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the Manna | October 2011

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the Manna | October 2011

Columns

19 | Just Enough

09 | Signals 11 | On the Air

20 | We Value Your Opinion

Features 12 | Mistaken Apathy Christians come in all different varieties.

14 | Scared Straight

Stay in Touch

Awareness doesn’t equal action.

Emerging from our comfort zones.

22 | Confessions of a Recovering Liar

We all have things we’re not proud of.

24 | Hidden Treasure

Missing the beauty in front of us.

Being good just doesn’t cut it.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | October 2011

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the Manna | A Publication of Maranatha, Inc. Editor-In-Chief: Debbie Byrd Creative Director: Joe Willey Contributing Writers: Aaron Bell, John Christopher, Josh Millwood, Brittney Switala, April Smart, Brent Timmons, Karen Tull Media Client Liaisons: Janet Beckett, Mary Kinnikin

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

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

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

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

Maranatha Media | Home of Joy! 102.5 and the Manna


Signals Who Cares? Maybe you’ve seen the guy with the sign “Will work for food” outside the mall. But who cares? Maybe you’ve noticed the elderly lady that can barely see over her steering wheel drive (well, that’s generous) into the church parking lot on Sunday mornings. She looks frazzled, maybe even frightened, but she’s determined, having attended for over 50 years. But who cares? Apathy and complacency are crippling. Many people believe that the little bit of help they might provide isn’t enough to make a difference. Hmph! Recently, a college graduate commented when receiving his diploma, “Thanks to the cafeteria lady…she always told me I could do it!” One woman’s encouragement – positively impacting one student’s life! As relayed in an Outcomes article, Matthew Cork, lead pastor of Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California, repeated what he felt God was speaking to his heart when he told Operation Mobilization (a ministry that builds schools for the Dalits— “untouchables”—of India, “outcasts considered less valuable than animals and locked in a form of modern-day slavery, all 250 million of them”) that his church would commit to building 200 schools over the next ten years – a commitment of about $20 million! People looked at him as if he were crazy. But he knew it was a “God thing.” He said, “In those few moments, it became clear that my life, ministry and focus were changing. This is the way it is with God. The picture may be unclear, the ‘how to’ incomplete. But the vision is compelling. It touches so deep within your heart that there is only one choice. Am I willing to believe God, or do I sit on the sidelines until I have everything figured out? Do I

move forward or wait until all the questions are answered, doubts cleared up, risks eliminated? I chose to lead and to trust God with the results, to obey and believe that He would be faithful.” One man’s vision (and obedience) inspiring a whole church – positively impacting the lives of millions of people a world away! He’s spot-on as to why many just don’t do something. The process that lets us focus on the unanswered questions, allows doubts to infiltrate, and lets us consider the risks is a quick one. Before we know it, we’ve justified that the man with the sign really wants money to feed a habit and the older lady has been driving this route for so long that she knows the way and would resent someone asking to help her out. In the meantime, we sip our expensive latte and quickly put each of them out of mind. As a result of following through on God’s leading, Cork now says, “Today we have an open door, a platform among the Dalits to proclaim the freedom of knowing Jesus in a genuine and personal way. It is a freedom that can liberate souls from bondage of sin and death. It replaces despair with hope and life. Eternity will be radically different for many thousands of people. God’s church in our little town in Southern California is being radically changed.” We’re called to live like Christ. It’s beyond imagination that He would be apathetic or complacent about anything. From healing the invalid that had lain by the public pool to throwing the moneychangers (cheats) out of the temple, He cared deeply. The marvelous thing is, He still cares. And He leaves us to mimic Him to a hurting world. Debbie Byrd is General Manager of Maranatha, Inc., a ministry that includes Joy! 102.5 and the Manna.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | October 2011

