“Where Is God When It Hurts?” by Philip Yancey (26)

“Although poverty and suffering are bad things (that I rightly spend my life fighting against), yet at the same time can be called blessed. This pattern of bad transformed into good finds its fullest expression in Jesus. By taking on Himself it is dignity dignified pain.”-Philip Yancey

Click on this link to hear the message of the cross:

“The Message of the Cross”-Dr. Vincent G. Artese

Audiences…

Audiences… In order to be considered a good communicator, you need to gauge your audience. Yet there are separate audiences. You have an audience for books; or you have an audience for concerts that can star a well known musical band or a funny comedian; or you have conferences which can range from professional to casual, from fun loving to insane hobbies.

Then you have the internet which opens up information technology (IT) which further can be used in schools, colleges, and institutes of learning. But IT has much more than that of capabilities of learning. In the United States of America, we are moving at incredible speed in several areas of IT. Just take a look at social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or Tumbler.

With that, you have to have a fast message which captures the heart in this era of IT. However, when it comes down to Bible and to convey its message to the world, you need a simple yet accurate version of the Holy Scripture, each one appropriate to your audience. For the story of how many manuscripts, 66 in all, is quite phenomenal and deemed a miracle how each manuscript became the Holy Bible as we know it today.

Yet, the TRUE story of the Holy Bible is truly amazing as it is lived out in the first human beings, Adam and Eve to the physical death of the writer of Revelation, the Apostle John. However, the Bible is suppossed to be lives out through TLC’s (True Life Christians), right?

We have a distinct advantage because we have the Holy Spirit residing within us. In the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, verses 1-41 it says that while some of the Jews were gathered in a house, and a sound of a mighty rushing wind came was going through the house. The Holy Spirit decided to use tongues of fire to rest on each one of them, and they began to speak a foreign language. So, if you decide to become a TLC, first of all, welcome aboard because you already have the Spirit of God in you. Fair warning, though, since you have decided to follow Christ, He has some pretty high expectations of you. Just like 1 Peter 2:21 says,

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. (ESV)

Some TLC’s might be thinking I’m promoting heresy by suggesting that TLC’s are living examples of the Bible. Doesn’t the Apostle Paul cry out to TLC’s EVERYWHERE that we are suppossed to be living examples of Christ by offering ourselves as sacrifices which means there is going to be bloodshed, physical and/or spiritual? See if you can find your answer in this quote:

So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to Him, pleasing to Him which is your spiritual way to worship. (Romans 12:1 NCV)

Although we are truly to live for Christ in a manner that is pleasing to Him, the Apostle John wrote,

I, John, solemnly warn everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to his or her punishment the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the prophetic words of this book, God will take away from their share of the fruit of the tree of life and of the Holy City, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19 GNB)

* special recognition goes to Reverand Ron Barnett and his blog “Share the Journey” (on WordPress) where he is a pastor and a blogger all for Jesus Christ. The former was a result of comments we shared on his post labeled “Battle Ready.”

**Just a personal thank you to call me out on what I believe. You challenged me in ways that I never could have imagined and what I believe is necessary for more people to be with Christ.

Click on this if you want to see a YouTube video that speaks directly to the subject of laying your life down:

“Here’s My Life”-Planetshakers

Fed Up With The Status Quo!

I normally don’t listen to the radio in the car, preferring to listen to musical artists that have Christ as their risen Savior or listen to audio books that have Christ as the only way to actually see God in heaven. Right now, I change them out between listening to NCV version of the Bible and my favorite Christian musical hip-hop artists like Manafest and Lecrae. Occasionally, about every couple of months, I have to take a different car. These was one of those mornings.

Here in America, we have the priveledge to listen to what ever we want as long as it doesn’t promote violence, death, rape, and what not. When I was traveling down the road, listening to Christian radio, I began listening to the radio. It was so sad. All of these Christian terms (which only Christians can understand) tend to be used, when we have a risen Savior in Jesus Christ that longs to be heard and accepted so that you can join Him in heaven.

