Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tough Stuff on Bankruptcy

This article by Ken Korkow really is well-put. I recommend his weekly emails (this is taken from last week's). They're called "e-Fax of Life" and you can get your own free subscription at http://efaxoflife.com/

He called. Marriage in shambles. Finances up-side-down. Ready to file bankruptcy.

"Before you file bankruptcy," I respond, "I'd like you to consider 3 questions: #1. What would Jesus do? #2. What would satan want you to do? #3. What are your motives? Think about these for several days and then call me."

Several days later he calls. "I've decided it would take 5 long years to get all our debts repaid and God doesn't want us to live in such pain so it's O.K. with Him if we file bankruptcy."

Ever thought of bankruptcy?

I have. I've been so broke that, as I've looked at the bankruptcy column in the newspaper - I've wondered when my name was going to be there.

As my friend shared his circumstances - my thoughts were - "Baloney! God doesn't care about your comfort. He cares about your obedience."

But I didn't tell him that - cuz it would shut him down / scare him off.

Instead - I asked: "Do you have a Bible handy?"


"Please open it up to Psalm 37." (Pause) "Now please read verses 16 and 17."

"Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous." (I've added emphasis on the words 'wicked'.)

"So it doesn't look very good for the 'wicked'." I comment. "Read verse 20 and you'll see that it gets worse."

He continues: "But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord's enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke."

I continue, "Would you like to know who God says the 'wicked' are?"

"Yes." he says.

"Then please read verse 21."

"The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;"

What will he do? I don't know. But I can tell you - one of my mentor / heroes took 14 years to pay off a debt illegally created because a major insurance company cheated him and simply said "Sue us. We can outlast you - so you will lose." His attorney and accountant both told him to file bankruptcy - but he said "No. I can't do that. God wants me to pay all my bills." And though he drove an old Plymouth Valiant for many, many years - and lived very frugally - I watched as the Lord worked in and through him to touch literally thousands of people.

His example - gave me hope and courage to keep taking just one more step of faith during my financial trials. Doing the best I could - when it didn't seem like it would ever be good enough. And Liz and I watched God do MIRACLES day by day.

I don't know what challenges you are or will be facing. But I do know God's standard is 'Uncompromising Righteousness'.

Oswald Chambers observes: "one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world. The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles' wings, but is a life of day-in and day-out consistency; a life of walking without fainting (see Isaiah 40:31). It is not even a question of the holiness of sanctification, but of something which comes much farther down the road. It is a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test."

Ken Korkow

Monday, March 24, 2008

92-year old woman witnesses to man trying to rob her!

This is incredible. This woman's courage and faith is so great that she has brought public praise to Jesus on national television.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Radical Call to Simplify

Michael Vier has lived in this van for over 5 years. Everything he owns is inside it. The cupola with bells is retractable. All he has to do is drive into a parking lot (such as at a Walmart), open the back door and put up the cupola, and people start coming over. He tries to share the gospel personally with each, and then give them a DVD presentation he's recorded of basic gospel truths.

The 5 ”portholes“ serve as holders for 5 drawings illustrating the parable of the sower. The little figurines and block letters above also go with the message. 1+1+1=1 illustrates the ”stumbling block“ of the Word (in this case, the Trinity). The birds above the 2nd porthole illustrate Satan who steals the Word from the hearts of listeners.

Which rabbit can run faster? The one on the right. Why? Because he has less to carry with him. Possessions often bog us down. The walls we build to protect our possessions become prison walls that hold us in!

A look from the cabin to the cab.

He's built an illustration of John 15 (the parable of the vine and the branches) into the ceiling.

The small block letters above the sign say “Other seeds are choked out by cares, by riches, and by pleasures.”

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Carport

We just had a new carport built. The workers arrived at approximately 2 PM (below).

They were 4 Hispanics from Coast to Coast Carports. I must say, however, I was exceptionally impressed with their work ethic. They worked exceptionally fast. You could tell they had done a few buildings before. They did not have to figure anything out -- they knew the system, everyone knew his responsibility. It was like watching ants work, how efficient and speedy they were.

They were also very strong. Those sheets of metal are not light, but they often lifted them singlehandedly. Also note the agility of the guy on top. He didn't seem afraid of heights, even swinging a sledgehammer from the top of a ladder at one point. (And no one was holding the ladder either.)

And here are Mom and Dad inside the new building at 4 PM. Yes, that's right, they did it in just 2 hours!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Advice to a young friend

Hi friends,

I just finished writing a note to a young friend of mine. He is making some decisions now about his educational and occupational future. I well remember the uncertainty of those days in my own life and offered him some advice. Then I got to thinking that perhaps it might be a help to some of you. Or perhaps you might have some additional advice/experience of your own you’d like to share!


Here’s a portion of my letter to him.

