Authored by John Beehner, founder of Wise Counsel, a process for Christian Entrepreneurs and author of the new best seller “The Freedom Revolution...Rocking our World.”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Freedom in Adventure by Doug Gilmer

An adventure is any experience involving an uncertain outcome and risk. If we take either uncertainty or risk out of the equation we lose adventure. If all we have is risk but we know the outcome then the end result can be avoided, manipulated or enhanced depending upon on how we feel about it. If we don't have risk, which by definition is the probability of losing something of value, the experience is of little worth because no matter how it turns out you haven't exercised your faith and you have allowed no opportunity to learn or grow.

Is it any wonder that our life as Christians is often referred to as a great adventure? Even though we may ultimately know where we are going to spend eternity it is the road that takes us there that is full of the unexpected and unknown and it is a life in which we are called to risk everything. Jesus knew this adventure. He said of Himself in Luke 19:10, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost" (HCSB). “Seeking” and “saving” are words that imply adventure. In his final charge to His disciples in Acts 1:8, He said, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  The ends of the earth; literally the “remotest” parts of the earth. If that doesn’t describe an adventure filled faith, than what does?

Unfortunately, many people, many Christians, miss out on this ultimate adventure out of fear of misadventure.  The dictionary says misadventure is an unfortunate incident or mishap, or it can mean an event that “turns out badly”. Regardless of how misadventure is defined one thing is for sure, we don’t usually find it, it finds us. No one goes looking for it.

Making ourselves more secure against misadventure, however, doesn’t eliminate insecurity; in fact it means we actually have less freedom. When we shelter ourselves in an attempt to avoid misadventure we don’t have freedom, we have a prison. We are essentially telling God, “I don’t trust you, I trust me.” When our need to be secure becomes obsessive then security becomes our idol.

If there is one guy in the New Testament that personifies adventure and misadventure better than anyone it is the Apostle Paul. We can learn much from the way he perceived the circumstances in his life. From the time we meet Paul on the Damascus road his life is one big adventure. Paul is blinded, receives his sight, begins to preach, has to escape Damascus Mission Impossible style and then launches out to fulfill the Great Commission mandate. But just because he was handpicked by God doesn’t mean that his adventure was easy. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Paul says describes his many “misadventures”.  He begins by saying (and I paraphrase),

 I'm talking like a madman-I'm a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times. Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans. Once I was stoned by my enemies. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.

Most people would likely quit than undergo all this misadventure.  In reality, most people would never undertake the adventure if they knew they would face all that Paul did. The cost is just too great; playing it safe would be far more comfortable. Paul did not see all that happened to him as misadventure, however. Instead, he saw it all as part of the bigger adventure God planned for him. He later recounts his ministry and says, “that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).  He definitely saw life with Christ as an adventure to be lived. He was certainly more focused on his perspective than on his circumstances.

Paul understood, and so should we, that no matter what happens or how things turn out, when we live our lives in total obedience and abandon to Him, we always win, that there is really no such thing as misadventure. It is then, and only then, will we be truly free to live out the adventure God has in store for each of us. 

Doug Gilmer is a frequent outdoor writer and serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Outdoor Media Association. Additionally, he serves as a Professor of Adventure Leadership and Outdoor Ministry at Liberty University. He is a frequent speaker, outdoor ministry consultant, and outdoor adventure leader. For more about Doug you can visit www.BackcountryChaplain, follow him on Twitter @DouglasGilmer, or at

Monday, February 27, 2012

Free to Worship, Free to Work by Bill Hunt

Grandpa Walter Witherell labored hard as mechanic in his garage on the intersection of Massachusetts Route 66 at “the flats.” He served as official State Bee Keeper for many years, handling honey bees with no protective gear. Grandma Laura drove the school bus in Hampshire County through several generations of children. As driver, she delivered the Hampshire Gazette all along the rural route.

Of course, at their farm on the hill she cared for the sheep, milked the cows, sold the apples, and boiled the maple syrup into blocks of sugar. Did you ever eat taffy syrup on fresh fallen snow? Most of all, I remember her wood shed, pantry, and incredible full course, wood stove breakfasts.  

I benefited from observing their basic daily work and spiritual lives. So united were they, at the end of their lives they naturally died one night apart (Oct. 1968), as had his brother and wife, Earnest and Sadie Witherell.

Both were direct descendants of the early American Puritans in the Witherell, Church, and Blakesley ancestry. They worshiped in the Westhampton Congregational Church reflecting the simplicity of the early Puritans who built the foundations of this nation.

This church the townspeople established in 1779 and first built in 1785. Considered “the finest in the hill towns,” a new  church was built in 1816 that burned Feb. 18, 1829, and was immediately rebuilt that year. The first pastor, Enoch Hale served 58 years. He was the dear elder brother to Capt. Nathan Hale, Washington's Revolutionary spy executed by the British (Sept. 22, 1776).

