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TheSower Volume 14 Issue 4 | 4th Quarter 2012
The quarterly magazine of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International速
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For the Joy Set before Him Jesus showed his apostles and disciples how to endure with hope and throughout the centuries great believers and martyrs have followed Christ’s example and gone on to set an example for their followers.
he Bible says that Christians will experience trials and sufferings in this life. In fact, those things are so certain that the Bible says, “do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering.” In spite of that warning, many people are completely caught off guard by trials and suffering, as if those things were something strange that should not happen to God’s people. Suffering is not unusual; everyone since Adam and Eve has suffered. What we need is help getting through the troubles of life, and thankfully God has provided that help. One of the greatest helps God has given us is hope. Hope—a light at the end of the tunnel—allows us to have a positive attitude, peace, and joy in the midst of suffering. Jesus is the best example of this, because no one suffered as unjustly as he did. The book of Hebrews tells us that it was the hope Jesus had, the joy of the future that God had showed him, that enabled him to endure the cross and ignore the shame of it. This issue of The Sower focuses on the suffering
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and serious situations that we endure in this life and how we can deal with them in a gracious and godly way. Jesus showed his apostles and disciples how to endure with hope and throughout the centuries great believers and martyrs have followed Christ’s example and gone on to set an example for their followers. Since each of us experiences trials and suffering, each of us has the opportunity to join that great cloud of witnesses and be godly examples to others. Let’s not join the massive chorus of complainers, reciting life’s woes back and forth to each other as if that somehow makes things better. Instead, let us follow the example of Christ and live in the hope of having a wonderful and glorious future. If we will do that, we will get to experience the peace and joy in our troubles that Jesus experienced in his. Looking through the lens of hope,
John W. Schoenheit
7 New Book on Baptism!
Credits Publisher Spirit & Truth Fellowship International
Executive Editors John W. Schoenheit Dan Gallagher Editors Janet Speakes Renee Speakes
8 REV Commentary
15 Manners & Customs Book
Volume 14 - Issue 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
26 Dear Sower
For the Joy Set before Him
The Power of Groups
by Dan Gallagher
Page 10 Life is less difficult once we realize it is difficult because much of the difficulty of life is due to our state of mind.
by Dan Gallagher
The ABCs of God
Manners & Customs
Jeff & Sheri Williams
Dolls Without Heads
The “Wall Peg” of Love
by Jeff & Sheri Williams
by Cara Hanson
by John W. Schoenheit
Page 19 Jeff & Sheri Williams explain why they are partners with Spirit & Truth Fellowship.
Page 20 The faceless representation of the human body provided fitting symbolism for our modern world.
Page 22 “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:40 KJV). What does this mean?
25 YouTube & DVDs 27 BiblicalUnitarian.com Mobile
Magazine Designer Ryan Maher Staff Writers John W. Schoenheit Dan Gallagher Production Coordinator Dustin Williams
Research Websites TruthOrTradition.com Over one thousand articles pertaining to many biblical issues. BiblicalUnitarian.com Explore an entire website dedicated to the truth of One God & One Lord.
Page 4 Jesus faced the most difficult challenge and trial that any man has ever had to endure.
by John W. Schoenheit
Page 16 Making disciples means training them in obedience, which can best be done in a group setting.
Home Office 180 Robert Curry Drive Martinsville, IN 46151 888.255.6189 or 765.349.2330 M-F 9 to 5 (ET) Fax: 765.342.8430 STF@STFonline.org STFonline.org You may view the electronic version of this magazine at STFonline.org/sower View back issues at STFonline.org/backissues All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. References taken from other translations or versions will be noted, e.g., King James Version=(KJV). In verses or quotations from other authors, the author has emphasized words by placing them in bold print. Words inside [brackets] have been added by the author. Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™. © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.
Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 3
FOR THE JOY SET
Jesus faced the most difficult challenge and trial that any man has ever had to endure. BY DAN GALLAGHER
ne of my habits is to get up early in the morning, usually while it is still slightly dark outside and the rest of the family is enjoying their final hour or so of sleep. With a fresh cup of coffee in hand, I spend some quiet time in prayer and some reading in God’s Word. I like to think of this as my spiritual breakfast, kind of like getting some spiritual nutrition for a spiritually healthy start to the day. Many times this is also when I get some inspirational direction for the day ahead of me. This morning something new jumped out at me while reading the story of Moses and his first request that Pharaoh let the Israelites go. Pharaoh responded harshly, calling the people “lazy,” and he added to their daily quota of mud bricks the impossible task of gathering their own straw. Their predictable failure caused the Israelite foremen to be beaten. They appealed to Pharaoh for leniency but the record says, “The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble…” when Pharaoh rebuffed them and provided no relief for them from his demands (Exod. 5:19). I’ve read this story many times, but today I saw it in a different light. What stood out for me this time was that although God had promised to free the Hebrews, their obedience to His directions actually resulted in a time of trial, pain, and suffering for them. I am not saying that God caused their pain or suffering, 4 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
because I don’t believe He did, but what is clear is that they actually did suffer when they obeyed His instructions. He told them to go to Pharaoh and ask for their release, and when they obeyed their hard lives got even harder, and the Israelite foremen even suffered beatings.
But wait!—I thought walking with God would make life easier
For years I labored under a false understanding of the “abundant life” that Jesus spoke of John 10:10. In essence, my leaders had taught me that Jesus promised a life free from sickness and full of financial abundance for those who accepted him and had faith in him. However, a fuller understanding of God’s Word and the realities of life have taught me that this was not the “abundant life” that Jesus was speaking of. The truth was that life for me, just like life for the men and women in the Bible, had in many ways gotten more difficult, not easier, when I committed myself to obeying God. God promised that He would free Israel from their captivity, and that He would lead the Israelites to “a land flowing with milk and honey,” but He never promised that this was going to come about easily. On the contrary, He told them Pharaoh was going to be so hardhearted that, even after seeing the miracles and plagues, it would require the death of
â€œThe truth was that life for me, just like life for the men and women in the Bible, had in many ways gotten more difficult, not easier, when I committed myself to obeying God.â€?
Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 5
Egypt’s firstborn sons for the Israelites to be freed. The Israelites failed to see that there were going to be some tough times ahead and that Pharaoh would “not let the people go.” Exodus 4:21-23 (21) The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. (22) Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, (23) and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ “ Like the Israelites, we too have some great promises in our future, but we must be careful to be realistic in our thinking, seeing things as they really are both in the present and the future.
“Reality thinking” helps make life easier
Despite life being very difficult at times, there are a few practical things we can do with our thinking that will help to make life easier. First, while thinking about the present, we want to make sure that we see things as they really are, not as we wish them to be. And second, having a clear vision for the future will inspire us and give us the energy to carry on, despite how tough things are now. Failure to see the present as it really is causes us to live in denial. This is a delusional state of mind and can be very harmful. I learned this lesson very clearly when my daughter had breast cancer. For months she denied that the disease was as bad as it 6 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
really was, but her intense denial did nothing to stop the slow and steady advancement of the killer in her body. The day came when she was lying in her hospital bed telling her older sister that she “just did not believe she was as sick as the doctors were saying.” Within hours she was dead. Her failure to have “reality thinking”, accepting the present as it really was, led directly to her death. Denial is a powerful force and we must work to avoid it. Abraham did not deny his age or the reality that his body “was as good as dead.” By facing the facts, he was able to place his complete trust in God and His promise of a son. Like Abraham, it is when we face the facts that we can then move past them. Romans 4:19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead– since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. We want to see things in the present as they are but not keep our focus there. That tends to only make things worse.
False expectations lead to false hope
There had to be great joy in the settlements of the Israelites when Aaron and Moses first announced how God was moving to bring about their deliverance from slavery. Merely knowing that Yahweh had seen their plight would have brought great encouragement to their hearts, and the promise of freedom must have been exhilarating. Sadly, their joy would quickly turn to disappointment and sorrow as Pharaoh’s obstinance grew. As we briefly covered above, Pharaoh harshly responded to the request for the Israelites’ release,
increasing their tasks while demanding the same brick quota. The Israelite foremen, after being beaten for failing to meet the brick production quota, sought leniency from Pharaoh, but instead of relief they were treated even more harshly. Leaving Pharaoh’s presence, the foremen confronted Moses and Aaron, blaming them for the way they had been treated by the Egyptians. Exodus 5:21 “May the Lord look upon you [Moses and Aaron] and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” The Israelites’ unrealistic expectation of a quick and pain-free release, despite God’s warning that it wasn’t going to be easy, caused them to lose sight of the deliverance. Their faulty thinking about their emancipation was a false hope, and any hope that is unrealized will cause heartache. Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Unrealized expectations cause frustration, but a false expectation is especially harmful because it can never be fulfilled. In the case of the Israelites, their false expectation of easy release led them into the wilderness of selfpity, anger, and finger-pointing. False thinking can also lead to a state of delusion where we substitute a lie for reality. Even after having experienced the mighty hand of God on their behalf, after seeing the great signs of the plagues, and the fantastic miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites still grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They were so greatly
Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 7
deceived that they began to imagine their past life in Egypt as wonderful, and they completely abandoned the vision of life in the Promised Land.
Keep a clear vision
Keeping the goal clearly in sight is something I was reminded of recently as I moved my family 2,500 miles from Indiana to the west coast. Moving always provides ample opportunities to break things, including your peace, especially when you do it with three small children and a fifty-pound dog. There were weeks spent sorting, packing, hauling, and lifting as we prepared for the big day when the movers would finally arrive. Finally that day came and I took off across the vast plains of America driving a moving truck with my grandson and my dog at my side. As I drove mile after boring mile, for hour after boring hour, I had lots of time to reflect on what I was doing. There were a number of times when I thought to myself… “Are you NUTS?!—You just left behind all your
8 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
dear friends and co-workers.” I also reflected on my home and many of the details of the past eight years of my life. My wife and I drew our energy from our clear vision of what lay ahead of us. We were real in our thinking about the pain of the move. We did not deceive ourselves; the move was going to be very hard, which it was— and it was going to take a lot of work and time to get resettled, which it did. But we also knew that the pain would give way to a better life for our family—and it has. Having a vision anchored in the reality of what was ahead of us helped get us through the pain.
Trial can be a great testing ground to see if “the vision” really lives in us When we lose sight of the goal, we run the risk of wandering in the wasteland of discouragement and victimhood. Rather than expecting a
pain-free life, we should realize that the obstacles that lie between us and the fulfillment of the promise are a way of testing us to see if the vision is really alive in our hearts. The record of God’s Word is very clear: there will be times of trouble for all those who try to live uprightly. We are told to expect life to be tough and we have the examples of what other godly men and women had to endure. But the lesson of Scripture is also clear that when those times of distress come, we are to keep our eyes on the promise and the Promise Keeper. The writer of Psalm 77 speaks of a time when he was in such great distress that he could not even muster the strength to speak. Psalm 77:2-4 (2) When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. (3) I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I
mused, and my spirit grew faint. (4) You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. The psalm goes on to describe how he questioned God’s love and mercy for him. He was “real” before God about what he was thinking and relief came when he turned his thoughts to the truth of God’s mighty works and deeds and how God had come through in times past. Psalm 77:10-13 (10) Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.” (11) I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. (12) I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. (13) Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? (14) You are. The psalmist’s sorrow and pain turned to joy when he recounted the
mighty works of God. In our times of trouble, we too need to turn to God and remember that He is “the God who performs miracles; [He] displays [His] power among the peoples” (Psalm 77:14).
