Wisdom from My Fortune Cookie #2

"Beware the fury of a patient man." 

Creative Writing

Poetry & Prose by Rick & Kathy

This afternoon while going through some old papers, I came across a short story that I had written around the time I was in college, "Mr. Easly's Life After Death Experience." A few of you from way back might remember it. That prompted me to set up a Creative Writing section on our main website . Kathy has been writing poetry as long as I've known her and has notebooks filled literally with hundreds of poems. She has had a few of her poems published.

I'm sure we will be adding both newer and older pieces over time, but here are our first submissions to you, dear readers:

"Mr. Easly's Life After Death Experience"
I wrote this in response to all the life after death, white light experiences that were being described around the time I was in college. About that same time, we used to sit in a circle reading selections from Steve Martin's The Cruel Shoes, so it's somewhat in that vein.

"Yesterday, When My Truck Went Into a Ditch"
In January, 1994, I was taking a Christian Journalism class at Asbury Theological Seminary. On my first day of travel from Louisville to Wilmore, the roads were covered with snow and ice (this was exactly two weeks before the BIG snow of 1994 for you Louivillians who remember). This short paragraph was written in response to the irony of the situation I found myself in that cold winter morning.

"The Empty Tomb Conspiracy"
While taking the Christian Journalism class at Asbury, I wrote an apologetic piece, "The Empty Tomb Conspiracy." I submitted it a couple of places, but I really think that most folks just don't get it. My point in the story is that had the disciples made up Jesus' resurrection, they wouldn't have been willing to die martyr's deaths for something they knew was a lie. But like I said, most folks just don't get it. I've actually seen people become red-faced angry while reading it.

Five poems from Kathy:
"Well of Tears"
"Pictures on the Fridge"
"70 x 7"
"Empty Arms"
"Floppy Ears"
I asked Kathy to pick out a few initial poems to put on the website. The choices she made are startlingly personal. She never ceases to amaze me which is one of the reasons I love her so much.

Anyway, feel free to read, comment, and check back for more entries in the future. I've also added a link to the Creative Writing page on the sidebar to the right. 

Reminder: Last Day to Use Your Subway Sandwich Stamps

And all things are now equal with Quiznos... 

In case you have any of them lying around, today (July 31, 2005) is the last day you can redeem stamps for free sandwiches at Subway chains.

Afraid that counterfeiters were making fake stamps, Subway decided to do away with the program altogether . They stopped giving out stamps a few weeks ago and they designated today as the last day to redeem cards. But is that the right response to counterfeiters? Couldn't they have come up with a new stamps--some other solution? If the Federal Government took this approach to money counterfeiters, would they do away with physical currency altogether?

I'm sad to see these go. I've been collecting these coupons as long as I can remember. It was often an incentive to go to Subway over other restaurants. Mom and Sonny have been sending me theirs for years.

I have one card, good for one 6" sandwich, left. Dinner at Subway Sunday night and then from now on, Quiznos gets equal attention from me... 

Profile Me, Please

The US official policy of not profiling at airports may come back to haunt us in more ways than one... 

I first heard about the incident described below on John Dvorak's blog .

Our political correctness has now officially run amok. I could easily imagine my mother or grandmother having the same reaction if she were groped by a total stranger. And that leads to the real question, Why are we spending time searching 62-year-old women when all terrorists have been male, and every terrorist act involving airplanes has been committed by males of middle-eastern descent?

This has now become ridiculous. Tell you what... if there's ever an APB out for someone matching my general description, I hope that I'll be searched and not my mother instead. Guess what? I won't be offended. And I won't be upset. You know why? Because I won't have anything to hide. If a person is doing what he or she is supposed to be doing, getting searched because you fit a certain profile should be no big deal.

I would hate to think that another terrorist act might be committed via one of our airports because security screeners were patting down a grandmother and while doing so let a person matching the profile of past terrorists slip on by! 

Captain Miracle Doesn't Impress Me

Is he the latest in Christian schlock (if I may borrow a Yiddish word) or a derisive attack against the faith?

