Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I have been curious recently as to the topic of boasting. It seems that boasting can either be bad or good, depending upon the manner in which it is done, and what is being boasted upon. We're going to look at these things today, and I'd like to bring forth some observations I have made on a couple of verses.

James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (15) Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

Now whenever I would read this verse, I would think, “Well what's wrong with simply telling someone what you're gonna be doing next year? Also, wouldn't it just be covering up a problem by just simply adding something on to what you were already going to say? (i.e. If the Lord wills....)” But after looking at it, I realize that James is talking about your mindset! If you say, “Well I'm going to go to a city next year and sell some goods and make a profit.” Notice he doesn't state by who’s strength and will that it'll be decided, it's assumed that it's his own. (That's some arrogance right there) Whereas, James is saying that we ought to be mindful of God's will, and put our trust and hope in Christ. Maybe, just maybe He doesn't want us to even go to that city at all! I found In Webster's dictionary; “Boasting, n. Ostentatious (showy) display of personal worth, or actions; a glorying or vaunting (Speech of extravagant self-praise).” We see that this is what James does not want and is trying to prevent.

So boasting is giving glory to yourself, or possibly on another. Now that I have sort of established what boasting is, I'd like to look at what other verses have to say about boasting.

1Corrinthians 5:1-7 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. (2) And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (3) For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. (4) When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, (5) you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. (6) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (7) Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

We see that the sin that this man committed in this fellowship is something that even the unbelievers would grimace at! But yet they boast on this! Paul then tells them to get rid of this guy for the sake of the fellowship in order to keep them pure.

1Co 9:15-16 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. (16) For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Before this verse, Paul was listing off some rights that we as Christians do have the liberty to take part of. He's also saying that Pastors and Elders should be provided for (see 9:13-14). Paul's point, is that he has not partaken of any of these so that he may boast in the Lord! So that he can say "God took care of me when I was in need." That way he could be a more profound witness to others. THIS is good boasting. Boasting that is founded on God, and that glorifies Him, not sinful man.

You may be thinking, “So what? A little boasting here and there can't be as bad as the Corinthians did. It just feels good to do.” Well let's look at the rest of James 4. (The caps is mine)

James 4:13-17 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (15) Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." (16) As it is, you boast in your arrogance. ALL SUCH BOASTING IS EVIL. (17) So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

God has given us a conscience for a reason. You KNOW that not giving glory to God is wrong. He deserves it! Shifting that glory onto yourself...? That's even worse!

2Corrinthians 10:17 "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Hello, my name is Jonathan and I am good friends with Matthew, Daniel, and Savannah.
Today I am going to talk about swearing and cursing.

Swearing and cursing is a big problem in everyday life. People are constantly swearing and cursing no matter where we look: on TV, on the internet, on the streets, in the workplace, and even in the home.

So, what's so bad about swearing and cursing? In Ephesians 4:29 the Bible says:
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." First Peter 3:10 says: "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit."
James 3:9-12 says: "With it [our tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh."

So we see that from scripture, swearing and cursing is wrong.

Some people say that cursing is okay in high-stress situations, because it helps to channel anger in a way that is not physically violent. However, swearing in moments of stress and anger is, besides being sinful according to Scripture, very immature. It can be compared to the crying of a toddler:You are making a disagreeable noise, not to solve your problem (which it certainly can't), but simply because you are not getting your way. Not swearing when things get tough shows self-control, self-control shows maturity. Not having self-control is a sign of immaturity, and therefore swearing when things get tough is clearly immature.

Also, the way we speak reflects our character and says something about the state of our souls. In Matthew 15:11 Jesus tells us that it is "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” He says in Luke 6:45: "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

So as Christians, our words should reflect the amazing work that God has done within us. Galations 5:22-23 says that "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." These are the fruit we should be bearing and that people should be hearing when we speak.

