2018 – Changed Lives Archives – May/Jun
Is Christianity Truly Believable?
The Story Of Atheist Lee Strobel
Once in while, an outstanding author will emerge capturing the world’s attention. Such is the case with author, Lee Strobel. He has written several books like The Case For Christ, which became a best-seller with almost ten-million copies sold. In it, he describes his journey from atheism to Christianity. His first book following his conversion was The Case For Grace, which focuses on the belief that God’s grace can profoundly transform lives.
Lee Strobel is no slouch either. He has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale. Also, at one time he was the legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. So Strobel has the schooling and background to competently investigate any subject matter in question and produce reliable answers. What was the burning question in Strobel’s mind? Is Christianity truly believable?
It all started when Lee’s wife, Leslie, became a Christian. She had been an agnostic but a neighborhood friend shared Jesus with her and everything changed. Strobel said, “It was the positive changes in her life that made me investigate if religion might be true. I began to look into questions [like]: `Where does science point? Where does history point? What about Jesus–did he ever claim to be the Son of God?’”
As believers, we must never underestimate the power of our Spirit led Christian witness. Our words touch lives which in turn touch other lives that sometimes lead to hundreds of salvations. Case in point: Strobel’s books have reached millions.
Strobel was intrigued by his wife’s new faith to say the least. He spent the next two years investigating the matter. He cross-examined twelve recognized religion experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, and Princeton. In doing so, he put his honed reporting skills to work.
The most important question he asked was whether Jesus really was the Son of God. Of course, anyone can say that. But he explored all of the historical data from secular and religious sources. He also examined what Jesus actually said about Himself and the claims He made. Strobel said, “If Jesus claimed to be Son of God, died and then rose from the dead, that’s pretty good evidence he’s telling the truth. That’s the ballgame–the resurrection of Jesus.”
Yes, the resurrection of Christ is the key to the Christian faith. Strobel explained that everyone–even Jesus’ critics–agreed that Christ’s tomb was empty following his crucifixion, though the debate centered on whether he truly came back, or whether the body was stolen.” He addresses that question in his other writings and overwhelmingly justifies his case.
As Lee Strobel concluded his investigation, he was persuaded by the evidence he found and could no longer consider Jesus Christ merely a legend. That led him to make the most important decision of his life. He said, “On Nov. 8, 1981, I went alone in my room and I thought, `I’ve got to get down on paper the evidence that I’ve investigated for these two years. I began to write [and] finally, after many pages, I put down my pen and I realized it would take more faith to maintain my atheism than become a Christian.”
Lee’s wife, Leslie, was overcome with joy when he shared his decision with her. He was wonderfully converted and said he left behind a “narcissistic and profane” life. He went from being a dyed-in-the-wool atheist to becoming a compassionate believer in Christ.
Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel interviews a dozen experts with doctorates who are recognized authorities in their own fields. He challenges them with questions like, How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?
The Case For Christ is a great read and would serve as a wonderful book to give to a non-believer.
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Lee Strobel has written many books over the years. But his book, The Case For Grace, will always be very special. Lee said, “I want Christians to walk away evermore in awe of the grace of God, evermore grateful for his forgiveness and gift of eternal life. But my hope is they will be so moved by God’s grace that they can’t keep it to themselves; that they all turn around and give that book away [to someone else who needs it].”
Have you shared your faith with anyone, lately? If not, pray and ask God to send someone across your path. It’s God’s will that none should perish. So share the Good News with someone today!
Pistol packing Pete Maravich was one of the greatest basketball players, ever. He had moves and style that were unparalleled. The records he set are still mostly unbroken by anyone to this day. He lived and breathed the sport for most of his life. “Most” you say? In his latter years, Pete found something even greater than basketball: he found Jesus Christ.
So what led to his change of heart? He had fame and fortune; he had the world by the tail. Everybody loved him on the court. He entertained the crowd and always produced high scores.
He maneuvered between-the-legs passes, between-the-opponent’s-legs passes and made 40-foot shots. While at Louisiana State University he averaged an NCAA-record of 44.2 points per game. The best scorers were averaging only 28. Pete often scored up to 40 or 50 points per game and his overall undefeated career record stands at 3,667 points. Amazing.
