The Navigator: 5.19.22

 

THIS SUNDAY, May 22nd

  • Special guest speaker!  Former Hindu priest.  Both worship services. You don’t want to miss his story of what Christ has done, and is doing, in his life.

 

Where?  Nat Williams Elementary, 4812 58th St.

When?  May 25th; begins at 6:30pm

How can you help?  We need help for “set up” and “tear down.”  Please pass this along to your class.  Then, contact either myself or Dana Kluzek.

 

Every Wednesday evening during the month of June.

  • 6pm – meal
  • 6:30 – VBS begins

 

This week’s tip:  Perspective

We tend to be identified by what we do (our vocation) as well as what we’ve done (good and bad).

Travel with me to first century Jerusalem, the temple courts.  People are everywhere fulfilling duties, visiting, and such.

All of a sudden, off to the side, there is an uproar.  People yelling.  A woman crying.

You know the story.   John records it in his gospel, 8:1-11.

A woman caught in the very act of adultery is thrown down before Jesus.  This was mere drama used to attempt to trap Jesus into misusing the Law.  Nonetheless, a woman was involved who is at this moment being shamed in front of everyone in the temple courts.

There are multiple biblical truths gathered from this story.  Let’s look at just one.

No doubt, she had been called everything from a “woman of the night” to the more pejorative “whore.”  This is who she was.  It’s who she had come to believe she was.

It’s who she was in her eyes – not Jesus’.

After ruining the religious leaders’ “execution party,” Jesus looked into her eyes and said tenderly, “Woman…,” reminding her of who she truly is: a human being, a person created in his image, of infinite worth and value.

John Maxwell once said,

“See your people as they could be, not as they are.”

Are there people in your class who are struggling with their identity?  Be Jesus to them.

It’s all about perspective.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

One of the books I’m presently reading is Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture, by Natasha Crain.  Crain is erudite, articulate, and persuasive.

Consider the following.  She writes,

Popular comedian Ricky Gervais once wrote a piece featured in The Wall Street Journal titled “Why I’m an Atheist.”

Gervais began:

  • Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary… I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.

Gervais went on to explain why he’s chosen “science over God”:

  • Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence— evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded.

He then described how he challenges religious people:

  • Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago, historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities. So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God,” I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2869.

[end excerpt]

Here you have a person precious in the sight of God, Ricky Gervais.  Clearly, he’s smart.  But also clearly, his logic has holes in it.

He has absolutely no regard for the Bible, much less the Christian faith, so throwing scripture at him will not work.   How do you begin to engage with Gervais?  I know how I would respond.  But, I would like to hear how you might respond.  Give his comments some thought, pray through it, do some study – and then let me know.

 

DATES for THIS SUMMER & FALL

  • Every Wed. evening in June: Family VBS
  • June 12 & Aug 7 – church-wide events at Sun & Fun
  • July 11 – Sr. Adult Luncheon
  • Aug 17 – Wed Evening Meal & Classes resume
  • Sep 30-Oct 2 – Student Dnow
  • Oct 26 – Fall Fest

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

Consequences are bound to the choices you make. You can have your choice, but you cannot choose your consequence.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

I just got pulled over by a cop.  He asked me if I had a police record.  Apparently “Roxanne” is not the answer he wanted to hear.

And,…

Actual Analogies used by High School Students in English Essays:

  1. When she tried to sing, it sounded like a walrus giving birth to farm equipment.
  2. Her eye twinkled, like the mustache of a man with a cold.
  3. She was like a magnet: attractive from the back, repulsive from the front.
  4. The ballerina rose gracefully on point, and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  5. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli and he was room temperature Canadian beef.

One more?  Why not?

For all my fellow Princess Bride fans…

 

SOUL FOOD:  When Your Light Burns Out

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 5.12.22

THIS SUNDAY, 5/15

  • Baby dedications in both services

 

Where?  Nat Williams Elementary, 4812 58th St.

When?  May 25th; begins at 6:30pm

How can you help?  We need help for “set up” and “tear down.”  Please pass this along to your class.  Then, contact either myself or Dana Kluzek.

 

Every Wednesday evening during the month of June.

  • 6pm – meal
  • 6:30 – VBS begins

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

Antares

Antares is actually two stars orbiting each other. They’re so close together you can’t tell them apart without a telescope.

