John Schmid Music

Author: johnschmidcommonground

The Gates of Hell and Pan-demic

At the table of knowledge and wisdom at Boyd Wurthmann Restaurant one morning, we were talking about the pandemic. I was reminded of what I was told in Israel about 15 years ago.

At the time of Jesus, the most important god in Caesarea Philippi was Pan, the Greek god of shepherds, music and fertility. Pan is half-goat, half-man. The Greeks believed that Pan was born in the cave that we were looking at off to the left from where we were standing.

Our guide told us that every once and awhile Pan and all the false gods would come screaming down the hill, terrifying the people of the town. This wild commotion was called “Pan-ic,” or “Pan-demonium.” Pandemoniaum was “the capital of Hell in Milton’s Paridise Lost.” This word is made up of two words: “pan” meaning, “all,” and “demon” meaning, “all the demonsFrom this crazy screaming frenzy of “all the demons” we get the words panic, pandemonium, panorama,  pantheism, pandemic…

As our Holy Land group looked over toward the cave in the huge rock mountainside, we were told that there is a hole in the floor of the cave which opens to an underground river. The pagans believed that the cave and spring water at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld.

One of the evil customs of the day was to drop a baby down the hole into the stream of water below to appease the god of fertility (Pan). If the baby lived, the sacrifice was rejected and the baby was killed. If he died, the gods were satisfied. Either way, the baby died. As in any dealings with Satan, you can’t win. The hole in the cave floor was called, “The Gate of Hell.”

When Jesus brought his disciples to this area, they must have been shocked. Caesarea Philippi was like the red-light district and devout Jews would have avoided this area and any contact with the despicable acts committed there. This was an evil city.

But right here, in the heart of paganism and evil god worship, Jesus asked one of the most important questions ever asked on planet earth: “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Then Jesus asked THE most important question anyone will ever be asked:

“But who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (emphasis added)

Jesus said, “…I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the Gates of Hell shall not overcome it.”

“This rock…” has a double or even a triple meaning: What is “this rock?” Was Jesus talking Peter, whose name means, “rock?” Or Peter’s confession?  OR… did He mean that the church of Jesus Christ would be built right here in Caesarea Philipi, on this rock where the “Gate of Hell” receives baby sacrifices to appease Satan?

Ray Vander Laan says Jesus didn’t want His followers hiding from evil. He wanted them to storm the gates of Hell. Gates do not attack. Gates are defensive. STORM them! (Go into all the world…) The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ.

Folks, our whole country has become a Caesarea Philipi, a place of evil practices. May we be a participant in storming the gates and building the church of Jesus Christ ON THIS ROCK!

Greater is He that in you than he who is in the world. I John 4:4

Jesus is the Son of the Living God. -Peter

Authority

Ex-marine, Chuck Swindoll, told this story:


Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar Naval Air Station. One of the officers was
using a hand held radar gun to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill.

The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then turned off.

Just then a deafening roar over the tree tops revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low flying exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander.

The reply came back in true USMC style:

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter. We can now complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the F-18 Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to, your hostile radar equipment. The Hornet automatically sent a jamming signal back to your radar gun, which is why it shut down.

Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location.

Fortunately, the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the perceived hostile radar position.

Our pilot suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech. Sergeant Johnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar. It appears the filling is loose. Also, the snap is broken on his holster.You may want to look into this.

Thank you for your concern.

Semper Fideles

It’s easy for those in authority on earth to forget that there is a higher authority that hovers above them. There is a sovereign God, who presides over out times and our seasons…who does whatever He pleases…whose authority is supreme. He answers to no one. We answer to Him.

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”   –Proverbs 21:1

The Bubonic Plague and The Passion Play

OBERAMMERGAU, GERMANY

An outbreak of the Bubonic Plague devastated Bavaria in the 1630’s. The plague took the lives of several hundred thousand people in Europe during this time.  From September 1632 to March 1633, a total of 81 people died in the little German village of Oberammergau.

In October 1633, the villagers got together and vowed that if God spared them from the plague, they would perform a play every ten years depicting the life and death of Jesus. After that vow was made, not one person in Oberammergau died of the plague(!) and the villagers kept their word and have performed the passion play every ten years since 1634.

