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Glen Schultz

For The Sake Of The Ministry

By | Public Blog | One Comment

What Is True?

I am deeply burdened over what is taking place in the country today.  I am even more broken of what I see happening in the body of Christ related to the turmoil in society.  Brothers and sisters in Christ are taking sides and criticizing one another on social media platforms on a daily basis.  What is the answer to all of this confusion and hateful rhetoric and actions we are witnessing?

Maybe my take on everything is too simplistic but I actually believe that the only answer to the division, hate, and destruction that is tearing us apart is found in the person of Jesus Christ.  That means that God’s Word, the Bible, is the only place I need to look to in order to know what is true and what I need to do.

I have been asking myself a lot of questions lately.  Questions such as:

  • What is behind all of the division I am seeing all around me?
  • What should my response be to what I am seeing, reading and hearing from all sides?
  • What is the truth behind various slogans/movements such as white, male, etc. privilege, black lives matter, systemic racism and critical theory?

In an attempt to answer these and other questions that are constantly on my mind, I have turned to the Scriptures like never before in my life.  The words of Solomon rang true in my heart when he wrote,

…righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him. Ecclesiastes 9:1 (NASB)

God is sovereign over everything, including my life, and I don’t know what He has in store for me.  Therefore, I must hold on to truth if I am going to survive in this sin-filled world.  Even when I write a blog, my heart’s desire is the same as Solomon.

The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. Ecclesiastes 12:10 (NKJV)

There is one thing I know for certain.  This world doesn’t need any more opinions, especially mine.  So, how am I trying to respond to all the noise that is bombarding me on a daily basis?

First, I had to be reminded that God wants His children to be united.  Paul explains how and why this should be the driving force in our lives.

…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3 (NKJV)

Here, I found that the only way for such unity is in Christ because He is the only source of wisdom and knowledge.  The reason why Paul stressed this is because he didn’t want Christians to be deceived.

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. Colossians 2:4 (NKJV)

Then, Paul gave this strong warning.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 (NKJV)

That word cheat is better translated taken captive.  God does not want you and me to be taken captive by false ideas.  In order to make sure this doesn’t happen today, I need to filter all of the rhetoric, protests, and/or movements, etc. and see if they follow human tradition and the basic principles/beliefs of the world or culture.  Are they in line with Christ and the Word?

God gives us further instruction on how to sort through all the noise in the world today when the Holy Spirit inspired John to write these words.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3 (NKJV)

I have learned that I can’t merely jump on an emotional bandwagon because it sounds good and it seems like everyone else is doing it.  I must test everything to make sure it is in line with Jesus Christ and His Word.  In another one of his epistles, John is even more emphatic about the importance of doing this.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 7-11 (NKJV)

Here God’s Word tells us that if any type of teaching, position or rhetoric is not in line with the doctrine of Christ, we are not even supposed to allow it in our homes. It goes beyond this to commanding us not to give it our approval.  When we do either of these things, we are actually partaking in the evil ourselves.

I have heard some say that it is okay to agree with a statement even when the statement is tied to an evil movement.  Agreeing with the statement doesn’t mean that one is approving the movement that is directly tied to the statement.  Again, I have to turn to the Scriptures for truth as I decide whether this is right or not.

When doing this, one might quickly quote this verse.

Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)

I fully realize that this verse is too often taken out of context and a better translation is “any form of evil.”  However, sometimes the appearance of something can be detrimental.  Maybe a better Scripture reference that we must consider in these situations would be Paul’s exhortation to the church in Corinth.

Beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. I Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 2 Corinthians 6:3 (NKJV)

I believe that Jesus’ instruction to His followers in Matthew 17:24-27 also applies to this situation.  We must be very careful that we do not put a stumbling block before others or offend others.  Why? It is for the sake of the ministry that God has given us.

There is one other truth taught in Scripture that I have found is extremely important in guiding my thoughts, words and actions.  It is a very familiar verse that states,

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)

Paul explains this in more detail earlier in his letter when he wrote,

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19&20 (NKJV)

Now, glorifying God in everything we think, say and/or do, is not just a trite little saying.  It has deep significance.  Dr. Gary Inrig says it best when he writes,

Glorifying God means to live one’s life in such a way that God’s character (attributes) are revealed resulting in His praise being increased.

It is very important that we, as Christians, be careful of our words and actions in tumultuous times as these.  We often forget the influence we have on others. As Christians, we must never forget that every one of our words and deeds are scrutinized by those we have contact with.

Over the years, there have been many times that I was free to say or do certain things that were not wrong.  However, I always had to remember what would be best for the sake of the ministry that God had given me.  This is why I do not post controversial things on social media, nor do I get involved in some activities that are so common right now.

I am not writing this to tell you what you should or should not do related to all that is going on.  I am simply sharing with you what I have studied in God’s Word that I have tried to obey as I respond to the evil all around me.

Father, may my thoughts, words and actions exalt the name of Jesus.  May my life bring glory and honor to You.  As others see any good works in me, may they realize it is not by my effort but by Your Spirit that I can even do them.  I pray that the difference You make in my life, draws others to You. In Jesus name, Amen!

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We Don’t Need Reform or Do We?

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

A Demand For Change

There has been a constant cry for reform in just about every area of life for as long as I can remember. Whether it pertains to government, education, or the legal system, people from all walks of life are demanding reform.  Because of the tragic death of George Floyd while in the custody of police, there is now a concerted effort for not only police reform but also the complete defunding and dismantling of police departments across the country.

The fact that people are demanding that reform take place indicates one thing.  Something is broken and not right.  Of course, we, as Christians, know that this brokenness is a result of the Fall when sin entered the world.  However, will reform efforts make a difference?

I admit that there is a very real need for change to take place in many areas of society.  I agree that training and efforts to bring about change are helpful.  Yet, the change that is needed to solve the hurts of living in a sin-filled world will not be accomplished by human reform efforts — no matter how good the intentions are.