 

SPEAKING of the COSMOS

Being a deeply critical thinker (which is sometimes a curse), I am always asking questions and analyzing arguments and opinions.

In way of example, I continue to search for a single scientific discovery that calls scripture into question, or contradicts scripture altogether.  Alas, my efforts have produced no such discovery.  And I am glad for this, for it strengthens, both, my faith in Christ, and my credibility when visiting with skeptics.

Astrophysicist and former atheist, Sarah Salviander, observes,

“There is nothing in well-tested science that is incompatible with God.”

I would invite you to read the article linked here for you titled, “Mysterious invisible walls may have been discovered in outer space”.

The Bible tells us,

“God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.” – Job 26:7

It’s no coincidence scientists have discovered “invisible walls,” and God uses words with Job like “empty space” and “nothing.”

As Rich Mullins once sang, “Our God is an awesome God.”

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“To fruitfully discuss suffering…, there must be a given measure of thorns in our own flesh.” – One of my MAA classmates, Daniel Ray; on how our own experienced pain lends authority when we must discuss “the mystery of pain” with someone who is hurting.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

  • I did some financial planning and it looks like I can retire at 62 and live comfortably for eleven minutes.
  • Whoever wrote ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning’ never took their kids to church on a regular basis. – Tim Hawkins

 

SOUL FOOD: When You Mix Church with Politics

This one definitely got some traction on social media.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 5.5.22

THIS SUNDAY, May 8th

 

This week’s tip: Always be ready to listen to those with hard questions about the Christian faith.

In his essay, Addressing the Exodus of Young People from the Church, Samuel Bodnar includes Isabella’s story:

“She tried seeking answers from her parents, her youth group leader, even her pastor. Nobody answered her objections to the Bible….So she left the faith. She was done.”

Be quick to welcome all doubts and questions.  If you don’t know the answer, find someone who does.  More than anything, make certain the one seeking answers feels validated and respected.

 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING to JACK DANIELS

This may be the best exposition of Ephesians 5:18 I’ve ever heard.

“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.” – Eph 5:18, Amplified

Only 4 minutes long.  At the 3:30 mark, all heaven breaks loose.

It’s been viewed over a million times on Facebook.

You’ll be dancing by the time it’s over.  I was.

 

FOR the TIRED, WEARY, and BURDENED

I heard a line in a movie once: “I went to bed on top of the world; today, the world’s on top of me.”

For those who feel as though you’re carrying the weight of the world.

Remember what is true…

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble… Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 9:9; 16:8

 

DATES for THIS SUMMER & FALL

  • Every Wed. evening in June: Family VBS
  • June 12 & Aug 7 – church-wide events at Sun & Fun
  • July 11 – Sr. Adult Luncheon
  • Aug 17 – Wed Evening Meal & Classes resume
  • Sep 30-Oct 2 – Student Dnow
  • Oct 26 – Fall Fest

 

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST

I’ve been saved.  I’ve been redeemed by the Cross of Christ.  But what does that mean for me, exactly, as I live life each and every day?

Below is a six-minute excerpt from my final class of the semester.  As I say in my introduction, one of the reasons for the weakness of faith in many Christians is that they simply don’t know who they are in Christ Jesus.  Satan would like to keep it that way.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

Hubble captured over 5000 galaxies in this extreme deep space image, some as old as 13 billion years and each one contains billions of stars. But what really explodes my head is:  this frame represents only one 32-millionth of the whole sky!

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word.” – Oswald Chambers

“At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” – Is 60:22

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

  • “I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.”
  • “Some days, the best thing about my job is that my chair spins around.”
  • “I was in Florida and I saw a bumper sticker on a parked car that read, ‘I miss the Bronx.’ So I broke their window, stole their stereo, and left a note that read, ‘I hope this helps.'”
  • “My stomach is ‘Flat.’  The ‘L’ is just silent.”

 

SOUL FOOD: Job’s Friends

There is a ministry I call “the ministry of presence.”

For the first seven days, the “ministry of presence” is what Job’s friends lovingly provided.  They wept, hurt, and just sat with their friend who had just experienced unspeakable devastation.

Then,…they started talking, and everything went downhill from there.

I saw the following on Twitter this past week:

Job’s friends were at their best when they were silent and simply sitting with him in his suffering.

They were at their worst when they tried to diagnose and preach Job’s suffering away.

