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Best of 2017 With An Apologetics Focus

2017 was an amazing year for this podcast…in fact, it has been the only year for this podcast.

As people are starting to hopefully slow down a bit and reflect on the year that was, we too paused to look back on some of the best bits of the best conversations.Best of 2017 With An Apologetics Focus

  • Listen to Gary Habermas get emotional as he talks about how the resurrection of Jesus gives him hope that his wife will live eternally.
  • Listen to Dr. C. John Collins talk about how many people are reading Genesis 1 wrong.
  • Listen to Jim Wallace use his methodology as an L.A. Homicide Director to investigate the truth claims of Christianity. His book, Forensic Faith encourages believers to have confidence that what they believe is based on evidence.
  • You can also hear Sean McDowell talk about how to find a voice as a Christian apologist and what the contemporary challenges are in Western apologetics.
  • You can listen in on renown Old Testament scholar, Paul Copan talk about how to read the context of the violent passages of the Old Testament.
  • Finally, you can listen to me as I slowly learn how to be a better host and disciple of Jesus.

It truly has been a great year. I say thanks to God and you for your faithful listening all these weeks.

(This podcast is by Jon Morrison. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Daring to Hope in the Face of Adversity

Daring to Hope in the Face of AdversityI’m so excited to have this week’s special guest, Katie Davis Majors. Most of you are familiar with Katie by her maiden name, Katie Davis — the New York Times bestselling author of Kisses from Katie. Her new book, Daring to Hope, is amazing. Katie truly is a gifted writer. For those of you who are not familiar with Katie, she actually moved to Uganda over a decade ago, with no idea that it would be the place that God would call her to build her home and her family. Today, she is the wife of Benji and mom to her fourteen favorite people. Katie and her family invest their lives pouring into the people of Uganda through education, medical care and spiritual discipleship. She is also the founded of Amazima Ministries—an organization that cares for the vulnerable children and families of Uganda. They have also recently just opened a new school (which she will talk about in today’s episode).

Katie’s first book really inspired us to take a look at our lives and how we are living out the call that God is putting on our hearts. For her that calling was in Uganda. At a very young age she was fostering and adopting children—we’ll get to all of that in this amazing interview. What is interesting that is in the time span from book one to book two, God brought about quite a few tragedies in her life. Her new book really talks through, as it mentions in the title, daring to hope. She talks about how she really questioned God in these really hard times in her life. What I love is she doesn’t simply leave us with “there were hard times and God was there,” she talks about the beautiful intimacy and the character of God that she got to see through these hard times.

I cannot wait for you to hear this episode!

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

Katie says her favorite way to keep things simple is to get rid of unnecessary stuff.

She also shares about how she believes it’s important to make life more about relationships. Don’t worry about if your house is perfect before you have guests over or don’t worry about cooking elaborate meals. All those things can be beautiful and God-ordained, but it can also be a hindrance. God chose relationship every time.

”Get rid of unnecessary stuff.’ Get more quick tips on keeping things simple from Katie Davis Majors! @KristiClover (CLICK TO TWEET)

Highlights from This Show…

  • Katie tells the story of how she ended up staying in Uganda after traveling there to teach Kindergarten for a semester. She shares about the family dynamic in Uganda. So many families have to send their children to work at a very young age.

80% of children living in institutions (such as orphanages) in Uganda have at least one living parent. — Katie Davis Majors

Orphans are being created because of poverty. — Katie Davis Majors

  • Katie shares how Amazima Ministries was born, and about the new school, a high school, that was opened this year.
  • Katie has adopted fourteen daughters from Uganda. She shares a little about that process.
  • Katie shares about writing Kisses for Katie and becoming a NYT Bestselling author (and why she swore she’d never write again)!
  • Katie shares a little about her friend, Bob Goff who endorses her new book.
  • Why did Katie decide to write a follow up to Kisses from Katie? She shares a little of the story and her journey to book two.

It was a hidden season that I pulled back from all the hype from Kisses from Katie. — Katie Davis Majors

These things aren’t just for you. It’s time to share with the world. — Katie Davis Majors

I sat down to write, and God just gave me the words. — Katie Davis MajorsDaring to Hope in the Face of Adversity

  • At the beginning of Daring to Hope, Katie tells about the tragedy that really shook her faith and ultimately inspired the title of her new book. I ask Katie to share a little about this tragedy and what God’s answer was to her pleas.

