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Understand the Threat: 2 days, 4 sessions

Dr. Mark Christian of Global Faith Institute & 88 Tactical invite you to learn Muslim Brotherhood’s secret strategies for the USA in this series: Understand the Threat. Our featured experts include:

John Guandolo
– Designated FBI “Subject Matter Expert” on Islamic terrorism
– Created FBI’s first Counter Terrorism Training Program
– Present Obama eliminated his department in 2008
– Author of Raising a Jihadi Generation
– Founder of UnderstandingTheThreat.com

Chris Gaubatz
– Posed as a Muslim convert & worked for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Virginia
– Obtained over 12,000 pages of documents from Hamas/CAIR & 300+ hours of covert audio/video recordings
– The Muslim Mafia, his book, resulted from his findings

Sept. 13 – 11:30am – 2:00 pm
88Tactical, 15350 Shephard St., Omaha, NE
VIP Luncheon – $100 per person
Click here to register

Sept. 13 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm
88Tactical, 15350 Shephard St., Omaha, NE
General Session: Free
Click here to register

Sept. 14 – 1:30am – 3:30pm
Pizza Ranch, 8420 Lexington Ave, Lincoln, NE
General Session: Free
Click here to register

Sept. 14 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Oakland Community Center  – *VENUE CHANGE*
614 Dr Van Zee Rd, Oakland, IA 51560
General Session: Free
Click here to register


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Never Hillary

There’s a movement percolating among some segments of the Republican party, that is known by the hashtag #NeverTrump.

Essentially, this group believes that a vote for Trump represents a step over that “line which must not be crossed” – a violation of principle if you will, that will have a more corrosive effect than the election of Hillary Clinton.

While I am no supporter of Donald Trump, I am a realist.  If this man is the nominee of the only party with sufficient infrastructure and support to successfully oppose the creature known as Hillary Clinton, then this man will have my vote.

The alternative is unthinkable, and the consequences to our nation unbearable.

The primary concern about Trump (one which I share) is that he is not a conservative at all, but rather will lean toward the same sort of progressivist authoritarianism as Hillary, and her former boss, Obama.  This is a real possibility given the history of Donald Trump, and his demonstrated lack of understanding regarding constitutional principles.

Never Hillary (Ben Sasse)Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has been an early and appealing face to the #NeverTrump movement, advocating for an alternative candidacy – essentially a third-party insurrection from within the Republican party itself.

As much as I have come to admire our junior Senator (I backed a different candidate during that primary) I must challenge his thinking on this issue.  Aside from the logistical hurdles such a late insurgent candidacy would face, there is the simple fact that a challenge from the “mainstream” would be yet another blunder from the leadership of the Party that refuses to accept that their “mainstream” is precisely what the voters of this cycle have soundly rejected.

The people of our nation are gasping for air under a thick blanket of faux-outrage and stifling political-correctness that has been the hallmark of the post-Reagan political landscape.  The Left has successfully enforced a narrative of permissible opposition to their aims that has been given legitimacy via the supine acceptance of the Republican leadership.

When your opponent makes the rules, you have no hope of victory if you play by them.  That has been our lot in every election cycle, until now.

America doesn’t need an alternative candidate to Trump and Hillary.  America needs a candidate who will fight for the people against the regulatory, political and social morass created by the Left and enforced by innumerable bureaucracies of government.  Trump claims to be that candidate.  Hillary is the antithesis of such a candidate.

It seems safe to conclude that while Hillary can be relied upon to do the wrong thing every time, Trump holds out the possibility of doing the right thing at least some of the time, which by any standard of measure is infinitely better than the alternative.

But, let’s drill down a little deeper…let’s say that Trump is in fact absolutely no different than Hillary, or as some have posited, worse.  Which candidate, as President, would prove more difficult to oppose in their nefarious (or simply stupid) policy initiatives?

Never HillaryHillary Clinton?  The preferred candidate of the media?

