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Discover the joy of memorizing Scriptures From the editor’s desk INDIA’S EVANGELICAL NEWS MAGAZINE Online Portal: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com

Vol. 8, No. 6

Pages 28

OCTOBER, 2011

The purpose of the news magazine is to report newsworthy religious events and activities within the local community, nationwide and around the world, to increase the awareness and activism of believers regarding the moral issues of today, to provide thought-provoking commentary, and to provide an effective advertising vehicle for Christian ministries and organizations, events and businesses that want to reach the Christian community. - Editor The Team Founding Editor: Robin Sam Editor & Publisher: Elsy Robin Editorial Advisor: P I Samuel Production: S Saravanan Guest Columnists: Mathew Victor (Chennai), Kishore Victor (Chennai), Joyce Braganza (Mumbai), Sandeep Daniel (Bangalore), Mathews George (US), Don Davis (Israel), Agnes Amos (US), Edith Sheryl (Canada), Mark Jackson (UK)

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THERE was a time when family prayer and Bible reading used to be a regular feature in Christian homes in our country. Bible reading and prayer preceded supper. If the head of the house was away at work or out of station, the mother would gather her children and lead them in praise and prayer. Now, family prayer has increasingly come under attack. Family prayer has become a quick session before we hit the sack. Long ago, a friend shared with us how his father, a policeman, used to make him go hungry to bed if he did not learn a verse by rote every day. Today, our friend is an evangelist. I thank God for such pious parents. The children who grow up that way can never thank their parents enough. Memorizing Scriptures has at least four important benefits. First and foremost, it enables us to be ready for the inevitable spiritual warfare in our lives. To face the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil we need to know the Word and have it written on our heart. Scriptures offer the foundation for holy living. If we want to know how God wants us to live and conduct ourselves in the world, we have no better guide than the Bible. Knowing the Scriptures strengthens the foundation for holy living as you are not shaken by any diverse doctrine. Thirdly, it offers us the basis for understanding and integrating truth into our lives. If the Word of God is in our heart, the Holy Spirit helps us to discern truth from the philosophies of the world and the fads of the society in which we live. Fourthly, it increases your self-worth. Nobody needs to think that he is too old to memorize the Scriptures. If you prayerfully commit yourself to doing the will of God, He will empower you to succeed in the task. And see how it increases your self-worth. The Word of God edifies. This month’s cover story will help you do it. Even if you take a whole year to memorize 50 verses from the Bible, it is well worth the effort. These 50 verses are not the most definitive ones that you must memorize. There are others. What we have offered here is a chance to exercise your spiritual muscle. We would like to hear from you. Let us know your feedback to this issue by sending us an email to editor@christianmessenger.in ********************************** Last month, a friend of our ministry in Mumbai sent us a courier with fresh postal stamps for our use. My eyes welled up with tears when I realized how amazingly God provides. We had suspended some important official communications for a fortnight because there was hardly any money in the bank. There were books to be dispatched, renewal reminders that need to be sent to our subscribers and most importantly receipts and thank you notes to be sent to some of our new subscribers. There were other needs, too. We had also suspended support to some of our outstation missionaries for couple of months and had to cancel at least two medical camps in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere due to lack of money. If this gentleman had sent us some money, it would have gone to meet some stray expenses but our communications need would still have remained unmet. God knows each and every need of ours. He cares as much for the smallest of our needs as much for the most pressing of our requirements. And, when He moves people’s hearts our needs will be met amazingly. Thank you, uncle Jeba. You are such an inspiration. OCTOBER 2011 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 1


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COVER STORY: 50 Bible Verses You Must Memorize

5 10 14 15

RON EDMONDSON: 6 Top Needs Of A Husband

CHRIS ELROD: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Start A Church JOHNSON V: The dynamics of praise

PETER DHANDAPANI: When Worship Becomes A Way Of Life

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16 18 20 22

ROBIN SAM: Good men don’t go to heaven! BOOK EXCERPTS: The Ambition by Lee Strobel

PROFILE: The real life story of Sam Chiders is now a film! DON DAVIS: Is it time Christians prepared for end times? Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com

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E encourage you to use these points in your daily prayer as a family, prayer group or an individual. We would be glad if you take copies of these prayer points and share them with other believers in your church, prayer group or workplace. If you have a specific prayer point that you would like us to pray for along with our readers, you can email it to us at christianmessenger.in@gmail.com Blessings, Editor. 4 Pray for your family today. Thank God for the wonderful way in which He cared for you and protected you last month. Ask Him to cover you and your family in the blood of the Lamb this new month. 4 Pray that all those who get a copy of this issue are able to realize the importance of memorizing the Scriptures. If you are convinced you need God’s Word for guidance, teach the young ones in your family to learn Bible verses. 4 Dedicate your country into God’s hands and pray today for peace and prosperity to abound in your land. If you are living away from your homeland, pray also for the land that is providing for you now. Pray for all evangelism efforts in your country. 4 Modi’s fast and Advani’s rath yatra prove beyond doubt that the Sangh Parivar is on the rebound. Pray that the country does not lose its secular fabric and Islamic terrorist forces inimical to the sovereignty of the country don’t have their way. 4 Pray for the people of Sikkim devastated by the killer earthquake last month. As on Sept 24, relief had not reached many interior parts of the state due to poor infrastructure such as good roads and airfields, according to reports. 4 Pray against the spirit of superstition prevailing in India. A newspaper report said desperate women, under pressure to produce male heirs, in villages in Salem district of Tamil Nadu still resort to

