The Worth-Ship Paradox and Our Own Awareness

WP_20190116_14_07_56_Pro.jpg

“We Three Kings”

What’s wrong with it?

Music is powerful. It can make us weep at the depth and richness of its beauty and it can make us rejoice in exuberant dance. A carefully written and orchestrated song can inspire, teach, and move us to action. Or, it can make us think or do the wrong thing. Please allow me to explain…

First of all, the song in question is NOT exactly wrong. It’s just the first line. (I’ll toss out several things, but feel free to skip to the Gospel text below to move along if you wish.) The only part we might specifically cite is “Kings” which was more of a translation issue. Likely, they were not kings but rather magi and an assortment of astrologers, enchanters, and other people desiring to see the fulfillment of a prophecy. There were probably a lot of soldiers as well. (Traveling a distance with gold necessitated having protection.) [NOTE: if you wonder about all of this, Daniel is a good Book to read. His God-appointed influence over the Babylonians / the East was astounding! Imagine the scene as he taught Numbers 24:17 and the excitement it built.]

And, to be fair, it’s not the writer’s (John Hopkins) fault that we read “Three” as only three and make them figurines that we put around the creche. There were three gifts and at least three presenters, but he doesn’t say ‘only’ three. (J Warner Wallace covers this concept extremely well in his book Cold Case Christianity in which he describes the accounts of witnesses. Different testimonies do not mean someone is lying. It simply means that they had different perspectives.) And, 100+ years ago, “from Orient” was an appropriate term to use for “the East”.

ALL THAT SAID, let’s jump to a truly beautiful aspect of the song as well as the gifts the visitors present. To set up the foundation, Matthew’s Gospel states:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 3-11 (Micah 5: 2-4)

Let’s look at these gifts, the amazing accuracy of the song, and why it all matters:

Gold is a gift for kings. Hopkins’ song: “Gold I bring to crown him again, King forever, ceasing never, Over us all to reign” describes it perfectly. The gift of gold was perfect for the King of kings and Lord of lords.

The second gift was frankincense. The song states: “Incense owns a Deity nigh. Prayer and praising, all men raising, Worship Him, God on high.” The verse doesn’t necessarily connect unless we know one thing – frankincense is a type of incense - and then do another thing – rewind to Exodus 30. As we interpret Scripture with Scripture, we can read about incense being offered on the altar of God. Check this out:

Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come. Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. … Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord. Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people. Exodus 30: 7-9, 34-38 (emphasis added)

Isn’t that kind of cool? Frankincense is the only incense that could be offered on the altar of God. If you mixed up this particular formula and used it for any other reason was grounds to be cut off from God’s people.

The last gift is highlighted in the fourth verse of Hopkins’ hymn. Myrrh – “its bitter perfume, breathes a life of gathering gloom – sorrow, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone cold tomb. The hymn is very poetic in “life of gather gloom” – which is what you see around death. Myrrh was used for embalming a body. Draw your own conclusions as to why the magi would have brought this gift to a toddler and his family…

So, even though I’m not a big fan of the words “three” or “Orient” in the song, the rest of it is pretty on point.

And speaking of “on point”, we need to recognize what else the magi did and why WORSHIP MATTERS:

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 11

Worship is, literally, WORTH-ship. You are giving value or worth to someone or something. The magi bowed down, an act of humility, and worshipped this small child FIRST. And then, in giving value to Him, they gave gold to the king, frankincense – an incense reserved for God, and myrrh, a perfume that was used at death.

These magi, or wise men, had been given insight generations prior. And one of the amazing and astounding things to me was that they handed down these teachings to generation after generation. Look for the signs. When you see the signs, the Messiah will be born. Go and worship Him.

NOW COMES THE REAL QUESTION FOR YOU AND FOR ME…

Who else had been given those SAME signs? God’s Chosen People. The Scriptures were given to them by God through Moses. They could also see the same stars in the night sky that the magicians, enchanters, and astrologers could see

From the beginning, God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. He is demonstrating His love, His grace, His mercy, and everything else about His beautiful, wonderful, and amazing character. God the Son chose to come to this earth, to be born as a man, to live a sinless life, and to die for our sins. God the Holy Spirit is now present in our lives and with us each and every moment of every day. He is here to comfort, encourage, and guide us.

