Category Archives: heroes

Lose Your Cool

Lose Your Cool by Zach Hunter When I first picked up Zach Hunter’s book Be the Change, I had no clue how it would start me on a journey that hopefully will be life long. I had no clue that simply starting a LC2LC (Loose Change 2 Loosen Chains) campaign at my church could turn into one of the biggest parts of my life. I had no clue that it could turn into something that my father has entitled “Olivia’s little crusade” or has made my friends get used to hearing me ramble on and on about human trafficking that they either just smile in amusement or sort of shake their heads.

Zach Hunter is releasing his third book, Lose Your Cool, today which is on the topic of finding what you are passionate about, finding those things that change not only the world, but yourself as well. Most of you know what I am passionate about, those two things that grip me and I am utterly in love with, the gospel and fighting sexual trafficking. Some of you know how it’s my dream to work as a counselor for victims of trafficking and prostitution, working to help transform them with the power of the gospel. I am so very thankful that God has used Zach to introduce me to this passion and burden for ending modern day slavery and bringing justice to the oppressed.

Lose Your Cool can be found here as well as head over to invertbooks.com to get some cool free stuff. You can follow Zach on Twitter and tweeting about the book enters you to win some really sweet prizes. I can’t wait to get my hands on the book and see what Zach has to say, and… I hear that the story of Amy Carmichael is included in the book, so it must be good. ;)

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God is Good – Nathan Junker UPDATE

I just saw my dad’s status on Facebook and they found Nathan’s body.  Please pray for the family. Nathan is in Heaven, but his family is left here and I’m sure their hearts are broken. A friend of mine reminded me that the fact he is in Heaven is a miracle. Again, please pray.

“I write to you with a heavy heart. This afternoon, Pastor Nathan Junker and Al “Herm” Hermiston, a long-time youth leader at Faith Baptist Church, were with the Jr. High youth on Pokegama lake. The two of them and 5 of the youth were on a sand bar near Drumbeater Island and were swept out by the waves and wind, unknown to others who were on a beach nearby. They struggled to swim back. Several of the youth and Herm were wearing life vests, but Herm gave his to one of the kids who did not have one. All 5 of the youth made it safely back, but the two men did not. Herm was found face down in the water and taken to the hospital, where he died. At this time, Nathan has still not been found in spite of the search efforts of others in the party and law enforcement. Please pray for Herm’s family, especially his wife Nancy, and for Nathan’s family: wife Samantha (Sam), and children Lauren, Alexandra, Journey, and Lincoln. Nathan’s father Randy Junker is pastor of the Grand Rapids Alliance Church. His mother’s name is Debbie. And pray for the people of both churches and the community who have been affected by these men.” (http://www.hogshadows.com/2009/06/praying-for-nathan-family.html)

Last night we received the news that Nathan Junker was missing. His father pastors my grandma’s church. He is a casual friend of my dad and a fellow pastor from the area. This winter when our church hosted the yearly Missions conference in our area, he was involved in a skit with my dad, another associate pastor, and a missionary that we were sending out. I remember his kids. They were so little. He is only about 30 himself.

It’s so hard to look at these situations as see God’s goodness. I’m struggling today to do just that. Baring a miracle, Nathan is dead, his wife widowed, and children fatherless. To see God’s goodness in such a devastating situation is hard. But no matter what we think or feel, God is good. He is good and this is all in His perfect plan. Even when our heart screams against it, God is still good.

In all… we hold on to the future hope. While hope that Nathan is living wears away more every minute, we have a future hope. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”(Revelation 21:4) Nathan was a believer therefore, we do not grieve as those that have no hope. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

Please keep the Junkers in your prayers, as well as Al Hermiston’s family. I still am praying for a miracle, but the fact that Nathan had no life jacket and it’s now been overnight… they are only expecting to find a body. But in all of this. God is good.

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Death is Not Dying

Our life is fragile and easily blown away. But death is not dying.

Today I finally sat down to watch the video of Rachel Barkey speaking to a group of women about the terminal cancer that fills her body and the faith in God that fills her soul. It’s a beautiful address that everyone should hear. It’s just under an hour long but it’s well worth the time out of your day. She is a beautiful inspiration and I believe that through her upcoming death God will work wonders and be glorified. I can not wait to meet her in heaven some day and while it is so sad that she is only 37 and leaving behind a husband, two young children, and other family and friends, she will be in heaven and God will use her life and death for His good and glorious purposes. Now go and watch the video and let her words speak for themselves!