I lost count a long time ago of students and parents meeting with me to discuss their child’s poor grades or a discipline situation.  In these meetings, the child would come in saying that he/she was sorry and that they were going to change.

I have had students, who did nothing in a class for 9 weeks and were failing, tell me that they had decided that they were going to get A’s from now on.  Others, who had behaved badly, would tell me that they were sorry and they weren’t going to misbehave again.  Listening to them, one would get the idea that these students had the ability to turn off bad habits and actions and, all of a sudden, be model students.  Unfortunately, their determination and efforts to change, even though well-intentioned, didn’t last long.

These students thought that reforming their behavior would bring about the changes that were needed.  This is the same problem that today’s reform efforts are attempting to accomplish.

We believe that with enough training and effort bad behavior and/or practices can be corrected resulting in a perfect society.  All human efforts at reform are simply man saying that to stop evil one needs only to “turn over a new leaf.”  Unfortunately, the new leaf will turn out to be just as corrupt as the old one and may even be worse.

Reform efforts go all the way back to the garden when man first sinned and disobeyed God.  Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong and life was broken.  They tried to “fix” it.  Their reform efforts were in the form of fig leaves whereas today’s efforts take the form of training, programs and/or laws and regulations.

I am reminded of some of the reform efforts that were made after the horrific Columbine high school shootings.  Cries for reform in our schools led to several efforts to change students’ lives through instituting various “character education” programs.  One of the most common ones, that is still in effect today, was Character Counts.  Even with all this effort to reform students’ character, violence has continued to escalate in our nation’s schools and school shootings have sadly become commonplace.

Why doesn’t, or even better yet, why can’t reform efforts change things?  One reason why human reform efforts can’t work is that they are based on human reasoning and opinion.  The world’s effort to reform brokenness is based on a false belief that man can improve himself and, therefore, society.  God’s existence is ignored or, even worse, denied.

If one denies the existence of God, then there cannot be any absolute moral values to direct any effort to bring about change.  This is the case with Character Counts.  By denying that God exists, man has to define right character and that is impossible to do.

Another reason why reform efforts can’t work is that they don’t address the real source of the bad behavior or injustice.  Reform is another name for the failed concept of behavior modification.  It is an attempt to change the outward actions of an individual or a group of individuals.  For example, sensitivity and/or diversity training focus on what one thinks and acts about others with the belief that training can transform a person’s life.

I am hearing people say that what is needed to change our current condition is to have open discussion and ask hard questions about the things that are causing division in society today.  We must “understand” each other and, when that happens, we will then get along with each other.  This was the mantra after 911.  I am not opposed to having difficult conversations about real issues people are facing but that will not bring about the change that is necessary.

So, if reform isn’t the answer, what is?  The reason why reform efforts fall short of real change is because the problems we are facing are heart issues – not head  or emotional issues.  Prejudice, hate, anger, injustice, division, envy, etc. all come from within the human heart.  Jesus told the religious leaders of the day that outward reform can’t work because it doesn’t address the cause.

There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man… Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods? And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”  Mark 7:15,18-23  (NKJV)

The prophet Jeremiah also understood the wickedness of the human heart.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart… Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV)

A person’s heart won’t be changed by some form of human effort.  If this were possible, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die a cruel death on the cross.  Only God can change a person’s heart.

The prophet Ezekiel knew that God was the only One who could change a person’s heart.

I [God] will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)

Only God can revive us out of the mess we are in.  Reform tries to bring about change from the outside in.  God brings real change because He does it from the inside out.

So, what is needed is revival not reform.  However, the key to revival doesn’t begin with the lost world.  It begins with me.  For revival to come and change society, it requires brokenness and repentance in my life.  David understood this like few men in history.

Only Revival Brings About Change

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

In order for God to change my heart, I must give Him access to it.  I must humble myself and allow God to do what the Psalmist allowed Him to do in his life.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)

The evil that we are seeing up close in the world today is not a social issue.  Therefore, it cannot be overcome through reform.  It is a spiritual issue that will only be destroyed by revival.

Father, I ask you to search my heart and point out any sinful thoughts or desires You find.  As you show me my sin, I repent and ask your forgiveness.  Give me new heart that will cause me to see others as you see them – individuals who you have created in Your image.  Please heal our land!  In Jesus name, Amen.

My Response To Today’s Turmoil

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

Lord Save Us!

First, we faced a nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19.  Then, the country exploded in protests and riots because of the senseless death of a man.  We are sitting on a powder keg that is ready to explode.  What is the answer to all of this?

I have resisted the temptation to speak about the issues facing us today as I, too, have struggled to make sense out of all of it.  There are so many voices shouting their feelings from every position imaginable.  It is my prayer that I will avoid sharing my opinions but try to approach things from a biblical perspective.

The protests, looting and rioting that are taking place all across the country are said to be reactions to the death of a man named George Floyd.  Anyone that viewed the heart-wrenching video that showed this man’s breath literally being choked out of him must condemn the actions of the men involved in his arrest.

My heart was broken by Mr. Floyd’s death and I long for justice to be served.  However, I am not grieved by this in the same manner as many others are.  Cries of racism, white supremacy, white privilege, black lives matter and police brutality have become the common narratives surrounding this senseless death.

What grieves my heart is that a person who was created in the image of God lost his life because another human being unnecessarily caused his death.  I am equally grieved to see another image bearer of God kicked in the head by a protestor that led to his death.  The same is true when I learned that a man working to secure a business lost his life.  Grief also gripped me when I read the account of a police officer being shot in the back of the head at point blank range while doing his job of protecting people and property.

 

In addition to each of the travesties, I am appalled by the murder of over 2,000 babies each day and over 700,000 each year here in the United States.  Every abortion destroys the life of an innocent image bearer of God.