I first heard of the play in 1976 while visiting Oberammergau and I have wanted to attend ever since, but… life kept happening and I continued to be either busy or negligent and I never went.

THEN… This year, which is an off year because of another plague, COVID, I had several friends and friends of friends come back and tell how good the play was. Long story, but I got two tickets online (not cheap) on August 3rd and one week later my daughter, Amelia, and I were in Oberammergau!

Even though our seats were in the very back row and the play is in German and we had jet lag and my hearing is not good… it was an amazing experience to be part of an almost 400 year tradition of honoring Jesus by performing a play of his life, death and resurrection. 2000 village folks are involved in the production; actors, sound techs, props, tickets, etc. There will be 109 performances this summer with 5000 people in each audience. (109 X 5000= 545,000 viewers!)

The play is five hours long with a three hour break for supper. On the morning of the play an orientation about the play is given in English. Here are a few facts from that orientation:

-The actors are not professionals. They are residents of Oberammergau.

-You must live in the village for 20 years to be a part of the play.

-The play was exclusively Catholic. Then Protestants were allowed. Now, any 20 year resident can participate.

-There are many children in the play. The children have two rules:

            1. Do not look at the audience.

            2. Look at Jesus when he is speaking.

I wonder if that isn’t the most profound lesson of our week long historic Passion Play trip:

            1. Don’t look at the audience.

            2. Look at Jesus when He is speaking.

A great conductor once said, “To lead the orchestra, you must turn your back on the crowd.” These are great lessons for life.

One last thought: What great long lasting, historic tradition might come from the tragic COVID pandemic? Will our culture turn to God for relief from the plague like the citizens of Oberammergau did in 1633? Will we make a vow? A commitment? A promise?

If our culture will not turn to God, we can individually turn to Him. “…today is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6:2    “Come unto me and I will give you rest…” Matt. 11:28

The Depth Of Your Ministry

Missionary David Seamands had a very exciting and productive ministry in India. He was born there to missionary parents. He went to college in the States and returned to India and become a missionary himself. After about three years he was assigned to the little village of Yadgiri, a remote and difficult assignment. This area was mostly Hindu or Muslim. It had a Christian population of just over 1%.

He was not looking forward to this assignment and was even advised by friends to resign rather than to “lower himself” by being removed from a vibrant ministry, but he heeded the wishes (orders) of the higher ups in the mission, packed up his family and went to Yadgiri.

Their move into a little bungalow coincided with the beginning of the monsoon season, when the streets turn to mud and even become small rivers. But this year (1957) the monsoon was unusually long and strong. It became a flood and the Seamands were basically trapped in their little hut. It rained for 40 days! (Sound Biblical?)

David was frustrated and stressed. Had God called him here, with all of his knowledge of the culture and education and his experience in missions, to sit in a small little bunagalow and do nothing? “God, why did you bring me here? Did I miss your call? Was I disobedient? So many people need to hear the Gospel and I am stuck in this little hut.” 

During this 40 day period of isolation David read the Bible, prayed, prepared sermons… complained to his wife and to God, paced the floor…

According to David’s son, Steve, (I called him to refresh my memory) it was right about this time that David “heard” the voice of God:

You take care of the depth of your ministry and I’ll take care of the breadth.”

From that point on, Seamands immersed himself in reading, praying and trying to stay positive. He even read a couple of novels, including, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  The rains ended, the streets dried up, and ministry began again for David and his team.

Many years later (neither his son nor I could remember how many) David was counselling a student who was no admirer of Christianity or the Bible. In the course of the conversation the fairly brilliant student challenged this pastor that he considered out of touch with the real world: “You’ve probably never read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand,” the student spouted out confidently.

“As a matter of fact, I have,” David countered, and went on to give the shocked student a summary of the book that he had read during a monsoon. The student was so stunned that he actually listened to an explanation of the gospel. He didn’t commit his life to Jesus at that session, but his mind was opened because years before a discouraged young missionary began to “…take care of the depth of his ministry…” 

Before I called David Seamands’ son, I texted Florida pastor, Rural Ausley, my college roommate, to see if he remembered that quote. Here is part of his response: “.Yes, I remember… he told me that he developed material during that time that he was still using years later. That quote has haunted me my entire ministry! In a good way, mostly.”