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On the Air Powerful When he was 22 years old, the day after his college graduation, Charles Billingsley packed up his red two-door Ford Explorer, attached a little trailer behind it and headed to a church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to perform his first professional concert. Almost 20 years later, after 24 records, 17 years of marriage, two children, and 3,000 concerts, Billingsley is releasing his 25th album. Never Forsaken, coming out September 27th, is a collection of songs ranging from re-creations such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Another Day in Paradise” to intimate autobiographical tracks like “Baby I Blinked” and impassioned, truth-telling songs including “God So Loved the World” and the self-penned title track. With Never Forsaken, Billingsley is certainly not holding back on delivering an album that contains a variety of music styles. “It’s time to do a record for my generation,” Billingsley says. With a more distinct pop edge, he notes such artists as John Mayer and Phil Collins as influences, yet the listener will hear classic Billingsley artistry—but the album sounds less like Sunday morning and more like the band One Republic. Eight years since his last solo artist album, Billingsley is excited to share Never Forsaken with the world, and its catchy tunes are served with a powerful message: “It’s a plea to the church,” Billingsley explains. “Look beyond the four walls of our buildings and get out there and love the world. It’s just a reminder to us all—God actually loves them as much as he loves me.”

With a career spanning two decades, Billingsley has ministered to hundreds of thousands through his gift of song. But, in 2009, the future of his music ministry looked uncertain. An aggravated blood vessel burst on his vocal cords leaving the singer with a sizable polyp. Billingsley was told he would have to undergo surgery to remove it and no other options existed. With many fearful questions arising about his voice, questioning if he’d ever be able to sing again, the night before his surgery friends gathered to pray over him. The last man to pray put his hand on Billingsley’s throat and said, “If you never sing again, will you still love God? Will you still serve God? Will you still worship God?” Billingsley replied, in a moment of pure transparency, “I think so.” After surgery and five days of silence, Billingsley’s vocal cords healed. Two weeks later he did a concert. Through that faith-trying experience he was reminded that the source of his song is God alone. “God used that polyp on my voice to refocus me,” Billingsley said. “Before that polyp, I used my voice for success. Now I want to use it for significance.” Be sure to listen this month for his new release “No Me Without You” on Joy! 102.5 and online at www.wolc.org. Rodney Baylous is Program Director of Joy! 102.5. Visit www.wolc.org.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | October 2011

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Mistaken Apathy By B.A. Timmons

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first trusted Christ as Savior on April 4, 1971. It was during the height of a great movement of God, at the end of a revival service in a Methodist church building. The Lord was drawing people to Himself and using them in ways they could not have imagined. When I was a sophomore in college, I fellowshipped with believers who were part of a campus ministry. This particular group was fervent about their desire to share the gospel with the lost. They would knock on dorm doors and approach total strangers to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their dedication was a thing to behold. In the early ‘90s, I witnessed another move of God which swept through, with the Lord dramatically working in the hearts of many. Those involved were genuinely turned to Him in a fresh way. In each of these situations, there was a group of people who were quietly labeled “apathetic”. There were clear lines drawn in the sand. Those involved in the ‘70s movement enthusiastically participated in a powerful and large scale work of God. The move was accompanied by signs and wonders which made some uncomfortable. Those involved were often labeled as extreme. Those not involved were often labeled as apathetic. Brother fought against brother, churches split, families argued. There were two large campus ministries at the college I attended. One group had a heart towards spreading the Gospel. The other group did as well, although the methods they used were less aggressive. Once a friend mentioned to me that he had been accused of being a closet Christian because he did not participate in spreading the Gospel with the same methodology

