john

The Gospel of John has been described as, “a pool that is shallow enough for a child to wade in and deep enough for an elephant to swim in.” John’s Gospel was written a number of years after the three synoptics, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John does not try to present the story of Jesus in the same way that the synoptic writers do.

It is not that John writes a different story from the other Gospels. He still tells the story of Jesus’ life, ministry, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection. The main difference in the way that John tells the story is in his selectivity and in how he crafts the narrative. Looking at some of the differences between John and the Synoptics will provide us with a few guides that will help us in our study of John’s Gospel.

1. John’s Use of the Miracles as Signs

All of the gospels show Jesus performing miracles. Some of these are physical healings and the raising of several people from the dead. Others are nature miracles, such as the calming of the storm or the multiplication of the fish and bread. Other miracles occur when Jesus sets someone free who is possessed or controlled by evil spirits.

The synoptic writers use the Greek word, “dunamis,” when they talk about miracles. This Greek word is where our English word, “dynamite,” comes from. The synoptic writers saw the miracles as an explosion of divine power. John, on the other hand, uses the Greek word, “semeion,” or “sign,” translated into English, whenever he talks about Jesus’ miracles. John understood that while the miracle itself was important, it also pointed to a greater meaning and significance.

John only presents seven miracles, or signs, in his Gospel. The first one is the Turning the Water into Wine in chapter two and the last one is the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead in Chapter eleven. An excellent study would be to take a closer look at each of these seven signs. What are these signs pointing to? What is the meaning that John is wanting us to find in each one?

2. Jesus’ Conversations

Each of the four gospels shows Jesus in conversations from time to time. John, however, makes these individual encounters central to his gospel. Two examples of these conversations found in chapters three and four. The first one is Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus. Nicodemus was an esteemed Jewish leader who wanted to find out what Jesus was all about. Jesus turned the conversation around and challenged everything Nicodemus believed. The second encounter was with the Samaritan woman. Jesus does the unthinkable and engaged a Samaritan woman in a conversation about her life and the spiritual thirst that she was experiencing. In each of these conversations, Jesus’ goal seemed to be to lead that person to faith in Him. Studying these encounters are another excellent way to study this book.

3. The “I Am” sayings of Jesus

John provides us with seven of these statements that provide us with insight about Who Jesus was. “I am the Bread of Life,” and “I am the Light of the World” are two of these statements. Each of the “I am” statements highlights a different aspect of Jesus’ ministry. By locating and studying each of the statements in its context, the reader will gain valuable insight into the person and ministry of Jesus.

These are just three tips for studying John’s Gospel. By taking the time to dig under the surface of the Scriptures, there is a wealth of riches to be discovered. Our lives are enriched by meditating on God’s Word.

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sleepy-at-workThere are many careers that require the working of different shifts. Police officers, emergency room doctors and nurses, factory workers and even some retail workers will at some point have to work odd hours. I spent many years as a police officer working all night and it can take a toll on you. Third shift is often affectionately referred to as the “graveyard” shift or midnight shift. Shift work might also entail working second shift which is traditionally an afternoon assignment. Second shift is usually a 3-11 pm schedule.

There are several difficulties associated with shift work. Physically, working different shifts can be challenging. Many people that have spent time working the graveyard shift talk about always feeling tired or never feeling like they can get caught up on their sleep. This difficulty is compounded by those businesses or organizations that rotate their employees from shift to shift on a regular basis. When this happens, the individual has an even tougher time in getting their body to adjust to shift work.

Another difficulty associated with working different shifts is that the the person’s spouse, significant other, or children might not understand the challenges of shift work themselves. This can create conflict and tension in the relationship because they might feel that the shift worker is not spending enough time with them or does not want to do things with them. The family member might not understand how important it is for the worker to get enough sleep. Friends might be put off because when they are getting ready to go out the third shift worker is heading to work.