 Holy Comics (I've never heard of them) is planning to release a comic book based around a new super-hero named Captain Miracle. When Billy Batista speaks the divine name of the God of the Bible, he receives "super powers granted by the Almighty." The website lists a band of villains that Captain Miracle will face including Gaia Rites, described as "a Pagan lesbian who values the earth more than men" (do they mean "men" as in mankind or just men?); Professor Atheos, "a Humanist whose inventions defy God's providence" (I'm not even sure what that means); Sodom al-Mohammed, "an Islamic terrorist slaughtering American soldiers" (note that his name is spelled "Sodom," not "Saddam"), The Anti-Miracle, "the Captain's devil-powered counterpart" and a "Mysterious being who appears to be unstoppable." Let me guess...could this last one be (together in our Church Lady voices, with our fingers on our chins), Satan?

Captain Marvel was conceived by Jason A. Quest (I wonder if that's his real name?). Quest claims on the Holy Comics website that he is neither promoting Christianity or trying to make fun of it. He claims that Captain Miracle "is more of a thinking person's religious superhero [sic], and more "fun" than "fundamentalist."

Okay, see, I'm doubly offended. Not only am I offended by this comic book that, in my opinion, trivializes the Christian faith, but I'm also irritated that one of my favorite super-heroes of my childhood--Captain Marvel --has been ripped off once again.

Let's start with Captain Marvel [warning: rabbit trail alert]. First, his name is not Shazam. "Shazam!" is what Billy Batson says to turn into Captain Marvel. But let me explain why you're confused over this. In 1938 the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1 issued in the era of modern mythology centered around costumed heroes. Fawcett Publications wanted to get in on this by creating a super-hero on par with Superman, but not close enough that they would get sued by the company that would eventually be called DC Comics. So in 1940, Captain Marvel first appeared. Captain Marvel, an adult, was really a young boy, Billy Batson who could say a magic word, SHAZAM!, and transform into "the world's mightiest mortal." SHAZAM was an acronym for Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury, legendary characters from whom Billy/Cap received his powers (I always thought Solomon was an odd choice to throw into the mix--a Jewish King known for his wisdom alongside gods and demigods out of Greek and Roman mythology).

Anyway, for a while in the 1940's Captain Marvel became more popular than Superman in sales. So DC decided to sue Fawcett claiming that Cap was a rip-off of Superman, although in my opinion, he really wasn't. The lawsuit dragged on for years until finally Fawcett decided they no longer wanted to be in the comic book business and DC obtained the rights to Captain Marvel. Unfortunately for DC, by this time Stan Lee had started a comic book company called Marvel Comics. The folks at Marvel sued (or threatened to sue--I really don't remember) DC saying that DC could not put the word "Marvel" onto the cover of a comic book because it would cause confusion to consumers. To cement this even further, they created their own Captain Marvel (who was very different from the original Fawcett Cap) and printed an ongoing series under the name. Therefore, the agreement has always been that any DC comic book series with Captain Marvel can't be called "Captain Marvel" on the cover. They can call him this inside the comic, though. Therefore, the few times Cap has had a series of his own since DC has had the rights to him, the issues have usually been called "Shazam!" You may even remember the Saturday morning television series in the 1970's by the same name. Rabbit trail complete.

Sorry for the history lesson. So obviously, Captain Miracle is a blatant rip-off of Captain Marvel. This has happened before (in spite of Marvel Comics' own Captain Marvel, their greater counterfeit is The Mighty Thor ).

But my greater offense to Captain Miracle is the trivialization of Christianity that I see symbolized in this new character. Granted, I haven't seen the final product (don't know if I really want to). And I can't tell if Quest is sincerely trying to make a "Christian" comic book or if he is using parody to be antagonistic toward the Christian faith. Even the company, Holy Comics, has a tagline I don't like: "The Leader in Cruci-Fiction" [emphasis added]. In trying to create a clever tagline, they also run the risk of questioning the historical validity of Jesus' death on the cross. That and making Yahweh into a magic word is all a bit too sacrilegious to me, regardless of intentions. There have to be lines of discretion at some point.

And even if I were to give Quest and Holy Comics the benefit of the doubt and say they were being sincere, I believe Captain Miracle is going to be counter-productive to evangelistic efforts and unnecessarily offensive to certain groups. Besides the trivialization of the Christian faith mentioned above, I can see Jews being offended by the way God's name is being used. And the main page of the website would also undoubtedly be offensive to Muslims and homosexuals. I'm not opposed to offending people if it is truth that offends (1 Cor 1:23), but I don't believe it is ever wise to offend through mockery.

