2019 – Changed Lives Archives – Mar/Apr
Are Mormons Really Christian?
Testimony of Micah Wilder
This man, Micah Wilder, may not be famous in our eyes, but he is certainly famous in God’s eyes. He states at the very beginning of his presentation at a church he visited in California, that God has transformed him “from a very religious man to a trophy of His [God’s] grace.” What does this mean, exactly? Was growing up in a strong and faithful Mormon home not part of what we define as Christian? What’s the difference between these two religions?
Micah’s family was steeped in the Mormon religion; his mother was a professor at Brigham Young University, (a Mormon institution). At age 19, Micah answered the call to be a Mormon missionary. It was a two-year commitment that young people in the Mormon church are expected to complete. He described himself as zealous for his faith, believing he had to earn his way to God’s love and approval.
After his missionary training, Micah’s first assignment was in the city of Orlando, Florida, a very evangelically and biblically based area. Micah naively believed he would have great success there, leading many to his faith. He did not realize what he was in for.
After riding around on his bike for a few months in his white shirt, black pants and tie, he came across a Baptist minister. Micah attempted to convert this man to the Mormon faith, and that’s when his real challenge began. You see, Micah was taught there was no salvation outside the Mormon church and the only way one could make themselves right with God was through works and religious acts.
Micah stated his case for his version of the Gospel. The minister then responded to him with the true Christian Gospel. He explained that it is only through the shed blood of Jesus that anyone can be made right with God. Titus 3:5 says, “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy . . .” (NIV). Micah tearfully said, “This was the love of God that I did not know, but it was the love of God that I always wanted. But my God loved me only as far as I proved myself to Him. But like it says in Romans five, ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,’ (Romans 5:8; NIV). That was the Good News!”
For the first time, Micah heard that salvation was a free gift according to Ephesians 2:89, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” (NIV). But because Micah was a “religious” man, he was compelled to reject this Gospel! He argued with the minister and contended for his Mormon doctrines.
The minister said one last thing to Micah before he departed: “I challenge you to go home and to read the Bible as a child. And I promise you that if you will do that, God will change your life and He will open your eyes and show you for the first time in your life what the true Gospel of Jesus Christ really is.”
The Maze of Mormonism exposes: *The fortune-telling past of Joseph Smith, Jr., Mormonism’s founder. * The ego flattering Mormon doctrine of Exaltation to Godhood. * The racist Mormon doctrine concerning the Negro – including the first in-depth treatment from a Biblical Christian basis of the Mormon “revelation” concerning the blacks! * The occultic practices in the secret temple ceremonies of the Mormon temple. * The anti-Christian boasts of the Mormon Church to be the “restoration” of Christianity among the apostate Protestant and Catholic churches. The Maze of Mormonism is a complete and concise guide to any Christian, lay or clergy, unraveling the confused maze of Mormon Doctrine and practice with the measuring rod of the Bible and the truth which is in Christ alone. The Maze of Mormonism will give you a firm grasp on the truth of Christianity and the means to communicate your life in Christ to the Mormons you meet.
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Micah left feeling frustrated and angry, but over a period of about 18 months, he stepped up to the minister’s challenge. And as he read the Word, God consumed him with His amazing love; a love his religion could never offer him. God slowly transformed Micah as he learned the truth about what Jesus Christ had done for him. Then three weeks before the end of his missionary assignment, Micah became a born-again believer!
If you get a chance, please watch Micah’s testimony. You can click the link under “References” below. You’ll be so drawn in by his heart-felt story. And you’ll see that God’s word just pours out of Him–no teleprompters here! This is a young man who knows the Scriptures and knows the author who wrote them.
So when you see one of these Mormon missionaries and you think it’s impossible to speak to them about Jesus, just realize that you can plant a seed of truth in their life. And God can water that seed and bring it to bear fruit. Because “. . . with God all things are possible,” (Matthew 19:26; NIV).
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Everybody Runs Out of Time
Remember Mickey Rooney? There’s no doubt that you’ve seen him in one film or another. He appeared in over three hundred films during his nine-decade acting career. In fact, he was one of the last surviving stars of the silent film era. You might say he lived life to the fullest, and yet he lived through his share of turmoil, too. For one thing, he was married eight times! That’s enough to drive anyone mad. But near the end of his life he gained some important wisdom. Would you like to guess what that was? Read on . . .
Mickey Rooney grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and made his first film debut at the age of six. He continued with vaudeville and various plays. At age fifteen he starred in a film adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was said that that particular performance was simply magical. He starred in several other hit movies and shows such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), Sugar Babies (1979), The Black Stallion (1980), and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, (1997-1999).
In addition to his large repertoire of films, stage plays, and Broadway shows, Rooney was also well known as a comedian, producer, and radio personality. People believed in him; they said he could do anything. And the proof was certainly in the pudding.
One thing that didn’t come easily for Mickey was sound judgment and wisdom. It was bad enough that he went through so many wives in his lifetime, even starting families with some of them. But his failures seeped into his finances as well, as he gambled away most of his wealth.