He didn’t answer my prayer how I wanted Him to answer it, but He did answer it. —Katie Davis Majors (CLICK TO TWEET)

He is the same God now that He was then. —Katie Davis Majors

  • Katie shares about the times when she saw God say “No”, and the hurt that came with that.

He has purpose in all things. — Katie Davis Majors

Our stories aren’t meant to begin and end here on earth. — Kristi Clover

  • Throughout Katie’s book, she pulls stories from the Bible and makes them applicable to today. She shares a little about God speaking to her through these stories and weaving them through her Daring to Hope.

. . . His steadfast love is better than life. (Psalm 63:3)Daring to Hope in the Face of Adversity

He’s not surprised by us. —Katie Davis Majors (CLICK TO TWEET)

  • Katie shares a little about what her daily life is like in Uganda.

My ministry right now is a stay-at-home mom. — Katie Davis Majors

  • Katie shares more about the difficulties of raising fourteen children.

They are the people that I am called to pour into and disciple. — Katie Davis Majors

  • At the end of the interview, I asked Katie if there was anything that we, on this side of the globe, could lift up in prayer for her.

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Connect with Katie Davis Majors…

Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda over a decade ago with no idea that this would be the place that God chose to build her home and her family. Today, she is a wife to Benji and mama to her fourteen favorite people. Katie and her family invest their lives in empowering the people of Uganda with education, medical care, and spiritual discipleship. She is also the founder of Amazima Ministries, an organization that cares for vulnerable children and families in Uganda and the author of the New York Times bestseller Kisses from Katie.

You can check out Katie’s books HERE on Amazon! Be sure to visit her site as well at www.amazima.org.

Thank you, Rend Collective for allowing me to use your incredible song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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This week in the “Shed” is our tool of the week – Leslie Salazar Carrillo!

Creating Safe Places in Times of Crisis with Leslie SalazarLeslie is the Executive Director of the Pregnancy Resource Center in Vista, CA. She was formerly the STD Education Director and Counselor at the PRC. Leslie joined us in the shed to discuss her wide variety of experiences working with families in crisis. She has extensive work and counseling experience with teenage moms, dads and a broad spectrum of individuals who find themselves in situations of unplanned pregnancies. (pregnancyresourcecenter.com)

In this episode we dove into the highly emotionally charged events of unplanned pregnancies as well as life situations that create the same sense of anxieties and fears but specifically focused on best practices to be of service to those who need help, advice, and encouragement. Leslie spoke about the pain in her own life journey and the experiences that shaped her and made her a safe place for others dealing with similar pains. Leslie spoke poignantly about practical tools the staff at the PRC utilize to make their clients feel respected, safe, listened to and cared for. She was an amazing wealth of knowledge and practical experience that is easily replicable in our day-to-day lives with our friends and family who encounter highly emotional life circumstances.

The Pregnancy Resource Center is a no cost, confidential, loving, non-judgmental, faith based medical clinic in North County San Diego. The PRC provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, medical options consultation, adoption referral programs, parenting classes, post abortive healing counseling, and parenting classes. The PRC is engaged in community service as well by speaking to health departments in local public schools as well as to students through their STD Education program and community outreach team.

“The best thing to do in any situation or big decision is learning what you can on all your choices. That’s why we are here. We want to equip all the women in our community with information and resources so they have the confident and control they need to make the best decision for them.” – PRC

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“Hopecasting” in the Midst of Crisis – Christians Take on the Scourge of Opioids

No matter the crisis, when Christians take the love of Jesus to the hurting and suffering, hope and transformation are sure to follow.

In his new book “A Practical Guide to Culture,” my colleague John Stonestreet ends several chapters with what he and co-author Brett Kunkle call “hopecasting,”—a reminder that no matter what the issue or crisis, “God’s story continues to play out all around us.”

And when it comes to the nation’s growing opioid crisis, we could use a lot of hopecasting.

We’ve talked about this before on BreakPoint: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that an average of 78 people die of an opiate overdose every day in the United States.  Annually, opiate overdoses kill more than 28,000 people, with heroin taking the lives of more than 10,500 of them. More than 20 million Americans have some kind of substance-abuse problem, but just 10 percent are receiving any treatment.

And as John has said, the problem isn’t primarily chemical, in the composition of the drugs themselves. It’s a manifestation of a “terrible hopelessness settling over a large part of America.”

So what can we do about it … and begin to restore hope?

Well, rather than tell you, I’d like to show you.

Christians Take on the Scourge of OpioidsIn its annual “Hope Awards” issue, WORLD magazine has provided some great examples of what Christians are doing in their communities to provide hope in Jesus Christ—to help “those who labor and are heavy laden” to find “rest for their souls.”