Please note that I didn’t identify any of these victims by the color of his/her skin but as individuals who were each created in the image of God.  Whenever the ethnicity of a person is interjected into injury or loss of life, it seems like others justify injuring or killing of other people, as well as destroying private property.

The death of George Floyd was not tragic and horrific because a white police officer acted in a certain way towards a black man.  The same is true for the other deaths that I have mentioned.  It doesn’t matter what the color of skin the victims or the perpetrators were.  The worth and value of every human being is found in the truth that each and every person has been, is and always will be created in the image of God.  We know this to be true when we read the following passages in God’s Word.

Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.  Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7 (NKJV)

Because man is created in the image of God, God says that the shedding of innocent blood is sinful.

Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.  Genesis 9:6 (NKJV)

We have abandoned the teaching of creation and that man was created in the image of God, imago Dei.  When one denies the existence of God, then man is merely a result of evolutionary time and chance.  Instead of one race there must be many races as various people groups evolved differently over billions of years.  One person puts it this way.

Atheistic and evolutionary worldviews teach us that events are random, our origins accidental, our lives meaningless, and tragedy inevitable. Those who close their eyes to the one true God remain blind to His divine plans and purposes.  Cameron Buettel

The evolutionary belief that there are many races is not biblical.  Therefore, trying to improve race relations, which reflects evolutionary thinking, is impossible.  Darryl Harrison states,

The term “race relations” is a misnomer. God created you and me to relate to one another by way of hearts and minds, not skin color. Melanin is passive—it cannot love or hate—but our hearts can—and do. Biblically, murder is an attitude before it is an act (1 John 2:9-11; 3:15).

I am concerned when I see and/or hear Christian leaders addressing these very real issues framed through secular ideas such as critical race theory, white privilege (or any other form of privilege), etc.  We must evaluate everything through the lens of Scripture.

God’s Word is totally sufficient to guide us into how to better “love our neighbor as ourselves.”  Recently, I saw several social media posts that gave the appearance that some church leaders are supporting the concept of “privilege”.  Here are some of the statements I have seen.

White privilege exists as a direct result of both historic and enduring racism, biases, and practices designed to oppress people of color.

White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard.  It means your skin tone isn’t one of the things making it harder!  There’s plenty of other privileges (socio-economic, male, heterosexual cisgender, Christian, able-bodied)  but white privilege is perhaps the most enduring throughout history.

Life can be hard if you’re white, but life will never be hard because you’re white. 

You’ve never been judged by the color of your skin. (A statement to a white person) 

If you consider these statements, you will find that they contradict themselves.  For example, if someone tells me that I will never be judged by the color of my skin, that person has just judged me based on my skin color.

The entire concept that someone has “privilege” because of his/her skin color or gender goes against Scripture.  If God has created me in His image (which He has), then He chose my gender and skin color.  I had nothing to do with it whatsoever.

If either of these traits cause me to be privileged, then God created me that way.  Of course, that means that I must reject Acts 10:34 when Peter preached,

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons…

The same would be true about what James said when he wrote that not treating everyone the same is sin (James 3:9).

In order to understand the senseless taking of human life, destruction of private property and the violence that we are witnessing on a daily basis, we must trace this back to its origin.  To do this, it is not sufficient to simply go back to times of slavery or to the founding of our country; which is what is commonly being done by many today.

We must go back to Genesis 3 where we find sin entering the world through the Fall of man.  In fact, the first murder that was ever recorded was committed by Cain who murdered his own brother, Abel.  “Race” played no part in this evil act.

Murder and violence are the result of the sin nature of man.  In fact, all injustices that anyone commits are the result of sin.  It is not an attitudinal or social condition.  It is a heart condition.

So, what is the solution to all of this?  The words of G. K. Chesterton come to my mind when trying to answer this question.

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.

We must first see that the problem is spiritual and is found in the depravity of the human heart.

The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV)

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23 (NKJV)

Once we accurately identify the problem, we can then try to find the solution.  Trying to reform a person or an organization can’t solve these problems.  We must have a heart change.  This can only be found in Jesus and the Gospel.

To biblically address the upheaval in society today is challenging because we have all been influenced by decades of secular education and thinking.  God’s existence has been ignored or, even worse, denied.  Because of this, we have raised several generations of people who do not think biblically.

Therefore, they do not know that every person has value and worth because each one was created in the image of God.  As a result, Christians have conformed to the world’s way of thinking when trying to address these important life issues and we find ourselves in turmoil.  Dr. Albert Mohler stated the following in one of his recent episodes of The Briefing.

When you deny the creation order as God has given it to us for our good and His glory, you get chaos at every turn.

We must develop a biblical worldview and, then, give our children and youth a biblical worldview education.  Without this taking place the sanctity of human life will continue to disappear from society and chaos will become more and more rampant.  Consider the words of A.W. Tozer.

When the knowledge of God began to go out of the minds of men, we got into the fix that we’re in now [Romans 1].

In whom or what are you trying to find your identity?  As Christians, we must find our identity and view the identity of each and every other person through the doctrine of imago Dei.  Then, we must identify with only one person, Jesus Christ.  I leave you with the words of pastor, Virgil “Omaha” Walker.  His challenge applies to every Christian, whether or not one is a pastor and regardless of the color of one’s skin.

There’s only one man that we’re told to identify with, and that is Jesus Christ and him crucified.  So, any identification based upon levels of melanin in the skin – where a pastor is coddling that, where a pastor is amplifying that, where a pastor is encouraging that – I’d argue that they need to repent, and turn from that behavior all together, and make sure that they are pointing their black parishioner, biblically, to Christ and him crucified.

Father, may I see every person as someone You created in Your image. Show me how to love my neighbor as I love myself.  May my life reflect Jesus no matter what circumstances I find myself in.  Bring healing and peace to our homes, churches, communities and country.  Do this for Your glory!  In Jesus name, amen.