How successful will we be when every shred of opposition to a President Hillary will be mercilessly cast as “woman-hating misogyny” and “the scurrilous politics of personal destruction,” by the media and their allies in popular culture?

Those of us who have been paying attention realize that this woman is one of the most corrupt individuals to ever hold office, if not the most corrupt.  Yet, despite mountains of evidence sufficient to convict nearly anyone else a thousand times over, she not only enjoys life outside of prison, she is a favorite to win the Presidency.

Clearly, the protective shield that has surrounded her will not magically disappear should she attain the Oval office.  If anything, it will become virtually impenetrable.

However, it is my studied assertion that a President Trump, a man elected under the banner of our own Republican party, who enjoys far less “protected status” than does Ms. Clinton, will be Never Hillary (Donald Trump)much more successfully opposed should he prove to be as misguided and corrupt as she.

Given the stakes – the Supreme Court nominations, the gathering threats to our national security and myriad other concerns, both known and yet to appear – is it responsible behavior to permit distaste for Trump to outweigh the known danger of his opponent?

This year, we should reverse the aphorism that says “better the devil we know…”

In this case, both may be devils, but one certainly fits that description.  The hashtag must be changed.  #NeverHillary

Congressman Louie Gohmert

Congressman Louie Gohmert

Congressman Louie Gohmert


Occasionally you get the chance to spend time with a genuine, authentic person; comfortable in their own skin to the point that they can look outward without the awkwardness of self-doubt and appraise the world with the experience they’ve gained through self-mastery.

Congressman Louie Gohmert, of the 1st District of Texas is one such man.

A gracious man – admirably successful, yet delightfully humble – Louie is the sort of person who would correct you if you still called him “Congressman” after shaking his hand.  “Call me Louie, please.”

This past Monday, a full room of elected officials, candidates and other patriots at the DC Center in Omaha were treated to an enlightening discussion of the difficulties we face moving forward in our nation, and more importantly, inspired by the wisdom of a “servant-leader” offering a way forward, full of hope.

Joe Herring

Joe Herring, Emcee

The night began with a lovely meal, catered by the staff of the DC Center, followed by an introduction to the proceedings by emcee, Joe Herring.

Dr. Mark Christian spoke first, delivering a powerful testimony and an equally powerful plea to protect the religious freedoms that drew him to America.

Dr. Mark Christian

Dr. Mark Christian

Outlining the path by which he came to the United States, full of hope and anticipation of deepening his new Christian faith in a land where freedom of worship is sacred, Dr. Christian told of the intervention by Muslim colleagues at the University where he worked; the threats, the humiliation and the hatred he endured once they discovered he had left Islam.

The audience felt the pain in his voice, the sting that comes with being the target of ridicule and threats.  The audience also felt the exhilaration when he described the strength of his faith, and the sustaining power of Jesus.

It was a moving moment, and one that will be long remembered by those in attendance.

Congressman Gohmert then took the podium, speaking with an honesty and what I can only describe as “vulnerability,” as he bared his soul regarding the fate of our nation, and the role we who love the Constitution must play.

He told jokes, he pulled back the curtain on Washington politics and revealed the machinations of both the Left, and those among the Republicans who enable them.

He filled in the blanks evident in the media narratives that shaped public opinion on several high-profile issues.  He named names, and described meetings where the truth was not only ignored, but forcefully so.  By members of his own party.

All in all, it was a stellar evening.  A triumphant success for the Global Faith Institute and the many other organizations who shared sponsorship.

If you were there, you know that.  If you weren’t, well… how many more wonderful events are you going to miss before you remember to keep GFI at the top of your calendar?  In all seriousness, we do our best to bring you timely and informative speakers and events.  Please join our mailing list and recommend us to your friends.

Together, we can do as Louie said and “still turn this dang thing around the right way!”