Exhibit A can be found at the New Life Home. For the last four decades, this Christian residential program in Manchester, New Hampshire, supported by 50 churches, has offered primarily opioid-addicted women an 18- to 24-month recovery program. And it has an amazing 89 percent graduation rate.

Clients don’t have to be Christians—and often aren’t—but they are asked whether they’re open to God working in their lives, and they agree to go to church every week. At New Life they acquire life skills, learn about the Bible, study for their GED or a college degree, and help out with assigned chores.

Here’s something else that’s different at New Life—the women are allowed to bring their children to live with them. Today 15 women and 20 children live at this warm and welcoming home.

Here’s a vignette about one resident, named Rachel, from WORLD reporter Emily Belz: “Rachel, who escaped a violent gang situation and has been in the program for 22 months, now has her three children with her. Rachel’s parents found her living homeless on the street and pushed her to enter New Life and be a mom again—at that point she hadn’t seen her kids in 18 months. ‘God gave [my kids] to me for a reason, and He knew everything that was going to happen,’ Rachel said. ‘I need to restore my life with my kids, that’s why I’m here. I’m not here just for myself.’”

Another resident, Shauna, was sexually assaulted as a teenager, and then again while serving in the military. In the aftermath, she became hooked on opioids and alcohol and lost custody of her 2-year-old, who was scheduled for adoption. But Shauna entered the New Life program and experienced a 180. After seeing Shauna’s turnaround at New Life, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families reversed its adoption decision and recommended reunification. And she’s now living with her son.

So what’s the cure for hopelessness? Only Jesus Christ and His love, carefully and consistently applied by His people into the lives of those who so desperately need it—maybe even somebody you know.

So hats off to the New Life Home in Manchester, and hats off to WORLD Magazine for the 2017 Hope Awards. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to these inspiring stories and the other nominees for the WORLD Hope Awards.

Visit Breakpoint.org to get further information about the many great books and other resources available there and you can link up to our social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

By Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.

Click here to read more encouraging and inspirational stories from WORLD magazine’s Hope Awards issue. You might also discover a way you can bring hope to the world around you.

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For Hannah, it started in 5th grade. The obsessive thoughts. The anxious behavior. The suicidal ideation. She knew God. She had heard about Him her whole life. She tried to combat her thoughts with verses from her Bible. But the world in her head quickly turned into doctor’s visits. Psychiatric offices. Diagnoses. Prescriptions. Medications.

conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

By the time Hannah entered high school, she struggled with depression regularly. Anxiety seemed to run her thoughts and therefore, her life. During her junior year, what started as an obsession compulsive action to ease anxiety became an addiction to the pain of self-harm. “It started with a mechanical pencil. I’d use the tip of it to scratch my arm really hard during school. It helped me get through the days. But as I felt more socially separated, I used sharper things. Thumb tacks. Keys. Then one night, I used a nail filer and drew blood. Once I saw it, I liked it. I wanted to always draw blood. It became an addiction,” she remembers.

Now hooked on the painful cycle of self-harm, Hannah lived countless nights begging God to kill her. She frustratingly questioned why God would give someone a life if they didn’t even want to live it. She questioned why God didn’t give her the guts to kill herself. She was angry with Him for even creating her, for waking her up every morning.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

In the midst of it all, Hannah graduated and moved to Lubbock for college. She found a church community where she grew in her knowledge of the Bible and God’s character. While God was obviously sustaining Hannah’s life, her intimate struggle with self-worth, depression, and self-harm remained present in her life.

Sometimes Hannah would reach three months without cutting, but then she would relapse. “I would be screaming at God, asking why He’d abandoned me and start cutting. I believed the lie that God wasn’t good and was indifferent to watching me suffer,” she recalls. “And all of these false views of God were tainting me. I had all the head knowledge, but the suffering was so great, I couldn’t believe that knowledge.”conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

In August 2014, Hannah decided to get a tattoo on the wrist where she would often cut. She got roman numerals based on Romans 8:37, the verse that regularly helped her fight defeating thoughts: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Conquering Cutting Addiction Through Jesus Christ

“Of course I was tempted to cut a week later, but I looked at my wrist and was reminded that I’m a fighter and victorious because of Jesus,” she shares. “I thought I would relapse after a couple of months, but I never did. It was the grace of God.”conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

While her struggle with self-harm dissipated, Hannah’s depression wouldn’t relent. Only two months later, Hannah put her own life in danger when she took an overdose of medication. After another three months, she decided to leave her school and church to seek professional help through an intensive outpatient program. Through this program, God not only helped Hannah gain self-worth and practical skills to help process the emotions she felt so deeply, but He also grew her heart for those who struggle with mental illness and helped her better understand it with a biblical view.