Here’s the thing. There are signs from God all around us. Yes, I’m talking about the obvious signs in the beauty of Creation. But I’m also talking about the living and active Word of God. I’m talking about how plain and simple the Scriptures truly are IF we are willing to stop, read, study, meditate, and allow the Holy Spirit to use our minds and hearts to draw closer to God.

And then, we have to respond.

Will we, like the magi and those with them, bow down and worship? Will we give to God the worship (literally - the worth-ship) He truly deserves?

It’s not (thank goodness!) about what we bring. Yes, the gifts of the magi were awesome and wonderful, but the WORSHIP was much, much, much more important. We will never be good enough, right enough, or perfect enough to bow down. We can’t wait until we get this in order or that in order.

It’s all about our willingness:

To bow down

To worship

To surrender.

What will you do today?

Yours in Christ,

Marty

Radio Interview: Kent Sanders -

Located in St Louis is a very special Christian College dedicated to educating Christians and graduating leaders. Kent Sanders, Professor of Communication Arts and Director of Online Learning joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV. Kent Sanders shared a bit about St. Louis Christian College as well as the other ministries to which God has called him - including guiding people in learning to explore and express their creativity. Listen to the interview by clicking on the link below and you can learn more at www.KentSanders.net!

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9/1320 on Friday, January 11, 2019.

Radio Interview: Dale Kreienkamp - How Long O Lord

All too often, our identity is wrapped around our professions. When we meet others, we ask “So, what do you do?” and answer the same question. When that “identity” is lost, it can be a time of questioning, doubting, and wandering.

Having walked that valley himself, Dale Kreienkamp sought to provide encouragement and direction to others who might be seeking the next step in life OR to those seeking to support those in that process. Dale joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV to discuss How Long Oh Lord? . If you missed the interview, click on the link below to hear from him as he shares a special devotional book for the unemployed and those who love them. www.HowLongOLord.org.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9/1320 on Friday, January 11, 2019.

Radio Interview: Rachel Craddock - Slowly Unraveled

We were recently joined on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV by Rachel Craddock, Author. (She lived in St Louis a few years ago while her husband attended Covenant Theological Seminary.) Her brand new book is Slowly Unraveled, and you'll want to hear directly from her as she shares a bit of her story and her heart. Not everyone has the courage to share how God is at work through the blessings AND the pain...

www.RachelCraddock.com

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9/1320 on Friday, January 4, 2019.

Four Women, a Calendar, and a BIG "WHY?"

When I asked my 17-year old daughter to tell me the worst thing her older brother had ever done to her, she declined to answer. It’s not that the two of them have not sparred over the years. I simply think that (overall) they have had a positive relationship. Honestly, I kind of feel the same way about the relationship I had with my older brother. I remember the times he beat me up (as boys do), but I also remember the times he stood strong against others who threatened me.

Families are a fascinating thing. I’ve seen siblings mercilessly tease one another but when an “outsider” joins in, they immediately turn into staunch defenders. Things that are joked about between family members are completely off limits to anyone who does not have the same lineage.

In studying Matthew 1 and the genealogical record of Jesus, there are a few “family” things that jump out to me as the New Year dawns. I have to wonder how the ‘rest of the family’ felt about the names that the Apostle included…

For example, if you were going to list a woman while giving the paternal line, Ruth would be a safe one to sneak in there. As we read her story in the Scriptures, we see a woman who loved and cared for her mother-in-law (Naomi). Ruth was willing to go out and glean in the fields with the other poor. It’s (sort-of) easy to overlook the fact that she was a Moabitess as we consider her true character.

But Tamar? She was chosen by Judah from the women of Canaan. She then disguised herself as a prostitute in order to seduce her father-in-law. While we might try to neglect those facts and focus on the reasons why, it’s still a bit “icky” in our modern culture.

But Rahab? True. She did hide the spies and assist them in sneaking out of Jericho, but come on. She was not temporarily disguising herself as a prostitute. She was one. She was well known in the City as a woman of ill-repute. While listing Salmon was “fine”, sharing his wife’s name in such an important listing was, well, befuddling.