Jesus used activities that were so prevalent in His day to make a connection with the outside world. Just to give you examples, take the story of someone who was so beat up that it took the most unlikely man to physically save that someone from certain death. Plus on top of all that, paid for that someone’s recovery in a motel/hotel (Luke 10:29-37). Or John 10:1-15 where Jesus uses sheep (they were most prevalent in His physical life and who are the most stupid and stubborn of God’s creation) to get His point across.

Since Jesus Christ’s going up into heaven, True Life Christians have been using the same things, fearing that if we change then they’re risking salvation. How tragic. I believe God wants us to use current words, connections, and what not to impact this current world for Christ.

Diluting the Gospel (Good News message) is always a factor. I don’t ever be accused of doing that. However, it can be done with new and innovative ways to take as many current people to see God in heaven. So, let all current True Life Christians be active in doing the Great Commission with current words, music, and media. That way, when we are judged in heaven (in righteous risk mode-Matthew 25:14-30-which He used money to get at people’s hearts) God will pronounce you righteous as you enter eternal life (Matthew 25:46b). Then you be accused of being Fed Up With The Status Quo!

Now here are some different Christian music selections that are on YouTube. All you have to do is click the link:

Explanation of the song “Criminal”-Manafest

“Criminal”-Manafest

“Outsiders”-Lecrae

“Monster”-Skillet

“Comatose”-Skillet

“Song For The Broken”-Barlow Girl

“Call You Out”-Flyleaf

“Start Again”-Red

“State of Emergency”-Pillar

Joseph’s Life, My Life…

Although I have been likened to the Biblical Job, what he went through losing his sons & daughters, attacking him personally with boils on his skin and what not, I get where one would be so confident in comparing my life with Job. Or Moses, whom had a speech impediment and because of that he used that as an excuse why God should use someone else. Yet God used Moses to deliver the Israelites from being captive in Egypt under his step-brother, Ramses, who was Pharaoh at that time. However, neither of these stories am I going to use for my comparative story.

Joseph was the youngest of his 10 brothers, until Jacob & Rachel were pregnant again with Benjamin. However, before Benjamin was a even a thought in the mind of Jacob & Rachel, Joseph had two dreams (which are recorded in the Bible) to which his brothers would have to bow down to him (Genesis 37). With this revelation, his brothers didn’t like him to much, so when given the opportunity they took full advantage, beating him up in an inch of his life. Then his brothers threw him down in a deep pit and waited for a band of marauders (Ishmaelites) to sell Joseph into slavery. Along the way, the Ishmaelites then sold him to to Potiphar where he became an overseer of all his house and put him in charge of all Potiphar had.

You may be thinking, “What? No, that couldn’t happen in this day and age!” I would have to agree with you, except compared with my own life I felt trapped in the loneliness of slavery due to my traumatic brain injury which I suffered shortly after I graduated high school with being a part of the National Honors Society.

After a while of Joseph working there, Potiphar’s wife had taking a liking to Joseph; then, she invited Joseph to sleep with her. But Joseph was a man of integrity, and said, “No. Your husband put me in-charge of everything except you!” After a time, by the account in Genesis, as soon as he was all alone in the house with her, she once again said, “Lie with me.” Yet Joseph, being a man of integrity, refused her advances; however, he left a piece of his garment in her hand. But Potiphar’s wife, knowing that they were all alone in the house together, yelled rape. When Potiphar received word that his wife was raped, he had Joseph put in prison.