One night, while crying in bed and having an anxiety attack, Hannah read Philippians 1:23: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” And Hannah thought, “That’s all I want. I’m sick of this world. I’m sick of crying. I’m sick of pain. I’m sick of suffering. I’m sick of depression. I just want to be with Jesus.” And although she felt this so heavily, she also began to feel comforted and understood by Jesus and His followers in the Bible.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

Throughout the years, Hannah has often believed that if she just had enough faith, Jesus would heal her. She was told that if she prayed more, her depression would be gone. “Nothing damaged me more than believing that. I repeatedly asked God what I was doing wrong, and I finally realized, I live in a broken world with a broken mind and body,” she says. “But that’s where faith comes in.” Hannah realized there is no magic amount of prayer or faith that could have healed her. She realized that through all the pain and suffering, God had been pursuing her and was doing something that was ultimately for her good.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

“I don’t hesitate to say that Jesus is the only reason I haven’t killed myself. In 5th grade, I was told that He loved me and was good, but now I know it. I’ve experienced the weight of His grace on me. He’s the only constant thing in my life. I am constantly reminded when horrible things happen that we can be so glad that we’re not home. Jesus is not done. And God didn’t let me die all of those times for a reason.”

Today Hannah has hope in Jesus, even through her struggles. She knows that He wants to give us an abundant life. She has hope for the future, when her mind and body will be fully redeemed and glorified with Jesus. A future where she will live out the truth that she is more than a conqueror over both anxiety and depression because of Jesus.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

The Austin Stone Story Team is a community of artists who tell stories of gospel transformation. We are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians on a common mission to use our gifts for His glory.

(By The Austin Stone Story Team. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Part One: The Suffering of this Present Time

Nothing.

Jake turned the engine over again. Nothing.

Marriage and church sometimes mask the pains of sinful brokenness

Still covered in yesterday’s Austin City Limits Music Festival sweat and booze, he looked in the back of his car for an easy change of clothes. All his belongings were there, and as he turned back to the front, his eyes settled on the crumpled receipt from his 401K—he’d cashed it out two days ago and given it all to his wife.

And in the middle of the passenger seat sat the directions to his old youth leader’s house in Arkansas. He was going to drive there, murder that man, and then kill himself.

That was five years ago. Now, sitting at his kitchen table with his wife and daughter—preparing to move overseas to share the gospel—Jake and Rebecca can see God’s goodness working through each line of cocaine, each lie to cover his tracks, and each lifeline Rebecca threw him in her own attempts to be his savior.

Jake’s mother left when he was eight years old, dropping him at his father’s house for “the weekend.”  Heartbroken, Jake began to attend a church in Huntsville, Alabama, where he first learned to love Jesus. At 11, he was baptized and joined the youth group at his church. “The youth leader took an interest in me,” Jake recalls. “I thought he was my friend, someone I could turn to.” Soon after, that leader decided to show Jake pornography. “It wasn’t the first time I’d seen porn, but to have an adult show it was a whole different situation.”

Jake reported him, and the leader was removed from his position, but remained at the church.

When Jake was 12, the youth leader again approached Jake, and this time the relationship became sexual. The shame swallowed Jake alive, and when added to the abandonment of his mother, Jake began to believe that it was all his fault. He fantasized about his own death throughout his teenage years and begged God to kill him. Because his first sexual experience was with a man, Jake thought he was gay and tried to “prove” himself in high school by sleeping around with multiple girls.Marriage and church sometimes mask the pains of sinful brokenness

At 21, Jake had his first drink and found what he thought was the cure for his pain. When he drank, he could talk—never about the youth leader—but at least about the hurt from his mom. “I’d drink myself into oblivion and then cry myself into this place of ‘why does my mom hate me?’” he recalls.

When he met Rebecca, now his wife, he was 24, and she was 18. It took another 10 years for Jake to open up about the molestation. Rebecca remembers that she never thought Jake was an alcoholic: “I just thought he was really depressed about his past, because he only talked about it when he was drunk. I was glad he was talking—that it wasn’t just stuck in there.”Marriage and church sometimes mask the pains of sinful brokenness

Rebecca and Jake dated on and off for a while. Though they had a couple breaks, they always came back to each other. “My heart was always with Rebecca,” Jake remembers.