(Picture courtesy Keara Jaelyn.)

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Pearls of Wisdom

pearls-of-wisdom-big 

  Hello everyone! Over at my other blog Imperishable Beauty, we are starting out a new feature with my mom and Abigail’s mom (Mrs. Kraft) entitled Pearls of Wisdom. They will be answering two questions a month each and it will be a great way for them to impart their knowledge and wisdom with our readers. These are two godly and wonderful women, both of whom I admire and look up to so I am very excited for this endeavor. So if any of you, especially you girls, have any questions that you would like an answer to from two wise women, go on over to the blog and ask away! 

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Rachel Scott: Ten Year Anniversary of Columbine

 About a year ago around this time I was reading a wonderful book entitled “Rachel’s Tears”, the story of Rachel Scott who was killed in the Columbine school shootings for her faith ten years ago yesterday. Her story has made a big impact in my life and I consider her one of my heros. She lived out her faith in very practicle ways and she was devoted to being the hands and feet of Christ. She showed Christ’s love through befriending the friendless. When she was violently gunned down by two guys that she had actually been praying for, the last thing anyone said to her was “do you still believe in your God now?” 

 Yesterday was the ten year anniversary of the Columbine shooting. A year ago on April 20th I wrote a poem about Rachel on the ninth anniversary of her death. It was one of the first poems I wrote that wasn’t for school or that had a real message to it. So while it wasn’t very good, I wanted to share it with you and also encourage you to look into Rachel’s story more. Also go check our Rachel’s Challenge also the ministry set up in her memory. Without further ado, here is my poem:

 

Was it a life wasted?

A like only tasted?

She was so young, 

A life only begun. 

Yet she was so ready

Unlike so many. 

 

Always she’ll be,

Forever seventeen.

Yes, that is a tragedy.

Yet she served as a witness,

 to the faithless.

 

Her prayers came true,

He used her as a tool

And as our tears fall

We remember she is with God.

 

It was not a life wasted,

Though only tasted.

She knew,

She was only passing through.

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The Greatest Power For Change

 I live in a tough area of the country. Drugs and alcohol abuse run strong and there are as many bars as churches, if not more. It’s the most unchurched county in the state. Teen alcoholism, STDs, and pregnancies run high. There are children as young as four roaming the streets in the town. A few years ago a girl like that was kidnapped and hasn’t been found. It’s a hard place here.

 Yet God has been changing my heart towards it… while I used to have a bitterness and an attitude of scoffing towards the depraved culture, now God has been showing me that this is a place in desperate need of the gospel. No amount of abstinence speakers, police enforcement, parental guidance, or anything else can change this group of small towns that makes up the area I live in. Only the power that can bring about change is the gospel. It’s Jesus’ blood and redemption through His grace.

 We are Christ’s ambassadors. We have the light of the world inside of us and it’s our job to let that light shine. In James is says that whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, he is sinning. We keep the good news of the gospel locked up inside of our hearts, letting it out a little at church or on a missions trip. But if that’s so, do we really value the gospel? The gospel is the power of God, our salvation, hope, water for the thirsty, strength. Do we truly value the gospel if we don’t share it?

 One of my favorite stories about a man who truly valued the gospel was pastor John Harper. He was so in love with the gospel that he jumped into that ice cold water from the ship Titanic so that he would share the gospel to the dying souls drowning in the water. He cherished and prized the gospel enough to tell everyone he could instead of only worrying about his own life and wellbeing. That is how we should be.

 We should be madly in love, infatuated, captivated, enraptured, obsessed, and head over heals for the gospel that we should have a passion to see others find that love too. I know full well how hard it is to break down our pride, to be willing to make things socially awkward, risk friendships, or our reputations to share the good news of forgiveness and life in Christ. I’m still learning how to do it and do not do a good job of sharing the gospel yet. But I pray that God will work in my heart to make His truth so treasured in my heart that I can’t not share it.