Tri-Faith Initiative’s Vulgar Disgrace

Many of you will have heard of a popular program on the cable channel Comedy Central, known as “The Daily Show.”  While it has gone through a series of host changes, it remains very popular among a surprisingly wide number of demographics and provides a useful glimpse into the pop culture world, and how those steeped in said culture view their relationship to the rest of us.

In other words, it is often quite irreverent and generally entertaining, as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously, or are overly sensitive to a little humor at your expense.

The producer of the Daily Show came to town to do a piece on Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative, interviewing those who support it as well as those who have valid concerns about the project.

Presenter Ronny Chieng, sat down with Rabbi Aryeh Azriel, Dr. Syed Mohuidden and Pastor Eric Elnes – the leaders of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian elements of the Tri-Faith – and asked some rather surprisingly cogent questions.  You know, things that only the most intelligent among us would think to ask, like “What were you thinking??”

Pastor Elnes, head of Countryside Community Church, attempted to describe the Tri-Faith project using a bizarre, ill-advised metaphor about a woman who is in love with three men, and because she has so much love, she is able to maintain deeply intimate relationships with all of them at the same time.

Yes, he said that.  The representative of the Christian faith on the Tri-Faith campus, on national television, described God’s relationship to the Tri-Faith as a gang-bang.  Disgraceful?  Clearly.  An ugly glimpse into the mind of Eric Elnes? Apparently.  Embarrassing and regrettable? Unarguably.

MARCH 10, 2016 – PADMA LAKSHMI 03/10/2016
Ronny Chieng investigates the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, NE, which aims to create a peaceful religious space for Christian, Islamic and Jewish worshippers. (5:19)

Pastor Elnes’ prurient foray into polyamorous relationships with the Creator of Heaven and Earth aside, there is more to be concerned about with the Tri-Faith Initiative than the buffoonery of one of its leaders.  There is the matter of their denied – then admitted – then hidden – then admitted again – now hidden again association with known front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood in America; the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

The Tri-Faith Initiative grew out of ISNA’s interfaith programs which have a multi-pronged purpose.  First and foremost, these partnerships between Mosques and Churches or Synagogues are intended to lend a mainstream legitimacy to thoroughly radical Islamic Sharia thoughts and practices.

Secondly, these relationships serve to shield Islamist apologists from scrutiny as their non-Muslim partners run interference for them in the name of “tolerance.”  This phenomenon results in the third purpose; weakening the faith of non-Muslims to better prepare them for eventual Muslim dominance, as ordered by Mohammed and Allah.

The inaugural speaker at the outset of the Tri-Faith initiative was none other than the then-President of ISNA, Ingrid Mattson, a woman who has gone on to become perhaps the most prolific producer of Islamist propaganda in the nation, through her academic positions and through interfaith projects.

The Global Faith Institute has exposed these connections time and again, yet the local newspaper and television stations have turned a blind eye, preferring to bask in the reflected light of worldwide attention focused on this one-of-a-kind project in our little city of Omaha.  That, and the fact that nearly all of this project is being funded by Warren Buffett’s daughter Susie and Daddy Warren owns the only newspaper in town.

That hasn’t stopped a few national media outlets from taking a gander at this religiously polygamous orgy, (using Pastor Elnes’ description) and discovering that the Muslim leg of the stool is surprisingly hollow.  Billing itself as a “non-denominational” Mosque, open to both Sunni and Shiite, the board and membership of this Mosque boast no Shiites whatsoever.  In fact, they boast hardly any membership at all.

Local Muslims (outside of the five families that comprise nearly the entirety of membership in the Tri-Faith Mosque) want nothing to do with the project, fearing that it will become a target for lone-wolf attackers who aren’t affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood brand of civilizational jihad.  There are already two Sunni Mosques and one Shia Mosque in Omaha, and none of them plan to attend or become involved in the Tri-Faith Initiative.

