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the Manna | December 2011


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the Manna | December 2011

Columns

15 | Childhood Dreams

09 | Signals 11 | On the Air

17 | Damage Control

Features 10 | A New Hopeful Does hoping go against our grain?

12 | The Weekend How to look beyond our short-term goals.

Stay in Touch

We all wanted to be something when we grew up.

The gap has been bridged.

18 | Growing Apples

The hope of producing good fruit.

20 | Rejection and Relationship Can we be content with â&#x20AC;&#x153;noâ&#x20AC;??

22 | No Reservations Getting past our fears.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | December 2011

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the Manna | A Publication of Maranatha, Inc. Editor-In-Chief: Debbie Byrd Creative Director: Joe Willey Contributing Writers: Keyanna Butts, Josh Millwood, Brittney Switala, Brent Timmons and Karen Tull Media Client Liaisons: Janet Beckett, Randall Stapleton

Frequently Asked Questions Who We Are The Manna is published by Maranatha, Inc., a Christcentered ministry called to proclaim the Good News of faith and life in Jesus Christ through various forms of media, as God directs, until He returns. “Maranatha” (mer-a-nath´-a) is an Aramaic word found in I Corinthians 16:22. It is translated, “Our Lord, come!” Joy! 102.5 WOLC is also part of Maranatha, Inc. Its call letters stand for “Watch, Our Lord Cometh.” Maranatha!

Disclaimer Non-ministry advertisers are not required to subscribe to the “Statement of Faith” printed at right; nor are their businesses and products necessarily endorsed by the Manna, Joy! 102.5 WOLC, or Maranatha, Inc., whose viewpoints are not necessarily represented by the opinions or statements of persons interviewed in this magazine; nor are the viewpoints of its advertisers.

Statement of Faith We Believe… that the Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible and authoritative source of Christian doctrine and precept; that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that the only hope for man is to believe in Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God, who died to take upon Himself the punishment for the sin of mankind, and who rose from the dead so that by receiving Him as Savior and Lord, man is redeemed by His blood; that Jesus Christ in person will return to Earth in power and glory; that the Holy Spirit indwells those who have received Christ, for the purpose of enabling them to live righteous and godly lives; and that the Church is the Body of Christ and is comprised of all those who, through belief in Christ, have been spiritually regenerated by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The twin mission of the Church is worldwide evangelization, and nurture and discipline of Christians.

Manna and Joy! 102.5 WOLC P. O. Box 130, Princess Anne, MD 21853 Voice: 410-543-9652 Fax: 410-651-9652 Manna e-mail: manna@wolc.org Joy! 102.5 e-mail: wolc@wolc.org ©2011 Maranatha, Inc. May not be reproduced without written consent of Maranatha, Inc. Photos: iStockphoto and Big Stock Photo

Maranatha Media | Home of Joy! 102.5 and the Manna


Signals Hope When we look around at our world, it’s often very hard to be hopeful. It’s hard to be hopeful in people when our senses are constantly assaulted by stories of the horrible things they do to each other and to themselves. It’s easier to be dismayed—and wonder how better sense will prevail to see our world through coming challenges and potentially dire times. The world around us can be a mean, messy, and nasty place. But Scripture tells us we are not of this world. Yes, we walk in it, work in it, and live in it, but our hearts and minds, as Christians, are not of this place—they are eternally-focused. Hope simply isn’t easy. But hope is tied to faith. You can’t trust God and remain without hope—your hope is in Him. Chuck Swindoll says in Hope Again that hope is as essential to life as water is to a fish, as electricity is to a light bulb. Without hope, we have no purpose, no usefulness, no direction. Swindoll says that one of the secrets of godly living “in the midst of a godless world involves the way we conduct ourselves hour by hour through the day.” He points to Peter’s advice that we live our lives as strangers here in reverent fear (let’s say “reverence” to keep it simpler) of Him. Swindoll explains that means “if we are going to address God as Father, then we should conduct ourselves on earth in a way that reflects our reverence for Him as our Father.” And that includes implicitly trusting Him, which translates into hope. We can’t with our lips profess to trust Him, without claiming the Hope of His Promises. Put a bit more simply: we can’t claim