What Language Will Future Generations Speak?

By | Public Blog

 

When you read the title of this week’s blog, you might have thought that this is a very easy question to answer.  You probably thought that your children will speak the language of the country in which they live.

Someone who was born and raised in Germany would most likely speak German as this would be his/her native tongue.  People living in France would speak French and those of us living in the United States would speak English.

It is also true that many young people learn to, not only, speak their native language, but also, another foreign language.  Here in the United States, Spanish seems to be the most common foreign language taught in most schools.

However, I am talking about something entirely different when I ask the question, What language will future generations speak?  I was reading through Nehemiah in my quiet time recently when I came across an interesting couple of verses.  In chapter 13 of this book, we find these words,

In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. Nehemiah 13:23-24 (NKJV)

Nehemiah was grieved to learn that some of the Jews had intermarried with the people of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab.  This is something that God had forbidden His people to do.  Nehemiah also saw that the result of this practice was that their children could not speak the language of Judah.

It must be noted that the reason why God warned against this is because it was a picture of God’s people intermarrying with the culture and not remaining pure in their worship of Him.  Whenever the Israelites intermarried with the culture, one finds that they eventually worshipped the false gods of the culture into which they married.

This resulted in their children speaking an entirely different language.  They no longer understood the language of Judah.  The “language” that these children understood was the language of the culture and not the language of Israel.

As I read this, I realized that every belief system or worldview has its own language.  I have written in other posts that there are really only two possible worldviews that one can adopt — a God-centered worldview or a man-centered one.

The beliefs, values and assumptions of one’s worldview make up the language that an individual speaks.  That language is most clearly seen and understood by the lifestyle one takes on.  This is what had happened in Nehemiah’s day.

The children of these Jews who had intermarried with the culture around them had developed a completely different belief system from that of Judah.  They didn’t even understand the worldview of Judah.

So the real question we must ask ourselves today is this.  Will our children and grandchildren speak a biblical worldview language or a secular one?  

This question is answered by looking at the type of education we are giving them.  The reason why this is so important is that all education is taught within the context of a worldview.  Therefore, the education our children and grandchildren receive will determine what worldview language they will speak or live.

We find an example of this in the book of Daniel.  The Israelites had been taken into captivity by the pagan king of Babylon.  King Nebuchadnezzar chose the brightest of the Israelite young men and put them through a 3-year educational program.

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz…to bring some of the children of Israel…young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand…whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them…three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king Daniel 1:3-5 (NKJV)

The king changed their names to Babylonian ones, taught them the language of the Chaldeans and educated them so that they would serve Babylon, not Israel.  One commentator notes that this was an intensive educational effort to erase any remembrance of their Israelite heritage from their minds.

Fortunately, Daniel and his friends had been given a strong biblical education prior to being taken into captivity.  We find that they did not forget the language of Judah.

This same motive is behind every educational system in existence today.  Each system desires to teach its students the language of its worldview or belief system.  The goal is to make sure that the young people are fit to serve their “god” or “gods”.

The answer to the question asked in the title will be determined by what worldview system of education will teach them.  If the next generation is to speak or live a biblical lifestyle, they must be given a biblical worldview education at home, church and school.

If they receive a secular education, they most likely will speak or live a secular lifestyle.  If this happens, we will find ourselves grieved like Nehemiah was because our children will not be able to speak the language of Christianity!

What Will Change?

By | Uncategorized

 

 

It seems like everywhere I turn, I am finding another article, blog or podcast on how education has and will remain changed forever because of COVID-19.  There is little doubt that schooling will be done differently than it has been done for years.  It appears that schooling will include some element of virtual learning and more parents may fully turn to homeschooling their children.  The use of technology will also play a bigger role in the future of schooling young people.

Last week I was invited to participate in a webinar that Dr. Greg Jones of Forward Solutions was conducting.  In this webinar I was asked how school leaders can make a successful comeback from COVID-19.  I was also asked to share what I had experienced over the past couple of months due to this pandemic.  You can watch the full webinar here.

In responding to Dr. Jones questions, I shared my belief that it is important to not merely focus on what might change.  I believe it is even more important to focus on things that will never change and on some critical things that we cannot allow to change.

I hope that I have gained a small amount of wisdom from the 65+ years that I have been involved in schooling, both as a student and an educator.  I have witnessed a lot of changes that people said would revolutionize schooling.  If I would have focused the majority of my time and energy on those things that changed and not on the things that wouldn’t or shouldn’t change, I don’t think I would have survived.

There is no doubt about it.  Schooling will be different in the days ahead.  But that isn’t anything new.  I have shared before how privileged I was to spend the first 4 years of my schooling in a one-room school with one teacher and 8 grade levels of students.

The black slate chalk board can no longer be found in a school today.  The desks with the inkwell holes in the top are also gone.  Just about everything about the one-room schooling experience I had is completely gone!  But there are some things that are still the same and will remain no matter what other changes will take place in the future.

Allow me to make an analogy at this point.  Because of my responsibilities, I have done a lot of traveling over the years.  The total number of miles that I have flown in airplanes boggles my mind.  I well-remember how air travel changed forever after 911.  There are those long security screening lines, the rifling through one’s baggage and the all too common patting down of my body.  Air travel has definitely changed.

However, with all these changes there are some things that haven’t changed and I am thankful that they are still in place.  Air travel still needs and relies upon good pilots being at the controls.  Every airplane still needs to be designed to lift off the ground, cruise at various altitudes and safely land at the end of every flight.

The “how” of air travel is different but the “why” of flight is still constant.  The same is true of education, especially schooling.  In fact, my challenge in writing this blog is to make sure that we don’t allow certain things to change when it comes to educating our children and youth.

No matter what different methods of instruction etc. that may result from COVID-19, the need for and purpose of education must not change.  All children and youth come into life and will continue to do so in a fallen state.  They will always need to be guided into truth so that they might come to know the God of creation and to know themselves as image bearers of God.