According to the standards of the world, he should have been thrilled with his life. He had success and lots of money, yet he reached a breaking point in his personal life after he retired in his 30s. While the world worshiped at his feet, in private he was a miserable alcoholic. He was so affected by his addiction and his diminished sense of purpose that he even contemplated suicide.
One night, in the wee hours of the morning, he woke up weeping. He got down on his knees and surrendered his heart and life to Christ. After that, everything changed. He followed his commitment through by baptism at Roswell Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and went forward, now on fire for the Lord.
One of Pete’s closest friends, Darrell Campbell, commented that “Pete was a bold guy.” He said, “When I met him, he just cracked open his heart and his life to me about what the Lord meant to him. I thought, ‘This is the type of guy that kids need to emulate. This is a guy who wears his Christianity right on the outside where people can see it.’” Campbell helped Maravich write his autobiography, Heir to a Dream, as well as the screenplay for the movie.
Pistol Pete did a lot of good in his latter years. He reach many kids through his basketball camps, teaching them about the sport but also about health and faith. And he gave his transformation-story everywhere he went. He became a nation-wide speaker at churches, prisons, and even at a Billy Graham Crusade. When he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he gave his testimony there. He never missed a chance to share what his God had done for him. He even put a sign on his front lawn that read, “COMMIT THY WORKS UNTO THE LORD.”
Maravich died in 1988 at the young age of 40. During his autopsy they discovered he had only one coronary artery instead of two. It was quite miraculous that he lived as long as he did according to doctors, especially considering the rigors of his sport.
Read about how Pete Maravich struggled to become a successful basketball player and overcome personal problems like alcoholism by being transformed through Jesus Christ.
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The world has certainly grieved over his loss. Maravich was one of a kind and unmatched. At the same time, we can rejoice in the fact the Pistol Pete knew the Savior. The Bible says, “But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve like other people who have no hope,” (I Thessalonians 4:13; ISV). What “other people”? Non-believers, of course. They don’t have the assurance of heaven, but Christian believers know beyond a shadow of a doubt that heaven will be their final destination.
Christians do not claim heaven as their future home based on their own merits. Salvation is not about works; it’s not about how good we’ve been, or hard we’ve tried to do the right things. A Christian places all of their trust in the finished work of Jesus. It was Jesus who paid the penalty for all of our sins. If we accept that payment by faith and surrender our hearts to Him, we will be saved.
What about you? Where have you placed your trust?
Dukes Of Hazzard Star
Everybody remembers The Dukes of Hazzard, and that classic Dodge, Charger, right? The character in that show, “Bo”, was played by John Schneider. He was only 17 years old at the time. This was his first big role and one that opened the way for a life-long career. Since then he’s done so much more. He has been credited as a major actor, singer, screen writer, film producer and film director.
Since the age of eight, John wanted to be an actor. He started out doing magic tricks for friends and family but really got in trouble one day when trying to pull off a “Houdini illusion” and got stuck at the bottom of a swimming pool. Thankfully, he had better and safer ways of pursing his dream; he moved to Atlanta, Georgia in his early teen years where he found many opportunities to perform.
The Dukes of Hazzard was a big success; it began airing in 1979 and aired for six years. Sometime during the early 80s, John also began pursuing a music career. He released an album project titled Now Or Never. It included a remake of Elvis Presley’s It’s Now Or Never title. The album reached #8 on the US Country Billboard charts, and the single reached #4. Schneider released several albums after that; some reached #1 on the charts.
In the years to follow, John Schneider appeared in many films and television programs. He was a regular on Smallville, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and made guest appearances on Diagnosis: Murder, Touched by an Angel, JAG, Walker, Texas Ranger, Hee Haw, 10.5, CSI, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, to name a few.
Schneider has lots of credits to his name. But his story takes an interesting turn. He found himself in a church one day with a musician friend of his. At some point during the service, he witnessed an older gentleman receiving ministry. During an interview, Schneider explained how he put it all together. He said, “I saw a completely selfless act . . . [then] my grandmother’s words popped into my mind and I thought that’s where she is; it’s a good place.” He continued, “. . . We all have a design. We have something to do; we have some purpose here. I found out later, our purpose is for God. He put [us] here for a reason.”