One member, Justin Edwards,  in a summer thunderstorm prayed with four friends in the Haystack Meeting (1806) which resulted in the founding of the great American foreign missions movement. He served later as president of Andover Theological Seminary.

One ancestor, Rev. William Witherell, was a pastor so renowned in those early days of the Plymouth Colony, his church roll reflects some 608 baptisms. He served as pastor for 39 years from Sept. 2, 1645, till his death, Apr.9, 1685, at the the Second Church of Scituate, now after some 350 years, First Parish of Norwell.

William was born in 1600 and his mother is purported to be the daughter of John Rogers, the Smithfield martyr. William married Mary Fisher, Mar. 26, 1627, in Canterbury, Kent, England. William and Mary arrived in the Plymouth Bay Colony on board the ship Hercules in 1634. He was placed on the ministerial rolls by Cotton Mather.

The story is reported in the church archives that a young man, John Bryant, had a tendency to arrive late to Sunday service. So at an appropriate time following prayer in the service, the Rev. Witherell turned to address him.

“Neighbor Bryant, it is to your reproach that you have disturbed the worship by entering late, living as you do within a mile of this place. Especially since here is Goody Barstow who has milked seven cows, made a cheese and walked five miles to the house of God in good season” (Fewkes, R.M.).

John Bryant was not too put off by the rebuke. He married Pastor Witherell's daughter, Elizabeth, in 1657.

Even this early story reflects the worship and work heritage of these early Americans. I can't help adding, this very worship and work ethic which built America is under such severe attack by socialism, today. We could lose our national foundations.

Bill Hunt is active on Facebook and writes a Christian blog read as world wide witness at

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Internet... Another Tool of Freedom

A new global freedom marketplace has emerged from the internet.  But on the freedom model of mutual trust and free enterprise, it has little policing, no regulators, no taxation system and it remains as open as nations allow.

The Internet is free enterprise in action, and it’s built on mutual trust through prepay tools.  Thirty percent of the world’s population claims to regularly use the Internet today.  For example, the volume of eBay alone is considered in the top ten of the largest economies in the world and operates in 30 countries.

The Internet drives down prices, as people can cut out the wholesaler and get free samples easily without going to the store.  It saves energy costs, allowing people to work out of their homes.  It will continually bring down labor and shipping costs.  In a down economy, it allows small businesses to find customers in other markets just to survive.  It’s definitely a tool that God created through visions given to men at the Strategic Air Command not Al Gore. 

Workers in Indonesia, the Philippines and India are helping American companies build web sites and software for as low as 20 cents an hour, while programmers here earn $30-$75 an hour.  Now you can see why many people want to immigrate to the USA to work for American companies.  Others may cry “foul” for those workers in the Far East.  But the truth is that many those same people might otherwise be working in rice fields or living in slums.  Yet, these workers are developing a skill and using their God given talents to grow and may eventually starting their internet business, one day.  It is raising their standard of living, just look at the Chinese example and explosion, as it trades with the rest of the world.

It’s part of God’s plan for the world to come together and reduce conflict, find mutual respect, and seek the skills and talents in one another.  This is the type of activity that reduces war and uses the gifts of entrepreneurs around the world. 

 God is a God of relationships. He wants to participate in our lives each day to bring the best out of us.  Secondly, He wants us to have a kind and loving relationship with our fellow man. That is why the Social Media phenomenon is an extension of Him... men and women having a deeper relationship with each other.  The internet is just another tool for that purpose.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Want My Freedom Now! by Naty Matos

I heard one of the funniest stories the other day speaking to a friend. Her son walked into the living room and announced to his parents that as soon as he graduates High School he will move out of the house so that he can do whatever he wants, without supervision. Why is this so funny? Well, first of all because I think all of us when we were teens thought that we wanted to grow up very fast to get to the point of freedom where we would do as we please. In reality, we are all waiting for that moment. As we grow we discovered that that with freedom came responsibility and that it was easier to respond to our parents than to our new authorities: the government, our bosses, our creditors, our spouses and even our children.

Why it’s so easy to rebel at that age? I think ignorance makes us think that we know better than our parents what’s best for us, and we do that with God every single day. This conversation reminded me of the parable of the prodigal son. He asked for his inheritance while his father was living because he wanted to live his life his way. His father allowed him to and what he found was not freedom, but bondage.

In the same way, God as a good father gives us freedom to live our lives, but gives us parameters, boundaries to protect us from getting in trouble. Just like my friend’s son, sometimes we think that we know better than our father, that our preferences and desires are better to follow and that at the end of the day we will be ok. Just like the son, we go outside our boundaries and find ourselves in trouble, and we then wish that we could go back home.