as the fervent group. He was labeled apathetic. The ‘90s movement had similar consequences. This time I was much older, and while I should have been wiser by then, I was guilty of entertaining the idea that some of those not embracing the move were apathetic towards another fresh movement of God. Were any of these parties worthy of the accusation of apathy? Certainly there may have been some who just were not interested in the things of God. Only the Lord knows their hearts. But there was likely another group undeserving of that criticism. If I could go back to each of these situations knowing what I know now, there’s an excellent chance I would fall into the crowd labeled apathetic. It wouldn’t be because I didn’t want to participate in the work the Lord was doing. It wouldn’t be because I had no interest in spreading the Gospel of Christ. It wouldn’t be because I lacked the desire for the Lord to do a fresh work in my heart. Rather, it may be because I attempted to be a voice for those who, for whatever reason, chose to walk a slightly different course towards the same goal. We tend to accuse those who do not walk the same way we do as apathetic. Perhaps this comes from the idea that the Lord works in the same way in all of our lives. The fact is, He doesn’t. He works in each of our lives in a way tailor-made for each one of us. He also manifests Himself though each of us in a unique way. We will never all be the same. We were never meant to be. If we refuse to embrace that, then, as it has done for me, history will repeat itself.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | October 2011

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here are going to be many good people in Hell. This is a statement I’ve heard quite a few times. Meaning, the deeds and character traits we see as good actually do nothing for us in securing a place in Heaven. We may work hard at walking the proverbial line, but ultimately, it fails us. God is not satisfied. Something is still missing. We all know people we’d label as “good.” They’re the ones who shake our hand, look us in the eye, and we know we can take them at their word. They do right by us. They’re honest and reliable. They care, too. Maybe they’re the ones who send over some food when we’re sick or drop us a card in the mail. Perhaps they’ve even bailed us out of a jam, from stopping to help with a flat tire or sparing us some cash when we’ve really needed it. Good people do those things. It’s hard to imagine that ones such as these could face eternal torment when they

die, but the Bible says no one is inherently good—not one single person. We’re told that everyone who relies on their own definition of goodness to save them instead of accepting true redemption from God through Jesus Christ will be punished forever. And, it’s likely that some of the best people we know have indeed rejected Christ; perhaps consciously, but perhaps more often...simply through apathy. Sin? Hell? They just don’t have an interest in thinking about it. God’s Word describes Hell as a “lake of fire” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” and “no rest day and night.” These are horrors our minds cannot fathom. Of course we would want the “good” but lost people around us to be spared this end. But how does someone snap out of complacency? In the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, the cold and hateful character of Ebenezer Scrooge (someone most would label a “bad” person) is visited by the ghost


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of his former business partner who, having been just as hard-hearted in life, is now forced to roam the earth in shackles and without peace. He beseeches Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late. Such an encounter certainly might get our attention, but this obviously is fiction, and warnings about the afterlife don’t come from those who have passed before us. It doesn’t mean, however, we aren’t given ample caution; we are—from God Himself. In Scripture, Jesus tells a parable of a rich man who dies and is sent to a place of torment. Suffering in the flames, he cries out and begs that his brothers be warned of what awaits them if they do not repent. His request, however, is denied. “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t

listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead’” (Luke 16:-29-31). Author John MacArthur explains: “This speaks powerfully of the singular sufficiency of Scripture to overcome unbelief. The gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation. Since unbelief is at heart a moral, rather than an intellectual problem, no amount of evidences will ever turn unbelief to faith. But the revealed Word of God has inherent power to do so.” Most people cannot be frightened, argued, or cajoled into repentance. God’s Word needs nothing added to it. Ultimately, it’s the work of the Holy Spirit to pierce through the fog of apathy and bring understanding and conviction to those who are lost. If we have already been redeemed in Christ, we are not called to have an inyour-face attitude, but to be salt and light and live a godly life for all others to see, letting the Lord handle the rest. No scare tactics necessary.

