MM Power & Influence
the Manna | April 2012
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the Manna | April 2012
Columns 07 | Signals 09 | On the Air
19 | Phenomenal Cosmic Power, Itty-Bitty Living Space What would we do with the power of God?
20 | Power in Empowerment
Give it up.
12 | The Man in the Middle
Shifting from defense to offense.
Who do you say Jesus is?
14 | Like Fleeting Shadows Power at work in the ordinary.
16 | What Is On Your Mind? What our Facebook status is really saying.
Stay in Touch
22 | Confessions Of A â€œNo Guyâ€? 25 | Powah Trip Empowered for a purpose.
26 | Here is Your King! Beauty and shame intermingled.
28 | Twelve Seemingly Fruitless Years Get it right the first time?
wolc.org | readthemanna.org | April 2012
the Manna | A Publication of Maranatha, Inc. Editor-In-Chief: Debbie Byrd Creative Director: Joe Willey Contributing Writers: Phil Bohaker, Keyanna Butts, Josh Millwood, Brittney Switala, B.A. Timmons & Karen Tull Media Client Liaisons: Janet Beckett, Lee Oxford & Randall Stapleton
Frequently Asked Questions Who We Are The Manna is published by Maranatha, Inc., a Christcentered ministry called to proclaim the Good News of faith and life in Jesus Christ through various forms of media, as God directs, until He returns. “Maranatha” (mer-a-nath´-a) is an Aramaic word found in I Corinthians 16:22. It is translated, “Our Lord, come!” Joy! 102.5 WOLC is also part of Maranatha, Inc. Its call letters stand for “Watch, Our Lord Cometh.” Maranatha!
Disclaimer Non-ministry advertisers are not required to subscribe to the “Statement of Faith” printed at right; nor are their businesses and products necessarily endorsed by the Manna, Joy! 102.5 WOLC, or Maranatha, Inc., whose viewpoints are not necessarily represented by the opinions or statements of persons interviewed in this magazine; nor are the viewpoints of its advertisers.
Statement of Faith We Believe… that the Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible and authoritative source of Christian doctrine and precept; that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that the only hope for man is to believe in Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God, who died to take upon Himself the punishment for the sin of mankind, and who rose from the dead so that by receiving Him as Savior and Lord, man is redeemed by His blood; that Jesus Christ in person will return to Earth in power and glory; that the Holy Spirit indwells those who have received Christ, for the purpose of enabling them to live righteous and godly lives; and that the Church is the Body of Christ and is comprised of all those who, through belief in Christ, have been spiritually regenerated by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The twin mission of the Church is worldwide evangelization, and nurture and discipline of Christians.
Manna and Joy! 102.5 WOLC P. O. Box 130, Princess Anne, MD 21853 Voice: 410-543-9652 Fax: 410-651-9652 Manna e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Joy! 102.5 e-mail: email@example.com ©2012 Maranatha, Inc. May not be reproduced without written consent of Maranatha, Inc. Photos: iStockphoto and Thinkstock
Maranatha Media | Home of Joy! 102.5 and the Manna
Signals Power & Influence It can be very scary when power and influence are exercised by a person with no wisdom and no experience. You know how it goes: “If I were in charge, I’d do this...” “If I ran the country, I’d do such and such....” “He’d be fired if I were the boss.” “Raise taxes to pay for it!” “If they didn’t spend money on that, taxes could be lowered!” But what usually goes into that process of wishful thinking is a limited perspective. It’s easy to say that a decision needs to be made—until you’re the one who has to carry it out. It’s easy to speculate without having all the facts. It’s easy to spend money until you are the one who pays the bills. It’s easy to sentence someone to 20 years until you are the juror. So, how does one gain wisdom and experience? In the old days, mentoring was common. There are people who get the concept—and people who don’t. There are those who comprehend, at some instinctual level, that a rare and valuable opportunity exists in a mentoring relationship. A mentor, in the true sense of the word, is the nurturer and trainer of the mentee. These are trusted relationships in which one leads and one follows, absorbing wisdom and experience like a sponge. Yet, even that is a very formal, wisdom-getting and experience-building exercise. In a world where everyone is busy, few such relationships exist. And, a certain degree of beginner’s wisdom is needed just to make sure one isn’t being mentored inappropriately (now that’s an oxymoron).