Take care of the depth of your relationship with the Lord. He will take care of the breadth.

Give Me One Divine Moment

“Give me one divine moment when God acts and I say that moment is far superior to all the human efforts of man throughout the centuries.” -Dennis Kinlaw, commenting on the Asbury Revival, 1970

David Stutzman is recovering from a paralyzing accident. While visiting him at the rehab section of Walnut Hills, he told this story: His father, Andy Stutzman, lived to be a hundred years old. Andy was known as a man of God in our community. He was a minister who had touched many lives over the decades and had a very unique and effective preaching style. A faithful man.

Two days after Andy’s 100th birthday, he confessed to David that he felt that he had not fulfilled the calling of God on his life. He felt that God had called him to the mission field to places like China, India or Africa, but because of helping his father on the farm, and lack of finances, and then marriage and being called by lot into the ministry, he never left this area. He wondered if he had missed God’s calling.

Three days after his 100th birthday, David got a call from a Chinese National TV crew who wanted to do a documentary on Amish culture. The man indicated that in China virtually every person, from the richest to the poorest, has a TV.  Apparently, there is not much available to watch on TV, but the Chinese love to watch documentaries. He asked David to be their guide in Amish country.

When the film crew arrived, David took them to places like the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin; several Amish businesses; a cheese house… Then the Chinese man in charge said he wanted to film a real Amish Farm and Homestead, so David took them to a relative’s farm, a perfect place to film, except that “order” of Amish does not allow filming. However, after David told the story of what was happening, and how many people it would influence, and the fact that the documentary would not be shown in the U.S., the Amish cousin relented (cautiously). Go ahead and film.

The crew had a wonderful time there; they got to see the basement of this large Amish home with artesian well water flowing through it to keep the food cold. All the walls were loaded with shelves of canned goods and preserved food-stuffs in jars. They filmed in the barn full of hay and big Percheron horses—the Chinese love horses! They filmed the windmill, the barnyard, the fields, the state-of-the-art kitchen in the shop where the Amish church meets when it is this family’s turn to hold services…

Then the Chinese man in charge (only 2 of the entourage spoke English) asked to meet “a real Amish/Mennonite Minister.” So David took them to his home to meet his father, Andy. The crew set up cameras in 3 places (or angles). The Chinese man asked David’s father Andy- sitting in his rocking chair-

“Sir, what is that in your lap?”

Andy said, “It’s my Bible; the roadmap to Heaven!”

The interviewer asked, “Would you read something from it to us?

So, Andy proceeded to quote Psalm 37 (by heart!), several other scriptures, some hymns and a poem. He then gave his testimony and explained the plan of salvation in a very simple, understandable way.

The interview was over, the crew left, and several months later this documentary was viewed in China by 1.3 billion (BILLION!) people! It was voted the best documentary of that year and possibly of all time! A week later Andy would have been too sick to film. He died 2 months after that.

This man who wanted to reach the world, but never lived anywhere but Holmes County, Ohio, reached one seventh of the population of the world just 80 days before the end of his 100 year life! He explained the gospel to more people in a half hour interview than he had reached in his 80 years of fruitful ministry in the local church! God is faithful.  Give me one divine moment…

“The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29 

“If you sow and don’t reap, someone else will reap; be faithful. If you reap, having not sown, someone else sowed; be humble.” -Steve Wingfield

Time

I like to have our newsletter in your hands by the first of the month. As I write this, it’s June 9th! I’m slightly late. I could use the excuse that I’m busy (which is true). I could tell you of the many interruptions (also true). I could tell you how sick I was (a lie). The reality is- I couldn’t think of a thing to say.  So… I procrastinated. But… finally… I decided to print some quotes about TIME (not the magazine) and its use. Mainly for me, but hopefully for you, too. I hope these are helpful:

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever. – Horace Mann

Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.  -Charles Hummel

God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. The man who would know God must give time to Him. -A.W. Tozer

Asked what he would do if he knew Christ would return in three days, George Whitfield replied:

“I would do just what I have scheduled to do.”

The chief value of an anniversary is to call us to greater faithfulness in the time that is left.

