Crossroads

Here at YWAM Maui, we strive to live by the truth of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Without God’s Absolute Truth as revealed to us in the Bible, we would just be like boats floating on a sea of relativity with nothing to anchor us. Without the Holy Spirit, we would be powerless to make God known and to influence our world. But holding these together is a powerful combination.

In our YWAM training, we strongly emphasize the Biblical Christian Worldview as integral to discipleship. Our goal is to build foundations for the next generation in both the written Word and the Living Word. In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus tells of the man who built his house on a solid foundation, “And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” (KJV). If our foundation is firmly rooted in Christ and in the scriptures, we will not be shaken when the storms of life ‘should threaten to undo us.’

Occasionally, I get the opportunity to teach on the Christian Worldview in other locations. This week I am at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii teaching in the Crossroads Discipleship Training School. This DTS is geared for those who are 30 years old and up. There are about 30 students in this school ranging in age from 28 to 74 years old from 10 different nations. As I’m used to speaking to millenials, I’m looking forward to the classroom dynamics of teaching those with more life experience.

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. The Lord used Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the church to spark a movement among Christians to return to the Bible as the final authority on religious matters and to the understanding that salvation is by faith in Christ, not in one’s good works. The legacy of this return to the biblical scriptures is hard to overestimate. Indeed, we are still enjoying the fruit of this movement to this very day. The foundation of so much that we take for granted was laid by the biblical teaching of the Reformers. The arts, political theories and institutions, economic development, and greater spiritual understanding all advanced greatly because of the Reformation.

The foundational ideas of the Reformation are summarized in the 5 “solas” or “alones”:

Solus Christus (Christ alone),

Sola Gratia (salvation through grace alone),

Sola Fide (justification through faith alone),

Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone as our final authority),

and Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be the glory).

While these ideas have continued to influence Evangelical Christianity to our own day, as I work with Christian young people from around the world, I see evidence of a great drift away from these roots. (See previous blog post from August 15 regarding “drift”.) As author Os Guinness so clearly stated in his book, Prophetic Untimeliness: “A great part of the evangelical community has transferred authority from Sola Scriptura to Sola Cultura.” (p. 65)

Indeed, our current post-modern culture seems to have more influence on our thinking than does the Bible. Decades ago, Harry Blamires opined that, “Except over a very narrow field of thinking, chiefly touching questions of strictly personal conduct, we Christians in the modern world accept, for the purpose of mental activity, a frame of reference constructed by the secular mind and a set of criteria reflecting secular evaluations. There is no Christian mind; there is no shared field of discourse in which we can move at ease as thinking Christians by trodden ways and past established landmarks” (The Christian Mind, 1963). If that was an assessment in the 1960’s, where are we now?

Sadly, we have allowed the intellectual influences in Western culture to be dominated by secular humanists or those espousing Eastern Philosophy. And as these influences shape culture, the basis of many believers’ faith has become based on experience rather than based on the truth of the Word. Without having one’s faith anchored in the truth as revealed to us by God, doctrine and theological beliefs are often decided upon based on the feelings received by a given teaching or dynamic teacher. Thus, by conforming to the thinking patterns of the world, many Christians have blended false religious and philosophical ideas with their Christian faith.

This week, I am teaching on the topic of “Christian Worldview” in our DTS here on Maui. In a couple weeks, I’ll be teaching the same topic for a week at the Crossroads DTS in Kona. The goal of this week is to introduce our students to the fact that they have been influenced by the spirit of the age (the thinking patterns of the world) and that there is a way of viewing the world from a biblical perspective.

As pollster, George Barna, suggests, “Without a biblical worldview, all the great teaching goes in one ear and out the other. There are no intellectual pegs… in the mind of the individual to hang these truths on. So they just pass through. They don’t stick. They don’t make a difference.” We urgently need another Reformation – a renewal of both the desire and the determination to relearn and to reaffirm how the Bible applies to all of life.

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He’s Alive!

“1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb… 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 …the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest…11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” – Luke 24:1-12

Empty Tomb in Israel

Empty Tomb in Israel

One of the great things about Resurrection Sunday, is that for many people, it is a time to pause, take a breath, step back from the worries of life and celebrate the most important event in Human History. But let us not forget the state of the world in which we are celebrating the Resurrection…

There continues to be a deep sense of uncertainty and insecurity characterizes the world today. You can almost feel it in the air. Indeed, it is difficult to keep up with all the wars, terrorist attacks, violent conflicts, and threats that are erupting across the globe.