to be a child of God and continue to hang on to the worries of this world. Swindoll writes, “I’m convinced that the battle with this world is a battle within the mind. Our minds are major targets of the Enemy’s appeal. When the world pulls back its bowstring, our minds are the bullseyes. Any arrows we allow to become impaled in our minds will ultimately poison our thoughts. And if we tolerate this long enough, we’ll end up acting out what we think.” To counteract that poison, to deal with the seduction of the cosmos and the world around us, Swindoll urges that we must focus on Christ—not the problems of the world. Our focus on those problems would result in a state of hopelessness—our focus on Him is what cements our Hope. Each of us must make deliberate decisions about the condition of our mind—our attitude. When we get up each day, we have to decide that it’s going to be a good and hopeful day. That may not always be easy, but it is the deliberate decision to be made despite the significant problems we may face each day. Hope is a choice. It’s an option that, when based on faith in our Lord and Savior, says, “I’m choosing the hope of Christ”—and He will prevail. On behalf of each of us at Joy! 102.5 and the Manna—may you choose Him and be filled with His Hope this Christmas! Debbie Byrd is General Manager of Maranatha, Inc., a ministry that includes Joy! 102.5 and the Manna.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | December 2011

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On the Air Christ-Centered Christmas On the air this month, you’re hearing the sounds of Christmas! You’ll hear traditional Christmas songs that we’re all familiar with, along with some new Christmas tunes from artists like Big Daddy Weave, Francesca Battistelli, Mandisa, Smalltown Poets, Newsboys, BarlowGirl, and many more. No matter whether they’re traditional, remakes, or new releases, you can be assured that the songs we’ve selected are Christ-centered Christmas songs. We’ll be playing mostly all Christmas music throughout the entire month. And this year, we will present 60 hours of uninterrupted Christmas music beginning at 10 AM on Christmas Eve and continuing through midnight Monday, December 26th. During these hours of continuous music, we will be pre-empting all our normal programming for those three days. This has become a listener favorite over the past several years, and we continue the tradition this Christmas as our gift to you! So be sure to let Joy! 102.5 fill your home with

the non-stop, Christ-honoring sounds of Christmas this year. And, while 2011 is winding down, the on-air team here at WOLC is working hard getting ready for a new year of Christ-centered, family-friendly programming. We are excited about the coming year as we strive to continue to be a source of encouragement and hope found in Christ Jesus. As always, we consider it a privilege to hear from you. Your feedback is truly helpful to us as we choose the music and programs that are played here on Joy! 102.5. When you hear a song or program that you’re glad we’re playing—let us know. Likewise, if we’re playing something you don’t care for, we’d like to hear about that as well. We welcome your calls, e-mails, and Facebook comments. Thank you for listening and supporting Joy! 102.5! From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas and the happiest New Year ahead! Rodney Baylous is Program Director of Joy! 102.5. Visit www.wolc.org.

Listen Now! Check out our Program Guide at wolc.org

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | December 2011

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ŠiStockphoto.com/chestnutphoto