We learn by doing. In the parable of the talents, Jesus explains that the one who is faithful to carry through with the little things will be entrusted with greater responsibilities. Often, we’re in too much of a hurry to take the time to do our first assignments well, rushing through them to do the things we think have greater importance. We learn as we go. And we do well to remember that we exercise power and influence every time we speak or make choices. The problem is that we usually speak only when there is someone to listen, and too often we don’t consider how the power of our words may have a significant influence on someone else. Those of us who are quick to have an opinion need to slow down and make sure we have a clue what we’re talking about before we put our words and thoughts into the mind of someone else. It’s just so easy to be wrong. In this issue, we examine power and influence. What does it mean to be powerful? What does it mean to have influence? What purpose do either serve—in the hands of a godly person or in one who only puts self-interest first? How do power and influence play a part in the daily lives of every single one of us? Debbie Byrd is General Manager of Maranatha, Inc., a ministry that includes Joy! 102.5 and the Manna.
wolc.org | readthemanna.org | April 2012
Happy Easter He is risen indeed!
On the Air Scars Fair Trade Services artist and storyteller Jonny Diaz continues to impact the music listener with his powerful lyrics and heartfelt songs. With his brand new radio single “Scars,” the song follows Jonny’s other well-known radio hits such as “Break My Heart” and “Beauty of the Cross,” as well as his 2010 top hit “More Beautiful You.” The important message of “Scars” is poignant during this Easter season, yet it’s also a song that Jonny Diaz will surely be playing for years to come. Be sure to click here to watch Jonny share the message behind the writing of “Scars.” You’ll have the opportunity to hear Jonny Diaz perform “Scars” LIVE along with a number of his other great songs when he joins Todd Agnew for a night of acoustic music in Crisfield. Joy! 102.5 is co-sponsoring “An Evening with Jonny
Diaz & Todd Agnew” on Thursday, April 26th at 7 PM at Asbury United Methodist Church in Crisfield. Tickets are just $10 ($15 at the door) and are available at Asbury UMC (410-968-0540) or at Family Christian Bookstore in Salisbury (there is a $2 service charge when purchasing tickets at Family Christian). Don’t delay in getting your tickets for this awesome concert. More information is available at www. wolc.org. 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 | April 2012
E W N
Itâ€™s A Big World
Sakura Matsuri - Japanese Street Festival 4/14 | Washington D.C. www.sakuramatsuri.org Japanese Street Festival is now the largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture in the United States.
Gem Faire 4/6 - 4/8 | Eugene, Oregon www.gemfaire.com Take advantage of the lowest prices in the market for the finest quality of jewelry, gems, beads, crystals, silver, rocks, minerals, and much more.
Sheepshearing Festival 4/28 | Waltham, Massachusetts, www.goreplace.org/sheepshearing.htm Visitors see demonstrations of sheep shearing, herding dogs, spinning, weaving, a crafts fair with 60 crafters, wagon rides, live music, Morris dancers, historic demonstrators, gardening activities, and farm animals.
Maranatha Media | Home of Joy! 102.5 and the Manna
Wings Over Water 4/21 | Blaine, Washington www.blainechamber.com/wow Northwest birding festival at the waterfront in downtown Blaine with birding tours,exhibits and vendors, kids activities, wildlife cruises, prizes.
3rd Annual Martin County Nautical Flea Market & Seafood Festival 4/27 - 4/29 | Stuart, Florida www.flnauticalfleamarket.com Vendors will offer a wide variety of items including fishing rods, reels, lures and lines, antique collectibles and maps, teak furniture, tournament gear, nautical art, crafts and jewelry, marine artifacts, boating apparel, taxidermy and fish reproductions, diving equipment, marine accessories and parts and floating docks.
Gilmore Keyboard Festival 4/27 - 5/13 | Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, St. Joseph, Michigan www.thegilmoreiscoming.com The largest gathering of keyboard artists in North America!