Probably the biggest difficulty that people on shift work experience is trying to sleep during the day. This seems abnormal at first. If it is daylight outside, it should not be time to go to bed. Many shift workers describe the phenomena of being very tired after working all night but then not being able to go to sleep when they lay down. There are several remedies available to help them overcome this.

First of all, it is important that the bedroom be dark enough. If the room is flooded with light, it is going to be hard going to sleep. Heavy shades or black out curtains will serve to create a dark bedroom for the person to sleep in.

Creating a quiet environment is also crucial for someone to sleep during the day. This especially comes into play if the shift worker has small children at home or if they live in an apartment complex where noise is common. One step to having a quiet place to sleep is picking a room on the backside of the house or apartment to sleep in. Another option is to create artificial noise that will cover up the noise of children, dogs barking, or loud neighbors. A floor fan is a great tool to create cover-up noise. Foam ear plugs are another way to shut out unwanted noise. They can be a little difficult to get used to, however.

Another important aspect of learning to sleep during the day is to try and create the habit of going to bed at the same time every day. It is easy for someone working at night to get into the habit of staying up and running errands, doing laundry, or visiting friends. What ends up happening, however, is that they end up short-changing themselves on sleep. By getting into a habit of going to bed at the same time everyday, their body can adjust and get into a routine.

There are some people who try everything that has been discussed and still struggle to sleep during the day. These shift workers may need some chemical help to get to sleep. One option is Melatonin. Melatonin is a natural sleep aid that many shift workers have found helpful. The body produces melatonin to help regulate natural sleep patterns. Taking a melatonin tablet twenty minutes before bed will help most people go to sleep. Melatonin is also useful for people who work second shift and get home around midnight. Many second shift workers describe how difficult it is going right to bed when they get home. A single tablet usually does the trick.

Other shift workers feel that melatonin does not help and still struggle to sleep during the day. These shift workers should see their doctor about getting a stronger sleep aid. There are a number of different medicinal solutions. Some shift workers have balked at the idea of having to take something to help them sleep. After a few sleepless days, however, most people are willing to try anything.

Shift work can be challenging. Sleeping during the day is difficult for many people. Following these time-proven tips can be a great start to learning how to sleep when everyone else in the world is awake.

Annie and I would love to have you on our team as we serve in Brazil. This link will let you invest as we help build God’s Kingdom.

josephsold

Isaac, the child of the promise, lived a fairly uneventful life. His main claim to fame is that he fathered twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob’s name was later changed to Israel. His twelve sons and their families formed the original Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob’s story is another one of the major narratives in Genesis. He is one of the most interesting personalities in all of the Bible. He was known for his manipulative, deceitful nature. He took advantage of his twin brother twice, as well as his elderly, invalid father, Isaac. When Esau threatened to kill him, Jacob fled to his Uncle Laban’s house.

Laban was an older and much more skilled deceiver and manipulator. He took advantage of Jacob, getting fourteen years’ labor out of him for the privilege of marrying Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel. The original deal was that Jacob would work for Laban for seven years and then be allowed to marry Rachel. Laban, however, changed the arrangements on their wedding day and gave Jacob his oldest daughter, Leah, instead. Because Jacob loved Rachel, he agreed to Laban’s demand that he work for seven more years to get her as a wife. The only consolation was that Laban allowed them to marry almost immediately, even though Jacob would be working that debt off for the next seven years.

The story of Jacob is a story of grace, transformation, and of reaping what you sow. Jacob’s character was changed by an encounter with the God of Abraham and Isaac. YAWEH even changed his name to Israel. This name has various meanings, including “one who has struggled with God and prevailed,” “a prince with God,” and “God contended.”

Jacob’s sons, however, were another story. Because there were four different mothers involved (Rachel, Leah, and their two servant girls), there was conflict between them. The most serious conflict, however, was with one of their younger brothers, Joseph. He was clearly his father’s favorite, and his brothers hated him for that. Their hatred and jealousy eventually came to a head, and they sold Joseph to slave traders heading for Egypt. The brothers took Joseph’s clothes, ripped them and put some blood on them, and then showed them to their father. He assumed that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.