feticide based on astrological predictions. God detests sorcery and fortunetelling (2 Kings 21:6; Isaiah 2:6). 4 Pray for peace in the Middle East. Pray that Palestine’s latest strategy to grab international attention by applying for full membership of the United Nations as a state does not lead to renewed tension in the already troubled region. 4 Reality TV shows are wrecking the lives of people all over the world. The TV channels only seem to have one thing on their mind when they meddle in the lives of people they feature on their shows: boost their popularity. Pray against this widespread phenomenon and keep your children off these programs. 4 Schools in the western countries are increasingly coming under the attack of groups that are intent on banning anything to do with Christianity beginning from prayers, mention of Jesus Christ and Bible lessons. Pray that Christian families stand up together and plead their cause effectively. 4 Pray for Christians living in Algeria. The government continues its crackdown on churches and has issued orders for several to be closed down. Meanwhile, an Algerian Christian is facing a five-year prison sentence for alleged blasphemy. 4 Pray against the prevalence of sex education classes around the world. In schools in Washington, US, even 10 year old children are made aware of the use of condoms in the name of sex education. Pray Christians remain united against this abhorrent phenomenon and fight it tooth and nail. 4 Pray for peace between the Jacobite Church and the Orthodox Church in Kerala. These churches have been at loggerheads over property disputes for over four decades now. Recently, both churches sparred and approached court seeking rights over a church in Kolenchery, Kerala. 4 Let’s intercede for our country

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today. May every one of its peoples have an opportunity to hear the Gospel, read the Bible in their own language and come to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 Pray for all leaders and those in authority. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we are asked to pray for ‘kings and all who are in authority.’ 4 Pray that believers will hold on to the Rock of Ages when the entire world seems to be in a flux. Heightened activity in stock markets, growing rate of joblessness and inflation are creating more confusion than anyone can handle. 4 Pray that China will kick out Communist ideologies and embrace democracy. Recently, it was reported that 80-million strong Communist Party is getting ready for yet another long-haul with an ideological makeover to avert a Soviet Unionstyle collapse. 4 Christians in Libya need our prayers. While the Gaddafi regime may have fallen, battles are still being fought in Tripoli. Pray that the church in that country will remain in united and strong in the crisis. 4 Pray for people who are caught in the grip of cult groups. May God open the eyes of those people who live under the deception of cult teachings. 4 Let us pray for our church leaders today. Pray for your pastor’s own walk of faith – his prayer lfe, for his faith, that he would grow spiritually and in his love for God. 4 Pray for business people that you know who may be in debt. May God provide them a breakthrough in the new financial year, give them new opportunities and set them free. 4 Pray for business groups that help advance the Kingdom of our Lord. May such groups be blessed by increased production, debt-free transactions and congeniality among their workers. 4 Pray for The Christian Messenger media ministry. That it will impact more minds for Christ. Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


RON Edmondson | THINKING ALOUD

6 top needs of a husband

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IKE it or not, we are more simple creations; not as beautiful, of course, but less complex. Okay, let that comment get me in trouble if it must, but just the fact that you may not like it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Here are the top 6 needs of a husband: Respect This is number one! Men are always lying if they say it isn’t! Ephesians 5:33“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” God knew what He was talking about. Men want to know that they are revered by their wives. Men want to be honored in their home. The world puts a lot of pressure on men, as men do on ourselves, and we need to be successful someplace in our life. If we can’t feel that respect in our home, we will find that it somewhere else. Admiration Men want to be desirable to their wives. Are we strong enough; masculine enough? If our wife is always looking at the sexier man or the more successful man in the movies or just in the world we certainly will not feel admired. As an example, if a family struggles financially and the wife complains about it all the time the man hears that as “I’m not good enough.” Most men struggle to feel we measure up. The greatest assurance of the fact that we have “what it takes” comes from our wives.Men who don’t sense this will often quit trying. Peace and Tranquility Men want their home to be a place to prepare for the world; they want to be able to relax. That is never an excuse for laziness! (Laziness is a sin BTW.) This is an ouch statement, but men want their wives to be their wife, and not their mother! Plus, and this is Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com

so important to understand, nagging never accomplishes what the wife hopes it will. It may get done what you wanted done, but not with the heart or attitude you hoped to go with the action. (If you are raising boys, remember this!) Commitment Yes, men want this too! They want to know they are number one with you. Men don’t want to see their wife looking at other men or commenting on how wonderful another man may be. They want to know you are faithful only to them. (Can you women tell we have shallow egos? We do. I may blog about that someday.) Acceptance/Participation Husbands don’t really want a wife to try and change them. Granted many men need changing, but the Biblical way to do this is to pray about it and model the change for us. Men also want our wives to appreciate our hobbies and interests, since it is so much a part of who we are. You don’t have to love golf, but to know that the lower score is the better is a great plus when we come home after a good game. He’ll need to brag to someone. He’s hoping that someone is you. Be able to lead Most men want to lead, but don’t really know how. The wife should allow her husband to make some mistakes and not criticize us when we can’t do something as well as you can, (which we know is many things!) If we take the effort to fix the bed, don’t go behind us and straighten the comforter (or at least don’t let us see you doing it.) If we find we can’t compete in an area, we just quit trying. Applaud what we do right and we’ll try harder to please. We really do want to succeed! So, there are the top 6 needs of a man. This closing statement is tough to write, but so important to

understand. I have believed for years in observing couples and through my own experience that if the woman, who is usually more relationally mature than the man, will respect her husband in these ways that the marriage will dramatically improve. (That, and the fact that I am a man, may explain why my explanations of each item are longer for men.) The reason is simple. Generally, except in rare cases, the wife wants and understands what a good marriage looks like. Most men don’t. When a man feels respected, he will adapt and learn whatever it takes to earn and keep that respect. (If you watch closely you’ll see this quality displayed in other aspects of his life.) He will in turn become a great lover of his wife, fulfilling her greatest need. The combination of the two working together in marriage is powerful. Ron Edmondson is a pastor and has over 20 years business experience. He’s been in full time ministries for over eight years.