For the joy set before him
Jesus faced the most difficult challenge and trial that any man has ever had to endure. The torture and crucifixion that were ahead of him were so great that he prayed intensely for his Heavenly Father for an alternate way (Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46). He knew full well all the Old Testament prophecies about himself as the Suffering Servant, but he was also clear about the glory that lay beyond that. And it was on the glory and the joy that he fixed his eyes, which is what got him through the hellacious ordeal. Jesus fixed his eyes on the glory of being seated at the right hand of God. Hebrews 12:2 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. Just as Jesus fixed his eyes on the goal, we are to fix our eyes on Jesus, which includes everything he did and our life with him in the Millennial Kingdom, and even beyond. Keeping a clear focus on the future will help us when we grow weary and begin to lose heart. Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. We have no promise from God that life now will be easy, but there is a promise that there is a great future in store for us if we live in obedience to the Gospel. When difficult times come, when we face hardships and trials of our faith, we need to recognize them for what they are. The answer is to go to God with complete confidence and trust that He will do everything He can for us, while we draw encouragement from the joy that is set before us. Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 9
by John W. Schoenheit
od wants us to have joy in this life, but many people allow the problems of life to block the joy they would love to experience. We each need to understand—really “get”—that the Bible says we will have hardships and suffering in life.1 Between the evil the Devil instigates, the fallen state of the world, and our own mistakes and sins, we all suffer. The late Christian psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck, opened his book, The Road Less Traveled, in this way: “Life is difficult.” But having said that, Dr. Peck made a very important observation: once a person truly sees that life is difficult, it becomes less difficult. That almost sounds nonsensical, but it is perfectly true. Life is less difficult once we realize it is difficult because 10 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
much of the difficulty of life is due to our state of mind. If we think something will be easy, but it turns out to be hard, then it seems harder than it actually is. On the other hand, if we think something will be hard, and it is, we are not surprised, and we just do what we need to do to get through the problem. In an honest evaluation of mankind, Dr. Peck goes on to say that most people act as if life should be easy, and they moan and complain when it is not. Christians often grumble about life too, in spite of the fact that the Bible says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” (Phil. 2:14 ESV). Why is that? Often Christians have an expectation that because God loves them, or because they have faith, their life will be easy, or at least easier than other people’s lives. Many
Christians expect a “blessed” life, but what they usually mean by that is a “problem-free life,” something that the Bible never promises. Actually, it is just the opposite. God promises us there will be problems in this life, and not to be surprised by that. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet. 4:12 ESV).2
No one has had a problem-free life
Many Christians wrongly believe that God’s grace or their faith will allow them to have a fairly problem-free life, and so that is what they “see” in the Bible. However, it will help us to read the Bible more accurately if we realize that what we believe influences what we think the Bible says. If we have a pre-conceived idea of how things are, it can be extremely hard to see the truth—no matter how obvious it should be. Religion is full of examples of how our pre-conceived ideas color our experiences. For example, most Christians have been taught that two of each kind of animal got on Noah’s ark. So when they read in Genesis chapter seven, “Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate…and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female…” (Gen. 7:2, 3 ESV), they do not “see” the “seven” at all, and still continue to believe that two of each animal got on the ark.3 Similarly, Jesus’ apostles were so convinced about their pre-conceived idea that the Messiah would conquer the earth and reign as king that they could not understand his straightforward teachings that he would suffer and die (Luke 18:34).4 In a similar way, the belief that obedient, faith-filled Christians will have wonderful, problem-free lives blinds people to what the Bible says about personal suffering. It takes great humility and often the help of others to see what the Bible is really saying about a subject. When we take time to think about it, the fact that no one since Adam and Eve has had an easy life makes it pretty clear that our lives will not be some kind of cosmic exception. We, just like everyone else, will have problems.
Three serious consequences
The false belief about a “blessed” life free of serious problems or suffering has at least three serious consequences. One is that it means there are hundreds of verses in the Bible that are being misread, and the truth God is trying to teach in those verses is being misunderstood. Another is that it sets people up to be confused and troubled about their own lives. It can lead to dishonestly hiding or denying problems, or living in shame and condemnation because of them. For example,
some people who deny their physical problems and wait for God to heal them end up seriously hurt, and some people have even died from failure to honestly deal with their problems. Faith can help in times of trouble, but we always must walk in the wisdom of God, knowing what He will and will not do. A third serious consequence of people thinking that Christianity or faith will keep them problem-free is that it predisposes them to wrongfully condemn other Christians who have difficulties. It is easy for a person in a “faithsolves-everything” mindset to blame others for not having enough faith to easily overcome their problems. Such a person can become like Job’s miserable comforters who, when Job had problem after problem, wrongly condemned him instead of helping him. That made God angry, so He spoke to one of them and said, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7). Job had been correctly stating that he did not deserve the problems he had, and that is true with many of us.