In the midst of turmoil, people tend to look for someone who can solve the problems; for some institution or individual leader to provide answers. Often times, people have looked to the government for solutions to our most serious problems. Some form of socialism is seen by many to be the path to take. But more and more people are beginning to realize that governments are often part of the problem. The confidence they once had in the State is beginning to crumble.

Many years ago, I heard Ravi Zacharias tell the Story of Billy Graham meeting with the Chancellor of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, shortly after WWII. This political leader had the responsibility of picking up the pieces left by the most destructive war in history. He was tasked with trying to rebuild the nation that had been the cause of so much devastation and suffering.

During the course of their conversation, the Chancellor asked, “Mr. Graham, do you really believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?” Billy Graham was unsure about where this question might be going. He thought about it briefly and then responded, “Mr. Chancellor, if I did not believe in the resurrection, I would have no gospel to preach.”

Let us pause from this story and think about the Chancellor’s question and Billy Graham’s answer.

First, consider the significance of the Chancellor’s question…

Ask it of yourself, “DO I REALLY BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST?” This is one of the most important questions that anyone can ask. “Do I actually believe that there was a man who lived 2,000 years ago in history, who died a terrible death on the cross, and then rose bodily on the 3rd day?” How you answer will determine the course of your life. Do you believe it? Or does it seem to you to be “an idle tale”?

Second, consider Billy Graham’s response to this question. “Yes, I believe in the Resurrection. If I didn’t I would have no good news to preach.

Why did he make such a strong statement?

Perhaps Mr. Graham was thinking of Paul’s radical claim that the Resurrection is the foundation of Christian Faith. In I Cor. 15:14 & 17, he says, “14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

For the Christian faith, everything hinges on this event. Christianity is not just a religion, a philosophy, a body of beliefs, or set of teachings. Christianity is rooted in the person and work of Jesus. It stands or falls on this question – Did Jesus rise from the dead or didn’t He?

Let’s come back to the natural inclination that many people have had through history to look to a political leader to save them or to solve their problems. This is not something new.

In the New Testament era, King Herod’s dynasty was very wealthy & powerful.

Herod the Great built the huge Herodian Fortress which can still be toured today. It was a marvelous feat of engineering and an imposing sight to behold. Herod’s mighty fortress casts a long shadow that falls across a small, seemingly insignificant town called Bethlehem. Hoku and I saw the Herodian when we visited Bethlehem last year. As Bible teacher Ray Vanderlaan suggests, in the early New Testament people would have looked to the Herodian Fortress and took notice of the power and wealth that it represented. But very few took notice of who was born in Bethlehem.

The people of Judea were looking for deliverance. Similar to today, there was a sense of fear and insecurity. They felt threatened by the Roman Empire. Perhaps they were looking to their leaders to provide solutions.

In this setting of political turmoil which marked first century Palestine, we find this interesting passage about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry: Luke 3:1-2

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”

Notice that this passage lists seven well known rulers of the time. But, they did not have the solutions to society’s problems. The word of God was not revealed to any of them. It was revealed to some odd guy named John who had no political titles and no official place of distinction. It was John who prepared the way for Jesus.

Hope does not come from governments, rulers, scientists, economists or other man-made institutions. In a tiny corner of the Great Roman Empire, literally in the shadow of a great king’s monument, a baby was born. He lived a perfect life. He claimed to be God. He suffered a terrible death. He proved his power and His authority as God through his miraculous resurrection from the dead.

The Roman Empire came to an end. Jesus is still alive.

Through His resurrection He brought life to the world.

The people of that generation wanted physical deliverance. But Christ first brings spiritual deliverance: He gives us new hearts & spiritual transformation. But it is from these individual transformations that comes societal transformation.

Let’s return to the story of Billy Graham and the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. After Graham’s declaration of belief in the resurrection, the Chancellor walked over to a window overlooking the bombed out ruins of Berlin and said,

Mr. Graham, outside of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I know of no other hope for mankind.

In this troubled generation that we live in, let us not forget that there is only one hope. We are not looking for deliverance or working toward freedom. Rather, we are fighting from a freedom and a victory that has already been accomplished through the resurrection of Jesus!