God was clearly with Joseph, however, and blessed him. He was sold as a slave to Potiphar, one of the pharaoh’s military leaders. Joseph so impressed Potiphar that he gave him charge of his entire household. When Joseph refused his wife’s sexual advances, though, she had him framed and arrested and thrown into prison.

Even in jail, however, YAWEH was still with Joseph. The warden came to trust him completely. While in jail, he met two of pharaoh’s personal servants. They had been jailed because they had displeased the pharaoh. They both had dreams in jail that Joseph was able to interpret for them. One of them was later released from jail. When the Pharaoh had dreams that he could not understand, this servant remembered Joseph and had him brought before the Pharaoh.

After Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream, he was promoted on the spot from slave to prime minister. Joseph’s wisdom and insight saved Egypt and the surrounding nations during a time of severe famine. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food, Joseph recognized them. He tested them to see if they had changed. Eventually, there was reconciliation between them. The Pharaoh had Joseph invite his father, brothers, and their families to come and live in Egypt.

Genesis ends with the death of Joseph. The stage has been set for the next book in the Bible, Exodus. After Joseph’s family came to Egypt, they would continue to grow and multiply for the next several hundred years. In Exodus, the reader will see these twelve tribes being formed into a nation.

Looking for a good place to invest in building God’s Kingdom? My wife, Annie and I are serving the Lord in Brazil. Would you consider joining our support team? Just click here. Obrigado!

 

Tree

Both the Jewish and Christian Bibles start with the Book of Genesis. This fascinating book provides an account of the earth’s origins, the creation of mankind, sin, redemption and the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The first two chapters provide the Creation Story. While the story of Abraham covers fourteen chapters, the Creation Story only takes up two.

The Genesis account of Creation is not the only one to come out of ancient literature. The Babylonian story, “Enuma Elish,” for example, provides an interesting account of creation. It tells of multiple gods who were themselves part of creation. There are definite pantheistic elements in this story and the other ancient creation accounts.

The Genesis account of creation, however, is very different. It starts with the phrase, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) The writer of Genesis starts off by making it clear that God the Creator existed prior to creating the world. The Creation Story in Genesis is also different from many of the other accounts because it is obvious that God is outside of creation and not part of it. Another clear difference between Genesis and other ancient creation stories is the fact that there is no hint of polytheism in Genesis. God alone created the world and from the very beginning of the Bible, the idea of monotheism is firmly established.

Genesis is also the story of the first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve. God created a wonderful environment for them to enjoy and live in. God only placed one restriction on the man and woman. They could not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was the only rule on the new earth. Genesis chapter three records the conversation that the serpent had with the woman. In essence, the serpent was able to convince Eve that God, by placing that one rule in effect, was withholding something good from her.

The serpent promised enlightenment if she would eat the fruit. Eve did eat, doing what God had forbidden, and encouraged Adam to eat, as well. The enlightenment that they were seeking was the fact that they realized they were naked and attempted to make coverings for themselves out of fig leaves. This sin led to their being banished from the Garden of Eden and also introduced sin into what had been a perfect world.

As mentioned, the story of Abraham occupies fourteen chapters in Genesis. Abraham is, by far, the biggest personality in Genesis, and one of the biggest in the entire Bible. The reader is not told how Abraham came into contact with God. His home town, Ur, was known for its idolatry. Somehow, Abraham had an experience with YAWEH, who told him to pack up and move South, to the land of Canaan.

This story is built around a series of seven encounters that Abraham had with YAWEH over more than twenty-five years. Most of these encounters involved God’s speaking to Abraham and promising to bless him. The most significant parts of the blessing that God promised Abraham were land and descendants. God told Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. He also said that Abraham would have more descendants than the “sand of the seashore” or “the stars in the sky.”

