the Manna | July 2010
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the Manna | July 2010
Columns 09 | Signals 11 | On the Air 31 | Perspective
Features 12 | Great Expectations God sees us differently than the world does.
15 | Made to be Broken
20 | Divinity and Dirty Hands
Stay in Touch
Retaining and nurturing our childlike instincts.
24 | Renew Where You Are Performing our calling with greater excellence.
28 | Tripped Up
Things arenâ€™t always what they seem.
Extras 26 | Unfiltered
The beautiful concept of redemption.
16 | Free to Fail? Failings donâ€™t make people failures.
wolc.org | readthemanna.org | July 2010
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the Manna | A Publication of Maranatha, Inc. Editor-In-Chief: Debbie Byrd Contributing Editor: Randy Walter Creative Director: Joe Willey Contributing Writers: Brent Timmons, Karen Tull, Josh Millwood Media Client Liaisons: Jay Prouse, Rob Brunk
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!
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org Joy! 102.5 e-mail: email@example.com ©2010 Maranatha, Inc. May not be reproduced without written consent of Maranatha, Inc. Photos: iStockphoto and Big Stock Photo
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Signals A Different Word Perhaps it is only a reflection of my perspective, but there is very little in the Bible about failure. Sure, people fall short, and always will. Even defining failure is difficult. Is it failure to make a costly error? Is it a failure to struggle as a businessman, ultimately closing the doors during bad economic times? Is it failure to be sick? Is it failure if your children aren’t model citizens? Or do we fail only when we know what we ought to do and do wrong anyway. Lying. Cheating. Stealing. Grieving God. Maybe, it’s only failure if we can’t learn from it and we just go on lying, cheating, stealing and grieving God. Isaiah 42:23 asks, “Will not even one of you apply these lessons from the past and see the ruin that awaits you?” A discussion of failure can be a slippery slope. But a discussion on perspective or attitude in the face of failure can be an encouragement, an inspiration. Isaiah also tells us, in 43:18-19, “Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not see? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” What an attitude changing perspective! What’s done is done. Learn from it. Move forward. Simple stuff, right? Chuck Swindoll in his Wisdom for the Way, writes, “When will we ever learn that there are no hopeless situations, only people who have grown hopeless about them? What appears as an unsolvable problem to us is actually a rather exhilarating challenge. People who inspire others
are those who see invisible bridges at the end of dead-end streets.” David Aikman has said, “Virtue, after all, often consists not so much in the absence of fault altogether as in the speed and grace with which fault is recognized and corrected.” Failure is a only a word. We can reject it. We can see less than stellar situations as challenges or opportunities to learn, to grow, to make something better. Myra and Shelley in their Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham, quote Herbert Procknow: “People who see failure as the enemy are captive to those who conquer it…the fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does.” They go on to say, “Observe any achiever, and you’ll discover a person who doesn’t see a mistake as the enemy.” So maybe it’s time to simply stop using the word. (Failure.) Let us rather differentiate between unrighteousness and righteousness. On living a holy, godly life. That sounds difficult, maybe even impossible, but living a holy, righteous life, isn’t impossible. And God values it, because it reflects Him. And that’s success. Debbie Byrd is General Manager of Maranatha, Inc., a ministry that includes Joy! 102.5 and the Manna.
wolc.org | readthemanna.org | July 2010
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On the Air Amazing Journey A crumbling economy, wars without end, new health risks, security threats, and more – the media gives us a constant stream of reasons to be afraid. But what if God’s people shined a light of eternal hope right into the face of this world’s temporary circumstances? That’s the compelling idea behind Fearless, the tenth studio album from one of today’s most respected Christian vocal groups, Phillips, Craig & Dean. Uniquely gifted and positioned in their dual roles as musicians and full-time senior pastors in three different U.S. cities, Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig and Dan Dean know well the current struggles people face and are boldly taking the opportunity to respond to them in life and song. With nearly 20 years in the music industry, more than 2 millions records sold, 19 number one songs and countless lives changed, the group says they never could
have imagined the success they’ve had. “If you told me we’d still have an audience after all these years, I’d be stunned,” says Randy Phillips. “That’s just God. We are so grateful.” “It’s pretty amazing,” agrees Shawn Craig. “I count these guys as true friends and love this journey.” “We were just working in our churches, doing what we do, not even really looking for this,” adds Dan Dean. “Then God said, ‘Buckle your seat belt. Have I got plans for you!’” Be sure to listen for “Great Are You Lord,” the latest release from Fearless currently in rotation right here on Joy! 102.5. 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 | July 2010