Just before He went to the cross, Jesus said to his disciples, “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” – John 14:19

Our only hope is in the resurrection of Jesus and the new life He offers.

We serve a Risen Lord. A living hope. HE’S ALIVE!

 

 

Fall School Outreach Teams Graduate

YWAM Maui - March 2017

YWAM Maui – March 2017

We recently graduated the 6 outreach teams from our Fall schools. The teams ministered in Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Thailand, & Indonesia. We had a busy week of debriefing but it was so thrilling to hear stories of what God is doing in the nations and what He did through our teams. Here’s a few snap shots:

– In India, our SBFM team served the staff of a tea house ministry called Chai 3:16. This ministry reaches out to upper class university students who will likely be among the future leadership in the nation. The students come from a vast spectrum of backgrounds (atheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Roman Catholic, nominal Protestant) and are struggling with the overwhelming academic pressures of competitive Indian university education. The ministry is one of listening to the university students’ struggles and then sharing the truth of Christ and His Word. The ministry has a long-term goal of planting seeds of Truth today in order to shape the influencers of India tomorrow. One of our Maui team members met regularly with a group of self-proclaimed atheists all of whom renounced their atheism after the numerous discussions regarding their objections to belief in God.

– We had 2 teams in the Philippines; one each from SBFM & DTS. They were thrilled to see over 150 salvations! SBFM team did teaching in discipleship among the churches. This team was invited by one of our Filipina alumni who has a relational network among many churches and she saw the need for stronger Biblical foundations and invited our team to help with this.

– In another outreach location, a DTS student was asked to pray for a baby who was born without a sternum. The baby was crying in agony and obvious distress.  As the DTS student prayed for the baby she placed her hand on the baby’s chest. She felt a sternum form under her hand. The baby stopped screaming and fell asleep as he was returned to his mother.

God is moving in the nations.

 

Message at my mother’s Memorial Service – 12/21

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“We must die continually if we would bring life to others.”

Those words were written in the margin of my mother’s bible.

My name is Tom Osterhus, I am Ruth’s youngest son. On behalf of my family, thank you all for joining us today as we mourn the passing of my mom. As mourners who have encountered God and been adopted into his family, we do not mourn like those who have no hope. For us, our grief is mitigated by the fact that we also celebrate a life so well lived, and rejoice that she is now with her Lord.

As II Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

In the busyness of our times, we often focus exclusively on the here and now. At rare times, such as memorial services, we may pause to reflect on the life of the one we memorialize. My prayer is that through this service we see Ruth’s life and our lives in the context of what God is doing in the long-run… in the big picture.

Inheritance

When I think of my mother’s life, many things come to mind. I think of her kindness, her unconditional love to her family, and her love for the Lord. I think of what she inherited from her parents, and the inheritance and legacy that she has left behind. Being aware of what we have inherited is so important. It gives us reference points to understand where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going. Inheritance connects us with our past. Just as when we said the Apostle’s creed earlier in the service we were connecting with believers who’ve recited that creed in some form since the second century.

My grand-parents, David and Mary Laskey, gave my mother a rich spiritual inheritance. These Polish immigrants to Canada put their faith in Jesus Christ as their hope for salvation and they had a deep, rich, and intimate relationship with God. Granny regularly spent hours in prayer and intercession.

Legacy

My mom carried on this legacy of walking closely with the Lord.

As a young boy, I observed that Mom’s devotional times were powerful, regular and consistent but never routine or religious. God used her times of meditation and study of the word of God, prayer, intercession, and fasting to affect the lives of others for the Kingdom of God. Sharing the good news was something she was passionate about. She wanted everyone to know Christ. Not just know about Him, but to know Him personally.

She was committed to see her children have that same relationship with the Lord. I’ll never forget that night almost 38 years ago, when she led me to go beyond just believing that God is real to having a personal relationship with Jesus.

She read the Romans Road with me teaching me the truths that No one is righteous, not even one… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us on the cross and that if I would confess my sin with my mouth and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I would be saved.

Because of Mom, I came to know Jesus and the power of the gospel.

As I continue this message, it is my joy to impart to you some of the insights into walking with God that mom shared with us through her life over the years. Her legacy is actually a tribute to the God she served and worshiped with her whole being. So much of what made her tick cannot be separated from her experience with Jesus.

Abide

More than anyone I know, her life has been to me an example of abiding in Christ. I thank God for this heritage and pray that I will in some way pass on a similar legacy to my children and grandchildren.