wolc.org | readthemanna.org | April 2012
The Man in the Middle By Karen Tull
here were three crosses outside the city of Jerusalem that day. Jesus the Nazarene was not the only one who was executed, but two other men as well. One was to the left of Him; the other to the right. Three people—through unimaginable misery—were about to enter into eternity. We don’t know much about the men on each side, except for a few details. They were both convicted criminals, with various translations referring to them as “robbers,” “rebels,” and “revolutionaries.” We can also read that they ridiculed and insulted the man between them, chiming in with the hoards of onlookers. Apparently, no one was mocking these two as they died. So, who was this man in the middle? Why was He the focus? Jesus had been a polarizing figure from the start. A local man of Jewish descent, he had only been a public figure during the three years leading up to that day. In that span of time, he had drawn followers and haters alike. He healed the blind and deaf, cured the ill and paralyzed, cleansed lepers, brought people back from the dead, walked on water, cast out demons, calmed a storm, said that those who are first would be last, declared servanthood to be the greatest, ate with social outcasts, and challenged religious leaders. And, through it all, Jesus identified himself as the Son of God, the One the nation of Israel had long awaited. In essence, He declared himself to be God. Thus, Jesus was branded a liar, a blasphemer, and a lunatic. He was persecuted and handed over to die on a cross between two thieves who, too, took their opportunity
to harass Him, even as they all were dying. But interestingly, Scripture notes that one of these two men experiences a change. “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43). For whatever reason, this one man suddenly realizes that he is indeed next to the Most High—the only One with all power to save him. He acknowledges this authority and Jesus responds with a welcome into His eternal family. With which cross are you aligned today? We each have to consider whether we are the defiant and unremorseful sinner on the cross, or the repentant sinner on the cross who seeks mercy—the one who believed that the GodMan next to him had the power to regenerate life and also condemn. We are all either one man or the other. Eventually, each of us will enter eternity—but where will it be spent? Will you be with Jesus in His Kingdom, or in a place of punishment where you didn’t have to be? As we see in this story of Jesus’s death, there is mercy until the very end; only, we don’t know when our end will come. So, choose today—the Man in the middle stands ready to welcome you.
wolc.org | readthemanna.org | April 2012
t the height of its influence in 1279, the Mongol Empire included nearly all of China and Central Asia, as well as parts of Russia, Turkey, the Middle East, and even Eastern Europe. Although Genghis Khan, the great leader of the Mongols, is notorious in history books as a barbaric pillager, he was also a skilled military tactician and a shrewd governor of his conquered lands. He succeeded in unifying the fragmented Mongol tribes and amassing a vast territory, which became, under his grandson, Kublai, the largest contiguous land empire in history. That is power. But power is a relative term. Like every other ruler the world has known, Genghis Khan eventually met his death. And like every other civilization, the Mongol Empire eventually crumbled. The great leaders of world history have this in common: their power is now just a memory, nothing more than a legend. Perhaps Job said it best, “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure” (Job 14:1-2). What Job learned about the fragility of life through intense suffering is true for everyone. We may aspire to do great things, even “to gain the whole world,” but the playing field is level for all when it is time to stand before eternity. Our lifespans are not even a blink of the eye to the Author of time. And for all our accomplishments, people only appear powerful relative to other people. Now, consider a power altogether different than the momentary rule of human kings. There is a superior power against which there is no human comparison. Paul observed that it is, “like the working of [God’s] mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians1:19-21). Resurrection power. That is absolute. Name a conqueror, and I will show you someone who was conquered by the grave. Name a ruler, and I will show
you someone ruled by death. There is only One capable of raising a dead man from the grave, and He did so with his only Son. Remember that death, not Satan, is the last enemy of God (1 Corinthians 15:26). He has already shown that He can destroy this enemy and has promised to do it. The amazing part of all this is that God does not just display his authority to show off his muscles to humanity. That same immeasurable power Paul described is “for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19), meaning it is available to us. God has placed his immeasurable power—potent enough to bring the dead to life—at our disposal. Now, don’t expect to bring someone back from the dead on your way to work tomorrow. Sure, God could do it through you, just like He did through Peter (Acts 9:3642). But that is the exception rather than the rule. God’s resurrection power is displayed in the everyday things. Like when I am finally able to let go of a deeply held resentment and see my enemy as a person worthy of love. Or when God breaks the chains of addiction and sets the addict on the path of recovery. Or when He evokes words of praise from the mouth of a toddler. Something changes when I begin to see God’s power at work in the ordinary. I no longer think of salvation just as a decision I made to follow Christ. It is infinitely more miraculous than that. When I see God’s power at work in my life, I begin to understand that salvation is about being transferred from death to life. Where before there was only hopelessness and futility, God infuses his light as Christ lives in and through me (Galatians 2:20). This power is hidden from the grandiose ruler, who lives in denial of his utter weakness relative to the infinite authority of God. There is irony in this. Those whose lust for power drives them to build earthly empires miss the only true source of power. But those who come to the source broken, painfully aware of their powerlessness, receive God’s very life by His indwelling presence. This is the season of new life. At Easter, we rejoice in the demonstration of God’s resurrection power in his Son. May we rejoice as well in the infusion of God’s life-giving power into our own everyday circumstances. And let us remember that apart from that, our lives would be nothing more than fleeting shadows.