Persecution of Nigerian Christians on the rise MUSLIM extremists, along with members of the Nigerian army, allegedly killed 24 Christians during mid-August in Nigeria's Plateau state, according to Compass Direct News. On Monday in the city of Jos, CNN reported clashes between Muslims and Christians resulted in at least 20 deaths. There were also reports of injuries and burnt vehicles and shops. Christians in Nigeria have faced increased persecution in recent years. The forceful implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) in 12 northern states remains a great challenge for the church. Extremist Islamic groups, using violence as a means to achieving Muslim dominance, have increased their activities. OCTOBER 2011 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 5


COVER STORY

S

BY SHEILA the end of the WRAY GREGOIRE year, you’ll have

OMETIME ago I wrote complaining that we are ‘dumbing down’ church and school, and don’t require kids to learn mastery of anything anymore. I asked what we could do about it. And I decided maybe it was time I did something, rather than just complain. And so I’ve put together this list of the 50 verses I think are most important to memorize. I know many families want to memorize verses together, but they don’t know where to start. Here you go. One a week for a year. Even if this is all you ever memorize, you will have God’s word in your heart for the most important verses, I think, in the Bible. I’m going to type the list with the verses first, and then at the end include a list of just the references, if you want those to just copy and paste. Why not make little memory verse cards out of 3×5 cards, and keep them at the dinner table? Then every night you can go over this week’s verse. By

all of these memorized! I chose these because they’re a cross-section of doctrine, promises, and comfort. You may want to add others, or to substitute. Feel free. Consider this a starting point, not anything definitive. I hope you you find it useful! All verses are from the NIV. God Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the

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heavens and the earth. Salvation John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


Ephesians 2:8,9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Assurance Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Isaiah 40:30-31 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart ,and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. Christian Life 2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Psalm 37:4,5 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this. Proverbs 3:5,7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word,

and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. 1 John 4:7,8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with OCTOBER 2011 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 7


LEAD STORY perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Prayer 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Philippians 4:6,7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Scripture 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Confession/Temptation Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it. Mission Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against

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the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Bigger challenges: If you want to memorize whole chapters, here are my top 5: Isaiah 53 Psalm 23 1 Corinthians 13 John 15 Psalm 139 These chapters are all important; I have left them out of the top 50 verses because I couldn’t choose just one or two verses from any of them. The whole thing is great. So if you’re up for a family challenge, memorize all of one of them! Look at it this way: if you spend one year memorizing the fifty verses, and the next year reviewing those fifty and memorizing a chapter, and then go back to those fifty verses again to make sure you have them down, and then the next year go back and do a different chapter, and so on, over the course of ten years you’ll have 50 verses and 5 chapters so committed to memory there is no way anyone could ever forget it. And I think knowing fewer verses, but knowing them inside and out, is sometimes more beneficial in the long run than trying to make yourself learn a verse a day or something. So print this out and use it with your family! Now, here are just the references if you want to copy and paste: 1. Isaiah 9:6 2. Isaiah 40:28 3. Genesis 1:1 4. John 3:16-17 5. Romans 3:23 6. Romans 6:23 7. Revelation 3:20 8. John 14:6 9. Ephesians 2:8,9 Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


10. 2 Corinthians 5:17 11. Romans 8:28 12. Isaiah 40:30-31 13. Romans 8:38-39 14. Matthew 11:28-30 15. Psalm 27:1 16. Jeremiah 29:11 17. Hebrews 13:8 18. 2 Peter 3:9 19. Lamentations 3:22-23 20. 2 Corinthians 12:9 21. 2 Corinthians 4:18 22. Psalm 37:4,5 23. Proverbs 3:5,7

24. Philippians 4:13 25. Galatians 2:20 26. James 1:22 27. Colossians 3:23 28. 1 Corinthians 15:58 29. James 4:7 30. Luke 16:13 31. 1 John 4:7,8 32. Galatians 5:22-23 33. Hebrews 12:1-2 34. Acts 1:8 35. Romans 12:1-2 36. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 37. Psalm 19:14

38. Philippians 4:6,7 39. 2 Timothy 3:16 40. Psalm 119:105 41. Psalm 119:11 42. Hebrews 4:16 43. 1 John 1:9 44. James 5:16 45. 1 Corinthians 10:13 46. Micah 6:8 47. Matthew 25:40 48. Matthew 28:19-20 49. Matthew 5:16 50. Ephesians 6:12 Happy memorizing!

How to memorize Scripture BY STEPHEN SIMPSON 1 Memorize word for word. It is important to be accurate. Just memorizing the ‘gist’ of the verse may be OK, but small errors can lead to misinterpretation of the meaning. If you are not careful, ideas can be lost or added to the passage you are trying to become familiar with. 2 Decide what you want to do with the scripture reference. The scripture reference is not inspired and you do not have to memorize it if you do not want to. Some people can memorize the text, but get discouraged by the references. I think, however, it is important to know where in the Bible the passage is, so memorize at least the book and chapter along with the verse. 3 Be careful about memorizing while in the car. Keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, brain connecting it all together. Never get into the habit of 'just glancing at' a piece of paper to read a verse. The 'just glancing at' part can be longer and more frequently than you think. Perhaps a tape with verses on it is ok, but nothing which uses your eyes. 4 The only real mistake you can make with scripture memorization is to quit. 5 Do not bother getting in the habit of memorizing scripture at work. If you are being paid to do a job, then make sure that you are doing it. Memorizing scripture is important, but stealing from your employer is not spiritual. 6 Watch out for pride. Do not think your better than the next person if you know one or even 1000 verses. Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com