Which kind of friend will you be today?

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 4.21.22

THIS SUNDAY, April 24th

  • High School Graduate Recognition – both worship services

 

EASTER & the NO. 1 ARGUMENT for ATHEISM

NOTE: Due to an unexpected cancer-removal-surgery for my father-in-law (he’s spent ten days at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock), much of my time last week was dedicated to taking care of the family, preventing me from being able to publish The Navigator.  What follows is what I had intended to include last week as we approached Easter Sunday.

Easter & the No. 1 Argument for Atheism

The Problem of Pain – how a God who claims to be good, all-powerful, and all-loving can permit evil and suffering – is the No. 1 roadblock to faith in Christ.

The ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus, stated,

“Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, and does not want to, he is wicked.”

More recently, in 2006, prominent atheist, Sam Harris, restated Epicurus’ words:

“If God exists, either He can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities, or He does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.”

To be brutally honest, I get it. I’ve lost my dad and youngest sister to addiction, and my son to suicide.

Yet,…

Contrary to the philosophies of Epicurus and Harris, the Bible tells us that God did care, and that God did do something – twenty centuries ago, on a Cross, just outside Jerusalem.

And, well – that changes everything.

In his book, Miracles, C.S. Lewis wrote,

“Christ has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so.”

**By the way, all worldviews are faced with their own version of “the problem of pain.”  But, Christianity is the only one that offers purpose and hope in our pain.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY: CLARITY IN THE BASICS

On this penultimate evening of our series, we looked at one primary tenet of the doctrine of salvation:  Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

We can’t earn it.  Human effort is futile.  Works-based salvation is a back-breaking burden resulting in a lifetime of legalistic bondage.

Jesus said,

“This is the only work God wants from you:  Believe in the one he has sent…. The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.” – John 6:29, 63

Rather than post this past week’s lesson here, I want to share with you a brief video clip I used to conclude our session.

Alistair Begg, who is Scottish, is the senior pastor of Cleveland’s Parkside Church, a position he has held since 1983. In this brief clip, using the story of the thief on the cross next to Jesus, Begg says one of the most profound truths I’ve ever heard regarding biblical salvation. 

 

Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned.

“What gives me most confidence that Jesus’ resurrection actually occurred is how the resurrection hypothesis is able to address the full scope of relevant historical facts in a manner that is far superior to the ability of any competing hypothesis to do the same. Stated differently, when I set aside faith and examine the data using strictly controlled historical method, the hypothesis that Jesus was raised stands head and shoulders above the rest. And that’s quite remarkable!” – Mike Licona, Ph.D., historian and apologist

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

If you thought, at first glance, this is a grainy photo of the night sky, you would be wrong.  It’s an extremely high-resolution picture of space – and the grains are actually trillions of stars.

Stretch the photo and it becomes even more mind-cramping.

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” – Psalm 147:4

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” – Corrie Ten Boom

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD: How the Sun led me back to the Son

It was a small step – but a step nonetheless.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 4.7.2021

THIS SUNDAY, 4/10

  • The Lord’s Supper in both worship services.

 

MEN’S BREAKFAST – APRIL 10th; 8:15-9am

 

 

WEDNESDAY EVENING @ 6:30

  • Join us in the Worship Center as Sammy leads us in a Holy Week service.  This will go a long way to helping our people prepare their hearts for Easter Sunday on the 17th.

 

This week’s tip: “Put your phone down and take a look around.”

We’ve never been more connected.  And we’ve never been lonelier.  Friends today tend to be virtual rather than physical.  But the truth remains:  we need each other.

As you teach each week, always remind your class of the importance of looking up from their phone every now and then and taking inventory of what’s going on around them.  This is the only way we can be available and willing to help those around us who may be hurting.

Jesus once told a story about being available and willing to help our neighbor.  You can read it in Luke 10:25-37.

An expert in Old Testament Law was actually trying to trap Jesus with a question about salvation.  Of course, Jesus saw through the man’s scheme.  But, what I notice is this:  Rather than scorch the religious leader with a rebuke, Jesus begins a  conversation by kindly and calmly asking him questions, which eventually leads to a beloved – and convicting – story.

It’s an often-told story, with even many non-Christians familiar with the phrase, “good Samaritan.”

