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the Manna | June 2013

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the Manna | June 2013

Columns

18 | When?

07 | Signals 09 | On The Air

21 | Roman Holiday

Features 12 | Sign Of The Times The danger in speculation.

14 | Life Began at Death The moment that changes everything.

16 | Numbering Our Days The wisdom in pondering death.

Stay in Touch

The question we all like to ask.

We don’t get to pick where God calls us.

23 | Preparing For Eternity Never forget where you came from.

24 | Weary For Christ When serving feels like a duty.

26 | Time-Tested Wisdom How to escape the world’s distractions.

29 | The Beauty of Annoyances Entrusting our dilemmas to God.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

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the Manna | A Publication of Maranatha, Inc. Editor-In-Chief: Debbie Byrd Creative Director: Joe Willey Contributing Writers: Phil Bohaker, Keyanna Butts, Josh Millwood, Scott Noble, B.A. Timmons, Karen Tull & Mary Tyler Media Client Liaison: Adam Riggin and 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: info@readthemanna.org Joy! 102.5 e-mail: wolc@wolc.org ©2013 Maranatha, Inc. May not be reproduced without written consent of Maranatha, Inc. Photos: iStockphoto and Thinkstock

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Signals Time To have all the time in the world is a nice thought, but it just ain’t so. In our teens, twenties, thirties and probably even our forties, we look at life like there’s plenty of time. And then, somewhere in our fifties, we just start hoping we have enough time to do all that we want or need to do. That might include a major goal like traveling around the world or it might be as simple as getting our affairs in order. We just suddenly have a reality check that, though we’ve said it all our lives, tomorrow isn’t promised. This month’s issue will consider time— how we use it, how we waste it, what its purpose is. Dr. Ray Chamberlain, a powerful man of God that served the Delmarva area for decades, used to say that time has no meaning to God, that God looks at the concept of time differently than we do. He sees the beginning, the now, and the end equally. He sees time both as one and in layers, concurrently. That the concept we call time is simply space God gives each of us to repent and turn to Him. So, if we repent and turn to God, what then do we do? Just sit back and wait? No. Our job is to share the news of Him today. We can’t sit and plan who we might share Him with tomorrow; we need to share Him in the moment, in case it’s the last moment we know on this earth. Sharing Christ is not limited to just talking about Him. It’s not limited to our verbal testimony. We can share Him by the manner in which we live our lives. We

can be a walking testimony. Pay attention. That’s not a walked testimony, undertaken yesterday. It’s not a to walk or a will walk, to be undertaken tomorrow. It’s walking— current, alive and in the here and now! It’s futile to try to walk with the Lord yesterday. And it’s a nice goal, but only that, to walk with Him tomorrow. He would have us walk with Him now. Laying claim in our doing so to all of the promises He has for our eternal future with Him—a future that will begin only when He appoints the moment. Someday we will have all the time in the world.

H e a v en

Debbie Byrd is General Manager of Maranatha, Inc., a ministry that includes Joy! 102.5 and the Manna.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

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On the Air Giving Up On the air this month is a new song from singer-songwriter Mark Schultz called “I Gave Up.” We had the chance recently to hear from Mark on how this new song came about. Mark shares that “I Gave Up” is a song that actually came to him in his sleep, which he says happens often. “I will get up, grab my cell phone, go to the other side of the house and record an idea. My wife used to ask me why I would get up so frequently in the night, but now she knows when that happens that I just got another idea.” With this particular song, Mark said he got up, grabbed his guitar and was singing these lyrics over and over: “I gave up my striving, I gave up living lies, I gave up always trying to be good enough in some people’s eyes.” This idea came to him after he and his wife had just returned from an extended trip to Europe. “We lived in a very small apartment over there and had to put most of our things in storage while we were gone. We were having dinner one night and my wife looked at me and asked, ‘Do you miss any of our stuff? I don’t miss one thing.’ I replied that I hadn’t even thought about it. Mark says they realized that as Americans they probably had too much stuff and that they were actually happy without it all. “When we came back to our things, we got stressed out just trying to keep up with all of it. So I got to thinking that maybe that’s

