John Schmid Music

Author: johnschmidmusic

They Are Watching

Let your light shine because your life is a testimony

“I knew this young man when he was 6 years old.”

Two inmates were standing in front of the chapel after I had given an invitation. They were waiting until everyone was finished praying so they could speak to the congregation before the yard was opened and the chaplain would release them to go to supper.

When the prayer time was over the chaplain looked up and nodded for them to step up to the mike.

Inmate William started speaking, “I was praying with this young man and I looked at his name tag so I could call him by name. When I saw his last name, I recognized it. I used to run around with people by that name. I asked him if he was related to Ray Abernathy (made up name). He said, ‘Yes, that is my uncle.’ How about Joe Abernathy? He said, ‘That is my dad.’ ”

Then William almost started crying. “Oh, my! I remember you! I used to do drugs and all kinds of crazy, bad stuff with your dad and uncle. I remember you as a cute little 6 year boy old hanging around us and wanting to be like us. I am one of the reasons you are here! I was a terrible example for you! I have become a Christian since I am here in prison and I’m not the same man you used to admire! Will you forgive me for being such a bad influence in your life?!” William went on to lead this newly arrived young prisoner to faith in Jesus Christ!

While he had the mike, he went on to repeat some of the points I made in my sermon:

  • No matter how big or small our circle of influence, we influence people by our lives.
  • People are watching.
  • Little boys want to be like the older men. Especially dad. And dad’s friends. As William had mentored this little boy to a life that eventually lead to prison, he now wants to mentor this young man to a life that leads to eternal life.

Folks, people are watching us. They watch how we behave at the basketball game, in traffic, at the restaurant… they watch how we react to adversity; how do we handle being treated unfairly, how we handle success… they watch us on Sunday and they watch us on Monday and the rest of the week.

I have heard Steve Wingfield preach from Mark 4 about Jesus calming the storm, and he notices a verse that might seem insignificant to the story: “There were also other boats with him.” (v. 36) But that little verse reminds us that in the midst of the storm the ‘other boats’ are watching. How will Jesus and His disciples handle the storm? Those other boats may be our children, our employees, our friends… maybe they are total strangers. But our reactions (our lives) are living testimonies that influence people, whether we are aware of it or not.

Your are a witness. Your life is a testimony, either for good or for bad. The professional athlete who says, “I’m an athlete, I’m not a role model,” doesn’t know what he is talking about. Little boys are watching. I watched. I put my bat behind my back like Rocky Colovito. I tried to fade away like Pete Maravich. I try to engage the crowd like Johnny Cash did. I read through the Bible every year like Dennis Kinlaw did. I work hard like dad did… I try to follow Christ like Paul did.

“But I’m not well known or influential.” Ah, dear friend, I beg to differ. Someone knows you and you have a circle of influence, small though it may be. You are influencing someone. May we live our lives so that if someone emulates us, he will end up in Heaven, not prison.

“Let your light shine before men so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Mt. 5:16
“…you will be my witnesses…” -Jesus

Doomsday Predictions

This past weekend, September 23, 2017, the world was scheduled to end. David Meade prophesied that a planet was going to smash into earth and destroy the world. Since you are reading this, you probably realize that it didn’t happen. Not to worry: Meade has rescheduled this collision for the end of October.

Doomsday predictions are not new. The apostle Paul had to warn the Thessalonians to “not be idle.” Apparently they had misinterpreted messages about the coming of Christ and since they thought the world was going to end very soon, they decided to take it easy until He came. Meanwhile, they were living (mooching?) off of the church. Paul then commanded the church to “keep away from every brother who is idle…”

You may remember the book, 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return In 1988. As convincing as that book may have been, with all its mathematical calculations and reasonings, I didn’t believe it. Jesus had said, “No one knows the day or the hour, not even the Son of Man.” I did read the book and, yes, I believe that Jesus is coming back, but anyone who sets a date is setting himself up to be a fool. He can’t win. If Jesus does come back, so what? No one will congratulate him on the way up; if Jesus doesn’t come back… well, the fool resets the date.