A New Hopeful By Josh Millwood

If

you had everything you ever wanted or needed, you would be hopeless. You would have nothing to hope for. Everything would be perfect, so there would be no need for hope. Hope is a remedy for the absence of. Hope happens when there is a need, not when all is well. So, in our culture, most of us strive to be hopeless rather than hopeful. To be hopeful would mean accepting the present as a time of incompletion. Rather, we strive to fill the void—to be independent, self-sustained, totally copacetic, and without the need for hope. Hope is irrevocably tied to faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hope is about giving up and trusting God will keep His promises (and they are many!). Giving up is usually not what we teach our kids to do. If you fall off your bike, get back up and try again. Failed your spelling test? Let’s study harder! Driving test didn’t go so well? I guess you need more practice. Try, try, try, and try again. That’s how we do things. It’s one of the fundamental ways we learn and grow. But sometimes God wants us to give up. Surrender ultimately leads to fulfilled hope, but it is often a painful process. Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. According to the internet, that person might have been Albert Einstein or Benjamin Franklin, but no one really knows for certain. I don’t think it was either of them for the simple fact that according to that definition, both would have to be insane. Einstein was a theorist. He would repeat experiments ad nauseum to find out if there were any exceptions. Benjamin Franklin was a politician. If we’ve learned anything about politicians it’s that they love to do the same things over and over (accomplishing nothing and then spending millions of dollars

on advertising showing how they stuck to their guns...okay, this is going nowhere good). We might all be a little insane, because we constantly repeat ourselves hoping for a better outcome. Hope is often the key to our decisions, especially the ones made without having all of the facts or when outcomes will be completely out of our control. So much of life is the exact opposite of what our senses tell us. Jesus made that point by saying, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” Jesus was a master at alienating people. Who would want to daily die and suffer? Yet those of us who have experienced Christ know that real life doesn’t truly begin until we completely die to this world. Perhaps Jesus’s most famous sermon was the Sermon on the Mount. The beatitudes in Matthew outline a frustrating message to people who were hoping for a powerful champion to free them from the tyranny of Rome. Much of His message was to accept that, in this life, things are not going to be perfect. He went so far as to call the persecuted, poor, and humble blessed because in their need they could have hope. Ultimately, our hope in Jesus Christ will be fulfilled and then some. To be lowly in this world seems a small price to pay for eternal glory, but that hasn’t stopped many of us from pursuing all this world has to offer. The choice we have isn’t really between hope and hopelessness. It is more a choice between now and eternity. To choose eternity doesn’t mean we are doomed to a miserable existence here and now, but that our hearts are focused elsewhere. To live in hope is a scary proposition. It is a risk. But it is worth it. Merry Christmas and may your New Year be filled with hope.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | December 2011

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Scott’s Furniture in Bridegeville would like to thank WOLC, its’ founders, Directors, Management and Staff for 35 years of significant & powerful ministry to Delmarva. Scott’s Furniture is proud to be a 35 year sponsor of WOLC, Joy! 102.5 and the Manna!

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emember all of those “firsts”? The first day of big kid school, the first big kid bike, the first sleepover, first time behind the wheel, first date, first job, first home, first baby...And from there, life seems to jumble together like some green slime from a Nickelodeon game show. The kids were just in preschool and somehow they’re now half-grown. Your husband is thinning on top and you’re not quite as thin as you used to be. Years go by and it’s easy to come to a point when you look behind with more fondness and longing than looking ahead. I recently heard a radio pastor say, “The day you believe your best days are behind you is the day you begin to die.” Am I dying? Now that I think about it, I guess I am. When I began to settle for routine, busyness, and status quo instead of dreaming—that was a death of sorts. It’s easy to slip into life on autopilot. I used to shake my head at high school friends who would talk about their previous weekend’s exploits and begin making next weekend’s plans on Monday. Can’t help but hum

Rebecca Black’s often-criticized, simple song, “Friday.” Gettin’ down on Friday. Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend. Partyin’, partyin’, yeah! Truthfully, that TGIF mentality isn’t something that we grow out of. It’s actually more apparent in our adult lives. We can’t wait for the weekend because we are overwhelmed by work, kids, disappointments, and pure exhaustion. The holidays often provide us a little more time for things outside of work and everyday life, yet bring a different set of stressors and family expectations. Sometimes having the holidays over gives us a sense of relief. Living for the weekend seems like too small a thing to hope for. So, what’s next? There is more. But actually having to know the answer to the question “What’s next?” is a barrier that gets in the way of finding true hope. The way we use the word “hope” in our everyday language is just some nebulous anticipation of a good thing to happen in our future. Biblical hope is entrusting our lives to the unseen. It’s not about what to do or where to go, it’s about knowing the One who holds our future.