 It’s so easy to just hate the sinful culture instead of changing it. Though we are to hate sin, we are to love sinners with a pure heart, one that desires to see sinners lead to repentance and regeneration and ultimately to God. We can’t do the saving on our own, we aren’t even the one that does any of the saving. We are simply the preachers of the good news, the rest is God’s job, not ours.

“Wake Up” Leeland

The nation lost and dying
Searching for You
Creation waits
Children with the word of God
Written on their hearts
Show love to the world

We need to wake up, wake up
Live like God
Pour out love
We need to wake up, wake up
Live like God
Pour out love

I know it’s sad
That the gift we have
We keep it for ourselves
Most of the time
The world is looking
For a love that’s locked up
Inside these four walls
Break the door down and shine

Our face is set
Our goal is heaven
Jesus, You are the well of love
We’ll pour You out
We’ll pour You out

(Note: My dad has some excellent posts on evangelism and the gospel on his new blog Gospel2Live. Go check it out!)

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Set Apart Strangers

“We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could. I don’t wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has.” ~ Amy Carmichael

Need I say anymore, truly? I think this simple quote wraps it all up. My prayer tonight is that I will truly become a stranger and pilgrim, seeking after a country of my own. That I will live like an apostle day in and day out. That with the Lord’s help I will slay giants with a single stone and walk through the fires unburnt. For I am not of this world, I am a heavenly priesthood and therefore need to be living my life in set apart devotion to the Lord. Not because it makes me look more religious or puffs up my vain ego, but because I have a God that rescued me from the pits of hell and I want to make my every moment into a living sacrifice to Him. The hard part about living sacrifices opposed to dead ones is that the living one keep crawling off the altar. So I need to keep placing it back on.

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To Fear the Lord (What Does it Look Like?)

 In my post on women who fear the Lord, I got an anonymous comment that I wanted to take a whole post answering because I know that my response comment would be just as long. :)

This is true. But what’s the opposite thing that we’re supposed to be doing?[Opposed to getting nail done, etc.] What are the big and small ways in which we stand out as Christian women?

 Well I think the best answer I have is to tell you what I admire about the women that I listed in my previous post. In my opinion, the biggest thing these women all have in common in a wholehearted passion to Jesus Christ. They love him like crazy and they are not just halfhearted about it. A heart that is passionately in love with it’s Savior is going to stand out. Love for Christ flows out into our actions. (1 John 2:28-29, 3:1-10, 2 John 1:4-6) These are the main things I look up to in these women.

  • Self Sacrifice. These women are all characterized with being willing to give things up for Christ and what He has called them to do. They fear God rather than man and focus on Him. They are willing to go off to foreign countries, stay at home and raise their children in a way pleasing to God, are being counterculture in ways that make the world stop and stare.
  •  Faithfulness through trials. These are real women who have gone through real things that have been tough. Almost half the women on my list have struggled, or still struggle, with health problems. Yet they have learned to praise God in the midst of it and they see that God has a plan with all things.
  • Love for People. These women LOVE people like crazy!!!! I can’t even begin to talk about the amazing love I have witnessed in these women. They are willing to serve people in humility and take joy in helping others. They want to see the weak Christians become strengthened, they want to see the lost come to Christ, they want to see their families love and serve Christ. It’s all an out flowing of their passionate love for Christ.
  • Love for the Bible.They know the importance of the word of God and of good doctrine. They seek to know God through His precious word and each day is a search for what God says about different issues. The Bible is their light and guide.
  • Encouragement.I have been so blessed by the encouragement I have received from these women, even those I have never met. But specifically those I do know personally. They’re the type of women who say “keep going!” “You can do it!” “With Jesus you are going to go so far!” and it is amazing the power it has had on me.

These are the general things that I admire in these women and seek to do myself. I could get into why I admire each one of these women, but that would take far too long and a dozen blog posts. J I don’t think any of you want that. God bless you all and I pray that you girls and women reading this will seek to be like this and those guys that are reading my blog will remember that this is what they should look for in a wife.

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Women Who Fear the Lord

“We don’t want life to pass us by, because this is the best time ever. Acting your age and being silly is fun!” 17-year-old Cammie explains.