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Just Enough By Josh Millwood

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hen faced with our world filled with anger, hurt, poverty and sin, the body of Christ is called to react justly. Not just enough to get by, but with complete, compassionate justice. In fact, religion is defined by the Book of James as caring for widows and orphans (James 1:27). Caring means meeting physical needs and providing our resources to those without. That is being just: treating God’s beloved like you love them as you love yourself. Sadly, caring has been downgraded to a feeling instead of an action. Instead of service, many are now comfortable limiting their care to clicking a “like” button on Facebook or, perhaps, for the most devoted of the apathetic, buying a pair of Tom’s Shoes or a pound of fair trade coffee. We’ve fooled ourselves into believing awareness somehow equals action. Knowledge is power, but it’s how we wield that knowledge the shows either the love of God or the apathy of his Bride. When Jesus spoke of care, He oddly said that whenever you provide for those in need, whether that be by providing food, clothing, shelter or even a drink to the thirsty, you were also providing those things for Him (Matthew 25:45). God (Jesus) so identifies with the downtrodden that He not only feels their pain and suffering, but also their relief. What other God is so concerned for the care of the poor? Poor in spirit. Poor in wealth. Poor in hope. All of us have fallen into one or more of those categories. And Jesus cares. Yahweh is a God who leads by example and is deserving of incomprehensible honor. While vengeance is the Lord’s—justice is ours. We have been shown justice tempered with mercy and told to go and do likewise. The frustrating thing about justice is that it is an impossible God-standard that we screw up with our human understanding. Justice is not fair like we think of fair. It isn’t equal. Ever watch two kids fight over who has the bigger piece of cake? Parents are extra careful to try and make the slices exactly the

same. Fair, right? Well God’s fair is personal. We are all different and therefore differently loved. We are each given different gifts and callings. We each have our struggles and we are all forgiven totally (but some more than others). Some of us require extra grace to meet God’s requirements. The crazy thing about grace, mercy and justice is that once we have accepted these free gifts from God, He expects us to be grateful enough to go and do likewise. Jesus taught this requirement when He demonstrated how we ought to pray: “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12 NLT). Remember the parable about the guy who was forgiven a great debt but then demanded payment from someone who owed him much less than he had just been forgiven (Matthew 18:21-35)? That guy was a jerk. And we are that guy. In the parable, when the king found out that the very one he had treated with mercy had been callous to someone who owed so much less, the king was furious! He called the man evil and threw him in prison. Jesus goes on to say, “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart” (Matthew 18:35 NLT). Justice is forgiveness and mercy in action. It is responding to a gift of redemption by redeeming our fellow man with love. Maybe you need to join the Peace Corp. Maybe you are called to the mission field of Uganda. Or perhaps you are called to the mission field of your office. Your next door neighbor might need a hand winterizing the lawn. The fatherless child in your neighborhood might want to play catch. The family who just lost their job might need help paying their mortgage. When God calls us to care, it is most definitely going to be inconvenient. It will probably hurt in the way you fear. But Jesus demonstrates how love can blot out any fear. Go and do justice, not “just enough.”

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | October 2011

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ome people have peaceful neighbors, friendly neighbors, even neighbors who will use the snow blower down the whole sidewalk. But I had the neighbor who topped them all- a baker in need of a taste-tester! Years ago we lived across the street from a young couple that decided to start their own European-inspired restaurant. About once a week the wife would bring over a dessert or dish that she wanted us to try. What a gig! The chess squares rank among my favorite and the watermelon smoothies were to die for. I eagerly enjoyed giving my honest opinion because I knew it would be appreciated as they hoped to make their fledging business a success. Let’s be honest, in everyday life our opinion is often not appreciated. If we cause division or are passionate about something controversial, others feel more comfortable when we tone it down a notch. Heralding a cause like saving turtles, funding breast cancer research or stopping human trafficking makes others feel guilty or somehow lacking. There is temptation to bite our tongues and care less to fit in at the workplace, among friends and even in our churches. When someone feels as though they

