Links & Quotes

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Some great reading from today…

“Ask yourself—Is God justified in my justification? Do I prove by the way I live and talk and do my work that God has made me holy?” —Oswald Chambers

Keep praying and speaking out for Meriam Ibrahim’s freedom. Sudan has imprisoned her and sentenced her to death because she is a (gasp!) Christian.

“The economy shrank for the first time in 58 years! Many of you, this has never happened in your life. The Drive-By Media, of course, is going to ignore this. Or, as the AP does here, say, “The setback is expected to be temporary with growth rebounding solidly since spring.’ Really? Well, every Drive-By news report I’ve read on the economy for the past six years has had the word ‘unexpected’ or ‘surprised’ in it, meaning everything they’ve reported has been a shock. They haven’t expected it. So it’s no big deal. Yeah, it shrank 3%. But that’s just expected to be temporary. … And so, for I don’t know what—the umpteenth or gazillionth time in the last six years—we are being told that prosperity is just around the corner. How long has AP been spreading this sunshine now? How long have ABC, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Times been spreading this BS that prosperity is just around the corner—we’re poised for growth, waiting to break out—while the day-to-day reality is it’s worsening?” —Rush Limbaugh

Do you take vitamin supplements? This latest report says you should, and it says you shouldn’t.

Lower courts make a ruling on redefining marriage that is just flat-out wrong.

“Joy is increased by spreading it to others.” —Robert Murray McCheyne

“satan will try to bring upon you the most dreadful temptation or trial you have ever faced. He wants you to get bogged down in guilt, condemnation and self-examination. Dear saint, you have to arise in the Spirit and get your eyes off your circumstances and bondage. Do not try to figure it all out. Start praising, singing and trusting God—and He will take care of your deliverance.” —David Wilkerson

Alexander Solzhenitsyn tells us why countries fail: “Men have forgotten God.” Read more here.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

“I regret that more and more Christian believers are being drawn into a hazy, fuzzy kind of teaching that assures everyone who has ever ‘accepted Christ’ that he or she has nothing more to be concerned about. He is OK and he will always be OK because Christ will be returning before things get too tough. Then all of us will wear our crowns, and God will see that we have cities to rule over! If that concept is accurate, why did our Lord take the stern and unpopular position that Christian believers should be engaged in watching and praying?” —A.W. Tozer

Meriam Ibrahim has been sentenced to death in Sudan for the crime of (gasp!) being a Christian. Please read her story AND sign the petition.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell has a great reminder for us: “Nobody helps anybody when they can’t help themselves because they’re burned out.” Watch this 1-minute video.

A good reminder I heard from John Stonestreet: “The Gospel is an invitation not an ultimatum.

[VIDEO] A cool behind-the-scenes look at how ESPN is revamping their Sports Center studio.

“Adversity reveals genius and prosperity conceals it.” —Roger Staubach

Comparative Religion Class In Sudan

Guest Author: Dick Brogden

There is a wonderful Egyptian Mission agency active in Sudan that exists to give Christ’s living water to the last, least, and lost.  One annual ministry they provide is a Book and Bible exhibition in the middle of downtown Khartoum.  They sell Christian books and Bibles, show Christian films, and host lectures on aspects of the Christian faith.  The exhibition is set up in an empty lot that opens on the major downtown avenue and is open to all.

Last month during the exhibition, five buses pulled up and 150 veiled-to-the-eyes Muslim women plodded out.  They were the first year students from a local Islamic University.  Their professor of comparative religion, Dr. Yathrub, decided they needed to interact with some Christians.  The 150 women were respectful, participated in the events, and took home some free literature as a gift.  Dr. Yathrub asked if she could return with the 4th year students.

A couple days later, five more buses, and 150 more Muslim women, most veiled-to-the-eyes showed up.  One hundred of them marched right to the lecture tent and asked if the lecturer could address the issue of the unity of God and the Trinity.  The staff obliged and a wonderful question and answer time followed.  Again, all the students were kind, earnest, and respectful in their interaction.  They too were given a free Christian book titled, “Did Jesus ever claim to be God?” and went home happy.  Dr. Yathrub asked if she could bring the entire year 2 and 3 students, and of course the staff of the event agreed.

The next day Dr. Yathrub called to apologize.  She could not make it nor bring the other students.  Evidently, 300 veiled Muslim women marching around the campus happily reading, discussing, and sharing Christian material was too much for the administration and they opened an investigation of censure against Dr. Yathrub.  To her credit she did not back down, insisting that in comparative religious studies you must be free to compare religions.  A novel and dangerous idea.

