Victor Kubik talks about a recent Beyond Today live event in Indianapolis with presenters Darris McNeely and Steve Myers.
[Victor Kubik] This is Victor Kubik, President of the United Church of God. Today we’re going to talk about the Beyond Today Public Appearance Campaigns that we’ve been doing of late. Two of the presenters are with me today to talk about this event, and why the United Church of God is presenting these public campaigns. We have with us today Darris McNeely and Steve Myers. Welcome.
[Steve Myers] Good to be here.
[Darris McNeely] Good to be here.
[Victor] Okay, well, we’re glad to have you here and to talk firsthand after our very wonderful and very successful event yesterday in Indianapolis. We had 55 new people who came to the event who hadn’t been in contact directly with the church and with Beyond Today. And there they were, and we had a chance to visit with them personally. And maybe you could start and tell us a little bit about the campaigns. Why are we doing these campaigns?
[Darris] Well, Vic, we feel we have a very important message to share with our readers and others who are interested in the word of God and America. We’ve entitled this series “America: The Time Is Now!”. Everyone understands that America’s going through a period of change in its own country, in its own borders, and on the world scene. And what that means in terms of Bible prophecy, the history of the Bible, God’s purpose and plan is well laid-out in scriptures and we make, I think, a good effort to draw people in to help understand that God is a God of history, that He’s working among the nations; but also that they can do something in their own personal lives to prepare and to meet all of these changes. So we’re doing this to really help our readers engage with the word of God and hopefully deepen their walk as disciples of Jesus Christ.
[Victor] You’ve made the book of Habakkuk so interesting. I hadn’t read that book in a long time, and you had spoken about it before, and that’s the theme for setting up the first program. Tell us a bit about your particular presentation.
[Darris] Well, my presentation kind of opens up each day that we go out. I talk about the fact that Habakkuk, one of the prophets God sent to the nation of Judah, was very concerned about the condition of the people in 6th century Judea. And he kind of lifted up their condition spiritually to God and asked for His intervention, but God comes back and says that He’s going to – frankly, He’s going to punish the people for their sins, and Habakkuk needs to just stand back and see what God is going to do. I think that there’s a lesson for us today – we go to our people with a message of concern about the condition – the spiritual, moral condition of America, but also with a message to show our audience that they have to live by faith, and a proper faith rooted in God’s word. So that’s what the message of Habakkuk is about, and how that kind of frames what we bring to the audience.
[Victor] And that’s the way it starts, and starts off in a very, very sobering way, but then it gets to be very personal, and that’s picked up by Steve Myers in the second section. Tell us about your part in your presentation.
[Steve] One of the interesting things when we consider the whole topic of where we are in the world today – it’s pretty obvious. I mean, the news shows the difficulties we face, the confusion that’s going on, not only overseas, but right here in America. All you have to do is watch the political scene lately with the debates and the challenges that are facing all of the political candidates and the issues, and it’s a mess. And I don’t think too many would disagree with that. I was just recognizing an article that came to me this morning through the Washington Post, and they’re doing a whole series on what’s going on in America. And so the topic that we’re dealing with, that now’s the time, America, step back and look at ourselves – if we can’t frame the issues of this world with the view of what God wants us to see, we really can’t explain anything. And so when Darris points out the difficulties and the challenges that we face, and that we better recognize that the world is in rough shape and we’re going to go right with it if we don’t step back and recognize that God’s got a better purpose for us. And so that’s where I kind of pick it up in my section and I talk about, well, what is the purpose of life? What is God doing? And what does that mean for me personally? So I try to go through the Bible and show that purpose, to show that plan and really demonstrate this is really what God is doing, and it’s such an awesome thing that He’s got in mind for us, to be His divine children in His family. And looking at different passages in the Bible, it really just jumps out at you how often He points to that very purpose and that plan. So it is an exciting time to see people and look at them and recognize their excitement and enthusiasm over the word and recognize the challenges that they face in this world and really, the only solution is if they turn to God and begin to change their lives.
[Darris] Yeah, I think what Steve brings out about our audience really was evident yesterday in Indianapolis. We had fifty-five of our Beyond Today subscribers come out and hear what we had to say, and in talking with several of them afterwards, it was obvious that they are very highly engaged with our message. They read the magazine, Beyond Today magazine. They are listening to the Beyond Today television program, and they like what they hear. They know that it is different from whatever religious background they had. I’ve talked with one gentleman who was a member – who was raised in a Protestant denomination and just did not like their turn toward a more modern, secular approach for ministry and toward doctrine. And he really appreciated what we were saying. Others are already keeping the Sabbath, some that I talked with there. And so that was encouraging to see. I think it really shows that we have a very sizable audience out there, just by those who came out. There’s a lot more, I think, that are listening, learning, and becoming disciples.