It’s a shame that wisdom is only found in our “golden years”. We fall down so much in life and find ourselves struggling to figure out how to get back up and go on. And through that process, wisdom comes . . . hopefully. So what about Mickey? What saved him in the end?
It was in the mid 1970s that Mickey describes a spiritual encounter he had. He was sitting in a coffee shop when he was greeted by a busboy with “blond curls, a white-rose complexion, and shining teeth,” he explained in a 2011 interview. He said the busboy approached him and whispered in his ear, “Mr. Rooney, Jesus Christ loves you very much.” Then the mysterious busboy vanished. Mickey tried to find him but was told that no one with that description worked there. Mickey came to believe he was visited by an angel.
“I know men who would write a check for a million dollars if they could find peace,” writes Reverend Graham. “Millions are searching for it. But we Christians have found it! It is ours now and forever. We have found the secret of life! Billy Graham shares God’s gentle, reassuring promise of spiritual calm—of authentic personal peace—amidst a personal life wracked with too much stress, too many burdens, too great a heartache.
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Because of that experience, Rooney found the Truth of Jesus Christ. His son was already a born-again, minister of the Gospel who most likely facilitated Rooney’s spiritual growth. Since then he boldly proclaimed his faith in the Savior. He wisely stated that “everybody runs out of time” and therefore had the following advice to give in his last interview by “Albin” for Treasure Train. The interview was done in 1993 before his passing.
“I’ve given my life to God . . . and I try and do the right thing, but inevitably, and unfortunately, I do the wrong thing. I suffer from being human . . . If you go with God and with Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and leave the troubles and everything to God, everything will work out for you . . . You should take your children to church and teach them about Jesus Christ and about God, who makes the sunshine and the moon glow and gives us so many blessings.”
In spite of Mickey Rooney’s monumental success, he struggled all of his life. And In the end he found the love of God and all his failures were washed away. Watching this short interview, you can see it in his eyes; you can see the joy. And now he is in a place where fame and fortune do not matter anymore. He is at peace; he is at rest. He’s found his way to the promise-land. You can too, if you would only be willing to receive the wonderful gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ has to offer you.
Beautiful Bethany Hamilton was born in 1990 in Hawaii and grew up surrounded by the beauty of the islands. It’s no wonder then, that at a very young age, she fell in love with surfing, becoming seriously competitive by the time she was eight years old. Then at age thirteen, tragedy struck. It was the Devil’s way of trying to tear apart her life. Just when she was winning awards and placing first for her country, a horrible accident rendered her disabled . . . well for a time.
One morning while surfing along Tunnels Beach in Kauai with family and friends, she stopped to lay on her surf board for a bit to lounge in the water. Without warning, a 14-foot tiger shark approached her and did the unthinkable: it rose up and bit off her arm!
Her friends helped her back to shore and her friend’s dad wrapped a make-shift tourniquet around the stump of her arm. She was then rushed to the hospital where it was determined that she had lost over 60% of her blood and was in hypovolemic shock. Doctors immediately performed surgery. Following a successful procedure to close her wounds, she spent three weeks in recovery before being released to go home.
How does one go on from something like that? How does one find the hope or the courage to continue with life? Bethany had lost her entire left arm! Just living life from day to day would prove difficult enough. And then there was her love for surfing. Surely her dreams in that respect would be shattered. Most people would have given up, but not Bethany.
Despite the trauma she suffered, Bethany persevered and returned to her sport. Just one month after the attack, she went back to her surfboard, trying to figure out how she could learn to surf with one arm.
She started with a custom-made board with features that made it easier for her to paddle. And she learned to kick more to make up for the loss of her arm. After three months of fine tuning her skills she started competing in major events again. In time she graduated to a standard surfboard. But she kept her shark-bitten board that she eventually donated to the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, California.
Is it a coincidence that Bethany is a born-again Christian? No, it is not. Bethany was blessed to grow up in a Christian home where she learned how to live by real faith in God. And those early teachings shaped her attitudes and convictions, and held her together when her whole world collapsed around her.
You see for those who believe, winning is a way of life, and victory is not dependent on positive circumstances. As believers, we can rise up in victory even when bad things happen. As believers, we walk by faith and not by sight. In other words, we stand our ground based on what God has said, regardless of how the Devil might try to interfere or change our perspective.
SOUL SURFER (DVD) is the inspiring true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her sheer determination and unwavering faith. The film features an all-star cast, including AnnaSophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid.
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The following are quotes by Bethany Hamilton. These words come directly from her website; a site that promotes health, wellness, and unstoppable faith in Jesus Christ. Bethany writes: “God’s word is my constant source of truth. It’s where I place my trust and where I discover the life He’s called me to. God has so many beautiful gifts for us. His word is one of them. I encourage you today to find some time to meditate and dwell on God, His word, and His promises for you.”
Bethany also talks about resting in God’s presence: “My overcoming strategy for today is: His Presence is My Weapon. Rest is more than a nice feeling. Rest can help you thrive in all that you have going on. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Are you resting in Him, today?
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?”