With virtually no connections to the local Muslim community in Nebraska and Western Iowa, one might be forgiven for wondering why tens of millions of dollars are being pumped into this project to serve a group of families numbering less than fifty people.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an organization that technically no longer exists.  Banned in 1949 for their involvement in political assassinations, they have since chosen to operate through front groups, usually modeled on their original structure of a mainstream wing and a secret wing (al Genah el sirry).  The mainstream wing puts on the happy face for popular consumption while the secret wing pulls the strings and does the dirty work.

There aren’t any road signs to “Muslim Brotherhood HQ” or membership cards that say “Member in Good Standing in al Genah el sirry,” but these organizations are well known around the world as the foremost purveyors of Islamic subversion and violence.

Al Qaeda, HAMAS, ISIS are all part of al Genah el sirry, just as CAIR, ISNA and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) are integral operations in the mainstream wing that makes the secret wing work.

Congressman Ashford, speaking about the bloody terrorist blasts in Brussels, pointed to Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative as a solution to such violence.  As ridiculous as his statement sounds, he unwittingly tapped into the truth…

The only ones who can call a halt to terrorist violence are those who fund them, organize them and give them orders – the mainstream wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Isn’t is handy that we have a significant HQ for that wing going in right here in Omaha.  Congressman Ashford won’t have far to drive.

Conventional Wisdom

Conventional Wisdom (photo - ap_ap-photo1859)

(Photo Credit – AP)

The conventional wisdom regarding interfaith relations holds that the only meaningful obstacle between a world of wanton violence and one of peaceful understanding is a means of communication.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Communication eases conflict only when the parties involved believe peace to be a worthy goal.  When one or more parties in conflict seek only supremacy over the others, then communication ceases to be a path to peace, and instead becomes a tool of espionage and subversion.

This is where Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims find ourselves today; in an alien landscape where brutality long thought to have been banished to history thrives in heart, mind and deed across the globe.

It is not “Islamophobic” to point out that much of the world’s tragedy stems from the efforts of the adherents of Islam to place the rest of creation under their heel.  It is at once delusional and dangerous to segregate this fact from any honest appraisal of the threats to freedom we face.

Of course, fair minded peace-loving people everywhere desperately want to believe that deep-down, we all share a common respect for the innate value of human life irrespective of religious doctrine, and when pressed, will ultimately choose the path that leads to the firm ground of mutual respect and acceptance.

When dealing with Islam, this laudable sentiment becomes our Achilles heel.

In Islam, no behavior is beyond the pale of conduct if it serves the establishment of Allah’s kingdom on earth.  Lying, violence, theft and rape are all acceptable in service to furthering Islam.  It is difficult enough to discern truth from obfuscation in the ordinary course of life, but when the truth is being hidden with a religious zeal – indeed as an obligation of faith – it becomes nearly impossible without employing extraordinary means that under other circumstances would be considered as an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

It is this crucible of our own making, this principled bulwark of respect for religious freedom that now so smoothly exploited by those who seek to establish Islam above all other religions and governments.

Subversion, sabotage, infiltration and propaganda all travel on the magic carpet of “tolerance,” bypassing the usual security checkpoints on an oft-abused First Amendment passport.  Soon to follow will be violence in all its forms.

We know this.  We’ve seen precisely the same scenario unfolding in real-time throughout Europe.  This method, known as “civilizational jihad,” isn’t a myth, or a misunderstanding of demographic trends; it is a structure for overwhelming the West using immigration, high birth rates and demands for cultural and political concessions based on “tolerance.”

The recent push to resettle disturbingly high numbers of refugees from the Syrian theater of war is of tremendous concern, not merely because they are Muslim, but because they are Muslims from a region that holds the ideology of Islamic supremacy to be a religious duty.

These refugees have no frame of reference for our society and culture, and we have no reliable means of screening them.  These ingredients, leavened by the yeast of civilizational jihad, will bake a bitter bread indeed.

I recently gave an interview to a local television station regarding a story about a local Methodist Church offering to take a Syrian refugee family under its wing for resettlement.