Having said all that, I have to confess that the events in the last months have made me wonder if the end really might be near. Even leaders that I trust, “non-kooks,” like Ann Graham Lotz and John Hagee, have wondered if the Lord is speaking to us through these events.

Matthew 24 reads, “… You will hear of wars and rumors of wars… Nation will rise against nation… There will be famines… earthquakes… persucution… you will be hated… many will turn from the faith… there will be false prophets… the love of most will grow cold…”

In August there was a full solar eclipse, the first one in many years to be seen only in the US (God’s judgement on America?!) Last year was the blood moon. There have been three major hurricanes in a month. There was flooding in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico… an earthquake in Mexico and Guatemala, famine in Africa, major fires in Montana… North Korea is threatening war. The NFL has become a political quagmire… Political unrest; racial anger; police assassinations; school shootings (and stabbings)… whew…

Is God trying to tell us something? Is Matthew 24 being fulfilled?!

Here’s my take on these events and predictions of the end of the world: Yes, God is speaking to us through these events. But, He also speaks through every sunrise and every sunset every single day. He raises His voice through earthquakes, floods, famine, etc. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our troubles. They are His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Although I don’t believe in doomsday dates, here are some things that these predictions do for me: They encourage me to be ready.

  • Make sure I have committed my life to Jesus Christ.
  • Make sure I have no known sin in my life.
  • Be at peace with all men.
  • Live as if He is coming tomorrow, and work as if He’s not coming for 1000 years. Martin Luther said that we should live every day with the day of our death always before us, like a billboard that we see everywhere we turn. Jim Elliott said he wanted to live so that when it came time to die, there was nothing else he needed to do but die. John Wesley said, “Our people die well.”

Friends, the Lord is coming back. He didn’t come on Sept. 23. Or did He?! Well, yes, for two people that I know, He came. Two of my friends died and stood before the Lord on September. 23rd. For them, this life is over.

For everyone of us a date has been set. “It is appointed unto men once to die and then the judgement.” Hebrews 9:27

Pastor Bill Detweiler said, “There are only two days in all of history that matter: 1. This day, and 2. That Day! Live this day so that day, “the great and terrible day of the LORD” will be a day of rejoicing for you. Malachi 4:5

Be ready! The Lord is returning! When? I can tell you the date: THAT DAY!

Gold

Go West, Young Man

In the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska around 1896, the Canadian Mounted Police would not allow anyone to enter the Yukon region unless he had a year’s supply of food and equipment. (No Yukon Wal-Marts in those days.)

These men would hike up the steep, icy, muddy, narrow Chilkoot Pass carrying about 65 lbs. of goods, drop their load off at the top of the hill and go back down for another load until they had about 2000 lbs. of food & equipment at the top.

After 30 trips up and 30 trips back down, the Canadian Mounties would weigh their food and if they determined that there was a year’s supply, they then gave them permission to proceed down the Chilkoot Pass to the Yukon River-–another 30 trips down & back, until the one-ton load was at the bottom.

It was 30 miles from Skagway to the Yukon River. One source estimated that a prospector would walk 2,500 miles by the time he got his year’s supply to the river bank! There he would build a raft and float 200 miles down the river to Dawson City to stake his claim and start mining. A few got rich, but the majority were too late.

I suppose I’m thinking about this because I just got back from Skagway, Alaska, where this scramble for gold took place about 120 years ago. Many thoughts went through my mind as I read about these amazingly hardy souls. What would possess a man to leave his home, family and farm or business and make the dangerous trip to Alaska to mine for gold? To walk 2500 miles carrying 65 lbs. on his back after he got there? Adventure? Greed? Desperation? Boredom? Lure of riches? Get out of debt?