Education must always prepare students for the future.  But not just for the temporal future of life here on earth but also for the eternal future that begins when this life ends.

So, what are the keys to success in the future?  Here are two realities that we must embrace.

  1. We must accept the fact that some things about education will be different in the future.
  2. As we prepare for the changes that will be taking place on what and how we educate future generations, we must be committed to making certain that some foundational principles will never be allowed to change.

Dr. Albert Mohler in his book, Conviction to Lead, talks about the importance of convictional leadership needed for a school to survive and thrive.  What Mohler says about leaders is also true for schools.  Just as new leaders will bring their own ideas, passions and vision for the future to the school, Christian schools of tomorrow may have a different look and/or feel when it comes to how they operate due to this pandemic.

No matter what idiosyncrasies a new leader might bring to an organization, it is critically important that the organization’s foundational beliefs never change.  As school boards and administrators adjust budgets, develop new strategic plans and prepare for what the new “normal” will look like, they must never allow the biblical foundation on which Christian schooling was long ago established to change.

My fear for what Christian school leaders might face in the future is that the changes that are being talked about will consume their time, energy and resources.  As their attention is focused on face-to-face teaching, virtual instruction or some hybrid of the two, will they give equal or greater attention to God’s purpose for their existence?

Change has taken place and it will continue to do so in the days, months and years to come.  However, God’s Word is eternal and never changes.  We must make sure that we know, understand and remain committed to a biblical philosophy of education.  We must also give priority to making sure our teachers and parents do the same.

You and I can’t stop change from happening.  However, we can make sure that the convictions on which kingdom education is built never change.

I close with some thoughts from Mohler’s book and from his May 12th The Briefing.

The loss of a secular institution is a shame.  The loss of an institution founded on biblical truth is a tragedy.

If your Christian ministry does not state clearly what your beliefs are and make those obligatory throughout the institution, then you can basically just watch your institution collapse to the left.

I invite you to consider participating in this summer’s Kingdom School Institute.  This year’s institute will be presented online.  Find out more information and register here.

Also, I want to encourage your school to become a part of a fast-growing group of schools who are intentionally helping their board and staff members develop a biblical worldview by becoming a KEM Prime Member.  Learn more about the wide variety of kingdom resources available to Prime Members here. To become a member, click KEM School Membership and receive a special school discount.

Finally, follow, like and share the information that is posted regularly on KEM’s ministry FaceBook page by clicking here.

Remember, God and His Word doesn’t change.  There is not even the slightest turning of shadow with Him.  This must also be true for Christian schools as they strive to fulfill God’s plan for educating future generations.

Examination Day

By | Public Blog

 

Are You Ready?

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5 these words.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

It is important to take some time every now and then and examine and test ourselves as to what we believe and how we live our lives.  With the end of another school year upon us, this is a good time to do just that.

I want to ask you to respond to the 10 ideas that are presented below.  As you read each one, simply determine if you would teach it to your children at home and/or would want your child to be taught this at your church.  Let’s get started.

  1. He/she is a good child but has made some bad decisions.
  2. Morality is relative and is determined by community consensus.
  3. Math is relative and right answers are arrived at by experts coming to consensus.
  4. Man is a product of evolution and is, therefore, a result of time and chance.
  5. You can be anything that you want to if you set your mind to it and try hard enough.
  6. It is important that you determine your own identity by how you feel including your gender.
  7. There is a body of knowledge that is spiritually neutral and is made up of neutral, observable facts.
  8. There is no such thing as absolute truth or a universal meaning to life.  You are to create your own meaning to everything.  If someone claims that their truth is absolute, they are trying to control other people.
  9. One must make decisions in life based on science which is the only means to know truth.
  10. It is important to follow your heart and just be you.

How did you do?  Were there some things that you believe should be taught to your children either at home or in church or at both places?  The truth is that all 10 of these items are derived from a secular worldview.  Some of them are more obvious than others but they all reflect a secular belief system that ignores or denies God and the spiritual realm.

I have found that most Christian parents and church leaders would reject the idea that these values and beliefs should be taught in their homes and/or churches.  However, the vast majority of these same Christians have no problem with these and other similar beliefs being taught to their children at school.

Why would believers take a stand against such anti-biblical concepts being taught at home and church but are silent when they are taught in secular schools.  In fact, they will go so far as to fully support these schools and enroll their children in them.

This reality is evidence of what I presented in my last two blog posts,  Today’s Real Danger and The Disastrous Consequences of Dualism.  It is one thing to know what dualism is and the dangers of it.  It is something else to be able to identify it in our own lives.

Unfortunately, most of us have been tainted by a secular worldview and we don’t even know it has happened.  This is because we live our religious life by some biblical principles and feel comfortable knowing that this area of our lives is based on truth.  At the same time, a biblical worldview does not have any influence on all other areas of our lives.

The more I talk with Christian school leaders, the more I have come to understand that this is a common reality with today’s Christian school board members, administrators and teachers.  The result is Christian schools are not having the impact that they could have on students’ hearts and minds if dualism were defeated in their own lives.

It is time that we do something about this dangerous condition that is so prevalent in the western church today.  The first step in reversing this dilemma is to identify one’s own worldview.

Renewanation has created a tool to help schools, churches, and families measure biblical worldview development.  The ViewFinder is a discovery and development tool designed to help teenagers and adults understand what they believe about six areas of biblical worldview: God, the Bible, moral order, purpose, creation, and humanity.

This tool is a must for parents, church leaders and Christian educators to really understand what worldview they have adopted.  Christian school leaders should use this tool as part of their teacher interview process and ongoing professional development plan for staff members.

I am excited to announce that Renewanation is providing a special discount to all individuals and schools who are KEM Prime Members.  Over the next couple of days I will be sending a special discount code to all Prime Members that can be used when taking the ViewFinder.

