Pursuing Justice in a Too-Easy-to-Quit World

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The following is an excerpt from Eugene Cho’s book, Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2014), 118, 122-125.

Today, it’s just so easy.

Easy to change.

Easy to quit.

Easy to abandon ship.

Easy to file for a divorce online.

So easy to do whatever.

In Luke 5 we read about what most scholars speculate to be four friends who encounter a man who was paralyzed. They felt compassion for the man and wanted to bring him to Jesus for healing.

Let’s be real here—it probably wasn’t an easy task. We don’t know how long or how far they carried this person. We don’t know the conditions of the road or path. We have no idea how heavy this man was, but to carry a grown man who could not help himself move was, and is, no easy task. In short, it was a commitment.

So these guys carried this man to the home where Jesus was speaking, believing that Jesus could do something to help. When they arrived, they saw that the home was packed. There was a huge crowd. Standing room only. There was absolutely no way in. Story over. They had every reason to give up.

Put yourself in this situation. Imagine if it were you. You see the huge crowd. You’re tired. You’ve just carried a grown dude for some fair distance. You probably say, “Sorry, dude,” and give up. Fair enough. So you hold up your phone, snap a selfie of yourself frowning, with the invalid and the crowd in the background of the picture, then cross-post it to Facebook and Twitter with this comment:

Way too crowded. Maybe next time. #TryingToHelp #Invalid #Jesus #YOLO

You’d get lots of likes, several affirming comments to your post, and seven retweets. The story could’ve ended there. We would all applaud with a polite golf clap. We would say, “I don’t blame you. You did what you could.” Isn’t that such a common saying nowadays? You did what you could.

Sometimes we underestimate not just what we can do in our lives but what God can do in our lives. These guys did not give up. They had faith that God could act, that He could heal. They were compelled by their compassion for this man who understood the pain of being marginalized, ostracized, and ignored.

They considered their options and came up with a solution they probably thought was a bit crazy at first. If they couldn’t bring this paralyzed man through the door, they’d lower him down into the home through the roof.

Once they decided that lowering a man in from the ceiling would be a good idea, they needed to figure out how to do it. While I’m no expert on house structures of the first century in Israel, they likely had to walk up some steep, narrow stairs on the side of the home and then hoist him up onto the roof. Together they lifted 150 to 200 pounds of unwieldy weight.

Once they figured that out and did it, they then had to dismantle the roof itself. I hope the homeowner had insurance. Once the roof had a sizable hole in it, the man had to be lowered into the room. Imagine the yelling and commotion from within the crowded home. Everyone in the room looked up at the roof.

And then, of course, Jesus healed their friend and commended their faith.

What a moment.

This story inspires me for several reasons. These men had compassion. They cared. They saw the invalid as someone worthy of attention.
They had faith in Jesus. This was fairly early in Jesus’s ministry, and I’m certain that these men still had many questions about Jesus, but what they knew, heard, felt, and experienced was enough for them to have faith in Him.

They worked together to make this happen.

When I say we’ve got to be tenacious, I’m not suggesting that we have to be tenacious by ourselves. Sometimes we’ve got to look for like-minded, like-hearted, and similarly tenacious people, and either join them or recruit them to our cause.

Their creativity inspires me. They probably had to convince people that though it seemed crazy, they could do it. They didn’t quit. They had a goal in mind. It may not have been pretty. They might’ve said a few choice words along the way. They certainly messed up a roof. Maybe they dropped the man at one point. I’m sure they were sweaty, but they believed that his life mattered.

Maybe it seems kind of self-centered, but when Jesus looked up and saw them opening up the roof, the Bible says that He saw their faith. The faith of the men helping. Then Jesus told the disabled man, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20).

Now that’s a better ending to the story. And imagine this tweet instead:

We did it! Jesus saw the man, healed him, forgave him! #Thankful #PraiseJesus #RaiseTheRoof

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Interested in reading more? Download  Overrated by Eugene Cho for just $9.59 on Vyrso today!