  • It sounds like you are propping up an unprofitable business. It may be that the business is going to turn around and has the potential for much improved income (there is a start up phase, in which money is tight, to any business), and you certainly have much more of the picture about whether that will happen than I do. I heard about (but have never seen) a funny commercial which has stuck in my mind as an illustration of what sometimes happens to us (even me). In the commercial, there are these two redneck entrepreneurs with a pickup buying a load of watermelons for a dollar a piece. Then they drive the truck in to town and put up a sign that says, “Watermelons, $1 each”. They are swamped with business. But as the days go on, one guy realizes they are not making any money, and he says to his comrade, “Why aren’t we making any money?” His buddy says, “I don’t know, maybe we need a bigger truck!” You will need to take a hard and objective look at why the business is not making any money and make your own decision about whether you feel called to continue to support it (after your education) with your labor. Like I said, you know the situation a lot better than I do so I can’t tell you what to do.
  • How are you planning to advance God’s kingdom? If you happen to be fortunate enough to know even a portion of that for yourself, it will help your occupational and educational planning a lot. It’s much better, if possible, to find your ministry and then find a job that will fit into your ministry than to find a job first and then find a ministry to fit into your job. Personally things did not work out that way for me. When I was 22-23 I was trying to figure out what kind of ministry God wanted me in (using the “Do nothing, pray, and hope for a lightning bolt” method—highly ineffective!). I wasn’t doing much of anything except for some housework. Eventually Dad came up with idea of doing Character Computing and I went along with it because I didn’t know of anything better to do. In hindsight I can see more of God’s plan in allowing things to work out in that (less than ideal) way. If I had jumped directly into ministry at that age, I would have probably gone into some form of donor-supported ministry and been highly ineffective at it. Being in the business world has given me better people skills and (more importantly) enabled me to see some of the pressures that face the average Christian worker. God only calls a small percentage of people to be donor-supported ministers. Most of us are called to be “tentmaker” (self-supporting) ministers. After a couple of years in business I got so caught up in it that I had practically no time left for ministry. Fortunately, God allowed me to get really sick at that point which readjusted my priorities. I cut back on my business and that is how I have time to do Skype ministry, speak for VOM, jail ministry, etc. now. As it turns out my business has a lot of advantages that make it easy to have flexible time for ministry. But if I had been mature enough to know in advance what direction I needed to go in ministry and then pick a business to fit that ministry, it would have been better. However, it looks like God has sort of blessed me in spite of my bumblings. Now my dream is to see many other Christian tentmakers raised up, who work jobs but don’t get sucked into the materialism / “bigger truck” trap like I almost was.

I don’t have time to type it all out myself (in my own words) but here is a link to a pretty good (although somewhat watered down) rendition of the analogy of the rocks, pebbles, and sand. http://www.christiancrafters.com/lesson_jar_of_rocks.htm Basically the point is that if you put the temporal things into your life (schedule) first, you won’t have room (time) for the important (eternal) things. It is actually a very powerful truth to it, which Jesus expressed in Matthew 6:33.

Along those same lines, the short classic essay, The Tyranny of the Urgent, might be a blessing to you now in setting your goals. Here’s a link: http://www.navpress.com/EPubs/PrinterFriendly/1/1.60.2.html

I hope these thoughts are of some help and can help you avoid making some of the mistakes I’ve made.

May Jesus strengthen you and guide you!


Friday, March 7, 2008

NY Philharmonic in North Korea

You may already have seen this (it got quite a bit of press), but you can watch the performance of the NY Philharmonic Orchestra in North Korea that took place last month.

Go here: http://nyphil.org/about/virtualTours/0708/korea/slideshow/webcast_0304.cfm?showID=758173

Three great benefits of watching it:

  • It should motivate you to pray even more for the people of North Korea. Looking at those empty faces of people who have quite possibly never heard a clear presentation of the good news about Jesus even one time in their lives should touch you.
  • You’ll hear some very good music.
  • Watching an orchestra perform is always a powerful example of how the Church is supposed to operate. It is beautiful to see and hear so many people exercising their gifts in harmony with each other, under the leadership of a skilled conductor. (You can guess who the Conductor is for the Church, right?)

May Jesus bless you, His church, and the people of North Korea.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Good Catch!

We are in the process of installing new outside doors in our house. The most recent door purchased has been sitting on our patio, leaning against the patio wall, for a few weeks awaiting painting (when the weather warms up). A couple of days ago we had some very high winds which actually blew our door over! Had it fallen all the way to the cement patio floor it would most likely have been shattered (it would have cost hundreds of dollars to replace the glass). However, God was merciful. Dad had set a large, empty box in front of the door to try to prevent the local stray cats from using it as target practice. As you can see, the door landed on top of the box. We've left it there (since we're still experiencing winds) and have added a couple of additional boxes under two corners.
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