In January 2007, Jake got his first DWI when he rolled his Jeep through the front of a house on Mary St. in Austin, Texas.

It seemed like a turning point. Jake spent hours in the drunk tank, not knowing if his buddy in the passenger seat had survived. He was mortified that he was capable of what he’d done. His friend did survive, and he called Rebecca to go pick up Jake the next morning.

The incident shook both of them out of their routine, and things started lining up.

Rebecca started going back to church. Jake resisted, but begrudgingly agreed. Later that year, Jake proposed—like a storybook, he slipped a ring on his sleeping beauty while she dozed on the couch one night. He loved every suspenseful moment between the time she woke up and the time she realized there was something new on her finger.Marriage and church sometimes mask the pains of sinful brokenness

Rebecca also convinced him to come with her on a trip to Nicaragua to provide medical care for the people there. At the end of ten hard, sweat-filled days of serving others, Jake and Rebecca found a butterfly garden near Selva Negra and were married. They enlisted a pastor on their trip to perform the ceremony, and the team who had served with them threw everything together. One man grabbed his guitar, a group of women collected flowers for a bouquet, and another man—a professional photographer—readied his camera. By midday, the Harrisons were married, surrounded by new friends and the beauty of God’s creation.

It seemed like a turning point, but it wasn’t. The trappings of marriage and church attendance simply masked the deep brokenness lurking underneath.

The Austin Stone Story Team is a community of artists who tell stories of gospel transformation. We are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians on a common mission to use our gifts for His glory.

(By The Austin Stone Story Team. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Grief became a three letter word: God.

Grief became a three letter word: God.

McCartney Piper Lee Coleman was born on April 25, 2014 at 2:47a.m. She weighed 3.47 pounds. She died two days later on April 27th. “She was what I had prayed for my whole life,” says Angelique, her mother. “I always knew I wanted to be a mom and I wanted a daughter, and that’s what God gave to me … When McCartney died, the most important relationship in my life changed. Grief became a three letter word: God.”

As a child, Angelique had childlike faith and attended church with various friends. Baptized at nineteen, she found that her faith ebbed and flowed with the tides of adulthood. When Angelique became pregnant with McCartney, she and her husband were part of a Missional Community group at The Austin Stone Community Church. They were excited about God’s plan for them, but Angelique sensed something wasn’t right from the beginning. Thirty-three weeks into her pregnancy—after Angelique and her husband had bought a house, decorated the nursery, and picked out tiny tutus and Longhorn booties—Angelique began seeing spots in her vision.

She called the doctor. A few days later she had blood tests, and a few days after that, her doctor told her she had a condition called HELLPS, a life-threatening pregnancy complication. The only cure was delivery. While Angelique’s health was in jeopardy, nobody realized how much danger McCartney was in. Only after her death would they find out that their daughter had Trisomy 18, and that her little body had been infected by the bacillus virus. Two days after she was born, they lost her.

In their final moments with their daughter, Angelique and Matt stood by her crib and cheered, “Come on, baby girl, come on!” as nurses tried to revive her. Their efforts were in vain. As the Colemans held McCartney’s lifeless body and watched as blood trickled out of her nose and mouth, Matt asked, “What now?”

His words haunted Angelique in the days and months to follow. What now? Reminders of her lost baby surrounded her. Whether it was the diaper aisle at the grocery store, the clothes still hanging in McCartney’s closet, or recovery from her C-section, she was constantly reminded of her loss. She began to blog about her experience as a way to cope:
May 11, 2014: Everyone keeps saying that I’m so strong, but they don’t know that I am screaming “I hate you, God!!!” constantly in my head.
May 15, 2014: It feels like my whole body and soul are scratching at a way to be with her…
June 7, 2014: Sometimes the word “love” sneaks in my thoughts, but it feels like when you watch those movies or TV shows and the girl goes crawling back to the boyfriend that just gave her a black eye.

McCartney’s death changed Angelique’s faith. She had always known God was mighty, but his might had never affected her in such a painful way before. As time passed, Angelique was drawn into a deeper relationship with God. By the end of June, she was ready to stop cursing, questioning and yelling at him, and try talking to him again. She realized that prayer was not a way to get what she wanted, but a way to align her will with his.