What the Bible says about suffering
The Bible makes it clear that we live in a fallen world, that our bodies are weak and mortal, and that we are surrounded by enemies, so suffering is inevitable and it comes in many different ways. There are mental and physical sicknesses or weaknesses, problems of poverty and hunger, and problems caused by others, including persecution for our faith. Beyond that, we also suffer when others suffer. The Bible says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor. 12:26), and all of us know people who are suffering and we ache for them. The Bible teaches us about suffering the same way it teaches us about many other subjects. It teaches us by direct doctrinal statements, and it teaches us through the lives of the men and women in the Bible. We will start by looking at doctrinal statements on the subject, and then examine the lives of some of the great people of the Bible. What we will see is that suffering is an unavoidable part of life, and that one of the things that will make the new heaven and earth so wonderful is that, “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4 ESV). What a wonderful promise to look forward to! Human suffering started right after Adam and Eve sinned. God told them they would suffer, and they and their descendants have suffered ever since then (Gen. 3:1619). It is important to notice that God never said that having faith would keep people from suffering, and people of great faith, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David, all suffered. Jesus and Paul both told their followers that Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 11
they would suffer. Jesus said: “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33 ESV) and Paul told his followers that it was “through many tribulations we must enter the
problems” that the people of the Bible had. In the Bible we usually see the “big problems” of war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, and floods. We also see family feuds and the oppression of the weak. But we also know that every person had other problems too–all those “ordinary problems” that make life challenging. Thankfully, sometimes the Bible and other ancient writings give us a glimpse of the ordinary suffering in life. We are not told when Abraham had a cold and lions attacked his flock, Sarah had a headache and the tent blew over in a hard wind, or baby Isaac had a fever or dragged a stick from the fire onto their best rug. Nevertheless, from many ancient texts and sources we know that people throughout history had common problems, much like we do today. A very common problem has been illness, and many of the great promises of the future Messianic kingdom are related to health. For example: “And no inhabitant will say, ‘I am sick’” (Isa. 33:24 ESV). The Messianic Kingdom will be a wonderful time when the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the mute will talk, the lame will walk, the person who stammers will speak fluently, and “the mind of the rash will know and understand” (Isa. 32:4; 35:5, 6). If our faith in God kept us from suffering, then that would be clear in the Bible. We could read about the great men and women of faith and see how God blessed them and protected them from suffering. Instead, we see pretty much the opposite. The great men and women of the Bible, rather than being examples of people whose faith kept them from suffering, are actually examples of people whose faith allowed them to suffer well and endure in spite of their problems. Please understand this: we are not saying that God does not bless and deliver His people. He does, and we see God’s blessing and deliverance in many ways. However, even in the majority of God’s great victories many people still suffered. For example, in the conquest of the Promised Land, warriors still suffered wounds and even death, and families and friends suffered from the loss of loved ones. In fact, most of the great miracles in the Bible are in the context of suffering. The Exodus and parting of the Red Sea were a notable miracles, but they were in the context of millions of people suffering in Egypt for multiple generations.
Life is less difficult once we realize it is difficult because much of the difficulty of life is due to our state of mind. kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 ESV). Romans reveals that it is not just people who suffer, but actually all of creation suffers as if in childbirth. Romans 8:18, 22 (18) I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (22) We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. The suffering that Christians experience is intensified by their stand for Christ. Often we in the United States are protected from much of the suffering of persecution, but we should not be ignorant of our brothers and sisters in non-Christian countries who suffer horribly and even die just because they stand for Christ. 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. What Christians need to take to heart is that faith does not keep us from suffering. By faith we can avoid or stop some suffering, but not all of it. Nevertheless, faith allows us to persevere and be a great example to others in spite of what we suffer.
Lessons about suffering from the great men and women of faith
When it comes to learning about suffering from studying the lives of the people in the Bible, one thing we have to keep in mind is that, because suffering is a part of life, God does not tell us much about the “ordinary 12 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
If our faith in God kept us from suffering, then that would be clear in the Bible. We could read about the great men and women of faith and see how God blessed them and protected them from suffering. Instead, we see pretty much the opposite.
Another wonderful miracle was Elisha multiplying the oil of an Israelite woman, but why was she in need? Her husband had recently died and the person to whom the family owed money had come to take her sons as slaves to pay the debt (2 Kings 4:1-7). We should not minimize the miracle of the oil that paid her debts, but no doubt she would rather have had her husband alive. One of the better known miracles in the Bible is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, but that occurred against the backdrop of Lazarus getting sick and dying, and the grief of his family—a grief that was so palpable that Jesus was “troubled” and eventually even “Jesus wept” (John 11:33, 35).
Lesson of Hebrews 11 If God was trying to tell us that great faith prevented or greatly reduced suffering, then a good place for Him to showcase that would be in Hebrews chapter 11, where many heroes of faith are mentioned. We see in Hebrews
11 that the men and women listed suffered greatly. Abel was murdered, Sarah was barren, Joseph was unjustly sold into slavery, Moses was so burdened by the murmuring Israelites he asked God to kill him (Num. 11:15), and the others suffered as well. Hebrews 11:36-39 (ESV) (36) Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— (38) of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (39) And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, The book of James gives us
basically the same lesson as Hebrews 11: “As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10 ESV). The faith of the people listed in Hebrews 11 and the prophets mentioned in James did not keep them from suffering. The prophets and the men and women in Hebrews chapter 11 suffered greatly but, because of their faith, persevered and stayed faithful to God. That, in fact, is the “take home” lesson of Hebrews 11. The lesson is not that our faith will prevent suffering, but rather that our faith allows us to suffer well, and have joy and hope even though we are in pain. Hebrews 12:1 says that we have the heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11 as witnesses, so we too should throw off the weights and sins that hinder us and “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We are to “run the race” day after day in spite of problems. God provided us with the examples in Hebrews 11 so we could see the Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 13
kind of faith that He commends, (Heb. 11:2). God is looking for faith in Him that does not waver in the heat of battle or disappear when life gets tough. It is very helpful in difficult times to know that other people have experienced what we have, and have endured.
New Testament examples of suffering
The example of people of faith in Hebrews 11 come from the Old Testament, but the New Testament also has examples of people with great faith who had problems. Stephen was a man “full of faith” (Acts 6:5), yet he was the first martyr of the Church. The persecution of the early church was so severe that many Christians had to leave Jerusalem, and many were imprisoned or killed (Acts 8:1, 3; 26:10). Paul suffered horribly, often because of his stand for Christ (2 Cor. 4:8-10; 6:4-10; 11:23-29). The Apostle James was imprisoned and then killed, (Acts 12:2). Paul’s fellow worker Epaphroditus almost died from a sickness, (Phil. 2:27), and Trophimus became so sick in Miletus that Paul had to leave him behind (2 Tim. 4:20). Furthermore, the book of James mentions that it is often the people who are poor who are “rich
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in faith;” their faith gives them the strength and vision to endure their difficult circumstances, (James 2:5). The lesson of the Bible is consistent from cover to cover: in this life we will have troubles and hardships, which is why God wants everyone to get saved and thus have life in the age to come that will be truly wonderful.