The good news is that just like at the end of that story, God is always awaiting for us with open arms. We then discover that freedom is a great thing, but it’s more enjoyable when we live with within the protection of the boundaries set by God for us. Freedom is awesome and well enjoyed when well used.

Naty Matos was born in the city of New York, from Puerto Rican descendant parents. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.  She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at

Places to connect with Naty:
Twitter: @natycmatos

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Finding Freedom From Islam by John Beehner

(A year ago I had the opportunity to interview an American Pastor who we called Errin to keep his identity private)

Errin was born into a Muslim home in Cyprus, of Turkish decent, before his family immigrated to Africa.  He was taught to hate the cross and all Christians.  As a young teenager he mocked, degraded and disrupted any activities of Christian kids he met in his school.  Even with all that, the Christian kids treated him with kindness.

But he met and started dating a beautiful young girl whose mother insisted she go to church.  He agreed to attend with her but wanted to have nothing to do with faith or Jesus.  He saw a miracle healing in church that completely puzzled him, but decided in his macho way he would meet with the pastor and challenge and blast his theology.  

When he got to the pastor’s office and he opened in prayer, Errin’s mind went blank and he could hardly speak.  Finally, at the end of the meeting the pastor led him in the sinners prayer.   Errin felt like a new man.  All his guilt, shame and bitterness left him.  Yet, he did not understand it and mocked the experience.  People said this phase would leave him. 

Yet, he went back to church and two weeks later he tried to resist being water baptized, but the encouragement from others was so strong that he finally agreed and was submerged.  He said it was like he was struck with lightning.  He felt the power of the Holy Spirit like a new man filled with love and compassion.

Word spread throughout the community and his father told him at the dinner table to renounce Christianity or pack his clothes and “get out.”  He took his belongings and walked ten miles to the church where they let him sleep.  He never really ever talked to his father again. 

Today, he is a pastor of a fast growing church is the USA.  He says, “the Lord completely turned me around.”  As a Muslim, the weight, guilt, shame and sin weighed on him.  He says, “hate is the god of many Muslims,” yet he attests that thousands of them are having dreams of knowing Jesus, creating strong opportunities for missionaries.  God is moving through his Holy Spirit to change hearts.

Shortly after his conversion, he saw another miracle at his church as the leg of a young child grew out before his eyes.  Then a neighbor said his daughter had to go into the hospital for eight operations to fix her deformed leg at just five years old.  Errin told them about his church and gave them the address.  They carried the child to church and she was healed too.  They took her back to the doctors and they were astounded and wanted to see the girl in the x-rays.  The same neighbor saw Errin again, twenty years later and told him that same daughter might make their Olympic team in track.

According to two directors of a Islamic Missions for a major missionary group, “While Islam is evil, the problem is not Muslims. They are victims of a false religion.  But Jesus still loves them and wants them set free.  The biggest fear of Muslims is Judgment day.  Freedom in Christ removes the fear.  They are amazed at the Bible and they love the peace of mind they receive once they come to His saving Grace.”

The amazing and exciting news from all the missionaries I spoke to is that thousands of Muslims are receiving a dream of meeting Jesus Christ. 
So what are you going to do about it?  The first solution is prayer.

We need prayers to move nations.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Forgiveness is Freedom by Deidra Manning

Locked in chains, I sit bound and shackled to memory and regret. Shivering cold, darkness blinding, I hunch low in a damp corner blaming it on them – their lies, their hate, their indifference. They’re the reason I’m here. Simmering hatred bubbles deep in my heart, warming like a blanket wrapped from inside out, a heavy cover shielding from the pain of introspection, guarding against twinges of cold, hard reality.

The truth: I’m here because I choose to be. My prison: unforgiveness. The door to my cell isn’t closed; I can walk out any time. The chains are locked, but I hold the key. The shackles are cuffs I prefer to wear – they prove to everyone just how wronged I was. I’m tormented here, but it’s easier to judge, blame, and despise those who mistreated me than it is to break free.

Breaking free is painful. It takes effort, determination, and love. It requires a decision – it demands grace. Forgiveness acknowledges injustice, but gives opportunity to walk away. Forgiveness identifies depravity, but decides to look beyond. Forgiveness is bold and graceful; it emancipates those bound to mistakes and regret. Forgiveness is messy and painful; it’s full of blood, sweat, and tears. It’s intentional, it’s costly, it’s emotional, but it’s the only way to ever truly be free.

Freedom is never free – someone always pays. Christ paid the price for our forgiveness – the freedom to accept and give grace. He made the choice to look beyond my faults, to love me in spite of all my wrong-doing. He who is perfect and knew no sin became sin for me. He chose to die so I can live freely. His forgiveness makes it possible for me to release myself and others from the guilt of sin.

How can I, having accepted His forgiveness, not extend the same to others? If I bear His name, I must bear His cross and follow in the way of forgiveness. Unforgiveness is the easy road, the wide path that leads to destruction. Forgiveness is the narrow way, the decision to work through pain.