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o you ever get the impression that the world loves to zero in on failure? Most days when we turn on the TV or open the paper, we’re bombarded by some kind of news about the recent downfall of a seemingly reputable public figure, be he or she an athlete, politician, company executive or pop star. While a few can manage to “rehab” their images by announcing they’re in treatment or having a tearful interview with Oprah, the overall attention and scrutiny directed at them makes it clear that the world does not tolerate failure; rather, it has very high expectations. God, too, has very high expectations. After all, Jesus said, “Therefore you are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” The standard for living doesn’t
get any higher than that. But while God and the world expect much, the expectations are entirely different – and only One tempers His with mercy. The world tells us that we have to achieve, and achievement means wealth, prestige and power. Being desirable means looking a certain way, as portrayed to us in magazines and movies. The world advises that we purchase specific gadgets to organize our lives... iPhones, iPads, iPods, iWhatevers. “You need these things,” the world conveys. “This is how people in a modern society should live!” God sees life differently... He sees us differently. God looks at our heart, knowing it is imperfect but loving us in spite of it. He takes us as we are – wrinkles, warts, and all – and offers the invitation to come
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to Him through Jesus Christ. In choosing the Lord, we’re picked up, cleaned up and given chance after chance. While the world wants the perfect and polished product right now, God works to gradually mold us into that image which speaks perfection to Him. And when we screw up (which we all invariably do), we can find security in knowing we won’t be tossed aside. When we look around us, however, there is anything but security. We live in a place of turbulence and constant change. One day you’re an integral employee at the office, the next day you’re handed a pink slip. One day you’re driving your car, the next day you’re watching the floodwaters carry it away. One day you’re a successful waterman, the next day your livelihood is ruined because of an oil spill.
Life often brings problems and perplexities without any solutions. But when we trust in God and rest our future in His hands, we are granted freedom from the worry and fear. Our lives take on a stability that the world can’t provide. Not only does God promise future rewards, He gives us help for now. So, when you feel beleaguered by the world, when you’ve not measured up according to its barometer, when you’ve been labeled a failure, understand that the Lord sees your true worth and stands ready to redeem you and make your life one of authentic purpose and meaning. In God’s eyes, the one and only way to fail is simply to refuse Him.
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Made to be Broken By Josh Millwood
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dam had it made! A perfect world, created for him to tend and enjoy. A perfect wife, made-to-order. No dress code. And, most importantly, a one-on-one relationship with God! Imagine having God over for dinner. Think of the conversation! God: So Adam, how was your day? Adam: Well, I named some more of those creatures in the garden. God: What’d you pick? Adam: Well, after coming up with “lion” I got on a roll. Let’s see, there’s “turtle” and “giraffe… God: I like that one! “Giraffe.” Sort of rolls off the tongue. Adam: Yeah, it’s one of my best, I think. But I’m stuck on the big one with the ears. I can’t decide between “gonzo” or “elephant.” God: My first reaction to “gonzo” is just whatever, but I could live with “elephant.” Ok, I’m sure God and Adam had more important conversations than that, but the point is they could and did talk about everything! They had a perfect, intimate relationship. They were Creator and created – but also friends. God made Adam in His own image, so that they could relate to one another, but He also made Adam with the ability to ruin everything for the rest of us. Why would God make a perfect world, but then give his Creation the opportu-
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nity to ruin it? Seriously, I don’t have the answer. But through our failure, God took the opportunity to create something new. Instead of creating water or land or some better creature, He created a concept: redemption. For something to be re-deemed, it must have once been perfect, suffered through failure, and then made perfect again. That concept is just flat out beautiful! We were made to be failures apart from God. Without Him we aren’t who or what we are created to be – which is God’s perfect Creation. Paul wrote in Romans 7, “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway… Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus is our ticket out of brokenness. Despite our failure to be what we are created to be, God created The Way back to perfection. Often times it is easy to think of God’s actions as past tense. He created. He delivered. He saved. He did this and that – in the past. But God is still creating! He creates perfection in each of us who follow His Son. The act of creation makes God happy. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. If God found joy and satisfaction in making us perfectly to begin with, how much more does He love making us right with Him again? Just like our souls ache to be with our Creator, perhaps our Creator misses those dinner conversations with His friends.