Like Fleeting Shadows By Phil Bohaker
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ome years back, a friend convinced me to join an online network that she was a part of. Becoming a member would allow me to meet people, build relationships, and stay in touch with friends. At the time, I was a freshman in college. I didn’t know many people on campus, so the networking opportunity instantly attracted me. The majority of my peers were already devoted members. Not wanting to feel or be left out, I decided to join. So, in 2005, I became a member of Facebook. If you are reading this article, there’s a great chance that you, too, are a “Facebooker.” With over 800 million users worldwide, the social networking site is growing exponentially...and so is its power to influence. In essence, all social media (e.g. Myspace, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) has the ability to influence its users to do, or not ©2010:HealthSouth:441521
do something. That’s why businesses use social networking sites as a major marketing device. However, Facebook influences us to do something so astonishing. It influences us to do something that not even our parents or family can get us to do. It influences us to do something that even our friends wish they could do. Facebook influences us to self-disclose. The Facebook status bar asks the question, “What is on your mind?” and boy, do we divulge our information and indulge in the information of others. We voluntarily reveal our thoughts, feelings, daily whereabouts and routines, aspirations, goals, likes, dislikes, failures, successes, fears, pictures, videos, etc., to hundreds and potentially millions of people. But is Facebook’s influence of selfdisclosure compromising our ability to influence others for Christ?
I recently read a Facebook post from a sister in Christ. It read, “Hello God, are you there? I don’t know how much more of this I can take...” Now as a fellow Christian, I know that her status was not meant to be an indictment against God. She was just venting during a rough time in her life. But what about the non-believer? Will this status validate their disbelief? Will this lessen her credibility when she later tries to minister to the lost that God will never leave them nor forsake them? I often question the things I post and read on Facebook and other social networking sites. The status that inconspicuously gossips about a co-worker or complains about a situation, the narcissistic comments and immodest photos—and all the while, the “Religious Views” section on our profile gladly proclaims “Christian.” What we often fail to realize is that everything we post is not solely about ourselves, but a statement
about Christians and Christianity. We should not let our good be evil spoken of. The Bible teaches us that we are the light of the world. Like a city sitting on a hill, we cannot be hide. We are to let our lights shine before others, that they may see our good works and give glory to God, the Father (Matthew 5:14-16). Therefore, what we do and say will have an impact on others. Like businesses, it is important to understand that social media is really a marketing device. It has the power to lure consumers toward or away from a product. From a marketing perspective, we must be conscious of how we “market” Christianity through our self-disclosure on Facebook and other social networking sites. It we are not cautious, we may very well be negatively affecting our ability to draw people to Christ.
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Phenomenal Cosmic Power, Itty-Bitty Living Space By Josh Millwood
hat would you do with the power of God? I’ve thought about this way too much. I would immediately transform my physical body to a more glamorous model (I’m thinking Michael Fassbender or a young Brad Pitt). I would be able to fly, for sure. Read minds—check. I’d imagine a sprawling palace to live in and watch as it instantly takes shape before me. I’ve always wanted a lightsaber, so I’d conjure one up. Those I love would live like kings and queens, and those I don’t love so much would beg just to be servants in my households. Notice how households is plural? That’s because I would have many houses all over the world, and by houses I mean epic mansions. Not even three sentences into my godship, we can get a sense of just how tragic a waste of such power would be on me. I’m sure some people immediately start thinking of the good they could do for others, if only they had the power of God. Some would cure diseases. Others would get rid of death. Good-bye natural disasters. Poverty would be obliterated. That’s what we humans think God should be doing anyway. But those things are symptoms of a fallen world. They are effects; we are the cause. Our sin caused the breaking of a creation God initially called “good.” Have you ever been frustrated by non-believers ask-
ing questions like: “If God is so loving, why are there so many orphans?” “Why did my dad leave us?” “Why did my mom have to die of cancer?” If we suddenly had the power to eliminate such things, we’d jump right on that. It is human nature to think we can manage creation better than God. Eve’s sin in the Garden wasn’t just disobedience, but envy. The serpent told her that her eyes would be opened and she would be like God. And we fall for that same lie all the time. We are still arrogant enough to think we could do this better. But only God can see the far-lying consequences of our temporary trials. All that power, and yet perhaps the greatest use of His power is shown through restraint. How many times have you begged God for something only to hear “no” a thousand times? Many times, those “no’s” are because He has something so much better for you around the corner. Even as we grow in wisdom, we are still children to God. We get better at asking for things in accordance with His will, but this side of eternity, I doubt we’ll ever have it all figured out. He sees all, and promises us in His Word that what He has for us is good. Really, really good. Way better, in fact, than what we are asking for. His timing can be maddening, but ultimately, God is better at being God than we could ever be.