John became a born-again Christian at the age of 27. He said when his eyes were opened to the existence of the living God, John’s conversion was immediate and remarkable. From then on, his perspective changed completely and he became quite vocal and unabashed about his Christianity. Our Lord would expect that from all of us who know and walk with Him, but such a witness is especially valuable coming from an iconic entertainer because they already have the world’s attention and people are listening.
John Schneider has gone on to star in many Christian films like Hidden Secrets, Grace Wins, Road To The Open, A Gift Horse, WWJD, Let The Lion Roar, a Father’s Son, Hardflip, Holyman Undercover, and many more; see: https://www.christianfilmdatabase.com/cast/john-schneider/page/2/.
Schneider is also very interested in helping independent film makers. He owns and operates John Schneider Studios (JSS) where he writes and produces independent films in Holden, Louisiana. In 2016 Schneider along with Maven Entertainment upstarted CineFlix Fest and CineFlix Digital on Demand, aimed at changing the independent film distribution market by connecting subscribers with films through a premium streaming subscription service. He is an advocate for the Hollywood underdog, saying, “My desire with CineFlix is to put the movie film business back in the hands of the filmmaker.”
A moving and thought provoking story about a group of Americans – a singer, a newspaper editor, a pastor and a real estate mogul who vow to walk “in the steps of Jesus.” Every day and every decision becomes a turning point in their lives as they must ask themselves…”What Would Jesus Do?”
Starring: John Schneider, Adam Gregory,
Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes
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It’s great that John Schneider has remained in the field of entertainment. The industry seriously needs strong Christian influences and John is playing a major role in that calling. What is your purpose in life? Where has God planted you? You can make an impact right where you are if you’re following His plan for your life. Have you talked to Him lately? Do you know what your purpose is in Him? Ask him today. Remember: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him,” (James 1:5; NKJV).
Author Of Alien Intrusion
The Bible states Jesus Christ is coming back. In view of the signs of the times many believe His return is very, very soon. So how will Jesus come back for Christian believers? He will rapture us!
The word “rapture” does not appear in any English Bible translations. But it’s found in the Latin translation as “raptizo”. And that word comes from the original Greek word, “harpazo”. It means: “to carry off”, “to catch up”, or “to gather”. And when this event occurs, it is thought many non-believers will explain it away as an alien abduction.
Now let’s talk about Gary Bates. He didn’t become a Christian until his adult years. Before his conversion he describes himself as an ardent evolutionist. But even after his conversion he found it difficult to line up biblical and scientific concepts, at first. For example, in his interview with Steven Bancarz, Gary said he was trying to fit millions of years of evolution into the Bible. Also, he had doubts about the resurrection of Jesus, because scientifically speaking, people do not rise from the dead.
At one point, a speaker from Creation Ministries came to Gary’s hometown of Perth to present facts regarding creation versus evolution. Gary was captivated; many of his questions were answered and through these findings, Gary was led into full-time Christian ministry several years later.
It’s interesting to note that when we allow God to change us, He doesn’t replace the core of who he created us to be. He simply removes the veil from our eyes so that we can see things from His perspective and live accordingly.
Gary Bates was always a sci-fi fan. Like many folks, he enjoyed all the Star Trek and Star Wars stuff out there. So when he gave his heart to Jesus, he continued to be intrigued by sci-fi, but from a Christian world view.
Bates said, “One day I realized that the whole basis for modern science fiction is evolution, because evolutionists say there was a big bang, and life evolved on Earth by chance. They might even say when we look out there we’re in a relatively young part of the universe. They [the evolutionists] say we can see out 14 billion light years from here. Therefore in a 14 billion year old universe there could be alien races that have evolved a million or even a billion years in advance of us on the evolutionary time scale. So just imagine the types of technologies they can have . . .”
These concepts pose a challenge to many including Christians. Gary says there’s a widespread belief that aliens are our creators. How so? Allegedly, aliens visited the earth and seeded life here in ages past. Several movies reflect this idea, like Prometheus (2012), and The Red Planet (2000).