must clam up and their opinions are not valued, one defense may be an attitude of apathy. “Well, if you don’t care what I have to say, then I don’t care about you!” Among teens the whole “rage against the machine” attitude is very popular. Apathy is, in a word, cool. I did a Google search for “apathy” and discovered that there are several heavy rock bands that have shared the name through the years, including one led by Midwest mailbox bomber Luke Helder. Their only recorded CD was eerily titled, Sacks of People. Luke Helder made it clear that the bombings were done to garner attention- denouncing government control over daily lives and the illegality of marijuana. He also wanted to draw attention to the occult practice of astral projection. In this case, Helder chose apathy against society at large, and it was fueled by anger. Sometimes apathy simply comes from emotional overload. According to Wikipedia, “The modern concept of apathy became well known after World War I, when it was called “shell shock.” Soldiers who lived in the trenches amidst the bombing and machine gun fire, and who saw the battlefields strewn with dead and maimed comrades, developed a sense of


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disconnected numbness and indifference to normal social interaction.” Apathy is selfprotection when you’ve been hurt and life doesn’t make sense. Getting in touch with our feelings, our hurts, digging deep and exposing sin is painful. It is easier to shut down emotionally- and it’s understandable. Life hurts and it’s difficult to deal with hurt, but Luke Helder shows us where the choice of apathy gets us. And it’s nowhere good. I recently learned that, historically, Christians have tied apathy to the sin of sloth (which I always thought was just another word for laziness.) Another interpretation of the word is to simply leave events to take their own course. To avoid helping when you see a need is sinful sloth. That really brings it home for me. I mean, I’m a caring person and all, but involvement is cumbersome. It is easier to jump on Facebook and “send a blessing” than to get personally involved with someone who is hurting. And, yes, a person must logically pick and choose what and who they are going to care about. It may be more appropriate for me to physically care for a young lady at a battered women’s shelter than a homeless drunk man. Still, I often find those “cannots” quite comfort-

ing. I cannot help the person on the street because I could be taken advantage of myself, especially being a woman. I cannot get involved with that person because they are emotionally draining and they will suck the life out of me. I cannot stick around after church to pray with a hurting member because my children are hungry and I need to get them some lunch. When it boils down to it, I don’t change tires, I already gave money and I have enough issues of my own! It is a challenge to discern when a “cannot” is really an “I don’t want to.” It’s safe to say an apathetic Christian automatically thinks “No” when a “yes” takes them out of their comfort zone. In the broad scheme of things, American Christians are apathetic toward people going to Hell because it is culturally uncool for us to talk about such things. Evangelism is a seminary course, not a way of life. When we do talk to a passionate believer who has recently led someone to Christ, there is the temptation to fidget uncomfortably and wish they would tone it down a notch. It’s convicting. I guess that’s a good thing, really. Conviction can reach the heart and weed out apathy and replace it with passion.

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ost of us recall things we did as kids that we’re not too proud of. For me, it was my incessant lying. Sometimes, I’m not sure I even realized I was doing it. The lies just seemed to flow right out of me. On occasion, I’d use a lie to get myself out of trouble; but mostly, I wanted to entertain people and make them like me. I concocted all sorts of stories. Looking back, I’d prefer to chalk it up to a vivid imagination, but no—I was just a liar. It all seemed innocent enough at the time. Making stuff up was fun, and it wasn’t like I was starting rumors and being malicious. I only said what I thought people wanted to hear. For example, during a family trip to Disney one winter, I sent a postcard back to my elementary school classmates to tell them about all the seashells I had already collected. (Only, this was written just a few hours into our drive to Florida and we wouldn’t even be going to the beach.) Another time, I went to school having totally forgotten about the oral book report I was supposed to present in class that day—all while dressed up in character, no less. So, after glancing down at the many tiny bows stitched across my sweatshirt, I came up with the compelling title, “The Girl Who Loved Ribbons.” (I mean, who wouldn’t want to read that?) I told my teacher I had left my book at home and that the school library didn’t have a copy (go figure!). Then, I proceeded to make up the entire plot while standing in front of my classmates. If a liar’s pants really did catch fire, I would have been burnt to a crisp on the spot. As it turned out, I got an A. But my legacy of lies would eventually catch up with me, in the most unlikely of scenarios many years later and well after I had repented of my lying habit. I was 16 years old and at my parents’ anniversary party, surrounded by my entire extended family and close family friends, one of whom happened to be a math teacher who tutored me as a kid. In true fashion, I had lied to her, too. I distinctly remember it. During a lesson on multiplication tables, I evidently kept forgetting that five times eight equaled forty, and she was trying to find a way to help me remember it. “What can we use to jog your memory?” she had asked. “Well,” I replied, “I have a cousin named Shannon who is 40.” (I didn’t know anyone named Shannon and my cousins were all about my