©iStockphoto.com/KVMithani

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Childhood Dreams By Keyanna Butts

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emember when you were a child and you wanted to be an astronaut when you grew up? Then in grade school, you wanted to be a professional athlete. In high school you had more sophisticated aspirations and wanted to be a marine biologist. By college you had a better sense of what was actually attainable for you in life, and those childhood fantasies turned into more practical ambitions. So you go on to pursue a degree in English. But what happened to those childhood dreams? Did our passions really change? Or, as we grew older, did we force ourselves to accept more probable aspirations, suppressing those childhood fantasies until they are just laughable “remember when” memories? Within each of us are lost passions. The things we once hoped to do, the individual we once hoped to become, and the lifestyle we once hoped to live, for some reason or another, we gave up. For some of us, that reason was age. When we were young, the naivety of our mind gave us the ability to dream big and believe that we would obtain what we hoped for. Our world was without boundaries and filled with endless possibilities. Unfortunately, as we grew older, knowledge gained from life’s experiences put limitations on our visions and forced us to reshape, redirect, or outright disregard these desires. We called it “being realistic.” But the truth is, we lost hope in our dreams. And we settled. When we give up on our dreams or shape them according to what we think we are mentally, physically, and financially capable of doing, there is no need for hope. And only pursuing

passions that are feasible diminishes our need for God. Romans 8:24 explains that hope that is seen is not hope at all; for if you can see it, why hope for it? God loves doing the impossible. Unfortunately, we rarely give Him the opportunity to do so. God makes it very clear through His Word that He is not bound by time (i.e. age) nor the laws of this world (i.e. reality). One of the greatest biblical examples of this is the story of Abraham and Sarah. God told Abraham that his wife Sarah would have a son. Although Sarah had always desired to give her husband a child, she was barren, and on top of that, she was 90 years old and Abraham was 100 years old. Despite the facts of their reality, Abraham stayed hopeful and believed God. And sure enough, Isaac was conceived. Many of us could not even fathom having a child past 60 years old, let alone 90 years old. But if you tell the story of Abraham and Sarah to a child, the element of age is not a significant factor because they are not knowledgeable of the physical limitations of conception at 90 years old. Thus, in the mind of an adult, the situation seems impossible, but in the eyes of a child it appears achievable. That is the beauty of the hope of a child—it is limitless. The Word of God not only declares that God will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4), but also proclaims that He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at work in us (Ephesians 3:20). With God, we do not have to settle for less than we desire. With God, we can achieve every dream imaginable. With God, let’s reignite a child-like hope and re-embark on forgotten passions.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | December 2011

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Merry CHRISTmas Seek H i m


Damage Control By Karen Tull

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ave you ever heard the expression that someone “just opened a Pandora’s box”? Apparently, whatever was done or said ended up bringing about a series of negative repercussions. The origin of the phrase actually comes from a Greek myth about the daughter of Zeus, whose name is Pandora. According to the story, Zeus gives his daughter a little box with a heavy lock and makes her promise to never open it. He then gives Pandora’s husband the key, and he, too, must promise not to open the box. Zeus, however, secretly wishing to exact revenge on his son-in-law, is sure that curiosity will eventually prompt him to look inside. But Pandora is the one who succumbs to temptation. One day, while her husband is sleeping, she steals the key and unlocks the forbidden box. To her horror, out of the box flies every kind of vile thing—hate, crime, envy, and disease. Pandora shuts the lid, but it is too late, as the bad elements had all escaped out into the world. Her husband wakes up and rushes over to his sobbing wife, who opens the lid to show him the empty box and what had happened. But it is not totally empty. Before she can close the lid again, out into the atmosphere quickly flutters one tiny remaining particle: hope. While this myth is precisely that—purely mythical—there was, in fact, a time when nothing bad existed in creation. The Bible says that after God created the heavens and the earth, He called everything He had made “good.” Nothing was blemished or defiled. All was perfect and right, reflecting the character of the Creator.