Angelique and Matt did not walk this troubled road alone. Their community surrounded them from the moment they came home from the hospital. Family and friends were ever-­present. Their MC brought meals and prayed with them. “My MC leader texted me every single day—not just the first week or two, but for months. She pointed me to the truth, and sometimes I didn’t want to hear it, but she just kept asking how I was doing.”

September 15, 2014: Yesterday, we went back to church for the first time since we lost her … The words of each song appeared … I waited. I waited until the weight of the words was so much that I couldn’t help but throw my arms up. They didn’t lift up in praise. They lifted up in submission. They lifted up in surrender.

November 14, 2014: I’m pregnant … and I’m okay. Maybe God is giving me the serenity He knows I need.

God spoke to Angelique through worship, through prayer and through community to show her that she was never alone. He was there at the side of McCartney’s crib, and he was there in the long, dark months that followed. A year later, Angelique dealt with the anniversary of McCartney’s death with a maturity and grace that was born from pain and struggle.

April 27, 2015: We received an outpouring of love from friends and family … we were constantly reminded of how blessed we are and how surrounded we are by love and support. We’ve never been alone and she has not been forgotten … He has filled me with grace and peace.

There is hope, and above all, thankfulness—for her community, for her healing and for the faith that has brought her this far. Angelique now has an answer to Matt’s haunting question of “What now?” Now is community, now is healing, now is grace and peace.

The Austin Stone Story Team is a community of artists who tell stories of gospel transformation. We are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians on a common mission to use our gifts for His glory.

(By The Austin Stone Story Team. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

 

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“It is a very weird spot to be in—to know the truths of the gospel in your head, but feel nothing. How can you be expected to feel anything toward God, when you feel nothing toward anything?”

Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.As an adolescent, Lyndee began a journey through many deep and troubled episodes of depression. For years, she struggled to not only find joy, but to feel anything at all.

Lyndee understood God’s joy in theory, but in her depression, she struggled to understand and grasp God’s joy personally. She struggled to feel God’s presence in her life. Mentally, Lyndee’s depression left her confused and deflated. Physically, it led to self-harm, and Lyndee burned herself as a way for her to feel something.

“I had the gospel, and I believed in God,” she recalled, “but there was a disconnect between that and actually being able to feel and experience joy.”Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

While the feeling of joy Lyndee craved eluded her, the feeling of pain brought temporary relief. After Lyndee’s mom confronted her about physically injuring herself, Lyndee guiltily quit the burning. Although the outward damage stopped, the inward problem remained, and led to other, less apparent types of self-harm.

Lyndee would sit outside in cold weather without the proper clothing, or she wouldn’t eat when she was hungry. But despite her efforts to feel physical pain, Lyndee remained numb. “When you are numb, you just don’t feel anything,” she remembered, “which is where I was most of the time.”

Years later, when Lyndee turned 17, she moved to Colorado to attend an art school. Her depression traveled across the states with her, growing worse in her isolation.Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

Lyndee, somewhat aware of the severity of her depression, began to self—medicate as a way out of the darkness. But her use of alcohol did not help, instead it quickened her downward spiral. Lyndee realized she could not fight the depression alone. She decided to seek help from a church, even after receiving confusing messages as a teenager.

Reeking of alcohol and cigarette smoke after a night of partying, Lyndee entered a church service one Sunday in a back building of a deserted carnival. After the service, a pink‑haired young woman and her family offered to take Lyndee out to lunch. One lunch led to two, and eventually the family’s home became a refuge from Lyndee’s lonely, dark apartment.Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

“I didn’t even know these people, but they would stay up late talking with me,” she said. “They let me sleep on their couch and left me breakfast on the table when they went to work.”

Lyndee encountered a different aspect of community, as she experienced the love of Jesus through her caretakers. This lit a spark, but her struggle with depression and pursuit of joy was not over.

A few weeks later, in her car outside her apartment, Lyndee sensed God’s call to leave Colorado and return home. She dropped out of art school, and when she got home, Lyndee questioned why God called her back. Her depression was now outwardly evident, and Lyndee’s parents saw a different person than the daughter they knew, with no real idea of how to help her.Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

The message she heard from people in her local church was that if she had more faith, she would be fine. Though they prayed for Lyndee’s spiritual strength and encouraged her to join a Bible study, or to read certain books, Lyndee’s physical and deep emotional scars were ignored. Lyndee returned to self‑harm, now cutting herself, and her depression worsened with obsessive suicidal thoughts, which would not go away.

One night she was overwhelmed by thoughts of suicide. “I tried the best I could to fight the thoughts,” Lyndee said. “But when you are depressed, and your brain is not producing the right amount of chemicals, it is like fighting a battle without any weapons. You have nothing to fight with. My mantra became ‘I am going home. I am going to take my allotted daily medication. I am going to go to bed.’”

