insights magazine: february 2012
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DESCRIPTIONInsights Magazine is the monthly publication of Insight for Living Canada, the Bible teaching ministry of Chuck Swindoll.
Get in the Way
?SED UT pErSpiciaTiS
Copyright 2012 Insight for Living Canada. All rights reserved. No portion of this monthly publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. Insights is published by IFLC, the Bible teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. IFLC is an autonomous ministry and certified member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture passages are taken from the NASB. Printed in Canada. Unless otherwise noted, photography by IFLC staff.
But all this changed
when i read through the
Bible for myself.
3 Confusion Charles R. Swindoll
6 Jellyfish Ministry Steve Johnson
9 When the Bible is Offensive Steve Callaway
12 how to Cross Communication Barriers Scott Tolhurst
14 Creamed by a Dairy truck Phil Callaway
help Me understand
17 Forgiveness Insight for Living Canada
in this issue
by Charles R. Swindoll
One of the toughest assignments in life is to commu-nicate clearly what happened during a time when emotions were high.
People who fall in love can hardly describe it. those who went through a calamity or experienced a sudden loss often convey the in-formation in a confused manner. the same is true for people who were involved in car accidents.
the following is a series of actual quotes taken from insurance or accident forms. Believe it or not, they are the actual words of troubled people who tried to summarize their encounters.
Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I dont have.
As I approached the intersection, a stop sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever ap-peared before. I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.
The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.
My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.
I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my hand through it.
An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle, and vanished.
I told the police that I was not injured, but removing my hat, I found I had a skull fracture.
A truck backed through my wind-shield into my wifes face.
A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.
The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.
The guy was all over the road; I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
I saw the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.
The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
The telephone pole was approaching fast. I attempted to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.
I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
I was on my way to the doctors with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way, causing me to have an accident.
Comment on this article
Photograph of Chuck Swindoll 2010 by David Edmonson
Are those unbelievable, or what?the amazing fact is that each report
was made by some sincere, serious in-dividual who tried his or her best to be
clear and concise. Emotions have a way of smearing the lens of logical thinking and precise communication.
it often happens to Christians when we share how we were born again, or how we became new creatures in Christ. as non-Christians strain to fol-low our words, i wonder how many of them must wonder what our religious gobbledegook is all about. We think
were communicating clearly, but were not. We toss out terms fa-
miliar only to the in group yet foreign to non-Christians. (and
then we blame the listener for not being interested!) Our secret language calls for a decoding process. how much better to talk in a plain, believable manner so the spirit of God can make a new Christian!
Peter advised, always be ready to give
an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess (1 Peter 3:15 NEt).
take that as an assignment from God. always be ready! see if you can write out in one, non-technical, clich-free paragraph the hope within you, or your salvation ex-perience, or how someone can know God in a meaningful and intimate way.
Jesus took on this challenge when he spoke with a Jewish judge named Nicode-mus. and if you remember, even though our lord was painfully simple and the rabbi was awfully bright, Nicodemus still struggled as he tried to understand Christs words. Believe mecombating confusion is quite an assignment, espe-cially when the emotions of the heart cloud the expressions of the mouth.
its not that many have never heard . . . its that theyve heard and been confused by our verbiage.
Our job? Make it clear!
as non-christians strain to follow our words, I wonder how many of them must wonder what our
religious gobbledegook is all about.
by Steve Johnson
Recently while in Cuba i walked along a beautiful beach and came upon a jellyfish that had washed ashore. it seems high winds and strong currents had pushed hundreds of them toward the shore with many being cast up on the sand to await death.
i bent down and, careful so as to not be stung, gently pushed the jellyfish back into the water. as i did i thought of the story of the young man who, like me, had walked along a shoreline andinstead of jellyfishtossed washed-up starfish back into the ocean, one at a time. When questioned by a passerby as to the futility of trying to save the hundreds of beached starfish, the young man simply answered, i made a difference to that one.
i like to think i made a difference to one or two jellyfish that day.
When i consider our Christian respon-sibility to be salt and light, transform cul-ture, and make a difference in our world, i hear lots of rhetoric about the broad generalities of what Christians as a whole should do in standing up for justice and truth in society, about the big picture and large-scale movements.
i believe there is a place for that and some Christians are called and placed in positions to make a large impact in our so-ciety and world. But i cant help think this isnt the norm for most.
the majority of us are not placed in those high-level positions. Nor are we called upon by the lord to make a large-scale impact. like me with the jellyfish, or the young man with the starfish, we
are called to make a difference to whoever crosses our path as we walk through life.
But i dont see that happening. and it may be due to how we think about a thing called ministry.
somewhere along the line subtle shifts occurred in our thinking about Christian ministry. One shift occurred regarding the person who does ministry. in much of our thinking the position of pastor and minis-ter are synonymous. We think of our pas-tors as the ministers who minister by teach-ing, leading, counselling, and visiting. We think our part is to gather in the church building and be ministered to as if that was the end in view. then we return to our daily lives for the week and leave ministry in the hands of the professional minister.
another shift occurred regarding the place where ministry takes place. When Christians began to build church buildings the thinking became that ministry takes place within the four walls of the church building. When people think of finding a place to minister they usually think of ushering or teaching sunday school or serving somewhere in some program in the church building.
i think weve got it wrong. in the Early Church we see the believ-
ers gathering together to be equipped for
We are called to make a difference to whoever crosses our path as we walk through life.
on the air in february:
Steve Johnson is the executive director at IFLC.
Upcoming messages Include:
Lets Repair the FoundationIn Defence of Monogamy
Bricks that Build a MarriageWho Says the Honeymoon Must End?
How to Have a Good Fight
The deterioration of marriages today is a painful reality. This study will help to rekindle the fire that has grown cold. Let the Light of the world spark that flame with His truth until it becomes a radiant blaze once again.
life and ministry (acts 2:42-47; Eph. 4:12) and then sent out to minister as they lived their lives in the daily grind. the Bible teaches that every believer is a minister, gifted by the lord uniquely to minister as we go through life. and while some min-istry happens in a church building, its not the primary place for it. Ministry takes place out in the world where we live.
in the familiar story of the Good samari-tan (luke 10:30-35) it was the samaritan, with his somewhat different culture, as he traveled that he ministered to and im-pacted the broken and bruised man. it was in the course of carrying out his daily life
and business that the samaritan minis-tered and made a difference. he didnt transform his culture that day, but he made a difference to the life of the broken man. he was a minister, ministering to his neighbour, a man who crossed his path.
it is that ministry kind of approach to life by Christians that will transform our culture. the world will not know we are Christians by our buildings, programs, drama, or music. however, they will know we are followers of Christ and be won to