The essential argument is quite simple – absent a reliable means of vetting these refugees (a means that does not currently exist according to the Director of the FBI, James Comey, in Congressional testimony) it is reckless in the extreme to import refugees from the Syrian war to our land of freedom of movement and “soft targets” for terrorism.

The interview is included below.  Please talk to your Church leaders and encourage them to support helping the true refugees in safe zones in their home nations, or nearby.  The lure of federal resettlement dollars is great, but perhaps the threat of a wholesale departure of parishioners will be sufficient to convince them to forego participation until our national and local security can be better assured through a functioning and reliable screening process.


Ex-Muslim Imam Confronts Obama With Question That Has Us CHEERING

Posted on January 12, 2016 by Dom the Conservative

Ex-Muslim Imam Pens Open Letter, Giving Obama A History Lesson About Islam

Dr. Mark Christian is a former Muslim imam who has exposed Barack Obama’s hypocrisy on the Syrian “refugee crisis.”

A former Muslim imam who converted to Christianity over a decade ago couldn’t wait for President Obama to speak in his hometown. So, he decided to confront the U.S. president about bringing in Syrian refugees — and the way he brilliantly exposes Obama’s hypocrisy is nothing short of embarrassing for the commander-in-chief.

Dr. Mark Christian, founder and president of the Global Faith Institute, is not only an apostate of Islam, he’s also a force to be reckoned with in the face of mass Muslim migration. Taking a stand against the Obama administration’s aggressive Islamic agenda to flood the U.S. with refugees solely from Muslim countries, the former devout Muslim imam has penned an open letter that confronts his leftist propaganda in the most incredible way.

As Barack Obama heads to Nebraska on Wednesday 13, Dr. Christian has prepared to confront the president’s hypocrisy in the “war on terrorism” with a few questions that prove the failure in his “success tour.”

With Obama coming to Omaha on the first stop of his “victory lap” following Tuesday’s State of the Union, the Global Faith Institute (GFI) feels we should prepare a proper welcome for him. He’s planning to tout his “successes.” Well, Omaha has questions for this President and we expect answers…

Is it “success” to insist on resettling Syrian refugees knowing we can’t adequately screen them?

Is it “success” to protect known front operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in America by halting a pending indictment against them in federal court?

Or perhaps it’s a “success” when he says “something must be done” to make America safer, and that “something” turns out to be making life difficult for lawful gun owners rather than dealing with Islamic supremacists and border security.

We have more than 30 separate organizations in Nebraska that have all stated a willingness to attend a counter-rally. We will help them do that by hosting that rally, where we expect to see hundreds (if not thousands) of our fellow citizens coming together to send President Obama a clear message, in terms anyone can understand… “With all due respect Sir, your Presidency is a failure.”

The city of Omaha has survived your Presidency, not benefited from it. The success of our nation has nothing to do with your socialist, pro-Islamist, pro-Muslim brotherhood, unconstitutional executive orders presidency.

We anticipate wide-ranging participation in spoiling the first stop of President Obama’s “victory lap.” This will be an entirely free event, open to the public.

We DID build that Mr. President, and you would do well to recognize that our success is in spite of your policies, not because of them.

Of course, this isn’t the first time he has outlined the obvious flaws in Obama’s leftist agenda. In a previous interview with Mad World News, Dr. Christian condemned his comparison of the Islamic State’s brutality to the Crusades, asking when he would begin equally denouncing terrorism done in the name of Islam.

“ISIS does nothing that Mohammed didn’t first do 14 centuries ago. You see, the problem isn’t a ‘radical interpretation of Islam,’ the problem is the belief in Islam that Mohammed was the ‘perfect man,’ and as such, worthy of emulation in all things.

You know Christians will bow their heads and pray for you whereas Muslims will simply take your head and celebrate.”