God will not honour you for your work if you are proud. 7 “Consistency, review and repetition”. There are no alternatives. (Except for their friends. “Discipline, Desire and Dedication”) 8 Someone one the Scripture Memory Email List gave the following Acrostic: S elect a goal U n leash negative thinking C hart your course C onnect with some one who can help you help you with your goal E xpect problems S anctify yourself, stay in touch with your Savior S tick with it 9 The TV is a great distraction which grows to consume more and more of your time. It can take over your family time and any spare time that you have left after that! How

much benefit have you and your family actually gotten from your television and what has it cost you in lost time. Many people do not realize that (almost all) the time spent in front of the TV could be invested elsewhere. Turn off the TV and you will have more time for the Word, more time for people, more time for life. 10 There really is no replacement for hard work and consistency in the task of memorizing scripture. Sure there are tricks to aid memory and retention, but the only real trick is consistency. 11 Memorization of Scripture is primarily a mechanical task, but it is at the same time entirely a spiritual task. If there is deliberate and unrepentant sin in your life you will not see the fruit of your labour. God will not grant success to those who determine to follow a sinful path. OCTOBER 2011 w THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER 9


CHRIS Elrod | CHURCH PLANTING

10 things you must know before you start a church

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was so naive when we planted three years ago. The sheer metric tons of stuff I didn’t know then that I know now could feel volumes of books. However, there are a few things that come to mind as great lessons I learned the hard way. 1. Half of your core team will leave you in the first year. I heard other church planters say this, but I didn’t believe it. Going into year two I had already lived it. At present we only have one couple from our original core group. Some moved out of town…others lost the vision…others never got it in the first place. 2. Never pick staff from outside the church. I kept trying to bring in staff members from the outside. They were already ‘ruined’ by other churches and just couldn’t grasp the concept of what God called us to do. We have had much better luck by recruiting staff from within Compass Point. 3. You can’t build a church on college students. Our first year we had almost 70% college students…almost all unchurched. They were great….they worked hard…they grew spiritually…they developed into good leaders…they left town when they graduated. Christmas and summer got pretty ugly around Compass Point the first year! College students are wonderful folks to have on a church plant team…just know they are temporary. 4. Never count on the money until the check arrives. We met with the pastor of a mega-church (the parents of one of our core team members went there) and he did the whole ‘dog and pony show’ while we were there. He kept saying that the church “would help us out financially”, to give him a call when we needed it. We called…no reply. After a bunch of calls, emails and a few snail mail letters I finally got a note from his secretary telling me that they were tight on money and couldn’t spare

any. Two Sundays before she contacted me they had raised millions of dollars (it made the state denominational paper) in a single day to fund several satellite videovenues in order to perpetuate the pastor’s ‘cult of personality’. Just a complete lack of integrity! 5. Recent church planters are your best resource. The greatest advice, financial gifts and friendship I have ever received is from guys that planted within the last several years. They will cry with you, rejoice with you and sacrifice for you. As long as I live I will remember the day that the pastor of local church plant (less than 3 months old) handed me their last $250 because another church (mentioned in point #4) didn’t come through and we couldn’t pay rent (God bless you Hal). To this day other church planters are some of my closest friends and greatest source of inspiration. God uses them in mighty ways to speak into my life (God bless you Gary, Shawn, Travis and Adam). 6. You can always plant another church…you can’t always have another family. As much as I love church planting and shepherding people…I love my wife more. N o t h i n g … I m e a n nothing…especially ministry…should ever get in the way of your family. That also reminds me…if your wife is not on board with planting a church….don’t plant! 7. Spend more time reading the Bible than other books. Church growth, church planting, church strategy and church leadership books are great…but I spent way too much time pouring into them (at the beginning) and not enough time in God’s Word. The best church practices, strategies and leadership ideas can be found within the pages of the Bible. 8. Get out of the pulpit every once in a while. Pastors have this idea that the world will fall apart for their

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church if they don’t preach every Sunday. I gotta tell you…preaching week after week without a break will dull your abilities. Taking a break every now and then gives other leaders a chance to step up and you a rest to get fired back up. Nothing makes me preach better than being out of the pulpit for a week or two. Nothing grows our leaders like me being out of the pulpit for a week or two. 9. Don’t fall in love with some else’s community, vision or calling. I got fired up by reading books by Andy Stanley and Erwin McManus. Unfortunately, I fell in love with their calling…and their community. God didn’t call me to shepherd the people of Los Angeles or Atlanta…he called me to shepherd the people of Lakeland, Florida. I wasted way too many days trying to be Mark Driscoll and Ed Young. Jr. when God just wanted me to be Chris Elrod and to love on the people of Polk County. 10. Pray, pray, pray!!! When things suck…pray. When things go well…pray. When thing look hopeless…pray. When things look successful…pray. There is a bunch of other stuff…but the answers above are probably the most important lessons I learned along the way. Ultimately, seek God and His Word for your unique vision, community and calling. What worked for others may not work for you! Chris Elrod is the pastor of Compass Point in Florida, US.