And then, the coup-de-gras – the reference that seems the least desirable to include… Well, let’s get around it by not naming her but simple calling her “the wife of Uriah”. Maybe that will make people forget the great sin of King David. Maybe that will make them forget about his lustful act with Bathsheba and then the subsequent arranged murder of Uriah (one of his very special ‘mighty men’!).

Why, oh why, Matthew, did you have to include three of those women?

Before you give me the “Bible answer” (he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), I’d like to toss out a couple of possible simple truths…

1.    The Bible is extremely pro-women. I know some choose not to read Scriptures this way, but I find God’s love for both men and women to be deep, rich, and powerful. From Miriam, Moses’ sister, who lead the other women in song and praise to Deborah, a Judge, women are key. We see passages like Deborah challenging Barak to step up and lead the army but then the honor went to Jael, who ultimately killed General Sisera after the battle. And consider a woman like Abigail, the wife of Nabal, who stopped David from acting in anger. So even before we arrive at the New Testament and see women like Eunice, Lois, Priscilla, and Lydia, the foundation is well-established.

2.    We must also note that three of these women were foreign women. Tamar and Rahab were both Canaanites. Ruth was from Moab. (Bathsheba married Uriah, who was a foreigner, but she was an Israelite.) This matters because Matthew reminds his readers that God’s love and grace extend outside of the Jewish race.  He clearly has an open door for those who were NOT biologically Jewish.

3.    And lastly, I think we need to recognize a key beautiful and powerful lesson that we can draw from these women being included. God’s grace is more powerful than any sin. We have a human tendency to ‘rank’ sin. (“I may have cheated on my taxes, but at least I never murdered anyone.”) But God, in His great compassion and mercy, chooses to offer love and forgiveness to those who would repent of their sins and receive Christ.

As we read the genealogical record of Jesus, we can see a very diverse listing of both men and women. Even as we see many names that we recognize and possibly some that we don’t, we can be assured that the prophecies concerning the lineage of the Messiah came true. Matthew’s purpose is achieved in offering this proof.

But I do believe it goes beyond a “simple listing”. This is where I believe we get to see the true Power of his writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As we recognize the names and remember the sins (Abraham lied; Jacob was a deceiver; etc.), we should also take that special blessing to pause and recognize the power of the inclusion of four women. It should make us recognize the expansiveness of God’s grace. It should remind us that just as God offered forgiveness to David for his wretched sins, so too was that grace extended to Bathsheba for any of her sins.

So, as you hang a new calendar on the wall for this New Year dawning, I hope you will also stop to recognize the blessings of everyone and everything that brought you to this particular point and time. Recognize how God is at work in your own life as well as those who have come before. And then, as you keep pressing forward, remember to extend a bit of His love and grace to those around you.

Perhaps God might have a plan in place for your life that is going to have an impact a generation or two down the road!

Yours in Christ,
Marty

Radio Interview: Lauren Gaskill - Into the Deep

It can be a lot easier to put on a mask than it is to admit we are in pain. Physical… Emotional… Spiritual…

And yet, even as we feel as if we are drowning in the worst of storms, there is a way that we can live our faith without fear. Lauren Gaskill joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV to share a bit of her own testimony with chronic illness, anxiety, and other struggles. When you listen to the interview archived below, you’ll hear how she didn't run for the shore but actually plunged deeper into faith with Jesus. Her new book, Into the Deep, is a blessing for anyone who wants to rip off the mask and a life of boldness.
LRM Encounter is heard Fridays on KSIV 95.9 / 1320 beginning at 1:30 PM.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV StL on Dec. 28, 2018.

Radio Interview: Angela Hunt - Jerusalem's Queen

It was a Novel Day on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV when we were joined first by Angela Hunt, novelist. She was kind enough to return to discuss the latest book in the Silent Years series.

Jerusalem’s Queen paints a magnificent picture of God’s sovereignty at work in laying the perfect foundation for the arrival of the Messiah. This relatively unknown woman, Salome Alexandra, was used in a mighty way as God brought her from obscurity to become Jerusalem's Queen. (Seriously. This is truly a remarkable book if you wonder this Christmas Season how some guy named Herod got to the throne. You'll want to hear Dr. Angela Hunt's insight of the details that set the stage!)