Having a firsthand knowledge of Islam’s inherent violence, Dr. Christian hopes to warn America of the impending Islamic war that’s reached our shore. Of course, Obama won’t answer these simple questions, but we can answer the end of his presidency by taking our nation back from the leftists who apologize for the very ideology threatening to destroy it.

Photo Credit [Global Faith Institute, The Federalist Papers]


Obama’s Magical Victory Tour Coming to Omaha

As citizens of Omaha, we will tell the president what we think of his socialist, unconstitutional and pro-Muslim Brotherhood ways.

[For info on Dr. Christian’s battle against the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the American Heartland, click here. To contact Dr. Christian, email him at Mark@globalfaith.org.]

President Obama is following his final State of the Union address with a “victory lap” beginning in Omaha.  He will be “celebrating the successes” of his policies by coming to a city that neither embraced them nor supported them, and certainly didn’t benefit from them.  His vision for the next decade outlined in the SOTU looks remarkably like the fetid carcass of a welfare state already bloated beyond our ability to maintain.

Things like “wage insurance” (where the government makes up the difference when a displaced worker has to take a lower paying job) are more of the same greased skids to chronic dependency that is the hallmark of a pliant and supine citizenry.  Hardly the stuff of soaring pride.

The occasion of President Obama’s visit has generated an organic backlash among a significant number of Omahans, the tone of which could best be described as disdain (coupled with a healthy dose of revulsion).

Omaha, Nebraska has largely avoided the economic and social paroxysms that have beset our nation in the last decade; not because we are protected by our many famous and powerful residents, but because we yet adhere to the core values of personal responsibility, rock-solid work ethic and old-fashioned Midwestern good sense.

As the rest of the nation honed their “peak and valley” skills, Omaha wisely avoided the fads, ignoring the siren songs of the economic hucksters and the job-killing fantasies of the social engineers, preferring instead to fix the road ahead rather than blindly blaze new trails to old destinations.

As a result of our collective common-sense, Omaha has enjoyed one of the lowest sustained unemployment rates in the country (averaging nearly 4% below the national average), the nation’s most affordable real estate market, a business-friendly mindset with a cost of living 19% below national average and a job growth rate nearly 10% above the national average. Not to mention a rate of crime low enough for other cities to routinely ask “What’s your secret?”

Now, after Omaha has endured seven long years of Democrat misrule in Washington DC, the leader of that mediocrity parade intends to come to our city to claim our success as his own.

Our president is unduly cognizant of his own existence and this common failing of the hopelessly self-absorbed is what animates his final-year strategy.  He’s leaving, and those of us in the hinterlands need to understand just how much we’ll miss him…or so it goes in the fevered recesses of his legacy-obsessed mind.

It would appear that Omaha – long known for pragmatism and good sense – will be offering some of each to the “boy-king.”

When word reached Omaha that Obama intends to tout the “successes” of his policies by citing Omaha as an example, the reaction was swift.  The Omaha-based Global Faith Institute immediately released a statement saying, in part:

The Global Faith Institute (GFI) believes the President ought to know the citizens of Omaha have a definition of “success” that differs greatly from his, and we have some questions…

Is it “success” to insist on resettling Syrian refugees knowing we can’t adequately screen them?

Is it “success” to protect known front operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in America by halting a pending indictment against them in federal court?

Or perhaps it’s a “success” when the [resident says that “something must be done” to make America safer, and that “something” turns out to be making life difficult for lawful gun owners, rather than dealing with Islamic supremacists and border security.

Omaha anxiously awaits the president’s arrival. We’d like to talk about all that “success.”

The statement gained traction on social media (still growing) and among conservative groups well beyond Omaha. It is now leading to plans to organize a counter-rally to the president’s visit. The way it looks now, there will likely be more protestors outside the arena where Obama is to speak than attendees inside listening.