I choose to release myself and others. I choose to accept His grace and give it away. I choose to unlock the chains, take off the shackles, and walk out the open door – His gift of freedom to me. I accept His gift of forgiveness. Will you?

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

Stay-at-home wife and mother of three, Deidra holds an M.S. in Psychology and is a blogger, free-lance writer, and author of Devotions from the Middle. She writes daily about her faith and life-experiences at The Middle

Friday, February 17, 2012

He Always Wins by Phyllis Robshaw

We can’t really realize and appreciate that we have freedom until we see that we need release from something.  It is easy to think of our salvation experience as a picture of that. O how He has set us free!

I have been a passionate follower of Jesus for over 40 years and am continually humbled by how much I still have to learn. I know that life comes at you in seasons and thought I had walked through some of the lowest lows and highest highs in those seasons already. I felt “seasoned” by experience.  When the tactics of the enemy encroached on my life as I was well aware that he would, the approach was so different and so strong that for the first time I was actually totally disabled. Under the oppression that hit me, I lost “me” for a season…my praise, vision, joy, energy, smile, laugh and strength shrunk in massive proportions. I had long ago learned that praise defeats the enemy but my heart was so beat I found it hard to be free to truly praise. I knew how to claim truths and pray scripture and wait for God to move in mighty ways but now I was unable.    

Being a housemom to 7 teen girls in a Christian children’s home, I spent every night praying with these precious girls and claiming the very things I needed to hear over them. They never knew my internal battle.  Such a surreal feeling, when I was so beat down. It felt like I was watching myself from above when I prayed over the girls. At the time, no comfort, release or freedom seemed to be mine. My husband and I were on this journey together and he was praying for me and watching me in this process of being thrown into a prison of sorts. I needed freedom from the oppression that was upon me. Right when it felt like I literally wouldn’t make it another day, a huge door opened and God released me/us from the circumstances of the oppression. I remember myself saying to the girls, “God is never late, always on time and cares about every desire of your heart. His thoughts about you outnumber the grains of sand on the earth.”  

SO true!  We love to bike ride in our gorgeous seaside town. Last week, we rode to the bayfront and sat on our favorite bench. The water was perfectly glassy and a group of seagulls looked like they were at a seagull spa right in front of us. …splashing, bathing, cooing, fully enjoying the calm water. I heard the Lord in the quietness of my heart say, “Enjoy this season of refreshing and freedom. I wasn’t late. I heard. I will not waste a moment of your life.” Praise in my heart has tripled in the 6 weeks since that freedom came. I am drinking in the Word of God like I have always loved to do again. I am sharpened and refined in new ways. I am rejoicing over what God did in spite of the oppression that blanketed me. I see miracles in the lives of our girls!

The enemy seeks to kill, steal and destroy and when we are sold out to God he is relentless in the attack. If you are under that attack in this season of your life in serving the Lord, don’t believe what you feel, think or see…believe what you know…God is faithful! He IS there in the midst of your circumstances and He WINS every time!   

Today's guest author is Phyllis Robshaw.  Phyllis has a passion for praying the Word on paper and believing the promises within it! She has been involved in lay ministry and formal ministry working with children, teens and college students alongside her husband Billy for over 30 years.  They have 2 married children and 3 grandchildren who are part of building up the Body of Christ in the U.S. and AU. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Economic Freedom and China

Again, thank God for our Founding Fathers who used the Bible and wrote our constitution to set in motion our values and principles that guide the Freedoms that we enjoy today.  Without a Moral Compass we would have not enjoyed such prosperity and blessing from the fruit of our labor.  It may not seem like it in times like these, but we still have economic strengths and resiliency by the Grace of God.   We have our share of cheaters but in the long run, the Golden Rule still builds repeat business success.

In recent news it seems that more and more drugs, movies, toys, and electronics are being stolen or ripped off by the Chinese or other nations.  Why is this when we are literally building the Chinese economy on the backs of American consumption?  Obviously, it’s a move of God and I touch on it in more detail in my new book, but let me give you a taste of why and how China has stepped away from some of their Communist ways to take on Economic Freedom.  (This is stuff the media will never report because they don’t believe in God or it’s not negative enough.)

In 2002, the Chinese Government sent an atheist Economics Professor named Zhao Xiao to the USA to study and learn why America’s economy was so strong. China was in the midst of a growing boom fueled by American companies bringing businesses and manufacturing facilities, creating jobs and training workers in China because of its low cost of labor and facilities and honorable work ethic. Since the death of Mao and the collapse of Russia and the Eastern Block of Communist Countries, more forward thinking Chinese leadership in the Communist Party knew they were falling further and further behind the rest of the world economically.