The tension throughout the first part of Abraham’s story was the fact that he and his wife, Sarah, were childless. Their story had opened when Abraham was seventy-five and his wife was sixty-five years old. Abraham is commended for his faith, especially in the New Testament. It was not easy, however, for Abraham to stay strong in faith. At one point, Abraham and Sarah decided to try to have a child through her servant girl, Hagar. She gave birth to Ishmael. This was an accepted social practice of that day. While God never rebukes Abraham and Sarah for this, YAWEH does make it clear that his intention was that Sarah would give Abraham a son.

When Abraham was one hundred and Sarah was ninety, Isaac was born. “Isaac” means “laughter.” It is not hard to imagine the joyful laughter after Sarah gave birth to a son. At some point after the birth of Isaac, God tested Abraham one final time. “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and sacrifice him to me.” The writer does not mention the anguish that Abraham must have felt that night. The author does record that Abraham set off the next morning to obey YAWEH’s command. The altar was prepared, Isaac was bound and placed upon it, and Abraham picked up the knife and raised it overhead. At that moment, God’s voice called out to Abraham and stopped him. God then reaffirmed His promises to Abraham. Abraham becomes known as the “friend of God.”

 Looking for a good place to invest in building God’s Kingdom? My wife, Annie and I are serving the Lord in Brazil. A one-time gift or a monthly commitment would help us as we spread the Good News of Christ’s love! Just click here for more information. Obrigado!

 

 

ARROW_SIGNS

This thought seems to be a common one about religion and runs throughout much of society. Maybe you have heard one of the following statements:

“All paths eventually lead to the same God.”

“All religions teach the same basic principles so it really does not matter which religion you follow.”

“It does not matter what you believe as longs as you are sincere.”

“We are all God’s children and it is not important what we believe.”

“There is no one ultimate truth. Everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want.”

Some of the world’s religions lean more towards this way of thinking than others. Hinduism, for example, has close to one billion followers. This religion worships many different gods. The gods and goddesses of Hinduism amount to thousands or even millions of different deities.

While there are common themes running throughout Hinduism, it is a very tolerant religion. It is not uncommon for a Hindu to consider themselves a “Christian Hindu” because they have added Jesus as one of their many deities. For most Hindus, the ideas of being a “good person” and doing good works are more important that what someone’s religious beliefs are. In fact, most of the world’s religions could be referred to as works-based religions.

Christianity is another of the world’s great religions and has over two billion followers. While Christians would agree that there are probably elements of truth in every religion, traditional Christianity would take exception to the idea that all paths will eventually lead to God. I realize this is not popular and leaves Christians looking intolerant. At the same time, however, this has been what Christians have believed for around 2000 years.

Why is it that traditional Christianity sees itself as the only true way to God? Islam says that the prophet Mohammad had the correct path to God. Judaism also believes that they have the eternal truth and the promises of God. Is there anything about Christianity that might elevate their claim to providing the only way to God?

First of all, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father (GOD) except through me.” (John 14:6) This is a pretty bold claim and the religious leaders of Jesus’ day took offense at statements like this. Just because Jesus made this claim does not automatically make it so. Anyone can say that they are the only way to God. Is there any way to substantiate this claim?

The New Testament teaches that Jesus was eventually put to death by the Romans at the instigation of the Jewish religious leaders. A dead messiah equals no messiah. Jesus was not the first Jewish rabbi to attract a following and be thought of as the messiah. He was not the first messiah that the Romans had executed.

What sets Jesus apart, however, is the idea of resurrection. The New Testament teaches that Jesus physically rose from the dead. This is what the Easter Holiday is all about. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me – that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve apostles. After that, he was seen by more than five hundred of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.” (1 Corinthians 15: 3-7)

If Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again, this seems to be a pretty clear substantiation of His claim to be the only way to God. Obviously, everyone will not agree on this and many adherents to other faiths would argue that Jesus was not raised from the dead. This question of the resurrection has been argued and debated since the days of the early Church. This debate will likely not be resolved anytime soon.