what my song is all about. Maybe that’s why these thoughts and lyrics keep coming to my mind.” He started writing more of those thoughts down: “I don’t need a house on top of the world. I like the car I’m driving. Everything I got ain’t what I’m worth and that’s not the reason I’m living. I don’t need to see my name in lights leaving a grand impression.” Mark shares that before he knew it, the song “I Gave Up” had come to life through their experience of giving it all up for a brief period of time. He said that as he’s been singing this song at concerts, people continue to come up to him and say how much the message resonates with them. “There are things in life that are more important than what kind of car I drive or how big my house is. I gave up justifying and found who I was in my Savior’s eyes.” To learn more about Mark Schultz and his music, visit his website at MarkSchultzMusic.com. Be sure to listen for this new song on Joy! 102.5 and at wolc.org. Plus, we’ll be giving away copies of Mark’s latest project All Things New this month on-air. 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 | June 2013

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Go Out

It’s A Big World

Banana Split Festival 6/7 - 6/8 | Wilmington, Ohio www.bananasplitfestival.com The nation’s only Banana Split Festival. Enjoy free concerts, continuous entertainment, a cruise-in of classic cars, crafts and collectibles, games, rides, unique food and of course Banana Splits!

Walleye Weekend 6/7 - 6/9 | Fond du Lac, Wisconsin www.fdlfest.com Walleye Weekend has grown into one of Wisconsin’s premier events, luring more than 100,000 people to Lakeside Park over three days with its extensive family entertainment.

Cole Porter Festival 6/6 - 6/9 | Peru, Indiana www.coleporterfestival.org The festival will kickoff on Thursday evening with the premiere of the 9th annual Cole Porter Revue titled, “Cole In Space.” An art show, childrens corner, and historical presentations will also take place.


Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade 6/8 | Portland, Oregon www.rosefestival.org View your favorite parade floats up close. Youll be amazed at the intricate detail that goes into creating these mobile works of art.

Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival 6/22 - 6/23 | Lewes, Delaware www.historiclewes.org/events/seaglass The Lewes Historical Society announces the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival. Come to the Historic Complex at Second and Shipcarpenter streets in historic Lewes.

12th Annual Under The Oaks Art Festival 6/19 - 6/20 | Corolla, North Carolina www.whaleheadclub.com/events Enjoy this annual outdoor art show on the waterfront grounds of Currituck Heritage Park. This festival features the unique talents of over 100 quality artists with a wide variety of media.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

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Sign of the Times By Phil Bohaker

T

he film A Thief in the Night terrified me as a child. It is the first in a series of Christian films presenting an imaginative, and at times horrific, depiction of the Rapture and the Great Tribulation. The main character in the film wakes up to a radio broadcast announcing the instantaneous disappearance of millions of people, and she discovers that her own husband has vanished with his electric razor still buzzing in the bathroom sink. And everything basically spirals downward from there. I often bristle when I read a religious work or hear a sermon that claims to offer new insight into end times prophecy. The story goes like this: the author has intensely studied the Book of Revelation and the Olivet Discourse and subsequently develops a timeline of the events therein. He then compares these insights with the recent news headlines and “discovers” startling parallels. Finally, he writes a book to warn people that the cataclysmic end of the world is happening right before our eyes. What concerns me about the prevailing end times obsession in Christian media is that it can actually take our focus off of Christ and sap the joy and purpose out of the Christian life. When we seek to discern the precise timeline of the end times, we are like Peter asking Jesus in Acts 1:6, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The answer is the same for us as it was for him: “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” Make no mistake—we could be in the last days. Jesus could return at any time. However, to point to specific world events as clear indications of Christ’s imminent return is speculative and potentially dangerous. It is not essential or even possible to have a clear timeline of events leading up to Christ’s second coming. Instead, we have clear biblical direction on how to live regardless of the “times or seasons.” Some might argue that an understanding of how world events line up with biblical prophecy will evoke a sense of urgency to finish the mission of world evangelism and to have our hearts prepared for the return of Christ. But end times scenarios create no more urgency than does the knowledge that we as are not guaranteed tomorrow. Whether the world goes on or not, I can only be sure that I am alive today. The reality is that we “do not know what tomorrow will bring” (James 5:14).