In conclusion: suffering well
God promises blessings to those who have faith in Him, and Christians, especially those who take their Christianity seriously and work to build their faith in God, see His hand in their lives almost daily. However, God never promises us a problem-free life, which is one of the reasons that people in the world often say they see no value in being a Christian. Both Christians and unbelievers have problems, sickness, and heartbreak, and Christians often face persecution that unbelievers never face. Nevertheless, we can believe that what the Bible says is true, which is that our faith is “more precious than gold” because it gets us saved, helps us to endure, and will result in honor and glory when Jesus Christ appears, (1 Peter 1:3-9). Dr. Peck is quite correct: life is
difficult, but when we understand that, it will not be as difficult. Christians will much more easily be able to look beyond their problems and experience joy in their lives when they stop being surprised by trials and troubles, and rely on their faith to help them endure this life, and joyfully look forward to the future Messianic Age. Notes: 1. This may seem obvious to some Christians, but many believe that if a person just has faith, he will be able to overcome all, or almost all, of his problems. 2. It would have been better if the ESV said “tempt” instead of “test.” The burning trials are not from God, and although they do “test” us, that translation makes it seem like they are the will of God. The trials are evil and they “tempt” us to sin and abandon our faith in God. Also, although the ESV translates the present participle “coming” as “when it comes,” the point is the same: the fiery temptations are unavoidable. 3. Versions like the KJV and NIV just read “seven,” not “seven pairs,” but even “seven” should tell us it is not “two.” 4. For more information on this, see the REV commentary on Luke 18:34 at STFonline.org/REV
Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 15
Articles to support the growing network of churches associated with Spirit & Truth Fellowship.
The Power of Groups By Dan Gallagher
requently I encounter Christians who are not connected to others in their faith-walk, or at least not connected in any real and genuine way. For years I too lived like that. Disappointed and disillusioned with church and ministry leadership, I slowly stepped away. Those small steps became problematic when they eventually added up and took me a long way away from being the “on-fire” Christian I had once been. Eventually the day came when I had no real Christian friends in my life. I had deceived myself, thinking that I was an “independent” believer. I remember one time even telling someone that I was a “free-agent for Jesus.” Part of my deception was thinking that I “knew the truth” and that was what was really important. The wake-up call for me came one day when another person I knew was surprised to learn that I believed in Jesus. It pierced my heart when he said to me, “Really? I had no idea.” That was the smack of cold water I needed to wake up. Wow, and for all this time I had been convincing myself that others would “know I was a believer” by my actions. Clearly my actions had not really been demonstrating my faith in Christ, at least not for that person. One of the lessons I learned was that we are not genuine followers of Christ because of what we “know” but because of what we do. In fact, Jesus often spoke of obedience to the Gospel, not in terms of hearing, but doing. He often cautioned people about the dangers of being “hearers only” and not “doers” of the Word. God never intended that His Word be a book of pithy truths and sayings so we could simply fill our heads with 16 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
Making disciples means training them in obedience, which can best be done in a group setting. This is the method Jesus used when he worked first-hand with his disciples. knowledge about Him. He gave us a love letter filled with examples of what to think and do, as well as what not to think and do, so that we would obey Him. He desires a relationship with us– an obedience-based relationship. As followers of Jesus we are automatically placed in a spiritual relationship with all the others who call upon him as members of the Body of Christ. We have a spiritual relationship with others in the Body that is intended to be expressed through our personal relationships with them. It is not enough to say, “I believe.” That is merely knowledge. We must act on our beliefs. The point of knowledge is that it should always lead to obedience. For many years I read the following section in God’s Word, desiring the same thing for myself that Paul desired for the Colossians: that I too could be filled with
knowledge and spiritual understanding. Certainly that is not a bad thing! Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. But what I failed to see for quite some time was that in the very next verse Paul clearly gives the purpose of that knowledge, which is to live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing him, and bearing fruit. The point is not the knowledge, but obedience. Colossians 1:10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord
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TruthOrTradition.com/itunes and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, … The proof of the Gospel bearing fruit is always demonstrated through our obedience. The Lord wants us to “know” but only so we can “do.” In my case I was not doing what the Lord commands me to do because I was staying disconnected from others in the Body of Christ. There are over thirty instances in the New Testament where we are given “one another” commands, and it is impossible to obey any one of these if we are not in genuine relationships with others. The doctrinal perspective that I have is not common among Christians, which can at times cause me difficulty in finding others who believe the same as I do. Nevertheless, given the immense size of the Body of Christ, I cannot use that as an excuse to not have Christian fellowship. We must make sure that our doctrinal beliefs, our knowledge, do not cause us to isolate ourselves from others in the Body of Christ. Isolation causes us to disobey the Lord’s “one-anothering” commands because we must be with “others” to “love one another,” “forgive one another,” etc. For instance, the book of Hebrews speaks of the importance of meeting with one another. Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another --and all the more as you see the Day approaching. For years I lived as if there was a conditional clause that accompanied the above verse. A clause that said, “meet with one another, but only if you are in complete doctrinal agreement with each other.” Thankfully, an excuse like that to separate myself from others does not exist. The command is simple: “meet with others and encourage one another!” In essence, within the bounds of accepted Christian behavior, the “one-another” sections command us to be loving, connected, honoring, harmonious, edifying, like-minded, accepting, caring, serving, kind, non-provoking, burden-bearing, teaching, counseling, comforting, encouraging, stirring, non-slanderous, forgiving, confessing, praying, hospitable, friendly, and fellowshipping with one another.