I often wonder what I would have done if I would have lived during that time? Would I have “gone west, young man” like Horace Greenley encouraged? Would I have believed the amazing reports that a man could just pick up gold nuggets off the streets and become an overnight millionaire?

In my family research, I came across the obituary of my great-great grandfather, Nathan Smith. He was a farmer in Wayne County, Ohio. Born in 1827. Here is an excerpt from his obituary:

“…He was born and reared on a farm in Plain Township. In youth, aged about 20 years, he caught the gold fever and went overland to California with other gold seekers from Wayne County. Returning home from there he settled down in Plain Township and became a prosperous farmer, industriously and successfully following that vocation, marrying and rearing an estimable family of sons and daughters…”


A more detailed account is found in Paul Locher’s book, When Wooster Was a Whippersnapper, Pg. 68:

…he joined the Dennison Co., which was composed of 40 men, all from Wayne County. On March 11, the group left Wooster for California. The trip was made overland with mule teams, Benjamin Eason being one of the drivers. After spending five days in Salt Lake City for recreation, the party arrived in Placerville, 55 miles east of Sacramento, on July 4, 1850.

The Dennison Co. remained in California until the following winter, mining, trading and speculating. The group then returned home, traveling by steamer with “eyes still ablaze with scenes of border bloodshed and lawless cruelty,” as historian Ben Douglass described their experience.

Four months (116 days) on a wagon pulled by mules! No air conditioning. No MacDonald’s. No rest areas! Would I have “gone west?” Grandpa Nathan did.

At age 20, I possessed most of the above vices and virtues: adventurous, greedy, debts, no brains… I wasn’t bored or desperate, but I have the same adventurous blood flowing through my veins as great-great grandpa, Nathan Smith…

,BUT, at age 23 I committed my life to Christ, so maybe that would have governed my actions and attitudes during the feverish gold rush days.

What a history! What a story! I can’t judge or condemn those who sought riches (a better life), but I do have some sage advice:

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” -Matt. 6:33

The Irish Revival of 1859

The Drimoleague Methodist Church in Ireland is a relatively small building with stone walls that are two feet thick. The sanctuary is about the size of my timber frame barn/office, maybe 24 by 36 feet?

“It was built in 1865 as a result of the Revival of 1859,” the locals told me.

“The Revival of 1859?!” I asked. And then I started hearing the stories of this amazing move of God.

The Revival started in Northern Ireland and spread over the whole country. A group of people got saved here in Drimoleague and began meeting west of town at the farm of my host’s relatives, the Kingstons. After several years of meeting there, The Drimoleague Methodist Church was built.

Pastor Greg came to Drimoleague from the town of Coleraine, in the north of Ireland. He said the revival crowds in Coleraine were so big in 1859 that the only building big enough to hold their meetings was the brand new, just finished, Town Hall Building.

After meeting there for several years, these “revival people” built their own new church building. Almost a century later, the people of Coleraine made a startling discovery in the Town Hall records: Because of the excitement of the Revival, the ‘new’ town hall had never had a Grand Opening! So, in 1959, the town of Coleraine had a Grand Opening Celebration for its brand new, hundred year old Town Hall!

The most amazing story I heard is what happened at The Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast. This is where the Titanic would be built. Many of the rough, crude shipyard workers had conversion experiences and to clear their consciences, began to return tools that they had stolen over the years. The stolen tools began to pile up. So many tools came back that Harland & Wolff had to build a new warehouse to store them all! Our hosts in Donegal said that warehouse is still standing! (Think of how our economy would be affected if we would just be honest!)

There were (are) many more revival stories. Several of the churches where I sang were built during this exciting time in Irish history. The Coolkelure Anglican Church was built by the owner of the large estate whose life was transformed by Christ during this revival, so he built this beautiful church so his workers would not have to walk the 4 miles to Dunmanaway every Sunday.

I had 14 concerts in ten days on the “Emerald Island.” I performed in some amazing classic churches. I met some wonderful people. I was close to the ancestrial land of my great-grand mother (County Waterford). I was able to see some changed lives.