Another reason that Christians do not believe that all paths lead to God has to do with Jesus’ crucifixion. If Jesus was merely crucified as a failed revolutionary, there is little significance in His death. Christians believer, however, there was some type of atoning work that took place through His death. In the passage above, Paul says that, “Christ died for our sins…” If all religions are true but just different paths to God, why did Jesus have to die? If God’s plan all along was that every religion would lead people to Him, did Jesus die in vain?

A last question that is worth considering is this, “Why would God only make one way to get to Him?” This is a legitimate question. If God is love and wants to save the world, why would He make it so hard for people to find Him? One answer to this is that if Jesus was who He said He was, at least there is a way to God. God is not one of us. He decides how people can approach Him.

God has created us with a free will. We can go down whatever path we choose. We can believe whatever we want to believe. If every path really does lead to God, though, is our will really free? It sounds like we are being forced to go somewhere we might not want to go.

What do you think?

If you would like to be a part of what God is doing Brazil, just click here. We would love to have you on our team! Obrigado!

 

angel

The theology and doctrine of angels is an often neglected area of Christian theology and study. Most systematic theologies list angelology as one of the major categories of study, yet it is often overlooked. A theological definition of angels is that they “are spiritual beings created by God to serve Him, though created higher than man. Some, the good angels, have remained obedient to Him and carry out His will, while others, fallen angels, disobeyed, fell from their holy position, and now stand in active opposition to the work and plan of God.”

A common idea in many segments of Christianity and even in some non-Christian New Age teaching is that everyone has a guardian angel assigned to them for life. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, has taught the doctrine of guardian angels since its earliest days. Catholic theologians acknowledge, though, that this belief is not overtly spelled out in Scripture.

Most teaching on guardian angels comes from just a couple of passages of Scripture. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus says, “Beware that you don’t despise a single one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.” This verse does seem to imply that children have angels assigned to them. It is difficult to create a doctrine out of this verse, however, because it just is not that clear.

A second passage of Scripture that is often used to create a theology of guardian angels is from Psalm 91:9-12. “If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.” While these verses clearly imply angelic protection, they do not say that we are assigned a guardian angel.

One of the best passages in all of the Bible that discusses angelic ministry is found in The Letter to the Hebrews. In the first part of this letter, actually a written sermon, the author seeks to establish the supremacy of Christ. This passage also clearly seeks to define the deity of Jesus as opposed to Him just being merely another prophet. The writer goes on to say that Christ is also superior to the angels since He was the One who created them.

While the angels are powerful spiritual beings, the author to the Hebrews makes clear that they are created beings that God has given tasks to. One of these tasks has to do with serving those who have put their trust in Christ. “But angels are only servants. They are spirits sent from God to care for those who will receive salvation.” (Hebrews 1:14) While this verse acknowledges angelic ministry in the lives of Christians, it stops short of saying that every believer has an angel assigned to them.

There are many other passages in the Bible that discuss angels and their ministry. There are none that explicitly define a doctrine that every Christian or every person has a guardian angel. This does not mean that angels do not have a place in the world or that they are not active. Indeed, as the pages of Scripture show over and over again, God’s angels are working behind the scenes protecting and serving God’s people. Only eternity will reveal the important role that God’s angels have played in all of our lives.

Looking for a good place to invest in the building God’s Kingdom? My wife, Annie, and I are helping build the Church in Brazil. We would love to have you on our team! Just click here. Obrigado!

 

employee-training

Many companies and businesses provide in-service training for their staff. This training can cover a variety of topics such as customer service, communication skills, computer skills, safety, ethics, and many other topics. There can also be specific skills taught to a sub-set of the organization. If a factory installed a new piece of equipment on the production line, for example, there would need to be training designed to educate those who would be using that particular machine.