Omaha is also the home of the Tri-Faith Initiative, a project that plans to co-locate a Mosque (with a Muslim study institute) a Church and a Synagogue on the same physical campus, about which I have written previously. The project has attracted international attention, as has the opposition to it. The opposition is led by the same Global Faith Institute and its founder, myself. I am a former Imam who converted from Islam to Christianity. I have family members who yet remain high-ranking advisors to the Muslim Brotherhood in my native Egypt. I am well aware of the dangers the Brotherhood poses and have dedicated my life to protecting America from them.

We can’t help from wondering: Is the involvement of Susan Buffett (billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s daughter) in bankrolling much of the Tri-Faith-Initiative a part of the reason for the president choosing Omaha to begin his post-SOTU tour? He is expected to visit the Tri-Faith campus, or at least discuss the project in his speech. Is this a “thank you” for Warren’s support? Regardless of reason, there are many people in Omaha who do not support the Tri-Faith Initiative because of its affiliation with Muslim Brotherhood front groups (CAIR & ISNA), Many of us in Omaha don’t wish to see the president laud a project that is likely to make our city a target for terrorism.

If the spontaneous reaction immediately following the announcement of the President’s visit is any indication, Omaha’s “unwelcoming” committee may be the real story coming out of Omaha that day. Certainly, it appears that the first stop on Obama’s magical victory tour is likely to be spoiled by a dose of Midwestern reality.

It’s about time.


Jesus was asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?  And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door.  For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able’” (Luke 13:23-24, ESV).

Narrow doorways are neither convenient nor easy.  If you would take a tour of the U.S.S. York in Charleston, SC you would find the doors separating compartments are quite narrow and not very tall.  Someone over six foot could very well knock themselves out if they don’t duck and turn slightly to one side.

Two words stand out in this verse, strive and seek.  One seems aggressive and the other more passive.  If they are aggressive verses passive then we have something to wrestle with and decide as we consider following Jesus.  Could this be another cost of discipleship passage?

The word for “Strive” in verse 24, is the same word from which we get our English word “agonize.”  Its basic meaning is striving for a goal and the goal is for a few to be saved.  Another way to possibly put this term is “forcing your way into it” (Amplified version of NT).

If you read a complementary verse, 1Timothy 4:10, greater clarity is brought to Jesus’ words.  “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (ESV).  In the context of this verse we see Paul the apostle using an energetic illustration to convey what a good servant of Jesus looks and acts like.

A few verses earlier Paul encourages Timothy to train himself for godliness, to become more like Jesus in an intensely focused way.  When one trains his or her self for an athletic event, success comes from single-minded purpose; a fierce desire to be the best they can be.

Paul further encourages Timothy – “Command and teach these things.  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.  Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:11-16, emphasis mine).

Paul is telling Timothy to make use of the teaching and wisdom he has gained from Paul, and to serve as an example of God’s grace and power.

Many people compare the Christian life to a marathon and that’s not a bad example, but given the obstacles we face throughout life, an Ironman Triathlon might be a little more accurate comparison.

An Ironman Triathlon is a 2.2-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride followed by a marathon.  And these are done back to back to back.  You would swim your 2.2 miles and then immediately run and change into your biking outfit on the run and then when you are finished with the 112 mile bike ride you immediately switch to your running shoes and run the marathon.  Whew!  It makes you sort of tired just writing about this.

The reason these extreme athletes can accomplish this is because of intense focus and much training.  For the Christian life it is the same way; there must intense focus and much time training in the Scriptures and how to live them out.

Another major difference in the illustration here, is that the training for the Ironman is individualistic whereas training for the Christian life must be done en masse.  We are to live life together, to see growth and maturity and the lessening of the devastating effects of sin in ourselves and each other.  We grow together.

This is called the church, and the church (ecclesia) is plural made one.  We definitely do not live on an island no matter how bad one would like to live like that at times, but the church is made up of many different individuals created by God for a specific purpose.