 

This is the so called “message” of the pop trio The Rubyz that was featured in Brio’s magazine for teen girls a few months back (click here to see the full article). I was very unimpressed by this pop group. These are the girls that Brio are telling girls to look up to and to see as role models. Girls that love to go shopping, get their nails done, have sleepovers, and go to the movies. Are these really the girls that are worth emulating? I personally want to look up to girls and women that are giving their all for Christ and are living set-apart, poured out lives for Him. I want to look up to people who are constantly trying their best to die to this sinful world we live in.

I have found that in many women, some of the past, and some that I know today. People of the past like Amy Carmichael, Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Elliot, Jonni Erickson Tada, just to list a few. Young women in our present day like Kaysie (from Alabaster Box), Lauren and Abigail (from Pearls and Diamonds), Columbine martyr Rachel Scott, former camp counselors of mine that I know see going off as missionaries and have such a passion for Christ, and there are many women that aren’t as young that I have been able to look up to. Like my mother, Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. Nunley (both moms of good friends of mine), Caroline Buer (one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known who also goes to my church), Leslie Ludy, and many others. God has blessed me with woman that don’t spend their days leisurely at the mall getting their nails done, but serving the Lord in both big and small ways. They have faced real trials and have still remained faithful to the Lord.

These are the kind of women that I look at and say, “that’s what I want to be like when I am older, and even now”, not girls like the Rubyz or many other girls that Christians tell us to look up to, that don’t really deserve it. We often times look up to women because they are in the spotlight instead of because their character and how they live their life. Proverbs 31: 30 says, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Those women who fear the Lord and those we should praise. If there are any teen girls reading this who have been looking for women to have as role models, the women that I have listed are ones that I highly recommend. J

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International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

Today is a holiday that I hope will someday not exist. No, I don’t just want this to just stop being a holiday, I want the reason for this holiday to go away. “What is this holiday?” you may ask. Well today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. 

It’s a holiday that we hope to someday eliminate, yet it’s a holiday so little amount of people know about. Slavery seems so far off and foreign, even a problem that isn’t quite real to us. It is a shame the number of people who think that slavery was ended by the civil war. I have seen the surprise people have about modern day slavery in my church’s campaign against slavery. Thankfully this in an issue that is getting more notice. People are starting to realize the huge problem human trafficking is and they are spreading the word.

Slavery and Human Trafficking is one of the great evils in our world, and something we need to raise our voices against and fight against. We need to take a stand for the weak and enslaved, those who can not speak for themselves. As Christians we are called to seek justice, “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17). Also in Micah 6:8 it says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”.

Justice is something that is very near to God’s heart. He is perfectly just and He loves justice (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalms 33:5). We are commanded to not pervert justice or to deny it but we are to follow it (Exodus 23:2,6, Deuteronomy 16:19,20) (NIV). The Bible continually commands us seek justice and that God does justice. There are 138 passages in the ESV version of the Bible that include the word justice. So when we see injustice, we can not ignore it. To ignore it is to sin (James 4:17).

So what can we do to fight against slavery? What can one single person do to end such a huge problem? The answers is that there is a lot we can do. The first and foremost thing to do is pray. God is sovereign and He can turn the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1), or slave owners. John Newton, the author of the most loved hymn “Amazing Grace”, was a slave trader before he became a pastor and an huge influence in the life of William Wilberforce, who was the leading force in ending slavery in England.

Second thing we can do is to spread the word. Let people know about modern day slavery and human trafficking. As I said earlier, this is a problem that most people don’t know nearly enough about. Use the God given opportunities you have to let others know.

Third thing is to give money. International Justice Mission(IJM) and Free the Slaves(FTS) are the two best organizations that I have found for fighting slavery (they are also great resources to get more info). I know that for IJM, the cost of freeing a slave is $500 dollars. FTS has on their website a list of how much things like sending a former slave child to school or such costs. They also give you the opportunity to sponsor one of their workers on the front lines. I would encourage any of you who have a passion for ending slavery to try to start a campaign in your church or school, or even do a justice concert or other event and have an offering for IJM, FTS, or any other abolition organization.

Let’s not ignore this problem any longer but raise our voices in defense of the weak, oppressed, lonely, abused people out there that are suffering under slavery. I want to leave you all with the word to one of my favorite songs by Tim Hughes:

“We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go”

 

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