Wednesday, August 26, 2015

God Doesn't Need You



by Dan Jones

I was recently wandering around on the internet when I came across Mark Hall’s full testimony.

For those of you thinking, “Mark Hall…that sounds familiar…who is that?”

Mark Hall is the lead singer and songwriter for Casting Crowns. I have made no secret of the fact that Casting Crowns is my favorite Contemporary Christian Music group. (Thank you, Beth Crosby and Kinship Christian Radio for introducing them.)

Their songs have touched me in many ways, made me think and explore my relationship with Jesus and just generally blessed me. (Thank you, Mark Hall and all.)

Anyway, Hall tells of a time in his life when it was very, very clear he wasn’t good enough to be who he thought he was going to be.

For goodness sake, the man went to music college and did not even know how to read music.

Plus, he is dyslexic and he has ADD.

On the first day of college, they put a two-hour test in front of him to see where he should begin in his major or whether he even should major in music. 
As Hall says, “The word “test” does to me what the blue lights in your mirror do to you.”

He looked at the test and realized he did not know the answer to one question on that test.

Not one.

So, after eight minutes, he wrote his name on the paper, walked to the front and put that test face down on the professor’s desk and walked out.

He was going home.

His primary concern was trying to figure out a way to tell his new wife, who had just started a job that same day to pay for his education, that he couldn’t do it.

His apartment was straight across from the music building, “But God,” Hall says, “In His sovereignty, a hundred years before that day, planted this big chapel between me and my house. And the sidewalk just lead straight in.”

Hall went in and sat down.

“And I got mad,” he says. “Because, I mean, you know, when you finally do something for God isn’t the sun supposed to shine? When you’re finally obedient, when you finally take the big step, I mean, don’t the birds sing and the little baby angels fall around and sing songs to you? I mean isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? People start giving you cars and houses and everything because you’re obedient now.”

While Hall was sitting there brewing, the chapel filled up with 500 people. And the choir came out and a man came out and sang and played music and they were all much better than he was.

And he sat there.

Even after the service was over, Hall still sat there.

And, when everybody was gone, he went up to the front and he sat down at this enormous piano. And he played the only four chords he knew. Those chords used to sound cool when he played them in his home church, but they didn’t sound cool anymore.

And Mark Hall felt very, very small and useless and unworthy.

“And I sat there at that piano, in that empty chapel, and I had my first fight with God… My church gives me this big send-off service because Mark was going to do this great thing for God. And my parents are probably still on the phone, calling all the relatives to talk about how proud they are—and I am about to come home because I am not good enough for this.”

“God started teaching me a lesson that day—a lesson that He’s still teaching me. I think it’s the reason there even is a Casting Crowns. That morning, He started to say to me, ‘Mark, I don’t need you. I want you."

"Mark. I - don’t – need - you."

"I want you.’”

“Do you think that all of these fears and limitations and all these things that make you feel so small are worrying me? Do you think that all these little initials that you got from all these little tests that you got when you were a kid are weighing me down?”

“Mark. I am going to do something in the world. I just want to know if you want to come.”

Hall says, “Well, I went back to school the next day. And I went back the next day, and the next day, and six years later I graduated. (Four year college.)”

Today, Casting Crowns sells more albums and has more top hits than any other Christian band. Their songs have ministered to countless throngs and brought the message of the gospel far and wide.

Despite the success of the band, Hall says, “And now I’m a youth pastor for about 400 teenagers, and I have no idea what I’m doing.” And on those days when it looks like things are going down, Hall says God still talks to him. 

"He says, 'You get up there dyslexic boy. You show the world what I’ll do through somebody that’ll let me.'

"And I have spent 13 years. Listen to me. I have spent 13 years saying things I’m not sharp enough to say. I write songs I’m not good enough to write. I’m a part of things constantly that are so above me. I am swimmin’ in the deep end because God doesn’t need me. He wants me.”