I also want to encourage every school and/or individual to consider becoming a KEM Prime Member.  All of the resources available to members have been designed to help Christians develop a biblical worldview and a biblical philosophy of education.  I am offering deep discounts for both an individual and a school annual membership.

To find out how to become an individual KEM Prime Member at the discounted rate click here KEM Individual Membership

To find out how a school can become a KEM Prime Member at the discounted rate click here KEM School Membership

Let’s defeat dualism by renewing our minds and thinking and acting from a biblical worldview.

The Disastrous Consequences of Dualism

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

 

 

The Decay of Christianity

We are living in a world that is spinning out of control.  There seems to be no absolute guidelines that determine right and wrong.  Even Christians seem to be floundering in a sea of uncertainty.  Last week I shared how many Christians have developed a dualistic belief system where life is divided into two compartments — the secular and the sacred.

Unfortunately, the consequences of trying to live a dualistic life go unnoticed but they are disastrous in a couple of ways.  One of these consequences has to do with our personal lives.

In his book, The Rest of Your Life, Patrick Morley tells the story of a man who had succumbed to dualism.  In this account, the man knew that,

…he had stopped growing spiritually long ago. He had completely separated his faith from his work and social life. All in all, Christianity was still privately engaging to him but an irrelevant factor in his day-to-day world.

Whenever one attempts to live his/her life by two different worldview, he/she finds that life cannot have any overarching purpose.  Life is fragmented with no cohesive belief system to bring meaning and purpose to one’s existence.  Without God and truth, there is no one or thing that one can turn to for meaning and purpose.

The reason why this disastrous consequence will always be a result of dualism is simple.  The beliefs of a secular worldview and those of a biblical one are in total opposition to one another.  As Morley points out,

They are radically different and opposite systems of how to approach life, meaning, reality, values, ethics, justice, relationships, eternity, God, and man.  As systems, they have no points in common and a wall of ideology separates them.

James understood this when, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote,

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  James 1:5-8 (NKJV)

When a person does not believe that God’s Word should control all of one’s life, that person is double-minded.  Consequently, a double-minded person is unstable in ALL his ways, not just in some ways.  This is because when one’s interests are divided, one’s heart also becomes divided.

The second consequence that results when a Christian tries to live a dualistic life is even more disastrous.  This is because dualism in one’s life will be reflected in one’s religion.  When a majority of Christians divide their lives up into the secular and sacred compartments, Christianity loses its power.

Morley, once again, brings this to light when he writes,

The choices we make brand us; we are the sum of our decisions…Everyone’s life makes a statement about what is important to him…for many Christians the statement is this:  My Christianity doesn’t work.

Why is this true?  It is because, no matter how hard one tries, one cannot completely separate two opposing worldviews.  Unfortunately, the secular worldview will always influence a biblical worldview.  It has been long understood that a major problem in western Christianity is symbolized by the word “syncretism.”

The dictionary defines syncretism as the attempt or tendency to combine or reconcile differing philosophical or religious beliefs.  It is trying to have the best of two worlds – the secular and the sacred.  In reality, many Christians today have tried to develop a form of Christianity by blending in beliefs and values from other religions.

Again, God’s Word warns us about the danger of this type of worship.  He constantly warned the Israelites not to “intermarry” with the people around them.  The reason for this was because He knew that it would lead to dualism and pollute their worship.

The Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.  1 Kings 11:2 (NKJV)

Intermarrying is syncretism and the result is always the same.  It will turn one’s heart away from God and towards other gods.  The result is we merely become cultural Christians.  How does God look at cultural Christians?  The Psalmist puts it this way.

But they mingled with the Gentiles and learned their works; they served their idols, which became a snare to them.  Psalm 106:35-36 (NKJV)

We are reaping the consequences that are a result of decades of sowing a dualistic worldview into generations of young people.  A growing number of Christians are frustrated by dysfunctional lives that lack significant meaning and purpose.  Young people are walking away from Christianity because when they look at adults they see their lives telling them, My Christianity Doesn’t Work!


We must destroy dualism in our lives before it is too late.  Every remnant of cultural Christianity must be eradicated completely by the complete renewing of one’s mind where every thought is brought into captivity of Christ or the Word.

Stay tuned there is more to come next week when I will ask some questions to see whether or not we are infected with the virus of dualism.

Today’s Real Danger

By | Public Blog

 

The Great Divide

If I have been asked this question once, I have been asked it hundreds of times.  It is asked most often after I have presented information about how dangerous secular education is to our children’s and grandchildren’s future.

Why are Christian parents, pastors and church leaders unwilling to address the issue of education biblically?

Having been asked this so many times and trying to prayerfully answer it, I have come to the conclusion that the main reason this isn’t happening is DUALISM!  This is a term that I first read about in the late Dr. Albert Greene’s book, Recapturing the Future of Christian Education.

This same concept is also referred to as the secular/sacred divide and compartmentalization. Those who tie this practice back to ancient Greek philosophers might refer to it as a two-story approach to life.

Simply put, dualism is the practice of dividing one’s life up into two separate compartments — the secular and the sacred and then living each compartment from a different worldview perspective.  The result is a fragmented life that has no ultimate meaning.  Life simply cannot make sense when dualism is present.

Last week I read a challenging article by Dr. Jim Denison.  In the article Denison makes this statement.

Our problem is not atheism, the claim that God does not exist and is therefore irrelevant to every dimension of our lives and world.  Our problem is pluralism, the claim that there are many gods and that each should be trusted and served where appropriate(emphasis mine)

He went on to state,

We have inherited it (from ancient Greece and Rome) in a much more subtle fashion with our gods of Sunday religion and Monday secularism.

Do you see the dualism in his statements?  We live life by our Sunday worldview and our Monday through Saturday worldview.  I have thought that this dangerous way of trying to live life by two different belief systems was somewhat new.  However, it has caused man problems ever since the Fall.