Imagine you were diagnosed with a terminal illness and you knew you would die tomorrow. What would you do with your last day on Earth? Surely, I would want to spend my last hours with my family. Some might seek reconciliation and closure in a damaged relationship. Others might want to do something they’ve been pushing to the back burner for a long time. We can’t truly live each day as if we knew it was our last. None of us would ever go to work or mow the lawn or pay our bills. But imagining what we would do if this was the last day we had left can help us assess and realign our priorities. We don’t need dire forecasts about the state of the universe to do that. Jesus commands us to “stay awake,” since we “do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). But to be ready for the Lord’s return is not to wait in fear. Charles Spurgeon is attributed with saying, “Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” It may be sobering to think of what may befall unbelievers. But no one was ever scared into heaven. This has important implications for how we engage in evangelism. True evangelism cannot prey upon the worries people have about tomorrow—including the coming judgment. Rather, true evangelism explains what will give people life today. It holds out to sinners the radical, free gifts of forgiveness, new life and lasting hope. True evangelism centers on grace, not fear. God’s message to sinners is that eternal life can begin today. Many Christian teachers focus on the evil in the world as signs of the end, but the biblical emphasis is on the hope we have that Jesus is coming back to claim his own. That is the lesson of studying the end times. God wants us to know that whatever struggles we face, whatever trials we endure and whatever sorrows we bear, there will come a day for us to stand before Jesus as He wipes away every single tear from our eyes (Isaiah 25:8; Rev 21:4). What happens between then and now is unknowable. The one thing we can know is that we have eternal life in Jesus. This is what prompted John to write his first epistle: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). With this assurance, we can begin to focus on how God would have us live today, rather than on what might happen tomorrow.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

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Life Began at Death By Scott Noble

T

he phone call that interrupted my otherwise peaceful afternoon would forever change my life. I was 20-years-old and home on break from college. It was the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, and the sky over west-central Minnesota was particularly gray. We’re used to gray days in late fall and early winter in Minnesota, and I suppose it was just another “normal” overcast day. However, my memory colors the sky an even more desperate gray that day. The phone call did not bring good news, as is the case with most unexpected phone calls. One of my best friends, Jeff, had been in a car accident in California where he was attending college. His prognosis was not good; he was in a coma with little hope. Several days later, his parents made the most difficult decision of their lives and ended Jeff’s life support. He was just 21-yearsold. Frederick Buechner referred to times like this as “the

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moment life began.” For him, that “moment” was the day his father committed suicide. After that, everything in his life changed: how he looked at his family, his relationships, how he saw his place in the world, even his faith. Not everyone experiences one of these “moments” in their lives but for those who do, it often is devastating. The death of a loved one, the demise of a many-year marriage, the loss of a job or a life-threatening illness—these “moments” can lead to despair, heart break and even a bruised outlook on life. For some, this experience can be like marking a line on a piece of paper—with life before the experience on the left and life after the experience on the right. Life is now tentatively embraced, awkwardly engaged. Some become defined by that moment, incomplete people perilously walking life’s pathways, unable to fully


commit or devote themselves to any particular direction. Faith, for many, also becomes something tenuously held. Some wonder if their beliefs are true, if the energy needed to maintain faith is worth it and if they want to continuously grapple with its real-life outworkings. Joseph—in the Old Testament—also experienced a “moment when life began.” He was a young man when his brothers’ jealousy of him finally boiled over. Joseph was their father’s favorite. Jacob, their father, even demonstrated his special love for Joseph by giving him an “ornate robe” (Genesis 37:3 NLT), only intensifying his brothers’ jealousy of him. One day as the brothers were grazing their father’s flocks some distance from home, Jacob asked Joseph to check on them. Little did Joseph know that what was to follow would be his “moment when life began.” While in the distance, his brothers saw him and developed a plan to kill him. Their jealousy and anger had finally overtaken their sanity. Initially, the brothers wanted to strip Joseph of his special coat and leave him in a pit to die. That plan was eventually replaced with the suggestion to sell him to Ishmaelite traders, garnering the brothers 20 pieces of silver. These were Joseph’s own brothers. The same ones with whom he played, shared meals, and dreamed about the future. Now they stopped short of allowing him to die only because they saw an opportunity to make a little money. Joseph’s “moment when life began” was upon him. From now on, everything would be different. David, too, had his “moment when life began.” For David, however, this “moment” was the result of his own doing. He had developed an attraction for Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his military leaders. The rest of the