But as I sit back and reflect on my trip, the thing I think about most are the 158 year-old revival stories, and I am encouraged that God can break into any culture with His Spirit and change lives, change communities, change cultures–so much so that churches must be built to house the worshippers and warehouses need to built to hold the stolen goods returned by repentant sinners! Do it here, Lord!

Thank you for praying for Common Grounds Ministries and for my trip to Ireland. Pray for revival! It can happen!

AN IRISH PRAYER:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
The rains fall soft upon fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Samuel Morris

From Liberia, Africa to Fort Wayne, Indiana

In Bolivia last week, David Harriman told about a man who knelt in front of a tombstone and prayed, “Lord, give me the same spirit that you gave this man, Samuel Morris.”

Samuel Morris was born Prince Kaboo in 1873 in Liberia, Africa, the son of a Kru tribal chieftain. As a child, he was captured by an enemy tribe. They demanded his father bring them a present each month if they wanted to see their prince again. His father brought a present each month, but it was never enough.

When he could bring no more, Kaboo was beaten every day. During one of many intense whippings, Kaboo saw a bright light and heard a voice from Heaven telling him to flee. The rope binding him fell to the ground; he ran into the jungle where he wandered for days living off snails, mangos, roots… He traveled at night and hid in hollow logs during the day. He eventually came upon a coffee plantation owned by a Christian former slave.

There he met Miss Knolls, a graduate of Fort Wayne College (now Taylor University). She led him to Jesus. He was baptized with the name Samuel Morris in honor of her benefactor. He learned to read using the Bible as his textbook. He wanted to know more of this Holy Spirit he was reading about. When she told him that a man named Stephen Merritt had led her to Jesus, Samuel decided to go to America to find him.

He hired on a British ship where the arrogant British passengers made fun of him and treated him with scorn. When the captain became deathly sick, Samuel prayed for him and he was healed. Samuel then led him to the Lord. The captain made Samuel his personal assistant. By the time they reached New York, the whole crew and many of the passengers had become Christians through Samuel’s witness.

In crowded New York City he miraculously found Dr. Merritt who kindly offered to show him the city. “I don’t care to see buildings. I want to find the Holy Spirit,” Samuel said. The doctor sent him to Fort Wayne College. Everywhere he went, people were drawn to Jesus. In one church, as he sat up front, people saw his glowing face and began to come forward before he even got up to preach!

In late 1892 he came down with pneumonia. Five months later, in May, 1893 he died. His goal to take the Holy Spirit back to Africa was not met. He had been scheduled to help lay the cornerstone at the newly formed Taylor University in Upland, IN. As he lay sick, he said, “God is sovereign. I have finished my job. God will send others better than I to do His work in Africa.” At his funeral many students committed themselves to go to Africa. He was buried in the Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne. Seventy some years later a man knelt and prayed for the same spirit.

Would you believe that while we were in Bolivia that man came to the guest house where we were staying?! I got to meet this man who had prayed at Samuel’s grave!

“God gave me the same spirit He gave Samuel Morris. I rose from my knees a different man,” he said. He went on to be a pastor and then the president of a large missionary organization. He just retired and was bringing some businessmen to Bolivia to show them how they could get involved in missions.

Taylor University named one of their dorms for Samuel Morris. He never got to go back to Africa, but his influence is still felt all over the world today, 124 years later.

The next time I am near Fort Wayne, I plan to visit his grave.

The Consequences of One Wrong Choice

Duane and Cindy Mullett were friends of Marcus Kaufman, who was shot at his home in N.C. on Dec. 2, 2013. I asked Cindy’s permission to reprint her [heavily edited] blog of the sentencing.