In short, a man is on a deserted road heading to his destination when he is ambushed by thugs who beat him severely, rob him, and leave him for dead.

Two church-leaders eventually walk by (each at a different time) and all but ignore the dying man.  Finally, a Samaritan sees him. Driven by compassion, he tends the man’s wounds, carries him to his donkey, sets him on it, and takes him to an inn where the man can rest and heal. Finally, he informs the inn keeper to charge the man’s bill to him.

Don’t miss this:

  • To the expert in Old Testament Law – the wounded man was a subject to be discussed.
  • To the thugs – the wounded man was someone to beat and rob.
  • To the religious leaders – the wounded man was a problem to be avoided.
  • To the inn keeper – the wounded man was a customer.
  • To the Samaritan – the wounded man was a human being to be loved and cared for, of great value and worth.
  • To Jesus – all of them were worth dying for.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY – CLARITY in the BASICS

The Crucifixion – a Medical Account.

It’s graphic.  It’s real.  It happened.  It’s difficult to understand the power of the resurrection until we first understand the cost Christ paid.

 

Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned.

One reason to believe we rarely consider is this:  Jesus dared his accusers to prove his claims to be wrong.  A social media post of mine this past week:

In John’s biography of Jesus he recorded many instances of people accusing Jesus of being a sinner or all the way to being demon-possessed.

In one such story Jesus confronted his accusers:

“When I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin?  And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?”

In a number of places, Jesus intentionally challenged his listeners to test him. He welcomed those who wanted to question his claims and character (he still does) as long as they were willing to follow through on what they discovered.

Jesus’ challenge then – and now – exposes the two most frequent reasons why people refuse to believe in him: (1) they don’t accept his challenge to test him to begin with, or (2) they test him but are not willing to believe what they discover. 

The former bastion of atheism, British philosopher, Antony Flew, decided to take God’s challenge. Rather than enter his inquiry with bias, he honestly investigated the possibility that there could actually be a God.

What he discovered sent repercussions throughout the atheistic world.

“There is a God,” Flew found himself confessing. The evidence was indisputable.

In his book, There is a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his Mind, Flew writes,

“I must abide by Plato’s Socrates and follow the argument where it leads.”

The philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, said,

“[Christianity] is prepared to face the consequences of being proved false and say with Paul: If you find the body of Christ, the discussion is finished, let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. It leaves absolutely no room for a romantic answer.”

The Almighty Christ is offering a kind, generous, and patient invitation to all who who’ve never placed their faith in him. “Examine me. Test me. What you discover will change your life.”

 

HIGH SCHOOL GRAD RECOGNITION – April 24th; both worship services

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

This is mind-blowing.
S5 0014+81 is the largest known supermassive black hole. Here is its size compared to our solar system (the tiny dot in the middle.)  To be clear – that tiny dot is not earth – it’s our entire Solar System.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Devil’s Delusion

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

 

The Navigator: 3.31.2020

 

THIS SUNDAY, 4/3

It’s one of my favorite topics: sharing our faith.  This Sunday, Sammy will bring a message that will help equip our people to share the gospel with others.  And, just in time for Easter, when many hearts are open to listening.

 

MEN’S BREAKFAST – APRIL 10th; 8:15-9am

 

This week’s tip: Courage

“But no one had the courage to speak favorably about [Jesus] in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.” – John 7:13

Thousands of people were attending an annual Jewish celebration in Jerusalem.  And most of them didn’t have the courage to stand up for what they believed.

John records in verse 12 that everyone was talking about Jesus.  But when it came time to speak up for him, no one said a word.

Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38

Remind your class their faith and courage will be tested. 

Be fearless, nw

 

AMAZING ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERY!

The oldest mention of the tetragrammatton, YHWH? Read the article from the Israeli news site here.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY – CLARITY in the BASICS

The Triune God (often called the Trinity)

Most often referred to as the Trinity, the doctrine of the Triune Godhead is beyond mere human logic, reason, and intellect. But, the Bible clearly teaches it, and – frankly – when the scriptures are read in context, no other explanation makes sense. Join me as we mine the scriptures to see what the Bible says about the Triune God.

***Also linked below is the previous week’s session on what the Bible says about Angels.  It is extremely important to understand that angels, though terrifyingly powerful, are not the heroes in the story. Should we ever attempt to honor them they would reply, “Stop!  I am here to protect you for one reason: your Savior sent me.”