So how do we sort through these things to find real truth. The influence of sci-fi runs deep in our culture. According to Wikipedia, science-fiction is becoming the most popular entertainment genre today. Well God has a plan to reach people with the truth of the Gospel and part of that plan is to use Gary Bates through the subject of science fiction. But first, he will have to debunk all the theories out there with solid evidence.
Alien Intrusion: Unmasking A Deception (DVD) looks at various popular angles of the validity of the existence of aliens and of UFO sightings. The filmmaker explores ancient, historical, and scientific conceptions of this phenomenon, and much of the responsibility for the popular beliefs surrounding this, which is placed on the shoulders of science fiction in the form of radio, literature, and film. Time is taken to debunk scientific theories such as the Big Bang, and attempts are made to validate the existence of a spiritual realm.
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In January of this year, (2018) Bates released a documentary film called Alien Intrusion: Unmasking A Deception, narrated by John Schneider (see last week’s blog about Schneider). According to The Dove Foundation, millions of people have seen UFOs and many even recall personal encounters with strange entities. The popular view is that these are advanced aliens visiting us from far, far away. This compelling new movie takes a deeper and honest look at the events, the beliefs, the experts, and the people that have shaped our views in all things otherworldly. The truth is more surprising than most people realize. When one takes a deeper look at this phenomenon, it reveals one of the most disturbing but powerful affirmations of the truth of the Bible and Christianity . . . We are proud to award this movie the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages though there is mention of being abducted, operated on, and having sex with aliens. The latter two topics are not discussed in detail. Read the full review at http://www.dove.org/review/12582-alien-intrusion-unmasking-a-deception/
People are hurting because they are being deceived. They need someone to lead them to the truth. Gary Bates is doing just that. There’s an old saying: “Bloom where you are planted.” Where has God planted you?
Ken Ham’s Story
You may not recognize the name Ken Ham immediately. He is the founder of Answers In Genesis Ministries, and more recently, he built the Creation Museum, (https://creationmuseum.org/) and Ark Encounter, (https://arkencounter.com/) a life-size Noah’s Ark theme park that presents the history of the Bible in a family-friendly environment.
Last week’s blog described long time evolutionist, Gary Bates. He switched to a biblical world view, however, after being presented with the truths of creation. He then connected the link between evolution and the world’s obsession with aliens. That fascination has led some to think that those left behind after the rapture of the church will believe some sort of alien invasion was the cause. Gary Bates explains it as an alien intrusion, and debunks many such theories in his book and DVD, Alien Intrusion: Unmasking A Deception.
Now about Ken Ham. He was raised in a Christian home by a father who was unapologetic about his faith in the inerrant Word of God. Ken was blessed to have such an upbringing. Growing up in Australia, he was surrounded by a pagan culture where Christians are few. Ken’s father became Ken’s legacy. And that’s how Ken Ham became deeply involved in ministry; a ministry that has had great impact in our world.
Ken’s parents were teachers and were constantly being transferred to different parts of Queensland. Some areas didn’t have churches so his parents started Sunday schools. They were also open to various missions programs that would visit from time to time. Ken’s dad would bring car loads of kids to these events and host some of the missionaries in their home.
Ken encountered the teaching of evolution for the first time, in school, when he was thirteen. He went home to his father and said, “They’re teaching about ape men and evolution and millions of years. What’s the answer to all of this?” There were no resources back then to turn to but Ken’s dad said, “I don’t have answers to the millions of years or the ape men, but I know this: this is the Word of God, and when you start from the Word of God, you go there and you make sure you’re understanding it correctly, letting it speak to you, [through] the grammatical, historical, interpretive method . . . and if you’re sure of what Scripture is saying, and there’s still this contradiction or question out here, then you don’t question God’s Word, you question man’s word.”
Ken’s family lifestyle was all about following the Bible, sharing its truths, and even debating and correcting those who had fallen into error. Ken recalls being before liberal pastors who were misrepresenting the Scripture. During one instance, Ken said, “You could see the smoke pouring out of the ears of my father. I felt the whole pew heating up. At the end of the service, he would take his Bible and the whole family and would lead us all up there to the pastor, open his Bible and say, ‘Thus saith the Lord; It is written; have you not read?’” Ken learned how to defend the faith at an early age.