story is familiar. David, captivated by his lust for Bathsheba, slept with her and eventually has Uriah killed in battle in order to help cover up his misdeed. Soon after, we read that Nathan the prophet confronts David about his adultery and murder. David, moved by God’s Spirit, is overcome with grief and remorse. Psalm 51 is a vivid recollection of David’s remorse: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1 NIV). Both men—Joseph and David—were suddenly faced with “moment when life began” experiences: Joseph upon his betrayal by his brothers and David upon the realization of the depth of his transgressions. Yet instead of letting those moments define them—affecting how they engaged the world and the potentially limiting impact on their futures—both men used those moments to allow God to shape them into more devoted and compassionate followers of Him. Tragedy is often met with two responses: to become more insulated, less able to engage the wider world or to become more emphatic, using the experience to develop an attitude of understanding and devotion. Many years later, Joseph—after another devastating event involving Potiphar—was put “in charge of the whole land of Egypt” by Pharaoh (Genesis 41:41, NIV). Joseph chose not to be defined by his brothers’ betrayal and rose to the height of power of authority, a position that would ultimately allow him to benefit the lives of thousands. Joseph also eventually met his brothers again, assisting them and reconciling with them, giving them muchneeded food during a terrible drought. So overcome by emotion upon seeing his brothers again, Joseph had to turn away from them as tears flooded his eyes. How easy would it have been for Joseph to have responded bitterly upon seeing his brothers again—especially after they had come searching for food? “You abandoned me and sold me for a few pieces of silver and now you expect me to help you avoid starvation?” we can readily see Joseph saying. But he didn’t. He allowed God’s grace to transform him. David, for his part, used his “moment when life began” to become a man known for his committed heart to God. Crushed by his own sin and shortcomings, David developed a softer heart, one more open to God’s healing mission. Though certainly not perfect, David demonstrated a willingness to be molded and not to become defined by his past.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

15


Numbering Our Days By Karen Tull

I

f each of us knew the precise date and time at which we would die, how would we live? Understanding that our days are numbered can help bring life into focus. But how can we keep this at the forefront of our minds, with so many things vying for our attention? Scripture teaches, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:15-16). We don’t need to scour the news to realize that we are in evil times. One day Jesus will return and we have only a certain time frame in which to proclaim the Good News that He died for sinners and offers redemption. The chances we have today to minister may very well be gone tomorrow. Thus, we should pay heed to

this sobering reminder and take advantage of each opportunity to reach people for Christ. C.S. Lewis writes, “If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” We do not own time. Each new day, we are entrusted with hours and minutes and are called to be good stewards of these gifts. “It’s so easy to fill our lives

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with trivialities,” says author Stuart Briscoe. “But God calls us to something higher and nobler and grander. In the light of eternity, and in the face of evil and sin, He wants to put us in touch with that love and compassion demonstrated in Jesus Christ. He wants to lead us to repentance and faith and infuse us with the grace of His Spirit. That’s living wisely.” It’s crucial to remember that God is the source and sustainer of everything. In the chaos of life, it’s easy to get sidetracked and forget that He is in absolute control of the universe and our individual path in this world. But if we have put our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the price for our sin, we can be assured that our Heavenly Father has a good purpose and plan for us. Each day is an opportunity to reach toward it. Naturally, we want our lives to be “about” some-

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thing, to see that what we’re doing is fruitful and effective. Those desires are placed there by God, and He is faithful to instruct us along the way. “When we turn to the Lord seeking a heart of wisdom,” continues Briscoe, “what do we ask for? Compassion, unfailing love, and the joy and gladness only He can give. What do we pray for? That His deeds might be manifest in our lives. When we turn to the Lord, what is it that we’re seeking? That He would touch us in daily life so that the very work of our hands would be done to His eternal glory.” Regardless of our level of education or the specific work of our hands, God freely offers His wisdom to each of us so that we’re equipped to be opportunists for the Kingdom. We receive this wisdom when we keep the bigger—and most important—picture in focus.

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When? By Keyanna Butts

W

hen are you going to get married? When are you going to move out? When are you going to have kids? When are you going to get a (better) job? As a single, 20-something who is inbetween jobs and still living with my parents, most of the questions I’m asked begin with “when.” As if living with my parents is not challenging enough, constantly being confronted with the “when” question can be an added stress. If it were up to me, I would have accomplished at least two out of the four above questions—living on my own and working my dream job should have definitely happened by now. But the more I try to put a timeframe on “when,” the more I realize that time is not on my side…or is it?