Today’s Praise

If you ask me to leap
Out of my boat on the crashing waves
If You ask me to go
Preach to the lost world that Jesus saves

I'll go, but I cannot go alone
Cause I know I'm nothing on my own
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong
Makes me strong

Cause when I'm weak, You make me strong
When I'm blind, You shine Your light on me
Cause I'll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don't need me
How amazing to find that you want me
So I'll stand on Your truth, and I'll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me

If You ask me to run
And carry Your light into foreign land
If You ask me to fight
Deliver Your people from Satan's hand

To reach out with Your hands
To learn through Your eyes
To love with the love of a savior
To feel with Your heart
And to think with Your mind
I'd give my last breath for Your glory

“In Me” by Casting Crowns

Note: Earlier this year, Mark Hall was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Through a series of miracles, he is currently in good health and continues to serve the LORD --who still wants him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Deception



by Dan Jones


There is a very interesting story told in Joshua 9.

Joshua and the children of Israel had just defeated Jericho solely by marching around it, shouting, and praising God. They had crushed and obliterated the city of Ai.

The fame of the LORD and His power spread and all the kingdoms before Joshua and Israel prepared to wage war.

That is, except the Gibeonites.

They appeared to be next on the list of peoples to be conquered and wiped out. But instead of preparing for war, they sent a delegation to Joshua wearing worn-out sandals and carrying moldy bread. The delegation said, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.” They claimed that they had journeyed a long distance to make peace with them because they feared the power of the LORD. They showed the Israelites the false evidence they had brought with them.

The Bible says, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.” (Joshua 9:14 NIV)

In other words, they took the evidence at face value, but did not ask God to reveal the truth. They trusted in what they were told and fell for fake evidence planted to substantiate the lie.

So Joshua made a treaty with them and the assembly ratified it.

Shortly thereafter, Joshua and the Israelites found out that the Gibeonites had lied. They were not from a long distance away, but were actually their neighbors.

When confronted with their lie, the Gibeonites confessed that they were acting totally in their own self-interest. But, it was too late. Israel had already sworn an oath to the LORD.

As we enter into the political season, many candidates will be presenting evidence of who they are—or at least of who they want us to believe they are.

They will present themselves as our servants, but some will be looking out solely and entirely for their own self-interests.

They will entreat us sincerely of their honesty, despite some having a past record of unfair, deceptive, or even crooked and greedy intentions.

They will dress and talk in ways to make us believe one thing, when an entirely different thing is true.

They will even ask us to closely examine the evidence they put forth—while conveniently leaving out any evidence to the contrary. And, if such evidence is presented, they will loudly and soundly cast doubt and shame on that evidence and on those who bring it forward.

There will even be those who will spend enormous piles of cash to figure out exactly how to soothe all the itching ears that want to hear smooth and pleasing words.

At least one, while claiming to be a Christian, has admitted he has never asked God for forgiveness of any sin.

To my way of thinking, that’s kind of like claiming to be a paratrooper while seeing no use at all for that heavy and unnecessary baggage called a “parachute.”

In other words, it’s politics as usual.

And so, brothers and sisters, let us be very, very careful not only to consider the evidence each candidate presents on their behalf, but also to fervently and diligently inquire of the LORD.

Today’s Praise
The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. (Proverbs 15:33 ESV)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hurting Hands by Allen Jones



Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

How often do we not think about what is true, noble, and right?

In our world, it is far too easy, to ponder evil and evil things; and not necessarily on purpose!  Just click on the tv, and soon your thoughts will be focused on anything but noble and right.

We may not even notice at first how much this affects our heart and soul.  How sick our spirit slowly becomes, when we are not taking care of it.  

Without Christ, our hearts easily decay just like the rest of our body.

For example, do you happen to have dry, cracked hands?  I do...or at least I used to pretty badly.  

My poor father, has suffered with cracked and hurting hands for years.  And it reached a peak for me, when I worked at Starbucks after I graduated from college.

At The Bucks we had to use what was called sanitizer water all the time to wipe down counters and such.  Which was quite often, because making hundreds of Lattes every day can be quite messy.