Last week, we sat in a cold, oppressive courtroom. Hushed words were spoken and little emotion was shown on the solemn faces of attorneys and investigators. The defendant’s family members sat on the front rows on the right side of the room. We sat on the left side, supporting the widowed spouse, her grieving parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters and close friends of the deceased victim–a young man; a fireman and soon-to-be first time father. He was senselessly murdered two years ago.

The young man in an orange jumpsuit was escorted into the room, hands and feet in shackles. I saw an elderly woman (the grandmother of the defendant?) wiping tears. Then we heard the deep, heart-wrenching cry, “Oh, my baby!” as the judge said, “Life in prison plus 360 months…”

It’s the same deep agonizing cry Marcus’s parents and family have also been living with, and it was the same cry that became my companion when our son unexpectedly died five years ago. But the cry I heard in the courtroom was different. There are some things harder to live with than death. I wonder if Khari McClelland ever thought about what his choice(s) would do to his mother? To his family? To the Kaufmans? To himself?!

He’d made many other wrong choices prior to this. Choices to love himself and his drugs more than relationships and others’ lives. He’d chosen to think about himself and his wants more than his family.

That day in the cold court room, I saw a beautiful, breathtaking example of making the right choices. The parents and widow looked into the face of the murderer and said, “We forgive you. We’re praying you will find Jesus.”

They choose to forgive. This didn’t happen because they decided that morning to forgive him. And it wasn’t because they felt like forgiving him. No, it was because they had predetermined to think the thoughts that Jesus would think. And these thoughts led to this amazing act of forgiveness.

I was closely watching the others in the room. I saw the effect of those selfless, nearly impossible words spoken to the murderer: “We forgive you.” Investigators, detectives, as well as members of the defendant’s family, were wiping tears.

I pray that someday, Khari McClelland will understand the depth from which this came. We pray he will find the same faith and God’s forgiveness for the choices he’s made. Does he deserve it? No. But do any of us deserve God’s forgiveness?

~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)

“If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matt. 6:14,15

To read Cindy’s original blog: www.themullettfamily.com

Timothy Kane

Fourteen year old Timmy Kane was watching SuperBowl XXVI in 1992 with two older boys when one of them said, “We’re going to go rob a house!” With no thought of consequences, Timmy foolishly went with them.

By the time he realized what these older boys were actually going to do, it was too late. “You’re not going anywhere,” ordered 19 year-old Alvin Morton when Tim wanted to leave. As he hid under the dining room table, he heard the shotgun blasts.

In Florida, if you are with the murderer, you are guilty of murder. Because Tim “didn’t try to leave” the scene, he got life in prison. At age 14!

I first met Tim around ten years ago at Sumter Correctional near Bushnell, Fla. I was a guest of The Gospel Echoes, who go to the Sumter Chapel every January. I have seen Tim every January since then. We have become friends.

Ron Miller, a Holmes County native who lives in Nashville, has been working to free Tim ever since he saw his story on Dateline in 1998. He even started a vibrant prison ministry called “Timothy’s Gift” to bring awareness to Tim’s situation and also to share the good news of Christ in prisons thoughout Florida and now other states.

Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota has “adopted” Tim, writing to him, sending members to visit him, letting him know that he is not forgotten.

After his parents divorced in 1990, he had little structure and supervision. Even with a high IQ of 137, his grades began to slip and he started spending time with tougher kids- including 17-year-old Bobby Garner and 19 year old Alvin Morton, the ones who took him along to rob and murder.

In an interview, Tim said, “I got what I deserved. I did wrong things. But I like to think, I like to hope, that someone can change. I’m not that 14-year-old boy anymore,” he said.

Timothy Kane was release from prison!

Long story short: Last week Tim was released from prison! After 25 years! The 14 year old boy is now a young man of 39. I was able to talk to him by phone the day after he got out. He was going to go swimming for the first time in 25 years. He had just eaten at McDonalds and then went to Hardees and ate some more. He’s never driven a car. He’s never used a cell phone… “I don’t have the words to explain what’s going through my mind…” he told me on the phone. He’s in a new world.

