|Oct. 16, 2003|
Surgery. My surgery went fine. I remember being in the hospital in the pre-op room telling the anesthesiologist about how I'm resistant to some medications, pain killers, and anesthetics. I wanted to make sure he knew I was "special," and to take extra care -- not that I am neurotic about it or anything. He looked at me with a knowing kind of look......I woke up in a new place. The surgery was finished. That was easy.
So far, I've lost ten pounds. That is what happens when they fix a hiatal hernia. They go in through little incisions in your abdomen, take your stomach and esophagus, pull them back down in place, wrap another part of your stomach around the esophagus, and suture it in place. This way no more acid reflux! Anyway, you wake up and the Doctor says things like, "Here, eat this soup broth for 7 days. Oh, and you can have Jell-O, mush, pasty mush, and mushy mush, to eat. Don't even think about normal foods like pizza, hamburgers, steak, lasagna, etc. No, don't even dream about them for a while. I'll tell you when you can start on solids." Well, seven days after the mush diet, I'm 10 pounds lighter. The good news is that I have absolutely no more acid reflux and don't have to take any more medications. It is wonderful! Where's my acidic coffee so I can pour it down my newly yanked esophagus and enjoy the pleasures of that wonderful elixir?! Cofffffeeeeeeee! Wooooohoooooooo!
For those of you who prayed for me, I really want to thank you for your support. Surgery is always intimidating and it is great to know there is prayer support.
Also, my wife who had hand surgery three weeks ago is still recovering well. She is using ir more and it is strengthening.
The new notebooks have been released for about five weeks and a bunch of people have ordered the MOAN (Mother Of All Notebooks). Our printer took much longer than expected to get the first batch to us, but we finally have them and are mailing them out. We are still behind in orders because we didn't expect to have that many. Please bear with us.
Prayer: If you are called to pray and if you are interested in participating in the CARM prayer ministry, then please check out www.carm.org/prayer.htm. You can sign up to be a prayer partner or you can even submit a request for prayer. We really need people to pray. Especially, since lately I've been "sensing" that something is up. I believe there is a spiritual attack underway against my family and the CARM ministry. We have seen its effects already. I know the enemy, those satanists, occultists, and others, etc., who want to see CARM fail are trying to send evil spirits to do harm. Well, the Holy Spirit has moved me to awareness of this and pray and to have others pray. We have seen a great victory so far and know that more will come.
So, if you are called to pray, know there really is a spiritual war going on, and seek to absolutely do spiritual battle through your prayer gift, then check out the CARM prayer ministry at the link above.
The Bible and Archeology: Do you realize that there hasn't been a single archaeological find that has ever contradicted the Bible? Do you know that the Bible is extremely accurate about places and times? Do you realize that many archeological groups in the Middle East use the Old Testament as a guide in doing archaeological research? Its true. Why is it so accurate? Because God has made sure it is accurate. Because the people who copied the biblical manuscripts did such a fantastic job through the centuries that all of the ancient manuscripts of the entire Bible agree within 98.5% of each other. The 1.5% of differences are mostly very minor spelling and grammar issues. The Bible is amazing not only because it is been preserved so well, but also because it tells us about God's unfolding plan in history that has led to the Son of God dying on the cross for our sins. Amen and thank you Lord.
Image of God: We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). What does that mean? Does it mean that since we have a body of flesh and bones that God does too? Not at all. The image of God is the phrase used to describe those attributes of our nature that are similar to God's. For example, we can think, reason, love, and hate. We can be loving, self-sacrificing, and compassionate. It is these types of qualities that we possess because we are made in the image of God.
Furthermore, it means that all people are worthy of being treated properly with respect, love, compassion, etc., because they too are made in God's image. So, think about it next time you find yourself behaving to someone in a manner that suggests they are not made in God's image.
To the cross again. I am a sinner. I don't want to be a sinner. But I am. I have sins that still get the best of me. In fact, there are sins that I have confessed to God so many times that I feel like I should just make a recording of a prayer of confession, carry it around in a small tape player, aim it heavenward, and just play the tape several times a day. But that would rob me of something special: God Himself.
The Lord saved me knowing everything about me. He knew I would continue to commit sins. Yet, He chose to save me. He knew I would have to struggle not to be an arrogant, lustful, prideful, jerk throughout my whole life and would fail countless times. Yet, He chose to save me. He knew that I would try and bargain my way out of guilt, out of repentance, and out of accountability. Yet, He chose to save me. He knew about the sinfulness of my being and the deceitfulness of my heart. He knew everything! Yet, He chose to save me. Why? Why me? Why did He save me? One thing I know. It is not because of anything in me. Not at all. It is because of everything in Him: love, patience, kindness, humility, compassion, empathy, sacrifice, and so much more. I am saved because of Him and His love.
So what do I do with these persistent sins? Do I just give into them and say, "Well, that's the way I am and God's going to have to accept me this way"? No. Do I say, "I can't help it so I am not going to worry about my sins,"? No. Do I give into them so many times that I don't feel their conviction anymore? May it never be. Instead, I go to the cross again, and again, and again, and again. You see, I just don't have anything else I can do.
Let me start again. I am a sinner. I don't want to be a sinner. But I am. I have sins that still get the best of me. But, I keep going to the cross with them, every time, and I mean every time. Every time I fall into the same old sin, I go to the cross, confess it, and ask forgiveness...again. When I fall again, I go to the cross again. You need to do the same thing. You can't let your sins get you down. You need to go to the cross, no matter what. You must go there. You have to.