During my early teen years through college, working out was part of my regimen, and I was pretty built. Yet, at the age of fourteen I received my calling under a basketball hoop outside of my school. I didn’t know to what, so I decided that I was going to be a youth pastor since I was in the youth group, and I loved it. Around the same time I started experience Déjà vu moments. It was not to long before it turned into holy Dèjà vu moments. After a few years had passed of having these holy Dèjá vu instances and about two weeks from my high school graduation, I experienced a dream (or nightmare) of me being in a hospital, on a bed, not being able to move for quite some time. Just five and a half weeks later, I would find myself with a traumatic brain injury in an one month coma. I would find myself just like the holy Dèjá vu moment or instance I had just weeks earlier.

Sadly, my comparison with the life of Joseph doesn’t end there as Joseph was beaten to an inch of his life just as I was in the horrific, almost fatalistic car accident I suffered. Yet, both Joseph and I knew to whom to call on even if He does not fix it-Jesus Christ.

However, in comparing myself to Old Testament characters, I have a physical, permanent limp just like Joseph’s father, Jacob. In speech, Moses who struggled with a speech impediment; I, too, have trouble speaking due to my disability of expressive aphasia. Yet, later in the Bible, God inspires the Apostle Paul to write this,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

Which this leads me to believe, God is in the business of using unsuspecting people as His tools.

Darren

(The Author/Administrator of

True Life Christianity)

“Blessings”-Laura’s Story

“Blessings”-Lecrae ft. Ty Dolla $ign

“Where Is God When It Hurts?” by Philip Yancey (23)

“What good is a God who doesn’t control His Son’s suffering. But another sound can be heard, a sound like that of God crying out to human beings, “I LOVE YOU!!!”
-Philip Yancey

“Reckless Love”-Cory Asbury

“Overwhelmed”-Big Daddy Weave

“I Won’t Let You Go”-Switchfoot

“Read This. It Is Important To Your Health,” says the doctor…

God uses mysterious ways of connecting people to accomplish His will. While perusing Twitter last week, I found this True Life Christian who can identify with 1 Peter 2:21:

For to this you have been called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.

Read on…

I GREW UP IN THE SMALL, RURAL FARMING TOWN OF ROSEDALE, INDIANA. AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE, AND, FINALLY, MEDICAL SCHOOL, I MARRIED MY WIFE, JACQUI. WE THEN IMMEDIATELY MOVED TO EAST TENNESSEE (BRISTOL) WHERE I WOULD START MY FAMILY PRACTICE RESIDENCY.

AFTER FINISHING UP TRAINING IN BRISTOL, I, ALONG WITH MY WIFE AND THEN FOUR MONTH OLD SON, MOVED BACK TO JACQUI’S HOMETOWN IN NW INDIANA TO BEGIN MY MEDICAL CAREER AND TO START OUR LIVES. IT FELT LIKE I WAS LIVING THE “AMERICAN DREAM” AND THINGS SEEMED TO BE GOING “MY WAY, OUR WAY.” IT WAS JUST AS WE’D PLANNED!
GOD AND CHURCH WERE AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY LIFE THIS ENTIRE TIME. I NEVER STRAYED TOO FAR FROM EITHER OF THEM AND MOST PEOPLE WHO KNEW ME CONSIDERED ME TO BE A “GOOD CHRISTIAN.” BUT AFTER SOME REFLECTION OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, I AM NOT SO CONFIDENT OF THEIR, OR AT THE TIME MY OWN, ASSESSMENT.

I WAS CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT BEING A CHRISTIAN WAS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE AND I’D BEEN FOLLOWING THE “INVERTED GOSPEL.” I CLAIMED TO BE FOLLOWING JESUS, BUT I HAD REALLY JUST INVITED HIM TO FOLLOW ME.

I DIDN’T COME TO THIS REALIZATION WITHOUT A DIVINE INTERVENTION.
ON MAY 3RD, 2012, I WAS INVOLVED IN A HORRIBLE CAR ACCIDENT WHERE I NEARLY DIED. GOD SAVED MY LIFE THAT DAY AND THEN WENT ON TO ORCHESTRATE A MIRACULOUS RECOVERY, THE KIND ONLY HE IS CAPABLE OF. MY MOST SIGNIFICANT INJURY FROM THAT DAY WAS A SEVERE TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI) CAUSED BY MY HEAD STRIKING A CONCRETE UTILITY POLE.