-William Manning

A converted Hindu was given a Bible and a clock. “The clock will tell me how time goes; the Bible will tell me how to spend it.”

                                                             Don’t Tell Me

                                    Don’t tell me what you will do When you have time to spare;

                                    Tell me what you did today To ease a load of care.

.                                              
                                    Don’t tell me what you will give When your ship comes in from sea,

                                    Tell me what you gave today, A fettered soul to free.

                                                         -Greenville Kleiser

Time. This summer will be my 55th high school reunion! It seems like I graduated just a couple of years ago. I am on the reunion committee, so in looking up “lost” alumni, I “found” one my classmates, Connie Hoy, whose great-grandmother lived across the road from us when I was a boy. Great-grandma was 96 years old the year Connie and I were in first grade. She was born in 1859. In 1861 President elect Abraham Lincoln traveled from Springfield, IL to Washington. D.C. on a whistlestop train tour on his way to his inauguration in March of that year. At one of these stops, probably Coshochton, two year old Kate Hoy was lifted up by her father and Abe Lincoln reached over the traincar platform guardrail and patted her on the head. When I was very young, visiting the Hoys, Kate Hoy patted me on the head!

Did you get that?! I was touched by a person who touched Abe Lincoln!! Abe died in 1865! One hundred and fifty seven years ago! Yes, I knew someone who met Abe Lincoln in person! Maybe ancient history isn’t so ancient! Maybe “long ago” is not all that long ago. Is time relative, like Einstein said?

Time. Redeem it. The days are evil. (Eph. 5:16) And the days are short. History may not be as long ago as we may think. We should use time wisely.

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more… I’ll be there.

Until the next time

Nick The Greek

I had heard of Nick the Greek ever since I started in prison ministry (32 years ago), but I had never met him. He was a gang leader, a drug addict, a hit man, a thief, an all-around thug who got radically saved not long after he started his 20 year sentence at Mansfield prison. I met him last Fall at, of all places, an Amish funeral! He came to funeral of Dan Schlabach, a supporter of the Greek’s Inside Out Ministries. Dan’s son, Dwain, was a CGM board member.

Nick gave me his book, Too Mean To Die. What a story! I want to share two of the craziest witnessing events I have ever heard. It could only work in prison and only with a newly saved former corrupt, vulgar gang member. Let me summarize from Nick’s book:

“You really believe that stuff, Greek?”

“Yeah, I believe it,” I said, and I tried to show him some verses to back up what I was saying.

But he just brushed me off and started cursing and using God’s name in vain.

“You keep talking like that, and you’re going to have to deal with me,” I said.

Now, it’s not that I used the best language myself. It was taking me a while to clean up my foul mouth. The first English words I learned when I came to this country were curse words. But I couldn’t stand this man cursing the God who had just saved me from a life of destruction.

He kept on spewing forth this nonsense, so I reverted back to the old Nick. I held my Bible up like I was reading it, and when he was distracted I hit him- pow!- right on the nose with my Bible. His nose collapsed, his eyes closed up and they had to take him to the prison hospital.

A day or so later I walked up to my cell and this same guy was lying on my bunk with his head all bandaged up. He looked like a dead man. I feared big trouble, but when I walked in ready to fight, he said, “Greek, if you believe in God that much – to do this to me- I want to know your God!”  Long story short: I led this bandaged former enemy to Jesus!

Not long after this, I was assigned to a cell with a man who was not too sympathetic to any religion, especially Christianity. “No problem. You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.”

But this guy was on my back from the moment he started bunking with me. I think he assumed that anybody who was into Christianity was a weakling. He kept riding me, making fun of my Bible reading and of my belief in God. I tried to ignore him, but it got harder and harder. I didn’t want another situation like the broken nose, but one day he finally went too far. I grabbed him around the neck and stuck his head in the toilet in our cell and started flushing away. Everytime the guy came up for air, I’d push him back down in the water. When I saw he had enough, I stood up and said, “Now, you ready to listen to God’s word?”

He said, Yeah, he would like to know more. I couldn’t believe my ears!

The whole social setup and “street” rules in prison present problems for a Christian inmate. Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek. It’s a fine line to walk…

Folks, I love these stories, but please do not use these methods in your local church. I recommend The Four Spiritual Laws or The Roman Road. Be passionate to win people to Christ, but broken noses and swirlies may only work in prison. And then, only on special occasions.