 

OHIO STATE FOOTBALL PLAYER “MEDICALLY RETIRES” DUE TO MENTAL HEALTH

From the outside looking in, Harry Miller was living the dream at Ohio State. In addition to having a 4.0 GPA as an engineering student, the junior was highly regarded as one of college football’s best offensive lineman.

But on March 10, Harry announced he would be “medically retiring” from the game after sharing his mental health struggles.

This interview is powerful.  Just over eight minutes long.  With 47 million adults struggling with mental health in 2021 (this only includes reported cases), it behooves us to educate ourselves on the topic. 

Do struggles with mental health show up in the Bible?  You bet they do.

  • In Psalm 38:10, David perfectly describes having a panic attack.
  • Psalm 88, the writer is consumed with depression, finishing his lament by writing, “Darkness is my closest friend.”

What Miller says about transparency where mental health is concerned is, in my opinion, profound:  “Maybe bravery is just being honest.”

 

**Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent dialogue where the Christian faith is concerned.

10 HISTORICAL FACTS about JESUS from NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES

As professor of New Testament, Jeremiah Johnston, has asserted, “There is more evidence for Jesus than for any other person in ancient history.”

Read the source here.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

The Lion in Orion

Located 1300-1500 light years from earth in the constellation Orion.

Just below and left of center is the Horsehead Nebula (sort of looks like the head of a Sea Horse). At bottom left is the Flame Nebula. Finally, orange gases above the Horsehead Nebula are referred to as the Lion in Orion.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“You always know what a fool is thinking, because he’s always telling you.” – Jared Wilson

As a lifetime Youth Pastor, I listen to teens.   Oh, the lessons we can learn from the younger generation.  For example,…

“Empathy is the ability to see a situation, an emotion, an action through Christ’s eyes and through the other person’s heart. When I have empathy, I begin to understand the love Christ has for the hurting and see the situation from their point of view… Empathy is taking on the nature of Christ. It’s the ability to understand and take on yourself the burdens of others.” – Taylor, 19

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Seen on Facebook Marketplace…

For all my friends who’ve been feverishly looking for the bottom half of a stuffed mannequin.

And it ships for only $95.

 

SOUL FOOD:  When you’re accused of being (fill in the blank)-phobic.

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: X-tra

My apologies for failing to publish The Navigator last week!

In addition to weekly duties and preparing to preach a conference in Ft. Worth, there were more-than-usual church members who needed counseling and to be served.

That said, I must share with you some news that will set your spirit on fire.  It’s a story of what Almighty Christ is doing in our midst.  While the focus of the world is on Russia and Ukraine, consider the following and you will be reminded that, regardless of the shape of our world, we have a King who has not surrendered his throne.

You remember Jim Hardwicke.  He spoke at last October’s Appreciation Banquet.  The Lord has allowed him to teach and preach all over the world, to many remote people groups. Jim taught be how to share my faith.  And his heart is still to reach people with Jesus’ good news. (By the way, that’s what Sammy’s sermon is on next Sunday.)

The story he shared yesterday on social media is not embellished.  It is true. And it is powerful.  Pray about sharing the story with your class.  It will prepare their hearts for Sammy’s sermon.

Peace, nw

A few days ago, Michelle and I received this absolutely stunning report from the Jesus Film Project (an organization very worthy of your support). You will be shocked.

“This firsthand report comes from a part of Africa that is in great chaos. Large, heavily populated areas are ravaged by terrorist groups and militant fighters. There is broad persecution of believers and many churches have been burned.

A woman here, whom I will call ‘Carla,’ for her protection, was determined to become a suicide bomber. She hated Christians and threatened to pour boiling water on them. Soon, Carla intended to earn the favor of her god by murdering all who were not radical enough.

So, she planned a suicide bombing that would rock the government and kill many innocent people in a local market. The day approached for her sacrifice. But shortly before, Carla fell sick. During the night she experienced a profound and very real dream.

A Man in dazzling white stood before her. His face shone as brilliantly as the sun, but she could not see past the intense light. However, she did hear His voice, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. You will preach the gospel.’

When she awoke Carla was greatly confused and shaken, but healed from her illness. She knew it was Jesus who spoke to her. She went to a Christian woman she knew, telling her about the powerful dream. That woman explained the gospel and Carla prayed to receive Christ. She was transformed by the power of God—from death unto life—made a new creation in Christ.