FOR THE FIRST FEW MONTHS FOLLOWING MY ACCIDENT, I RECOVERED QUICKLY. I HAD THE EXPECTATION THIS WOULD CONTINUE, AND I WOULD SOON BE BACK TO MY PRE-ACCIDENT SELF. BUT THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN AND I WASN’T SURE HOW TO HANDLE IT.

I WOULD SO OFTEN HEAR FROM OTHERS THEY WERE SO GLAD I WAS BACK TO “100%.” BUT I KNEW THAT I WASN’T.
WHEN THE REALITY OF THE PERMANENCE AND LONGSTANDING EFFECTS OF MY BRAIN INJURY BEGAN TO SINK IN, I WAS FEELING OVERWHELMED AND UNSURE OF THE FUTURE. I ALSO HAD SOME SERIOUS QUESTIONS FOR GOD ABOUT WHY THIS ALL HAD TO HAPPEN.

IT WAS SOMETIME AROUND THIS PERIOD OF DOUBT AND FEAR WHEN I BEGRUDGINGLY WENT TO A CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE WITH MY WIFE. WHILE THERE, I HEARD A TALK THAT CHANGED MY HEART AND MY LIFE. I CAN’T REMEMBER WHO WAS SPEAKING OR WHAT THE TOPIC WAS, BUT I’LL NEVER FORGET THE PASSAGE THEY REFERENCED.

“I KNOW YOUR DEEDS, THAT YOU ARE NEITHER HOT NOR COLD. I WISH YOU WERE EITHER ONE OR THE OTHER! SO, BECAUSE YOU ARE LUKEWARM-NEITHER HOT NOR COLD-I AM ABOUT TO SPIT YOU OUT OF MY MOUTH.”
REV. 3:15-16 (NIV)

THIS WAS A VERSE I’D HEARD BEFORE. AND WHEN I HEARD IT, I’D BE THINKING TO MYSELF, “MAN, I WOULD HATE TO BE ONE OF THOSE GUYS.” BUT NOW I’M SITTING THERE THINKING, I THINK ITS TALKING ABOUT ME!
NOW, I’D ALWAYS HEARD OF PEOPLE HAVING A MOMENT IN THEIR LIFE WHERE GOD SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO THEM AND THEY’RE INSTANTLY CHANGED. THAT HAD NEVER HAPPENED TO ME. AT LEAST NOT UNTIL THIS DAY!

I KNEW GOD WAS SPEAKING A TRUTH IN TO MY LIFE THAT I NEEDED TO HEAR AND GIVING ME A WAKE UP CALL THAT I SO BADLY NEEDED. I REALIZED AT THAT MOMENT MY LIFE HADN’T BEEN SPARED BECAUSE OF MY GOOD DEEDS OR BECAUSE I DESERVED IT, BUT IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE OF GOD’S AMAZING GRACE AND UNBELIEVABLE LOVE.

I REALIZED GOD WAS IN CONTROL OF ALL THAT WAS GOING ON AND HE HAD A PLAN. AND THIS IS SOMETHING I’LL BE FOREVER THANKFUL FOR BECAUSE HIS PLAN WAS MUCH GREATER THAN ANYTHING I COULD’VE EVER CAME UP WITH ON MY OWN.

ABOUT JEFF:

JEFF HUXFORD, M.D. CURRENTLY LIVES IN FRANKLIN, TN, WITH HIS WIFE (JACQUI) AND TWO CHILDREN (JAYSE, JENNA). AFTER HIS MEDICAL CAREER WAS CUT SHORT BY A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY, HE BECAME A BLOGGER, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER. JEFF FINISHED HIS FIRST BOOK, FINDING NORMAL: AN UNINVITED CHANGE, AN UNEXPECTED OUTCOME (MORGAN JAMES PUBLISHING) IN MARCH OF 2018. HE ALSO BLOGS AT JEFFHUXFORD.COM
YOU CAN CONTACT JEFF AT NEWNORMAL5312@GMAIL.COM.

watch Jeff Huxford’s Family

When Is Persecution Blessed?