LRM Encounter is heard Fridays on KSIV StL 95.9 / 1320 beginning at 1:30 PM.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV StL on Dec. 21, 2018.

Radio Interview: Lynn Blackburn - In Too Deep

The Novel Day continued as a first time guest, Lynn Huggins Blackburn, joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV. Lynn's newest book, In Too Deep, is the second in the Dive Team Investigations series from Baker Books. From the moment you dive in, you'll be swimming deeply in mystery and mayhem as the evidence mounts up and points a bit too close to home. Personally, I’d never thought of the challenges that face investigators as they try to explore the very murky depths. Listen to the link below as Lynn shares her hands-on research!

LRM Encounter is heard Fridays on KSIV 95.9 / 1320 beginning at 1:30 PM.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV StL on Dec. 21, 2018.

Hope begins in the first 39 'episodes'

When I’m watching a show that begins in the middle or at the end, there is sort of a strange sense of relief when you get to the point where you started. That moment that drew you in finally arrives and you finally get to stop wondering why the car blew up, or why someone was shot, or why that person was crying, or whatever. Things that were jumbled around now make sense.

This Christmas Season, as I have been reflecting in the Gospel of Matthew, that illustration came to mind. Why?

The previous 39 Books.

Starting in Genesis, we have the beginnings of a picture that continues to unfold. We see beauty marred by sin. We see a man (a people, really) given a Promise. We see splashes of darkness as Abraham lies, Sarah laughs, and a seemingly endless parade of people leave God’s path to pursue their own.

But…

In each point of darkness, there is always that faint glimmer of light. We see how sin is redeemed and the consistent Promise of Hope is carefully detailed within the growing landscape of life.

The story continues to grow and develop around that Promise. We see it. We know it is coming. We’ve tasted enough to know the ravenous hunger that is rumbling through every fiber of our being. And then we get to the page in the Script that I wish didn’t exist. You know. The one that says “New Testament”.

I wish it wasn’t there because the entire Book (all 66 books) doesn’t need an interruption – a separation that in some way implies that it isn’t connected. Without the first 39, the next 27 are not the same.

Seriously.

When is the last time you picked up a book and started more than halfway through it?

We need these 39 to make any sense of the next 27. When we begin Matthew, we have the “14s”.

·       14 generations from Abraham to David.

·       14 generations from David to the Exile.

·       14 generations from the Exile to the Promise fulfilled.

It all makes sense.

We aren’t the Jewish readers to whom Matthew was originally writing, but IF we have read those first 39, we are able to be blessed with a basic understanding of just how amazing that quote from the Prophet Isaiah is:

 “The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1: 23

In faith, we believe the Promises.

Mary, the virgin, was with child through the Holy Spirit. The supernatural conception points us to a birth that is not the ‘normal’ birth. It tells us that the Immanuel is more than a man. It reveals to us that Jesus is also God.

The greater context of Isaiah calls us to follow chapter 7 into chapter 9 where we read even more of the prophecies of the Messiah. In chapter 9, we read words that Matthew will quote later in chapter 4 of the Gospel – the people walking in darkness have seen a great light. We read:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

In some churches, the tradition of Advent is recognized. The first Sunday is a Sunday of Hope. For years, God’s people had looked forward in HOPE to the restoration of their relationship with God. Not everyone had the right expectation.

Based on their histories, many expected a physical king who would rescue them from the Romans or anyone else in power over them. They wanted a Moses. They wanted a Joshua to lead them against their enemies so they could reclaim the Promised Land. They wanted a Samson or a David or someone like their previous leaders.

Isn’t it wonderful that they (WE!) got something better.

The Messiah, the Rescuer, the Restorer, the Promise was “Immanuel” or God-with-us. The Messiah wasn’t like a Moses who could “only” escort them out of their physical slavery. The Messiah IS the one who brings reconciliation by releasing us from spiritual slavery and washing away sins.

Please don’t gloss over that.

The birth of Jesus that we recognize this Season is what opened the Door to eternity.

Whatever you are going through right now, remember the promise of HOPE. Look forward to what God will do today, tomorrow, and forever.

God always keeps His promises.

From the beginning, even as we broke the beautiful, wonderful, incredible relationship, God promised to redeem us. As the Story then unfolded, He proved to us that we couldn’t do it but He loved us anyway. Jesus would do it for us.