Next time you hear a brother or sister swear, remind them of these scriptures. Next time you are in a tough situation, don't curse, but pray. Next time you hear a non-believer cuss, ask them to stop. If they ask why, you can give them your reasons and from there, who knows! God might work through you to bring that person to Him.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Hey Guys! As Daniel said, I was on a misson trip to Burma and Malaysia. By the grace of God it was incredible and life changing. I'm back and writing. Sorry it's taken so long for me to post. God bless you all a ton!

"No WAY!!!!!!! Not again..." I walk into my room and find my sewing supplies everywhere. It’s the fifth time this week and I’m at the end of my rope. Pins and needles poking my feet, spools of thread partially unwound and in a tangled mess, fabric cut into a million pieces, not to mention the buttons! "Elijah David!!!" I yell in anger. This time he’s going to get it... What do I need at this moment? I desperately need patience.
Patience demonstrates that we are in Christ. It’s one of the fruits that should be growing in the life of every believer. Patience is defined as long suffering, bearing under or withstanding circumstances and also as holding out hope while not despairing. The most common understanding of patience involves everyday circumstances. A biblical understanding of patience includes victory in the everyday irritations of life as well as developing a confident trust in God’s will.
How do we attain such a lofty virtue? Patience must start with putting off the old man and his ways as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says. We have to put off self-centeredness and irritability. 1 Corinthians 13 teaches us that love is patient, it is not easily irritated and does not seek its own way. We really need a change in our perspective. We need to stop looking out for our own interests. We need humility. Philippians 2:3-4 says "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." We also need to have self control. Controlling our words and actions starts with controlling our thoughts and motives. 1 Corinthians 10:5b says "... and take every thought captive to obey Christ;" When a situation unfolds that frustrates us we can replace the angry and self-centered thought with a gracious thought. I can think, "Elijah is trying to make my life difficult. He doesn’t care about all the work he makes for me!" or I can think, "Elijah is creative and very curious. I need to help him learn to respect others property. I also need to spend more time showing him my sewing supplies together." Maybe I need to remember to store them properly. Instead of focusing on him, I need to see if there’s a lesson for me to learn. Therefore, what I need for patience is really loving-kindness. We need to love others, count them as "more significant", and do that by putting down our selfish desires.
Is that all that is required to be patient? It’s certainly a great start! But patience goes a bit further. Patience requires contentment. 1 Timothy 6:6 says "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment." Patience also requires a hopefulness while waiting. When we wait on God’s timing, and are content in the stage he has placed us, we have patience and peace. When we trust in the sovereignty of God with full assurance of his goodness, we have no reason to be unhappy or impatient. His timing is perfect and we can rest in that. The peace that ensues is a great blessing from our Lord, and a result of patience.
Wether you and I are struggling with the daily irritations that happen all the time, or having trouble being content with our circumstances, we all need to be more patient. With all we’ve considered it might seem like a huge task, and in many ways it is too great a task for us alone. However God’s Word promises that "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6) Praise the Lord! Be encouraged to be patient.

Note: Elijah, my five year old brother, though quite curious in real life has never dumped my sewwing supplies. He is released of all guilt.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mission Trip Update

Hey everyone, thanks so much for any and all your prayers for the Burma mission team. They safely returned Saturday before last. Sorry I haven't updated the blog in a bit, we've all been busy. Now that Savannah's back, she'll be rolling out a new essay soon. Thanks again!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Asia Mission Trip

Hey everyone, quick prayer request. Savannah's family is heading overseas today on a mission trip to Malaysia and Burma. Mr. Brenyo will be preaching every day for several hours each while they're over there. The areas surrounding where they'll be visiting are hostile to the Gospel, and the people they are ministering to are one of the most persecuted groups in the world. I just want to ask for prayer for their family, not only that God would keep them safe, but that they will speak the Word truthfully and boldly, and that God will move in the hearts of the people to come to Himself to His glory. Thanks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Abortion Speech

Hey brothers and sisters, this is a speech I wrote for competition in NCFCA platform speech competition on abortion.