We cannot be obedient if we present what we know in ways that we are divisive and antagonistic toward others. Sadly, some do so under the pretense that they are being bold for the Lord, when in fact they are actually acting from spiritual pride and arrogance. The truth divides people because they have a choice to either believe it or not, but that must never be an excuse for acting divisively. Like Jesus, we speak the truth seeking to reach the hearts of others to bring them into obedience-based relationship with the Father. The final command Jesus gave his followers was to “go make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I commanded you” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Making disciples means training them in obedience, which can best be done in a group setting. This is the method Jesus used when he worked first-hand with his disciples. When I speak of a “group,” I am not specifically saying “church,” although a group could be a church meeting. The group can be small or large, but no matter how it is composed, it takes the time to focus on the things of God and help people grow as disciples. The command of Hebrews 10:25 to “not forsake meeting” does not also say, “Have meetings.” Connecting with others and fulfilling the various “one another” commands can be done in variety of ways and settings, both formally and informally. What is important is to regularly be with other followers of Jesus in a way that provides genuine intimacy and spiritual growth. David Watson of Discipleship Making Movements1 points out some very beneficial reasons to be genuinely connected with others:
The Discipleship Benefits of Groups Groups generally learn faster than individuals.
As individuals we have a limited ability to absorb information, whereas the group spreads the assimilation among many persons. Learning tends to require less repetition, and group repetition aids individual memory.
Groups remember more than individuals.
Collective memory is always better than individual memory, Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 17
both in the amount and the accuracy of what the group as a whole remembers. The group is always better at reminding us of what we, as individuals, may forget.
Groups can provide protection against bad leadership and heresy. Although there is always the danger of “group think” and strong “peer pressure” to conform, the group, when anchored on sound doctrine and practice, tends to protect itself against the intrusion of harmful leaders and false teachings. There is strength in numbers.
Groups tend to self-correct. This frequently happens, especially when the groups measure themselves by the requirements of the Scriptures.
Groups can be better at keeping individuals accountable. Generally, if a group member disobeys Scripture, someone in the group will know. When the members see each other
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regularly, someone should be able to respond quickly enough to help hold one another accountable.
Groups can replicate faster than individuals. There is a collective synergy in a group that helps increase replication. Seeing others being added to the fold causes increased momentum in growth. Speed of replication affects frequency of replication. I was confronted by the errors of my lonesome ways, and since that time I have taken active steps to participate on an almost daily basis with others in the Body of Christ. Some of the greatest personal growth I have experienced has happened because of those relationships. We all must do whatever we can to get connected to others because after all, as someone once wisely said, “Christianity is a T.E.A.M. sport!” and “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Notes: 1. Jerry Trousdale, Miraculous Movements, (Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2012), pp. 102–103.
Partner Profile Jeff & Sheri Williams
2 Corinthians 9:7 and 8 (7) Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (8) And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
ur family has long understood the importance of giving and we have strived to remain faithful to this crucial biblical principle. In too many ways to mention, God has blessed our family for many, many
years. Both my husband and I were raised in church and taught to give, or tithe, at least 10%, no matter what. As young teens, we learned sound biblical truths about giving that were so refreshing and freeing. Jeff and I both had always felt that it should be a “heart” thing and not something one does because of obligation or duty. Even though we hadn’t met, we each embraced this honest and sound teaching, which eventually led to our meeting and falling in love. We married in Colorado in 1983 and practiced giving from the heart from the very beginning. The teachings from CES (later called Spirit & Truth) have blessed our lives more than words can say. It’s not about tradition or appearances, but about serving the body of Christ with LOVE. This ministry is doing just that. We have had the privilege of attending many events with Spirit and Truth and have enjoyed serving as staff for many as well. Our four beautiful children: Travis, Dustin, Austin, and Savannah have also participated in these events over the years, especially the Teens and Twenties Camp and Live Out Loud conference. Serving at these camps has produced countless rewards and blessings as well as fond memories for Jeff and I. Our prayer for our own family, as well as others, is that giving is passionate and from the heart:
It’s not about how much you give, or even where you give of your gift, but more importantly, “why” you are giving. That is always a good question to ask, whether you are giving of finances, your time, your love, or even your spare bedroom! We decided to become partners after seeing what this ministry is doing to spread the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. It’s exciting to hear about all of the places in the world that are being blessed with sound teachings and with the loving support of committed believers! Beyond the monthly gift, we have been blessed to simply pray when we have the thought to give to someone. Often, one of us will have the thought to do this, and we will then pray together for what the amount should be. God has always shown us individually first, and then together we simply give what is on our hearts to give. We have always been led to give the exact same amount! We then give without a second thought. God has ALWAYS been faithful to take care of us. We have been on both the giving end, and the receiving end and one thing remains true: God is always faithful, no matter what! He continues to bless us and for that we are truly thankful (Luke 16:10, I Cor. 1:9). We will gladly continue to support this ministry and to keep it in our prayers. God Bless you! Jeff and Sheri Williams
with Spirit & Truth Fellowship International
Go to STFonline.org/partnership or call 888.255.6189 M-F 9 to 5 (ET). Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 19
The ABC’s of God Lessons from my children
Dolls Without Heads by Cara Hanson
n a world with seven billion people, where is everybody? Between ATM’s, automated customer service, and online shopping, I’m beginning to wonder if the most recent census included computers. My laptop thinks we’re so chummy it can send me suggestions such as, Oops! Did you mean… when I misspell something. I just don’t know if I’m ready for such an intrusive friendship with my HP yet. I recently had to call our power company to report an outage. Of course, there was no human on the other end of the phone, just a robotic voice that needed to “ask a few simple questions in order to help.” Don’t they realize how annoying that is in an emergency? You reach out to someone for help and comfort, and all you get is a Voice that is about as excited as a professional golf commentator. As I answered questions about flickering lights and downed power lines, I realized that regardless of the topic, I had to listen to this detached, unemotional voice. Is the roof caving in on you right now? Press 1 for yes, 2 for no. <yes> I’m sorry to hear that. Are squirrels being electrocuted in full view of your innocent children? Press 1 for yes, 2 for no.