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herefore you are to be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus told the crowd who heard the Sermon on the Mount. What a requirement! Was Jesus allowing no room for human shortcomings, or was He raising the bar so people would try harder? What did He mean by “perfect”? Jesus knew it was impossible for people to be without sin. By “perfect” He meant spiritually mature and complete, conformed to the pattern of God. He instructed the people to be light in a dark world by pursuing excellence, and to be the salt of the earth – seasoning which leaves a pleasant taste. Will people fail in the pursuit of perfection? Naturally. Is failing an option? Its inevitability is not an excuse. There is a difference between failing at a task and being a failure in life. The word “fail” means to be unsuccessful in meeting a goal. It implies a missed opportunity, the inability to engage, or a preexisting mindset of defeat. People can fail without being failures. The word “failure” is loaded with emotion. It is a characterization rather than a condition. Many famous achievers were initially considered failures. Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything,” yet by age 21 he held more than 1,000 patents. He invented the phonograph, motion picture camera and incandescent light. He tried 1,000 elements before discovering a workable filament for his light bulb. A reporter once asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times. He replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Young Abraham Lincoln’s business ventures were unsuccessful. As an attorney he was considered impractical and temperamental. He was defeated numerous times when he ran for public office. As the nation’s 16th President, he was savagely ridiculed in the press and blamed for causing the Civil War. But posterity remembers him as the Great Emancipator who freed the slaves and preserved the Union. Baseball legend Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs – a record which lasted for decades. He also struck out 1,330 times – another record. He quipped, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
These men were far from failures, even though they failed at times. Truth is, all men experience failings. Mortal man’s limitations render him perpetually short of perfection.
GOD’S REQUIREMENT What about God’s requirement to be perfect? For Him to excuse anything less would necessitate lowering His standards, and His judgments would no longer be true and righteous. When men appear before Him to account for how they spent their lives on Earth, how can they defend a life of failings? Part of God’s beauty is that He saw this paradox coming. The Bible says He is all-knowing. When He created Adam and Eve, He knew they and all men after them would fail. And before that ever happened, God knew what He would do about it. The book of Revelation describes Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” the entire sacrifice God required to see men as perfect despite their failings. God planned man’s pardon before a single offense was committed. The only condition is, men must actively accept this reprieve. It is offered to all, but not everyone receives it. Although first used to promote the invention of the phonograph, “the gift that keeps on giving” is an apt description of what the Bible calls God’s “indescribable gift,” His Son Jesus who was given to men for the forgiveness of sin. When a man receives this gift, he also gets God’s plan of redemption which brings wholeness to the soul – man’s intellectual, moral and emotional center. It is a chain reaction whose beginnings are often obscured from family and friends. Just as the physical body heals from the inside out, so does the soul. Although outward appearances do not change right away, restoration is at work on the inside. That is why Paul wrote to “judge nothing before the appointed time.” A man who accepts God’s gift of forgiveness cannot afford to be impatient with himself. He may fail in his attempt to stop a bad habit or cut off an area of disobedience. While he cannot presume on God’s grace by continuing to indulge his old ways, he can bring his failings to God and appeal for help in becoming mature and complete. Continued on page 19
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Free to Fail? Continued from page 17
SALVATION This is the true intent of “salvation.” It means being rescued. Just as marine salvagers retrieve the valuable cargoes of sunken ships, God’s gift of redemption revives the original nature He put in man. It is a metamorphosis which overcomes decadence as it energizes goodness. Eventually, evidence surfaces on the outside – the outer reflection of an inner transformation. This is the work of God’s Spirit who accompanies Christ into a man’s heart. “’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool,’” God declares in Isaiah 1:18. That is the security not to be perfect. Failing is an inescapable reality of life. James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote that everyone stumbles in many things. The
Bible is full of characters who failed while attempting to obey God. Yet from Abraham to the apostles, those who lived by faith finished well. In the end, their lives were not failures. Being a failure is more than possessing flaws and falling short of God’s standard of perfection. It connotes a pattern of recalcitrance, disgrace, personal habits which undermine success, an entitlement mindset, laziness, selfishness and excuses. It may have nothing to do with education or intelligence; it is an attitude of resignation toward life. Ultimately, a lifetime ends in failure when a person refuses God’s indescribable gift – forgiveness through Christ for failing to be perfect. Randy Walter is Contributing Editor to the Manna.