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Remembering September 11, 2001

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Today we pause in remembrance of September 11, 2001, and the thousands who lost their lives in the tragic events at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. We will never forget what was lost that day. The following excerpt is from Leslie Haskin’s firsthand account of her harrowing escape from the World Trade Center in her ebook Between Heaven and Ground Zero. She recollects the courage displayed in the actions of the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who were on site at the attacks:

“Movement caught my attention, and I looked up. It was then that I heard the scrambled radios and noticed police officers carrying victims and firefighters racing into the stairways. There they were— the cavalry—my knights.

One after the other those noble men ran toward the upper floors with little hope of survival and all the grace of God. They shouted to one another as they hurried about, and despite the distance between us, I saw dread in their faces. I saw years of training and rescue procedures boil down to that one moment. That moment that broke millions of hearts with a single falling tear or drop of blood heard from downtown New York City to the hills of California, the towers in Paris, and the deserts of Afghanistan. . . .

More than anything, I wish I could speak of joy that came through all the suffering on that particular September morning, but I cannot. There was none. However, in the greatest moments of desperation and overwhelming sorrow, God’s loving and outstretched arms were waiting for my acceptance. I now know that His holy presence and peace called to me at every point of overwhelming despondency and paralyzing trepidation.”

 Today, we remember.

 

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Meet the Chans: Living Missionally

Through September 19, get Francis and Lisa Chan’s new ebook, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, for just $1.99 on Vyrso!

What does it look like to live missionally?

Francis and Lisa Chan look to unpack this question in their new ebook, You and Me Forever, focusing on the bigger picture for marriage as a mission and marriage in light of eternity.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Francis and Lisa decided to serve in a village ministry in Africa that one of their friends started. The village ministry was centered around feeding children dying of starvation, liberating women trapped in prostitution, and giving hope and opportunity to a community ravished by poverty. 

In an effort to truly live the missional lives they define in You and Me Forever, Francis and Lisa decided to use You and Me Forever as a way to support the work in places like this village in Africa.

The Chans will donate 100% of the net profits they earn from You and Me Forever to fund projects around the world through Crazy Love Ministries.

A few of these ministry projects include providing food, shelter, and rehabilitation for thousands of orphaned children and exploited women​.

Take a look into the life of the Chans as they seek to live missionally:

You can contribute to the Chan’s mission—get Francis and Lisa Chan’s new ebook, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, for just $1.99 on Vyrso through September 19.

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The Blessing of Bread – Guest Post by Jamie George

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Today’s guest post is written by Jamie George, the author of Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck, and pastor of The Journey Church in Franklin, Tennessee.  

“Give us this day our daily bread.” — Matthew 6:11

In order to steer ourselves toward His glory, we need navigation. In order to fuel this vehicle and keep it on mission we need nourishment. We start with the physical:“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Our daily need for food is meant to be a constant reminder. We are not our own source of sustenance, we are creatures in daily need.

It would not have been lost on Jesus’ hearers that their ancestors looked to God literally, each day for daily bread or something like it. When the Israelites were wandering around in the desert for 40 years after their refusal to trust God, He displayed His faithfulness by providing for them manna from heaven.  This manna was unusual. It was like a bread source that could be used for various dishes in various ways, and provided daily nourishment. Daily.

Whatever was not used that day went bad. What was needed would then be provided the following day. Jesus hearers would easily have made the connection.

“Give us this day our daily bread” is a declaration of dependence.

Some of us have trouble receiving. We don’t like asking for help. It makes us feel weak. Praying this prayer is acknowledging that I am weak.

“Consumerism is a narcotic that dulls the awareness that we are in need. By buying what we need, we assume control of our lives. 

We replace a sense of need with a sense of ownership, and our sense of neediness recedes . . . . Needs prepare us for a life of receptivity. Every so-called limit is access to a gift.”

—Tell it Slant, Eugene Peterson

If you are fully self-sufficient then you have no need for love. If, however, you are in need, you are in a place of receptivity. You are prepped for love. Many of us are ambitious about giving love away, but have we learned to be just as ambitious in our desire to receive it?

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Want to read more from Jamie George? Check out Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck today!

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How to Stock Your Digital Library: 99-cent Fiction Sale

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Everyday our goal at Vyrso is to provide you the best possible Christian content at competitive prices. Today, we’re excited to announce one of the best ways to stock your digital library this fall—Vyrso’s 99-cent fiction sale! You can choose from over 100 Christian fiction titles that range from thrilling spy novels to heart-warming historical novels set in 1800s Oregon.