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The faceless representation of the human body provided fitting symbolism for our modern world. As people hurried by us on the street, I realized that we were being ignored. To them, we were just more dolls without heads. <yes> I’m sorry to hear that. We seem to have lost the example of Jesus. He was a man of the people, a man who thrived on relationship. I imagine that his eyes must have been intense and compelling, the kind that could pierce a person’s soul with love. Jesus loved without discrimination, and he could even touch lepers without repulsion. Sometimes I don’t even want to touch the ratty dollar bills I get for change at the store. After learning of John the Baptist’s death, Jesus withdrew to a solitary
place. Like a relentless band of paparazzi, the massive crowds followed their superstar. This would have been the ideal time for him to set up automated customer service. Is your skin falling off? Press 1 for yes, 2 for no. <yes> I’m sorry to hear that. Even when Jesus was sad, tired, or hungry, he never disconnected himself from his fellow man.
Matthew 14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. This week our family decided to take a leisurely stroll downtown to see the Christmas window displays. To my surprise, most stores had decorated with class and restraint, avoiding the usual appearance of Christmas in a high-speed blender with no lid. Everyone was in a hurry, stressed, and ignoring one another. People were texting and talking on cell phones instead of engaging with those around them. I wondered what happened to that Christmas carol, Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile, and on every street corner you’ll hear… silver bells, silver bells… Instead, it was Children fighting, people stressing, meeting growl after growl, and on every street corner you’ll hear… angry moms, angry moms… My reverie was suddenly interrupted by my children’s exclamations:
“Dolls without heads! Dolls without heads!” My first thought was how that would be the perfect name for a rock group. Dolls Without Heads is now headlining at Madison Square Garden. Opening Act will be Teddy Bears Without Eyes. When I turned to discover the source of their despair, I saw headless mannequins in the store window. I shuddered at the thought that somewhere there must be a giant warehouse full of mannequin heads. A scary place, where an angry supervisor might actually roar, “Heads are gonna roll!” My kids were right to be disturbed by this cold, impersonal display. The faceless representation of the human body provided fitting symbolism for our modern world. As people hurried by us on the street, I realized that we were being ignored. To them, we were just more dolls without heads. It reminded me of the time two men once knocked on my door and wanted to introduce me to Jesus. “I already know him, and I love him
very much,” I responded. Ignoring my answer, they continued to read from a prepared script. A couple of days later, I bumped into the same two men on a walk in our neighborhood. Excited to see fellow Christians, I greeted them warmly. Out came the script. “I want to introduce you to Jesus.” As he continued to read from the script, I knew that he didn’t really see me. He was looking right through me. And there I stood, a doll without a head. God formed us to have connections. Not pseudo-relationships, where we connect via the internet in an attempt to feel popular and accepted. Real relationships involve genuine caring and sacrifice from the heart. It would be impossible for us to give all decapitated mannequins their heads back. The best thing we can do is to use them as a reminder. Every time we see one, we can remember Jesus, a man who knew how to connect with people. A man who could look people in the eyes and give them the integrity and respect they deserved.
Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 21
Manners & Customs
The “Wall Peg” of Love Learning biblical customs has many advantages. It makes reading the Bible more enjoyable when we know about the people and how they lived. By John W. Schoenheit
elping people understand and apply the lessons of the Bible is one of the great goals of The Sower, and in that light we are presenting a series of short articles on customs of the Bible. The Bible is written in such a way that it is completely and inextricably interwoven with the culture and the customs of the times and places in which its events occur. While the cultural references were well known to the people who lived in biblical times, many of them are unfamiliar to us today. Learning biblical customs has many advantages: it makes reading the Bible more enjoyable when we know about the people and how they lived; it clarifies things in the Bible we would otherwise not readily know, or that do not make sense to us at first; it alerts us to possible mistranslations in the Bible; and it gives us great insight into how to properly apply the Word of God in our lives.
Understanding the word “hang” After speaking about love, Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:40 KJV). That statement is not well understood by most Christians, and the purpose of this article is to bring us to the point where we can understand and appreciate what Jesus said. 22 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
To safely hang things, people needed a strong peg driven into a firm post, similar to the metal pegs we see today.
Pegs—A Household Essential
It is typical of writings, both ancient and modern, that things that are part of everyday life and that everyone understands are not described. For example, if I told a friend that I drove home from work late last night, I would not try to describe what a car was because my friend already knows that. Or if I told him that my wife cooked a wonderful meal last night, I would not describe the stove. He knows about stoves. The fact that writers do not describe the common things that everyone knows about causes problems for historians and archaeologists, because a lot of things that were “ordinary” in biblical times are not ordinary anymore, and we do not know much about them. One common thing that was written
about, however, is wall pegs, and they were used by almost everyone. The pegs were especially necessary because most floors were dirt. Even tents sometimes had pegs in the tent-poles, or at least some kind of hook tied to the tent poles, so that clothes and other items could be kept in order and off the ground.