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Divinity and Dirty Hands By Jill Carattini
Maranatha Media | Home of Joy! 102.5 and the Manna
irty hands are quickly given a bad rap. Children are born ready to dig into the mess before them, to experience the sandbox by getting it under their fingernails and in between their toes, and to delight in life by generally getting it all over themselves. But it does not take long before we learn that dirty fingers and messy faces are not acceptable, that jumping into mud puddles to experience the rain will almost always come with a reprimand, and that finger-painting is for babies who have not yet graduated to more refined utensils. Moving from child to adult seems to involve cleaning up one’s act in more ways than one. The apostles utilized metaphors of childhood in their letters to newly believing communities. Paul compares our knowledge of God to the process of learning: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:11-12). Peter similarly encourages new believers to grow in love and knowledge: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 1:2-3). It is easy to read both of these examples and conclude that the ways of children are behaviors we are being told to outgrow. It is easy to allow our negative perspectives on what is “childish” to inform the way we receive these exhortations involving what is “childlike.” Yet far from speaking of childhood negatively, Paul is comparing our current understanding and vision of God to that of a child’s, which will encouragingly grow clearer on the day we stand before God face to face. Similarly, Peter is not urging us to grow out of our newborn hunger, but on the contrary is calling us to grow further into it. There are indeed some things in childhood that God would not have us to abandon with age! Here, I cannot help but wonder how much of life we forego as we misplace the instinct of getting our hands dirty, and instead learn to perceive the world in detached and more acceptable ways. I believe the same can said of faith. Have we not missed out on things of the kingdom,
things of God and of Christ, because we have so ossified faith into something that only touches spirit or mind, and not hands, feet and body? Have we not failed to move farther up and further into the kingdom because we see this kingdom as something distant—a future hope for a future life—instead of something dynamically here and among us, calling us to a fully-engaged, hands-dirtying existence? “I tell you the truth,” Jesus told disciples and onlookers alike, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Neither Christ nor the kingdom He came to make known is a static entity, something that mattered long ago and might matter once again, but not here and now in this life as we know it. On the contrary, all of history, the stories of salvation and the incarnation itself, remind us that God is far more hands-on than this. The Lamb of God very physically took away the sins of the world. And with a God who is willing to become flesh and dwell among us, who is willing and able to stand as the gate to another world, what makes us believe that we would be called to a faith that is anything less than handson as well? Even in His last days, Christ did not merely leave us with instructions to remember Him as a figure in history. He told us to remember Him, gave us a meal, and left us with a way to bodily take in the kingdom and the story he proclaimed again and again. Christ has truly given us permission to touch, to experience, to jump completely into the great and wonderful kingdom in which God reigns. In this kingdom, we can be as children who delight in knowing life with dirty hands, who like Thomas need the invitation to touch, and like Paul see the need to give mind, soul, and body to the one who gave us all of Himself. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. Divinity and Dirty Hands by Jill Carattini, A Slice of Infinity, No. 2224, orignally printed June 16, 2010 (www. rzim.org). Used by permission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
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mong its many definitions, “failure” means compromising one’s core beliefs. In Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, Polonius delivers the time-honored maxim, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” This adage seems lost in the moral relativism of today. Increasingly, people adjust their personal principles to go along and get along. Cultures decline when unshakable beliefs are negotiable and revered institutions become the target of disrespect and ridicule. In matters of faith, this is deadly: Reliance on absolute truth is exchanged for popularity and political correctness. Some historians point to the 1960s as the time when cultural decline accelerated in America. That was a decade of rebellion against the “establishment,” when a generation threw off conformity and found a fresh voice of expression far outside their parents’ comfort zone. It was a time of protests against the injustice of institutionalized racism and the increasingly deadly U.S. war in Southeast Asia. It was also the beginning of the Jesus People movement – hippies who embraced Christ as their Savior. Onto this scene came a bearded, bushyhaired musician named Keith Green, whose in-your-face lyrics were poignant appeals for people to live godly lives. That passion distinguished his songs when Christian music was evolving from a niche ministry to an industry. An extremely gifted musician, Green had signed a recording contract at age 11 and was pro-
moted as an adolescent rock ‘n’ roll heartthrob. Aspirations of stardom fizzled and he was caught up in the culture of drugs, “free love” and Eastern mysticism. Finding no answers, he became cynical toward philosophy and religion until, he said, God “broke through my calloused heart,” and Green became a Christian. Soon his music brought a voice of conscience to a country foundering amid disengagement from the Vietnam War, the Watergate political scandal, and youthful repudiation of social convention in exchange for selfish gratification. In a rebellious era, Green was also a rebel. Once part of the countercultural upheaval, he now rebelled against apathy toward God. He maintained an unwavering posture on moral issues and man’s need for salvation. He was a rebel for a righteous cause. The stardom which previously eluded him caught up with Green as a Christian. In No Compromise, a book about his life, Green’s widow Melody described how he conscientiously avoided the adulation of adoring fans: “Keith disappeared after his concerts and didn’t talk to anyone, because he was so upset by the hero-worship he saw in people’s eyes.” Green had a problem with star-struck Christians who idolized pastors and spiritual celebrities. His anguish was apparent in an article he wrote called