Tim developed a habit of reading Prov. 1:10-11 every morning in prison:

My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for someone’s blood, let’s waylay some harmless soul… my son, do not go along with them.

“Am I worthy of a second chance? Two people lost their lives. They don’t get a second chance. I don’t deserve anything. But I hope to have a chance to have a second chance.”

Tim has learned his lesson. Pray for him. And for the victim’s family. They still grieve.

P.S. We booked Tim to speak at our Feb. 20, 2018 Sarasota Banquet. Mark the date!

Forgiving Bullet Bob

The prison band at St. Clair Correctional in Alabama is about as good as it gets. They play like professionals, they have written songs and they even have a music video of their band that has gone to churches outside the walls.

At our We Care Revival chapel service there last week (Jan 25), they sang a song for Bullet Bob. “You guys remember Bob?” the guitar player asked. A cheer of recognition went up from the prison chapel.

“As you know, we made a music video here in our chapel. Our video was being shown at a church in Montgomery and during the presentation, a loud gasp erupted from a woman in the congregation. As she watched the video, the camera scanned the prison chapel and she saw Bullet Bob, the man who had murdered her father! Bob was serving a life sentence for this crime and at the time was in the prison infirmary with terminal cancer. When this woman pulled herself together, she went up and talked to the people who were in charge showing the DVD.”

“How is Bob?” she asked. When she found out that he was basically on his death bed, she asked if she could get a message to him.

“Could you please let Bob know that we as a family forgive him? We have no ill feelings or enmity toward him and we hope that he is right with God. Please let him know that he is forgiven.”

The song leader who was sharing this story in our chapel service told how he was able to go to the prison hospital and deliver this message of forgiveness and freedom.

“The Smith* family wants you to know that they forgive you.” The look on Bullet Bob’s face was one of relief, disbelief, joy, amazement… He looked up at the ceiling from his hospital bed and let out a sigh and began to weep uncontrollably. He died several weeks later. In victory. Forgiven!”

Now folks, no matter how correct and right it is to forgive, that would be tough. I pray that I can be a forgiving person. One of the most terrifying verses in all of scripture is found in Matthew 6 right after the Lord’s Prayer:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, you heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Mt. 6:14,15

If we want forgiveness, we must forgive.

“Forgiveness is the only way to heal.” – Miguel Ruiz

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -C.S. Lewis

“All I know is that justice did not heal me. Forgiveness did. The cost of forgiveness is nothing compared to the benefits of forgiveness. I feel like I have found new life through forgiveness.” -Debbie Morris, author, Forgiving the Dead Man Walking

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” -Corrie Ten Boom

Every Day is a Gift

Thoughts for the New Year

I visited my friend, Joe Miller, Jr., in the hospital in 2002 after a bicycle/car accident. Tubes, beeping machines, hissing sounds and liquids in hanging bottles surrounded him in his ICU room. He was unresponsive. “He may not make it,” I thought. He didn’t.

I resolved right there in that hospital room to never take another day of life for granted. I had made that promise before, but I never kept it. This time, I have not taken a day of life for granted since May 30, 2002! I thank God every morning for life. Your life can be taken away in an instant. We are one heartbeat away from eternity. Every day is a gift!

And that’s my New Year’s rant for the year. Life is precious, fragile, uncertain. It’s a gift. Live each day as if it’s your last. Martin Luther said, “Live as if Jesus died yesterday, rose today and is coming back tomorrow.” Paul said, “Redeem the time… the days are evil…” Eph. 5:16

________________________________

In December, I was talking with some friends who help to feed the homeless. A day or two later I had coffee with Phil Klinefelter, chaplain of the Wayne County Jail. In both cases we remembered what Larry Burkett had said about Welfare Recipients: “If each church would take one welfare recipient under her wings and help him, teach him, mentor him and show him how to live a productive and independent life, we could do away with our government welfare system.” We wondered if the same would work for the homeless, the ex-inmate, or anyone struggling with life.