I don't like anything about this website's preview of Captain Miracle. Heck, I don't even like the cover of the first issue. Notice that Captain Miracle's third and fourth fingers are bent. This is a traditional sign of blessing used by clergy in some denominations, especially the Catholic Church. And Captain Miracle's costume looks like a cross between Captain Marvel's and a character from SNL's Ambiguously Gay Duo. The more I look at it, the more I am convinced it must be an antagonistic parody, but if it's not, that's a pretty sad indictment against what the creators are communicating thus far.

So that I might end this with a positive note, let me recommend a rather well-done blending of Christianity and the super-hero genre. A friend of mine, Tim Wise, has written the first two volumes in what will hopefully be an ongoing series of stories about a group of heroes known as The Intrepid Force.

The Intrepid Force is described as "an elite fighting team in an age of bionics, genetic engineering, and interplanetary travel." I haven't read the second book yet, but the first was a good science fiction tale that while written from a Christian worldview, was never preachy or trite. If you like the X-Men or Legion of Super-Heroes, you should check out The Intrepid Force and Intrepid Force: Invasion . Both are available from Amazon.com or your local bookseller. 


The Coming Conflict with China

Here's what's next after the War on Terror... 

You may or may not have heard about the threats that China's General Zhu Chenghu made toward the United States two weeks ago (go to any of the news sites and search for articles with "Chenghu" around July 15 or 16). The reports received mixed coverage by the mainstream media with some barely covering it at all.

In a nutshell, Chenghu said that if the United States was to interfere with China's attempt to reconsolidate (i.e. invade and conquer) Taiwan, they would be forced to use nuclear force to stop us. Further--and you're going to think I'm exaggerating this, but I'm not--Chenghu said that they would fire missiles at hundreds of US cities! That story came out on July 15, and the next day the Chinese government said that Chenghu's statements were his own, not official government policy.

But think about this! Can you imagine if one of our military leaders was going around making statements that we were going to use nuclear force against other countries? He'd be canned immediately. No such reaction from China toward Chenghu. I've no doubt that a Chinese invasion of Tawain is imminent--as in any day over the next few months. And no doubt, Chenghu has been part of strategy sessions where the question has come up as to what the response would be if the United States interferes. I think we'd better take his comments, regardless of the context, pretty seriously.
I don't want to sidetrack into too much history here, but the United States has a fairly unusual relationship with China (or the People's Republic of China) and Taiwan (The Republic of China). The United States has officially recognized the PRC (China mainland) as a nation, but has never recognized the ROC (Taiwan) as a nation since they formally separated themselves from the rest of China in 1949. However, (and here's where it's going to get sticky), American companies have huge economic partnerships with Taiwan (we do with the rest of China as well), and Taiwan has provided relief assistance to the United States in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And I almost hesitate to remind you that China (PRC) is a communist regime, while Taiwan (ROC) is a democracy.

What all this means is that when (notice I didn't say "if") China invades Taiwan the United States is going to be obligated to come to the defense of this nation that it considers an ally (but doesn't officially recognize as an independent nation) against a nation that it officially recognizes as a nation (but doesn't consider an ally). And when you think that just two weeks ago a general in China's army says if the United States interferes (assumption: militarily), they will use nuclear force against us in retaliation, you have a pretty serious setting-up of events!

Heaven forbid that there's ever a World War III, but if there is, look for it to be primarily the United States against China. My fear is that the stage is being set for a major showdown between these two countries that makes the Cold War of the 20th Century with the USSR look like field maneuvers and the current War on Terror as merely boot camp. Regardless, China is set to be the major world power of the current century and by the end of it, could very well be a greater presence than we--the United States--are now.

I had an informal conversation with a world religions professor (it's probably best to leave him anonymous) regarding China ten years ago. In that conversation, he said that it's speculated that China is sitting on the largest untapped oil reserves in the world, biding their time in hopes that another primary fuel source doesn't emerge before the rest of the world runs out. At that point, they could control the world's fuel supply and thus, the world's economy. Think about how frustrated you are paying higher gas prices lately because the Middle Eastern OPEC nations control the cost of crude oil. It could get much, MUCH worse.