Life is filled with deadlines. Whether it’s as customary as paying a bill, as complex as having children, or as basic as writing this article, almost everything that encompasses our day-to-day lives has a time and date in which the obligation must be fulfilled. In a sense, setting a timeframe to accomplish certain things in life can be exciting and motivating. And, since time is definitive and measurable, it provides structure and organization to our lives, which gives us a sense of control. And who doesn’t want to be in control of their life? The burdensome nature of time only becomes evident when deadlines go unmet. No one wants to be “past due.” Being past due means you somehow failed at controlling and directing your life. Being past due means you can’t depend on your own power or schedule to make things hap-


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pen. Being past due forces you to believe and count on a timeless entity (God), to manifest a timely outcome. God wants to be in complete control of our lives, including the timeframe in which certain life plans come to pass. When God’s timing is not in sync with ours (or better phrased, when our timing is not in sync with God’s), it’s not meant for us to become burdened, worried or doubtful; rather, this opens the door for faith and for God to take over. Our faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). But, there is no need for faith if you can personally determine how and when something is going to happen. “…but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:24-25).

When you reach the point where you can’t answer the “when” questions, because “when” has come and gone, you are only left with the hope that these things will happen whenever God allows them to happen. This is exactly how God wants us to live—trusting in Him to fulfill the desires of our heart, rather than relying on ourselves, and waiting with patience and confidence on His set time. So, as my chronological and biological clock continues to click away and personal deadlines go unmet, though it may appear that time is not on my side, God is. Thus, with hope, patience and confidence in Him, I wait for the manifestation. Until then, my answer to the questions of “when” will simply be, “In God’s timing.”

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Roman Holiday By Josh Millwood

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sometimes joke with friends who are busy raising funds to go on the mission field that if God calls me to be a missionary, it will have to be to the South of France or a port along the Mediterranean. On a yacht. My friends placate me with a chuckle and then get back to helping people in Haiti, Africa, China, and other poverty-stricken parts of the world. You don’t hear about too many missionaries struggling to bring the Gospel to the vacationing upper crust. It seems like a ripe mission field to me. Movie stars and royalty need Jesus, too. And if that means suffering through the Cannes Film Festival or sailing to the Caribbean, so be it. It’s a cross I’ll willingly bear. And I’m in good company. The Apostle Paul felt led by God to take the Gospel to Rome. This ancient city was even more of a draw during the First Century than it is today. It was the center of the world! All roads led to Rome. It’s where the movers and shakers—the policymakers—the kings and queens of the day all met up. So, of course, Paul wanted to talk to them about Jesus. But instead of blanketing Facebook with fundraisers to “Send Paul to Rome!” he went and got himself arrested. It was sort of his M.O. There had to be better ways to travel to Rome, right? I’d suggest by boat, but Paul had a bad track record with boats. It’s a long camel ride, but surely it would be easier than going in chains. Rather than waste time dreaming up the optimal path, Paul kept his eyes on the prize—and that prize wasn’t a cushy hotel stay and all expenses paid vacation to see the Olympic games. Paul took the Gospel to everyone, including the highest public officials he could reach. It wasn’t like he could just call his Roman senator and schedule a tour and meeting. From previous experience (see most of the book of Acts), Paul found that if he got himself arrested, he could talk his way up the court system to get to the real seat of power and there expound on the Gospel. Paul was uniquely qualified for this plan as

a Roman citizen and a former Pharisee in Jerusalem who had once steadfastly oppressed the very movement that he now proclaimed. He was the ultimate Christian convert. If ever there was a 180-degree change in a person because of Christ, it was Paul. Paul was highly-educated, well-versed in social and political power and 100% transformed by Jesus Christ. If anyone could take the Good News to the powerful, it was Paul. Mirroring Jesus, Paul was humbled from his status in order to proclaim the Gospel. Jesus is the King of kings and had every right to storm the earth, demand fealty and rule unopposed. Instead, He was born in a barn to a very young girl, surrounded by controversy throughout His short life and then murdered for challenging the status quo. That whole “storm the castle” stuff is coming in the future, but the story of the Messiah is truly the opposite of how this world expects power to be displayed. Paul had power, authority and respect...and then Jesus changed all of that. He went from a rising star in the Pharisaical circles to Inmate #5 in every town between Jerusalem and Rome. It was during his long stretches in prison that he wrote (or at least dictated) much of what we now call the New Testament. The book of Acts frequently points out how many of the guards tasked with guarding Paul ended up joining The Way (along with their entire families). Pastors like to joke that Paul was never chained to a prison guard—they were chained to him! Paul eventually got to Rome. It wasn’t a lovely holiday filled with sightseeing, delicious pasta and fine wine. He wasn’t welcomed into The University of Rome as a guest professor of Divinity or invited as a guest preacher for the multi-site, mega-church of Caesar. Because of his incarceration and unfailing faithfulness, Paul took the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East to the seat of world power in Europe. We owe Paul of Tarsus our thanks—we are his spiritual legacy. Whether called to a short-term trip to Mexico or to live in the South of France, when God says “Go!”.....go. wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