“Music or Missions”: “Can’t you see that you are hurting these ministers? They try desperately to tell you that they don’t deserve to be praised, and because of this, you squeal with delight and praise them all the more. “How come no one idolizes or praises the missionaries who give up everything and live in poverty, endangering their lives and their families…? How come no one lifts up and exalts the ghetto and prison ministers and preachers? Because we are taught early on 1) that comfort is our goal and security and 2) that we should always seek for a lot of people to like us…” Traditionally, celebrity is the rightful reward for the success Green achieved. He interpreted it as idolatry and wanted no part of it. Green thought he would be a failure if he allowed popularity and influence to go to his head. True humility before God, he believed, was to spurn the spotlight and fame, and follow his spiritual convictions by making a call for righteousness to a generation. Where concerts were concerned, Green saw ministry as something which should be offered for free rather than an admission fee. He lobbied Christian music producers, promoters and artists to present concerts for a freewill offering instead of the cost of a ticket. He stopped charging admission for his own concerts. His
last album released before his death was offered through mail order and at concerts for a donation. He shipped more than 61,000 copies for free. What would seem like a failed enterprise in business circles was a tangible demonstration of Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:8, “Freely you have received, freely give.” No Compromise was the title of Green’s second album. The name came from one of its songs, “Make My Life A Prayer To You”: Make my life a prayer to You I wanna do what You want me to No empty words and no white lies No token prayers, no compromise “‘No compromise’ is what the whole Gospel of Jesus is all about,” Green said. “In a day when believers seem to be trying to please both the world and the Lord (which is an impossible thing), when people are far more concerned about offending their friends than offending God, there is only one answer: Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him!” Keith Green died in a plane crash in 1982, but his life stands for ageless principles. The heart of his music remains acutely relevant. He strived to obey God rather than pander for the approval of men. To him, failure was compromising God’s calling in order to chase after what the world calls “success.” Randy Walter is Contributing Editor to the Manna.
‘No Compromise’ By Randy Walter
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artin Luther was once approached by a man who enthusiastically announced that he’d recently become a Christian. Wanting desperately to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “What should I do now?” As if to say, should he become a minister or perhaps a traveling evangelist? Luther asked him, “What is your work now?” “I’m a shoemaker.” Much to the cobbler’s surprise, Luther replied, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.” In becoming Christians, we don’t need to retreat from the vocational calling we already have. Nor do we need to justify that calling, whatever it is, in terms of its “spiritual” value or evangelistic usefulness. We simply exercise whatever our calling is with new God-glorifying motives, goals, and standards – and with a renewed commitment to performing our calling with greater excellence and higher objectives. One way we reflect our Creator is by being creative right where we are with the talents and gifts he has given us. As Paul says, “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called... So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Corinthians 7:20, 24). As we do this, we fulfill our God-given mandate to reform, to beautify, our various “stations” for God’s glory. I once heard Os Guinness speak about what such reform will require. He said the main reason Christians aren’t making more of a difference in our world is not that they aren’t where they should be. There are, in other words, plenty of artists, lawyers, doctors and business owners that are Christians. Rather, the main reason is that Christians aren’t who they should be right where they are. Outwardly, there may be no clearly discernible difference between a non-Christian’s work and that of a Christian. Many have noted that a transformational approach to culture doesn’t mean every human activity practiced by a Christian (designing computers, repairing cars, selling insurance or whatever) must be obviously and externally different from the same activities practiced by non-Christians. Rather, the difference is found
in “the motive, goal and standard.” John Frame writes, “The Christian seeks to change his tires to the glory of God and the non-Christian does not. But that’s a difference that couldn’t be captured in a photograph. When changing tires, a Christian and non-Christian may look very much alike.” Not only is Christ the Lord of the Church; He’s also supreme over the family, the arts, the sciences and human society at large. In the words of Abraham Kuyper, “There is not one square inch in the entire domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” That’s why we must not withdraw from the world but rather bring the standards of God’s Word to bear on every dimension of human culture. Making a difference for Christ means bringing every area of our lives under His lordship. We must live in passionate devotion to Him at all times and in all circumstances. As we do this, God’s renewing power is unleashed through us. So, while Christians are to separate from the self-glorifying motives, God-ignoring goals and subpar work standards of the world (our spiritual separation), we’re not to separate from the peoples, places and things in the world (a spatial separation). We’re to be morally and spiritually distinct without being culturally segregated. In Luke 16:9, Jesus encourages His disciples to match the resourcefulness of worldly people in reaching goals, but He specifies that the goals Christians pursue are different. We’re to focus on the glory of the age to come, not on the worldly pursuits of pleasure, profit and position. The old saying that Christians shouldn’t be so heavenly minded that they’re of no earthly good is true as far as it goes, but in today’s world Christians’ earthly good depends on our heavenly-mindedness. This reminds me of C. S. Lewis’s remark that the Christians who did the most for the present age were those who thought the most of the next. Adapted from Tullian Tchividjian’s book Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different, released by Multnomah Books.
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can be totally different. But as this music expresses, when we rely on the Lord, we always get what we really need.