wolc.org | readthemanna.org | April 2012
eing at the helm of an organization, large or small, secular or spiritual, for profit or not-for-profit, is a responsibility. Some dream of it - set out to achieve it. Some plan it as if it were intended for their lives but often without any notion of what it takes to get there - or how to handle it once they have. To others, it is something that happens as a result of hard work and wise choices. Some relish the end result - others wish for a less conspicuous life. Interestingly, the journey to leadership is as critical as the leadership position itself, probably more so. More often than not, the person on the path isn’t striving to lead. It’s the person that considers each step along the way as important in its own way that, over time, finds their way to leadership. It’s the person that takes the time and attention in each small step and realizes the value of that task to the whole of an organization that “get’s it.” Now, a person can get it and want to keep at that task for the duration. They do it well, they are comfortable, and they stick to it—content with that role. But a leader usually rises up when a person has considered the whole of a process—an organization—and, applying that understanding and knowledge, pulls together everyone and every part toward a common goal. Remember the old tale about the
wise man that says, “I can tell you how to cook a fish and you will eat—or I can teach you how to fish and you will never be hungry”? Having an understanding of the parts and processes, this type of leader understands that one of the most powerful and influential perspectives that may be shared is empowerment. This means to empower people with tools and resources to grow in knowledge and ability. It’s providing the freedom for people to speak and think and create. It’s allowing wide enough parameters for individualization. Scripture is filled with countless examples of this type of leadership. John Maxwell in the Maxwell Leadership Bible examines these. He writes, “No psalm has gained more admirers than Psalm 23. In it, we learn not only about God’s nature, but also about His leadership. David describes the Lord as Shepherd, no doubt seeing Him in this way because of his own leadership bias. David also had been a model shepherd. Both Old and New Testaments use the term “shepherd” to illustrate leadership. The word communicates the love, nurture, intimacy, and spiritual care a godly leader provides. In involves both the rod (correction) and the staff (direction). Psalm 23 describes the Ultimate Shepherd performing several functions.” The shepherd, he says, provides, gives rest,
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Power in Empowerment By Debbie Byrd
confidently leads, renews and restores, guides and directs, protects, corrects and comforts, feeds and anoints, loves, and provides shelter. Note, not a mention of controls. This type of leadership allows a person to succeed—or fail. Either of which provides an opportunity for growth —for wisdom and experience. In the New Testament, we witness a leader that failed to empower. King Herod “failed to empower anyone; in fact, he drained power from people in a continual grab for power”, notes John Maxwell. He points out the myriad ways Herod failed: he was threatened to learn of the coming King; he leveraged his power against any possible competitor; he used people for his own purposes; he lied to protect his image; he reacted with rage when he didn’t get his way; he was concerned only with himself; and he sought to destroy any threat to his leadership. To the contrary, Jesus empowered. He recruited knowing that He wouldn’t be around for others to lean on, not in the physical sense anyway. He developed leaders by prompting them to grow, to develop their skills, talents and knowledge. Ultimately, He empowered them to exercise their gifts. And He further empowered them with the Holy Spirit, the One to whom they could always turn for help and guidance.