This same professor also said that basically, China has never been a key player so far in world events because with their own wars and such a huge population to contend with, they effectively sat out the Industrial Revolution. However, he noted that they are now in the process of catching up overnight. I think they've caught up.

On the positive side of things, if relations with China were to go well over the next few years, there is unlimited opportunity in the areas of trade and foreign relations. A student graduating from high school or college today who takes the time to learn Mandarin Chinese (the most spoken language in the world; English is second) could effectively write his or her own career ticket.

However, if things do not go well, we could be facing an enemy the likes we've never known. With the kind of threats being made by someone up so high in China's military, my fear is this is the direction we're heading. Let's pray that is not the case

You heard it here first...

Overdue Books

You know who you are... 

Finally, after a lot of work, our library is back in order with everything where it should be on the shelf... almost. I have a few books that are missing, and there's a good chance that perhaps someone reading this will remember that I loaned you this or that particular book. You don't necessarily have to give it back immediately, but if you would be so kind as to let me know you have it, so that I don't have to order a replacement.

Here are the books that are missing:
• Watts, Isaiah 34-66 (Word Biblical Commentary) 
• Foulkes, Ephesians (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) 
• Hull, Jesus Christ Disciple-Maker 
• McDowell, The Islam Debate 
• Blomberg, Interpreting the Parables 
• Stein, Introduction to the Parables 
• Morris, Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

If you would like to see our complete list of books, now that they are in order, go to our library page on my main website.

As I said, if you have my copy of any of the above books, please let me know. Thanks! 


I came across this quiz today that determines which theologian you are most like. This will mean nothing to some of you who read this blog, but a few of you may want to take it yourself. If so, click the link below.

Here are my results:

You scored as Anselm. Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?'

Karl Barth




Friedrich Schleiermacher


John Calvin


Jonathan Edwards


Jurgen Moltmann


Charles Finney




Martin Luther


Paul Tillich


Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Anselm? I can live with that.

Then, I was emailed another profile quiz. This one matches you to various science fiction characters. My results? See below.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Click on the link and take the quiz yourself. Post whatever theologian or character you are in the comments below.

Whatever It Takes

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14, NASB) 

First the bad news. Others have said it better than this, but the truth is that if you desire to do something great for God, the forces of darkness will do everything possible to derail your efforts. I don't think it matters whether you are a missionary thousands of miles from home or simply a believer trying to be a humble and obedient servant wherever you are. If you feel like you are being attacked from every direction, then you are probably doing something right. And well...that's the good news. Trials and tribulations that you face may just be a sign that the enemy has sat up and taken notice of your efforts. YOU are a threat. And, really, even the bad news is actually good news. Rom 8:17 tells us that to suffer for Christ's sake is a mark of his lordship on your life. It's an honor. It shows that you belong to him.

Unfortunately, if you're like me, too often we let these things distract us and we give into it. We take our eyes off the prize. We forget the big picture, and for a time, we can even forget our calling. As I look back over the last few years of my life, as I examine the lives of others I know, I have seen this happen more than I would like to admit. We're traveling down the path--going the right way--doing what we're supposed to be doing, when something just derails us--whether it's temptation, tragedy, illness, or even events beyond our control. The truth is that we let circumstances control us, distract us. We lose sight of the big picture and we are, for a time, seemingly defeated. It can take years to get back on track in some cases.

Recently, I came across The Journals of Jim Elliot in my library. I hadn't looked at this book in a number of years and I wondered what Elliot's last entry was before he was martyred by the Aucas. To me Jim Elliot's journals are very humbling. This man was spiritually more mature in his early twenties than I've ever been in my entire life. He's a giant. He's one of my heroes. So I turned to the last page of the book to see what he recorded last, right before he was killed while trying to bring the gospel to a people who had never heard of Christ. Here's what Jim Elliot wrote:
December 31 [1955] A month of temptation. Satan and the flesh have been on me hard. How God holds my soul in His life and permits one with such wretchedness to continue in His service I cannot tell. Oh, it has been hard. . . .I have been very low inside me struggling and casting myself hourly on Christ for help. Marriage is divorce from the privacy a man loves, but there is some privacy nothing can share. It is the knowledge of a sinful heart. 
These are the days of the New Year's believers' conference on the Sermon on the Mount. Yesterday I preached and was helped on "whoever looks on a woman..."! 
"Let spirit conquer though the flesh conspire." 

