Category Archives: MAD story (MAD-Make A. Difference Story

A death row inmate changed, and like him we all have a need

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BreakPoint: Chuck Colson’s Conversion One Night in a Driveway

Listen to the commentary or read it below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Chuck Colson’s birthday. To hear Chuck talk about his “born-again” day, stay tuned to BreakPoint.

Today, October 16, is the anniversary of Chuck Colson’s birth. He would have been 86 years old.

Most of you know about his life, how God used President Nixon’s former “hatchet man” to take the Good News of Jesus to prisoners around the globe, and become one of the great Christian leaders of the past hundred years.

But today, I want you to hear Chuck tell how his life changed forever—one night in a driveway. Here’s Chuck.

Thirty years ago today, I visited Tom Phillips, president of the Raytheon Company, at his home outside of Boston. I’d represented Raytheon before going to the White House, and I was about to start again.

But I visited for another reason as well. I knew Tom had become a Christian, and he seemed so different. I wanted to ask him what had happened.

That night he read to me from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, particularly a chapter about the great sin that is pride. A proud man is always walking through life looking down on other people and other things, said Lewis. As a result, he cannot see something above himself immeasurably superior—God.

Tom, that night, told me about encountering Christ in his own life. He didn’t realize it, but I was in the depths of deep despair over Watergate, watching the president I had helped for four years flounder in office. I’d also heard that I might become a target of the investigation as well. In short, my world was collapsing.

That night, as Tom was telling me about Jesus, I listened attentively, but didn’t let on my own need. When he offered to pray, I thanked him but said, no, I’d see him sometime after I read C. S. Lewis’s book. But when I got in the car that night, I couldn’t drive it out of the driveway. Ex-Marine captain, White House tough guy, I was crying too hard, calling out to God. I didn’t know what to say; I just knew I needed Jesus, and He came into my life.

That was thirty years ago.

I’ve been reflecting of late on the things God has done over that time. As I think about my life, the beginning of the prison ministry, our work in the justice area, our international ministry that reaches a hundred countries, and the work of the Wilberforce Forum and BreakPoint, I have come to appreciate the doctrine of providence. It’s not the world’s idea of fate or luck, but the reality of God’s divine intervention. He orchestrates the lives of His children to accomplish His good purposes.

God has certainly ordered my steps. I couldn’t have imagined when I was in prison that I would someday be going back to the White House with ex-offenders as I did on June 18; or that we’d be running prisons that have an 8 percent recidivism rate; or that BreakPoint would be daily heard on a thousand outlets across the United States and on the Internet.

The truth that is uppermost in my mind today is that God isn’t finished. As long as we’re alive, He’s at work in our lives. We can live lives of obedience in any field because God providentially arranges the circumstances of our lives to achieve His objectives.

And that leads to the greatest joy I’ve found in life. As I look back on my life, it’s not having been to Buckingham Palace to receive the Templeton Prize, or getting honorary degrees, or writing books. The greatest joy is to see how God has used my life to touch the lives of others, people hurting and in need.

It’s been a long time since the dark days of Watergate. I’m still astounded that God would take someone who was infamous in the Watergate scandal, soon to be a convicted felon, and take him into His family and then order his steps in the way He has with me. God touched me at that moment in Tom Phillip’s driveway, and thirty years later, His love and kindness touch and astound me still.

 

 

 

 

 

What is the # 1 Problem in America ?

Listen to A Thought on the Bible, here or read it below.

 

 

 

 

 

What is the number 1 problem in America, or what is one of the top ills in this nation. 

Hi: I’m Billy David Dickson with A thought on the Bible.

   So what would you say is one of the top things wrong in this great nation today.

    Drugs: No doubt drug abuse is a problem for too many souls. It has broken up families, and destroyed too many lives.

   Abortion: No debate the taking of human life has made all  life cheap. It is sad that abortion on demand remains the law of the land in our nation.

     God, and traditional values being removed from our nation: Yes, it is sad that in much of our  culture God, along with Jesus, and the Bible has become a four letter word. In the schools kids are taught they came from apes, and that any kind of sexual relations is ok.Too many schools have removed the Ten Commandments. One of them by the way is do not murder, and today we have young people being murdered in the schools. No wonder.