But oh!  Having to put your hands in cleaning water, every few minutes, in the winter, with my already dry skin; it just did a number on my poor hands!

It got to a point where I absolutely had to put a salve on every few hours or so, or my hands were going to be cracked and bleeding.

The problem was, I have a bad habit of not keeping up with good habits.

As soon as my hands were healed and in good condition, I would often stop putting the salve on for a while.

Which of course would always lead to me having cracked and hurting hands again!

It took me far too long, and far too many instances of my hands cracking open, to realize that I need to be putting on a salve or lotion at all times!

I couldn’t simply use the salve for a short time period, let my hands heal...then stop.  Because it would always deteriorate again, and I would be hurting before I knew it!

It has to be everyday.  That way my hands and skin stay healthy, without going through the painful, drying and cracking process.

So what about internally?  

Our good habits with God, have to be taken in the exact same vain.  

We have to take time with him everyday.  Apply him into our life.  Or slowly, but surely, our hearts will start showing the wear and tear of living in a fallen world.

Except, the reality is far more damaging than not taking care of my hands.  



Ephesians 5
15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wisdom of the Frog by Allen Jones



This is a picture of a lovely window that you will see if you ever happen upon our KJLY studios in Blue Earth MN.  It’s a beautiful work of art  to see before coming into the studio, and it also serves as a nice reminder of why we are broadcasting in the first place.

Upon, a first look, you may think that this picture is just a picture of a window, but do you see anything else?  Something...well, kind of cool (at least in my opinion).  

It’s ok I’ll give you a minute to peruse...think of it as a “Where’s Waldo”game…..


Any luck?  If not, don’t fret, I’ll direct you!  Take your gaze to the upper right hand corner of the window, it looks as though there is a little grey spot splotted onto the wood.

This is no mere grey splot though...this is in fact, a gray tree frog, hanging out in the light that comes from the window!



A couple of weeks ago after leaving the Faribault county fair , my wife and I came back to the studio briefly;  as we came out the door, we noticed that there was a tree frog clinging onto the glass of this window!

As I mentioned, the glass lights up at night,and this VERY intelligent frog makes a nightly climb up to the window; then proceeds to feast upon the bugs that are drawn to the light.

I have had the chance to see this a couple of times now, and I am so taken by the intelligence of this frog! I am also taken by the fact that this wisdom should be applied into our own lives.

Every night, the frog climbs to a window painting of a cross.  It is there that he is provided for.  It is there that he finds what he needs.

This little frog get’s to feast under the light of the cross.

So, how about you?  Have you found the wisdom of the frog?  Have you climbed to where the light of the cross shines?  

It is there, under the light of the cross that we will be taken care of.  That our Lord will provide what we need.

We simply must take in the same journey of this little frog; and that is to climb to the cross.

It is there we can finally relent.  Be made free of the sin that has enslaved us for so long!

Let his light shine in our lives.  And there under the cross, under the arms of Christ, we will have all we need.



Psalm 91:1-16                                             He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...               
  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Victory of the Light

by Dan Jones

As I write this, news has just now come out that the Senate has voted not to defund Planned Parenthood.

Please understand that this has not suddenly turned into a political blog. 

There are many, many bloggers out there who are more qualified and more talented to write on that subject than I am.

But there is something I have not seen anywhere in the discussion about Planned Parenthood, the videos posted by The Center for Medical Progress, or abortion in general.

God is to be praised for what is going on.

Certainly not for abortion in general, nor for the gruesome details of what goes on during an abortion, or for the over 55 million abortions since Roe vs. Wade.

No, God is to be praised for light and truth.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. (John 3:19-20 NIV)

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5 NIV)

With the release of those videos and the subsequent discussion of what is taking place, the light of truth is obliterating the darkness.

The decades-old argument that what is in a mother’s womb is an unfeeling clump of cells has been exposed as a lie. It is clearly alive, with a beating heart and arms and legs and fingers and toes.

It is a child and no one is denying it any longer.