That’s something to celebrate this Season AND beyond!

Merry Christmas to you and yours from everyone in the Lay Renewal family!

Radio Interview: James Bryan Smith - The Magnificent Journey

With mentors Richard J. Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Rich Mullins influencing his walk with Christ, James Bryan Smith has a passion for living deep in relationship with Christ. His new book, The Magnificent Journey, from InterVarsity Press is a gentle walk through the Word with the Spirit to help guide your steps. James joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV to discuss living deeper in the Kingdom.

LRM Encounter is heard Fridays on KSIV StL 95.9 / 1320 beginning at 1:30 PM.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV StL on Dec. 14, 2018.

Radio Interview: Steve Turner - Turn Turn Turn: Popular Songs Inspired by the Bible

Psalm 40. Jeremiah 17:9. Isaiah 5:20. Revelation 21:4. These passages (and many more) inspired songs that became very popular in secular culture. Steve Turner joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV to share stories from songs over 9 decades that have their roots in Scripture.

LRM Encounter is heard Fridays on KSIV StL 95.9 / 1320 beginning at 1:30 PM.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV StL on Dec. 14, 2018.

Radio Interview: Jonathan Leeman - The Rule of Love

God is Love versus love is god.

It's a perplexing dilemma, but one you should consider as you try to walk in faith in a world that is not your Home. Jonathan Leeman (www.9marks.org) recently joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV to share some insights from his new Crossway book, The Rule of Love. Click below to hear the interview!

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9/1320 on Dec. 7, 2018.

Radio Interview: Keith Getty - Getty Music and SING! Conference

cover_Getty.jpg

Keith and Kristyn Getty are coming to Columbia MO (12/19) and St Louis MO (12/20)! Keith joined us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV last week to discuss the concerts and the 2019 "Sing!" Conference. While it may seem a bit early for the conference, it is such an incredible time of music and ministry, you will definitely want to hear about it NOW. It’s also always wonderful to hear from the heart of one of today’s modern hymn writers as he shares the blessing of life, faith, family, and music! www.GettyMusic.com

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9 / 1320 on December 7, 2018.

Radio Interview: Tim Stevens - Marked by Love

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs... But, to be clear, we are not talking about yard signs, stop signs, or even billboards.
The question, for Christians, is what signs of your FAITH can others see? It's not about a tattoo, a uniform, or something you wear. It's about who you are in Christ and what you do in response to grace. In Marked By Love, Tim Stevens walks readers through 31 story driven chapters to guide you forward in your faith journey. He joins us on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV to share his thoughts and heart behind this book.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV on Nov. 23, 2018.

Radio Interview: Jane Kirkpatrick - Everything She Didn't Say

The simple reality is that we can’t know everything. While we may love history, there are countless people who have done incredible things over the centuries. Some received “press” while others went on humbly behind the scenes.

Pulling a ‘forgotten’ true story from history, author Jane Kirkpatrick takes us back to 1911 as we explore the American West with Carrie Strahorn. You'll be fascinated by this novel that takes readers into the heart of a true story of a life in adventure and conflict. www.JKbooks.com

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV on Nov. 30, 2018.

Radio Interview: Irene Hannon - Code of Honor

Action. Suspense. Drama. Crazy ridiculous violence, profanity and gore.

The first three things? Absolutely! The last? Absolutely NOT!

If you are looking for a great read without the content that would make you embarrassed to be seen reading it in front of your pastor, then check out the newest books from www.IreneHannon.com. Irene has written several different series including Men of Valor, Private Justice, and Heroes of Quantico that will take you into the heart of action without any unnecessary junk that will distract you in your walk. Don’t worry - it’s not all action. She carefully weaves in romance, faith, and lots of other aspects that will keep you locked in!

Irene joined us on #EncounterKSIV to share the first two books in her newest series, Code of Honor. Clink on the link below to hear the St Louis based author share a bit behind Dangerous Illusions and Hidden Peril.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9/1320 on Nov. 30. 2018.

Separating Iris Bulbs (or untying the knots...)

While I enjoy working outside in the yard, I confess I usually have no idea what I’m doing. I pick up little things here and there, but most of those come AFTER the fact – like that little fact about iris bulbs.