The Bottom line is that Zhao Xiao came back with a report he called “Market Economies with Churches and Market Economies without Churches.”  He also came back a Born Again Christian.  Xiao told Party Leaders the reason for American’s success is its Moral Value system based on Christian principles of  “loving your neighbor” taught by American Churches.  He said it is the key to America’s Economic greatness.

In a interview, Xiao said, that “Puritans who settled America, had an intent of bringing Glory to Jesus Christ in doing business... its a motivation that transcends making profits and in turn motivates the Entrepreneur to constantly find ways to innovate to reach more customers.”  He continues, “in the Chinese market environment, the reason people do evil things is because the overall marketplace is not very good.”  In China business owners “do evil things to protect themselves, expecting other people will do evil things to them, so they do it first.”  He said that businesses need mutual trust among one another, as in the USA.

He says, “the strongest difference in America and China is not technology, wages, or intelligence… but churches.  In the USA there are more churches than China has banks or even Rice shops.  Churches bind America together.”

He continues, ”these days the Chinese people do not believe in anything.  They don’t believe in god, they don’t believe in the devil, they don’t believe in providence, they don’t believe in the last judgment, nor anything about heaven.  A person who believes in nothing ultimately can only believe in himself.  And self-belief implies that anything is possible---what do lies, cheating, harm and swindling, matter?

Amazingly, God has been moving on the heart of the Chinese people for the last 30 years and there are today over 138 million Born Again believer’s that have been hiding, growing and flourishing underground in home churches across China.  That's 10% of their population.

The communist party likes their economic success and that’s why they manipulate there currency to try to keep their boom going.  God allows Grace but their Grace period will end when He teaches them more and more about integrity, character and faithfulness.  Eventually they will have to set a legal system that stops and polices the con men and thieves or the USA and the rest of the nations who want to do honorable business will no longer buy from them, no matter their prices.

Economic Freedom and its principles are from the Lord and are changing the world with the Freedom he planned for mankind ever since He gave free will rights to Adam and Eve.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ye Shall Know the Truth by Cheryl Cope

...and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Obviously if you look at this verse in context, it's principal meaning is referring to the word of God, but it can also rightly be applied to many other topics, including knowing the truth about weight loss.

When you are lacking information or believing lies in any area of life, the quality of your life can suffer because of it. In a sense you can be "bound" by lies or false information. This is very common in the area of health and weight loss. Even in modern literate America, people still do not know all the information they need to properly take care of their bodies. There is not a lot of teaching in the public school systems on this topic nor in the media, and what is disemminated is not always accurate.

For example, lots of people still believe that fat makes you fat. This is a myth or a lie. There is a biological cycle that occurs that is common to the human species that ends with the storage of fat on one's body. You eat food that raises your blood sugar level, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete more insulin, which signals the body to store more fat. Carbohydrates have the most effect on our blood sugar levels, protein has some effect, and fat has no effect. Scientists figured this out and researchers have proven this over and over to be true.

A different kind of lie that you might be believing which is inhibiting your freedom to be healthy or to lose weight, could be something like, "I don't believe I can ever be thin. I've always been fat, so I always will be."  You may have started believing something like that in your childhood in response to someone else's comment or opinion of you. No matter where a lie like this came from, the fact that you are believing it, is keeping you bound and not free. You may be believing something like this on a subconscious level.

To gain freedom to be healthy and lose weight ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any lies you are believing about your health habits, weight, or body image and to reveal to you any information that you may be lacking for success in this area of your life. He is faithful and will lead and guide you into all truth, whether that is the truth about your inner self talk or the scientific truths about weight loss or about any other truths you need.

Cheryl Cope is a Christian woman's weight loss and habit change coach, helping women achieve healthy and sustainable weight loss, greater health and closer intimacy with God. She helps her clients change their eating, exercising, health, thinking and spiritual habits for the better. She incorporates prayer, biblical principles and the leading of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of her work. Cheryl offers private and group coaching programs. Sign up to get her free report, Eleven Weight Loss and Nutrition Myths, at   For more information on Cheryl or her services, please visit or email her at

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Religious Freedom is Our Foundation

Today one of the “hot issues” that is creating a lot of the talk show buzz is the question of our Religious Freedom.  Obviously, our Founding Fathers selected it as the First Amendment which prohibits the federal government from making a law "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

What was it that the Founding Fathers saw that some Americans can’t see today?  They realized that they had won freedom from Great Britain not because of their military superiority but it was their calling from God.  His Spirit guided and led them to be an example for other nations.  It was the Spiritual move of God through His believers to set a new standard from the self centered Kings and Monarchs who had controlled this world.

Let me share just one illustration that again confirms my perspective:  In 1562, (56 years before Plymouth Rock), the French Huguenots landed in the USA in a settlement they called Fort Caroline, at the mouth of the St. Johns River, part of Jacksonville, Florida.  The Huguenots were Protestant Reformists (Calvinists) who wanted to avoid the wicked religious persecution they experienced in France.  They longed for a new life to worship, as they felt called.