But when Adam and Eve decided to disobey their Father, they opened a Pandora’s box. Sin entered the world for the first time and breached the holiness of creation, thereby severing the harmony between a righteous God and fallen man. The curse of death was unleashed, the damage done—and sin has been wreaking havoc ever since. God, however, being the loving Father He is, did not want to leave us dead in our sin. So, He sent hope down into a hopeless world. And here is that hope: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7). Jesus Christ came to this earth to rescue what was lost when sin entered the picture. Through His sacrifice on the cross, the gap has been bridged so that we can now access a holy God through Christ, when before, it had been completely impossible. There is absolutely nothing we can do apart from accepting Christ that will save us. Perhaps some of us are banking on having more tally marks in the “good” column than the “bad” one when it’s all said and done, as if God were keeping a cosmic score card. Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that we stand before Christ totally bankrupt. Eternal life cannot be earned—it is a gift freely offered if we would just accept it. Then, and only then, can we truly have hope in this world.

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Growing Apples By B.A. Timmons

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he kids would not let the day at the festival pass without making a return trip to the orchard. After our hay ride, we noticed a fellow setting up to give a talk about growing apples. Always eager to learn something new, we sat ourselves down in two rows. Within the first few minutes, it became apparent that this man knew his apples. He wasn’t just a grower, he was a scientist. The gist of the discussion was simple: how to grow good apples. I was vaguely familiar with grafting, but soon I learned that I knew less than I even thought. The question came up, “What do you get if you take a good apple and plant its seeds?” The disappointing answer is that you don’t know what you will get. Most likely it will be a small, sour, crab apple-looking thing not worthy of consumption. So how do you grow an apple tree that will produce good

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apples? According to this apple-grower, you take a bud from a branch which you observe to be producing the apple you desire, and graft it into a root stock of an apple tree which has the root structure you desire. This is a little befuddling—left to nature and without the intervention of the grower, the production of fruit by new apple trees would be hit and miss. So much for the expression “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I would like to think that an apple tree could reproduce on its own. It isn’t that an apple tree grown from a seed won’t produce fruit. It will. It just won’t produce desirous fruit. It is hard to mention physical fruit without thinking of spiritual fruit. On my own, I have no hope of producing good fruit. I will produce something, but it won’t be fit for consumption. My only hope is to become a new creation altogether. God must re-create me from a good root with a branch grafted in from a tree known to produce good fruit. That tree is Christ. And that branch will grow into a tree whose branches will produce fruit which is the life of Christ. As for my part? It is to recognize that my only hope is in the wise hands of the Tree Grower. 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

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here are those who say that lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection. I always wonder if they have ever heard the story of the Syrophoenician woman. Jesus was on his way to a place where no one would recognize him. From the chaos of Jerusalem and the crowds of Galilee he withdrew to the region of Tyre. According to one of his disciples, when he had entered a house, he wanted no one to know of it. Yet, he did not escape notice. A Gentile woman of the Syrophoenician race immediately fell at his feet and began to cry out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But he did not answer her a word. In the lives of those who believe in God, rejection is a difficult pill to swallow; moreover, many former believers tell a story of a silent or unconcerned God on whom they eventually gave up. Even if we can

reckon that God is not rejecting us personally, it is hard to square, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away” or “whatever you ask for in my name, I will do” with the barren silence of years of praying for a child. Or the slamming of a door that held a real and certain hope; or the wordless dismissal of a mother brought to her knees. The rejection is indeed personal. But this woman at Jesus’s feet did not turn away at the first sign of his refusal. She was not deterred by the disciples’ request that she be sent away, nor was she convinced to cease her plea after the harsh words that finally broke Jesus’s silence: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Being a Gentile, she was not one of them. Lesser rejections have certainly brought me to a crumbled mess. Yet even this was not a thought that would dissuade her. Speaking again, she pled once more, “Lord, help me!” This is precisely the place in the inter-