Without telling the long version of the story, suffice it to say that I recently decided to remove a 20-year old garden. At the front of it, were the iris bulbs. When Diana and I planted these, we did not realize that every 3-4 years, you should separate bulbs. As a result, the area was essentially a blanket of connected bulbs and roots so intertwined that it was nearly impossible to divide. And, like many things in life, that started my thinking and praying.

As I sought to make sense of the mess, I couldn’t help but ponder the Church.

Reflect back for a moment on your own church’s history. Do you know its roots? Do you know how it began – whether it was a few years ago or long before you were born? Do you know when it started growing? Do you know the signs of beauty that began to pop up here and there as God moved? Those are positive memories!

Do you also know a time when it became, perhaps a bit too overgrown? To be clear, I don’t mean that in an overly negative way. “Growth” is not in and of itself a bad thing. But there are bad types of growth. Many churches have continuously added program upon program. Nothing stopped. They just kept piling on more and more. Then, a decade or so later, they realized that not everything fit within the mission and vision of what God was calling them to do. They needed to do a bit of “separating”.

But then, the leaders learned that not everyone wanted to see that happen…

Even though the healthy thing to do – for even greater future beauty and growth – is to carefully work through things to sift and separate, there is resistance. Someone’s “special bulb” is not one they are willing to let go. Because of the meaning it had “back then”, it “must” stay. (This is the way we’ve always done it… plus I remember when…)

Think for a moment of those times in Scripture when Jesus said, “You have heard it said, but I say to you…” Jesus wasn’t calling people to a new Law but to a deeper understanding of faith. It went beyond the Law’s rules and regulations to a deeper understanding of a Savior filled with grace and truth. He was calling them to freedom from the Law’s ceremonial requirements and offering a relationship-based invitation to become new creations.

Now I have a request for you, our faithful supporters, team members, friends, and family. This is not the first time I’ve asked this and I’m sure that it will not be the last either.

WOULD YOU PLEASE PRAY INTENTIONALLY FOR THE MINISTRY?

The requests for information and events continue to come in. However, the registrations have stalled. We have received very specific date requests and confirmed the ability to meet those times. Nevertheless, we are still waiting for church leaders to make that last step and actually register. We need to see registrations!

When we are able to partner with a church, God continues to do great things through His servants. I have no doubt that we have great things in store as the Holy Spirit moves and we continue to walk in faith. But the walls of the enemy need to be broken down so we can press forward in the Light of Christ.

PLEASE CONTINUE YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT AS WE PURSUE GOD’S DIRECTION!

Radio Interview: Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker joined us for a conversation on Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV 95.9 / 1320 StL. If you aren’t familiar with the work of this NYT bestselling author, click on the link below to hear a different sort of ‘Ted Talk’. His new series, Beyond the Circle, takes you back to the past and forward to the future through these captivating and engaging novels: The 49th Mystic and Rise of the Mystics now available. www.TedDekker.com

This interview originally aired on
Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9 / 1320 on Nov. 23, 2018.

Radio Interview: Rick McKinley - Faith for this Moment

Polarized. Pluralistic. Post-Christian. Positively puzzling, right?

What does it mean to be the people of God today? If a Christian feels like an exile within their own country, how do they react to those around them who don't seem to be walking the same path? On a recent Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV, Rick McKinley joined us for a conversation based from his newest book from Baker Books, Faith for this Moment. Rick spoke from his calling and experience while serving through the Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon.

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9 / 1320 on Nov. 9, 2018.

Radio Interview: Jen and Linda Barrick - #Priceless

After suffering a traumatic brain injury at age 15, Jennifer Barrick defied physicians and experts who didn't expect her to live. Instead, she emerged from a five-week long coma to sing praise songs and quote Bible verses.

In the book she and her mom, Linda wrote together, Jen shares open and honest insights for teen girls. Learn more about the book, Priceless: Who I Am When I Feel, and their ministries at www.HopeOutLoud.com. You may also click on the link below to hear the Bott Radio Network #EncounterKSIV interview. You'll be blessed at the joy that pours out of their hearts!

This interview originally aired on Bott Radio Network KSIV 95.9/1320 on November 16, 2018.