A few days later, Jesus reappeared to her in a second dream. He said, ‘Carla, go and share this good news with the regional commander.’ She knew about that commander. He was ruthless and led the most notorious radical group in the area, responsible for the deaths of thousands.

She told her parents about the mission Jesus was sending her on. They told her she was crazy and would certainly die. Carla confidently responded, ‘I was ready to die for a false religion. So, I am happy and prepared to die for Jesus.’

But how was she to reach that commander? She did not know. He was heavily shielded and protected by several layers of security and checkpoints. Then Carla ‘just happened’ to run into a man who was connected to the radical group. She asked him to take her to his headquarters. With great hesitation, he agreed. The two got on his motorcycle not knowing what would happen.

When they arrived at a camp and checkpoint, the first of four, there were about 250 fighters. Carla openly shared the gospel with them! She said that she was on a mission and wanted to approach their commander. They scoffed and told her she would be killed. Undeterred, she continued her long journey. It took her 10 hours, and she went through three more checkpoints, each with armed fighters. Before the last checkpoint, the man who had taken her refused to go any further. She was on her own and somehow, made it through alive.

Arriving at his headquarters, the commander strangely granted her an audience. Prepared to die, Carla explained the gospel, saying that Jesus had sent her. ‘Jesus wants you to know that He is the way, the truth, and the life,’ she told him. Rather than kill her, the commander went to a table in his office, sat down, and began to weep, saying, ‘Three days ago, Jesus appeared to me in a dream. He told me that I was on a path of destruction. I must change my ways. If I don’t, I will be destroyed. Then he told me that a woman was going to come and tell me about the gospel!’

Carla was stunned and explained as best she could that Jesus was the true and living God, that He gave His life and was raised from the dead to give all who will believe forgiveness and eternal life. The commander believed. Carla led him to the Lord.

He then gave orders for all his officers to come to the camp, three truck loads. When they arrived, he told them the truth, that Jesus was the true and living God. Carla coordinated with Jesus Film staff in the country who sent video tablets containing both segments and the full ‘Jesus’ film in the local language.

Every night since, there have been showings of those segments of the full film. And every night, new fighters are coming to the camp to watch and believe—some from Yemen, Sudan, Iran, and Turkey—all fighters given to their cause but instead meet Jesus. Rather than being trained to kill, they are watching ‘Jesus’ every night! At last count nearly 1,000 people have given their lives to Christ and renounced terror. The commander has even had to relocate and go into hiding from other radical groups for his supposed betrayal.

But the best part is that, under his influence, the doors have swung wide open to sharing the gospel with tens of thousands in this dangerous area. Staff leaders are saying there is a movement of evangelism unfolding that is, in their words, ‘beyond belief—skyrocketing opportunities.’”

Michelle and I have talked personally to a number of former unbelievers from such countries who have had similar dreams of Jesus—“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

 

The Navigator: 3.12.22

***TIME CHANGE THIS WEEKEND

***There will be no Navigator E-New next week due to Spring Break.

THIS SUNDAY

  • Sammy is teaching on the topic of forgiveness.  It will be powerful.  Should you be traveling, please check the message out online.

 

This week’s tip: Ask questions that help your class learn from one another.

“Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions.” ARISTOTLE, Metaphysics, II, (III), i. – Quoted in C.S. Lewis’ book, Miracles.

Asking questions immediately draws your listeners into the lesson.  It can also break up the monotony of the lecture format.  As you prepare each week, consider creating questions related to your topic that will get your listeners thinking.  Perhaps even play the devil’s advocate to help them defend their statements.  This will help equip them to have intelligent dialogue in the marketplace where the Christian faith is concerned.

 

MID-WEEK ACTIVITIES CANCELLED NEXT WEEK

Due to so many out for Spring Break, all Wednesday Evening activities are cancelled for next week.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

A galactic head-on collision.

“A spectacular head-on collision between two galaxies fueled the unusual triangular-shaped star-birthing frenzy, as captured in a new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope… Astronomers suggest that the galaxies passed through each other, igniting the uniquely shaped star-formation firestorm…”

Read more about this event in this article from Smithsonian.  And this article from NASA.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY – CLARITY in the BASICS

Satan & Demons  (I’m thrilled to finally be done with hell, satan & demons.)