Maxwell speaks to the model Jesus provides in Matthew 10:1 - 15. He called each of his disciples; He found them involved in their everyday tasks and He recruited them to be part of his team. He selected them and He knew each of them (vv. 1 - 4). After a time of instruction, He sent them out - He gave them a job to do and He let them do it (v. 5). He gave them an objective, a purpose (vv. 5,6). He gave them clear instructions (v. 7). He gave them credibility by giving them the tools needed to carry out their responsibility (v. 8). He instilled confidence in them (vv. 9, 10). He grew in them solid convictions (vv. 11 - 15). Jesus didn’t do the job for them. He didn’t hang over them and wait for them to get it right - or wrong. He commissioned them to press on! By giving away His power, He multiplied His influence! Jesus taught others how to move forward with the power of the Holy Spirit. He taught others how to lean not on the Man of Christ but the Spirit of God that would dwell within each person - the Spirit that enables wise choices and the proper exercise of power and influence. It’s cyclical - you get it and you give it - and it’s in the giving, the empowering, that you have exercised the greatest power and influence.
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Confessions of a “No Guy” By Brittney Switala
Educating Delmarva’s Children for Eternity
arlier today, I received an urgent email from an organization whose goal is to unite one million citizens who will defend the traditional definition of marriage. I often send the appropriate emails to the right congressmen and hope and pray they make a difference. I receive probably three or four of these types of emails a week from this organization and others desiring my voice and action. Protect babies, defend marriage, stand for strong families—worthy causes that deserve my time and my money. But I go through seasons, probably just like you, when I am battle-weary. I am weary because for as long as I can remember, I have fought (primarily losing) battles. Growing up, I listened to radio programs which encouraged my parents to “write their congressmen” or “call the White House switchboard.” I learned the importance of being an active citizen and defending what is biblically right with the freedom offered in our country. To be honest, I’m the “No guy” saying “no” to everything from “choice” to “sexual freedom” in this battle of verbiage. Never cool or cutting edge, always holding the line of tradition. “Defending the faith” is the term we commonly use in Christian circles. Perhaps the reason we lose moral battles so often is because we are stuck defending and not working the offense. Not to downplay the validity of putting out moral fires as they come, but what if we anticipated fires and assembled an army of action when there is a moral consensus? There was moral consensus that abortion was murder in the 1960s. In the 1980s, it’s safe to say that society expected fathers to stick around and take responsibility for the children they fathered. In the 1990s, Americans considered almost universally that a marriage could only be defined as a relationship between a natural male and natural female. In each of these cases it was a slow fade of moral decline. Circumstances involving exceptions to the rule led to a widespread cry for tolerance and personal freedom. Not wanting to be considered close-minded, culture has made measured steps from accommodating and then embracing these changes. Many ethical deviations seen in America take a cue from European countries with primarily non-religious populations who view our nation as morally uptight and stodgy.
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In America, it is illegal to own or distribute pornographic material featuring anyone younger than 18. Pornography featuring children is something that remains universally repulsive to our moral consciousness. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a full 40 percent of those arrested for possession of child pornography have also physically victimized children. Once a child’s image is distributed online, it can never be recaptured. The child will be endlessly violated through redistribution of the image. We are now at a critical time to proactively prevent the exploitation of our youth. Teens distributing pornographic photos of themselves via phones (sexting) have caused some to question whether these underage images should be considered simply youthful indiscretion. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy states that 20 percent of teens have reported sending nude or semi-nude images. Sexting laws are decided State-byState and sexting is considered a misdemeanor crime, even though it is distribution of child pornography. Extreme editing of real images and creation of virtual pornographic images has blurred the lines of right and wrong. If a child’s image was created from an artist’s mind, the question arises as to whether it is simply art appreciation or child pornography. Currently, U.S. laws have made creation and distribution of virtual child pornography a crime. In Scandinavia, if you are in possession of photos of naked 13-year-olds involved in a sexual act, it would not be considered child pornography or illegal to own or distribute. In the Netherlands, nude photos of a sexual nature involving 16-year-olds can be distributed without legal consequences. If America begins adhering to trends from the last 30 years, we could follow. The time is right to constitutionally protect our children against exploitation and sexual victimization. Recent widespread media attention on the sexual trafficking of children worldwide has put this on the radar of those in positions of power and influence. In 2011, Google gave $11.5 million to end slavery and human trafficking. Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake have starred in ads declaring that “Real men don’t buy girls.” This war can be won by being on the offensive, celebrating the chance to be “Yes Men!”