Would you join us in praise and prayer.  Praise God that 300 Muslim women were gracious and brave enough to visit the exhibition.  Pray that the words they heard, and the literature they now posses, would be used of the Holy Spirit to delight their hearts in Jesus and unveil their spirits.  Praise God for the courage for Dr. Yathrub.  Would you pray with us that God would reward her with Himself and unveil Jesus to her.  Praise God for the Living Water Team.  Please pray that they continue to be bold and loving in witness and that as a result they too experience a mighty refreshing.

Land Of Combustion

Guest Author: Dick Brogden

Wilson is a Southern Sudanese Christian who heads the bio water filter project in Eastern Sudan. Made from local materials (cement, gravel, sand) these three-foot-high filters can provide clean water to whole families. In the last two years, Wilson has made and placed over 600 filters, primarily in Muslim homes. This service has opened the door for him to share his faith in Jesus.

A few weeks ago, a Muslim family approached Wilson with a problem. Their home was full of demonic activity. Furniture would be moved around in the night, items in the house would spontaneously combust, the bursting flames destroying many family possessions.

The Muslim family consulted a Muslim Sheikh who demanded $10,000 to exorcise the house. He came, did his Islamic chants, and left a Koran for the family to use to ward off the evil. That night, the Koran burst into flames and was destroyed. In desperation, the family turned to Wilson.

Wilson turned them to Jesus. He explained that protection follows Lordship and that the family had to repent of sin and turn to Jesus as Savior in order to be under His covering. Not rushing things, he took adequate time to walk the family through what it meant to be a sinner and for Jesus to be the only Savior. The family openly confessed their sin, repented, and invited Jesus to be Lord and Savior. Only then did Wilson walk through the house praying over every room.

When Wilson left, he gave the family a Bible. “Oh no,” they said, “We do not want this to burst into flames as well.” Wilson gently told them that this was the real Word of God, and that as the house now was under the protection of Jesus all would be well.

The next morning the new believers called Wilson. “This is great!” they said. “No demons, and nothing has happened to the Bible.”

Water and Fire. What a great combination.

Dick Brogden and his family have served as missionaries in Sudan for 14 years.

Esse Quam Videri

Guest Author: Dick Brogden

Dr. Warren Newberry is the head of my PhD Program in Intercultural Studies at the Assembly of God Theological Seminary. He has the Latin phrase Esse Quam Videri on his office wall. It means “To be rather than to seem.”

The phrase is first found in Cicero’s essay On Friendship. Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes, at which the scout says of the priest, “His resolve is not to seem the best but in fact to be the best.” Plato quoted this line in Republic (361b). It is also the State motto of North Carolina.

Coming back to America for the summer (studies and some meetings) has reinforced this precept. America on the surface seems whole and healthy. As a family, we have enjoyed McDonald’s, Lake Michigan, vibrant worship services, and incredible public libraries, among many other wonderful things. Last week however I took a trip on a Greyhound bus. Every American should be so lucky.

Greyhound bus stations in Middle America are fascinating places “to be.” There was a nervous young Amish couple. There was an African American street preaching pair: The woman had her Bible out, loudly laughing, scolding, and reading Scripture to all who did or did not want to listen. Her companion was a monster of a man, tattoo-covered, gold tooth glinting in the neon light. He did not speak often, but when he did you were afraid to not pay attention. Hippies, druggies, bums, out-of-work mechanics and returning U.S. Marines. Thin and fat. Old and young. Black, brown, yellow, and white. It was a living mosaic reminding me of what America is, not just what America seems.

It makes me reflect on the dichotomy between who I am and who I seem to be. In God’s mysterious grace, opportunities for higher profile ministry and service are coming our way. In front of pulpits, cameras, microphones, interviewers, and even in front of you through newsletters and emails we can seem to be a certain way.

In The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli twists this phrase to Videri Quam Esse (to seem rather than to be) with respect to how a ruler ought to act. This is such a danger for missionaries… for me… for you.

I write to ask for prayer and for accountability. I want to ask you to pray for the judgment of God on my life. I want to ask that all falsehood and pretension is exposed and removed. I want to ask that there is no hypocrisy or pride left in me. I ask this fearfully, but it is my desire to walk humbly before God, before you, and before Muslims in Sudan. I long to be—not just seem to be—a lowly follower of Christ.

Dick Brogden and his family have served as missionaries in numerous Arabic nations for over 20 years.

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