[Victor] I believe there’s a lot more out there, because people are watching the Beyond Today television program and we have a circulation of 300,000 for Beyond Today magazine. So there are people out there, and as this program is – we have the programs one after another, the public appearance campaigns – it’ll get legs and more and more people will want to be there because it’s spoken of.
[Steve] Yeah, that enthusiasm was really amazing to see, you know, as we’re talking – seeing just – people really engaged and connected to not just us – I mean, we call them personal appearance campaigns, but really it’s about the message of the Bible and what God’s got in mind, and people connect with that and they see it, and passages in the Bible that they really hadn’t even considered before, begin to jump out at them, and they can see a greater depth in what’s happening in the world and what should be happening in their own lives. And so it is exciting to talk to those people and see them – well, one lady I talked to yesterday was really amazing. She was telling me about her background and how she thought she knew the Bible, and she expressed that to me, but she said, “You know, I’ve got a Master’s degree and I don’t know anything!” And so it was really interesting that she said that because, you know, we grow up and we learn things about God, and maybe we grow and we learn things that we’re taught, but never really checked them out, or never really see if – is that really what the Bible says? And so when people become, you know, more engaged, they really begin to read what it actually says. And so we try to point them that way and say that’s what we’re striving to do – we’re striving to do what God wants us to do and follow His word. And that’s about as simple as it gets, and yet, that simple message, maybe that simplicity that’s in Christ, comes through, and they can see it for themselves and then, you know, begin to change their lives because of it.
[Victor] Well, I know that I found the interesting thing about this was that the three messages were so interrelated. It starts out with awareness of what’s all around us and what the world is. But even like the Washington newspaper you mentioned, it talks about what’s going on out there, but they don’t have any real answers because there are so many different opinions. But now we get very personal and we are becoming aware of ourselves and our relationship to God and who we are. And in the third part, the third message, which was given by Gary Petty, it about what our responsibility in the whole matter is – that our responsibility is to come to a point of repentance, which was the number one message, call, of Jesus Christ’s ministry to repent and believe the gospel, and the beginning of the new Testament church. To repent and be baptized. So this is really on message and really had answers for those who want to hear.
[Darris] Yeah, Gary’s message is very direct. It’s a very strong call for repentance and for change – that to be a disciple, to be an imitator of Jesus Christ, is going to cost you something. He makes that point very clear. He talks about the Sabbath, he talks about living morally, not condoning divorce – he gets very specific in terms of what it will mean to be a disciple of Christ and that it will cost us, and to really be an imitator of our Father in heaven and of Jesus Christ His Son is going to take a commitment beyond what people really think that they are doing. And it does leave people rather sobered. I think I sensed that yesterday as much as any time that I ever have. Just – people were sobered and thoughtful afterwards about what they had heard, and it was obvious something was going on.
[Victor] This has been so exciting to me because now we’ve been in the process of thinking about these for a good part of three years and actually starting them – to not only have the printed word, internet, and television, but to actually see people right eyeball to eyeball and to see their reactions –
[Steve] Yeah, there’s something special about that, I think – that we’re real people. And we try to live by that word and we try to share that with others. And to see lives that are changing is a powerful thing. Those people that were in the audience yesterday – it’s exciting to talk to them and to see that God is opening their mind, and see how they are being drawn to the word. It’s not just that we show up and talk to them and now they feel good for an hour while we’re there, but that this is a message that will change their lives and it’ll change their thinking, and it’s not just for a day or a week, but it can change the rest of their lives and set a tone, you know, for where they’re heading. And that is really amazing.
[Victor] Well, that’s the exciting thing about the work that God has us do, is that it really has sense from becoming aware of what’s around, being aware of yourself, and also feeling responsible and accountable for acting on what you know. And that brings about the good results.
[Steve] Yeah, I think that’s – part of the challenge is that it’s not just that I know this, because we could read the Bible, and okay, I understand this or I see this is truth, but then recognizing I need to do something about it. And that’s the vital thing. I mean, it’s in many ways following the example of what Christ did when He preached and when He taught. You know, He talked about the way that lives had to change. So like the rich young ruler, he was doing a lot of things, understood a lot of the truth, but when he said, here, you’ve got to do something about it and you know, follow Me, well, then he had to make that choice. And so I think we try to encourage people to do that very thing, that this is the best way. You want to understand what your life is about? Start to follow what God teaches in His word, and that sets a whole different tone then, for life, and it frames all the challenges out there in our political world and what’s going on in the Middle East and brings it home that I can be different. And I can begin to change and be more like Christ.
[Victor] Well, I hope those of you who are listening can find out where the closest Beyond Today public appearance campaign is. If you go under “Beyond Today” tab or Beyond Today on our website and under “Events”, you can see the dates for all the upcoming events which are coming to Columbus, Chicago, Milwaukee, and other places, ending in the Carolinas later this year. So take a look and let us know if you want one in your area. We’ll see if we can squeeze it in. Well, thank you for joining us on Inside United. Please come back again for more.