                                    He who is wise wins souls. Prov. 11:30

The Power Of A Song

I just sent the manuscript of my new book, The Power of a Song, to Carlisle Printing. I have been wanting to write this book for over 20 years(!).  I’ve had chapters written for at least half of that time. I finally hired an editor (Elaine Starner) to help and to goad me along the way.

I don’t know how long it will take now, but while we wait the month or two it takes to typeset, proof read, edit and print a book, let me paraphrase one of the chapters to give you a taste of what is in the book:

Chapter 16   FROM DEPRESSION TO DANCING 

Ben (not his real name) grew up in a dysfunctional Amish family. His father was in a mental institution. The family was so poor that Ben began stealing food from local grocery stores. He ran away from home and slept in barns and abandoned buildings. When he was caught and arrested, the Smiths (not their real name) went to court and asked the judge if they could be Ben’s legal guardians. The judge agreed. They took Ben home and he became part of the Smith family. He attended the local school where he was a good student and a star athlete. After graduation he went to college in North Carolina, got married, had children, made plans to go to the mission field… and then Jimmy was born. Jimmy was a special needs child (Downs syndrome). His birth changed everything. Ben went into depression.

When the Smiths heard that Ben was suffering from depression, they bought a CD that I recorded in Pennsylvania Dutch and drove to Ben’s home in South Carolina.  Here is Mrs. Smith’s description of what happened:

We drove 1500 miles to hand deliver the Dutch CD. We could hardly wait to start the player. We ran into the house and turned on the “Dutch” music. Ben sat straight up in bed. He began to laugh and laugh. Soon, he was on his feet, dancing. “I can understand that language!” he declared. “I have not had any relationship with my Amish relatives since I left home! I need to go home and visit my family!” This CD activated in his heart a whole new joy. He came alive with that wonderful music. He renewed his walk with the Lord, he went back to work… his family and marriage were saved. All because of a music CD in Pennsylvania Dutch! 

Jimmy, the child who was so ill and took so much care, is now in a Christian school for special needs children. Several months ago we were driving around with Ben and Jimmy, and while we were driving Jimmy quoted the first five chapters of the gospel of John by memory! Tears were streaming down our faces. Jimmy said, “Don’t cry. It will be alright.” Then he sang one of those Dutch songs, something about chickens, I think. We all laughed until tears fell again!

This book, The Power of a Song, is a collectioin of stories of how a song changed a person or the atmosphere of an event, or even history. In this case, a song changed Ben.

“You have turned my mourning into dancing.” Psalm 30:11


There are 21 stories (chapters) of life changing incidents involving a song in this book.

Let me know if you would like to preorder a copy.

“Music is amazing because it helps heal both the performer and the listener.

Everyone benefits from music. An equal opportunity healer!” – Unknown

“There will be no singing in Hell.” – Martin Luther

This World Is Not My Home (Whew!)

The old song, This World Is Not My Home, has become more real to me in the last year and a half as we see friends and aquaintances dying from COVID and the related affects of it (blood clots, strokes, sudden deaths, etc…).

The pandemic is real, but the way it is being handled and dealt with has eroded my trust in the media, the medical profession, the so called “scientists,” and even some friends who think so differently than I do. It has not affected my trust in the politicians as my faith in them was already right close to zero. It’s hard to get lower than that, but they are working on it.

From day two of the shut down (March 18, 2020) I thought something was fishy. (I don’t know why I didn’t think it on day one.) I’m not a medical person, but it seemed to me that what we were doing was like killing a poisonous spider on our face with a sledge hammer. The “cure” was as bad or worse than the disease.

As my trust in earthly institutions erode, my trust and hope in Jesus has been strengthened.

At our annual Florida banquet on February 23, Tino Wallenda, of the famous Flying Wallenda Family, spoke to our audience from a chair that was balanced on a pipe about four feet off the ground (for 25 minutes!!). The pipe simulated the high wire. One of the lessons he gave us was that a high wire walker must focus on something that does not move. You cannot look at the traffic or the spectators or anything that moves as you walk the wire or you will lose your balance and fall to your death. The lesson is obvious: Keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the same today, yesterday and forever.