We’ve packed this sale with a variety of genres, so don’t shy away from expanding your reading list this fall.

Here is a list of staff recommendations you’ll enjoy from the 99-cent fiction sale:

  1. Otherworld by Jared C. Wilson
  2. Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake
  3. Unlimited by Davis Bunn
  4. Reinventing Rachel by Allison Strobel
  5. Israel, My Beloved by Kay Arthur
  6. The 13: Fall by Robbie Cheuvront & Erik Reed
  7. Just Above a Whisper by Lori Wick
  8. Plain Death by Amanda Flower
  9. Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell
  10. Leaving Lancaster by Kate Lloyd

Over the next three weeks, get to know some of the authors featured in the sale, like Joy Jordan-Lake, Kate Lloyd, Miralee Ferrell, and others, with exclusive interviews. Learn about the inspiration behind their work, how they started writing, and more about titles you can find in the sale.

Browse our recommended titles and other titles on sale available for a limited time!

What title will you be adding to your reading list with our 99-cent fiction sale?

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Learning to Be Led: A New Perspective on Leadership

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If you claim a leadership role of any kind, then you’ve probably been to a leadership seminar or two, maybe you’ve read some books to solidify your knowledge of good leadership. After a while though, those books and seminars begin to look and sound all too similar. Maybe it’s not the content though, maybe it’s our perspective on learning how to lead.

New to Vyrso

We’ve recently released 81 new titles on Vyrso as Rick Goossen’s Interviews with Entrepreneurial Leaders. Each of these interviews transcribes a conversation between Dr. Richard Goossen and someone in leadership, business, law, community development, or another highly relevant, entrepreneurial role.

Goossen is a decorated entrepreneur and leader on his own. For years he served as CEO of M & A Capital Corp.—a business advisory board. He’s written 3 books—some of which have been translated into six different languages! Goossen currently serves as a Relationship Manager and Strategic Advisor with Covenant Family Wealth Advisors in both Vancouver, B.C. and Toronto, Ontario.

Hearing the experience of entrepreneurs and leaders that have already forged their own path helps to give perspective on what did and didn’t work for them, so you can properly assess what may or may not work for you. Goossen understands that in order to lead, we must first know and understand how to be led.

So much wisdom can be taken from listening to respected and successful leaders like Anne Beiler (founder of Auntie Anne’s pretzels), Allan Burnett (minister at Stanley Park Chapels), or George Tidball (founder of McDonald’s Canada). Each interview from leaders like these and so many more are now available for only $0.99!

Looking to learn more?

If reading through these interviews gets you excited and ready to learn more about leadership from your new perspective, check out Goossen’s next conference coming up. The Entrepreneurial Leaders Organization is putting on a conference in Vancouver, B.C. this coming October 16-17, 2014 and in Toronto, Ontario on October 23, 2014.

Join the ranks of so many other Christian leaders and business people and get new leadership inspiration and know-how. And when you register for one of these two entire conferences, you’ll receive the Entrepreneurial Interview Bundle for free!

Register for the Entrepreneurial Leaders Conference today!

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Change Your Mind on Marriage: Free EBook from Francis and Lisa Chan

Get Francis and Lisa Chan’s new ebook for free through September 4!

“The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage.”

You and Me Forever sets aside typical marital topics to take on an outward focus for marriage and capture the bigger picture of marriage as a mission. Francis and Lisa look at married relationships through a different lens and unpack Scripture that helps put marriage in the light of eternity. Whether you’re married, single, or dating, You and Me Forever deepens your understanding of marriage and what it looks like to have a relationship that satisfies even the deepest part of your soul.

Francis and Lisa are self-publishing You and Me Forever, and 100% of the net proceeds they earn will be dedicated to projects around the world through Crazy Love Ministries.

Through September 4, get Francis and Lisa Chan’s new ebook, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, for free on Vyrso! Not only will you get this brand-new ebook, but the Vyrso edition of You and Me Forever comes with linked Bible references for easy reading alongside Scripture.

Want to learn more about this ebook from Francis and Lisa? Check out the book trailer:

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Get your copy of You and Me Forever for free on Vyrso through September 4!