Yet, the Queen of Spain learned about the settlement and worried that France would try to claim the Florida peninsular they had wanted.  So they sent soldiers to massacre the Huguenots.  The Spanish then settled in St. Augustine near by. But as the legend goes that before the massacre, the Huguenots had dedicated the land and all of North America to Jesus Christ. 

In 1998, a friend told me that the Lord had directed him to go to Fort Caroline, with descendents of the Huguenots and Spanish (who did the massacre) and pray for forgiveness and reconciliation.  Two pastors would lead prayers and ask for blessings and by chance, I was invited to go as well.  None of us took this lightly.  After several prayers together we moved to different parts of the Fort to pray individually. 

While I prayed and ask for forgiveness for our Nation and ancestors, and within a few minutes I started to see a vision of blood pouring like waves out onto the land and spreading.  But then as the blood started to flow it began to turn white.  It was as if God was purifying the land with His blood of forgiveness.  It was a site and experience I will never forget.

Joshua Youssef of Leading the Way Ministry said recently, “The Blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the church.”  History often proves that early missionaries lose their lives, as Christ did, for the Church to take root. 

Our Religious Freedom has a solid foundation from Jesus Christ and His Spiritual leading and sacrifice.  America is special and called of God to emulate the ways and purposes of Freedom around the world.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Freedom to Slow Down by Pete Wilson

Many of us have become convinced that speed is a necessary idol you have to worship in this time addicted culture.
When we pursue ambition and speed we lose wonder and awe.
When life becomes all about getting from Point A to Point B as fast as we possibly can, it comes at a cost.

I want to be filled with…
More questions and less conclusions.
More mystery and less assumptions.
More wonder and less equations.
The Sabbath is a day for me to stop and notice the gifts of God around me.
To watch the sun slowly drop out of the sky.
To lay in the hammock with a good book.
To slowly hike a trail with my boys.
To sit around the table and enjoy a long, unhurried meal with friends.
The Sabbath is a day to stop working, and just rest in the finished work of Jesus, to stop impressing God, and start enjoying him. It’s a weekly marker which so gently reminds us to stop doing things for him, and acknowledge what he’s done for you.

The Sabbath is a gift. A day God has created for us to celebrate our freedom in Him. If we ignore this rhythm then we miss an incredible opportunity to sit under the spout of God’s grace, and we are far less blessed than we could be.
Today's guest blogger is a husband, father of 3 wild boys, and a Pastor at  Cross Point Church.  He is also the author of "Plan B: What do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought He would?" available in paperback and as an ebook.  For more information on Pete, his ministry, or his book, please visit

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jesus, Budweiser, and Freedom by Mike Whittymore

Do you ever wonder if Jesus were here today that He, being the King of Jews, would drink the King of Beers? These are the types of questions that plague my day. But deep within the sarcasm, there's a good question. Would Jesus drink beer? What do you think? 

We know Jesus drank wine
We know He made wine
We know He illustrated with wine

Yet, we live in this bazaar reality where legalism has forced our humble protestant reformation to use a breathalyzer. For the orthodox among us, the issue over freedom and drinking isn’t a problem. In fact, most would agree that our Catholic friends are fairly liberal with alcohol. 

So where's the rub? Well, like most issues, (sex) the church doesn't effectively teach on them. Our lack of teaching over the last 50 years has crippled our view on major life issues, causing one generation to label them taboo, and another generation to embrace them without regard. 

The reality is that most Protestants are at a weird crossroad. The fundamental, evangelical Protestants label alcohol as a sin, and that abstinence is the only option. Conversely, the mainstream, non-denomination protestant sees alcohol as a choice and enjoys the freedom to indulge. If you're a Christian and drink - you're a heathen. If you're a Christian and you abstain - you're a prude.

Even Mark Driscoll, the King of Seattle, can't gain traction on this issue. 

The problem is not FREEDOM. Yes, Jesus died for you, and you have liberties in Him. But drinking and freedom are not in the ring together. Drinking and TEACHING are. 

We simply do not teach correctly on this issue. To teach abstinence as a directive is wrong! There is no biblical mandate to support this. Likewise, there's no scripture to support all out permission for consumption. 

Here's what we know: we know that all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial .In other words, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. 

What we need to do, is stop waging a beer war on each other, and focus on teaching. What are we showing the next generation? Division! Should that be our legacy? It's ridiculous and shameful that we've wasted so much time on arguments of futility. 

Do people abuse alcohol? Yes.
Do people abuse each other? Yes.
Do people abuse food? Yes
-should we do away with all of these? NO!

Your freedom came with a price. Is this really how we want to honor that sacrifice? Arguing? Dying on pathetic hills of legalism? Let’s open the scriptures to our children, and show them that freedom is meant to be kept in check and that life is meant to be enjoyed.