What We Want, What We Get: Dave Barnes “There ain’t a thing we need that heaven forgot,” sings songwriter Dave Barnes in the title track from his latest album, a collection of pop-rock melodies with lyrics that explore the everyday ups and downs of life. Love, mistakes, apologies, reconciliation, impatience, confusion, loneliness, acceptance, fear – his songs simplistically yet artfully capture what all of us invariably face. Through it all, however, the above line echoes throughout the entire record. Lyrics communicate a longing for God, a decision to wait and depend on Him to provide what only He knows is best – even when it hurts. In his song “What I Need,” Barnes sings: The wishes I willed all came back unfulfilled I was praying, without patience All of those expectations Just meant my heart was breaking Why can’t I see? I keep calm, carry on Like nothing ever went wrong That’s what I’m gonna do Laugh it off, move along Get back where I belong Live my life by leaning on you It’s true that what we want in life and what we actually get
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The Word of Promise: Thomas Nelson The Word of Promise, recently released by Thomas Nelson, is a dramatized recording of the entire Bible, featuring over 600 actors including Jim Caviezel as Jesus, Richard Dreyfus as Moses, Gary Sinise as David, and Jason Alexander as Joseph. Unlike many recordings of the Scriptures, The Word of Promise is not just a reading of the Bible. Rather, its contents are narrated and performed by talented professionals so the 66 books of the Bible become one long play which lasts more than 90 hours. While employing sound effects and an original musical score, its dramatic production does not interfere with the presentation. Offered in the easy to understand New King James Version, dialog is clearly audible above the sounds of action passages in books like Genesis and Revelation. This product may not appeal to those interested in unembellished Bible text for reference and study purposes, but its theatrical tone has the potential to fascinate and inspire listeners who want to become more familiar with the story line of God’s Word. The Word of Promise is also available in only the Old or New Testament, and there is a Next Generation New Testament youth edition.
It Might Get Loud: David Guggenheim Have you ever tried to play the guitar? I have owned three guitars over the last 20 years. None of which I can play. I can play three chords, with a 3 second pause between each as I struggle to get my fingers on the appropriate frets. On electric, I can manage some power chords, but they still sound weak. It’s hard, and leaves calluses. But at least I can admit I’m terrible at the guitar. Youth and college groups are crammed full of kids who believe they have mad skills because they mastered the G, C, D chord progression for the praise and worship band. I got news for you guys - you are like preschoolers compared to the three musicians spotlighted in David Guggenheim’s It Might Get Loud. “Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White sit down in a living room...” It sounds like the setup for a bad joke, but it’s actually the premise for It Might Get Loud, conceived and produced by Thomas Tull and directed by the guy who brought the world An Inconvenient Truth, David Guggenheim. Three men, three different generations, three different styles
- all extremely talented at extracting something original from a piece of wood, strung up, and plugged into an amplifier. This documentary brings three musical geniuses together with their guitars and then lets them talk, teach, play, and learn. In fact, the title comes from a passing remark by The Edge as he hits his overdrive pedal in demonstration of a favorite effect. It’s cheeky and fun. Guggenheim mixes in the personal musical histories of the three stars in a way that feels refreshingly different from the cookie cutter Behind The Music style that we have been subjected to for a decade on VH1. We watch Jimmy Page walk through an old English house in which Led Zeppelin literally invented recording techniques. The Edge blasts his tremolo pedal off a cliff in Ireland. That’s right. He practices outside on a cliff looking out at the isles of Ireland. In a quirky twist, we see Jack White teach a child labeled “Jack White Age 9” how to play the blues. Each musician’s story is as different as different can be from each other, yet their love and passion resonates a single chord; three notes, in perfect harmony. All of this is spread throughout the ever-evolving conversation between the three masters of the guitar. They explain their techniques and favorite effects. They talk about history, social changes, and their beloved guitars. It’s the ultimate rock shoptalk! The three take turns being impressed by one another. Most frequently, Jack White looks like a puppy expecting a treat. He seems genuinely surprised to be included in the conversation between The Edge and Page. But both veterans seem to appreciate White’s skills, and eagerly join him in playing a song for the end credits. Fans of the bands represented (Led Zeppelin, U2, The White Stripes/ The Raconteurs) will instantly appreciate and love the insight into these icons, but even if you have never heard “Stairway to Heaven,” you can appreciate watching these three gifted musicians express their gratitude for the opportunity to spend their lives making music. They seem to understand that they get to play for a living, and not one of them takes it for granted. These reviews are provided by Maranatha, Inc. staff and contributing writers.
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he sound from the church P.A. system was awful, but I couldn’t put my finger on the cause. It had a tinny quality, like it was coming out of a small megaphone. A scan of all the adjustments revealed nothing. It should be working fine. Eventually one of the parents sent their youngster over to tell me that the sound needed to be turned up on their side of the room. We sent him back over to the speaker in that area to tell us if he could hear anything coming out of it. He scurried over, and shook his head “no.” So that’s why the system sounded goofy. Apparently the left speaker wasn’t working at all. We checked the connections and the board again. Still nothing. Larry suggested “maybe we had better get the book out.” I had already read the book, and didn’t recall running across this scenario. As I was leaning over the board to re-check the speaker connection, I noticed something that I hadn’t before. We use a small digital recorder that sits beside the sound board. It has a speaker which is supposed to be turned off. But it wasn’t. I had
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been hearing this little tinny speaker the whole time, and was making adjustments to the sound based on that. When I turned the speaker in the recorder off, I immediately realized that the house sound was really low. So low that the young boy did not even detect that it was on. A quick adjustment bringing the level up brought everything back into order. The tinny voice was replaced by the correct sound produced by the quality speakers we had installed when we bought the sound board. Such a simple problem… such a simple solution. I felt silly for being tripped up despite the fact I have operated this new system weekly for over a year now. It was a matter of having my focus on the wrong thing. I was looking to adjustments and connections at the sound board as the remedy, while the issue lay in a totally different area. Recently, a similar case of focusing on the wrong thing presented itself in another area of life. I was debating about an issue related to work and was facing a decision that I felt needed to be made. This issue had reared its head before, and this time
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even prompted me to confide in a friend that I was struggling with it. The question was significant, as it involved finances and peace of mind. Want to mess with a person’s head? Do something that touches these two areas. Eventually in my pondering of the issue, I made my typical list of pros and cons. The pro side was weighted with logical reasons to go in one direction. The con side was weighted with emotional reasons to go in the other. Being a firm believer in logic, the decision should have become clear, but the power of the emotional arguments was considerable. A pros and cons list was not going to make the choice clear. I concluded that I needed to stand on Proverbs 3:9, and allow the Lord to make my path straight. I was only making it more crooked with my analysis. Yeah, that’s what I would do. Then, on May 25, I read Our Daily Bread. At the end of a discussion of The Grapes of Wrath, David McCasland writes, “the issue was not happiness, prosperity, or satisfaction, but wholeness. This is the great need of us all”. Later McCasland says “When we want Jesus Himself, He brings completeness to our lives. Christ wants, first and foremost, to make us
whole.” Immediately I recognized that the Lord had just spoken to my situation. My “happiness, prosperity, and satisfaction” were at the very root of the debate I was having. I was determined to get an answer from the Lord, but had made a critical error. I would not be satisfied until I received that answer. And I had entered into a state of unrest. McCasland reminded me that my need was wholeness, and that wholeness was found in Christ. What I needed most was Christ. Christ was sufficient. I had stepped into the land of “what I need is Christ plus guidance.” I had determined, in essence, that Christ alone was not enough. As familiar as I am with this truth, I had gotten tripped up in my focusing on the wrong thing. I was seeking the Lord for direction, which sounds like a good thing. I could even back it up with scripture. But in my seeking, I had missed the bigger picture of my wholeness being in my Savior, not in any direction He may give me. I have put down my list of pros and cons for the moment. I am standing on the truth that I can be satisfied with Christ alone. And from that position, I believe He will make the choice I have been debating abundantly clear, in His time.