Chaplain Klinefelter has tried to get something going with local churches to help inmates. If a church would mentor just one inmate for a year… it never got off the ground.

So, I have a New Year’s challenge for us: What if every church would look around to see who would benefit from “mentoring?” Not just a handout or financial help, although that is certainly part of it, but some life-changing, long term actual examples of how to act, how to handle finances, how to show up for work on time, how to be responsible, how to treat people…

In other words, how to do what most of us learned growing up in a Christian home.

What if my family would help one homeless person; an ex-inmate; a person struggling to just live and pay bills? Maybe not actually have him live in your home, although that would be ideal (and risky), but to “be there” and be a friend and a mentor.

When the church falters the government steps in. And government can never do what the body of Christ should be doing. Ronald Reagan said, “Welfare’s Purpose Should Be To Eliminate, As Far As Possible, The Need For Its Own Existence.” It’s only gotten bigger.

I’m casting a seed in the field. May it germinate in our minds and hearts. Can we DO something? Can we at least spread the idea? Bring it up in conversations. Mention it in your prayers. I challenge us in 2017 to see what can be done to alleviate the attitudes and systems that keep people from becoming what God created them to be.

Is it really possible to eliminate homelessness? Let’s at least try! May 2017 be the year that a movement starts that rescues people from prison; from homelessness; from hopelessness; from aimlessness… and calls us off the bench and into the game! Could I be the person who starts something? Could YOU?

“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” – Jesus (Jn.4:35)

“…for we can certainly do it.” -Caleb, to Moses and all of Israel (Num. 13:30)

Happy New Year – John

Tidings of Great Joy!

No matter where you stand politically, you may have noticed that in the last few months that the main stream media has not been very accurate in their attempt at prophesy. They haven’t even done a very good job of simply reporting the news.

In the recent presidential election they reported that Donald Trump would not run. Then they reported that he would not last two weeks. Then they gave him two months. Then they reported that he was a fraud. He’s a decoy, just in the race to help his old friend, Hillary. He would not win the Republican primary. When he did become the Republican nominee, they said he had no chance to win the presidency. “You watch; he’s going to drop out.” And up to the last hour, rather than report news, they continued to prophesy the outcome of the election.

They had a perfect record: They didn’t get one thing right! The news was wrong. The polls were wrong. The politicians were wrong. The man who “had no chance” won in a landslide.

So… Now that I have lost all trust in the news media, what can I believe? Who can I believe? Where can I go for accurate news? At least I think I can believe the sports page. I actually listened to the Ohio State/ Michigan game, so I can testify that they got that news report right. But what about anything political? What about editorial opinion? What about the front page?

“When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

What can we believe?

Friends, I have good news for you! You can believe the Bible. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. And it contains Good News:

“Fear not! I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy… For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”

Not only is the announcement of the birth of Christ real news that you can believe, but it is also the best news that has ever been reported on planet earth! It’s 2000 years old, to be sure, but it is also the latest, freshest news today! And it wasn’t the usual Israeli main stream media who reported this amazing event… It was angels! Sent by God! And it is recorded in the most reliable, best selling book in history: The Bible.

“With the angelical host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem… Hark! The herald angels sing!

Christmas is a reminder of the wonderful news that God came to us. “Immanuel”–God with us. Christmas reminds us to trust not in horses and chariots (government; politicians), but to trust in the Baby who was born in a lowly stable just a few miles from the Palace of the most powerful, ruthless, wealthy, influential politician in the region, Herod the Great.

Who would have thought at the time that 2000 years later the little Baby would still be known and worshipped, but the only memory we have of the politician, Herod: He killed the babies.

Who can you believe? Jesus. What can you believe? His book. It’s reliable. It’s good news.

He rules the world with truth and grace and He makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love… Joy to the world!

What good news! You can believe it!

B.I.B.L.E.= Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth