My favorite uncle died this week and I am in Fort Myers, Florida to attend a memorial service. I was asked to read a scripture passage and say a few words about my uncle.
A reading from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians:
“We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven” (2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1,6-10).
Norman Johnson was the son of Gustav Johnson and Emily Raposa. His father’s parents were from Sweden and his mothers parents were Portuguese. As a young child, he and my mother learned Portuguese from their maternal grandmother before they learned English. There is a story that my grandmother used to tell that my mother and Norman were left with their grandmother for a long period of time when she could not be with them. And Norman’s mother, my grandmother, was surprised one day when she sat them down to say their prayers at night that Norman and my mother began praying in Portuguese rather than English.
Norman lived in Tiverton, Rhode Island; Falmouth, Massachusetts and later the Boston area. He later moved to Fort Myers, Florida to be closer to his two daughters and several grandchildren. I am my Uncle Norman’s only nephew, he had four nieces, and four children, Lisa, Debra, Keith and Lynne. I grew up in Massachusetts and was very close to Norman’s family often spending weeks at a time with my cousins in Rhode Island and Cape Cod where they lived. We were all close since we were very young children. I have always believed that those early bonds cause you to love people even if you miss seeing them for years at a time as adults.
The scripture passage I read has to do with the resurrection. It’s a biblical passage that is commonly read at funerals. However, I chose this passage because I wanted people to know that Norman believed in the resurrection because he experienced it. Many people of the Christian faith have a testimony about their salvation. But it is unusual for people, especially men, to talk about a conversion that happened toward the end of their life. But people who knew Norman as their hair stylist or friend would often hear him speaking openly about this experience. I was surprised one day to hear Norman talking about what he called his “addiction to gambling.” Many people who join these 12 step self-help programs are encouraged to look to a higher power, but Norman decided that his “higher power” wasn’t a vague force or an idea about God, it was literally “Jesus Christ.”
“Jesus Christ saved me from my addiction to gambling,” he told me. I was surprised at that because my cousin Keith and I had been members of an evangelical church for several years and I had never heard Norman speak about his faith so plainly before.
So this is the reason that I chose this passage to read. It speaks of the final victory of faith over death. Norman believed that God could save him from addictions and problems he faced. Even when he was diagnosed a with terminal illness, he believed he could overcome it. I am sure that at some point Norman told almost everyone he knew about what God had done in his life. He was not a perfect man by any stretch of the imagination or some kind of a super-saint — none of us are — but I know that he spoke to many people he met about his faith and the victory that Jesus Christ gave him over his sin. He didn’t do it in a preachy way, but only because he wanted to people to share the joy he felt in being free.
The resurrection is thought of by most people as a future event. Most people believe in some type of life after death. For Norman, the resurrection life was something that he knew was real because he experienced it during his life. And for that reason, the scriptures tell us, we are not discouraged, but we can have great courage to face any problem or illness, even death.
For me that is the most important thing about the life of this man that I can celebrate.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
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