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Powah Trip By Karen Tull
ower. The thought of having it can be intriguing—intoxicating, even. Think of popular movies these days. Is there a year that goes by where a new superhero film isn’t released? Hollywood is making and re-making them at an ever-increasing rate. From Superman and Spiderman to Batman and X-Men— we can’t get enough of these characters with unearthly abilities. And Harry Potter? Waving a stick around never seemed so appealing. Power takes many forms. Consider The Godfather, with its movie poster famously depicting a single hand controlling a set of marionette puppet strings. In the film, Mafia boss Vito Corleone wields his power through intimidation and manipulation to get precisely what he wants. Okay, so maybe we all don’t necessarily want to fly, bend steel, or threaten people—but don’t we wish we could be powerful in some kind of way, even just a little? Back in the early 90s, there was a popular dance song called “The Power.” It had pounding electronic beats, in-your-face lyrics rapped by an angry guy, and, of course, the unforgettable phrase belted out repeatedly with soulful gusto: “I got the powah!” Yes! Woohoo! Sometimes that’s just the thing we want to holler out to the world—and wish it were actually true! (Warning: Some radio stations still occasionally play this song. As it can potentially infiltrate the psyche and give a temporary false sense of empowerment, I do not recommend cranking it up if you hear it while driving— increased speed and risky maneuvers may result. When a cop pulls you over, you will be reminded that you do not, in fact, “got the power.”) So, does the average person have any power at all? Seems like everyone else has it. The government has the power, your boss has the power, the bank has the power, your landlord has the power, your spouse has the power, your parents have the power. Maybe all you feel is powerless. The truth is, God has the power—all of it. He has always existed and always will. He created everything and will govern it forever. And, there is no power except that
which is given by God (Romans 13:1), and He has given all authority to His Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18). Here’s some good news: Whoever calls upon Jesus Christ for salvation immediately receives the Holy Spirit, the Power who gives life, purpose, and hope—and the same Power by whom Jesus was resurrected. That’s right, the force that brought a dead man back to life is the same power indwelling you if you are a child of God. In other words, Christians: We got the powah! But what is this power for? The Holy Spirit empowers us to glorify God and make Him known—there is no other purpose. Any other desire for power would be for glorifying ourselves. But God gives us the choice of what we do. Will our choices count for all eternity, or will they fade out of memory in a short span of time? Princess Diana had power and influence. Indeed, she often used it to do “good” things, devoting time to the charities and humanitarian efforts close to her heart. But what is she mostly remembered for? Her fashion style, crowd-pleasing and down-to-earth manner, and the media circus surrounding her love affairs that ultimately led to her death. Real and lasting influence is when others see us—just regular, flawed people—daily trying to obey and honor the Lord in all we do, making disciples for Him as we go. But that influence is weakened by an ineffective testimony caused by worldliness, just as Lot was laughed at when he tried to witness to people while he had ongoing sin in his life (Genesis 19:14). The Bible says we are called to be set apart as light in a dark world, to be above reproach and a benefit to others. Maybe it would make things easier sometimes to have whatever kind of power we desire, be it imaginary or attainable. A flick of the hand and the traffic light turns green. Uttering a single word and being obeyed on command. How about the ability to just make our lives go the way we want once in a while? Sure, it might be nice. But what could ever top the power given to us by God Himself, to live a life that points to His goodness and grace.
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Here is Your King! By Jill Carattini
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he passion narrative of John, the writer’s witness to the events leading up to the cross, often seems like something of a game of push and shove. The push and pull of an honor and shame culture, where all behavior and interaction either furthers one’s vital position of shame or honor in society, is unquestionably at work here, both in the various characters and stories Jesus tells and in the minds of the audience John is addressing. John offers repeated scenes in his narrative that comparably seem to suggest the coming reversal of honor and shame, with Jesus hinting among the poor and the powerful that power may not be all they believe it to be. Yet Jesus himself is still clearly shamed, and shamed profoundly. Shame in such a culture included public rejection, abandonment, humiliation, and victimization—all of which factor heavily in the passion narrative. Shaming also occurs when blood is intentionally spilled, when one is beaten, especially in public, with there bring no higher shame than being killed, and the shame of death on a Roman cross the vilest of all. All of this is the passion. While there are undoubtedly scenes where Jesus seems to take himself out of these systems of honor and shame, suggesting a different system entirely, he is just as often, and profoundly so, on the losing end when the theme is in play. In something of a parabolic push and shove of words, there always seems much going on under the surface of John’s passion narrative: “Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. And Pilate said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’” Here, I also think the theme of insider and outsider is a thrust for John and his intended audience, where insight of kingship (revealed in various levels of clarity and ambiguity) portrays one further in or outside of the kingdom.