I had completely forgotten about Jim Elliot's last entry. Here it shows someone who has been greatly struggling with temptation right before the greatest moment of his life--the end of his life. In a very human way, it parallels Jesus' temptation in the wilderness before the beginning of his ministry, or perhaps more fittingly, the hours of intense emotional struggle before his crucifixion. Elliot describes the sources of his temptation as both Satan and the flesh, or his own sinful desires. There is a hint that he was struggling with lustful thoughts.

What if Jim Elliot had taken his eyes off the prize? What if he had given into temptation? What if he fell into sin with another woman, perhaps the wife of one of the other missionaries days before the final pivotal event that God had planned for his life? What if he decided the temptations that pulled at his sinful self or even the pursuit of materialism was more valuable than following God?

Some might answer those questions cynically by saying, "Yes, but then he might still be alive." For those who belong to God, death is not the worst thing that can happen. For those like Jim Elliot, it can be the greatest thing possible. Elizabeth Elliot would chronicle the death of her husband and the other four missionaries who were killed with him in the book, Through Gates of Splendor. You would think that a book that describes the death of missionaries to be a deterrent to the profession and calling. However, it had just the opposite effect. In 100 Christian Books that Changed the Century, William and Randy Petersen write that the story of Jim Elliot "touched the hearts of readers, many of whom responded to the missionary call to give their lives in sacrificial service." Further,
the book's greatest impact came in the hearts and lives of readers who dedicated themselves to follow in the footsteps of these five martyrs. The missionary life had lost some luster since the colonial days of David Livingstone. But in dramatic fashion, Through the Gates of Splendor painted a portrait of five ordinary Joes totally committed to sharing Christ with the most unlikely recipients. There would be no more Livingstones, but this book inspired an army of Jim Elliots and Nate Saints.

In reality, if Jim Elliot had given into temptation, scores of people might not have entered the mission field. Thousands, perhaps millions would not have heard the gospel, let alone come to Christ. You and I would probably have never heard of Jim Elliot or have been inspired by the ministry of Elizabeth Elliot.

So what can we do? How do we keep from letting attacks from within or from without keep us from going off course or even knocking us out of ministry altogether? I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Here are some initial thoughts, and I invite your thoughts and comments.

Be aware. I remember reading a book about Daniel Boone when I was kid in which the scouts of a particular Indian tribe were described as always sleeping with one eye open. That's what we have to do, spiritually speaking. We must never let our guard down. We must always stay alert. Jim Elliot described in his journal as being tempted by both Satan and his own flesh. This is true for all of us. The apostle Peter tells us to "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:19, NIV). This means that not only is Satan out to get us, but that he will also use our own weaknesses to trip us up.

Not only do we have to be alert to the tricks of the evil one, perhaps more importantly, we have to know ourselves and know our own weaknesses. Do you know what your weaknesses are? I am speaking of moral weakness, that which tempts you most. Know where you are tempted and don't put yourself in positions where you might fall. No one would recommend that an alcoholic hang out at a bar and drink Coca-Cola. The temptation would be too great. We have to do the same by not putting ourselves in such situations.

That's going to mean different things to different people, but for a lot of people, it will mean not going to certain movies, not being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not a spouse, not putting oneself in a position where compromise may occur. All too often, things done in secret have a way of becoming public. The Bible encourages us to fight, to resist every kind of sin except sexual immorality. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, we are told to flee (with the idea of running for safety) from sexual immorality (Greek: porneia).

We live in a culture that targets and exploits our weaknesses. Vice and virtue are often turned upside down. So be aware. Sexual immorality isn't the only trap. Pride, power, gluttony, dishonesty, greed and extreme self-interest have also derailed more than one believer. Know your weaknesses and act accordingly.

Get angry. A couple of years ago I talked with a former student who had totally embraced his weakness and was now wearing his sin as a badge of honor. Yet at the same time, he was miserable. He gave into it because that had seemed to be the easiest road. By claiming that "God had just made him that way" he didn't have to deal with a whole lot of junk that had taken place in his life years earlier. I started asking him questions about his past and his family relationships, and he was a textbook case. He laughed because he had studied enough psychology in college to know where I was headed in the conversation. But I told him, "You know, at some point, you ought to get angry. You ought to get stinking mad at the conspiracy of events that have taken place in your life to set you up to where you are now." I believed and still do that only then would he be able to do something about his situation.