Let’s teach our children about the dangers of alcohol.
Let’s teach them about hereditary tendencies.
Let’s teach them to obey the law.
Let’s teach them not to give in to drunkenness, which leads to debauchery.

Moreover, let’s teach them that we are called to be a people of MODERATION!
 [for the record, you cannot be anti-alcohol, but pro-Golden Corral]

Look, people spend money, have kids, and get married. As a Pastor, I've spent years trying to get people to do all those things the RIGHT way, because when they do, not only are their lives better, but so are the ones they impact. 

Protestants must understand that legalism cannot share the New Testament with the Cross. Likewise, we must also use our freedom to teach, and not just to indulge. 

Who I am:  I'm a follower of Jesus Christ. I'm a husband, a father, a worship leader, a student pastor, and a blogger.

What I know:  I've come to find that God has fashioned me into a man that is humbled by the grace given to me and the responsibility to show God's glory through it.

Email me:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Blood Sacrifice for Freedom by John Beehner

The ultimate sacrifice for any of us is giving our life for another.  Christ paid the price for all of us, giving us the Freedom from our sins for God’s deeper purpose in moving the world forward. 

Just as God moved on Pharaoh to “let my people go,” He has been hungering not for just individuals but nations to adopt Freedom to serve His greatest purpose.  America is the birthplace for democratic Freedom and has a destiny to share that vision and purpose with all nations of the world. 

The Middle East, Africa, Far East and European nations have seen our willingness to pay the ultimate sacrifice so other nations could live in Freedom.  We are the defenders of freedom.  Every Armed Service man and victim of 9/11  is a freedom fighter to change the world.

The Lord is tired of the Dictators, Communists and Religions that keep His people in slavery or bondage to minimize the gifts and talents of each individual.  Ultimately, he wants them to experience Freedom IN Christ.

Of 220 significant nations in the world 143 have chosen a form of freedom.  Even after the Iraq war, 19 more nations declared freedom and now there are 7 more in process including Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunsia.  More men and women are willing to shed their blood for Freedom, if not for themselves, then for those who come after them... just like our founding fathers did for us.

God principles apply to individuals, families, organizations and YES, Nations. 

China has declared Economic Freedom and now Religious Freedom.  Soon they will declare Political freedom for all their people because the flame is lit in their heart. They won’t be able to turn back.  The Chinese leaders saw the writing on the wall with the collapse of Communist Russia and the Eastern Block.  Mao was dead and Communism wasn’t working.  They were isolated and falling behind the rest of the world.

Japan and Germany, two of the greatest leaders and contributors to economic growth in our world, might never have been free and democratic without America’s leadership, compassion, and military through God’s intervention.  South Korea and North Korea are great polar examples.

Bottom Line, Christ is the blood sacrifice that inspires mankind to give their blood for the Freedoms He stretched out His arms on the cross to give us.  Are you exercising your rights through freedom and willing to give your sacrifice?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Deeply Free by Shauna Hall

Freedom.  That is an oceanic topic.  Deep and wide, multitudes of my thoughts pour forth concerning it.  I wanted to say something deep and profound about freedom, something radical and transforming, but I find the only thing I really have to say about anything is what is transforming my life currently.  That, for me' is thankfulness.  Being thankful has been making me free.  Deeply free.

I think this is what we are all often looking for and struggling to find.  We are threatened by anything that takes away or hinders our freedoms, real or perceived.  Jobs, commitments, children.  We want to keep our options open, keep our shoes laced, ready to run if something tries to block us in and take away the choices that we think enable us to do what we want, when we want. Even how we want.  But living with this mentality is what is keeping many of us locked up with discontent, and unthankful lack.   

Because I am coming to believe that the thing that brings the greatest freedom and fulfillment is embracing all these things.  All the things that are given to transform my character.  Trials, challenge, struggle, suffering, even the everydayness of life.  Freedom is not doing what I want, freedom is pouring myself out in and for the calling God has given me.  Freedom is commitment, with no turning back.  Until death do us part.  Freedom is fighting the good fight, finishing strong, no holding back, and letting go of what I think my hopes and dreams are and how to get them with my own ideas and plans.  Freedom is 6 children and all of my life laid down to serve and raise them with my beloved husband.   Freedom is the ability to forget myself and give to others not expecting in return.  Fulfillment is found in embracing all that Jesus has done and trusting His heart with all I had hoped for.   