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16 Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man. Proverbs 27:20 Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


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JOHNSON V | GOD WORKS

The dynamics of praise

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HE highest calling in our lives is simply this – to offer praise and worship to our Heavenly Father, every second, every day of our lives. Nothing else we do or achieve can compare to that. Our praises are like fragrant offerings to our God for He delights in us. He loves it when we delight in Him, and that’s what praise is, delighting in the One who gave us life. Praise is the key to the Presence of our Heavenly Father. When we begin to praise, we draw His Presence to us. Of course, only true praise attracts Him – praise from the depths of our hearts and minds. Praise must be borne out of love and must be handled wisely. Praise involves our decisions, our emotions and our actions. Make a decision to praise – Praising God does not come naturally to us. We need to decide to praise God and follow through on our decision. In Psalm 108:1, the psalmist talks about how his heart is fixed on praising God, inspite of his situation. Let us set our hearts on praising Him, nothing else compares to drawing near to Him. We must learn to praise God in trying times, in good times, at all times. Praising in a community - The Church is a beautiful place, and the best place, to learn to worship and praise. The Church is a community where one person’s worship can lead another to a deeper level of worship. Very often, when our spirits are down, someone else who is deep in worship can lift our spirits without doing or saying anything to us. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 22:22, we must love to be in the House and we must bring our best worship to God in His House. Worship and sin cannot co-exist – According to Psalm 33:1, the

unrighteousness and those who are not upright will find it difficult to praise God. Praising God is a decision that only the righteous will make easily, but the unrighteous will struggle with. Sin and unrighteousness can block worship. But when we worship, it drives sin out of our lives. We are being delivered even as we sing and praise our God. The devil is allergic to worship. Praise is an emotional response When we begin to praise Him, our entire life is made joyful as the barren woman in Psalm 113:9. We cannot praise God in silence – Praise is a noisy affair. Psalm 115:17 tells us that only the dead will not praise God. Speak to Him and tell Him whatever is in your heart. Praise is an act of gratitude – The psalmist in Psalm 34:1 says that he will praise God at ‘all times’. Let us agree with the Psalmist that His praise will always be on our lips. Psalm 106:12 tells us that when they believed His words, they praised Him. When faith rises, praises will begin. The Word of God builds faith. As thirsty as deer – In Psalm 42:1–4, the psalmist tells God that he loves Him, but his trouble has increased. So he decided to go back with the multitude to the House and pour out his heart to God. He compares himself to a thirsty deer. The deer is an animal that needs to quench its thirst as soon as it feels thirsty. When a deer is thirsty, it will run to the nearest water body. Leaving distractions aside, the deer has a single-minded focus. Another time that deer need water, is when it is being hunted. In water, the deer is able to hide its scent and thereby confuse its predators. Let us run with joy to His Presence. As it happened with Job in Job 1:20-21, His name is worthy of praise. When we praise

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Him, He turns what was meant to destroy us into something constructive for His glory. God’s power and healing flows through us when we praise Him – As Psalm 22:3 states, God inhabits the praises of His people. ‘Inhabits’ literally means to sit on/to dwell on. Praising has to be from our heart. God will not respect anything else. If it is from our heart, it cannot be blocked. We must not praise Him in the hope of receiving a blessing. Psalm 103:1-3 and Jeremiah 17:14 says that our Lord Jesus will heal all our diseases. When we praise Him, God will dwell on our praises, change our life and heal us. The writer is the pastor in-charge of Bethel AG International Worship Center in Bangalore, India. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Romans 13:14

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PETER Dhandapani | VIEW POINT

Make praise and worship a way of life! Let everything that hath breath Praise the lord. Praise ye the Lord (Psalm 150:6). ALTHOUGH I was saved, baptized and became a regular churchgoer besides getting involved in various ministries several years ago, I lived a life filled with frustrations, fears, anxieties and weakness. I often felt worn out and overwhelmed by pressures of everyday life. I did not enjoy the fullness of life as a Christian for many years. All of sudden in 2005, I fell ill. I cried bitterly and asked the Lord why it happened to me? What did I lack? Teach me, Lord, I prayed as I wanted to live a life of peace and contentment, a life with abundant joy in the midst of cares and wants. God heard my cry and said: ‘You lack worship. You do not praise and worship me enough.’ He impressed upon me that if i followed a consistent prayer life (that includes praise & worship), I will be abundantly blessed. Perhaps, you are at your wit’s end. Are you wondering why you are not able to live a victorious life in Christ? Let me tell you what God revealed to me years ago. He had told me then: ‘My son, I want you to have a consistent and personal relationship with Me by adoring Me in the nights. Do not talk about your problems, talk about Me and the power of My Name and blood. Talk about the great and mighty things I have performed in your life and in the life of your forefathers. Praise and worship My attributes with all your heart, mind, soul and energy.’ However to worship God with that kind of zest and zeal, you ought to know the difference between prayer and worship. In worship, there are no prayer requests and intercession. When you praise and worship God on your knees, you acknowledge His sovereignty. When you bow down Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com

your head and worship Him, you show your reverence to Him. When you lift up your hands and praise Him, you are acknowledging His majesty. When you worship falling prostrate on your face, it means you are totally dependent on Him. You are saying you can do nothing without Him. When you worship God in this manner, life will not be a struggle anymore. God will guide you step-by-step in the way that you should walk. You will go wherever He sends you. He will shower His blessings on you. God will reveal His plans, purpose and assignments that He has for you one by one. By God’s grace, when I started worshiping God thus, I experienced several blessings: a) God blessed me with peace and contentment. b) I understood worship and praise gets God’s attention. c) God increases my inner strength day by day. d) I learnt how to overcome life’s

struggles through worship. e) He gives direction and energy to go forward, no matter what my circumstances may be. f) He started revealing and unfolding the plans and purpose He has for me little-by-little. g) He is helping me to enjoy my present and the anticipation for my future. I am continuing this practice of worship to this day. If you want to read some powerful books that talk about enjoying the presence of God daily, try ‘Battlefield of the mind’ and ‘The battle belongs to the Lord’ by Joyce Meyer, ‘Treasury of praise’ by Don Gossett, ‘Entering the presence of God’ by Derek Prince, ‘The 7 laws of spiritual success’ by Selwyn Hughes and ‘Praise’ by Charles Spurgeon. The writer is the founder of Kingdom Marketplace Ministry. He can be reached at 0-97907 34008. kingdommarketplaceministry@gma il.com

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ROBIN Sam | VIEW FROM THE PEW

Good men don’t go to heaven!