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Preparing for Eternity By Karen Tull

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any of us have likely thought about what we would do if we only had a matter of days left to live. After all, such news is given to people every day. It’s hard not to go there in our minds and consider the things and people we would make a priority that perhaps aren’t at the forefront right now. The idea has been explored over and over in popular culture, from music such as the country hit “Live Like You Were Dying” by singer Tim McGraw to movies like “The Bucket List” featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. In both the song and film, the respective stories involve seeking out amazing adventures in the face of death. In “Live Like You Were Dying,” McGraw sings about climbing the Rocky Mountains, sky-diving, and riding a bull. In the film, Morgan Freeman’s character pursues experiences he wants to have before he “kicks the bucket,” some of which include visiting the Taj Mahal, getting a tattoo, seeing Rome, going on a safari, and kissing the most beautiful girl in the world. If we knew our earthly existence were about to end, the impulse to break out of the ordinary to see what we’ve never seen and do what we’ve never dared is certainly a natural one. God’s creation is breath-taking, as are the many wonders He has enabled human beings to design and construct. With all there is to explore and all the many ways to enjoy heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing thrills, who wouldn’t feel the urge to soak up as much as this world has to offer? Each and every person has a limited time on earth, but it’s not for us to know how long that will be. The psalmist

writes, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:16 NLT). Not one second of our lives is happenstance, nor is the next second guaranteed. At any moment, our body could die or the appointed time will arrive when God sends Christ here to collect His own—those who have called upon Him for salvation. In Scripture, Jesus says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone...Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming...for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44 NASB). What we have to do is live in the light of that truth, which involves being prepared. Being prepared means making a choice. If you have never taken the time to truly consider life, death, and where it is that we actually go once we leave here—don’t wait any longer. Apathy is a decision, and it will be too late when time is up. The tragic reality for someone whose only aim is to experience the best this world has to offer—without ever establishing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ—is that it really is the best he or she is going to get. On the threshold of our eternal home, my guess is that we won’t be thinking about the exhilaration we felt when we bungee-jumped off that bridge or scuba-dived the Great Barrier Reef. Those experiences are good to have, but the most glorious of adventures is to spend forever with the Lord. If you know the love and forgiveness of God through His Son Jesus Christ, the very best is yet to come. wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

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Weary For Christ By Brittney Switala

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I

f anyone had a right to quit, it’s Bev and Jesse. For 15 years they have raised their own financial support to minister in Uganda. Their hectic schedule includes regularly feeding and preaching to poor prisoners, holding Sunday services, and even training Ugandan pastors. They run an orphanage nearby where they make sure the children have the proper uniforms to attend school. When they are not otherwise engaged, Bev has coffee with women and offers hospitality to other missionaries who need a little R&R. Jesse has Parkinson’s disease and only gets medical care when the two are on furlough in the United States. His left hand shakes continually, so much so that it is difficult for him to hold his Bible. Bev has spent an extended period in the U.S. recovering from the effects of a drive-by shooting. Debris, including metal and glass fragments, hit her in one eye. To this day her vision is cloudy and full of starbursts. When asked what keeps them going, Jesse said, “It’s love for the people. We have people every day who want someone to talk to and we build relationships. We love them, so it doesn’t feel like work.” Five years ago, Brenda couldn’t have been more excited about the new church plant. She had come from a church where she didn’t feel it was easy to find service opportunities. This new congregation was full of passion, as well as plenty of service prospects. Now, after years of serving on two committees, hosting a small group and doing anything else that needs done, she’s simply feeling too needed. Her life of full-time ministry, family and church responsibilities seems to feel more like time commitments and burdens. When asked what keeps her going, Brenda said, “I know it’s the right thing to do. I want to serve God, but I just wish I felt appreciated. I kind of hope our church gets some new people to spread out the load because I’m whipped.” What is the difference that has kept the Ugandan couple energized and Brenda (who appears to have a lighter load) struggling with burn-out? Three things may make all the difference.