I want to focus on this idea of Abiding in Christ. At times I want to quote directly insights that Mom wrote down in the blank pages of her Bible.

Let me describe briefly what it looked like for my mom to Abide in Christ. The word “Abide” – means to live or to dwell. Mom wrote in her Bible what “abiding in Christ” meant to her:

Abiding in him is a consenting to let Him do all for us, in us, and through us.”

Quite simply, her whole life, every aspect of it, was centered around her relationship with God. Her desire was to be completely surrendered to the Lord. In her bible, she wrote down what this meant to her:

To live a surrendered life means a definite, deliberate, voluntary transfer of undivided possession, control and use of my total being, spirit, soul & body to the Lord Jesus Christ to whom I rightfully belong by right of creation & redemption.” 

If we were to break this down and dwell on each phrase, we could easily make a sermon out of it.

Word

A key dynamic of this was that she abided in the Word of God. She dwelt in the pages of the Bible. As our family looked through her Bible, we found that it is all marked up in various colors and underlined. It is sort of testimony to her journey with God. Key moments in her walk with God and insights into His truth are written down.

When she read the Bible, mom wasn’t only reading it for knowledge or ritual sake. Rather, she sought the Lord in the Word until she heard. She read it expecting to find Him there. Then she would bask in the deeper understanding and nearness to God that she received. Many of the passages that especially moved her, she wrote out by hand in the empty spaces in her bible or in notebooks.

This abiding in Christ and His Word was apparent in her commitment to God, her obedience to God, and her trust in God.

On the inside cover of her Bible she wrote Psalm 118:12 which captures her sense of commitment,

I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes always, even unto the end.

Her commitment to Obey God and His word was declared in these words she wrote in the front of her bible:

“Even as I want to believe with all my heart every promise of God found within this book, I want also to carry out every command of God found in this book.”

 Trust

This obedience to God follows trusting in God. It is difficult to obey Him if you don’t trust Him. Trusting Him means Trusting His character, His judgments, His ways.

Mom struggled for most of her life with physical pain and discomfort. Frequent headaches and back pain were the result of a car accident she’d been in. (The same car accident that led to her meeting my dad.)

In the midst of pain and discomfort, I never saw her give in to the natural impulse to blame God. Perhaps she worked through that before I came along.

She had a perspective that put her on the lookout for how God could redeem bad situations. In her Bible she wrote this insight,

“Very often a complete submission to the will of God – in a fiery furnace, if needs be – is the quickest way to deliverance.”

Her response to most everything was to take it back to the Lord, to trust and submit to Him.

One time, when her pain was more profound, she quoted the scripture that expressed her heart on her situation. Quoting Job with deep conviction, she said,

“Thou he slay me, yet will I trust him.” – Job 13:15

I never forgot that. What she imparted to us was that even if we don’t understand why bad things happen, we can trust God because we know that His character is Good.

Her mindset on what is often called the problem of evil stayed with me and help me when I struggled with seeing her fall victim to alzheimer’s. We may not understand our circumstances and our trials, but we can trust in Him.

Another aspect that characterized her abiding in Christ was that she felt God’s heart for people through her intercessory prayer. In her prayers for people, she would often ask God to give her a promise from the scriptures that she could claim and pray out on behalf of those she prayed for.

I recall one Psalm in particular that she found great hope in praying for others. In her Bible, Psalm 107 is all marked up in various colors and underlinings. From this passage, she found hope to pray for those who were bound by sin or who were distracted by the cares of this world. Perhaps she prayed some of things over some of you.

Psalm 107

Vs. 1-2 “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

Vs. 8 is the first of 4 times that this cry is expressed: “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Vs. 9-16

For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;

11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:

12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.

13 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

15 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.”

These references to braking bars in sunder became her claim of faith that God would deliver those who were bound to sin and to deceptions of the enemy.

Vs. 20 – “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

She likely viewed vs. 20 as a prophetic reference to the coming of Christ, the Living Word, who is our healer and deliverer.

Vs. 22 – “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

The chapter ends with this admonition in vs. 43 – “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

As we celebrate Mom’s going home to be with the Lord today, keep in mind the importance of our heritage and the legacy that God wants to impart to us.

It starts somewhere. Some of you have been given a spiritual heritage in the Kingdom of God through the generations that have come before. Some of you may have received it and are currently parents or grand-parents and passing it on. For others of you, this spiritual legacy is starting with you.