At one point in Ken’s young life, he found himself going to the altar during a meeting. He prayed, “Lord, I’ll go where ever you want me to go. I want to be a missionary for you.” God answered that prayer. He not only raised up Ken Ham to be one of the most influential missionaries of our time, but was preparing a wife (Marylin) at the very same time, who uttered the very same prayer: “[Lord] I am willing to go where ever you want me to go and do what ever you want me to do.”
A Flood of Evidence, was created to address the countless questions asked about the Flood and Noah’s Ark over the years! It contains what you need to know in a way that is easy to read.
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God put Ken and Marylin together. They left Australia in 1991 to work in America creating a major ministry that provides resources for those interested in creation theology and so much more. You can find those resources at Answers In Genesis, (https://answersingenesis.org/).
It’s an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. Visit their site today. Whether you’re a Christian needing enhanced witnessing tools for adults or children, or whether you’re on edge of your beliefs and need answers, this website is the place for you. God bless!
Get A Life!
Billy Crone’s Testimony
Billy Crone grew up completely unchurched. His liberal-thinking parents felt children should choose their own pathways in life. Because of that, Billy came to reject Christianity; in fact he used to make fun of Christians–calling them idiots–because they needed a book to tell them what to do. He believed he was too smart to let Christians brain-wash and enslave him with their lies.
Billy was the youngest of four children. Their family life was stable until the diminishing economy forced Billy’s mom to go back to work. That’s when the trouble started. Billy’s siblings–left to themselves–quickly became involved in drugs and immorality and their innocence evaporated. Billy, a sixth grader at the time, described his life as chaotic and horrible and void of answers. In spite of being surrounded by churches in his town, he didn’t recall hearing about Jesus from anyone, ever. He reached a breaking point one day and found himself crying: “God, if you’re real, would you please send me a lightning bolt.” After praying for two hours with no result he shook his fist at God and said, “Fine God. From now on I’m an atheist.”
For the next ten years Billy mirrored his siblings. He filled his life with drugs and sex; he gave up his virginity when he was fifteen. He used alcohol, marijuana, and speed. He adopted a “heavy metal” philosophy which says, “There is no God; worship Satan.” Life became dark and hollow. He didn’t know there really is a “thief” out there who comes to destroy people’s lives.
Around age seventeen, Billy had become so distraught that he sold his soul to the devil. He cried out, “Satan, if you want this life you can have it. Just give me power and significance.” From there things went from bad to worse. He od’ed twice and later shot himself in the chest with a 22 rifle. He says it wasn’t that he wanted to die. He just needed someone to know he was dying on the inside.
A little while later, Billy lost one of his friends in a car accident. It was a wake up call for Billy because he was supposed to be in that car, but decided not to go out that night. He and his buddies were drinking on their way to the funeral. Once there, Billy was faced with a corpse in a casket and suddenly thought, “What’s going to happen when I die?!” The question pursued him for years to come.
Still searching for direction, Billy thought perhaps he should reform himself and chase after the good life. So he got educated. First, he went to electronics tech school. Following that, he studied University level English and philosophy. While he admits that education is a good thing, a degree can not fill the hole in a person’s heart. Only Jesus can. But Billy didn’t know that yet.
Since satisfaction through schooling didn’t work, Billy thought he might settle down, have a relationship, own some nice things, make a bunch of money, and pursue the American dream. Maybe these things would bring fulfillment. So he played house with a girl for the next five years. And with lots of cash rolling in, he started to party hardy, using almost every drug under the sun. But still, he was empty inside.
Finally, Billy searched for spiritual answers. He started with the Satanic Bible and delved into occult practices like channeling which is really demon possession. And he adopted New Age ideologies; a buffet-style religion where one can pick and choose what to believe. As a result, Billy unknowingly opened doors that caused demonic manifestation.
If there’s one thing you don’t want to be deceived about in life, it’s the Biblical truth concerning the Rapture. The Bible says those who are left behind will be thrust into the 7-year Tribulation period; an outpouring of God’s wrath upon this wicked. Unfortunately, there seems to be multitude of divisive opinions concerning the purpose and timing of the Rapture. The book, The Rapture: Don’t Be Deceived, takes a detective’s approach to this teaching, examining the Scriptural facts surrounding it.