And, while Planned Parenthood may still be receiving tax dollars, it can no longer do business as usual.

No matter what the politicians and the media do from this point forward, the truth has been told. Light has come into the darkness and it has changed hearts and minds.

It’s often argued that if a certain law or regulation saves even one life, it’s worth it.

But what is happening here has the potential to save untold lives no matter what any politician or reporter or public relations agency says or does.

The woman with a child in her womb (or who may at some point in the future have a child in her womb) has seen the videos. She has heard the debate. And now, there are millions upon millions of women who can no longer look at an abortion the way they used to.

While Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion agency in the United States at about 40%, what is going on in our society now will affect every facility that contributes to the total of almost 3000 abortions per day.  

And so, even though the videos and the facts of what takes place are gruesome and awful, God is to be praised for answering prayers for light and truth into the darkness—because it is a victory of light over darkness!

Lord, thank you for exposing our sins. Thank you for showing us the truth no matter how bitter and hard it is. Mighty and everlasting Jesus--who conquered sin, death, and the father of all lies--please continue to shine your light into the dark corners where sin and evil hides. Please continue to change hearts and minds and souls to the glory and praise of your holy name. Amen.

Today’s Praise

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2 NIV)


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How NOT to Witness

by Dan Jones





In May of 2012, scientist Mark Armitage found a very large Triceratops horn in the Hell’s Creek formation of Montana. But, what he found inside that horn is what made news.

It was soft tissue.

The problem is that soft tissue like this most assuredly should NOT be present inside a fossil modern science claims to be over 65 million years old.

In 2013, Armitage published his findings in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that’s when the trouble began.

Mark Armitage is a Christian.

He believes the Bible when it says God created the heavens and the earth and he believes that the Triceratops horn he found is probably about 4,000 years old—a date that coincides with the Biblical account of the great flood.

None of those beliefs are present in the article that was published, but California State University fired him for expressing those beliefs to some of his coworkers.

And, of course, that resulted in a lawsuit.

Armitage contends he was fired because he is a Christian and cites an incident in which he was told, in no uncertain terms, that Christian beliefs would not be tolerated in the lab.

I am a big fan of Creation Moments on Kinship Christian Radio. I firmly believe that the world around us was created by God. I believe that the incredible complexity, diversity, and pure genius of God’s design absolutely, positively cannot be explained by random chance mutations of genetic material no matter how many millions of years are claimed to have elapsed since life supposedly spontaneously sprang from some “primordial soup.”

I have some background in the study of biology and I have studied the arguments for and against both sides of the issue. Although there are certainly many who have a greater understanding of molecular cell biology than I do, I believe I could engage in an understandable and informed discussion to support my belief.

But I won’t.

And the reason I won’t is because I have done so in the past and found it to be a lousy, awful, ineffective way to witness for Christ.

It always becomes contentious. It never stays a discussion. It becomes a debate which can easily escalate into an argument.

And that’s a terrible way to try to tell someone that Jesus loves them.

We are called to witness for Christ. Paul explains where the power comes from quite well in 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5 (ESV)

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

The Holy Spirit holds the power to change hearts and minds. God does not need us to be His spin doctors or PR agents, and His creation is its own argument for His glory:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1: 20 ESV –emphasis added.)

So, when news comes out that the Bible has been found to be correct (again) we should certainly take it as affirmation that our God has always told us the truth.

But the power that saves souls is Jesus Christ risen from the dead. It is the darkness of our sin nailed to the cross and the joy of our salvation in the empty tomb.

While there is wonder and excitement and beauty in what God has created, eternal life comes from Jesus Christ and no other.

Mark Armitage did not conceal his beliefs when he was hired by CSU and, from what I have read on the subject, it does seem he was unjustly fired. We can pray for him and pray that scientists everywhere would come to know the real truth about the glory of God’s creation.

But when it comes to right down to it, there is far more power in the blood of Jesus Christ than some tissue inside a dinosaur’s horn.

Today’s Praise

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David.
(Luke 1: 68-69 NIV)