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Anti-Christian Laws Can Propel the Gospel

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In the book God’s Smuggler, Holland missionary Andrew van der Bijl describes how he smuggled thousands of bibles into communist Russia. Known as Brother Andrew, he took many trips hiding bibles in various places in his Volkswagen Bug. He would pray that the soldiers did not find them while crossing the border because he would be put in prison if they did. The demand for the bibles was so great that on each trip he would pack more and more.
Eventually he was filling his car with so many bibles that they were obviously visible to anyone. Even a near-sighted, half-blind man could easily see the bible stacked in his car. Brother Andrew would pray before reaching the border, “God, you gave sight to the blind, now I ask for you to make those with sight blind so that I can bring these bibles to those who need them.
Most people hear about Brother Andrews exploits and are convinced that God worked miraculously. Some skeptics think that these soldiers were just lazy and didn’t really care what…

Getting Carried Away

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We have all done it. Yes, we have, at some point in our lives. Whether it was eating too much, drinking too much, staying out in the sun too much, spending too much, whatever. We have all gotten carried away doing way too much of something at some time.
Most of the time all we needed to do was stop and we would be fine. But there is one time that getting carried away just seems to spiral out of our control: when we lie. You see, lying becomes this tangled mess that always seems to find a way to catch us at some point or another. Shakespeare wrote, “The truth will out.” The Bible put it this way, “For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17, HCSB)
The thing about lying is that we usually get so carried away not wanting people to discover the truth, that we just continue with this ever-growing story that becomes impossible to maintain. We just cannot keep up with every detail of the lie. Eventually we will …

He Who Must Not Be Named

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What would happen if the government suddenly told us that we could no longer visit YouTube on the Internet because it had videos that made the U.S. look bad? We would probably call it an attack on our freedoms and most people would still use YouTube regardless. What if they said we were no longer aloud to talk in public about a certain celebrity because that celebrity was talking negative about the U.S.? We would probably respond that we have freedom of speech and people would talk even more about that celebrity and what he or she had to say.
We like to think that nothing like this could ever happen in the U.S., but it hasn’t been that long since freedoms were infringed upon certain people in our country. Freedoms have been taken away from others because of their supposed communist views during the McCarthyism era of the mid-20th Century, because of the color of their skin during the 19th and 20th Centuries, because of their race during the Native American relocations of the 18th and…

PDA in the Church

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During my middle school years they had a strict rule against PDA—public displays of affection. We were told that if caught doing anything that violated the PDA rule we would get afterschool detention. PDA included hugging, hand-holding, kissing, or anything that a teacher considered showing too much affection toward another student. The only time students held hands was as part of a P.E. game or when two or more girls were walking somewhere together.
School dances were the one exception to this rule. After all, slow dancing was basically a form of hugging while moving to music. Dances were typically the only time I saw one of my friends holding hands with a girl at school. Kissing was still not allowed, but people usually found some out-of-the-way place to make out if they really wanted to.
By high school the PDA rule had either changed or just was non-existent. Everywhere we went on campus we saw boys and girls holding hands, girls sitting on a guy’s lap, hugging each other in the h…

Compassion

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My first trip outside of the United States was for Christmas vacation during 4th Grade. My father had traveled all over the world with the Navy, but he chose to take us to Venezuela because my parents knew a missionary couple that was working in Caracus. We stayed in a nice hotel and took taxis around to see various sites.
All around the city we could see large skyscrapers that where most of the rooms had broken and boarded up windows. Attached all around the buildings or sticking out of these windows were TV antennas. As we went further outside of the city we saw homes all along the hillsides built out of junk cars, cardboard, sheets of tin, old tires, and whatever else people could find to put up walls. The only consistent thing we saw were electric power lines going into and TV antennas sticking out of each makeshift home.
We learned from the missionary couple that the makeshift homes along the hills were the original dwellings for the poor of their country. The used whatever disc…

Boldly Go

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When I was in first grade I lived in a neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia, that was just outside of the inner city in the shadows of Interstate 64. We had much more freedom to just wander the streets and do whatever we wanted until we got into trouble: which we did quite often. One day I went with my mom across the street to visit with one of her friends. She had a little boy several years younger than me.
While our moms were inside talking, we went outside to play. I gave this boy a ride in my little red wagon. As I was pulling him, the handle started to come loose, so I stopped, raised the handle up to the wagon and bent over to tighten the nut around the bolt that connected the handle to the front wheels. While doing this, the little boy thought it would be funny to shove the handle toward me.
What happened is probably one of the many reasons that we now have so many strict regulations regarding toy safety. When the handle came down, the open hinge around the bolt and nut sliced th…

Propelled

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In 1827, Czech-Austrian inventor Josef Ressel invented a device that, in conjunction with a steam-powered engine, would help move ships through the water at a faster pace. Now almost 200 years later, the propeller is stilled used for ships, motorboats, airplanes, and even drones today.
Propellants are often necessary to move objects. Whether it is fuel for a jet engine or a parent’s warning to their child about possible punishment, we need some force to get things moving in the right direction.
Today we will see what propelled the viral message of God’s redemptive story. We start with that final moment that the disciples had together with the Incarnation of God.
While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You rest…