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One morning after a night of partying and drugs, Billy experienced the worst demonic sighting, ever. It was the end of the road for him. Though he had a venomous hatred toward Christianity, he knew deep in his heart that God was real. So in that horrifying moment he fell to his knees and cried out, “God if you are real; if you want this life you can have it . . . Jesus, would you please forgive me of all my sins and come into my life.” Instantly, the demons were gone, his burdens were lifted, and Billy’s mind was clear for the first time in ten years.
Billy had met the real Jesus and found a relationship with Him, not just a religion. His empty heart was finally filled and he began to walk in the peace that passes all understanding. Do you know Jesus? He can change your life if you’ll let Him. Reach out to Him today!
Finger Lickin’ Good
About Colonel Sanders
So how does a “chicken guy” become a Colonel? Well, Mr. Sanders’ chicken recipe was so amazing that the Governor of Kentucky designated him a Kentucky Colonel. Imagine that! It is also remarkable to follow Sanders’ life, from his poor beginnings and a broken home, to a man who went from job to job, to someone who eventually figured out how to create a successful business worth billions today.
Let’s shift to another thought for a moment. One of the great things about the Bible is the way various characters are presented. There’s no glossing over when it comes to the facts. The portrayals are brutally honest. You can read about King David, or the Apostle Paul, among many. Their flaws and failures are laid open for all to see. Yet God clearly had a place in His heart for them. Harland Sanders was one of those people. Life was a struggle for him but God’s plan for him superseded everything.
Harland’s dad died when Harland was just five years old; the year was 1895. His mother had to become the bread-winner, so Harland was left to care for his two younger sisters. By age ten, Harland also began working and by age thirteen, he dropped out of school in seventh grade. He worked as a farmhand but later worked as a railroad fireman, blacksmith, soldier, buggy painter, streetcar conductor, janitor, lawyer, insurance salesman, ferry operator, and more, before he finally went into the restaurant business.
Sanders married Miss Josephine King when he was eighteen. But she left him a couple of years later because he couldn’t seem to hold a job. She took their daughter with her. He later remarried in 1949, to Claudia Ledington-Price at the age of 59; she had been his mistress.
In the year 1930, Sanders ran a service station in Kentucky where he fed hungry travelers. He eventually moved his operation to a restaurant across the street and that’s where KFC was first conceived. Unfortunately, the restaurant closed because of the Great Depression. But through other opportunities, he was able to finalize his secret recipe ten years later.
Sanders life was pock marked with brawling and cussing. Though he was a talented man with successes along the way, conflict seemed to follow him. His mother was a devout Christian which no doubt influenced him, but he did not yield to the truth of the Gospel until his golden years.
A year before Mr. Sanders passed away he appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network. During the interview he said, “I was about 77 when I found the Lord. I knew I should have Him; I should walk with Him [but] I couldn’t reach him–my sinfulness . . . You see I used to curse, terrible. Did ever since boyhood when I went to railroading. I got in the habit of it. And I wanted to quit for years and years, but I couldn’t; couldn’t quit to save my life . . . I knew my soul would go to hell. My tithing, and going to church and living right and my fellow man and all: that’s not going to get you to heaven. You’ve got to get God in your heart and you’ve got to get His heart too. I hope people . . . who haven’t accepted Christ don’t put it off too long because listen, time is getting shorter all the time . . .”
Jesus Calling is a devotional filled with uniquely inspired treasures from heaven for every day of the year. After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever she believed He was saying to her. It was awkward at first, but gradually her journaling changed from monologue to dialogue. She knew her writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but journaling helped her grow closer to God. Her hope is that this devotional will draw you closer to God as well.
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Harland Sanders created a very successful business. He traveled across the country, cooking batches of chicken for various restaurants, striking deals that paid him a nickel for every chicken they sold. By 1964 he had 600 KFC franchises which he then sold for two million dollars. He retained his Canadian outlets for awhile and eventually sold them too. He made large donations to organizations like the Salvation Army. He said it thrilled his heart to be able to “give back” and serve God with his finances. He died at the age of 90, leaving behind a net worth of 3.5 million dollars.