       I believe these issues  however are just fruits of our biggest problem today. 

           John 17:3 reads..

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

    The biggest ill here in the good old USA, and in many other nations is too many souls don’t know Jesus Christ. Yes, souls may go to church, but going to a church doesn’t make you a follower of Christ, anymore than going to Burger King makes you a whopper. 

   To be a true follower of the Lord Jesus here is what one must do..

 Admit  they have sinned against a Holy God. 

Accept that Christ took their punishment. 

And receive Christ.

 If you don’t know if you have ever done that my guess is you haven’t done it, so why not do it today.                                                                                                                                That is a thought on the Bible.                                                                                           

  Until next time,                                                                                                                    

   I’m Billy David Dickson                                                                                                            All Rights Reserved, 2017 

 

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Billy or read  more commentary on  https://billydteacher.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

TODAYS MOMENT DANIEL’S FOCUS

Listen to a Bible/doctrine commentary by Dr. Charles Standley, right here.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had freedom even though he lived in Germany under Hitler

Dietrich Bonhoeffer resisted Hitler because of his faith in Jesus Christ, and as a result of standing up for the Jews, he died in a concentration camp. His bravery left a legacy throughout the generations.  He spoke often about freedom, and he was living under one of the most evil, repressive regimes in all history. He knew that true freedom could only be found in one place- Jesus Christ.

He had an opportunity to flee to safety. When the Nazis were hot on his trail, he had a brief trip to America. He could have stayed. He could have “saved” his life. But he knew the words of the Scriptures to be true, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). He also knew that because of Jesus Christ he was, “free indeed.” So he was faithful to God’s direction- he knew he needed to lead his fellow Germans through their darkest hour. No matter the cost! He knew his freedom was in Christ- not in the safety of a free country. So he returned to Germany, and he would die, but upon his death he spoke these last words, “This is the end, but for me it’s the beginning of life.” What a testimony! His eternal perspective allowed him to absolutely change history. What about you, my friend? Are you free indeed? Are you eternity-minded? Just imagine how God could use you now.

 

This is Luis Palau.

Flirty the miniature service horse

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BreakPoint: Martin Luther Eric Metaxas Tells the Story of a Very Human Man Who Changed the World

To understand how the Reformation changed the world, you have to understand Martin Luther. Which is why the new biography by Eric Metaxas is a must read.

October 31st marks the 500thanniversary of the event regarded to have started the Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

Now, as my BreakPoint co-host Eric Metaxas writes in his outstanding new book, Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, Luther’s theses probably weren’t posted on the church door until two weeks later, and even then,  it may not have been that defiant act it’s often portrayed to be. Still, what did happen on that date was that Luther sent to the Archbishop of Mainz a letter expressing his concern about the selling of indulgences.

As Eric relates, Luther had no idea how that letter and the events that would follow in its wake would change the world.

Even today, most people, apart from some historians, fail to fully appreciate the impact of Luther’s ideas and actions. Protestantism is, as the title of Durham University’s Alec Ryrie’s book puts it, “The Faith that Made the Modern World,” and without Luther there’s no Protestant Reformation.

The problem is that history is too often told in dry and inaccessible ways, at least to non-academic readers. What’s been needed to appreciate Luther and his legacy more is a book that takes the history seriously by situating Luther in his historical and theological context while still being enjoyable, even fun, to read.

And that’s where Eric’s book succeeds.

In many ways, “Luther” is a kind of sequel to Eric’s “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.” Both books are about world-shaping historical Christian figures who, motivated by their conscience and conviction, took enormous risks against the most powerful institutions of their time.

And not coincidentally, both Luther and Bonhoeffer were from eastern Germany, as is Eric’s mother. I note this fact not in any way to detract from his accomplishment. On the contrary, Eric’s personal connection is one of the book’s strengths.

As is, of course, Eric’s trademark engaging style, full of clever turns of phrase and humor that makes the incredible story of Luther all the more accessible. Often, biographical subjects don’t feel human. They are, as was famously said of Robert E. Lee, “marble men.”