I need to let you in on a secret. Don't pass it around too much, but...I'm weak and susceptible to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). I used to think that being a Christian meant absolute victory. But, I have found that it means struggle, that victories are very real, but so are defeats. This Christian walk is not that easy sometimes. In fact, it can be quite difficult. That is why I have to keep clinging to the cross. I don't have anything else I can do sometimes. I can't make any deals with God about my sin. I can't guilt-whip myself for my sins until I feel "worthy" enough to go get forgiven! I have absolutely nothing I can do but to continue to resist sin, judge my sins as sin, confess them to the Lord, ask Jesus to forgive me yet another time, and continue to cling to the cross of my redemption, that place where my Lord God bought the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). That is all I can do. That is all you can do.
The older I get the more I realize I how much more I need the cross. The more I see my sins reflected against the purity of Jesus, the more I realize I need His cleansing sacrifice. I used to think that the cross was the place where I first met Christ and "got forgiven" and that now my Christian life consists of church, good deeds, confession, helps, etc. But, more and more I am realizing that the cross of Christ needs to be central in my life, my heart, my family, my love, my speech, my writing, my thinking, and, of course, my confession.
What about you? What is the center of your life? Or better yet, Who is the center of your life? Who do you go to for help with the deepest of needs, the deepest of confessions? Go to Jesus. Go and seek the Lord Jesus, confess your sins to Him. Receive His forgiveness. He knows all about you.
To the cross again I go.
There is nothing else I know.
Its strength is all I need.
Where Jesus for me did bleed.
To cleanse me of my sins
To give me strength within
Jesus alone I know.
To the cross again I go.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," (NASB).
If you think CARM is a worthwhile ministry, please seriously consider supporting it financially and prayerfully. The goal is to contribute to that which expands the kingdom of God. If you want to help CARM move towards full time status, please consider giving to this non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. http://www.carm.org/goods/donations.htm.
ONE LAST THING: I thought I would leave this for the end of the Newsletter. CARM is eight years old this month, a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It has grown tremendously and helped thousands upon thousands of people. I have received around 100,000 emails. CARM gets 4000 visitors a day from all over the world. I have several volunteers helping with the discussion boards. Eric in Minn. is researching Board of Director issues and grants. Dianne in W. Virginia oversees the volunteers. Matt in Oregon helps me answer the hundreds of weekly emails. My wife takes care of the orders that come in for the notebooks and CD's. Me? I'm writing another book, setting up more seminars, and still researching for CARM. But I have to do it all in my spare time, after my 40 hour a week job.
Please bear with me a bit more. I have a Masters of Divinity from Westminster Seminary in Escondido, CA., and have been a pastor in a Presbyterian Church. But my passion is apologetics which I have been studying for 23 years. I can do it, am called to do it, and must to do it. If I don't, I shrivel up. Sometimes it a driving force that the Holy Spirit has blown into my soul. If you haven't heard me preach on this, then you haven't seen the passion. It is there.
I see the need in churches and among Christians to equip the body of Christ. It is so obvious and we Christians need accurate information in this society that is increasingly hostile to Christianity. Our faith is under attack but Christians are ill equipped. CARM is helping to give answers -- and it is working. People all over the world contact me and thank me for what is there. Students, pastors, moms, dads, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc., all email me telling me how CARM has kept them out of cults, stopped them from giving up their faith, helped them grow closer to Christ, and given them information to give to others. People ask for tapes, videos, books, and more. They ask about cult groups, doctrines, Bible verses, etc. They want to know the basics of Christianity and how to stay grounded. They want to know how to answer professors in school. They want to know how to evangelize. They want to know! Answering their questions is a daunting job -- especially since I do CARM in my spare time, have a family, and do computer work full time.
My goal is to go full time in this. I know God has called me to do this. What has He called you to do? My gifts are in teaching and I need the financial support of those Christian in the body of Christ who have been gifted by God in that respect. There is so much more that can be done. I want to produce videos, audio tapes, flash presentations, downloadable PowerPoint presentations (see an example), teaching manuals (the MOAN), online instruction courses (in the works), and much more. So much can be done. Look at what I've done this in my spare time. Think what I could do if I were doing it full time!
So, I am sincerely asking for people to support CARM. I am asking for people to commit to monthly donations for any period of time. It doesn't have to be much. But, with 21,708 people on this newsletter list, if enough Christians were to commit to supporting CARM, then I could go full time. I need to do this. Think about it. If 1/2 of the people on the list agreed to just $1 a month, I could go full time and hire someone to help. It wouldn't take much.
If you want to help me go full time so I can support my wife and kids and do this ministry and, Lord willing, get a much needed staff, then please email me at email@example.com and let me know what you would do, how much you could commit to. I am not asking for it now. I am only asking for people's input; its research to find God's will in this. Then, I can publish a chart of proposed support, email the info to those who want to support, and at the right time take the step of faith.
So far, by God's grace, CARM is already bringing in around $1000 a month in support from two sources: a small handful of committed Christians and the selling of the apologetics notebooks. God is providing. If so few can do so much, can you be one of them? But to do more, we need more. Can you be a part of increasing the kingdom of God through CARM? Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.
Equipping the church to defend the faith in a secular world.
To view past newsletters, please go to http://www.carm.org/newsletters_2003.htm.
There are 21,708 people on this newsletter list as of 10/16/03