I am currently reading through 1 and 2 Kings during my quiet time.  As I was studying 2 Kings 17, it hit me.  Dualism was a problem during the time of the kings of Israel.

Israel had fallen to the Assyrians and were taken captive.  The king of Assyria sent some of his people to inhabit the cities of Samaria.  When these pagan worshippers arrived in Samaria, the Lord sent lions that attacked and killed some of them.

The Assyrians sent word back to the king and told them that some of their companions had been killed by lions because they do not know the custom of the god of the land.  So, they wanted the king to send some of the Israelites back to teach them the custom of the god of the land.

Some priests who had been taken into captivity were sent back to Samaria and they taught them (Assyrians) how they should fear the Lord.  When I first read this, I found it fascinating that these pagan worshippers recognized that they needed to know the customs of the “god” of Israel.  However, they didn’t want to leave their way of life all together in order to follow God.  Here is what happened.

However every nation continued to make gods of its own, and put them in the shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made.  2 Kings 17:29 (NKJV)

The Scriptures go on to describe what became the way of life for these Assyrians after the priests taught them how to fear the Lord.

So they feared the Lord, and from every class they appointed for themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places.  They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods—according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away. 2 Kings 17:32-33 (NKJV)

Here dualism is clearly described in Scripture.  They tried to both fear the Lord YET serve their own gods. They attempted to live according to two worldviews or religions.  When I saw this, I realized that even the kings of Judah who did right in the sight of the Lord were guilty of adopting a secular/sacred divide in their lives.  One example of how a “good” king tried to live with a dualistic belief system is Jehoash.

Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places2 Kings 12:2-3 (NKJV)

This dangerous lifestyle was repeated by other kings such as Jotham (see 2 Kings 15:34-35).  I was amazed at how, time and time again, kings would tear down the altars and statues of Baal and Asherah but they allowed the “high places” to remain.  Of course, in every one of these cases God was not pleased and eventually brought judgement on the nation.

Unfortunately, we have not learned from the poor examples like I just mentioned.  I agree with Denison that Christians no longer are “setting up a figured stone in our land.”  However, we are too often guilty of worshipping God on Sunday and then trusting and serving our secular gods where appropriate during the rest of the week.

I am as guilty of this as the next person.  There are those areas of my life that I find that I have yet not surrendered to a biblical worldview.  As long as they remain, I am like the Assyrians in 2 Kings 17.  I want to “fear God” so I am protected from lions.  But I also want to fit into the culture by continuing to live my “secular” life just like everyone else.

In fact, I realize that when I come under conviction for the dualism in my life, instead of tearing down the high places and surrendering them to a biblical worldview, I do something very subtle but still sinful.  I will try to intensify my “Sunday life” so that I can still live out the secular side of my life with less guilt.

God will never work the work that He wants to do in, through and around us as long as we are not fully following Him in every area of our lives.  The question we must ask ourselves today is this.

Am I guilty of fashioning gods of Sunday religion and Monday secularism?

It is imperative that we develop a biblical worldview and allow it to direct our thinking and acting in every area of life throughout every day of life.

Please follow us and like us on FaceBook.  The next Kingdom Nugget will be posted Thursday!

The War Against Christianity

By | Public Blog

 

One thing that I have become keenly aware of during our current stay-at-home condition is that the cosmic battle of worldviews is becoming more intense.  One example of this is an article that hit the news this past week.  The timing of the release of this article is interesting considering the fact that school buildings are closed and children are being educated while having to stay at home.

The article I am referring to was published in the May/June issue of Harvard Magazine.  The author presents the views of Elizabeth Bartholet, a law professor at Harvard.  Bartholet views homeschooling as a threat and suggests that it be banned.  Even the picture headlining the article depicts a homeschooled child in prison while other children, supposedly not homeschooled, are outside playing and having fun.

It is interesting that the “jail” holding this child is made up of books.  These books are labeled Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Bible.  I found it intriguing that a “Science” book was not included.  Of course, it made sense when the professor described the typical homeschool parent as people who “question science.”

The backlash from the article has been swift and strong.  However, most of the responses to this anti-homeschool article have merely defended homeschooling.  Please know that I also believe that homeschooling is a parent’s God-given right and should be protected.

However, what has alarmed me in some ways is the fact that the article and Bartholet are attacking something much more important than the practice of homeschooling.  This article is attacking Christianity.  This is evident when Bartholet is quoted, (all emphases mine)

Surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture…some of these parents are “extreme religious ideologues” who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy

This is the crux of the worldview battle that is intensifying throughout today’s culture.  Christianity or a biblical worldview is the real focus of the article’s attack.

This article isn’t the only evidence that we are engaged in a cosmic battle between God’s truth claims and Satan’s deceptive lies.  Let me share some other hard evidence of the war that is raging against biblical truth.  Here are some statements that have been made by government leaders this past week.  These statements are all related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ultimate victory in this war will be made possible by America’s scientific brilliance.  POTUS

This crisis has shown that government mattersExpertise matters. Science matters.  NY Governor Cuomo

…a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve, and the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.  Dr. Fauci

If these statements don’t alarm us, then this statement will surely wake us up.

The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that . . . That’s how it works. It’s math. And if you don’t continue to do that, you’re going to see that number go back up. And that will be a tragedy…   NY Governor Cuomo

I want to make myself clear about where I stand on these issues.  Science can’t do anything.  Science is merely studying the creation ordinances by which God created and sustains the universe.   The same is true when you see a program on the Weather Channel titled, When Weather Changed History.  Weather hasn’t and can’t change anything.  God can and has used weather to change history but weather has no power of its own.

People can use science to accomplish many wonderful things.  However, that doesn’t tell the whole story.  This can only happen because man, created in the image of God, has been given the ability, from God, to research, discover and synthesize things such as vaccines etc.