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HREE people known to me were snatched away from the world a few months ago. The death of two of them was sudden; nobody thought they would die so early. While the third one was ailing, he wasn’t exactly on his deathbed. Even though none of the three was exactly a friend to me, their death impacted me like the death of an acquaintance would usually do. Shoukat Ali was in his mid-fifties. He was tall, erudite, spoke fluent English, dressed up elegantly and had an impressive collection of books. At our first meeting, he told me he had no relatives in the city. That his only vice was smoking, and that he was trying to kick the habit. Later, I learned he was divorced from his wife, had a son who lived in a different city and was a habitual drunkard. After his death, his 28year-old son told me he had always seen his dad as an alcoholic, and how that led to the divorce of his parents when he was only 15. Shoukat did not go to work regularly; however hard he tried, he couldn’t keep his job. Most of the time, he was too tipsy to be working. I asked his son what he felt for his father. “I love him. He was a good man at heart,” he said in a matter of fact tone. Shoukat was found dead in the bathroom face down. Suresh was a jovial man. A happy go lucky person, I have always seen him in cheerful demeanor. He worked at his brother’s small scale industrial unit. He cracked jokes with his colleagues, was helpful and considerate and generally known for going out of the way to help someone in distress. However, at home he had a different face. He detested going to work, would demand Rs.600 from his siblings for his daily expenses, and kick up a fuss if anyone chided him for his waywardness. He returned home late in the night,

mostly drunk and carried home by his friends. He met with his end one day as he was returning home after attending the last rites ceremony of a deceased friend on his bike. He skidded and fell on the road when he tried to avoid hitting a woman who had just then darted across the road. He was drunk as usual. Three days after he was put on ventilator at the Government General Hospital in the city, the family gave the nod to pull the plug as he could not be revived. Suresh was only 36 when he died. Simon was the treasurer of the church committee. He was well known in his community not just for his good looks but also his helpful nature. He was the eldest of 5 children and had come up in life by the dint of hard work. When his business flourished, he helped his brothers take off in life and married off his sisters. Simon was a dogooder. He was regular in church attendance, paid his tithes and offerings and held various positions in his church committee. Quite a good man, alright. But the 47-year-old man also wanted to live the ‘good life’. He would ‘relax’ every evening with a few drinks. Even the day before he was knocked down and run over by a speeding truck, the doting brother had had a few drinks with his siblings. The church priest knew Simon’s fondness for the bottle. However, he was wary of warning him of its consequences and did not think it necessary to gently point out that Simon was indeed living a double life before God and men. Simon is survived by his wife and two young children. This isn’t an Amar-AkbarAnthony kind of a story. These were real men that I knew. All three men were known for their easygoing nature and helpfulness. They were what you and I would normally call

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‘good men’. While Shoukat and Suresh died without accepting the Truth that sets us free, Simon knew what it is to believe in the Living God but was either not convinced enough of the liberating power of the blood of Jesus Christ or was not committed enough to live a life holy and acceptable to God. Perhaps, like Shoukat, Suresh or Simon you are living a life in denial. You have heard about Jesus but don’t think you need Him. Perhaps, you think you can make a commitment tomorrow. In either case, you are terribly wrong. If you think you don’t need salvation, that you are living a life that is ‘good enough’, then let me tell you the entire mankind needs salvation. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In Romans 3:10-18 it says: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” We have all sinned. We have all done things that are displeasing to God. There is no one who is innocent. Maybe, you are wondering why you need salvation. Simply because the price (consequence) of sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. The punishment that we have Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


earned for our sins is death. This is not just physical death, but eternal death! So, how does Jesus Christ provide salvation? In the whole of history, there is no one who claim divinity. There’s no one who can claim that he rose from the dead. Only Jesus Christ died for our sins. He paid the price for our death at the Cross. And He rose from the dead. Otherwise, Christianity would have been the biggest hoax in history. Romans 5:8 says: “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father, died for us. The death of Jesus paid for the price of our sins. His resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus’ death as the payment for our sins. I urge you to consider Jesus. He is the only way to heaven. There is no other way that will take you to the Jehovah, God the Father. Trust Jesus today.

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How to experience God Here are five simple steps you can take to begin a relationship with God: 1. Recognize your need. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, NASB). All of us are sinners, and we must admit our need for a Savior. 2. Repent of your sins. Because God is completely holy, our sins create a wall that separates us from Him. By confessing your sins you will find forgiveness. “Repent” means to make a 180-degree turnaround. The Bible promises: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). 3. Believe in Jesus. God worked a miracle when He sent His only Son to die for us. We don’t have to pay for our sins … Jesus paid it all! We can’t work for our salvation. It is a gift from God, and all He requires is that we believe. Put your faith in Him. The Bible says: “For God so loved

the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). 4. Receive His salvation. God has given us this free gift, but we must accept it. Thank Him for sending Jesus to die on the cross for you. Thank Him for His amazing love, mercy and forgiveness. Then ask Him to live in your heart. His promise to us is sure: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God...” (John 1:12). 5. Confess your faith. The Bible assures us: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). You have been born again and are now part of God’s family. Tell someone else what Jesus has done in your life! This amazing experience can be yours. Embrace God’s love and receive the salvation that only Jesus Christ gives.