What if they ARE alive, and what if they ARE people? That should be the question in every person’s mind. The topic of abortion is often such a political and emotional issue that most people are prone to avoid it altogether. Despite the controversy, however, the topic is the most important one facing the world today; if the unborn are indeed human beings, then the governments of the world are even today supporting the largest mass murder in human history.
The first argument to be brought up in an abortion debate is “choice.” That is, a woman’s right to choose when she can have children, to the point that she may seek an abortion to dispose of an unwanted pregnancy. In the United States, the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade declared the right to an abortion to be protected under an individual’s right to privacy, as a case-by-case decision between a woman and her doctor.
However, on the scientific and admittedly more pro-life side of the issue, by the time a woman knows she is pregnant and can act on that knowledge by seeking abortion, all the signs of an individual life are present with the child. The child cannot be considered as an unformed clump of cells, or even worse, a tumor; every child is unique, with their own DNA and circulatory system. The scientific reasoning is perhaps one of the best reasons to condemn abortion as immoral.
This is a crucial issue, and is why today, I will be digging deeper into both of the arguments I have presented. I will be looking at both sides of the argument and show why the unborn children of the world deserve protection from termination, regardless the reasons and justifications behind the procedure, from both an outsider, large-scale point of view, and my own personal experiences as a sidewalk abortion clinic counselor. First, I will look at the most powerful and common reasons to defend the right to an abortion, and examine the reasoning behind them. I will be spending most of my time on this section, to pick the arguments apart and reveal their problems. Second, I will look at the cold science behind an abortion. Facts are devoid of any bias, and I will use this section as a transition into my third and final point, which is the moral and ethical reasons to consider each and every unborn baby as a human, fully deserving the same rights their older brothers and sisters enjoy.
I briefly touched upon the choice argument in my introduction, but now I will deepen the discussion further. One can easily see why the choice defense is so powerful for abortion. America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave; liberty is our number one value as Americans, and the rest of the world envies our prosperity and freedom. At first glance, abortion appears to be just another procedure fulfilling those values of freedom and liberty. By numbers, children are expensive and require time and effort to raise properly; the national average cost of raising a child in America is almost $15,000 every year, and raising a child from birth until 18 years old is quite a commitment, and one that many are not willing to take on. The freedom to choose when and how to conceive would, indeed, seem to be an ideal option to have.
A real-life example of this convenience problem is found in a woman I met as she walked into an abortion clinic in Orlando. I will name her “Emma” for this discussion. Emma was a single mother with one child, who ran a mostly successful lawn business she had created and developed single-handedly. The father of her first child had left her, and is now in prison for various crimes. She got pregnant by another man, who also left her and was in trouble with the law. Emma felt that she could not keep up her business which was already struggling in a bad economy, and raise a newborn child at the same time, and was seeking an abortion to lighten the load. She said she wanted to keep the baby, but thought there was no one to help her through it, and was resorting to abortion out of supposed necessity. After some talking with sidewalk ministers, however, Emma decided to keep the child with our promises to run her business and pay her expenses while going through the last few months of pregnancy and first months after birth. This is a great example of the mindset of most abortion-seeking women; the new child poses an obstruction in their own life goals, and an abortion easily and quickly removes the obstacle, and the woman can continue her life. That is the essence of the American Dream, right?
The thing is, with so many government-aid programs such as Medicare and Medicaid or unemployment benefits, the cost of down-time while having a baby are almost non-existent. The number of willing and able adoptive families in the United States far outweighs the number of abortions every year: with over 2 million adoptive families and almost 1.5 million abortions every year, every one of those “unwanted” children could have been placed in a loving home, with room to spare, rather than being callously terminated. There is no reason to believe that no one will help a woman going through an “unplanned” pregnancy; adoption alone makes abortion for convenience sake indefensible.