Jesus didn’t preach His famous “Sermon on the Mount” in a white picketed fenced church with stained glass windows in which it casts beautifully colored shadows on the inside. No, He didn’t. Rather, Jesus Christ taught the people on a mountain side. Jesus was pretty controversial with His teaching stating that

They are blessed who realize their spiritual poverty, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. (Matthew 5:3 NCV)

However, Jesus was not finished there. He went on to say,

They are blessed who are persecuted for doing good, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow Me. But when they do, you will be blessed. Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to prophets who lived before you. (Matthew 5:10-12 NCV)

Later the Apostle Peter would write,

For to this you have been called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. (1 Peter 2:21 ESV)

Please take a look at this powerful YouTube video:

“Blessed Are The Persecuted”-Pastor Brian Smith

Here are some YouTube music videos:

“Blessings”-Laura’s Story

“Even If”-MercyMe

“Even If”-Kutless

“Even When It Hurts”-Hillsong UNITED

“Where Is God When It Hurts?” by Philip Yancey (21)

The fact is that God did come. He entered this world in human flesh, and saw and felt Himself what this world is like. Apart from the incarceration, our faith would have little to say to the farmhand.”-Philip Yancey

“When You Walk Into The Room”-Bryan & Catie Torwalt (Jesus Culture)

“It Was Finished”-Bryan &Catie Torwalt (Jesus Culture)

A True Story You Have To Read…

We met in church about five to ten years ago. His name is Mike Barkasy III, and this is his True Life story…

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES ???
JESUS taught us that we must live by a higher standard than what the world expects—a standard that is impossible for us to attain by our own efforts. It’s only through the power of GOD’s SPIRIT that HIS people can truly love and pray for those who intend to do them harm (Romans 12:14-21).
When we are devoid of Christ’s Love within us, we are as our enemies are to us.
When Saul was devoid of Christ’s Love within him, he persecuted and killed Christian’s.
Only when Christ , (as Saul fell to the ground ) , placed HIS love into Saul on the Damascus Road , did Saul’s hate convert to love, and he became Paul. However I believe the seed of was planted in Saul when Saul saw Steven’s love for JESUS , as Steven was being stoned and Saul held the coats of those stoning Steven. Saul saw the peace in Steven’s eyes looking up to the Heavens as he died.

A dear friend Pastor David Wilkerson , now past and with the LORD (Born in Pennsylvania) WENT TO THE HARDEST PARTS OF New York City in his youth to bring the Love of Christ to the unloveable of the streets. The pimps, prostitutes and street gangs. In doing so the street gangs hated him and persecuted and stole from him. One of the hardest and most dangerous gangs leaders Nicky Cruz targeted Pastor David many a times. At one time Nicky Cruz (Now a Pastor ) talked at a service that I was at , about how when Pastor David was speaking the Love of Christ to him; how he struck Pastor David very very hard across his face and threatened to kill him. And then how Pastor David struck back Nicky with the words saying “ Nicky ! You can cut me up into a thousand pieces and every one of those pieces will still love you.” Nicky screamed and went crazy when he heard those words; however that was the seed of CHRIST’s Love planted into Nicky.

In time Nicky gave himself to the LORD JESUS just before he was to destroy Pastor David’s Ministry.

To make this story short , Nicky now has a Nicky Cruz Outreach Ministries. The Ministry now brings the Love of CHRIST to other street gangs across the country and has brought many rival gangs peace between them and CHRIST in their lives. The last time I saw Nicky Cruz years ago , I saw the Love of CHRIST in his eyes. It would be worth some of you folks to see the movie made of him and Pastor David’s (The Cross and the Switchblade (1970)

In my life also , there a time I was devoid of CHRIST’s love within me.