Jesus Christ made a pronounced difference in Harland Sanders’ life. But not because of his patented chicken recipe of eleven herbs and spices. He showed the world that people need Jesus and there’s nothing more important than inviting Him to be your Lord and Savior. What about you? Do you know the Lord? If not, would you like to? For more info about how to become a Christian, visit https://kathyveer.com/become-a-christian/.
The Most Important Thing
Tony Dungy (Dŭn-jhee)
According to a quote on www.thegoal.com, football coach Tony Dungy said, “I accepted Christ at a young age as my family told me about Jesus and what He did for me. Most people considered me a ‘good person,’ yet as I grew older my love for sports was definitely stronger than my interest in Christianity. My faith took a back seat.”
He continued, “When I joined the Steelers, I roomed with Donnie Shell. In addition to having great athletic ability, he and several other Christians stood out as they demonstrated their faith daily.
“As I talked with these guys and attended team Bible studies, God’s Holy Spirit lit a fire in me. I have learned that accepting Christ requires total commitment and that football is not the most important thing.
“[During] my second year as a Pittsburgh Steeler we won the Super Bowl. But the highlight of my life was when I asked Jesus Christ into my heart. The thrill of winning a Super Bowl is temporary; receiving Christ counts for eternity.”
So who is Tony Dungy? He is a quiet mannered Christian, gifted with outstanding athletic and coaching abilities. He’s also the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl. When asked about this accomplishment in an interview with Shawn Brown on CBN’s 700 Club, Dungy shared that it was quite an honor.
Brown also asked him, “With all of the excitement [of it] . . . you say that it wasn’t the most important thing to you?” Dungy replied, “It wasn’t . . . it wasn’t the greatest thing for me. What I was really proud of was the fact that people could see that, as a Christian, you can honor the Lord. You can do your job and no matter what the environment, no matter what the job, you can attain excellence and still have the faith in the Lord and still show those Christian values.
“[And] with 100 million people watching . . . what do I say? I knew I wanted to talk about the role of the Lord in my life and why we were there. And it wasn’t just to win the game. I think the Lord has a plan and a path, and it ended up being fantastic.”
Tony Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts from 2002 to 2008 when Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, and Marvin Harrison were on the team. A post on the website www.qa.answers.com reads, “Dungy is a legacy. He has been coaching the Colts for the past six seasons as head coach. He also played for the steelers and for the 49ers. He has played in one super bowl along with coaching a super bowl, where he won both super bowls. He is one of the greatest coaches to ever walk the face of the earth.”
To what does Dungy attribute his success? He gives God all the glory. In fact, he has authored several inspirational books–one of them is titled, A Quiet Strength. The book opens with Second Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed.” Dungy tells Shawn Brown why he chose this verse to begin his book.
2008 Retailer’s Choice
Tony Dungy’s words and example have intrigued millions of people, particularly following his victory in Super Bowl XLI . . . How is it possible for a football coach to win the respect of his players without the screaming histrionics, the profanities, and the demand that the sport come before anything else? In this inspiring and reflective memoir, now updated with a new chapter, Coach Dungy tells the story of a life lived for God and family and challenges us all to redefine our ideas of what it means to succeed.
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“I think for me, it’s because you can’t think, ‘Hey, if I become a Christian everything’s going to be perfect, everything’s going to go smoothly, everything’s going to be fine.’ You’re going to have disappointments . . . In football, you’re not going to win every game. It’s by knowing that God’s in charge and eventually, He’s going to bring glory to Himself in all your situations . . . The crux of the book [is] that no matter what happens, we can look towards the Lord . . . ” Dungy knows this first hand because in November of 2005, Coach Dungy lost his oldest son, James, to suicide. It was a difficult time for him but he made it through in the Lord’s strength.
Dungy has been involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, Mentors for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Prison Crusade Ministry, and All Pro Dad. He also works with Basket of Hope, the Black Coaches Association National Convention, Indiana Black Expo, the United Way of Central Indiana, and the American Diabetes Association.
He retired from coaching in 2008 and now serves as an analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America. He and his wife, Lauren, are the parents of nine children.
Matthew 16: 26, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but
lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”