Providing training and development opportunities to the employees at your company is very important for several reasons. First of all, it communicates that the administration and management team cares enough about their workers to provide additional opportunities for them to develop. This shows that company leadership understands the importance of investing in their people. Most companies offer training for their employees during regular business hours. The workers are on the clock but not doing their regular job. This conveys the message that production can slow down for a few hours as the employees attend class. In some companies, the workers might be sent to the class over a period of a couple of days so that the business does not have to completely shut down. When employees see that their management cares enough to send them to some type of class, motivation is often improved throughout the company. Increased motivation leads to greater morale and job satisfaction.

A second reason that training and development opportunities are important is that it keeps the team sharp. On-going training provides them with the latest technical, legal, and specialized skills that they need to do their jobs. This will increase efficiency and productivity in workers. If management is serious about productivity, periodic classes will ensure that employees have the most up-to-date information to do their jobs effectively.

In-service training also serves to keep the team sharp in another way. By giving workers a break from their regular duties, even if it is only for a day or a few hours, they are allowing them to recalibrate and rest. Many people have jobs that are monotonous and tedious. When these workers attend a class, they are able to unwind and use a different part of their brain for a little while.

A third reason that on-going training opportunities are important is that they have been shown to reduce employee turnover by as much as 70%. While training is an investment by the company into its employees, regular training opportunities also serve to help the workers invest back into the company. Training often stimulates new ideas and creativity and give the employees a greater sense of ownership.

One last reason why it is so important for a company to provide training and development opportunities for their people is that it is an investment in the organization’s future. Training opportunities will often be a way that management can identify those employees who appear to be leaders. Identifying people that could possibly fill supervisory and management roles down the road is important for any business. The worst time to start looking for qualified people to promote is when you need them. It is much better to start the process of training and developing potential leaders before there is a need. Having an active list of candidates for promotion is something that any large business should maintain.

Companies should make training opportunities available throughout the year. Their people will benefit from it and the company will benefit from it. Some successful businesses have quarterly training sessions in which employees receive an hour or two of training. Other companies will set up classes twice a year, requiring workers to attend half day sessions. Besides required training, many organizations also offer optional training that employees can request to attend. There is no doubt that training workers can be expensive. At the same time, successful organizations realize that they cannot afford not to train and develop their people.

Would you consider supporting Annie and I as we serve in Brazil? We are developing leaders and helping build the Church. Just click here. Obrigado! 

 

policecarinmirror

Every year, close to one and a half million drivers are arrested for DUI in the United States. It is never a good idea to get into the car with a driver that is impaired. The reality, however, is that it happens every single day. There are several different scenarios that can play out for the passenger in a car in which the driver is arrested for Driving Under the Influence. During my thirty year Law Enforcement career I saw, and dealt with, each of these situations while arresting hundreds of drivers for DUI.

1. The Passenger is the Car Owner
If the passenger is the car owner, they have probably allowed the arrestee to drive because the passenger has been drinking as well, and it was assumed that the driver was the less impaired. Whether or not the passenger is impaired really does not matter, though. The bigger issue is that the owner of the vehicle has allowed an impaired driver to operate their car. In most states, the passenger can be arrested along with the driver. In Georgia, for example, the charge is Allowing Unlawful Operation of a Motor Vehicle. This is section 40-1-3 of the Georgia Traffic Code. This charge holds the owner of a vehicle responsible for letting someone drive their car unlawfully. In this example, the owner/passenger is allowing someone who is under the influence of alcohol of drugs to drive their car. Under this charge, the owner/passenger can be arrested along with the driver. The owner/passenger’s bond and fines could be the same as the driver’s.

2. There are Other Criminal Charges on the Passenger
In this scenario, the passenger is found to be in violation of some other law. They might have an open container of alcohol with them in the car. They might be found to have drugs on them. They might have outstanding warrants for their arrest. In this situation, the passenger is also arrested. It is also not uncommon for an intoxicated passenger to “talk their way” into going to jail. Depending on their level of intoxication, they might take exception to their friend/driver being arrested and end up becoming abusive or belligerent towards the police. Most jurisdictions have a Public Drunk or Disorderly Conduct charge that works well with this type of person.

