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Update from the President: September 29, 2016

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Update from the President

September 29, 2016

On Monday, our Beyond Today Live team returned from North Carolina where we made the America: The Time is Now presentation in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte. We reached a total of 76 people; however, more than 300 people registered to come. We had a few obstacles to our presentations. First, there was a gasoline shortage in the entire state. A gasoline pipeline had broken and gasoline stations did not have adequate fuel. As we traveled, we made certain that our fuel was always above a half tank. Also, there was stormy weather on the first part of the trip and, finally, street protests and unrest in Charlotte (after a black man was killed by police) affected attendance. One person called our pastor, Scott Hoefker, and told him that they really wanted to come, but they were fearful of getting out, not knowing how safe things were in the city.

We thank our two pastors, Craig Scott and Scott Hoefker, and their wives for local congregational support for the events. They will be writing to all who came and all whose contact information we have from the registrations, helping them understand the times that we live in and what God promises us.

It is becoming more apparent to us that local congregational involvement and engagement will be needed and expected to help increase our attendance. From the home office, we can do only so much to promote these events. Further publicity and encouragement will need to come from local pastors and their congregations.

The personal appearance campaigns are making us more aware of the need to proclaim not only the gospel message, but also to “make disciples.” It is important to teach about the Kingdom of God from the Bible and to expound the scriptures that authoritatively explain God’s vision for the world.

A Disciple’s Sure Foundation

Two weeks ago in this update , I began a discussion about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and would like to continue it. Disciples are ever learning and ever growing in their ability to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master. A disciple is known for his or her belief and practice of that belief.

We may not know everything about the Bible, but the Bible knows everything about how we think!

As stated before, disciples seek and nurture a direct spiritual relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ. Their goal is continuous and fully conscious contact with God that grows daily. Christian disciples will commit themselves to becoming learning believers, growing more each day in “the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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What is the basis of and how do you defend what you believe?

About a year ago, I engaged in discussion with a former high school classmate after our 50-year reunion. The Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage came about a week later. Many of my classmates were supportive of the court’s ruling, as indicated by the changed colors of their Facebook avatars. Some of my classmates saw the public video statement that I made for the Church and noted my appeal to biblical authority and to a higher Court in heaven.

We defended our stance based on biblical instruction from God that recognizes marriage only between a man a woman. The response from one of my classmates was that the Bible was an outdated book and that we have outgrown the ancient concepts contained therein. For her, this was the end of discussion. In her judgement, the Bible (and our beliefs, by extension) is disregarded by undermining its authority to set standards for people and nations. While it is difficult to convince someone who is otherwise attached to a preconceived position, it is important for a disciple to uphold the integrity, veracity and timeless relevance of this powerful foundation of our spiritual beliefs.

It is important for a disciple of Jesus Christ to fully comprehend and believe that the Bible is an entirely different kind of work. A disciple’s view of the Word of God is that it is inerrant in its message of salvation. It is the inspired Word of God that reveals the true God and His purpose for human life.

The Bible is the most wonderful, supernatural, miraculous, amazing, marvelous book that gives answers to the biggest questions of life:

Why are we here?
Where have we come from?
How did we get here?
How can we survive and be happy while here?
How can we experience God’s love and have happiness forever?

It is the saga of God creating man in His own image to ultimately to be of the same essence as God. The story ends with a return to the Garden of Eden in the last chapter of the Bible with healing of all nations and mankind being given access to the tree of life. What a beautiful and hopeful story that gives the broad basis to explore our purpose for being, our relationship with God and the joy of salvation and eternal of life! No man could have planned its table of contents.

The Bible is not something imagined or philosophized by man. It is a revelation written over a 1,500-year time span by over 40 authors from every walk of life, including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, prophets, shepherds, tax collectors, soldiers, poets, statesmen and scholars. Nevertheless, from beginning to end, its authors speak on hundreds of subjects with harmony and continuity outlining the unfolding story of mankind. The Bible was made to be understood by everyone, of every level of education, to be a guide to conduct and morality.

Most of us own multiple copies of the Bible in various translations. There are specialty websites such as Bible Gateway and Bible Hub that offer various translations for free. The YouVersion Bible app has been downloaded over 240 million times on phones and tablets with access to many translations and audio renditions of the Bible. In any Internet browser you can type a few key words from a scripture, and you will be directed there immediately. I do it all the time. There is no other piece of literature even close in scope, reach and universality as the Bible.

The Bible has withstood vicious attacks by its enemies, as no other book. Many have tried to burn it, destroy it and outlaw it, from the days of the Roman emperors to the present. In the era of the godless atheism of the USSR, one had to write a paper disproving and debunking the Bible’s veracity to become a member of the Communist Party. All those efforts have come to nothing.

The scriptures themselves comment on their purpose and relevance to mankind:

“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
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“The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35 John 10:35If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
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“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
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“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
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We may not know everything about the Bible, but the Bible knows everything about how we think!

A disciple develops a deep and secure understanding about the nature and authority of the Word of God. In any discussion with those outside of us you must speak up to establish the basis of your beliefs, which is the Bible. Are you able not only to defend your beliefs, but also defend the authenticity, genuineness and reliability of the Bible?