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God’s Provision Through You

 

Our new laptop
Our new laptop
Last month I put out a request for a new laptop.  Our old one died just outside of warranty.  Not long after that request, the money came in!  We not only purchased a new laptop with a great warranty, but we also got a used one that was donated to us.  In addition to that, we had enough money come in to buy a new dishwasher!  We have been without one since our old one broke more than half a year ago (it also broke right outside of warranty).  But the best news to report is that we have been able to get out of most of our huge debt thanks to 1) your generous year-end giving and 2) our tax return.  We still have about $2,500 in debt to pay off, and Tara just found out that she needs $3,000 in dental repair.  So like I did with requesting the laptop, I’m requesting that you partner with us to cover this need. 

 

Our situation is such that Tara has been looking for part-time work to supplement our income.  Given that CCU is a 501c3 ministry, we have about 20% of our monthly donations (our total source of income) go towards taxes and fees.  Not only does the ministry get taxed, but I get taxed as well… and I’m the only one receiving income from CCU.      

 

I know most of you understand our situation and continue to support us either with prayer and/or financial giving.  However, last month I was surprised when one lady, who I thought was a friend of our ministry, publicly went after us.  She saw a picture I posted on Facebook of Tara and our key lime pies we were having in Key Largo, FL.  Evidently, she thought we were on vacation last month while I have been for some time now expressing our financial need in our newsletters.  I explained to her that the picture was taken back last April and it was after our outreach to the Ft. Lauderdale, FL LDS temple opening.  We didn’t have quite the financial burden then and we had asked you to provide for a mission trip if God wanted us to go!  That still wasn’t good enough for her.  Evidently in her mind, missionaries should never take trips which involve some amount of non-ministry related pleasure to them.  Perhaps that would work if I was single.  However, I’m a husband and a father.  That requires ministry also to my wife and kids.  They require time away from mission work.  They require personal times with me having pie or something else.

 

High School Evangelism    

 

I went on the sidewalk right outside the north parking lot of Kearns High School.  I was having a nice time advertising my site and getting lots of DVDs out.  However, a couple school administrators and a school cop approached me.  (A couple LDS missionaries also came by to pile on in my confrontation with the school.  The missionaries told the cop they'd be willing to take all my stuff.  I just began preaching to them about their false God and their blasphemy in thinking they can become Gods. They weren't too happy about that.)  The admins came out to question what I was up to.  They said they were getting a lot of calls from upset parents.  I said that it looked like a good place to stand, since there was a lot of traffic.  The officer told me about some state statute that may prohibit me from being out in front of a school even on public property.  I talked with them for quite a while until almost all the students left, then I went to walk across the street in front of the LDS seminary and started talking to a couple students.  The seminary teacher finally came out, but after about 15 minutes, he went back in the seminary with his students.  I challenged him that despite what he said, he was playing Mormonese with me and really didn’t believe in only 1 God and that this God created all things.  The seminary teacher went back in refusing to answer my question if God created His spirit-grandfather’s planet.


Just after I got back home, the officer called me and told me the ordinance, and then sent me and the admins the following email:

"Here is a Utah law which prohibits activities on school grounds, including sidewalks adjacent to a school, which disrupt peaceful conduct of school activities. It becomes a criminal level offense only if after being asked to leave by a school administrator the person continues or remains.


*I think this would ultimately be up to the school administrator to interpret what is, or is not a disruption of peaceful school activities.


I will look under county ordinance and see if there is anything more restrictive tomorrow.

76-8-1402 Disruption of activities in or near school building -- Failure to leave -- Reentry --
Penalties.


(1) In the absence of a local ordinance or other controlling law governing the conduct described in
this Subsection (1), a person is guilty of an offense under Subsection (2) who, while on a street,
sidewalk, or public way adjacent to any school building or ground:
(a) by his or her presence or acts, materially disrupts the peaceful conduct of school activities;
and
(b) remains upon the place under Subsection (1)(a) after being asked to leave by the chief
administrator of that school.