When Tino goes into prisons, he often invites inmates to walk the 15 foot long pipe that he has set up between two chairs, about two feet off the ground. Usually the champion inmate makes it about half way across the pipe before he falls off. Then Tino gets on the pipe and tells the inmate to “get behind me and put your hands on my shoulders. Now let’s go.” And the inmate makes it all the way across the “tight rope” with his hands on Tino’s shoulders. Every time! Follow Jesus. Lean on Him. He will lead us though this treacherous life.

Pandemics; wars; economic collapse; lying polititians; shortages;… Our only hope is Jesus.

                                                                                    Chorus:

This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.          Oh, Lord, You know I have no Friend like You.

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.        If Heaven’s not my home, then Lord, what will I do?

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,               The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.                  And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Post Script: A neighboring farmer was planting corn. He kept his rows straight by lining the radiator cap of his John Deere tractor on a fence post or a bush at the far end of the field (this was before GPS on tractors). On one particular day he looked back as he planted and noticed that the row as curved as a rainbow! He looked again at the “bush” he was lined up with and realized that his “bush” was a cow! She was slowly walking east. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t be fooled.       

                 “Many will come… claiming, ‘I am He.’ Do not follow them.” Luke 21:8

You’ve Been Reading My Mail

(December 2021 Newsletter)

Dear Friends – Thank you for budgeting the time to read along for another year. If you are a Christian believer, I hope that your investment of 10-15 minutes twelve times this past year has served to fortify your faith. If you are not a believer I hope that your thinking has been challenged. If you were to say to me, “Well, I’m willing to read about what you believe, but to believe is not to know,” I might respond: “Okay, suppose you ask me for the address of a mutual friend and I said, ‘Here’s the last address that I have on file for him. I’m not absolutely 100% certain that this address is still accurate, but I have not heard that he moved, so I believe it is.’ Would you say, ‘Then just forget it?’ No! We all use the term believe for things that we’re confident about, but perhaps can’t always 100% prove.”                                

We hear a lot today about how important it is to “follow the science.” Well, why not follow the evidence when deciding what’s true about life? Juries often decide cases on the basis of a preponderance of evidence. So when I say “I believe,” what I mean is that I’ve become rationally convinced that the Bible is reliable, that Jesus lives, and that Christianity is true. My faith is an intelligent Bible-based faith, not a blind faith. Let me encourage you to get off the fence. Consider the evidence. Stake a thoughtful faith claim. Invite Jesus to rescue you from sin and insecurity and let Him be real in your life.

The above paragraph was written by Daryl Witmer of Maine, who is a Christian apologist. When I read his newsletter I said to myself, “That’s exactly what I want to say!” so I asked him if I could reprint it. “No probem,” he said. In fact, he quotes other folks in his letter. He printed the quote below from Frank Turek, also a Christian apologist. (An Apologist is“a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial.”)


Jesus of Nazareth is arguably the most influencial human being to ever walk the earth. If you’re going to call yourself a pursuer of truth, you have to at least read what He allegedly said and did. He’s the center of human history, and you’re not going to look into Him?!


******

ANOTHER YEAR!

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20


The children of Israel were in captivity in Babylon. “...and we are not saved (rescued).” Charles Spurgeon spiritulized this verse to remind us and warn us to take stock of our lives and get our house in order. The end of the year is a great time to take inventory and make plans. Here is part of what he said about the above verse (Jer. 8:20): “Not saved! Dear reader, is this your mournful plight? Warned of the judgment to come, bidden to escape for your life, and yet at this moment not saved? You know the way of salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it from the pulpit, and yet you neglect it, and therefore you are not saved. You will be without excuse…”                           
Spurgeon goes on to plead with us to make sure that we have made things right with God. In the words of the old hymn that I learned from Johnny Cash: “The old account was settled long ago.”

There was a time on Earth when in the books of Heaven,                        Long ago, yes long ago…

That an Old Account was standin’ for sins yet unforgiven.                       I said the Old Account was settled long ago.

My name was at the top there was many things below.                             And my record’s clear today, he washed my sins away.

But, I went unto the keeper and I settled it long ago.                                 And the Old Account was settled long ago.

May your accounts be settled! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!