision to make Christ known where He is least known in Mozambique, to invest in the churches by training leaders and training disciple makers. One missionary’s desire is to see farmers all over the country impacted by the gospel through agricultural practices that honor the Lord and tend to His creation. It was a sobering but encouraging week. Sobering in the sense that this team has in the past two years lost two of their leaders to serious illnesses with no promise of cure. They had gone from one heart break to another, and yet they were committed to the Lord and to the course to which He had called them. Please keep our Namibia and Mozambique teams in your prayers.

Joshua is currently in Malawi. After two weeks back in the States, he had to make this trip alone as Joanna stays home to care for Joel. Joshua will be speaking twice on Saturday, July 21st and at the Sunday service during the SIM Malawi celebration of the 125th Anniversary of SIM. And then daily from Monday through Friday next week, at the missionary Spiritual Life Conference. Please pray for wisdom for him and for the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit upon all his messages. Pray that he will have the right message for the right occasion.

Thank you also for all your prayers for the leadership changes in SIM. The Lord has honored your prayers beyond anything that we could imagine. As at the end of last week July 13, 2018, all the search process and interviews planned for this time had been concluded. We are now in the process of confirming each person in the role to which Joshua is appointing them. We also give thanks to the Lord for a new Executive Assistant for Joshua in the person of Angela Doucet. She is from Canada and will be based there. Being in the same time-zone is a great plus. Please praise God for all these leadership appointments and for God’s provision of Angela as Joshua’s much needed Executive Assistant.

Thank you all for standing with us as we prayed through the last week of May into the 1st of June when we started Joshua’s second five-year term as International Director. Many of the items that we prayed for that week have now seen answer to prayer, especially the prayer for the new leadership structure and the new leader appointments. We have seen the Lord’s hand in everything. Starting with eighty-two candidates and looking to make around 11 appointments, the Lord brought it all together in a space of less than three months. God has been gracious to us! Thank you for praying.

We praise God for Jochebed in San Francisco. She has had a period of discouraging events at work and has been working through it by prayer. The Lord answered those prayers in amazing ways in the last weeks. She is back to her happy self and excited again with her work as she prepares to fly to New York and present to her company’s Impact Advisory Council on diversity and inclusion.

We would like to ask you to join us in prayers for the Faris family. A little over two years ago, their eighteen-year-old daughter died in her sleep in the University. Her father, Don, has been battling severe pancreatic disease in the last two months. He has been hospitalized many times and several times for a prolonged period. This family has gone through a lot. Don works in our IT department and his wife, Lisa in our Finance department. Will you please join us in prayer for the Lord’s healing for Don.

You may or may not have heard of the killings going on in Nigeria. We are so sad that many lives have been taken and it does not seem like the government is doing anything to stop the killings and prosecute the perpetrators. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or their means of livelihood or have been injured. We need God’s intervention as it is ongoing and just a few days ago, more people were attacked and killed.

Praise
Praise God for His intervention on Joel’s life and for all that he has gone through that he continues to be strong in the Lord.

Praise God for answered prayers for Jochebed at her work.

Praise God for answered prayers for leadership appointments and executive assistant search.

Praise God for His protection, provision and presence in all our ways.

Prayer
Please pray for Joel’s health that the Lord will heal him completely. We are not camping at the door of any diagnoses, rather, we are trusting the Lord our healer to heal Joel and keep him safe and healthy.

Pray that the Lord will continue to sustain Jochebed and make her a light where He has placed her.

Pray for Joanna as she looks after Joel and pray for the Lord’s wisdom in her work with missionary families, women in the mission, female staff in the office and the archives.

Pray for Joshua as he speaks in Malawi that the Lord will speak through Him and touch many hearts through the words that the Lord will give to Joshua.

Pray for the new leadership team and the new Executive Assistant as they start in their roles that the Lord will give them hearts of unity and that they will work together as unto the Lord.

Pray for the Lord’s healing for Don and for strength and grace for Lisa as she cares for him.

Pray for the situation in Nigeria that the Lord will heal our home land and bring an end to the killings and injustice.

Thank you for praying for us and with us. We are grateful that the Lord has put you in our lives and has kept you in our lives. Please let us know how we may be praying for you as well.



How Is a Man Not Like a Computer?

by Anthony Esolen | A computer, it appears to me, is a really sophisticated card catalogue, as robots are sophisticated puppets.

I have just read a fascinating and, to my mind, cheerful article, by the research psychologist Robert Epstein, on why your brain is not a computer—for the simple reason that your brain does not store memories in the way that a computer does, nor does it function according to algorithms. We are not computers but organisms, says Epstein, and we ought to “get over it,” meaning that we ought to stop dreaming of a time when we will achieve “immortality” by downloading the contents of the brain into a computer. Even if we could know what is strictly impossible to know, and we could describe at one moment the quantum states of every electron zipping along every synapse of every neuron in a human brain—a task that would require bigger numbers than if we could chart every star in the universe—we would still, absent the person to tell us these things, not be any the wiser as to what the person had experienced or was thinking.

“Misleading headlines notwithstanding,” says Epstein, “no one really has the slightest idea how the brain changes after we have learned to sing a song or recite a poem. But neither the song nor the poem has been ‘stored’ in it. The brain has simply changed in an orderly way that now allows us to sing the song or recite the poem under certain conditions. When called on to perform, neither the song nor the poem is in any sense ‘retrieved’ from anywhere in the brain, any more than my finger movements are ‘retrieved’ when I tap my finger on my desk. We simply sing or recite—no retrieval necessary.”

This, I think, makes what human beings do appear all the more wondrous. We have trained our dog, Jasper, to do upwards of seventy tricks. He jumps through a hoop, he rings a bell, he bangs the keys on his toy piano, and he flops to the ground and rolls over when I point my finger at him and say, “Bang!” What happens is that he has learned, as a whole dog—the whole canine organism from silky ears to plume-like tail—to interact with the world in a certain way that brings pleasure to him, in the form of praise and fun and treats. If we could “download” a human brain into a computer, then surely, a fortiori, we could do so with a dog—but here we see the analogy break down. What on earth could a dog’s brain in a computer possibly signify? Where is the dog himself, the creature interacting with the world, being changed by the world and changing the world in turn, as when he comes upon a telephone pole and sagaciously divines the message of a previous dog?

A computer, it appears to me, is a really sophisticated card catalogue, as robots are sophisticated puppets. The dog does not compute, and the computer does not prick up its ears and twitch its nose because a fox has been in the neighborhood. The dog does not download files, and the computer has no life experience. When it comes to human beings, then, Epstein says quite shrewdly that we really are unique, because no two people will react in the same way to the same things: I can hear Beethoven’s Fifth, and you can hear it, and yet in neither of us is the symphony simply imprinted on the memory for future retrieval, as when I download a file onto my computer, and it is there in the computer’s crystal, the same as if you had downloaded it, or the same as if I had downloaded it onto a different computer. We can have duplicate card catalogues, just as we used to have many thousands of telephone books with the same information in each, but not duplicate organisms, and therefore not duplicate human beings.

Epstein says that we are being misled by a model, a mere metaphor, one that we will need to discard, just as we discarded the mechanical model of gears and wheels that prevailed after Descartes, and just as we discarded the model “preserved in the Bible,” whereby men “were formed from clay or dirt, which an intelligent god [sic] then infused with its [sic] spirit.” I am guessing that Epstein the scientist brings up the Bible only to suggest that the current model of the brain as computer is as inadequate as this outdated explanation. He ought to reconsider what the verse from the Bible means. He has not taken it seriously. It is not meant to be a mechanical description of what goes on in the human organism: it has nothing to do with humors (bodily fluids such as bile or blood, which were thought to determine personality), gears and wheels, galvanic forces, or computer algorithms. It has instead to do with persons: the Creator and man.

There is a qualitative difference, as wide as the gap between nonexistence and existence, between the computer and any living organism, and indeed the more we learn about even the most elementary organisms, e.g., those of a single cell, the more the mind boggles at the sheer complexity of an amoeba or a paramecium—or of an organelle inside the paramecium, like the mitochondria. It is as if we might dive into reality, and find what looks like a new universe awaiting us at each level, so to speak. Yet even this does not do justice to the organism.

Consider again the card catalogue. Information in it is organized according to variations upon a simple algorithm: alphabetical order. It is also organized by kind: author, title, and topic. The computer is vastly more efficient and far-reaching in its capacity to deliver this information in a variety of ways and by a variety of commands. It functions, to give an obvious and powerful instance, as a big concordance, finding where words or strings of words are used here and there and everywhere. This is all fine, for human use. But it is not a living thing, nor is it close to a living thing. A very large dictionary is no closer to having life than is a small dictionary. A library is no closer to having life than is a postage stamp.

I may be giving too little credit here to the power of the algorithms whereby a computer does its sorting and filtering and locating, but I don’t believe I have misunderstood the principle. It is not that a computer is less complex than is an amoeba, but that the complexity of a computer is that of a machine, and not that of an organism. We need a new term, perhaps, one that will bring into play the intimacy of the interrelationships among the parts of the organism. “All for one, and one for all,” cried the Three Musketeers. Socioplex, perhaps?

Every identifiable part of an organism is related to the others in an intimate way, working as a whole; the part is what it is only by virtue of its participation in and of the whole. The whole is present in each part. An organism is not a funny kind of machine. Rather, a machine, as Etienne Gilson once noted, is a mock-organism, with interchangeable parts that work by means of contiguity and efficient causality alone. Think of a wheel on a car. If you take the wheel off the car, you can still use it as a wheel for a different kind of machine entirely, one that also rolls. The wheel is indifferent. The car is not “in” the wheel. The wheelbarrow is not in the handle.

I am, however, in my flesh and blood. We know now that the instructions for the building up of my whole body lie in each cell of mine. The cell is not mere stuff, a mere jelly to which an electric charge is imparted, as the materialists of the Enlightenment wanted to believe. To press an analogy, we might turn to Saint Paul: Christ, and not just an extrinsic jolt of divinity, is present in each member of the body of Christ. The bodies of organisms are organized as it were pneumatically, from within, infused throughout by the Spirit of life, which is personal, intentional, artistic, and creative: “You send forth your Spirit, and they are created,” says the Psalmist. If it was God’s intention from the beginning to build up the Body of Christ that is the Church, then it seems fit that bodies themselves should bear witness to this kind of organization, to a degree that Saint Paul himself could not have imagined.

To go from amoebas to my dog Jasper is, I think, to cross another gap as wide as a universe. He trembles on the verge of personality, as C.S. Lewis puts it. And then there is personality itself, the real thing. Here we come to the final choice, the one that atheists with good hearts want to delay or avoid. It is the choice between seeing the human person as reducible to a machine—a thing, even if the thing is a brute like an amoeba, or seeing him as a being capable of a relationship with God, because he is made as a person, by a Person, for knowledge and love.

The person, endowed as he is with reason and intellect, is as Thomas Aquinas says, capax omnium, i.e., capable of knowing (though in a manner proper to himself, and not as God knows) anything there is to be known, and not just as one detail after another, but as wholes to be grasped in their peculiar beauty. The telephone book does not know anything. For to know is to come into a relationship with the thing known, and if we are talking about intellectual knowledge, knowledge implies not just a brain, but a knowing person. If I say, “I know John,” I am not talking about anything that can be measured, such as John’s height and weight and age, all of which may be logged by a mechanical device. I am not even talking about biographical data, such as where John was born and where he lives now. I mean something for which the word “know” seems equivocal. I mean that John has entered into my life in some way, and that he, the person, means something to me that no collection of data can mean, nor any set of robotic instructions that might mimic the actions of a living being.

We really do come to the crux here, and this explains why a consistent materialist like Daniel Dennett must hold that our very consciousness is but an illusion. He knows that to take the person as an irreducible datum of human knowing and being-known is to depart from materialism, which he takes as a given. It is then also to turn toward the Person from whom all personhood derives. David Hart once jested that it was the dream of all young materialists someday to grow up to be robots. We may say, in the same spirit, that the dream of such Christian grubs as we are is to grow in the Lord Jesus Christ, and become persons at last indeed.

Professor Esolen is a teaching fellow and writer in residence at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Dr. Esolen is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine and the author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books, 2010) and Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). His most recent books are Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching (Sophia Institute Press, 2014); Defending Marriage (Tan Books, 2014); Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books, 2015); and Out of the Ashes (Regnery, 2017).



God is Worthy of Confidence

Bible Study Tools| Job 22:21 Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.

That is, with God. The case to which the text refers was this. Eliphaz—who addresses these words to Job— supposed that he was wholly a stranger to the true God; that he had altogether erroneous views of his government; that he regarded him as harsh and severe in his administration, and as unworthy of confidence. In his sufferings, Job had at some times indulged in remarks of considerable severity on the divine dealings. This was by no means the prevailing character of the man; but it was so interpreted by his friends, and Eliphaz now designs to assure him that he could never find peace until he should become more acquainted with the divine character, and should feel that God was worthy of confidence. He proceeds, therefore, in a.most beautiful manner to exhort him to be reconciled to God, and portrays the benefits which would result from such reconciliation. The meaning is, ‘Become truly acquainted with the character and government of God. You have now no just views of him. You regard him as harsh, severe, tyrannical. You murmur, and complain, and are wretched.- Estranged from him, you must be miserable. But it is not too late to repent and return to him; and in so doing you will find peace.’ Eliphaz—however improperly he applied this to Job—has here stated a doctrine which has been confirmed by all the subsequent revelations in the Bible, and by all experience, that happiness follows reconciliation with God, and that true peace is found only there. This doctrine must have been understood as early as religion was known after the fall. Man became alienated from God by the apostasy, and consequently miserable; and peace was to be found again only by reconciliation with him.

There are two great difficulties in the minds of men. The one is, they have no just views of the character and government of God; and the second is, if his true character is made known to them, they have no pleasure in it—no confidence in it. Both these difficulties must he removed before man can he reconciled to his Maker. No small part of the difficulty will be removed if we can show him that the character of God is such as to Deserve his confidence. To that task I now proceed,- and shall arrange my thoughts under three heads :

I. The liability to error on our part in judging of the character and government of God.

The real difficulties in the case; and the evidence that he is worthy of our confidence. I would not attempt an argument of this nature, were it not that I believe that the great difficulty with men is, that they have no confidence in God. This is the source of all our woes. Man” does not believe that the God of the Bible is worthy to be the Sovereign of the universe; that his government is equal; and that the terms of his favors are the best that could be. He confides in his own understanding rather than in God; forms his own plan of religion rather than embrace the one which God has revealed; and relies on his own merits for salvation rather than on the merits of him whom God has sent. He goes not to him in perplexity; asks not his support in sickness; relies not on him in-the hour of death. The great evil in this world is a want of confidence in God; —a want of confidence producing the same disasters there which it does in a commercial community, and in the relations of domestic life. The great thing needful to make this a happy world is to restore confidence in the Creator—confidence, the great restorer of happiness every where.

Now, men can never be reconciled to God unless this confidence shall be restored. You and your neighbor are at variance. The dispute has been bitter and long. There has been a misunderstanding, and dissatisfaction, and a lawsuit, and a long strife resulting in a confirmed alienation. Now, suppose, in this difficulty, you are wholly right, and your neighbor wholly wrong. You have really done him no injury. You have not been unwilling to be on terms of friendship with him. But a long train of circumstances, which you could not have well controlled, has operated to make him misunderstand your character, or suspect your motives. Evil minded men have for their own ends misrepresented you. They have reported to him things which you have not said, and they have magnified trifles until they seem to be mountains. Affairs have come to such “a slate, that he has no confidence in you, and believes your character to be wholly unworthy of respect.

(1.) Now what is to be done in the case to bring about reconciliation? Not that you are to change your character. Not that you are to make acknowledgments where no wrong has been done. It is to restore to Ms mind just confidence in yourself— to explain matters; to show him what you are; to undo the evils which busy-bodies have done in giving him a wrong impression of you ;—and if, back of all this, he has had hard thoughts of you without the show of reason, and simply because he does not like a character of honesty and truth, he is to lay all that aside. Then peace would be restored. This is what is to be done in religion. It-is to convince men that God is worthy of confidence ;—and that all that has been said by infidels, and skeptics, and scoffers against him, is unjust and wrong; and then, if back of all these false representations of the character of God, you have been cherishing, any feelings hostile to his real character, to entreat you to lay them aside. This would be reconciliation.—And why should a man wish to cherish any hard thoughts of God without the shadow of reason—Hating Him From The Pure Love of Hating Him?

(2.) In the case of the two individuals referred to, it will easily be seen that the one who supposed he was injured, would be liable to form very erroneous estimates of the character of the other. A man is not in very favorable circumstances for estimating character when he is engaged in a quarrel, nor is he then very likely to do justice to the motives and the actions of his neighbor. A thousand things are concerned in forming our judgments, against which we should, in such circumstances, guard ourselves. Now, how is it in our estimate of the character of God? Are we in no danger of being influenced by improper feelings? This is the point before us. It does not require long consideration, and I shall therefore remarks—full of complaint and murmuring—show the effect of this condition on his mind in unfitting him to come to such conclusions as should lead him to confide in God.

(3.) A third source of liability to error in judging of the character of God is, that we always regard ourselves as the aggrieved and injured party. We do not allow ourselves to suppose it possible that God should be right and we wrong;. but whatever injury is done, we allow ourselves to suppose has been done by him. If God treats us as if we were great sinners, we do not allow ourselves for a moment to suppose that we are such, but instantly revert to our ideas of our own morality and integrity; if he threatens to punish us forever in hell, we do not allow ourselves for a moment to suppose that we deserve such a treatment; but regard it at once as proof that he is arbitrary and stern; and while this is the case, how is it possible for a man to put confidence in God, or to feel that he ought to be reconciled to him? His opposition he regards as in no small degree meritorious; and he feels that he would be wanting in self-respect to cherish any other views of his Maker than he actually does.

(4.) A fourth source of liability to error, or to a want of confidence in God, lies back of all this. It is not merely that we-do not understand his true character, but it is that we are not pleased with that character when it is understood. We have by nature no pleasure iti God. He is too holy, too just, too pure, too true, to satisfy creatures such as we are; and there is no fact better established, in the history of man, account for it as you may, and draw what inferences from it you choose, than that man by nature has a strong opposition to the character of God, even when that character is understood. He does not like to retain him in his knowledge. He loves sin too much, and hates restraint, and desires his own gratification, and has no sympathy with the divine perfections and attributes. Now, with this state of mind, he looks on God and all that he does, through a distorted medium^ and is constantly seeking some ground of accusation; something that shall to him answer the purpose of self-defense.

These are some of the liabilities to error in judging of the divine character, and it is to be feared that the views which not a few have of God, have been formed under some such feelings as these. It is evident, however, at a glance, that all the views of the divine character which are formed under influences like these are likely to be wrong, and should constitute no real difficulty in the question whether we shall put confidence in him. I proceed, therefore,

II. To the second general point of inquiry—the real difficulties in the case. I mean where a man has no prejudice; no embittered feeling; no cherished opposition: where he is not suffering under any ill in such a way as to sour his mind or pervert his understanding, and where he would wish to see such evidence that he- may put unwavering confidence in God.

I think it is to be admitted that such a man may have great difficulties. There are many things which he cannot understand. There are many things which he cannot reconcile with such a view. Briefly, for this is a point on which we ought not long to dwell, such a man will advert to such facts as the following, viz:

That sin should have been allowed to come into the system formed by a holy God. That since he had power to create or not, as he chose, and since worlds have been made that were holy, and are still holy, that all should not have been made so. That misery has come into the universe, and that death, with many forms of woe, has been commissioned to cut down one whole race, and that, in doing it, the whole earth is strewed with hospitals, and sick-beds, and graves. That the immortal mind should be allowed to jeopardize its infinite – welfare, and that trifles should be allowed to draw it away from God, and virtue, and heaven. That any should suffer forever—lingering on in hopeless despair, and rolling amidst infinite torments without the possibility of alleviation, and without end. That since God can save men, and will save a part, he has not purposed to save all; that on the supposition that the atonement is ample, and that the blood of Christ can cleanse from all and every sin, it is not in fact applied to all. That, in a. word, a God who claims to be worthy of the confidence of the universe, and to be a being of infinite benevolence, should make such a world as this—full of sinners and sufferers; and that when an atonement had been made, he did not save all the race, and put an end to sin and woe forever.

These, and kindred difficulties, meet the mind when we think on this great subject; and they meet us when we endeavor to urge our fellow-sinners to be reconciled to God, and to put confidence in him. On this ground they hesitate. These are real, not imaginary difficulties. They are probably felt by every mind that ever reflected on the subject—and they are unexplained, unmitigated, unremoved. I confess, for one, that I feel them, and feel them more sensibly and powerfully the more Hook at them, and the longer I live. I do not understand these facts; and I make no advances towards understanding them. I do not know that I have a ray of light on. this subject which I had not when the subject first flashed across my soul. I have read, to some extent, what wise and good men have written. I have looked at their various theories and explanations. I have endeavored to weigh their arguments—for my whole soul pants for light and relief on these questions. But I get neither; and in the distress and anguish of my own spirit, I confess that I see no light whatever. I see not one ray to disclose to me the reason why sin came into the world; why the earth is strewed with the dying and the dead, and why man must suffer to all eternity. I have never seen a particle of light thrown on these subjects that has given a moment’s ease to my tortured mind; nor have I an explanation to offer, or a thought to suggest, which would -be a relief to you. I trust other men—as they profess to do—understand this better than I do, and that they have not the anguish of spirit which I have; but I confess, when I look on a world of sinners and of sufferers; upon death-beds and graveyards; upon the world of who filled with hosts to suffer forever;— when I see my friends, my parents, my family, my people, my fellow-citizens—when I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and danger, and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned, and when I feel that God only can save them and yet that he does not do it, I am struck dumb. It is all dark—dark—dark to my soul—and I cannot disguise it.

Yet even here, in the-midst of this gloom, I cast about my eyes to see if I can find no evidence that God is worthy of my confidence; no evidence that though “clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” Is there nothing on which my soul may rest, and of which I may speak to my fellow-men, when their minds are involved in the same perplexity? And when I come to them as the ambassador of God, and ask them to be reconciled, is there nothing which I can say to convince them that God is worthy of that confidence, and to satisfy them that in all this gloom they may repose on their Creator? I have found for myself a rock in this heaving ocean; a star on which the eye may be fixed in the dark night. I proceed,

III. In the third place to state, in the briefest manner possible, the process of my own reflections on this point, or the reasons why confidence should be placed in him, and why men should be exhorted to become acquainted with him, and be at peace.

My faith rests mainly on God’s own word; on the testimony of himself in regard to his real character and plans; on the assurances which I find there, that, notwithstanding all the difficulties in the case, he is holy, true, just, good, and worthy of universal love and confidence. It is the assurance of him who knows his own character, and who declares most solemnly that all that he does is consistent with the rules of eternal equity and right. He has given what I believe to be a revelation of his character, and has made such declarations respecting it as to claim the confidence of mankind. Here my mind rests. Conscious of my liability to err; knowing how short-sighted I am; feeling that man must be incompetent to sit in judgment on the government and plans of God; and knowing that there may be developments yet that shall make all that is now dark, clear; all that is obscure, light, I put my trust in his assurances, and the mind finds repose. …

But I find also in his government, as it is actually administered, not a little to confirm this confidence, and to calm the distresses of the soul; not a little that I think may be so stated as to show to men that he is worthy of their confidence. I shall state some of these things now, in the conclusion of this discourse. It can be merely, however, to. glance at thoughts which should be expanded to much greater length. They are such as these:

(1.) The government of God is one of law—always presumptive proof that a government is worthy of confidence. It is not a government of mere will, or caprice; not a government of passion, and therefore not one of arbitrary tyranny. Where there is law which is known, and which is rigidly adhered to, there may be confidence. It shows that the sovereign has confidence himself in his own principles; that he is willing that they should be known; that he does not mean to be governed by caprice. He publishes his principles of administration, and submits them to the -world; and in such a fact there, is proof that there is stability. A mob is- governed by Bo law; a tyrant is controlled by no principle but his will; or if laws are proclaimed, they are proclaimed only to be set aside by caprice. But it is not so with God. His is a government of law, and has been from the beginning. We know what he requires; we know what he will do in given circumstances. Those laws are not set aside by will; they are not disregarded by caprice or passion. In such a government there is presumptive ground, at least, for confidence. – – .

(2.) That government is stable and firm. What it is in one place it is in another. What he requires of one he requires of all; what he forbids in one place he does every where. What he prohibits in heaven, he does on earth and in hell; what he approves in heaven, he approves in all worlds. What in one generation he approves or forbids, he approves or forbids in all; what in one complexion or climate, he does every where. Virtue that he rewards in one age, he rewards in all; and vice that he punishes in one clime, he punishes every where. The deed that excites his displeasure beneath rags, excites his displeasure beneath the purple; and the victim that he smiles upon on the throne, pleases him not less in the cottage. The light which comes to our eye from the Bun, is governed by the same laws as the light which is borne from the remotest star; and the same laws apply to water on the rose-bud and in the dew-drop which control it in the deep ocean. We know, therefore, what to expect. We see a government that is settled and firm; and such a government has at least some of the elements to produce confidence.

(3.) All the operations of his government, and all his laws, tend to promote the welfare of his subjects. None are originally designed to produce misery; none do produce misery except when violated. There are, for example, certain laws pertaining to health. They require temperance, purity, industry, absence from exciting and violent passions. All these laws tend to the welfare of the individual, and if obeyed, injure no one. There are certain laws pertaining to the acquisition of property. These laws, if obeyed, injure no one, but would promote the welfare of all. These are laws requiring truth, honesty, temperance, chastity, love, kindness, charity. None are injured by their observance. None ever have been. None ever will be. It is a matter of the clearest demonstration,, that if all those laws had been observed in the exact sense of their requirements from the creation of the universe, no one would have been injured by them; and you cannot find one of the laws of his kingdom whose observance would not have been attended with benefit, or where its violation has not been, an injury sooner or later. This is so clear that it needs no argument; and is not such a government worthy of confidence? Has it not a claim on the love and obedience of those who are its subjects? To see the full force of this, you have only to remember that it was in the power of God to have made laws directly the reverse, and to have so ordained them that the observance of each one would have been followed with a sigh or a groan. When I suffer, therefore, and when, under the influence of suffering, I am disposed to complain of God, let me remember that that suffering is somehow connected with the violation of law, and that the Creator has ordained no law, in the exact observance of which such misery would have followed. la such a God, and in such a government, can we see no reasons for confidence?

(4.) I look a step farther. I see a great number of arrangements designed to meet the evils which have in, fact grown up in the system—evils in all cases the result of some violated law. I know the great difficulty lies just here, and you will ask me why those evils were allowed to come into the system? Why were they not prevented? This is the Gordian knot which we can neither cut nor untie. I answer frankly that I do not know. I have not one ray of light to shed here. I am involved in deep midnight, as I believe all mankind are; and I see not that one explanation has ever been offered that has helped the matter in the least. But when the evil has entered the system, what is the conduct of the sovereign-then? Has he suffered it to go on unheeded, unrebuked, and with no effort to arrest it? Are there no devices, no contrivances to stay the evil, and ultimately to remove it? If the original law were good, he would be under no obligation to interpose to arrest the evil resulting from its violation; but if he did interpose, it would be so much proof standing out by itself that he was worthy the confidence of the sufferers. This, then, introduces us into a new department of the divine administration, and a department that extends as far as we are concerned with evil and woe. It is the department of remedies for the evils of the violated system;—a remedial arrangement designed to anticipate the coming evil, and to prevent its being finally and wholly destructive. Such are the remedies in the case of disease designed to meet and mitigate it, or to remove it; and such is the great remedy for all the maladies of men in the atonement. It is almost susceptible now of demonstration, and the proof is increasing every year—that there is not a form of disease to which the human system is liable for which some salutary remedy has not been provided; it is capable of complete demonstration that there is not an evil of any kind which sin has introduced, pertaining to the shattered body and the darkened soul, for which a complete remedy has not been provided in the plan of redemption. Who, in this life, may all be mitigated by that plan, and completely removed hereafter; the soul, contaminated by sin, may become yet wholly pure; death, the great evil, may be wholly destroyed, and the time come when the grave shall not have a tenant, and when the -whole, earth shall not have a tomb.’ But if this be so, then there is ground of confidence in the government of God. To such a being I would not be a stranger.

(5.) We come to a fifth feature of his administration. It is, that in that plan of- complete recovery, none are excluded from his favor who desire his favor. I trust you will understand me, and not give me credit for any more proof under this point than I deserve. I do not say that none are finally excluded from the favor of God. I am not able to come to such a conclusion. But this is my position, that none are excluded from his favor who Desire his favor-; that none of those who are lost had any Wish to be his friends. This is the question of most thrilling interest to us. It is not whether any have been lost, or will be. It is not whether Achan, Judas, Simon Magus, Cesar Borgia, Richard III., and Voltaire went to heaven. It is whether it can or cannot be demonstrated that any have been sent to hell who sincerely Desired To Go To Heaven; whether any have, been refused forgiveness of sin who sincerely Wished It; whether any have been thrust away from the cross who Sincerely Asked to be saved by the blood of the Redeemer; whether any have truly plead for mercy, and have been denied ; whether, in the world, it can ever be said—

“Here’s a soul that perished, suing
For the boasted Savior’s aid.”

If there have been any such instances, it is right to ask where the evidence is to be found. Is it in the Bible? To me it speaks a wholly different language. Have those who have gone down to death ever said this? Have Nero and Caligula, Herod and Cesar Borgiaj Paine and D’Alembert any where left it on record that they had sincerely applied for pardon and salvation through the atonement and were rejected, and that they became monsters in iniquity because God would not save them? Such a record remains yet to be adduced. Go to the multitudes of profligates and atheists; the dissolute and the profane; the unprincipled and the vile, and ask them the question, ‘Are you thus because you went in humble prayer before God, and sued for pardon and salvation in the name of the Redeemer, and were rejected?’ And what would be the answer? A volley of curses, perhaps, that the question was asked at all; certainly such a spirited response as Would effectually clear them from the suspicion that they had ever done such a weak thing as to pray. The truth is simply this. No means will induce them to come and ask for pardon. We plead with men ;. we urge argument and entreaty; we appeal to their consciences, their hopes, their fears; we point them to heaven, and we warn them of hell, but all in vain. The great mass press on in the broad road to death, and scarce one takes the pains even to turn his head and to say—whatever he feels—that he scorns the idea of seeking salvation through a Redeemer. Meantime here and there one leaves-” the herd,” comes back, and asks for mercy; and I appeal to the whole history of the world—from the publican and the dying thief to the present time—in proof that no one who came in that manner was ever rejected. And to the same universal history I appeal with the same confidence in proof that no one of the lost ever sincerely desired to be saved. But if so, here is at least one ground of confidence in God. What could we ask more?

(6.) I have one other remark only to make now—for the time will not admit of more. It is, that they who know most of the character and government of God, and who are best qualified to judge, repose most entire confidence in him. Angels in heaven doubt not his goodness, and mercy, and truth, and in their bosoms there dwells no distrust. Multitudes on earth who were once alienated and even miserable because they were alienated; who murmured against God, and who, in murmuring, found no relief; and who rebelled in the day of adversity, and thus plunged themselves into deeper sorrows, have returned, and now see that he is worthy of their highest trust. Since their return; since they have become ‘acquainted’ with him, they have been at peace. They have not doubted that he was qualified to rule ; and they have committed to him the interest dearest to mortals—the interest of the immortal soul—and felt that all was safe. Prophets and apostles did this; confessors and martyrs did it; and there are tens of thousands now on earth, and millions in heaven who have done it. God they have found true to his promises. The afflicted have found him a support; the dying have leaned on his arm; and the living now find him all that the heart desires to find in their God. I make use of this as an argument. It is the argument of history; of experience. You will not doubt that it is a legitimate argument, for they have had all the feelings of distrust, and complaining, and murmuring, which any can have now, and they have passed through all the circumstances which we can conceive of to test our confidence in God. It has been enough. They have been upheld, and have found it true that he would ‘never leave nor forsake them.’

My hearers, I have desired so to set this subject before you as to describe your state of mind, and to show you the propriety of being reconciled to God. I know not that I have succeeded in removing one difficulty from the mind; but I would trust that the remarks which I have made will not increase the perplexity. To you candidly I commit the remarks made; with God I leave them for his blessing. The conclusions which I think we have reached, are these—

(1.) It is a duty to be reconciled to God :—a duty to him, for his government is just and right, and opposition to him is wrong.

(2.) It is unwise to maintain the state of mind in which many indulge—chafed and fretted against God, and yet using no means to ascertain his true character, and to be at peace.

(3.) The world is doing its Creator great injustice. It charges him with cruelty and wrong; holds him to be unworthy of confidence and love; is filled with hard thoughts and fretted feelings; and is venting complaints and murmurings. Thousands murmur in their hearts; thousands complain openly; thousands curse him on his throne. What a world!

(4.) It is foolish as well as wicked to resist him. What can resistance avail against almighty power! Justice and wisdom, truth and love constrain us, therefore, to say to each one of you, ‘Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace!’

 



Cave Church in Egypt Attracts Several Thousand Christians Weekly To Worship Jesus

by Julie Brown Patton | You can reach Julie via news@gospelherald.com | The Monastery of Saint Simon, a church built into a cave in Egypt, is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. This Cave Church draws several thousand Coptic worships every week. Christians Voice

A “Cave Church” in Egypt is one of the largest churches in the country, a place where 70,000-plus Christians gather every week to worship and praise Jesus — a place that’s home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. The cave, also known as the Monastery of Saint Simon, is located in the Mokattam mountain in southeastern Cairo, in an area known as “garbage city” due to the large population of garbage collectors, or Zabbaleen, that live there.

More than 90 percent of the Zabbaleen community members in the Mokattam Village are Coptic Christians. Being in the Arabic world, surrounded by all Islam-dominated countries, it is challenging to maintain the custom and continue their Coptic culture, reports Christians Voice.

Christians Voice reports church communities in Egypt have been declining as the country’s residents dealt with political turmoil, a slumping economy and a growing militant insurgency. The exodus of Christians intensified fears for the future for Christianity in the Middle East (Arab World), as some now worry for the fate of Egypt’s Christians.

“Mostly they’re travelling to the US to find better opportunities because of uncertainties in Egypt,” Rev. Markos Ayoub, a priest who leads the Sunday liturgy at St. Mark in English, told Christians Voice. “It’s not easy to be a Coptic Christian in the Middle East these days, considering the militant insurgency in Egypt.”

The Cave Church in Egypt has an inside capacity for 20,000 worshippers. Thousands more gather outside of it to join in services each week. (images: Wikipedia, A.P.E. Cairo)

The Cave Church in Egypt has an inside capacity for 20,000 worshippers. Thousands more gather outside of it to join in services each week. (images: Wikipedia, A.P.E. Cairo)

The Zabbaleen are descendants of farmers who started migrating from Upper Egypt to Cairo in the 1940s. Fleeing poor harvests and poverty they came to the city looking for work and set-up makeshift settlements around the city. Initially, they stuck to their tradition of raising pigs, goats, chickens and other animals, but eventually found collecting and sorting of waste produced by the city residents more profitable. The Zabbaleen sort through household garbage, salvaging and selling things of value, while the organic waste provides an excellent source of food for their animals. In fact, this arrangement worked so well, that successive waves of migrants came from Upper Egypt to live and work in the newly founded garbage villages of Cairo, reports Amusing Planet.

For years, the makeshift settlements of the Zabbaleen were moved around the city trying to avoid the municipal authorities. Finally, a large group of Zabbaleen settled under the cliffs of the Mokattam or Moquattam quarries at the eastern edge of the city, which now has grown from a population of 8,000 in the early 1980s, into the largest garbage collector community in Cairo, with approximately 30,000 Zabbaleen inhabitants. Christian communities are rare to find in Egypt, so the Zabbaleen prefer to stay in Mokattam within their own religious community even though many of them could afford houses elsewhere.

The local Coptic (Cave) Church in Mokattam Village was established in 1975. After the founding of the church, Amusing Planet reports the Zabbaleen felt more secure in their location and only then began to use more permanent building materials, such as stone and bricks, for their homes. Given their previous experience of eviction from Giza in 1970, the Zabbaleen had lived in temporary tin huts. In 1976, a large fire broke out in Manshiyat Nasir, which led to the beginning of the construction of the first church below the Mokattam mountain on a site of 1,000 square meters. Several more churches have been built into the caves found in Mokattam, of which the Monastery of Saint Simon the Tanner is the largest, with a seating capacity of 20,000; other congregants gathered outside it. In fact, the Cave Church of Saint Simon in Mokattam is the largest church in the Middle East.



With heart-felt gratitude for your support and a request for prayers for the next five years!

by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko | “… pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored,…” 2 Thes. 3:1.

On May 31st, I will conclude my first term as SIM’s International Director. Together, Joanna and I and our children would like to express our profound gratitude for your prayers, support and encouragement over the last five years. It has been a journey of joy and growth as well as challenge. We have felt your support and prayers, received your good will, and benefited from your generosity and hospitality. Many of you have hosted us overnight in your homes and for meals – you have blessed us beyond what you know. We are deeply grateful to each one of you our prayer partners, friends and family.

As we turn to face the next five years, Joanna and I find ourselves joyful in hope. We are energized by what we anticipate the Lord will do in and through SIM as a mission. We are more eager than ever to see SIM investing in the new workers that God is bringing to our diverse teams. I look forward to serving with new leaders of our teams and our new international leaders in ways that we have not had the capacity to before. It is our joyfulness in hope that helps us to be patient in affliction. Because the world today is in turmoil and our workers serve in difficult locations, we are dedicated more than ever to people care and development. We desire that our ‘Grow as We Go’ initiative will help us to flourish inwardly even as we focus outwardly on communities where Christ is least known. Patience in affliction drives us to be faithful in prayer, and all the things we desire and hope for are possible only By Prayer.

Joanna and I will set apart the week of May 28 to June 1 as a week of prayer for our next five years of service with SIM. We are inviting you, our prayer partners, to join us that week. Especially consider praying on June 1, the first day of the new term. Please pray for four important items:
1. Pray for the wisdom of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in every thought, decision and action.
2. Pray for the anointing and uniting of God on new leadership teams who will bless and draw together the works and workers of SIM; pray for leaders who listen to the Lord.
3. Pray for us as an organization to remain focused on God’s purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ in communities where He is least known, and of investing in all those whom God is bringing into SIM. In this way, we will grow even as we go to serve Him.
4. Pray for the Lord’s encouragement and provision for all (churches, families and individuals) who partner with us.

Thank you for joining in this prayer time, particularly on June 1. We are excited for the possibilities that lie ahead for our mission. With the psalmist I pray, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” And “may God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” Amen.

For more stories from around the SIM world, please go to SIM Stories.

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Being ECWA Today: ECWA Identity and Sense of Belonging in Christ in an Age of Challenge

by Emmanuel Datiyong Akanet | Reclaiming ECWA Believers’ Identity and Sense of Belonging in Christ: A Problem of Christian Identity
Download Reclaiming ECWA Believers’ Identity and Sense of Belonging in Christ
I had the privilege of participating in the Lord’s ministry in Nigeria for twenty-eight years before I came to Asbury Theological Seminary in the fall of 2004, and I realize that the Lord enables me to serve better in the areas of teaching, preaching, and writing Christian literature. I served as a teacher and principal in one of my denomination’s Bible schools as well as pastoring several churches at various locations and times.

A mission body known as the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) founded the denomination to which I belong: the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) back then but now known as the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Nigeria. My previous observations and experiences as well as the history of the church shows that early congregations started on a solid foundation, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, with a desire to grow towards maturity in Christ. At the beginning believers were known for what they profess to be believers in Christ otherwise called “Christians.” They were not afraid to share their faith with others in obedience to the Lord’s command to preach the gospel to all nations of the world (Matt. 28: 18-20). They were continuously striving and engaging in Bible studies, evangelistic activities, and constant fellowship in community settings. They collaborated with the missionaries in building and sustaining the body of Christ.

Nevertheless, the time came when missionaries handed over the church leadership to nationals who followed the examples set forth by the founding fathers. The work continued well. Leaders gave their time and resources in selfless service in the Lord’s vineyard, and the congregations trusted them and their leadership. Fifty years after the handover to the nationals, several problems seem to have crept into the life of the church. The spiritual state of believers appears to be declining, and some of the leaders seem to be deviating from the mission of the church which is to glorify God in life and service. Sensing the problem is what prompted me to be devoted in preaching, teaching, and writing.

This report includes a brief history of Nigeria and the church, biblical and theological foundations for the research, a literature review on leaders, leadership tasks, leadership approaches, the qualities, competencies as well as the spirituality required of a leader. The ministry intervention aimed at helping ECWA believers reclaim their identity and sense of belonging in Christ and to one another. Assessments confirmed the existence of spiritual decline among ECWA believers and the need for leaders with spiritual vision and direction to lead the church in reclaiming ECWA believers’ identity and sense of belonging in Christ and to one another. The ministry intervention of this research was designed with a need for spiritual and visionary leaders to provide learning environments that would facilitate a learning process in helping ECWA believers reclaim their identity and sense of belonging in Christ and to one another. This need, which has been a burden upon my wife and I, led us into starting a Servant Leadership Ministry to the disable persons, widows/widowers, orphans, senior citizens, and the poor in Madakiya community in which we were brought up and to which we belong.

Ministry Intervention
The distinctly Christian response to any need is a ministry response (i.e., a servant response). Jesus conceived of his own ministry as a response to specific human need. He articulated this construal of his ministry in his explanation of his unconventional behavior of “eating with tax collectors and sinners” (Mark 2:13-17). He responded to questions about this behavior in terms of the link between human need (the “sick” and their need of a “physician“) and his own purpose (why he “came” [Mark 2:17]). Similarly, in his programmatic statement summarizing his whole ministry, he claimed he had come “not to be served but to serve” and to “give [his] life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Therefore, a most fitting response to the perceived need in ECWA is along the lines of the following design, judging from the research.

Encouragement from Greater Africa and a Testimony
The need for trans-formative leaders seems to be of great concern among many ecclesiastical leaders in many African countries. Other Africans are leading awakenings like that proposed in this study. Two ministry initiatives that are taking place in Africa today encourage one to think that a ministry intervention of the sort here proposed has, by God’s grace, a reasonable likelihood of success.

Calembo’s International Leadership Institute of Southern Africa (ILISA)
A premier example of these African ministries is the International Leadership Institute of Southern Africa founded and led by Alfred Calembo. His ministry aims at recruiting and training potential leaders who would also train others in their localities. The ministry appears to be flourishing, apparently meeting well the needs of adult learners and meeting perceived leadership needs. Calembo demonstrates the servant leadership attitude needed to be able to influence leaders in a community. His ministry is administered at the national and international levels. Its main aim is influencing the direction of his denomination by shaping leaders who would go and shape others, too.

The core values of Calembo’s ministry emphasize the importance of visionary leadership, relevant evangelism, stewardship, and leadership multiplication processes that seek and train men and women who, in turn become leaders of leaders who will effectively train others. According to Calembo, the curriculum emphasizes the importance of character and integrity because credible leaders exert greater influence on their followers. His ministry focus is based on:

  • Training and mobilizing leaders of leaders,
  • Evangelization and Church planting,
  • Ministering to HIV/AIDS, widows/orphans and vulnerable children,
  • Community health,
  • Education, and
  • Economic empowerment and emergency food relief

Producing leaders with a vision such as Calembo’s who will lead transformational learning programs like his is the goal of this proposed ministry intervention. Calembo exemplifies the fruit anticipated when ECWA believers find their identity and sense of belonging in Christ and to one another.

Akanet’s Servant Leadership Ministry
My own experience encourages me to think that new awareness of ECWA’s identity in Christ, of belonging to Christ and to one another, can take hold across the denomination from national to local grassroots levels to energize and shape local ministries and Christian witness. Based on my understanding of the gospel, which offers full liberation from the ravages of sin and the call to Christian leadership as a call to serve, my wife and I started a “servant leadership ministry” in the community in which we were raised. This ministry extends God’s grace and love to the disabled, the sick, the less privileged, and to HFV/AIDS victims and other needy persons within the range of our influence. The ministry focuses on the following:

  • To support and encourage young widows struggling with young children ages 1-15;
  • To support and encourage disabled persons and the disadvantaged to be self-supportive and self-reliance;
  • To support and encourage young persons in leadership positions to strive towards excellence, able to balance their lives between family and ministry demands;
  • To encourage and support senior citizens who have no relatives to support and care for them.
  • To help and support the sick who have much difficulty or no means of getting medical care; and,
  • To provide economic empowerment and emergency food relief to the diverse groups as described above.

The ministry is microcosm, done in a neighborhood environment that could be done at regional and national levels. However, the success and positive response to our limited efforts has encouraged me to think similar ministries could be creatively replicated in many local ECWA congregations. The spirit and direction of the holistic ministry could also set the tone and direction for national and regional leadership and would be a harbinger of spiritual renewal in ECWA.

Connect with Emmanuel Datiyong Akanet @datiyongx



Exceedingly Abundantly Above All that We Ask or Think!

by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko | ” Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21.

Many people have asked us about the Global Assembly (GA) and the 125th anniversary celebration of SIM that took place in South Africa. The first thing that comes to mind is Ephesians 3:20-21, quoted above. Praise God with us for all the Lord has done, and thank you for praying for these events and for our trip!

This was our largest gathering of SIM people and SIM partners, with about 450 people from more than 55 nationalities serving in about 80 countries of the world. The planning team did a wonderful job coordinating every detail, choosing an excellent location with a variety of food and great service. Our time of fellowship and various meetings with SIM personnel, leaders and board members from all over the world, as brothers and sisters in Christ, was a treat and a blessing. The diversity was striking, and we praise God for the unity we saw as we had a wonderful time of fellowship together. Presentations were translated into four main languages.

Our worship time was led by a multi-ethnic worship team in diverse languages: Humberto Fernandez, Minah Koela, Jaewoo Kim, Jervis Djokoto, Julie Tai, Eric Lige, Sandra Van Opstal and her son.

Our worship time was led by a multi-ethnic worship team in diverse languages: Humberto Fernandez, Minah Koela, Jaewoo Kim, Jervis Djokoto, Julie Tai, Eric Lige, Sandra Van Opstal and her son.

Ramez and Rebecca Atallah spoke to us each morning in plenary sessions. They shared with us from the book of 2 Corinthians, taking us deep into the word of God and challenging our hearts with God’s truth. The plenary sessions, seminars and training tracks were all carefully chosen and well presented. In all, this is a gathering that we, the participants, will not forget in a hurry.
Prior to the conference, we asked you to pray for three things: that we will know God and know His way even more, that we would sense God’s presence with us, and that we would see his glory and declare his glory to the nations. We felt that all these prayers were answered beyond our expectation, as we celebrated God’s goodness and grace to SIM in 125 years of ministry around the world.

Ramez and Rebecca Attallah

Ramez and Rebecca Attallah

Former SIM International leaders were recognized and honored: Howie and Jo-Ann Brant, Jim and Carol Plueddemann, Malcolm and Liz McGregor

Former SIM International leaders were recognized and honored: Howie and Jo-Ann Brant, Jim and Carol Plueddemann, Malcolm and Liz McGregor

On the closing night, we were all in our traditional attires and the Soweto Gospel Choir treated us to a wonderful time of celebration.

Closing Ceremony Night in Our Traditional Attires

Closing Ceremony Night in Our Traditional Attires

Thank you also for praying for the Board of Governors meetings that preceded the Global Assembly. Following the Global Assembly, a Directors’ Retreat (for all country directors) and International Leadership Team meetings took place.

Before attending the GA, we were privileged to spend some time with our team members in the SIM Southern Africa Regional Office/Service Center. It was an encouraging time for us, and we believe for them also. We also attended the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Africa Roundtable 2 conference, where Joshua presented a paper on “Africa Development and Partnership.” In addition, we enjoyed a short visit with friends from university days in the city of Mthatha.

Professors Ope and Bola Oyedeji

Professors Ope and Bola Oyedeji

Following our return from South Africa, we went to Ottawa, Canada, where Joshua spoke at the Metropolitan Bible Church (The MET). We also connected with some of Joanna’s friends from medical school days. We enjoyed the warm hospitality (in a very cold Ottawa) of SIM friends Brian and Kim Milton, Ron and Sharon Nehrin (from the MET) and Nigerian friends, the Adetolas and the Egbeyemis.

Dr. Motunrayo Adetola and the Egbeyemis

Dr. Motunrayo Adetola and the Egbeyemis

Mission pastor Rev. Brian and Kim Mitton, Benjamin and Christine Hegeman, Perspective directors, Ron and Sharon Nehring.

Mission pastor Rev. Brian and Kim Mitton, Benjamin and Christine Hegeman, Perspective directors, Ron and Sharon Nehring.

Praise and prayer:

  • Please give thanks to the Lord for the safety He granted everyone to the Global Assembly and back to their homes and ministries.
  • Give thanks for all that God has done in the past 125 years and for all that He is yet to do in the years to come!
  • Pray that God will continue to bless the ministry of SIM as He has done in the past, and that we will be faithful in taking the Gospel to those who will otherwise live and die without hearing God’s good news.
  • Joshua is currently working on reorganizing the SIM International Leadership Team. The priority of this reorganization is to position SIM for effective leadership into the future. Will you please join us in prayer that the Lord will lead and guide in this process? Pray particularly that the Lord will bring the right people into various roles, some of which are new roles in SIM.
  • Give thanks to God for keeping Jochebed and Joel safe while we were away, and for His continuing watch over them where they are.

Thank you for the special part you play in the fulfillment of SIM’s purpose and vision.

We wish you and your family Happy Easter!

For more stories from around the SIM world, please go to SIM Stories, click here.

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Heaven: Daddy Does Not Love Me

Prof. Dr. Pr. Jairo Goncalves | From the High of the Cross of the Father, God the Son Begged Forgiveness and make peace with God-Abba (Col 1:20, Ephesians 2:14) | connect via www.jairogenoma.com.br

At the “Psique and Spirit Clinic” (Lifes Mission), we serve childrens with behavioral and learning problems. A Christian lady came to us to expose the problem with her 7-year-old son whose Christian father (her husband) had died in a crash (fell from a CEMIG post). Briefly, here is the story told by the mother: “Carlinhos suffered greatly from the loss of his father. I tried to comfort him by saying that Daddy had gone to Heaven to live with God and that we should accept the will of the Heavenly Father. That’s what they heard in the funeral service because the Chaplain could not explain the difference between Will and Permissiveness of God-Abba-LAMB (Gal 4:6; John 1:29).”

“Days after the funeral, when I went to accompany my little son in the prayer we always do at bedtime, he did not kneel, did not put his hands in prayer, and only cried. I urged him to talk to Heaven Daddy. He turned his sad face to me and said: “Heavenly Father does not love me. I do not like Father in Heaven any more. I’ve already asked, but He does not want to give my daddy back”. I explained that God could not do that. Then my son became angry and said that this God was very bad, and nothing powerful. Carlinhos asked to go and live with his father in Heaven. I explained that this would only be possible if he died too, and this should take a long time. Carlinhos became depressed and rebellious at home and at school. He did not want to pray any more and said several times: “My father has forgotten us”; “My father must flee from heaven and return home”; “I do not want to live here on earth”; I want to die and go live with my father.” Twice I caught him forcing the bars of the apartment window to throw himself off the fifth floor and move in with his father”.

My initial approach focused on the mother’s need to know the difference between the will and the permissiveness of God the Father. The extreme behavior of Carlinhos (fictitious name) had a direct connection with the root of heartache and revolt of it against God the Father (the root we all inherited from this original sin: Adam and Eve did not accept God’s offer and request for forgiveness, in the person of the God-Son already Lamb, with the blood-vaccine, the antivenom, and there present (Rev 13:8). Adam and Eve did not forgive the God-Abba (Gn 3:12,13). The mother of Carlinhos confessed in revolt at the unjust death of her husband, an excellent father, faithful servant of Jesus, an operative deacon of an evangelical church.

I introduced the confused and wounded mother, the unknown God-Dad, who from the Cross, through the blood of the Son, asked her to forgive God’s initial and involuntary weakness (1Co 1:25; 2Co 13: 4) and make peace with God-Abba (Col 1:20, Ephesians 2:14). “From the High of the Cross of the Father, God the Son Begged Forgiveness” and make peace with God-Abba (Col 1:20, Ephesians 2:14). It was when this wife/mother, so embittered (Heb 12:15), experienced reconciliation with God-Abba (Rom 8:15, Gal 4: 6), by convertion of spirit (1Pe 1:18-23; Mat 11:29; Gal 2:20; 6:14) and found the lap of God-DAD, who is here with us.

This true story leads us to the “all truth” (still hidden) of the Gospel dripping Blood of the Lamb, because the climate and spirit of this case here are repeated in the lives of most unconverted believers (but only converts of soul) when they face the “evil day” (Eph. 6:13). They are Christians who are ignorant of ALL TRUTH (John 16:13) on the Cross-punishment of the God the Father and the Blood-forgiveness of the God-Son-immolated Lamb, before the creation of Man and original sin (Rev 13:8; 1Pe 1:20). Therefore they hold the roots of fear, shame, guilt, and bitterness of original sin deep in the soul and spirit (Heb. 12:1,15; Gen. 3:12); bear the roots of the hereditary family curses (Lk 5:7,16) which the Apostle Paul compares with wood, straw and hay (1 Cor. 3: 10-15: Mt 3:10). The child only knows that God his parents/grandparents know (2 Tim. 1:5). – No child learns to pray right: “My God Daddy, that You are HERE with me … inside of me?”. Attention! The phrase “who art in heaven” (Mt 6:9) is apocryphal and is contrary to Mat 1:23; John 14:18,23; Gal. 4:6).

Note: All Truth about GOD-DAD that children are unaware of is presented in the book: “Gospel of the Glory of the Cross of Christ-All Truth”

CHRISTIAN MISSION RESTORED LIVES

Clinic of Soul and Spirit – Psychopedagogic and Biblical Genome Project
Jairo Gonçalves (Theology – Pedagogy – Psychology)

Maria Syllene Andreazzi Street, 154 / Shop 1 – Frei Eustáquio – Belo Horizonte / MG
Tels. (031) 2514-8759 / 99114-7038 (Free Service)

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