(2)

(a) A violation of Subsection (1) is subject to the penalties under Subsection (2)(b) unless the
violation constitutes another offense subject to a greater penalty.
(b)
(i) The first and second violation of Subsection (1) are class B misdemeanors.
(ii) A third and any subsequent violations of Subsection (1) are class A misdemeanors.
Enacted by Chapter 107, 2004 General Session

Officer Kyle Wilkins

Kearns High sro
801-440-8735
kwilkins@updsl.org"

I responded: "Dear Admins of Kearns High and Officer Wilkins,
I hope from our meeting you were able to determine that I wasn't disrupting any school activities since school was over, and that I was peaceful. It seems applying this statute to my particular situation is straining at the gnat... especially since other schools like Copper Hills or Hunter have never made an issue out of me being in front of their schools after school hours.

 

Thanks for coming out to meet me, and thank you Officer Wilkins for all your help in this matter.

Rob"


I also, in another email, passed along to them some legal URLs concerning a United States District Court ruling on this matter.  The case was BACON v. BRADLEY-BOURBONNAIS HIGH SCHOOL.  Here evangelism and Bible distribution was allowed in front of a school on sidewalk even though the school owned that sidewalk.  I have yet to hear back from Kearns High on the matter.

Temple Square

I had an unusual time at Temple Square running into a skeptic who actually posed a couple problems I wasn’t able to immediately answer very well.  His name was Jake, and he has family who are both LDS as well as Evangelicals.  His questions concerned the apparent discrepancies in the resurrection accounts where 1) some say it was angels and some say it was men who appeared to the disciples at the tomb, and 2) some say to go to Galilee to find Jesus and other accounts say to stay in Jerusalem.  I had never heard of the problems before, so instead of getting defensive, I asked him if he had ever researched what New Testament Christian commentators have said about it.  It became apparent that he hadn’t, and that he didn’t seem to care what they have said about it.  So I asked Jake if he wouldn’t mind giving me his email, and that I would research the problems and give him an answer later that night. 

The problems easily go away when you read the passages in context.  Here’s what I sent him:

“After reading all the accounts again, they seem to be able harmonize. 

1) Men vs. Angels

This was a lot easier given the descriptions of the men.  Mark says the young man was dressed in a white robe.  Luke says the 2 men were in clothes that gleamed like lightning.  Matthew and John call them angels, so that's why we should understand what's going on in Mark and Luke as appearance language, not metaphysical statements about their natures. 

2) Galilee vs. Jerusalem

It seems to me that the plan was that they (i.e., the disciples in general) would see Jesus in Galilee and John records at least one instance of that in chapter 21.  Mary of Magdala went to report to the disciples what happened and probably relaying what the angel told her (Mt. 28:7) of where to meet Jesus (i.e., Galilee).  But when they were scared of the Jews and locked the doors as John 20:19 says, Jesus decided to show up to some of them and reiterate the angel's message to go to Galilee (Mt. 28:10).  In other words, that's where the real action was going to take place for most of the disciples.  That message didn't change when Jesus quickly showed Himself to some of the disciples in Jerusalem.

Keep in mind that Jesus hung out, coming and going for 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3), doing many other unrecorded miracles (Jn. 20:30).  Acts 1:4 says that ‘on one occasion’ after telling them to not leave Jerusalem, He ascended to heaven (cf. Lk. 24:49).  That was when they were at the Mt. of Olives (Acts 1:12) or near Bethany (Lk. 24:50).  It's then these verses say they went back and stayed at Jerusalem waiting actually 10 more days when the Holy Spirit fell on them with power.

So your confusion is based on 1) misunderstanding where the disciples were to *generally* hang out with Jesus sometime later vs. individual merciful appearances on the day He rose from the dead, and 2) tying the command not to leave Jerusalem on the day He rose.

Here are just 2 reasons why these different testimonies with different points of view should be taken seriously or accurately.  1) The genuineness or trustworthiness comes with apparent problems that you suggested, since it demonstrates the disciples weren't in collusion with each other to craft a uniform standard story.  We should expect there to be a certain messiness to the different eye-witness accounts.  However, after careful examination, we find there are no contradictions.  2) Using women as the first ones to report the resurrection isn't the way to sell the story in the first century.  Their testimony was worthless then.  So why bother making sure it's part of the story?  The best explanation is: one is attempting to be as accurate as he can in relaying what actually happened then.

Hope this helps!  If you want a recent and helpful work to support the truthfulness of the Christian message (and many more may be offered), then please get J. Warner Wallace's Cold Case Christianity.  He's a friend, who is a retired Cold Case detective.”


I still haven’t heard back from Jake.    