Another consideration that, in part, goes hand-in-hand with convenient abortions, is the health of the mother, or even the baby. Pregnancies can be dangerous, and some people have health considerations that pose a threat to the woman. Some medications for illnesses the mother is suffering can harm the unborn baby, leaving permanent mental and physical damage, and the baby is born deformed. In other cases, the pregnancy itself poses a threat to the mother’s well-being.
For being such a large part of the abortion debate, however, there is little to suggest health problems figure into most abortions. According to the Central Illinois Right to Life organization, only 3% of abortions in America are due to health problems to the mother, and 1% are due to fetal abnormalities. This number is perhaps even smaller when doctor malpractice and dishonesty is taken into account. Some gynecologists, when presented with a pregnant woman who might face a difficulty in their pregnancy, advise an abortion immediately. The reasons could be many, but the two basic reasons are, 1, they do not want to risk their own malpractice insurance in case something goes wrong with the woman, and 2, the responsibility of the woman’s safety is shifted from the gynecologist to the abortion clinic owner and doctor. This affects many women, and they incorrectly believe that their lives are in danger unless they seek an abortion.
Finally, and perhaps the most mentioned reasons for an abortion, are the cases of rape and incest. And for good reason; what could be more horrific to a woman or teen girl than being raped  by a stranger, and after the fact discovering she is carrying the monster’s offspring? No one would want to live with, nurture, and raise the living memory of the tragedy. An abortion, in this case at least, seems to be excusable, and perhaps even advisable. However, there are a few major concerns with this mode of thinking.
When I minister in front of abortion clinics pleading for the lives of the unborn, the number one argument that is spat in my face is, “What would you do if you had a 13 year old daughter, and she was brutally raped by her uncle and got pregnant? What would you say, huh?” Rape and incest are the two greatest “what-if” scenarios offered by pro-choice advocates, but is it indeed legitimate? Here’s the thing: according to Planned Parenthood itself, the largest abortion provider in the world, less than 1% of all abortions are due to rape and/or incest. This leaves the remaining near-97% of abortions due to pure financial or situational convenience, and almost 3 percent due to health problems. Do you see the discrepancy? Although health problems and rape are the first things to come up in an abortion argument, together they account for less than 4% of the total 1.5 million abortions every year.
On top of this, the life of the innocent child needs to be taken into consideration, even in the event of conception by rape. The child did not hurt the mother in any way; the evil man that raped her was the villain in this story. The child did nothing but be biologically conceived, as babies have been since time began. The child should not have to suffer for the sin of the father, and should be spared as a simple spectator of a horrible crime, innocent of any wrongdoing.
In all three of these main arguments I have discussed, none give a legitimate reason why children, who are nothing but bystanders to men’s (and women’s) actions, should have to pay the ultimate price for the well-being of their parents. They are mostly composed of appeals to emotion, a type of logical fallacy that reaches out to the audience’s emotions by telling them tearful stories, some true and some hypothetical, and attempts to win their approval through their upset emotions. What matters isn’t what we feel about something, though. What matters is the truth.
I’m now going to somewhat change gears here, and switch over to the cold science of the matter; however, as we will see in a minute, it isn’t so cold after all. It almost seems to have an opinion of its own.
What most people don’t know is how soon after conception a baby’s vital life signs are visible. At 18 days after conception, a baby’s heart begins to beat, spreading his own unique life blood to his new and developing organs and brain. At 6 weeks, measurable brainwaves are present, and the nervous system, with pain- and heat-sensing nerve endings, is complete.
Why is this important? See, almost all pregnant women discover they are pregnant after the heart is already beating, and most abortions, about 88%, occur in 12 weeks after conception. By the time most women have an abortion, the baby already has everything any biologist would classify as human life: unique DNA, blood system, heartbeat, and brainwaves. This means that almost all abortions occur AFTER those vital systems are in place, and it is terminating a scientifically classified human life.
Why do these individual life signs matter? They prove that an abortion is not, after all, “her body, her choice.” They show that, although the child is being carried inside the mother until the end of the pregnancy, the child cannot be considered as a part of the mother. These facts alone should dramatically shift the tone in any abortion debate.
Finally, I want to look at the moral implications of supporting or having an abortion, and because the Bible is our definition of morality, I will allow the Word to speak for itself.