In most of these statements, the implication is that man is autonomous.  Other than Cuomo’s bold statement that God didn’t do anything, the others simply ignore God’s existence and His involvement in the affairs of man.

Getting back to the original article mentioned in this post, it must be noted that the Bartholet and a professor from the College of William and Mary are holding a summit at Harvard.  This summit, according to reports, is by invitation only and is called, The Homeschooling Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform.

The co-sponsor of the summit, Dr. James Dwyer, has made the following statements in interviews and written reviews.

The state needs to be the ultimate guarantor of a child’s wellbeing.  There is no alternative to that.  The reason why parent child relationships exist is because the state confers legal parenthood on people through its paternal and maternity laws.  It is the state that is empowering parents to do anything with children – to take them home, have custody and to make any kind of decisions about that.

…the claim that parents should have child-rearing rights—rather than simply being permitted to perform parental duties and to make certain decisions on a child’s behalf in accordance with the child’s rights—is inconsistent with principles deeply embedded in our law and morality.

I have been pounding the drum for years that education is never neutral.  All education is driven by the desire of one group of people to instill certain beliefs and values into the next generation.  Education isn’t about academics, athletics or fine arts.  It is about worldview formation.

Again, Bartholet’s own words illustrate that education is about instilling one’s beliefs and values in young hearts and minds.

From the beginning of compulsory education in this country, we have thought of the government as having some right to educate children so that they become active, productive participants in the larger society. This involves in part giving children the knowledge to eventually get jobs and support themselves.  But it’s also important that children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.

The problem with many Christians is that they have not gone through the process of renewing their minds.  Therefore, they do not think and act from a biblical worldview.  The devastating result of this is that parents, church leaders and educators are not equipped to instill a biblical worldview in the next generation’s hearts and minds.

I am fully aware of the challenges we are currently facing due to the restrictions that have been placed on our lives because of this pandemic.  However, parents, church leaders and educators must be trained to know and embrace a biblical philosophy of education by developing a biblical worldview.

If you or your school is not already a KEM Prime Member, I urge you to consider becoming one today.  The resources that are available to members have been developed to accomplish this very task.  School heads can email me to find out about special pricing that is being offered right now.

We cannot afford to lose this battle!  The future of our children and grandchildren hangs in the balance!

Keeping An Eternal Perspective

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

 

When life is unpredictable, it is often easy to lose perspective.  There are many people who are struggling with staying positive with the lifestyle changes that have been thrust upon them due to COVID-19.  Even though it seems like our lives have been turned upside down, God has a purpose that He wants you and me to fulfill today.  In order to accomplish His purpose in our lives, we must keep an eternal perspective about life.

Paul wrote something that most Christians have memorized and recited on different occasions.  It is a very simple statement; but it it needs to have a profound impact on how we live our lives.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)

In these few words, God gives us clear direction on how we are to live our lives regardless of what we might be facing.  The first part of this verse tells us that we are to live our lives as a reflection of Jesus Christ.  John puts it this way.

He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.  1 John 2:6 (NKJV)

When we walk as Jesus walked then everyone around us will see Christ in us.  This is what Paul meant when he said that to live is Christ.  But what is he saying in the second part of the verse — to die is gain.  Paul is telling us that we should live our lives in such a way that people would see that we view death as something that is profitable and better than being alive.  Of course, this view of “death is gain” is based on the hope that we have in eternal live.

In this passage, Paul was wrestling with deciding if it would be better to be alive or to die and enter eternity in Christ’s presence.  We know that because he wrote:

But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.  For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.  Philippians 1:22-23 (NKJV)

I find these words amazing.  Paul declared that if he continued to live here on earth, it would mean that he would experience fruitful labor or ministry.  As you and I wake up each morning, do we do so with the perspective that being alive means that we are going have fruitful ministry?

I believe that there are many of us that struggle with experiencing this type of life in the midst of COVID-19.  I wonder if some of us think that this is fine for Paul to say but I am in self-isolation and have to do everything online.  I can’t be with my students, I can only try and teach them through online instruction.  In fact, I can’t even go to church and worship with other believers and have to live stream services over the internet.

If you and I think we have it tough under the current stay-at-home restrictions, we forget that when Paul wrote this epistle, he was in greater isolation than we are — he was in prison!  Even in our current COVID-19 circumstances, if God has us here, He has fruitful ministry for us to fulfill.  Author, Andy Andrews, once said that if we are still alive, our purpose has yet to be fulfilled.

I know what you might be asking.  How can I have fruitful ministry in these circumstances?  Paul explained what his fruitful ministry would be as long as he remained alive on the earth.

Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.  And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith  Philippians 1:24-25 (NKJV)


The NASB puts it this way.  Yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.  Paul understood a marvelous truth.  God was keeping him here on earth because it was necessary for the sake of others.  There are other people who make it necessary for you and me to remain here on earth.

 

What is that necessity that causes God to keep us alive, even while struggling with COVID-19?  It is for the progress and joy of someone’s faith.  It isn’t for my progress and joy but for others.

Don’t Let COVID-19 Get You Down

A couple of years ago, I started a simple little routine to help me keep the right perspective when beginning a new day.  I would sit down and ask God to bring some people’s names to my mind.  As He did, I would write them down and then thank the Lord that for these people’s sake You have be alive today.  Then, I would pray and ask God to show me how I could help them progress with joy in their faith.

It is my prayer that you will develop an eternal perspective that will give you direction each and every day.  Make a list of the people that you know who make it necessary for you to remain alive.  Next, ask God to show you what only you can do to help them progress in their faith.

If God could do this in Paul’s life while he was in prison, He can do it while you are confined to your home because of COVID-19.  Today, I realize that one reason I remain in the flesh is because it is more necessary for YOUR sake!  It is my prayer that this blog and other things that God allows me to do will help you grow with joy in your walk with the Lord.