But instead of following her own formulaic advice, Lyndee swallowed half a bottle of aspirin. By God’s grace, Lyndee remained alert until her parents arrived home, and they rushed her to the emergency room.Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

In the ICU, the toxins in Lyndee’s blood continually measured to a point far beyond critical. Lyndee remembers seeing her dad in the corner of the room, his head in his hands after hearing the doctors tell him they had done everything possible for his daughter.

Lying there, Lyndee knew her fight was over, and her body was giving up. She knew she couldn’t do anything else on her own. “I was desperate for something and I didn’t know what it was.” So she prayed a simple prayer: Lord I can’t do this. I need you to take it from here.

A peace came over Lyndee. She looked up at her dad sitting in the corner. “All you have to do,” she said, “is wait until they take my blood the next time, and my toxin level will be down.”
And Lyndee was right. Her blood levels stabilized, and she was released to go home under the care of her parents.Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

Lyndee believes God performed a miracle and healed her. Over the course of several years and with the help of doctors and medications, Lyndee went from feeling numb to being able to function. She co‑owned and operated a small coffee shop, learned to communicate well with others, started going to church, and found victory in leading a very basic life. She felt joy in the small moments of life, following a God who loved her regardless of her past.

Looking back, Lyndee credits much of her recovery to the unconditional love of Christ, shown through her Missional Community group at The Austin Stone Community Church. Teaching her how to live life after depression, God used her MC to show her more of his character and his unconditional love for her. Lyndee was finally experiencing the love of Jesus, finding joy in his love. “I met people who loved me and showed so much grace when I came to them and confessed my sin,” she said.Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

She has learned how to forgive those who misunderstood her depression. Today it is important to Lyndee that those around her have a better understanding of what depression is, and that believers begin walk alongside others who struggle with it.

She still has days when she feels down, but clinical depression is no longer a part of her life. Lyndee is growing in her knowledge and understanding of Jesus, and in her awareness of Christ’s love for her. She feels God’s joy through the work of the Spirit in her.

“I have found out more about who I am, learning how to cope with things in a healthy manner,” Lyndee said. “I know joy is knowing you have God no matter what—and that God is sufficient.”Despite her tragic past, Lyndee now finds joy in God.

The Austin Stone Story Team is a community of artists who tell stories of gospel transformation. We are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians on a common mission to use our gifts for His glory.

(By The Austin Stone Story Team. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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In Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, she said,

“Maybe it isn’t enough to believe in Jesus. Maybe I have to believe that Jesus believes enough in me to choose me.” (pg. 85)

Robert Schuller had a book entitled Believe in the God Who Believes in You. Joel Osteen, in his book Your Best Life Now said that,

God believes in you more than you believe in yourself. (pg.58)

Joyce Meyer has said many times: “God believes in you!”

T.D. Jakes as well: “God believes in you!”

This is also a favorite teaching from Rob Bell:

“All my life I’ve heard people talk about believing in God. But God believes in us…in you… in me. I mean faith in Jesus is important, but what about Jesus’ faith in us? (From the Nooma video “Dust”)

So, God has faith? That word that means, “To hope in what we cannot see”? Does that describe God?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)

Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? (Romans 8:24)

On the contrary, 1 John 3:20 says:

God is greater than our heart and He knows everything.

God does not have faith that will do what pleases Him.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

The Bible says we can’t do what pleases God.

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8)

That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit to cause us to walk in His statutes.

And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:27)

He graciously intervened against the will of our wicked hearts because He knows exactly who we are.

But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for He Himself knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)

Hebrews 4:13 says,

No creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

“Believe in yourself because God believes in you!” is garbageAvoid man-centered garbage like “Believe in yourself because God believes in you!”

The Bible says to die to yourself and believe in God, who sent His Son Jesus the image of the invisible God the author and perfecter of our faith.

And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24)

All who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever bleives in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

And that’s enough, Ms. Voskamp…

…when we understand the text  

(This video is by WWUTT. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network.)

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Kicking off our show this week is my Canadian buddy, Wil Twynstra! Besides being incredibly funny, Wil is an amazing dad… so amazing that he just keeps having kids! As he puts it, “It’s like joining a club… FedEx rings the doorbell every so often and just drops off another kid at our house… they just keep showing up!”Clean Comedy from Wil Twynstra and Ray Comfort's Atheist Delusion

As an involved parent, one of Wil’s favorite book series is the Berenstain Bears. He loves how the stories gently walk children through life’s potentially tough moments with tender familial care. Kids hear stories of Brother Bear’s first day of school or Sister Bear’s first trip to the dentist. By reading these great stories, Wil’s kids aren’t afraid of these moments when they encounter them in real life.