In the big picture, our lives can be a testimony to the faithfulness of God.

The Hope of the gospel is that death is not the end for those who have entrusted themselves to Christ. In speaking of the resurrection from the dead, Jesus says in John 14:19,

Because I live, you also shall live.”

If my mom was still here, she would say to you that if you don’t know Jesus personally, that He is worthy of your trust and complete surrender to Him. For those who already know the Lord, she would say that He is worthy of your trust and complete surrender to Him. She would urge you to make Him the center of your life.

A final quote from the notes in Mom’s Bible puts our momentary afflictions in perspective of the big picture,

“Now comes the weeping, then the glad reaping. Now comes the labor hard. Then the reward.”

May God grant you a renewed sense of His reality, His Love, His hope, and His faithfulness.

In Memoriam

Ruth Olive Osterhus

June 20, 1933- December 13, 2016

We miss you greatly.

Reformation Day

Tonight in the U.S., many will be celebrating Halloween. So much focus will be on candy, costumes, & celebration of ghoulishness. Unfortunately, all this tends to obscure a day which should be much more significant for Christians than it tends to be.

October 31, 2016 is the 499th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. The Lord used Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the church to spark a movement among Christians to return to the Bible as the final authority on religious matters and to the understanding that salvation is by faith in Christ, not in one’s good works. The legacy of this return to the biblical scriptures is hard to overestimate. Indeed, we are still enjoying the fruit of this movement to this very day. The foundation of so much that we take for granted was laid by the biblical teaching of the Reformers. The arts, political theories and institutions, economic development, and greater spiritual understanding all advanced greatly because of the Reformation.

The foundational ideas of the Reformation were summarized in the 5 “solas” or “alones”:

Solus Christus (Christ alone), Sola Gratia (salvation through grace alone), Sola Fide (justification through faith alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone as our final authority), and Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be the glory).

While these ideas have continued to influence Evangelical Christianity to our own day, as I work with Christian young people from around the world, I see evidence of a great drift away from these roots, especially regarding the centrality of scripture. (See previous blog post from August 15 regarding “drift”.) As author Os Guinness so clearly stated in his book, Prophetic Untimeliness: “A great part of the evangelical community has transferred authority from Sola Scriptura to Sola Cultura.” (p. 65)

Indeed, our current post-modern culture seems to have more influence on our thinking than does the Bible. Decades ago, Harry Blamires opined that, “Except over a very narrow field of thinking, chiefly touching questions of strictly personal conduct, we Christians in the modern world accept, for the purpose of mental activity, a frame of reference constructed by the secular mind and a set of criteria reflecting secular evaluations. There is no Christian mind; there is no shared field of discourse in which we can move at ease as thinking Christians by trodden ways and past established landmarks” (The Christian Mind, 1963). If that was an assessment in the 1960’s, where are we now?

Sadly, we have allowed the intellectual influences in Western culture to be dominated by secular humanists or those espousing Eastern Philosophy. And as these influences shape culture, the basis of many believers’ faith has come to be based on experience rather than based on the truth of the Word. Without having one’s faith anchored in the truth as revealed to us by God, doctrine and theological beliefs are often decided upon based on the feelings received by a given teaching or dynamic teacher. Thus, by conforming to the thinking patterns of the world, many Christians have blended false religious and philosophical ideas with their Christian faith.

Do we even have enough reference points to recognize how far we have strayed from a biblical view of the world? (Some have found the following worldview assessment helpful: http://www.minipeers.com)

As pollster, George Barna, suggests, “Without a biblical worldview, all the great teaching goes in one ear and out the other. There are no intellectual pegs… in the mind of the individual to hang these truths on. So they just pass through. They don’t stick. They don’t make a difference.” We urgently need another Reformation – a renewal of both the desire and the determination to relearn and to reaffirm how the Bible applies to all of life. In addition, we need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to live on the basis of this truth.

