Links to our December 2015 newsletter

december 2015 links

It’s that time of year (Christmas!!!) and our December newsletter celebrates:

  • Rob Slane ponders the significance of the name Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” The Bread of Life was born in the House of Bread at a time when the world was famished, just as it is today.
  • Dr. R.C. Sproul says Christians shouldn’t complain about the commercialization of Christmas, but instead should embrace the celebration of the holy time when God appeared in history.
  • Saving Christmas, a lively, thought-provoking movie, urges Christians, those who have the greatest reason to celebrate, not to allow the practices of the world around us to dampen our celebration. Saving Christmas stars Kirk Cameron and Samaritan member Darren Doane, who also directed the film.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas turns 50 this year! The late Chuck Colson believed this beloved classic was a great evangelistic tool. In this month’s reprinted newsletter cover story, he suggests we should invite some friends over to watch it and simply reflect on the true “true meaning of Christmas.”

Also in this month’s newsletter:

  • This month’s Member Spotlight is about Paul and Jenny Speed. They say they were “wonderful hypocrites” living in a dying marriage. Praise God they were transformed and now help others through Whatever It Takes Ministries. They also describe their different programs and talk about how they ended up with Samaritan Ministries.
  • What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You by Dr. Ray Strand is reviewed. Dr. Strand tells how he went from saying “Vitamins just make expensive urine” to believing all doctors should be trained in using nutritional supplements to treat the most common chronic diseases.
  • In a reflection on 2 Corinthians 10:5, this month’s Doorpost reminds us that a spiritual war is fought with spiritual weapons.

Have a beautiful Christmas!

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The Bread of Life in the House of Bread

By Rob Slane

At the beginning of the book of Ruth, an Israelite family leaves Bethlehem to sojourn in Moab. The reason for this is that there is a famine in the land:

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there (Ruth 1:1-3).

These seemingly small details are not incidental, and there are in fact two big ironies taking place. One is that they are leaving the land of promise, the place that Yahweh gave to the descendants of Abraham for an inheritance, and they are going down into Moab, which is one of Israel’s traditional enemies. In other words, the land of blessing and of plenty has become barren, and this family thinks they can no longer survive, while the land outside the covenant promise at that time has enough food to spare to sustain them. Why is this so? The first verse of the book tells us that this episode occurred in the days of the Judges. If you go back and read the Book of Judges, you see that Israel was serially disobedient, so the famine in Ruth occurs when God’s people are rebelling against Him.

But there is a second, even greater irony. The name Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Elimelech’s family was from the House of Bread, but they end up leaving because there is not enough bread there.

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paul jenny wall

By Marcia Krahn

Open. Broken. Free. Whatever It Takes. God used these words to transform Paul and Jenny Speed from “wonderful hypocrites” living in a dying marriage into a joyful couple bringing God’s freedom and restoration to thousands through Whatever It Takes Ministries.

As newlyweds, Paul and Jenny expected married life to be great. After all, they were strong believers who hoped to impact the world for Christ. But when issues arose in their marriage, Paul increasingly turned to the pornography that had blighted his youth. He told himself that what Jenny and the kids didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them, and that he could protect them even when his life was “spinning more and more out of control.”

To those around them, they looked like they had it all together—active in the church, raising their children on 50 acres, a model homeschool family—but Paul and Jenny knew differently.

“God, does my hidden sin have anything to do with the turmoil in our marriage?” Paul cried out in desperation. Knowing God’s answer was “yes,” on November 18, 2002, he asked Jenny if they could talk after the kids were in bed. Paul confessed that he was bound by Internet pornography.

While Jenny was relieved to discover that their problems were not all her fault, she was devastated that he had hidden his sin from her for 14 years.

During that first week, Paul and Jenny became completely open with each other, praying through anything that came to mind, repenting, and asking God to take back the ground they’d lost.

The Lord led Paul to Psalm 51:6. He learned that God longed for truth in his innermost being and would give him wisdom. Paul realized that he, the one who should have protected Jenny, was not “such a great guy” after all. He had allowed others to blame Jenny, and had withdrawn from his family out of guilt and shame. Paul told Jenny, “This isn’t your fault. This was my choice, and my sin. I am going to dig into God’s Word, and I am going to find the keys to freedom.”

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Whatever It Takes Ministries is the overall name given to the four types of weekend intensives and conferences Paul and Jenny Speed hold throughout the year. These events help people desperate to do “whatever it takes” to walk open, broken, and free. Paul and Jenny host several WIT Ministries intensives and one young adult conference each year.

A summer conference, WIT Alive, is for singles at least 17 years old. Approximately 250 attend. Paul and Jenny help young adults enter adulthood without the baggage of unresolved wounds, especially taking those scars into marriage.

Adults, whether single, divorced, widowed, or married, attend 4 Days 2 Hope for women or 4 Days 2 Freedom for men. These intensives are structured for six to 10 people and occur several times each year.

During 4 Days 2 Hope, women work through unresolved issues from the past by carrying each pain to the Lord. “You cannot deal with the pain of the present if you’ve never dealt with the pain of the past,” Jenny tells the women. Her goal is to take women who come as victims and send them home as victors.

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Why SMI-

For years, Paul and Jenny Speed of Whatever It Takes Ministries struggled without health insurance. Then, while speaking at a women’s conference, Jenny’s jaw was aching so badly that her friend Brenda noticed. Jenny admitted there wasn’t money for her to get checked out. Brenda, a Samaritan member for years, advised Jenny to “really, really pray” about joining Samaritan Ministries, because her family “just loved it.” Jenny shrugged it off. “People say things like that all the time,” she thought, nodding her head politely. A few days later a packet came from Brenda with information about Samaritan, including an application form. Jenny says, “Others had told us about it for years, but Brenda put it in our hands and said this is what you need.”

In 2014, their son Josiah broke his femur while wakeboarding, which ended in surgery and three days in a hospital. Paul recounts that “our negotiated amount—tens of thousands of dollars—was paid down to the penny. That was amazing!”

Paul no longer worries what they will do if something happens. He also values being able to talk with a real person when he calls Samaritan Ministries. “Every time I call, I get somebody who is able to walk me through what I need to do, even coaching me in how to negotiate bills.”

An added blessing is that three of the couples serving as team leaders for WIT Ministries are also Samaritan Ministries members. Paul says that having Samaritan for health care “puts us at rest about so many things. It’s one of the wisest decisions we’ve ever made.”

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