BOOK EXCERPTS

‘THE AMBITION’ by Lee Strobel EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from The Ambition by Lee Strobel (Zondervan). Chapter One As he walked toward the metal detector in the lobby of the Cook County Criminal Courts building, Tom O’Sullivan’s heart pounded so hard and so fast and so loud that he was almost afraid a sheriff’s deputy would hear it. Or that someone would notice the sweat on his upper lip. Or that a security guard’s suspicion might be aroused by his awkward smile, a rather transparent attempt to act naturally. Through the years, Thomas Ryan O’Sullivan III, attorney at law, had entered the squat, concrete building on Chicago’s West Side countless times to defend drug dealers and second-rate thugs charged with felonies. But this time was different; today this scion of a oncepowerful political family was coming to commit an egregious crime of his own. A sheriff’s deputy picked up Tom’s attaché case from where he’d dropped it on a table for inspection. The deputy made brief eye contact with him; there was a glimmer of recognition, and the officer didn’t even bother to open the case. Tom had counted on the fact that attorneys warrant only casual attention from the security force, especially frequent visitors like himself. “G’morning, counselor,” the deputy said with a nod, handing Tom the briefcase after he emerged from the metal detector. Tom didn’t linger. “Have a good one,” he said, grabbing his case with one hand and scooping his watch and car keys from the plastic container with his other. He turned and walked briskly toward the elevator. His footsteps echoed loudly in the cavernous hall, and he forced himself to slow down. Is the deputy still watching me? Should I have shot the breeze for a few minutes? What about the security cameras — will anyone watch where I’m going? Reaching the elevator, Tom

glanced back toward the entrance. The deputy was busy patting down a defendant who had arrived for trial. Tom sighed deeply, shoved his personal effects into his pocket, and pushed the call button. He took out a handkerchief and dabbed at the perspiration from under the modest wave of reddish-brown hair that swept across his forehead. How many times, he wondered, had his father dispatched thugs — the kind Tom usually represented — on clandestine missions like this? It was the first time he had ever allowed himself such a thought. He preferred to remember his dad the way he saw him while A disillusioned pastor. A cynical reporter. And a g r o w i n g u p — gambling addict whose secret tape threatens powerful, connected, lives. This is ‘The Ambition’. warranting universal recognition and admiration. He tried to suppress memories of the way his father’s life ended — the dishonor and ignominy, their entire family buried in humiliation. And now, here he was, wallowing in the same corruption — the last place he ever expected to find himself. More than anything, Tom wanted to run, to hide, to escape, to call off everything. But he knew he had no choice. And in a twisted way, that provided some comfort. The decision had been made. There could be no backing out. The consequences of abandoning his assignment went beyond his imagination. He gave his lapels a yank to straighten out the gray pinstripe suit. The only thing he could do at this point was to concentrate on not getting caught. Garry Strider threw himself into a maroon vinyl booth at Gilke’s Tap.

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“The usual,” he called over to the bartender. “Just keep ’em coming, Jerry.” The place was virtually empty. Jerry glanced at his watch — a little after three — and let out a low whistle. He hustled together a J&B Scotch with a splash of water and brought it over, slipping into the seat across from his long-time customer. “Had lunch?” Jerry asked. “Want a burger?” Strider didn’t hear the questions. “It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable!” he said, gulping his drink. For seventeen years, Jerry had run a hole-in-the-wall tavern strategically located between the offices of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Examiner. During that time he had learned more about newspapers than most ivory tower journalism professors would ever know. © Copyright 2011 by Lee Strobel Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


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PROFILE: MACHINE GUN PREACHER

The real life story of Sam Chiders is now a Hollywood film!

‘MACHINE Gun Preacher’ Sam Childers grew up in the hills of Pennsylvania, US. His parents were decent, honest people but at an early age Sam started to show a knack for getting into trouble. His father, a former marine, grew fond of saying “Boy, somebody’s gonna kill you one of these days!” A Troubled Teen: By his early teens Sam was constantly in fist fights, selling hard drugs and sleeping with married women. He continued to slide deeper into a life of violence and crime until he became a Shotgunner – an armed guard for drug dealers. It was during this stage of his life that he met Lynn, a stripper, who would later become his wife. Unlearning a Life of Crime: Sam, haunted by his father’s words, became increasingly concerned that he was going to be killed because of drugs and slowly began to distance himself from his former life. He found a job in construction and TOUGH AS NAILS: Sam Chiders with his AK 47 that he uses to save prospered despite his continuing drug and alcohol habit. Lynn, children from a brutal rebel militia in south Sudan.

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meanwhile, returned to the Church she had forsaken as a young adult. A Changed Man: Sam also sought to re-establish his relationship with God and began to live a clean life. Slowly, things began to change for the better. Lynn gave birth to a healthy baby girl and Sam started his own construction business. Little did they know that their greatest challenge was just around the corner. An Education in War: In 1998, Sam arrived in the village of Yei, Southern Sudan. The African nation was in the midst of the Second Sudanese War, and Sam, urged by his Pastor in America, had joined a mission group to help repair huts damaged in the conflict. During this assignment Sam stumbled across the body of a child torn apart by a landmine. He fell to his knees and made a pledge to God to do whatever it took to help the people of Southern Sudan. A Message from God: Sam returned to Sudan several months later to run a mobile clinic. To fulfil his promise he ventured far across

the nation, from the western town of Yei to the eastern villages of Boma. While passing the village of Nimule,on the Ugandan border, God sent him a message: I want you to build an orphanage for the children, God said. And I want you to build it here. Making the Vision a Reality: The local people though he was mad. At the time, the Lord’s Resistance Army, a brutal rebel militia that had kidnapped 30 thousand children and murdered hundreds of thousands of villagers, was laying waste to the area. But Sam was adamant: God had told him to build the orphanage in Nimule and that’s where he was going to build it. He returned to the US, sold his construction business and sent the money to Africa. Slowly the orphanage began to take shape. During the day Sam cleared the brush and built the huts that would house the children. During the evening, he slept under a mosquito net slung from a tree: bible in one hand, AK47 in the other. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania,