3. The Passenger is Not the Owner of the Vehicle and is Not Impaired
If the driver is the owner of the vehicle and is arrested for DUI, they can, if they choose, have the police release the car to the passenger. This keeps from having the car impounded. This scenario will not work if the driver is not the owner of the vehicle. If the driver is not the owner, they do not have the authority to release the vehicle to someone else. In that case, the car will probably get impounded.

4. The Car Cannot be Released to the Passenger
In the vast majority of cases, the passenger of a DUI arrest is allowed to call someone to come and pick them up. This is only a viable option, however, when the passenger’s ride is coming from nearby. It is unrealistic to expect the police to sit on the side of the road with someone for an extended period of time waiting for their ride. In many situations, the police will transport the passenger to a convenience store or other safe location where they can wait for their ride. If the passenger lives close by, it would also be acceptable for an officer to drive the passenger home.

5. Serious Injury or Death
Every year in the United States, over ten thousand people die in alcohol related motor vehicle accidents. In many of these cases, it is not just the drivers that are dying, but also their passengers. It is very dangerous to get into a car with someone who has been drinking.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is never a good idea to get in the car with someone who has been drinking. In a perfect world, a sober person would be the driver and the person who has been drinking would be the pasenger. If both subjects have been drinking, a taxi ride home is a good way to go. While a taxi ride might be expensive, the repercussions for driving under the influence or being their passenger are much more expensive.

Since retiring from the police department, I have been serving the Lord with my wife in Brazil. We are working with a couple of churches here, developing leaders and helping grow these churches. Would you consider joining our support team? Just click here. Obrigado!

treadmill

There are several factors that need to be considered when buying a gym membership. Selecting a place to workout is a big decision. It is a financial investment but it is also a place in which the user is going to be spending several hours a week. By having a check list of what is important, the individual will have a much easier time picking the fitness club that is going to fit them the best.

1. Location- Is the gym close to the user’s home? It might be the nicest, cleanest, most modern facility on the planet, but if it is not close and convenient to get to, the user is probably not going to get to it that often. Most people will not drive more than fifteen minutes to get to a gym. Obviously, if someone lives in a rural setting, this might be unrealistic. In most urban environments, however, the fifteen minute rule is a good measure to go by.

For some users, however, the location might not be as important a consideration. It is not uncommon for someone to join a gym that is nowhere near where they live but is on their way home from work. They can stop and workout on their way into the office or on their way home. This is especially common in larger cities where rush hour traffic can be tedious. Instead of sitting in traffic, the commuter can stop at their gym, work out, and then continue home after the traffic has died down.

2. Child Care- Does the gym provide a safe, fun place for the user’s children? If the potential member is going to be bringing their children to the gym with them, this is a very important consideration. It is always a good idea to ask to see the child care area when there are actually children there. Do they look like they are having a good time? Is the child care worker interacting with the children or sitting in a corner texting? Is the room clean and well lit? When dealing with the issue of child care, the question of cost also comes up. Is the cost of child care included in the membership dues? In most cases it is, but it is best not to assume anything.

3. Classes- What classes does the fitness club provide? Many users join a gym just to take advantage of the different classes. Health clubs offer many different types such as Spin, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Body Pump, Kickboxing, and many others. If classes are important to the user, then this should be one of the first questions asked. It is also important to know what classes are included in their gym membership and which ones require an additional cost.

4. Personal Trainers- How much do the sessions with a personal trainer cost? For someone who is new to working out, buying a few sessions with a personal trainer is a great idea. The trainer can work with the individual to help them achieve their fitness goals. The price for these sessions can range, in most cases, from thirty five to seventy five dollars a session. Many gyms offer a free session with a personal trainer to a new member. This is an excellent perk that the new member should take advantage of.