But what we do have in common is to “Strive to enter through the narrow door.”  Let us begin living or continue living as the church and progress to greater conformity to the Author and Finisher of our faith – the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thoughts of Christ at Christmas

As we approach another Christmas season, I feel that too often the one left out of the festivities is the One for whom the holiday is named: Christ.  There is a reason it is called “Christ”mas and now so many want to do away with His name and fame.  This may spoil the schemes of many, but try as you might, one cannot “do away” with Christ.

The holiday may end and the decorations come down, but the reality of the person of Christ as a true historic figure remains.  He is not the imagined person that some would like Him to be, but rather a living breathing man who walked this earth.  And there is a day when we will all stand before Him to answer what we did with Him.

There is an eternal life of bliss and joy, and it is found only in Jesus Christ.  Soon after Jesus had ascended into heaven to be with His Father, Peter the apostle said the following words: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  This is a timeless truth and a message the desperately needs to be heard in this world, especially at this time of year.

Peter was echoing Jesus’ earlier statement; “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6).  Even Christians at times balk at this truth, but think for a moment, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Jesus merely illustrated that He was the straight line from where they were, to God the Father.

The Christmas message is summed up by Paul the apostle in Galatians 4:4-5; “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”  At just the right time in human history, Jesus arrived on the scene so that mankind could be rescued from the wrath of God against evil perpetrated by mankind’s  most dreaded enemy – themselves.

God is holy and perfect and good, and when sin entered into the world, He had to judge sin, as it is the polar opposite of all the He is.  Humans are carriers of this dreaded disease called sin and if nothing is done to stop it the end result is certain death.  But Christ Jesus was born so that we might be delivered from the inevitable and deserved penalty of sin.  He came at the right time.

So this Christmas season, be reminded why Jesus came.  Let your thoughts rest on the eternal hope of salvation purchased for you with the precious sacrifice of God’s own Son.  No one wants to be forgotten at Christmas, no one wants to experience the sting of embarrassment at realizing everyone is opening a gift except you.

Might not Jesus feel that way when we become so entwined in the wrappings and symbols of Christmas that we forget the greatest gift ever given?  Hold Him close this Advent season; embrace Him as you would the most beloved member of your family.  God desires only one gift from us.  To love Him as He loves us.  Merry Christmas.


God’s Righteousness

Paul the apostle wrote a long letter to the church at Rome in the first century.  What is amazing about this author, is that not too many years earlier, he was ravaging the church, attempting to crush it in its infancy.

His purpose for writing this letter is found in 1:16-17; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (ESV).

Unfortunately over time this message became muddied and/or lost for generations until the 14th and 15th centuries, when some voices out of the wilderness cried, “This is the way!”  These people, John Wycliffe and Jan Huss among others, were hunted and killed for gifted attempts to lead their fellows out of the spiritual wilderness.

Other men like William Tyndale, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and Martin Luther also cried out, responding to God’s call, and they did not fail or falter.  “Here is the way in which you should go…” God seemed to say, and they did.

We are again in a time when there seems to be confusion as to the message of the Bible and how one is accepted by God.  Increasingly today, many are teaching that there are many roads, paths or ways to heaven and eternal life with God.  But the Bible tells us of only one, “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV).  This should eliminate any confusion, but in our day and age, people are trying to get to God in other ways than that which is clearly laid out in the Bible.

God is not the author of confusion but of perfect clarity.  It is us that have muddied that message by and through our sin.  We appear to be reliving the book of Judges, where everyone does right in their own eyes.  But there are many voices crying out to be saved and Christians are the only ones with the answer that the world needs.

And God’s gospel is powerful unto salvation and we don’t have to do anything to earn it for the price would be our own blood, and we still would fall far short of what God requires.  So God took care of it on our behalf.

The answer which we will see in the next few weeks is that God gave the gospel in the person of His Son to do for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves.  He lived a perfect life and then died the death we deserve.  This, believe it or not, is the righteousness of God in action.

Be open to the Biblical righteousness of God and then let Him do His work on your behalf.  It is for His glory and your eternal joy.