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How to Impress a Girl, Cook the Pefect Steak, and More: An Interview with Jonathan Catherman

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Today’s interview is with Jonathan Catherman—world traveler, speaker, and author of The Manual to Manhood.

1. What are the two biggest things that every guy wants?

At his core of every guy is looking for the same two things. They are hard to identify yet both can be difficult to gain. Simply put, every guy, no matter his age, wants to gain respect and avoid embarrassment.

2. In The Manual to Manhood, you offer a lot of practical advice with step-by-step instructions. How did you learn all of this knowledge?

I believe if I’m not learning I’m not truly living, and I love life. Life is built on many different experiences so I’m constantly looking for new ways to gain more experience. Wiser people than I taught me the value of learning by the, “SEE–DO–TEACH” method. When I “See” that I don’t know how to do something, like grill a steak, I find somebody to teach me. Then I practice doing it myself. Finally I secure my knowledge by teaching someone else. I’m still learning this way.

3. What is your favorite piece of advice to pass along and why?

My friends Jason and David Benham shared these words of wisdom: “Be a fountain, not a drain.” When I asked them to explain this advice they said it simply means that in any situation, try to give more than you expect to take away. Think about it—this is what keeps relationships healthy, teams winning, businesses profitable, and builds the kind of confidence people need to make meaningful life contributions.

4. In your book, you talk about the journeys and events that boys take to become men in different cultures. What is your favorite coming-of-age journey from the past, and how does it relate to becoming a man today?

One of my favorite coming-of-age journeys is from the Native American culture. In some tribes a boy become a man when he is separated from his people for several days and bravely survives on his own. He did this to prove his independence and maturity. It’s also important for guys today to demonstrate their independence and maturity. Yet many guys rely heavily on others to take care of their every need. A man in the making practices caring for his own needs. I’m not suggesting leaving home for a few days. Instead, guys need to learn how to take care of own needs, like cleaning up after themselves, fix-it projects, doing laundry, preparing real food, and how to act in ways that show he is maturing. When a guy knows how to take care of his basic needs he is establishing himself to one day set out on his own.

5. What are three keys to becoming a man of character?

Character takes a lifetime to build and can be broken in a second. Three key aspects of a strong lifelong character include:

  1. Living a principle-centered life.
  2. Doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reason even when no one is looking.
  3. Giving more than you expect to take away.

6. Why did you write The Manual to Manhood?

I started the book as a gift to my own sons, Reed and Cole. They are on their own journey of transformation from boys to men. The book is dedicated to them both. Additionally, I meet thousands of guys each year at my events, speaking engagements, and leadership trainings that lack some of the most basic life skills. It’s my hope that The Manual to Manhood will help them gain the respect all men desire and avoid the embarrassment all men fear. The world needs more good, capable, and confident men to lead families, communities, businesses, politics, faith, and all that life throws at guys. This book is a start for guys who want to build a solid foundation upon seemingly simple things so they can one day take on much greater levels of stewardship in life.

7. Why should teens—or grown men for that matter—read your book?
What would you say to a woman who is thinking about reading your book?

Contrary to a popular saying, practice does not make perfect. Practice will make you better. To the teen guys, grown men, and women alike who want to get better at doing real-life stuff and live in a way that empowers themselves and others than read The Manual to Manhood. Remember, those who can be trusted with the little things in life can be trusted with much more. You can trust that what you read in The Manual to Manhood will help you become more confident within and throughout life.

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Get Jonathan Catherman’s ebook, The Manual to Manhoodon Vyrso today for just $9.74 and learn 101 skills you’ll need to survive!

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Simply Trusting: The Story of Lysa Terkeurst

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Recently, we had the privilege of interviewing Lysa Terkeurst about her new book, and her insight into making wise decisions. Her powerful message helps free Christians who are trapped by indecision and burdened by choices. Now, she’s on the cover of the next issue of Bible Study Magazine!

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine today, and save over 32% off the cover price!

God doesn’t make mistakes

Check out this excerpt from the cover story:

“When Lysa TerKeurst—author, speaker, and mother of five—began working for Proverbs 31 Ministries, she felt ‘like God made a mistake in calling me because I was hyper-aware of my imperfections.’ Then, through a friend’s Bible study, TerKeurst discovered ‘the concept of my identity being in Christ—that I was a dearly loved child of God, and his love is not based on my performance.’ Now, ‘reading God’s Word is exciting because I need it. I am so desperate to know how to do life in the way God wants me to.’”