Striving for Perfection A common American phenomenon in the church is “plastic fruit.” Christians can use Facebook to post Bible verses and encouraging comments, appearing to have their spiritual house in order. To overcompensate in the face of juicy news scandals of pastors who have fallen into sin and a desire to help with Christ’s PR, Christians often strive for the appear-

ance of perfection at the cost of true intimacy and accountability with believing friends.

Doing the Right Thing Some people are just driven to do the right thing. These good people fill ministry gaps because there is a need. Anyone enjoys the feeling of being needed and appreciated. However, when spots in children’s ministry are always open for any warm body to fill, the desire to help turns quickly to weariness. Being chosen to serve is a blessing, but being guilted into a task is tiresome.

Serving for Position Some people serve with hope in the back of their minds that their serving will lead to something else, possibly a more prominent position. For one person it may mean offering to help clean up after the church service so they will get noticed by the pastor. For another it may mean volunteering with the youth group in hopes it will turn into a paid position. In these cases, serving can turn to disappointment when others do not take notice and respond in the way we hoped or expected. Obviously, these three reasons may be compounded by additional personal and physical factors, but the importance of motivation cannot be overstated. Jesse expressed that his love for the people in his Uganda community kept him going. He is invested. He is also living in a culture that thrives on time with others. Brenda has lost her love for the people and responsibilities she used to do joyfully. What does one do when the love is waning? First, we must surrender our wills and allow Christ to love through us. Second, make a concerted effort to remember what God has done in the past. Third, surrender selfishness and wrong motives. If prideful desire for attention was a motivation for ministry, confess it as sin. And, finally, communicate with a wise Christian friend about your feelings of burn-out and ask for prayer. A person of godly wisdom can help you evaluate your schedule to see what activities could and should be eliminated and, more importantly, pray with you that your first love will be restored. When we love God and love people with our hearts, speech and actions, we know we are doing what is required of every believer. “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

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don’t have time.” We’re surrounded by time thieves. From Facebook to having millions of books at our fingertips, it’s easier today to let time slip away than ever before. Yet Psalm 90:12 tells us, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Billy Graham, in a column for the Christian Post, writes, “We need to live each day as if it were our last—for some day it will be. If you are ever going to live for Christ, it should be now. Every day is a gift from God, and it isn’t to be wasted or spent in selfish indulgence, but to be lived for Him. Jesus said, ‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work’” (John 9:4). God’s work is our purpose. Not only should we make time for it, we need to make

it our top priority. In today’s fast-paced world, that’s easier said than done. Back in the days when television consisted of three channels, there were no computers or text-messaging and it might have been easier to spend an entire Saturday morning volunteering at a soup kitchen. What else was there to do on a Sunday without football, so might as well work with the fourth grade Sunday school class in church. We might have even made more time for lunch with a friend who we knew needed someone with whom to talk. How do we escape the world’s distractions to serve God with our whole heart? Graham says, “Jesus doesn’t call us to escape from this world and its problems, but to confront them with His power and love. Just before His arrest Jesus prayed for His disciples, not asking God to remove them from the world but to be with them in its midst. He


television show. Instead of looking for the next movie to watch on the weekend, what if instead we spent more time looking for opportunities to serve? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying life or taking the family to see a movie. When those pleasures become a problem is when they leave no time for God’s purpose. Just as we make time to spend with our family and friends, we need to be diligent to look at how we spend our days and prune away the things that rob our moments better spent in pursuing kingdom work.” We need to guard our time. We need to set up a security perimeter and treat prayer time like your home security system and God’s Word as an ever-vigilant guard dog. You can’t beat these two free safety measures for keeping time thieves from robbing you of the life God meant for you to live.