John is intent throughout his gospel on the revelation of Jesus as king, clearly a title and position of honor. But it is also true that throughout his gospel this kingship is understood by some and completely missed by others, at times in the same instance. Kingship is seen ironically in thorned crowns and purple robes and paradoxically in lowly but good shepherds. Even the phrase “King of the Jews” in the passion narrative itself is an example of how the same title can be used both with the thrust of honor and glory for some and the intent of shame and ridicule for others; with both an eschatological vision and with a vision clouded by human jockeying for power and position—simultaneously. Behind this common usage is the reality that there are all around Jesus those who see like the blind man in John 9 and those who do not see like the chief priests and Roman authorities, those who either do not know or falsely think they know. Thus to outsiders, Jesus’s blood is spilled, and in his death there is neither hope of retribution for this shamed one nor satisfaction. But to those who see Jesus’s hour now at hand, blood is spilled as the good shepherd who has just laid down his life for his friends. In the vile shame of death on a cross rests a peculiar beauty, an invitation even within our dismissals. Here is your King. Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. Here is Your King! by Jill Carattini, A Slice of Infinity, No. 2687, originally printed March 26, 2012 (www. rzim.org). Used by permission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
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Twelve Seemingly Fruitless Years By B.A. Timmons
sat in the auditorium watching the induction of the new members of the National Junior Honor Society. My daughter, the vice president, was helping with the program. The guest speaker was a man my age who owned his own law firm and had a list of accomplishments to be admired. Everyone spoke of the qualities expected of society members. What was not mentioned by anyone was the importance of good career choice decision-making. I was elected president of our honor society in my senior year of high school; only, I dreaded every single minute of it. I did not aspire to be a leader of the honor society, or of anything else for that matter. It wasn’t just the leadership quality I lacked, but the enthusiasm to excel in academic achievement. I was just coasting. When I entered the second year in my college engineering program, it didn’t take long to realize that I was in over my head. The crux of the problem was the mathemat-
ics. Panic ensued, and in the face of what seemed like overwhelming odds of complete failure, I pulled out of engineering and entered the arts and sciences program with an undeclared major. After a couple of semesters, I settled into Criminal Justice. Quite a deviation from my original route, but I was fascinated with the study of bad human behavior. After graduating, I considered law school, but elected to first serve two years in the Army. It would provide some funds for school and broaden my life experience. As it happened, I was assigned to work in a law office. After a year of first-hand observation of lawyers at work, I lost all desire to be one. So, following my discharge from the Army, I chose a career path involving various social agencies, culminating in probation and parole (not my own, but the supervision of others). It was a job that didn’t fascinate me in the least. I decided to resign and become a carpenter, eager to work with something that would
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do exactly what I asked it to do. I slowly built a clientele of customers in need of a person to handle their home improvements. The period of time from when I first decided to pursue engineering to the day I settled into my present vocation: 12 long years. Those 12 years have nagged me on and off during the 22 years since. The questions surrounding it are numerous, but the first was whether I made the right decision to change majors my sophomore year of college. Given the circumstances, to this day I stand by that decision to withdraw from the College of Engineering. At the same time, I regret my lack of enthusiasm toward math in high school. Since I have been relatively settled in my current profession for the past 22 years, perhaps those 12 years were all just a learning experience and I am exactly where I should be. Certainly the Lord was there all along, directing my path, wasn’t He? A well-balanced and content person would say, “Yeah, that’s where I am…perfectly
content with the present, trusting the hand of God with no looking back.” Unfortunately, it’s the looking back part that I stumble over. Even if I do attribute it all to a learning experience, perhaps the most nagging question of all is: Did I really need to spend 12 years of my life on a side path? Obviously those years were not a waste of time. I met people along the way and had experiences I will treasure all my life. But I would rather have gotten it right the first time. I’m thinking the Lord had all the honor society leader-types He needed. Maybe He had enough lawyers and men who would have power and influence in their communities. To craft the man I became, the Lord had him walk through 12 years which would yield little visible fruit. Then, in accordance with His perfect plan, perhaps the Lord had in His hands a broken man with whom He could work.
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