However ,to make it short , over 30 years ago my 8 year old (along with 29 other little ones between 6 and 8) had something done to them so reprehensible by a school art teacher. It crushed my heart. I had hate evolve within me to the highest level I could ever imagine. What this man, my enemy did to my son ate at my mind every moment . Over time the court case went on until I found out the verdict for the teacher was a 60 year sentence decreased to a 1 year sentence. Ten months in a mental institution and two months in a prison. I went wild and my hate increased. My hate was so strong I managed to get myself arrested enough times from drinking and driving that I was sent to the same prison he was in. The guards thru the computer found out I was a parent of one of the children this teacher had molested. They told me I would be sent to maximum security and solitary for the protection of the teacher (who was a librarian in the prison now). My hate maxed out.

While I was in solitary an inmate looked thru the greeting card sized little window of my cell. He asked why I was in here. I told him the story of this teacher who molested my child and the inmate offered a way Ithat could have my vengeance .

He told me I could have him killed for two cartons of cigarettes. He told me he could have this teacher thrown own a stairwell head first. For the next two days I planned how I was to get the cigarettes and when I could get my wife to send me money for my commissaries ,but not for commissaries. On the third day I found a Christian track in my bed. It was the story of how Saul became Paul. How a evil , terrible, hateful killer became Paul. Finding out how he wrote almost one third of the New Testament. I then asked GOD, “How can you forgive this man”. I asked GOD ,”How can I forgive this teacher who harmed my little boy”. I was then struck down to my knees and I cried for the person I had become. I cried for the Love of CHRIST to heal me from this hate eating me alive. I then heard a voice say to me,” Are you MINE”? And I answered yes. The Holy Spirit came into me and allowed me to forgive thru JESUS CHRIST. Then on the third morning a prison guard told me to pack up I am leaving this prison because of overcrowding.

There is a SO MUCH MORE to this story during and after my imprisonment. My testimony takes about 90 minutes when I am asked to speak at churches and other churches in other countries. I have brought this story to many churches , parks and streets ; in this country and others since then.

What is ironic is I have been asked and do a outreach with a Pastor a few years ago for ex-inmates , who most of them were sex offenders. Only GOD could have placed me there with those who I would have hated and even killed over three decades ago. These men are looking for the Love of CHRIST in their lives now and for forgiveness. They want to follow JESUS now.

I have brought my testimony to mission trips out of our country and to whoever may need to hear about hate and forgiveness.
I could have never done this in my own flesh , but only thru JESUS CHRIST within me.
Isn’t it time to know how CHRIST can renew life within you?

With Love
Michael Barkasy

It will be 30 years ago I went into the prison on April 30, 1987 and on May 2nd 1987 the Holy Spirit first came to me and taught me to forgive.

——————————————————

Here is some YouTube videos that take the heart of his story:

“Prisoner”-Kelly Good

“Chain Breaker”-Zach Williams

“Forgiven”-Crowder

“Freedom”-Bethel Live

“Who Moved His Body?!”

Holy Scripture (all 4 gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) records, just as the dawn was breaking, a few women came to the tomb where Jesus Christ lay and worriedly wondered, “Who moved His body?”

Since Jesus Christ’s body was guarded by Roman soldiers in front of a burial cave made out of stone and so was the entrance to the tomb, the scribes and Pharisees of that day wanted to make sure that Jesus Christ’s body did not rise from the dead.

With all the protections that the scribes and the Pharisees wanted, the Roman guards fell asleep, and when they fell asleep Jesus Christ did His miraculous work, once again. Jesus Christ rose!!!

“Ressurection Day”-Matt Mayer

“Forever”-Kari Jobe

“Sea of Faces”-Kutless