age.) “Great!” she exclaimed. “We’ll go with that!” Apparently, my tutor didn’t forget it, either, because when the floor was opened up at the party for anyone to share a few words, she stood up. But to my horror, what she shared didn’t have anything to do with my parents: “I just want to say that I’ve watched Karen grow up over the years and I still chuckle that we used her 40-yearold cousin, Shannon, to help her remember that five times eight equals forty!”


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Confessions of a Recovering Liar HealthSouth offers patients the opportunity to recuperate rehabilitate HealthSouth’s 220 and Tilghman Road at • Salisbury, MD 21804 410 546-4600 inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Chesapeake. healthsouthchesapeake.com Our multidisciplinary team approach is designed to provide a far more concentrated setting with more aggressive therapy and nursing care than other post acute settings such as skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes. And our state-of-the-art technology offers patients the latest advancements, providing a higher level of care for stroke, brain injury, spinal by Karen Tull cord injury, trauma, neurological diagnoses and orthopedic injuries. It all adds up to getting you better, faster.

Cue the chirping crickets. Who in the world was Shannon? Naturally, no one had a clue because I had completely made her up. At that point, every ounce of blood in my body had moved to my face. There was nothing I could do but muster an awkward laugh. I had been exposed for the liar that I was. Needless to say, God drove home a couple points that night which I won’t soon forget. Most importantly, sin is sin. No matter how insignificant or harmless we

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to other care Get post-acute the higher level of care yo providersCall such as skilled HealthSouth at 410 54 Get the higher level of care you deserve. nursing homes. Chesapeake Rehabilitation Call HealthSouth at 410HealthSouth 546-6400. Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™

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HealthSouth Chesapeake Rehabilitation Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™

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to Him and has all been equally paid for by Jesus Christ. HealthSouth Chesapeake Rehabilitation ourCommission’s secret sin can simmer, Hospital hasSecond, earned The Joint Gold Seal of Approval™ fester, and somehow regurgitate back into our lives, often without advance notice. And when it does, sure A Higher Levelitof Careis a nasty feeling. Scripture says, after all: “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin 220 Tilghman Road • Salisbury, MD 21804 will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). Tou410 546-4600 ché, Lord...touché. healthsouthchesapeake.com ©2010:HealthSouth:441521