5. Test Drive- Does the health club offer a free trial membership? This is a great opportunity for the potential member to use the facility for a few days and see if they are going to be happy there. These free trial memberships usually are from one to seven days. A longer trial is preferred because it gives the potential client a better view of the gym.

6. Cost- How much are the monthly dues? Does the health club require a long-term contract? Signing a long-term gym contract is never a good idea. In most cases, a gym will require a initiation/set up fee and monthly dues. The best situation is when a health club deducts a client’s dues monthly. To cancel a membership usually requires a thirty day notice. Monthly gym dues normally run from twenty five to seventy five dollars a month, depending on what they offer. In some cases, one can get even better deals by paying for a year or two in advance.

By following these simple guidelines, the potential member will be able to pick the health club that is right for them. A gym membership can help someone get into shape, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and make new friends. Don’t rush into a gym membership, but don’t put off joining a gym.

Can you think of anything else someone should look for in a health club?

Annie and I are seeing God do some incredible things in Brazil. Would you consider joining our team? Just click here. Obrigado! 

 

 

God's_Globe- No border by SirKado

God’s_Globe- No border by SirKado

As we move deeper into the new Millennium, many Christians are wondering what God is doing in the world today. Does God have a new strategy to reach people with the message of His love? Is the Holy Spirit working in new ways in a new millennium?

A better question that we might ask is, “How are we ministering in the new millennium?” God’s strategy and plan has not changed since the time of Christ. His commission to His disciples was, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20)

The Lord Jesus entrusted His work to those He left behind. They in turn would preach the Gospel and train other disciples to continue the cycle. The message of Christianity has not changed in two thousand years. People still must respond to Christ by faith and begin a relationship with Him. Just as the early disciples followed Jesus and called Him, “Lord,” so all of His followers have done the same throughout history.

While the message of Christ has not changed, the methods used to deliver that message change regularly. The Apostle Paul, for example, endured many hardships as he traveled throughout the Roman Empire. He says in 2 Corinthians 11 that he was shipwrecked three times and endured many dangers and trials during his missionary journeys.

Today, someone can leave their home and be on the other side of the world within twenty-four hours. A personal example of the relative ease of missionary travel was several years ago when I was invited to preach in India. I conducted Pastoral Training Courses for a week with almost two hundred indigenous pastors. These classes took place in the morning. My afternoons were devoted to speaking at a number of rural house churches. In the evening, I was preaching in open-air evangelistic meetings. All in all, I preached or taught almost twenty five times in a week and a half before I got back on a plane to come back to my day job.

Technology has created wonderful opportunities for the Church to spread the Good New of Christ. Many Churches and Christian organizations are using television, radio, and the Internet to send the Christian message into hard to reach countries. Closed countries, such as North Korea, might keep missionaries from coming into their country, but they cannot keep Christian television and Christian radio signals from crossing the border.

Modern technology also allows the gospel to be preached in other parts of the world in cost-saving ways. I have had the privilege of preaching to churches in Australia and Brazil, via Skype, while sitting in my office in the United States. While there is nothing like being there in person, travel costs and time constraints make mediums like Skype very attractive.

The Church is still God’s primary vehicle of bringing salvation to the world. A vibrant local church is the best tool for reaching communities. In this new millennium, there seems to be a growing awareness of the need to plant more churches. Better methods and systems are constantly being developed to make church planting more effective. No matter how good our methods, though, the bottom line is that the church must be filled with the Holy Spirit. God expects us to do the work. He has entrusted the Kingdom Message to us.

At the same time, however, we must not forget what Jesus told His followers just before His ascension, “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) A Spirit-filled Church is going to be the tool that God uses to reach this generation.

How do you see God moving in our generation?

My wife, Annie, and I are serving the Lord in Brazil. Would you consider joining our support team? Just click here. Obrigado!