Abortion has been a big issue since Bible times. In Exodus 1:9-10 says, “And [Pharaoh] said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’” The Israelites had been living in Egypt for some time now, and the new Pharaoh was fearful that God’s people would continue to grow and eventually overthrow the Egyptians. So he developed a plan to halt their growth, by killing their children. In verse 16, he tells the Hebrew midwives, “‘When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birth-stool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.’” Pharaoh took matters into his own hands and used murder as a way to stop the Hebrews from supposedly usurping his power.
The first verse any pro-lifer will bring up is the sixth of the Ten Commandments, given in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.” Some people condemn its use as inappropriate for the discussion; they say there is no way the “innocent” woman having an abortion can be considered a murderer. Yet, after all the scientific proofs for the individuality and life of that little baby, what other conclusion can we come to? The premeditated ending of another human life is called murder, and if abortion kills an unborn child that is a human life, that too is murder. There can be no other conclusion.
What’s even more convincing is the fact that the Bible addresses the abortion issue itself, and condemns it as first-degree murder. In Exodus 21, the very next chapter to where the Ten Commandments were given, God gave us examples of breaches in His commandments, so that we would know a sin when we see it. When he got to murder, he uses a very interesting example. Of all the scenarios He could have used, ie, hitting a man with a rock or weapon, he uses an abortion. Exodus 21:22-23 says,
“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life.”
This verse alone ends the discussion, and here’s why. Here we have a fight between two or more men, and a pregnant bystander is hit. If her child is born prematurely, yet both the child and mother are safe, then the man who struck her would be fined for any inconvenience on the family’s part. However, if the child is born dead, then God called for capital punishment, the death sentence, on that man for killing an unborn life. This is how seriously God views an unborn child’s life; He does not view them any more or any less that human, deserving all the rights and privileges we enjoy.
Remember the Golden Rule Jesus Christ gave us: Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” What we need to remember is that we too were once unborn and growing in our mothers’ wombs. It’s a simple statement, but it is nonetheless true. We enjoy our lives; people may claim they wouldn’t mind if they were aborted when yet unborn, yet they don’t jump off bridges or walk into the street without looking both ways. As humans capable of compassion and love for one another, we need to show the same love for the unborn as we show to their born and visible relatives outside the womb.
By now, the answer to my question has been answered time and time again. The unborn is proven by science to be an alive and individual human, and the Bible, our basis for morality and ethics, bears out that they should be treated as people. Although abortion will always be a heavily emotional issue, the least we can do as intelligent human beings is bring science and basic human ethics to the table and consider what is true rather than what feels right. Today I have done just that, and have shown why the unborn child deserves precisely the same rights and protections guaranteed to other people, as individual humans, not as someone else’s property.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Contentment is derived from Content, which means in Webster’s dictionary, “Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness”.

I have struggled with contentment immensely after moving up to IN, and leaving everyone I know. I have often wondered, “What if…?” or I’ve asked God on many an occasion, “Why? What good could come of moving away from most everyone I love?!”
Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul said, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
I came to realize about a year into being up here, that it really comes down to whether I truly believe that God is Sovereign (Supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe.) or not.
Matthew 10:29-30  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  (30)  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
God IS Sovereign! After being up here for two years, I realized one of the many reasons God had me come up here. To draw me closer to Him, and trust in Him! Also, He put in my life some Mennonites, who caused me to really search the scriptures, and to learn what I really believe, which I don’t think would have happened if I were around like-minded believers, because I would not have been challenged. God provided friends up here too, by having a couple families move up here as well.
God has his reasons, I have learned by experience. Who am I to questions his designs and purposes?
Romans 9:20-23  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"
We must be content, for God has put us where we are for a reason, but by being discontent, we rebel against God.

Soli deo Gloria!