Contrary to popular opinion, not all anger is bad. Paul addresses a variety of sins in Ephesians 4: stealing, unwholesome speech, bitterness (have you ever thought of bitterness as sin?), wrath and anger, clamor (meaning angry yelling) and slander (telling lies about other people). Yet a few verses earlier, Paul tells us in Eph 4:26 to be angry, yet without sin. And in the next verse (27), he says not to give the devil a foothold (a foot in the door, an entry point into our lives).

It's okay to get angry about your own circumstances, even if you caused them through your own sin. There is a "healthy anger" at oneself. It's okay to get angry about your weaknesses. But you can't stop there. The other half of Eph 4:26 says "do not let the sun go down on your anger" (NASB). When we hold onto our anger and keep it around like a pet, then it leads to that sin of bitterness mentioned above. That means you need to do something about the object of your anger.

Fight back. The worst thing a person can possibly do is to give in to sin. Sin is parasitic. It will eventually consume you if left unchecked. We can't give into that which tempts us. We are told to resist evil regardless of its form and to stand firm (Eph 6:13).

How do we do this? We've all been in situations where we felt the temptation was simply overpowering. It was too great. But I believe we often fail because we haven't been honest with ourselves and we haven't turned those weaknesses over to God. James tells us about an interesting cause and effect in the spiritual world. He says "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (4:7, NASB).

One of the first verses a new Christian should memorize (or an older Christian if you never learned it!) is 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it" (HCSB).

Too many times in my life I have been in situations where I simply failed to access the power of the truth found in that verse. No doubt you have, too. As believers, we have the ability to resist sin because Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20). We've got to be willing to fight back, and not lose sight of the prize, not lose sight of our calling, not lose sight of the big picture. We can't let immediate circumstances dictate the outcome of our lives or even circumstances that have long-term effects on ourselves or others.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who used to be in ministry. He was a pastor at one time, but currently, he is not. He said that he loved serving as a pastor, but he hated all the junk that came with it. He gave a list of examples that mostly involved nastiness on the part of certain church members. I understand his frustrations. I know what it's like to try to serve in a church and feel like so much of your efforts are being countermanded or your privacy is being invaded by the very people you are trying to help.

In light of my own experience, I made sure he knew that I wasn't throwing stones or being critical, but I tried to gently remind him of his calling. The kind of situations he described are distractions. They are the fiery arrows hurled by the devil. Sometimes they are serious enough to leave scars. But we can't focus on them and lose sight of what it is that God has called us to do.

Whatever it takes. We cannot lose our focus. Many times I've done it to myself. I've let myself become so distracted by other things, distracted sometimes by good and worthy opportunities that I've lost sight of what it is that I'm supposed to be doing.

Jesus used rather grotesque hyperbole in Matthew 18:8-9 when he said that if our eye is causing us to stumble (i.e. sin) to pluck it out. If our hand or foot is causing us to trip up, to cut it off. He said it was better to be blind or maimed than to enter hell whole. What does this mean? Jesus is saying that whatever is coming between you and God, get rid of it. It might be painful, it might be sacrificial, and lots of folks may misunderstand, but do whatever it takes. Anything that is causing you to sin, anything that is getting in the way of your calling should be discarded (provided it can be done without sin itself--in other words, you don't put your children up for adoption so that you can be freed for the mission field).

For some "whatever it takes" will mean accountability found from a counsellor or a small group of trusted friends.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have a calling and you have a ministry. It doesn't matter whether you serve as a pastor or whether you serve in a downtown office, whether you are on the mission field or whether you teach in a high school classroom. The world is your mission field. Where you are right now is your place of ministry. Don't let the distractions and temptations in life get you off course from doing what God has called you to do. And regardless of how far you or I have gotten off track, God can still use us. God still has a plan.

In the end, let us join with Jim Elliot's closing prayer: "Let spirit conquer though the flesh conspire."

Be aware. Get mad. Fight back. Whatever it takes.