Here at YWAM Maui, we introduce our students to the Biblical Christian Worldview as integral to their discipleship. Our goal is to build foundations for the next generation in both the written Word and the Living Word. We strive to live by the truth of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

This week, we will implement this goal in our School of Biblical Foundations & Missions by viewing the DVD series by Francis Schaeffer called, “How Should We Then Live?” It is a very insightful survey of the flow of Western thought that sheds much light on where we’ve come from, where we are now, and where we might be headed. A closing thought from Francis Schaeffer regarding the need for restoration of our foundations is worth contemplating:

Often men have acted as though one has to choose between reformation and revival. Some call for reformation, others for revival, and they tend to look at each other with suspicion. But reformation and revival do not stand in contrast to one another; in fact, both words are related to the concept of restoration. Reformation speaks of a restoration to pure doctrine, revival of a restoration in the Christian’s life. Reformation speaks of a return to the teachings of Scripture, revival of a life brought into proper relationship to the Holy Spirit. The great moments of history have come when these two restorations have come simultaneously. There cannot be true revival unless there has been reformation, and reformation is not complete without revival. May we be those who know the reality of both reformation and revival, so that this poor dark world in which we live may have an exhibition of a portion of the church returned to both pure doctrine and a Spirit-filled life. ” (No Little People, 1974)

WE NEED BOTH REVIVAL AND REFORMATION.

One Nation Under God

This past Independence Day, I reflected on my family’s recent visit Washington D.C. It was a good time of connecting with our nation’s history while touring our nation’s capital.

However, as we viewed the founding documents and read the inscriptions at various memorials, a sense of loss and frustration mixed with the wonder of it all. How we wish that our current leaders would be required to visit these sites and take to heart the ideas and principles that gave this country its foundation. So much of what today is called, “progressive,” is actually hammering away at the very foundation of what brought us the blessings we so cherish and often take for granted. And we don’t even seem to realize it is happening.

Chiseled into the marble of the Thomas Jefferson memorial are these words,

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. That His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Let that sink in for a minute or so before you read on.

Moving on to the national archives, we came across this quote by Benjamin Franklin on display right next to the original Bill of Rights:

This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.

Another quote by Franklin sounds like a prophecy, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

Insightful statements from men whom some would call the least religious of America’s founding fathers.

Evidence of this understanding that the nation was once highly influenced by the precepts of the Bible are numerous. Here’s just a few more powerful statements by some of our other founding fathers:

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.” – George Washington, 1st president

The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…

Those principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” – John Adams, 2nd president

…the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws… All the miseries and evils which men suffer from… proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – Noah Webster

How did we go so wrong? How has the Bible’s influence in American society dwindled so dramatically? Some have suggested that the Christian church privatized their faith and allowed its influence to drift away from public life. Many would agree that we have drifted from our roots and are now out of touch with our heritage.

I recently heard a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley in which he attempts to answer the question of how we have wandered so far. He compares the gradual shift of our society away from its foundations to a boat that drifts down river. Drift, he says, happens when you don’t resist the current of the river.

Essentially, Stanley says, we have allowed ourselves to drift morally, spiritually, and biblically along with the rest of society.

For far too long, we have not been resisting the current of culture. We have been content to let the Spirit of the Age push the current downhill and often times we just drift along with it because it is so much easier than resisting. As a result, the foundations of our nation are being destroyed.

Psalm 11:3 says, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That’s a good question. Maybe we can start by resisting the drift, going against the flow, and returning to our moorings.

Maybe God’s promise to the Israelites at the dedication of the temple has some instruction for us. In II Chronicles 7:14, God says, “ if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Road Trip

Chicago, Gettysburg, DC, Lewis/Tolkien We just finished our road trip which took us through Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Ohio and then back to Minnesota. Along the way, we were so blessed to visit family, YWAM colleagues & alumni, friends, supporters, YWAM D.C. (David’s Tent), and 3 college campuses (potentials for Tim). Tom shared about YWAM at one of our supporting churches and attended a board meeting for YWAM Akron. Along the 2,500+ mile journey, we also:

  • Stood in Billy Graham’s pulpit
  • Touched the desks of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Marveled at the view from the nation’s tallest building
  • Paid respects at Gettysburg
  • Sighted the Amish
  • Endured dental appointments
  • Viewed our nation’s founding documents
  • Toured the monuments of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Franklin Roosevelt around the mall in Washington DC
  • Witnessed senators debate gun control from the gallery
  • Prayed for justice at the doors of the Supreme Court building
  • Toured FBI HQ
  • Saw the first airplane

It was a memorable time of seeing so much of our national and spiritual heritage and connecting with so many wonderful people.

Now that we are back in Minnesota, Tim is doing an internship to fulfill his high school requirements for graduation.

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