Watch the session here.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

Dare to follow the wild, untamable Lion of Judah.

“Life without some sense of urgency – a life that is safe, incubated, and overprotected – is not worth living.” – David Kinnaman 

And,…

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

These are funny (but also painful)…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Open War

While war rages on planet earth, another war rages in the unseen realm.  We’re in a fight whether we want to admit it or not. Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 3.4.22

THIS SUNDAY, 3/6

  • Sammy continues his sermon series on relationships.
  • Our Special Friends Ministry will lead in both worship services!
  • 6pm – Prayer Service – Worship Center

 

NEXT SUNDAY, 3/13

Don’t forget to…

 

This week’s tip: truth, at all costs

I’ve seen it, sadly, often in churches.  It goes like this:

“Let’s just move on – anything to keep the peace.”

Then, for those who see a problem with suppressing the truth are labeled “trouble makers.”  Frankly, the ones bringing certain trouble are the former, not the latter.

Never – ever – reach for unity at the expense of truth. Should you ever experience a controversy in your class, always be courageous enough to expose the truth regardless of whom it may offend, or whom it may exposeUnity – at the expense of truth – is not unity.  Rather, it’s uniformity – a far cry from biblical unity.

Paul asked the Galatians,

“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

I’ve witnessed more than one church suppress the truth to maintain unity i.e. sweeping the truth under the proverbial rug to “keep the peace.” It never ends well.  The quote below from John MacArthur is spot-on.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY – CLARITY in the BASICS

Hell

Since the Enlightenment – and especially the last 50 years – there has been a massive effort to dismiss that what the Bible calls “Hell” either (1) doesn’t exist, or (2) isn’t so bad.

To think lightly of Hell is to think lightly of the Cross.

Google “hell” and you’ll find any description you want from “experts.”  But, there’s only one authoritative source: the Bible.  Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about Hell.

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC of the WEEK

 A Galactic Oddball

The dwarf galaxy NGC 1705 featured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope lies in the southern constellation Pictor, approximately 17 million light-years from Earth. NGC 1705 is a cosmic oddball – it is small, irregularly shaped, and has recently undergone a spate of star formation known as a starburst.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

And a bonus…

 

SOUL FOOD:  Jesus “Co-Suffers” With Us

As God’s children, we never hurt alone. A powerful truth from God’s Word.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

The Navigator: 2.24.22

THIS SUNDAY, 2/27

  • Baptism & Baby Dedication in the 9:15 service!
  • Regular schedule
  • Coming Up on 3/6
    • The Friends of God will present a drama in both worship services.
    • Another baptism!
    • Church-wide prayer service at 5pm

 

This week’s tip:  pray for your sheep

‘Far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.’ – 1 Samuel 12:23

 

THANK YOU, ATHEIST FORUM…

…I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

MERE CHRISTIANITY: CLARITY IN THE BASICS – Heaven

“When we all get to heaven – what a day of rejoicing that will be…”

 

YOUR COSMIC PIC OF THE WEEK

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalm 19:1

The Butterfly Nebula

The Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302. This is the remnant of a dying star, located 3,400 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

I include the first one just in case  you might know someone who needs to hear it.

Sometimes God will end a relationship for your protection. Stop chasing after the person he’s trying to save you from.

And this powerful quote which serves as one of the arguments for the historical reliability of the Gospels.  No “ancient legend” follows this pattern…

Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humiliation of its God. – Bruce L Shelley

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

FUN FACT: Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend actually thinking.

And a bonus.  Saw this on social media. Felt like I was reading about myself.

Things I’m good at:

  • Forgetting someone’s name 10 seconds after they tell me.
  • Buying produce…and throwing it away two weeks later.
  • Digging through the trash for the food box I just tossed, because I already forgot the directions.
  • Making plans.  And then immediately regretting making plans.
  • Leaving laundry in the dryer until the clothes wrinkle.  Then turning on the dryer to de-wrinkle.  Then forgetting it again.
  • Calculating how much sleep I’ll get if I can just “fall asleep right now.”

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Dark Age Myth

During my grad studies we read quite a bit of medieval literature – from Dante to Aquinas to Beowulf.   While most people sadly – and ignorantly – see this 1000-year-period of history as backward, simple-minded and uneducated, quite the opposite is actually true.  Read the blog here.