BSM is full of articles and tools to help you grow in your faith. Along with a fantastic article on Lysa Terkeurst, the September-October issue digs into The Gospel through Oppression and Freedom with Pastor Gelu Paul-Faina, and explores 1–3 John with “Not Your Average Bible Study.” You’ll also find D.I.Y. Bible study tips, thoughts from the Church fathers, things they don’t tell you in church, and more.

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine to get the Lysa Terkeurst issue. For more from Lysa Terkeurst, check out her new book, The Best Yes, available now!

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Stories and Studies for your Elementary School Student

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Yesterday we focused on teens, and today we wanted to round out the end of our back to school bundle sale with books for your youngsters in elementary school. Teaching your kids to love God and the stories and concepts of the Bible early in life can pay dividends in their faith down the road. We’ve created two bundles of ebooks that are great to read together or even for your son or daughter read on their own.

Get the Bible Stories for Your Elementary Kids Bundle for $7.49 and the Bible Studies for Kids Bundle for $12.99. These deals will only last until 7:59 a.m. EDT tomorrow morning!

 

Bible Stories for Your Elementary Kids

101 Awesome Bible Facts for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

This 144-page fact book is as entertaining as it is informative. Each page includes an interesting statistic, a helpful definition, or some other noteworthy morsel of data from the Old or New Testament as well as a playful cartoon illustration. The tidbits of information are organized in the order they appear in the Bible, giving young readers a feel for the story line of Scripture.

 

The Awesome Book of Bible Stories for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

These comical illustrations and thoroughly up-to-date retellings of Bible stories will captivate young minds and hearts while maintaining the integrity of the characters and message.

 

The Awesome Book of Unusual Bible Heroes for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

Kids often hear Sunday school lessons about Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. But what about Ehud, Deborah, Jonathan, and some of the other lesser-known but equally colorful heroes of the Bible? Popular children’s author and illustrator Sandy Silverthorne uses hilarious drawings and modern-day settings to introduce kids to some of the everyday people God has used in amazing ways. Each story includes an age-appropriate devotional that ties a life lesson to the character and helps kids apply what they learn to their own lives.

 

Bible Studies for Kids

Jesus in the Spotlight: John, Chapters 1-10 by Kay Arthur and Cyndy Shearer

This book will help children discover a richer appreciation for the Word of God and a deeper understanding of God’s love and care for them. In Jesus in the Spotlight, kids “make” a movie to discover who Jesus is and His impact on their lives. Activities and 15-minute lessons make this John 1–10 study in the Discover 4 Yourself® series great for ages 9–12.

 

Jesus—Awesome Power, Awesome Love: John, Chapters 11-16 by Kay Arthur

Jesus—Awesome Power, Awesome Love picks up where Jesus in the Spotlight left off—John 11. Kids join a movie production team to bring the life of Jesus to the big screen. Acting out various roles, including special-effects person and makeup artist, they’ll learn key truths about prayer, heaven, and Jesus.

 

God’s Amazing Creation: Genesis Chapters 1&2 by Kay Arthur & Jana Arndt

Young scholars put on their archaeologist hats to help inductive detectives Max and Molly dig up the truth about what happened “in the beginning,” who the Creator is, and how the heavens, earth, sea, people, and animals came into existence.

 

Becoming God’s Champion: 2 Timothy by Kay Arthur & Jana Arndt

Kay Arthur’s successful New Inductive Bible studies series for kids has a new addition. Now the clever team of Max, Molly, and the wonder-sleuth Beagle, Sam, discover how to be champions for God by exploring the winning offerings of 2 Timothy. Young readers enter an Olympic summer camp, engage in exciting competitions, and explore the official rulebook, the Bible. Together with Max and Molly, readers will race to discover: what the good news about Jesus is and how to learn it for themselves, how they can pass the baton of belief on to others, and how they can stay faithful and run the race even when others quit.

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These bundles are only available for 24 hours, so make sure to take advantage of the savings today! Get the Bible Stories for Your Elementary Kids Bundle for $7.49 or the Bible Studies for Kids Bundle for $12.99!

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