But not Eric’s Luther. He’s quite human, for better and for worse. Early on, you practically feel Luther’s anxiety and dread over his own sinfulness. Which helps to make sense of the terror he felt during that fateful thunderstorm that ultimately led him to become a monk, abandoning the legal career his father had mapped out for him.

All of this is important backdrop to understand why Luther’s study of Romans and the idea of justification by faith was more than an academic exercise for him. For Luther, it was more like getting water from a rock in the middle of a desert.

And yet throughout Eric’s book, we learn that Luther was far from being an angel, or for that matter, even pleasant a lot of the time. He was someone who, as a church historian once put it, never knew a moderate moment in his life. Eric writes of Luther’s “execrable fireworks” that were not only directed at his enemies, which included Protestants as well as Catholic prelates, but also at innocent parties, in particular Germany’s Jewish population.

As he did telling the story of Bonhoeffer, Eric depicts Luther’s humanity while simultaneously putting it in its proper historical context, one in which there was a perfect storm of church corruption, political instability, and technological change. Eric gives us a feel for both Luther the man and his world. Both are necessary to understand if we are to see how Luther changed the world.

 

Obviously, Eric’s a personal friend and a BreakPoint colleague. But I promise it’s nowhere in my contract to promote his latest book! This recommendation is driven only by the simple facts that Luther is too important a historical figure and Eric tells the story too well not to recommend this book.

Impacting the small places like Village Mission Pastor’s are doing

A lot of us want to do great things for the Lord. But great doesn’t necessarily mean big.

We’re all familiar with Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep, in which a man leaves his 99 sheep to find the one that is missing. But a lot of pastors today, in their understandable passion to minister to the 99, have left the one all alone. I speak of the forgotten sheep of rural America.

The great missionary statesman William Carey once said, “To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.” And the open maps of today are telling us that there is a massive shift to the cities from the countryside. Operation World points out that the global share of people living in urban areas has shot up from 13 percent in 1900 to above 50 percent today.

In America, the trend is even stronger. According to the USDA, overall, the country’s “non-metro” areas have lost an average of 43,000 residents every year since 2010. Job prospects in the countryside are falling, and poverty rates are rising. According to one report, deaths are now outpacing births in hundreds of rural counties.

So it’s hardly surprising that urban and suburban ministry is a focus for so many. But what about the lost sheep scattered in the countryside? Well, as you might expect, their churches are shrinking and their pastors are disappearing. The National Congregations Study finds that the percentage of rural congregations has plummeted from 43 percent in 1998 to 32 percent in 2012.

And what about the pastors? With so many churches struggling to keep their doors open, fewer and fewer can afford to pay a pastor, and thus many of them are going without.

Well, that’s where an innovative and yet back-to-basics ministry such as Village Missions comes in. Village Missions, which was founded in 1948 by an Irish Presbyterian pastor named Walter Duff Jr., has sent out hundreds and hundreds of what it terms “missionary pastors” to the lost sheep in America’s rural areas—places like Volga, Iowa.

According to a great article by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra at the Gospel Coalition entitled “Reviving the Dying Small-town Church,” Volga, a farm community of about 200 people, has four churches. Jeremy Sarver, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, was sent by Village Missions to revitalize Volga’s Calvary Bible Church, which had 12 members when he got there. Zylstra says none of the other churches had a single full-time pastor at all.

Ministry in the countryside may be on a smaller scale than a lot of pastors are used to, but it allows them to really get to know their flocks. Village Missions requires its missionary pastors to invest about 20 hours a week getting to know the locals in order to become a part of these often tight-knit communities.

“I could put up office hours all day long in rural America, and nobody’s coming,” Sarver says. “But if I sit in the combine with them, or go to the coffee shop, or watch a volleyball game with them—they don’t want me to use the word ‘counseling,’ but we talk through things.” After this kind of slow relationship-building, the church doubled in size—to 30 members.

And each of these sheep is precious. Last year, Village Missions reported 459 salvation decisions, 179 adult baptisms, and 127 child baptisms.

 

For more information on Village Missions, come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary. We’ll also link you to Sara Eekhoff Zylstra’s outstanding article.

What’s a Grandmother? By a 9 year old child

Listen to a radio commentary from Dr. James Dobson, here

The state of South Dakota has one lone Rabbi ( meet him )

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