A peg of strong wood
It was important that pegs for hanging things were made of good solid wood so that they would be sturdy and not break off. Wood from vines, for example, was not good for pegs, as we learn in Ezekiel. God asked Ezekiel, “Is wood ever taken from it [a vine] to make anything useful? Do they make pegs from it to hang things on?” (Ezek. 15:3). The expected answer was “No, they do not,” because it was well known
that vines were inferior wood. A peg made from the wood of a vine would break when something heavy was hung from it. To safely hang things, people needed a strong peg driven into a firm post. In Isaiah 22, God said He would remove Shebna, the steward in charge of Hezekiah’s palace, and replace him with Eliakim. Shebna had been a disappointment, but God said that He would make Eliakim like a firm peg, so firm that all the glory of his family could hang from him. Isaiah 22:23 and 24 (23) I will drive him [Eliakim] like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father. (24) All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars. Sadly, Eliakim was human, and eventually was not able to perform his duties, and even though he had once been a firm peg, he was broken off and what he supported was destroyed. Isaiah 22:25 (HCSB) On that day”—the declaration of the LORD of Hosts—“the
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) peg that was driven into a firm place [Eliakim] will give way, be cut off, and fall, and the load on it will be destroyed.” The word “destroyed” may seem strange to us, because we usually think of clothes being hung from pegs and if the peg breaks the clothes are not “destroyed.” However, many different things were hung from pegs, and it was common that when a peg broke holding a clay jar, or a skin of wine or milk, the load was indeed destroyed. More evidence of the use of pegs
comes from the Psalms. People hung their wineskins from pegs to keep them from being accidentally kicked, and also because they were less likely to spill when hung. Psalm 119:83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. The wineskin was “in the smoke” because in the biblical era common houses did not have chimneys. If a fire was built in a house, for warmth and/ or to cook, it was usually built in the middle of the room. The room would Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 23
Modern day wall pegs or hooks. fill with smoke, but since people sat, ate, and slept on the floor, the really thick smoke usually stayed above them. In contrast, the poor wineskin was hung on a peg up in the thick smoke. What a wonderful Psalm! The psalmist says that even if he feels like a wineskin in the smoke, neglected and in a difficult situation, he would not forget God’s decrees and laws.
Jesus Christ the tent peg
Pegs were vital to ancient living. They gave order and organization to the ancient household and held clothes, water jars, and other things that were essential to life. Thus it is not surprising that one of the many names of Jesus Christ is “the tent peg.” Zechariah 10:4 has three of the names of Jesus, the “cornerstone,” the “tent peg,” and the “battle bow.” Zechariah 10:4 From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.1 Calling Jesus Christ “the tent peg” shows how essential he is to the organization of our lives. He does
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much more than give us everlasting life. He helps us to organize our lives in a meaningful way, does a lot to keep us out of the dirt of life, and helps us to avoid some of the kicks and bumps of life. In return, we should realize that we are hung up for all to see, and like a nice piece of clothing on a peg reflects the wealth and value of the household, we can reflect the glory of Christ to those around us.
“…hang all the Law and the prophets.” With the above background about tent pegs, we are now able to see the wonderful point Jesus was making when he spoke of the law and commandments hanging from love. He was speaking to the Pharisees, who were trying to trap him in his words (Matt. 22:15). One of them asked him which was the greatest commandment in the Law, to which he answered, love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. Then Jesus added, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:40 KJV).2 Jesus was making the point that loving God and loving our neighbor are like a great peg in God’s house that
give order and meaning to the rest of His commandments. Without love the commandments lie broken, or in a disorganized heap, on the muddy floor, not able to profit us or others. This should have been a huge lesson to the Pharisees, who were very particular about keeping the fine points of the Law, but often did so without love. Let’s not be like the Pharisees, but instead understand the point that Jesus was making, that love is the essential peg from which every commandment hangs, and that gives order and meaning to the commandments. Notes: 1. The “tent peg” here is generally known by scholars to be a peg or nail in the tent on which things were hung, and not a “tent stake” that held the tent up. 2. The King James Version gives us the correct and literal rendering of the Greek text. However, most Christians do not understand the common illustration that Jesus was making by comparing love to a great wall peg, so modern versions such as the HCSB, ESV, NASB, NET, and NIV, say “depend” instead of “hang.” While “depend” is not far off the mark, some of the depth of what Jesus was saying is certainly lost.
Oct/Nov/Dec 2012 The Sower 25
Dear Sower Seeker of Truth God bless you and your ministry. I am a seeker of truth, justice and mercy and desire to spread that gospel wherever I go. I can no longer trust what the world tells me nor accept without question everything that churches teach. Your website is an answer to prayer and a gift from God. Keep up the good work and be blessed to be a blessing. Amen. Irene F.
Website Feedback YouTube Feedback I am so glad that I ran into your YouTube channel, the videos are excellent and they are done in a serious but relaxed manner. It is refreshing to say the least to read your articles about God our Father and His son Jesus Christ in a way that cuts through all the fog of traditions and Greek influence. “Christian” TV is portraying a really bad image of Christianity that I cannot stand. Thank you and God bless you and your work. YouTube User (Ramon) Editor’s Note: Check out our YouTube Channel, visit YouTube.com/truthortradition
I love this website! It is so helpful and spiritually nourishing to me. Jeannie W.
New STFonline.org I just wanted to let you know that I saw the new website and I LOVE it! Great job and awesome implementation! I sure miss you all! Keep up the good work! Blessings, Rachel & Billy D.
Hello! What a blessing stumbling onto your website has been to me. I had been searching for years for the true teachings of the bible. Thank you! Nita H. Editor’s Note: Visit our research website at TruthOrTradition.com
26 The Sower Oct/Nov/Dec 2012
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Israel Videos on YouTube I watched the Israel Tour 18part series on Youtube and wanted to thank John Schoenheit for his insight. When it comes to Biblical history, archaeology and related matters, John is quite the technician. The light-hearted zeal this man has for both his subject and his beliefs is rather refreshing to witness, particularly at a time when religious conflict abounds everywhere. Editor’s Note: Subscribe to our channel, visit YouTube.com/truthortradition or subscibe to our iTunes video podcast at STFonline.org/video
Online Audio Seminars I can’t express how much I love being able to hear seminars online! We are starting a seminar and using the REV. Rita, Indianapolis, IN
my mind. Thank you so much for your hard work in scripture and in rightfully dividing the Word of God. What God revealed to me lines up exactly with what your website teaches, on everything from hell to the Trinity. So glad to see I’m not alone. God bless!
Editor’s Note: Visit STFonline.org/audio to purchase our audio seminars or listen for free via MP3.
YouTube Channel Feedback Amazing truth!!! This series has helped me so much! I found it very shortly after this question came to
Send us your Feedback Do you have questions about the Bible? Comments about our articles, audio teachings or videos? We would love to hear from you! Email us at STF@STFonline.org
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