Lynn and Sam’s daughter Paige fought a battle of their own. The family car was repossessed and a foreclosure notice was issued on the house. Sam had enough money to pay the outstanding mortgage or finish the orphanage. He couldn’t afford both so he sent the money to Africa. With the orphanage finished, Sam began to lead armed missions to rescue children from the LRA. It wasn’t long before tales of his exploits spread and villagers began to call him “The Machine Gun Preacher.” Surviving Against All Odds: 13 years later the orphanage is the largest in Southern Sudan and has fed and housed over 1,000 children. Today, more than 200 children call the orphanage home. Sam and Lynn still live in the same house in Pennsylvania and are just as dedicated to the plight of the Sudanese children as they were 13 years ago. Sam’s biography, ‘Another Man’s War’, has been made into a Hollywood feature film starring Gerard Butler.

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DON Davis | DATELINE ISRAEL

Is it time Christians prepared for the End Times?

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F the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East indicates the beginning of prophecy, then how do Ezekiel chapters 34-39 and verses in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah and Revelation correlate with regional countries in their current state? Time and word space do not allow me the luxury of comprehensive details, nor adjustments to further world event altercations after being published. Quick answers to how the situation in North Africa and the Middle East might affect Israel could be one or more of the following 5 occurrences: 1. Nothing may happen to Israel if they quietly and patiently wait it out; rather, they might become wealthier due to their financial stature, new found gas reserves, electric car technology, and aggressive search for oil. 2. The whole region calms as the Arab countries stabilize into democracy or a sort of democratic arrangement. 3. Israel experiences economic depression along with the whole region due to regional instability, national protest or civil war. After that, Israel becomes prosperous. 4. Israel suffers continual attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah and economic uncertainty due to regional instability. Eventually, Israel stabilizes. 5. Combined Muslim, Arab assault on Israel causing widespread regional devastation with slow recovery. If the prophecy in Ezekiel happens in chronological order, then according to chapters 34 to 37 the ‘shepherds’ that have ruled selfishly and corruptly have been indeed removed (Ezekiel 34:10, Jeremiah 23:1-4). At the same time, Mount Seir (Ezekiel 35:1-4), all Edom (Ezekiel 35:15, 36:5, 7) and nearby nations hostile towards Israel suffer scorn and desolation.

If any of the numbered occurrences or a combination thereof transpires; the Lord may use protests in Israel to remove the ‘shepherds’ (Ezekiel 34:1-4, Ezekiel 34:17-22). Some analysts suggest Israel might descend into civil war. Afterwards the Lord rescues and blesses Israel (Ezekiel 34:11-16, Ezekiel 34:25-29). Israel becomes more inhabited beautiful and prosperous (Ezekiel 36:10-12). Israel lives in peace and safety (Ezekiel 36:13-15), and is no longer plundered (Ezekiel 34:28). Israelis living around the world return to a safe, productive and unified Israel (Zechariah 8:7, Ezekiel 36:19, Ezekiel 36:24). Perhaps along with the ‘Lost Ten Tribes’ (Jeremiah 23:7-8) which might explain the ‘dry bones’ (Ezekiel 37:10-14) Ezekiel prophesied to in the valley. North Africa and the Muslim Middle East sink into chaotic, tribal and religious warfare by which the Lord achieves His desolation and scorn onto Mount Seir, Edom, and nations around Israel (Ezekiel 35:514). Then the region settles into prolonged peaceful coexistence. However, after the peaceful coexistence Ezekiel 38 foretells a grim prediction of a massive attack on Israel and a possible obscure reference of a destructive war in Israel prior to chapter 38 which is why I included events 4 and 5. Ezekiel 38:8, states when Gog, of the land of Magog, and their allies move down to attack Israel, quoted scripture says: “In future years you (Gog and Magog) will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.” So if Ezekiel 38 is not talking about recovering from Israeli wars

22 THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER w OCTOBER 2011

and conflicts since1948 or the safety of the so-called ‘peace process’, then before Gog and Magog attack Israel in Ezekiel 38, Israel will have experienced another horrid war. Possibly before Ezekiel 34 or during chapters 34 and 35, a war that has left the land desolate. In this scenario based on the current realities it doesn’t take much to envision Israeli desolation from Hezbollah’s 40,000 plus rockets and missiles, Syrian missiles, Iranian missiles, Turkey’s support, Hamas’ rockets in addition to Israel’s military retaliation. This also might explain Isaiah 17:1-3 which prophecies the complete destruction of Damascus. Maybe more countries in North Africa and the Middle Eastern will join the war against Israel. Thus, the shepherds are removed. Mount Seir, Edom and all the surrounding nations are punished, expatriates from Israel return to join the survivors, the land recovers and Israel prospers in peace as forecasted in Ezekiel 34-37, and the last part of 38:8. Applied lessons from Ezekiel 3439 prophecy? Christians should take special note that unlike other countries in prophecy, the Lord eventually forgives, blesses, protects, and fights for Israel against nations and people who afflict her. Most notably in Ezekiel 38:18 through 39:29 and Revelation 12:56, 14:18-20, 12:13-16, 14:1-5, 7:4. Don Davis is based in Israel and monitors and evaluates worldwide information on finance, technologies, and the military/political environment for a US company. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. Ephesians 2:3 Website: www.christianmessenger.in | Email: christianmessenger.in@gmail.com


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The Christian Messenger, Oct 2011 issue  

The Christian Messenger, Oct 2011 issue