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hristian music lost a pioneer last month when Dana Key passed away suddenly on Sunday, June 6 from a ruptured pulmonary embolism. He was 56. As part of the Christian rock duo DeGarmo and Key, he was at the forefront of Christian rock in the 70s and 80s (the pair later went on to found Forefront Records). In 1995, Key helped found Ardent Records, going on to produce projects for artists like Big Tent Revival, Smalltown Poets, Todd Agnew and Skillet, and was also an executive producer on all Ardent label releases through 2002. Since 2002, Key served as the head pastor of The Love of Christ Church in Memphis, TN. After a three-year departure, former Audio Adrenaline lead singer Mark Stuart and bassist Will McGinniss return to the music scene with the Know Hope Collective, a ground-breaking initiative that combines their favorite emerging voices of worship music with stories of hope and inspiration. The Know Hope Collective will be an ever-changing group of musicians from a variety of backgrounds who come together to create worship music and share their unique experiences and testimonies. The Collective’s first album, Know Hope, is an intimate pairing of songs and spoken word that plumbs the depths of McGinniss and Stuart’s chart-topping heyday and postband revelations. It releases this fall. Bob the Cucumber, Larry the Tomato and the entire VeggieTales cast are bringing their zany antics, wacky fun, engaging story telling and lots of music to a stage near you when the “VeggieTales Live! Sing Yourself Silly! Tour” hits the road this fall. The whole family will enjoy classic silly songs such as “His Cheeseburger,” “I Love My Lips,” “Oh, Where is My Hairbrush,” “The Water Buffalo Song,” and more, as well as the original, never-before-heard silly song, “My Bear,” featured on the brand new “VeggieTales: It’s A Meaningful Life” DVD coming this fall. For more
information and tour dates, visit www. bigidea.com/events. Tween pop group pureNRG brings their career to a close this year and to commemorate their success they’ll release Graduation: The Best of pureNRG on July 20. The group’s 2007 self-titled debut instantly became a hit with both mainstream and Christian music audiences, earning them the title of Top Selling New Artist at Christian Retail in 2007. Their next album, The Real Thing, debuted at #20 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and #1 on the Christian Soundscan chat. PureNRG has shared the stage with acts like MercyMe, Casting Crowns and even Skillet. As they bring this chapter of their musical career to a close, the trio is looking forward to high school, college, and regular activities with friends and family. Glenn Lavender, bassist for the band Downhere, has teamed up with friend and musician Kalyn Allen to form a side project - indie alt-folk duo, Hark The Herons. The songs are fantastic - a different vibe than the modern rock sound of Downhere, but very similar in the artistic depth to the lyrics. And Kalyn Allan has an amazing voice. You can check out their music on their website, http://www.harktheherons.com/. For more Christian music news, visit Joanne’s Gospel Soundcheck blog at Beliefnet.com www.blog.beliefnet.com/ gospelsoundcheck
Anyone who has ever been fired knows the taunting tone of the word “failure.” Actually, losing a job is beneficial when we learn from it. Employment comes to mind first when I consider the idea of failure, but it can also refer to a task or commitment. Being between jobs when I became a Christian provided lots of time for volunteering. My wife was already connected with many ministries which needed extra hands. We spent much of our first year together assisting an outreach at the beach. We also volunteered with a jail and prison ministry. As Thanksgiving approached, the director asked if I would canvas area churches for donations of canned goods to help families of incarcerated men during the holidays. I consented, but secretly I considered this task beneath my dignity. I was young in the faith and full of myself, and I thought I deserved a more important assignment. My effort reflected my attitude. I did a halfhearted job. Since then I’ve learned to place a high value on giving my word. To me, taking the Lord’s name in vain is a misunderstood concept. Yes, it can be someone using His name as an expletive. When I hear that, I am grieved not so much at the careless reference to God but because the person probably doesn’t know who he is talking about. I feel compassion for his ignorance. I regard taking the Lord’s name in vain more as something Christians do when they don’t keep their word. Because they wear the name of Christ, they take it in vain whenever
they fail to fulfill an obligation. I did that when I accepted the assignment to collect food and didn’t take it seriously. As the deadline neared, the reality of my conceit descended on me and I felt ashamed. In a month I had collected only seven cans. It never occurred to me to purchase some food as a way to offset my poor performance. Sheepishly I turned in my seven cans. I had not only failed the prison ministry and the families it served, but I had let God down. I asked His forgiveness and pleaded for an opportunity to do the task again – the right way. Sure enough, in a few days the ministry’s director contacted me to see if I would collect canned goods for families at Christmas. I eagerly agreed. I no longer saw this as demeaning. It was my chance to redeem myself. I wasted no time. I wanted to give this my best. I did not wish to re-experience the humiliation of failure. I contacted churches in my county to see if they wanted to participate. Most of the larger ones had food banks and they, too, were collecting staples for underprivileged families during the holidays. I was not deterred. I kept up the effort until the day of accounting arrived. When it was time to turn in the cans I had collected, how many do you think I had? Seven. So what was the difference? How could one of these efforts be considered a failure and the other not? Simple. Attitude.
That experience was one of my early lessons in ministry. Even though the results appeared the same, I view the second effort as a success because I humbled myself. My wife usually interjects, “I would have taken cans out of my own cupboard or bought some food.” Today, I would too. But I needed that incident to show me two things: One, the pride in my heart when I felt dissed at being given a simple task. In retrospect, this was learning how to minister by being a servant rather than a big deal. It eventually shaped much of my outlook on how to effectively help people for the sake of the Gospel. And two, the responsibility of wearing Christ’s name. As His ambassadors, we should precisely represent Him in every situation. Would Jesus have been offended at someone’s request for help because it seemed too insignificant to be worth His time? I don’t think so. Paul wrote that Jesus “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant.” That is what prepared Jesus for His greatest assignment – the cross. This task was my day of “small beginnings.” In the Old Testament, as the Jews neared the end of their captivity in Babylon and some returned to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, the prophet Zechariah wrote of the construction, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” I think God was pleased with my second collection of seven cans because it changed my heart.
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