The grass can seem greener, and the "if only's" that tempt and sway before our eyes give promise of something better, something we had hoped for, searched for and dreamed would be ours, only to be met with disappointment.  But they are the illusion and the reality is found in acceptance and embracing the life God has given us with thanksgiving.  There it is, that word again (my watchword for 2011) Thankfulness, thanksgiving, In all its simplicity, freedom is found in thankfulness regardless of what I think I want or how I wish things were.  Deeply thankful to the One who knew best, and gave it, whatever it may be.  

with grace and thankfulness, Shauna

Shauna lives in Northern, CA with her amazing husband Jeff and their  6 children, the latest of which just arrived.  She enjoys learning how to walk in thankfulness and humility while pursuing faithfulness in the calling she has as a wife, mother, and teacher.  She blogs her devotional thoughts and musings at Live His Word 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To Be Free Indeed by John Beehner

During the first week of September of 1980, I got on my knees in the Days Inn hotel to commit my life to Jesus Christ.  I did not really know what I was doing but my heart and soul were aching from the sins and dumb things I had done so far in life.  I surprisingly found a paperback Bible printed and distributed by the founder of Days Inn that offered a Sinners Prayer in the back.  It was so much easier to read than the King James version I had brought, so I welcome the chance to recite the prayer many times and give it all to Him. 

Nearly 20 years later I started to fully comprehend what I had done that night.  The Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had given up my rights to free will, that God had granted to me and every man and women since Adam and Eve. 

The early years it was easy to be submissive to the Lord because within a week he had led me to a business that turned around my economic issues and set me on the course I’m still on today of working with CEOs to help them grow their business, ultimately God’s way.   Even though the first year was hell it became easier for 10 years, until He wanted me to change course.  Then came the test of obedience and many battles over 7 years with evil and God’s uphill climb that He would not let me forsake.

At times it seems like I am climbing a rocky mountain barefoot with no special gear to help me get to the top.  In this test I have needed to trust Him deeper and deeper, breaking away any of my desires still in me.  But what I have found along this journey is that true deepness is found through Freedom IN Christ.  There is a lot to complain about and plenty of scares but my Spirit is alive from the insights and discernment He has given me every day.

Here is the Bottom Line: When we commit our lives to  Jesus Christ, we no longer have the rights to free will that we were born with.  Even if you were only ten years old, when you committed to Him, the Lord does forget and will eventually draw you into His full service. 

I have committed to be His servant, His soldier, His ambassador to accomplish His will and plan in and through me.  And He loves the journey because if I can keep my flesh (soul and worldly desires) quenched, He can use me for great things.  I have won my ultimate Prize and reward ... which is true Freedom IN Christ... long before I get to heaven.  That is a privilege and a joy that allows me to be FREE indeed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Freedom From Worry and Fear by Bengt Korshing

 I rest without worry near my father's heart. John 14:27

There is a lot of confusion about 2012. The film industry has made a lot of money playing on peoples fears and worries about 2012. Many beleive that because the Mayan calendar ends in December 2012, so will the world. As I follow the comments on internet and the rise of internet "survivalists" shops, I see two things - one, the rising fear for the unknown and two, the oppertunity taken by those who have money as their focus, to get rich by using our fears to get us to buy, buy, buy and buy our safety, our survival, our future. Can we really "buy" these things ? NO ! We can only get a very temporary feeling of security.

 There have been countless predictions about the end of the world and so far none have come close to being right.

 What all this does is play right into the hands of the devil. He wants us to worry and be afraid. He wants us to focus on the worst possible outcome. Why? Because when we focus on these things we do what the apostle Peter did when he was walking on the water towards Jesus, the storm scared him and he looked at the waves of the sea and became afraid - then he started sinking, only JESUS saved him when he called for help. Read Matthew 14:30.

 If we let our worries about the future, a future we can't do anything about, draw our focus from Jesus THEN we WILL start sinking and we may very well drown in the depths of our fears and dispare. Just what the devil wants.

 Worry and fear tires us all. There is nothing that draws so much energy from us as worry and fear. In Mattew 11 vs.28 Jesus says, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 

Go to Jesus with your worries and fears, only He can help you.

 Throughout the Bible we can read about many of God's messengers and people who at one time or another have felt worry and fear. When this happened they called to God for help:

"Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted..." (Psalm 25:16).

 Here are two verses of Francie's hymn "All the way my saviour leads me":

"All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who thru life has been my guide?
Heav'nly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell!
 For I know what'er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well. 

 All the way my Savior leads me; Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised In my Father's house above:
When my spirit, cloth'd immortal, Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song thru endless ages: Jesus led me all the way."

 Let JESUS be your focus every day of 2012 - let Him carry ALL your worries and fears.

Today's guest blogger is Bengt Korshing.  Bengt was born in Sweden, but grew up in Mozambique, where his parents were missionaries.  He studied anthropology in the US, then moved back to Sweden and studied in the Royal Guard.  In 1979 he answered the call to serve as a missionary in Sierra Leone, where he met and married an American missionary.  When the two started their family they decided to move back to Sweden, where it was safer.  There they became tent-makers (self supporting missionaries) and today they are helping small churches and prayer groups and working as English teachers.
Visit Bengt's blog at