ŠiStockphoto.com/EricHood


Hidden Treasures By Jill Carattini

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nurse named Melanie was on her way to work when something in the trash bin caught her eye. She was immediately taken with the possibilities in the discarded treasure. It was a cello, slightly cracked in several places, but nonetheless a discard of great character, a piece quite charming to the eye. Her boyfriend, who is a cabinetmaker, also saw the cello’s potential. Together they thought it could be turned into a beautifully distinctive CD holder. At first glimpse, this story seems to evoke a mantra commonly upon artists’ and antique-hunters’ minds alike: “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” With a mother as an antique dealer, I have an endless bank of similar stories. Yet this one was deemed newsworthy and is thus worth retelling. The discarded cello was indeed old and it in fact had really been abandoned, though authorities are not sure why or how it ended up in the trash that day. But a most shocking revelation to the nurse (and possibly to the thief as well) was the fact that it was not merely an old, interesting cello. It is a one of only 60 like it in the world, made by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari in 1684. The 320-year-old masterpiece, valued at 3.5 million dollars, was stolen from a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra just weeks before it sat rescued in Melanie’s apartment with dreams of becoming a CD holder. In the music world, “Stradivarius” is an untouchable description. Neither scientist nor musician understands the difference between the voice of a Stradivarius versus the voice of modern violins and cellos, but the distinction is real—and costly. They are the most sought after musical instruments in the world—works of art in their own right—coveted by collectors and players alike. To be in the presence of a Stradivarius is to be in the presence of something great, whether it is recognized or not. What I find so compelling about this story is that Melanie knew for sure that she had found a treasure (and there are countless people overwhelmed with thanksgiving that she felt this way). She saved a magnum opus from landing in a truck of garbage because she saw the potential in a piece of trash. But she had no idea how true her thought actually was, until reports of the missing cello transfigured the precious masterwork before her eyes. Hearing this story, I wondered if our relationships with God do not sometimes hint at something similar. Like the disciples on the mount who fell on their faces as Jesus became “like the

sun” and “as white as light,” it seems God can bring us again to that place where we are awed by God’s glory, goodness, or mercy—even fearful existence. And like the disciples, like Job and Isaiah, we can be unexpectedly reminded that we are in the presence of the Father in all his glory, or remarkably present with the Son, or suddenly aware of the Spirit. Yet whether we are aware of it or not, God is always near, God’s glory declared day after day, the work of God’s hands proclaimed night after night. A poem penned by Augustine of Hippo utters the lament of a soul who has realized belatedly that God is there, while he himself was not aware of it. Writes Augustine, “Slow was I, Lord, too slow in loving you. To you, earliest and latest beauty, I was slow in love. You were waiting within me while I went outside me, looking for you there, misshaping myself as I flung myself upon the shapely things you made. You were with me all the while I was not with you, kept from you by things that could not be except by being in you. You were calling to me, shouting, drumming on deaf ears. You thundered and lightninged, piercing my blindness.” His words remind us to taste and see the bounty of God today, presently, in this very glimpse. There is surely rejoicing in being found at all times, but perhaps, too, lament in not seeing sooner how near God was all along. Like Melanie who saw beauty but did not see the true splendor of all she was holding, like the thief who held a masterpiece but saw fit to discard it, we are often unaware of how near we are to God and all within God’s kingdom. It is like “treasure hidden in a field,” taught Jesus, “like a merchant looking for fine pearls.” In finding the pearl of great value might we recognize it. In finding the God who is there, might we fall on our faces treasuring our find, thankful that we ourselves have been found. Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia   Hidden Treasures by Jill Carattini, A Slice of Infinity, No. 2556, orignally printed September 23, 2011 (www.rzim. org). Used by permission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | October 2011

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10 Commandments about Pastors By Jerald Bryant

1. Don’t insult your Pastor’s intelligence by assuming that they can’t see through those shallow excuses. 2. Don’t think that because your Pastor doesn’t broadcast your sins that they aren’t aware of it. 3. Don’t falsely assume that Pastors can’t become discouraged by laziness, worldliness, and indifference or lukewarmness. Even Jesus was. 4. Don’t expect your Pastor to be a janitor, carpenter, painter, yard worker and general errand person for the church. 5. Don’t force your Pastors to do all the visiting and praying for the sick and shut in. 6. Don’t get such an exalted view of the Pastors. They are only human. 7. Don’t think that a compliment on your Pastor’s sermon is a sufficient response. All Pastors would rather you say nothing and do something. 8. Don’t heap upon your Pastors a major problem just before the service begins. 9. Don’t give a sympathetic ear to every little gripe or criticism that you hear. 10. Don’t live your life carelessly; adding to the heavy burden of concern your Pastors already carry.

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For a good day’s hunt, call Captain Andy Linton at (757) 336-1253 or (757) 990-2499 (cell)

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The Manna October 2011