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Rejection and Relationship by Jill Carattini

change where I can no longer remain comfortable, imagining what it feels like to be truly helpless before someone you know can help you, imagining what it feels like—even then—to be told “no.” Still, Matthew recounts the story: “And Jesus answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (15:26-27). Her persistence, her vulnerability—her desperation—is more than most typically give anyone. There is a line in the book of Hosea where God laments the presence of those who wail upon their beds but do not cry out to God from their hearts. In the brave voice of woman silenced by the world around her, I wonder if she is not the answer to this lament. If prayer is the pillar of a relationship that is being built with one who knows us better than we know ourselves, how deeply rooted are the pillars of hope and love that have never been driven again and again into the ground? Perhaps there are times when rejection drives us deeper and we plunge further into faith, into the sheer earnestness of our request, into the presence of the God who is there. I don’t know why there are some prayers we need to repeat exhaustively. I don’t know why there are some who seem to live lifetimes marked by the sting of rejected pleas. But I know

that it is often the one who has learned to wrestle through denied petitions who also seems to exhibit a tender depth in her relationship with the one who hears; the one who God has given a chance to speak, to know her own voice and to be heard, who comes to value the conversation. I know that somehow even in rejection seems the hope of something understood. At the close of the Syrophoenician woman’s final petition, Jesus turned to her with a response that overfilled the depths of her own rejection with the certainty of a relationship: “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia Rejection and Relationship by Jill Carattini, A Slice of Infinity, No. 2602, orignally printed November 28, 2011 (www.rzim.org). Used by permission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | December 2011

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No Reservations

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By Karen Tull

A

while back, I was standing in a check-out line behind this one particular man. The woman working the cash register seemed quite frazzled. While scanning each of his items, she was talking to herself about her crazy shift schedule, bills, and other worries plaguing her mind, as though no one else were around. As the man paid for his things, he looked at her and said softly but with confidence, “The Lord says to cast your cares on Him. I know He is going to handle all of that for you.” I glanced up at the woman. What would be her response? Expecting some sort of grunt or sarcastic remark, I was surprised when I saw her countenance brighten and heard her say, “You know, that’s true. I think you’re right. Thank you.” And the man smiled and then went on his way. Now that’s how it’s done, I thought. It had just flowed right out of him. No hesitation. If there had been a battle going on inside his head as to whether or not he should say something, it didn’t show. He testified about the Lord not knowing what her reaction would be. In fact, he could have very well been opening himself up to get blasted verbally, but he obviously was willing to take that chance. (Had that actually happened, however, my guess is that he still would have smiled and walked away peacefully.) I felt convicted about my own lack of maturity and boldness as a Christian. I knew for certain that I wouldn’t have said anything if I had been the one standing there as she was stewing about her problems. Sure, I probably would have come up with a gem such as, “That sounds rough.” But in light of what could be said in such a scenario—something with spiritual value and real meaning, like what the man had said—it would have been a blown opportunity. Have you ever had one of those? Maybe there was a prime moment for you to mention Christ and it was right there on the