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said, ‘My prayer is not that You take them out of the world. As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world’” (John 17:15, 18). We are meant to turn to God’s power through prayer and studying His Word. The more time we make to stay close to God, the easier it will be to stay focused on His work and not the world’s. On the blog “Hard-Core Christianity,” one writer says, “Many Christians seem to have the attitude that conversion is the peak event of this life, and then the rest of it is spent doing the best they can to live a “good” life free from the common vices of our day. They think of life as something to endure as well as possible—a feat they consider best accomplished by seeking one permissible pleasure after another: vacations, social activities, the next box office hit, or maybe just the next installment of a favorite

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The Beauty of Annoyances By B.A. Timmons

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art of my work involves managing a commercial property. There are seven tenants who lease offices on the property and have staff at the site. It is typical for the workload to ebb and flow. Sometimes it flows more than others. Occasionally there are minor crises, such as two-foot snowfalls, thefts or unidentifiable odors that worry tenants and require immediate response. Late one afternoon, I received a call that the HVAC was not working in one of the units. It was too late to do anything, and I determined that I would check out the problem first thing in the morning before going to an appointment on the other side of the county. It could be something simple, and I normally investigate such issues before calling my HVAC contractor. I got in my truck at 6:15 a.m. Just before pulling out, I received a text from a different tenant informing me the water was off. The property has a well on-site, and this typically means the entire property is without water. So, I was faced with one tenant without air-conditioning and a whole park without water. My first thought was, “Lord, some people thrive in such situations. I’m not one of those people.” He knew that already, but I suppose I needed to say it anyway. My typical

response to inconvenience is to view it as an annoyance. It is just something to get through. In all my years of walking with the Lord, my flesh still responds to inconvenience in this way. So I said, “Lord, you know me. You know this kind of stuff bugs the living daylights out of me. So here’s the deal. If this day is going to go well, I need Your Spirit to live in me today, and I’ll watch. Left on my own, I’ll only be annoyed today. So You do your thing, and I’ll come along for the ride.” And then I prayed for quick and easy solutions to the problems, and I set out. I was able to get the water going by poking around on the pressure switch and determining it needed to be replaced. The plumber showed up within the hour, new switch in hand. The air-conditioner needed my HVAC contractor, who found that the power wires into the condenser had fried. He had it up and running by lunch. My state of mind was uncharacteristically calm, practically in a state of satisfaction. All the crises of the day were dropping like flies. The annoyance factor was at an all-time low. Apparently, the Lord saw that I needed to be reminded for the umpteenth time that I don’t handle crisis that well. I probably never will. But He does. Thank you very much.

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Program Guide Listen @ www.wolc.org

SRN News - at the top of various hours www.srnnews.com

Turning Point - 7:00 pm www.focusonthefamily.com

Music - 12:00 Midnight - 6:00 am

Revive Our Hearts - 7:30 pm www.reviveourhearts.com

Joy in the Morning - 6:00 am - 9:00 am Our Daily Bread - 6:25 am www.rbc.org/odb My Money Life - 7:25 am www.crown.org Insights - 7:45 am www.insight.org Focus on the Family - 9:30 am www.focusonthefamily.com Family Life Today - 10:00 am www.familylife.com Turning Point - 10:30 am and 7:00 pm www.davidjeremiah.org Midday Joy - 11:00 am - 1:00 pm New Life Live - 1:00 pm www.newlife.com Mission Network News - 1:55 pm www.mnnonline.org In Touch - 2:00 pm www.intouch.org Money Wise - 2:30 pm www.compass1.org Renewing Your Mind Minute - 3:30 pm www.ligonier.org Focus on the Family Minute - 4:30 pm www.focusonthefamily.com Adventures in Odyssey - 6:00 pm www.whitsend.org Focus on the Family - 6:30 pm www.focusonthefamily.com

Money Life - 7:55 pm www.crown.org Insights for Living - 8:00 pm www.insight.org Bible Reading - 10:30 pm Music - 8:30pm - 12:00 Midnight

SATURDAY Down Gilead Lane - 9:00 am www.cbhministries.org Adventures in Odyssey - 9:30 am www.whitsend.org

SUNDAY Music - 12:00 Midnight - 8:00 am Grace to You - 8:00 am www.gty.org Living a Legacy - 10:30 am www.moodyradio.org/livingalegacy Moody Church Hour - 11:00 am www.moodychurch.org National Christian Choir - 12:00 pm www.nationalchristianchoir.org The Hour of Decision - 1:00 pm www.billygraham.org Forward in Faith - 1:30 pm www.centralchurchofgod.org Gospel Greats - Sunday, 2:00 pm www.thegospelgreats.com Music - 4:00 pm -12:00 Midnight wolc.org | readthemanna.org | June 2013

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