Ex-Mormon Meetup

We had a great Meetup with Louis Wilkins (not relation to Officer Kyle Wilkins) last month. You may watch the video here
and see the photos here.

We Need Your Partnership!

We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well.  Keep in mind that your investment is not simply for us, but for the lives of others we reach with the gospel.  The standard way to financially invest is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United (CCU).  For more information on various ways to invest in this ministry, including online giving, please see our “Invest” page on any of our sites.  Please keep in mind 1) this is our sole source for income, and 2) we have no financial guarantees each month.  Ministry partners come and go as jobs do.  If you’re not a partner, please consider joining our team and let us know soon.  We’d love to be your missionaries here in Utah.  Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!
 
We expect God to provide for our needs through you.  Why?  Because the Bible is clear: “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).

 

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Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6)!

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374                                           
West Jordan, UT 84081
(801) 738-0539
CourageousChristiansUnited.org
MormonInfo.org
JWinfo.org
MuslimInfo.org
 

****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****

1.   Health and protection for our whole family
2.   Tara’s family to be saved
3.   Wisdom in all our dealings
4.   Strength to keep going

****MAILBAG****

I have been trying to understand the polygamy in the OT. The forum doesn't quite answer my question as I had hoped. I believe the Bible to be true I just don't understand how if these men are called of God he wouldn't rebuke them. If he did rebuke them and command them not to practice and they still were, why did he still use them to lead his people? Someone stated we are all wicked which is true, but followers of Christ should have the fruits of salvation which means one should be repenting and trying to turn from their sins. If these OT prophets had multiple wives that was not ok with God then shouldn't they have put their wives away and turned from their sin? The Bible clearly states that we will always fall into sin, but it also talks of the hope we have in Christ. I don't take that hope to mean that we can remain living and repeating these sins such as having multiple wives and Christ will make us clean. There has to be repentance involved and these men obviously weren't repentant and trying to turn from this sin. I don't expect God to use perfect people it just seems if it was so looked down upon that they shouldn't be having hope in salvation if they chose to not be repentant. I hope this makes sense. By the way I don't believe in practicing polygamy, but I just can't find anyone who can answer this question. It would help me a great deal. Thank you

[I replied:] Good question Elissa! Since we all are imperfect, that includes our knowledge as well as our repentance. We all have blind spots. It's the heart that knows what sin is and doesn't care to trust God to make oneself more like Him that is not being led by the Spirit.

I don't find the case against polygamy to be explicit. There's no *explicit* biblical commandment that says to all people, "Thou shalt not have more than 1 wife" (Lev. 18:18 may be the closest you get with a certain reading, but even this is debatable). I think it's there by inference from what the Bible says and I also think it's there by inferring what we know by observing nature, but some people do a lousy job at inferring.

God still loves them; He died for all. He still works with whoever and whatever society in tolerating bad behavior in order to continue drawing people to be more like Himself. Thank God that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pe. 4:8). The infinite Love covered all our sins in Christ.

I really recommend Paul Copan's work on the subject of polygamy: http://www.amazon.com/Is-God-Moral-Monster-Testament/dp/0801072751 and briefly summarized: http://www.epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=45&ap=7.

___________________

You are a disgusting human being. Find something better to do than drive innocent people away. Even the people that you think are helping hate you and do NOT respect you. what you do is completely unprofessional. for your own good please go quit your job you have right now and go to a mental hospital.
__________________

Funny that you should say that "for Lewis, the Son is a one of a kind species--the only begotten God (i.e., God by nature)," when Lewis himself names Christ as "one of our own race" in Mere Christianity. That sounds an awful lot like Lewis referring to Christ as a man (that is our race, right?) and God.

[I replied:] Of course Lewis, as well as the rest of traditional Christianity, holds that Jesus was and still is a man. 1 Tim. 2:5 says this. However, that misses the point, which is prior to coming to earth 2,000 years ago, the Son was of the nature of God. That means the Son of God was in fact God the Son, 2nd Person of the Triune God. Mormonism has no room for a divine nature, since all Gods need to obtain that status. Christ never had to become a God, since He always was God--the Creator of all things outside His own Being.
________________

I hope that the donation is a blessing, and encouragement! …I've been keeping up with how your doing on FB, and it sounds like things are getting better over there for everyone. I'll still try to keep you and your family in my prayers though. :D  Keep up the good fight Rob, God Bless!


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