If only the Berenstains had continued writing these books for adults!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be encouraged with titles like, “Mama and Papa Bear are Visited by the Taxman” or “Papa Bear Goes in for a Coloscopy”?

There’s a huge market there!

Wil says that he’d order a subscription to that… even if it came with another kid!

Clean Comedy from Wil Twynstra and Ray Comfort's Atheist Delusion

Image: Lauren Leigh Noske

Next, my dear friend and mentor calls in from California – author, speaker, and film maker Ray Comfort. Ray has been so instrumental in my life across the years, challenging me to grow, making me laugh, and helping others to laugh at me!

His latest film, The Atheist Delusion, is absolutely incredible! Judging by the title, I thought he was coming out guns a-blazing, but the film and its message is actually quite gentle, especially in his argument for Intelligent Design and Creationism.

The funny thing is that the project’s roots are something of a mistake!

A while back, Ray was creating some promo material for his book, Made In Heaven. He saw a guy looking at it, turned on his video camera and started asking the shopper a few questions. Almost immediately, Ray learned that the guy was a devout Atheist, so Ray gave him a copy of the book. But first, Ray asked:

“Do you think that this book could have happened by accident? Could ink have fallen from the sky and made itself into words and page numbers? Could the book have made itself a spine and spontaneously formed its own cover? In other words, could this book make itself out of nothing?

“Absolutely not”, was the man’s reply.

“Well, switching topics a bit, do you know what DNA is?”

“Yes, Deoxyribonucleic Acid, of course.”

“Right. It’s basically our book of life. It’s our programming. It’s information on how our body makes our eyes, ears, skin, as well as everything about us – our personalities… everything! From the moment we are created, our programming is there in our DNA! Now, if anyone were to believe that my book could create itself out of nothing, we’d think they were an idiot… but what about someone who believes that DNA, at some point, had created itself?”

After thinking this concept through, he was transformed from an Atheist to a believer in God’s existence.

Ray found this amazing, so he went to the local universities and colleges in search for another “humble Atheist”… which is hard to find! But, over the course of a few days, he was able to interview a dozen or so hardened Atheists whose minds were changed when they realized that DNA couldn’t make itself. After realizing that something, or someone, intelligent must have designed us – and that someone is God, they were open to hearing the Gospel… God’s plan for humankind.

Think about this… every day, about 150,000 people around the world die.

That means that 54 million people each year pass into this great black hole, called “death”. But, that’s not the end. God has given us the answer to our fears of death within the Gospel.

That’s Ray’s message. He doesn’t tell people they need to join a church or ask for any of their money. He simply, gently, asks people to listen and open their hearts to God’s plan for us. Because where you will spend eternity is the most important thing that you ever will establish. It’s what gives you hope, even in life’s worst circumstances.

But, as Ray says:

“Hope is probably the most misunderstood word in the English language. ‘Hope’ is weak in the eyes of the world, like when someone is rooting for their favorite team and says, ‘I hope we win. I really do hope so.’ But, really, hope is what happens when you are standing on the edge of a plane 10,000 feet up without a parachute, but about to jump out of the plane. You are horrified beyond words, when someone suddenly hands you a parachute! Hope, now… give you life! It gives you joy and peace because you’ve got the parachute. The second you put your trust in that parachute, you are no longer terrified by what you face. You have hope that you are going to live because your trust and faith is in that parachute. And, when we face death, we have a parachute, we have a Savior. We have a hope that is an anchor to our souls (Hebrews 6:19). And, the second that we put our trust in Jesus Christ, the fear of death leaves us. The power of death goes because Jesus has ‘abolished death’ (2 Timothy 1:10).

“This is the greatest news that the world could ever hope to hear!”

That’s why Ray produced The Atheist Delusion, which has had 800,000 views on YouTube! This brings the total amount of views for Ray’s films up to over 42 million!

You can see them for yourself at FullyFreeFilms.com.

But, why would an Atheist watch Ray’s film, knowing that he wants to change their worldview? Maybe for no other reason than that they hate Ray?! Or, maybe they think he’s like a train wreck and they can’t keep their eyes off of him? He’s good either way, so long as they watch.

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