tip of your tongue. All you had to do was say it. But you didn’t. Something was holding you back. You waited, the moment passed, and then you felt like you had let the Lord down. I think we’ve all been there, and it’s not the best feeling. I had one of those experiences in a dentist’s chair. A couple years ago, I went to see my doctor for some jaw pain I was having. I didn’t get much help, so I decided to do what I should have done initially—I asked the Lord to touch my jaw and take the discomfort away. The next day, it was gone. I knew very well that my dentist was going to ask about it during my next visit and that it would be a great opportunity to testify about what the Lord had done for me. Admittedly, I was somewhat nervous about it and decided to rehearse what I would say. But when the moment came, I choked. “So, you say your jaw pain’s all gone?” he asked. The Lord healed me, I thought. Just say it. The Lord healed me. Eventually I muttered it out but in so faint a voice that it was practically inaudible. I knew for sure he hadn’t heard me when he said with a laugh, “Hey, sometimes you just gotta take an Advil and fahgit about it!” Fail. Why is it so hard sometimes to acknowledge Christ publicly? Perhaps it’s the fear of offending or the thought of being rebuked and then embarrassed in front of other people. But we are called to never hide the Light under a bushel. Scripture says that “as you go, make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) and “do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:8). I recently heard it said that, as believers, praise should flow as naturally and as frequently as breathing. That means every single moment, both public and private, is an opportunity to boast in the Lord and speak to His goodness, whether it be in the check-out line, dentist’s chair, or any other mundane place we find ourselves. It may require dying to our insecurities, but with Christ’s help, we can be bold for Him everywhere we go.


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Unfiltered

Think Out Loud

with his failed attempt to decorate his pitiful tree. But out of that a beautiful thing happens. His seeking and acceptance of the truth has begun to impact those around him, and the whole gang acknowledges the moment singing “…glory to the newborn King.”

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Charles Shultz In 1965, with just a few months to complete the task, Bill Melendez, Charles Schulz, and Vince Guaraldi created a 25 minute animated cartoon with a simple message that has endured for 44 years. The project was sponsored by Coca-Cola, who intended to sell Coke, but inadvertently produced two timeless phenomena. To everyone’s surprise, Vince Guaraldi pulled off the unlikely task of making a jazz soundtrack enjoyable to children, and created an album that can make a jazz fan out of any adult. “Linus & Lucy” became the theme song for Peanuts. “Christmas Time is Here” became a Christmas music staple. But a phenomenon of eternal significance occurred when Charlie Brown poses a simple question whose answer escapes all the Peanuts characters but Linus. In the midst of practicing for the Christmas pageant, he solemnly recites the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke while illuminated by a symbolic spot light. Linus concludes with “and that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” Apparently Schulz insisted on the scene staying in the final cut, reportedly saying “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” He succeeded in bringing the gospel to millions. Schulz’s straightforward manner of sharing the gospel of Christ is a lesson to behold. It involves one who is seeking an answer, one who has encountered light, and the sharing of that truth in a simple fashion. No great persuasive arguments, no fanfare, no tugging at emotional heartstrings, and no awkward discomfort. Linus simply says “Charlie Brown, you asked, and I believe this is your answer. Christmas is about the birth of our Savior.” As Charlie Brown embraces that truth, it has an immediate effect on him and his view of the world. He stumbles a little

The Story: Various Artists Multi-Dove Award winners Nichole Nordeman and Bernie Herms co-wrote this entire saga of Bible stories-turned-songs, based on Zondervan’s The Story. The songs themselves are performed by Christian music’s biggest hit makers: Brandon Heath, Matthew West, Casting Crowns, Bart Millard, Francesca Battistelli, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, and many, many more. But the songs are much more than just Bible stories put to music—they tell about the hearts of real people, from the perspective of the actual Bible characters. Instead of being a narrative, each song is like a glimpse into the private journals of a variety of individuals and families in the Old and New Testaments. Adam and Eve beg for forgiveness after being tossed from paradise. Abraham and Sarah marvel at having a child in their old age. Moses admits his weaknesses. The double-disc set takes the listener from the genesis of the world to Christ’s triumphant return (powerfully sung by Michael W. Smith and Darlene Zschech). In particular, the Old Testament songs shed light on the relationship of God to the founders of our faith. This album had every chance to be a corny Bible musical but it is relentless in its honesty. Musically it is deep, rich and modern. Lyrically it will leave you weeping. These reviews are provided by Maranatha, Inc. staff and contributing writers. wolc.org | readthemanna.org | December 2011

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