Monday, January 23, 2012

David Virkler - At Home with His Lord!

Viewing and Memorial Service Information

It is with great sadness but also the assurance of God’s perfect will that we share with you the news that early Monday morning, January 23, David Virkler went to be with the Lord whom He loved and served so faithfully.

Dave had been improving, but he went downhill on Saturday and Sunday. The doctor thought it was a minor complication of surgery and that he would improve, but the Lord called Dave Home to be with Himself instead. Many, many people have been praying for Dave, and we believe that this is how the Lord chose to answer those prayers. His body is free of the weakness he had been working to overcome, his heart is completely healed, and he is experiencing the perfect rest of Heaven.

Please pray for Thelma and the family: Gayle, Sharon, Lynda and her husband, David Justnes, Stephen and his wife, CiDonna, and grandsons Daniel, Timothy, Andrew and Erick Justnes and Noah Virkler, and for extended family as well.

Dave’s life verse was Acts 13:36: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, and was laid unto his fathers…” Dave indeed served his own generation, and his ministry will continue in the lives of all who were touched by it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

John 3:16 - A Twitter Leader?

During the heavily viewed Broncos versus Patriots NFL playoff game on January 14th, one of the commercials stood out like a sore thumb - but one having with it a supernatural healing message. Focus on the Family ran a short ad using young children who separately, and then collectively, quoted and explained John 3:16 – the most famous and crucial verse in the entire Bible.

Some will recall that the Broncos getting to this second post-season game against New England was largely due to Denver’s rookie quarterback Tim Tebow’s efforts against Pittsburgh a week earlier. In that game, he threw for exactly 316 yards with a staggering average of 31.6 yards per catch. Some have called it a pure coincidence. But what would be the odds of those exact numbers occurring twice from this particular QB in one game – especially since the second number was also an NFL playoff record? The chances are probably similar to finding a great white shark swimming around in your backyard pool - in Denver.

But this unique and well-known verse was the one Tebow made even more familiar by stenciling the reference under each eye in the black anti-glare material during games in his college glory years. It is one of his favorite verses just as it is to millions of other believers. He also made reference to it following his team's overtime win against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers on January 8th.

Knowing that the ad was coming, Internet evangelists from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took advantage and set up a web page for the sole purpose of explaining the meaning of the verse. By the end of the week, some 9,000 people had visited the special site and at least 170 people professed beginning a new personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Of course there may have been many more private decisions but those may not be known about on this side of heaven. Either way, some that were walking in spiritual darkness have changed direction and are now living in God’s light and forever planted in His family. (Colossians 1:13-14)

The president of Focus on the Family stated, "There's been a lot of buzz lately about what John 3:16 says, and we wanted to help people understand it. For Christians, the verse is the essence of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and when you have good news you want to share it with as many people as possible.” The vice president of media relations for FOTF told The Christian Post on Monday, “John 3:16 became the top trending topic worldwide on Twitter after the advertisement aired.” Today’s advertising dollar can certainly get far more in return and exposure than it could even a decade ago – and much of it for free.

For being such a famous and influential verse, John 3:16 is really quite concise. But it is also a spiritual powerhouse and quickly conveys God’s top priority and the solution to mankind’s greatest need. It leaves no doubt about man’s bleak future apart from Christ. But it then also shares the means this most severe of all of life’s issues can be solved.

The apostle John could not have possibly known, when he penned those magnificent words, that this one verse would become the most well-known, most precious, and most preached on passage in all of Scripture. It was the Holy Spirit, who authored it and therefore guided the writer’s pen to transcribe, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Once the absolute truth of this message really sinks in, then acting on it from the heart instantly repairs the breach between sinful man and his holy Creator. It infuses the spiritual life of God and awakens the soul of a man or woman making them part of God’s faith family forever. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Even shorter verses, like those below, reveal all that must be done to find forgiveness, a new life in Christ, and a guaranteed heavenly destiny.

Paul wrote exactly how all are to respond to John 3:16 in order to become justified by Christ’s sacrifice for them on the cross. In Romans 10:13 he declared in just eleven words, "Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Then the writer of Acts also confirms the same great spiritual truth using just 12 words in Acts 2:21. "Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Salvation, and being freely justified forever through Jesus Christ, really could not have been explained by God much simpler or made much more decisive than that!

Bill Breckenridge

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another 'Tebow Time’ Triumph!

He has become a polarizing figure in sports and even in the culture, being constantly on the lips of millions. And his fame has now even spread beyond the nation's boundaries. The reason for the uproar and interest is simple. It is because of the first thing that exits his lips, win or lose, from the young underdog quarterback of the surprising NFL Denver Broncos.

He is Tim Tebow, the young athlete who kneels in prayer at times when many players are seen pounding their own chests and admiring their own talents. He is the one who always boldly acknowledges his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ before going on to regularly compliment his team members and coaches for making him look better than he really is.

Just how good he is right now, or how good he can become, is anyone’s guess. But the fact remains that he has led his team from a disastrous start all the way to the playoffs where they pulled off a miraculous overtime win while setting several NFL playoff overtime records in the process.

After the stunning January 8th victory over the favored Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow also said, "I'm just very thankful for the platform that God has given me and the opportunity to be a quarterback for the Denver Broncos." The young QB has also gained major attention by introducing to culture what is now deemed "Tebowing". It is simply kneeling on one knee, elbow perched on the other, and with a fist to forehead in acknowledging his faith and love for God while on the field and off.

It seems that people either adore Tim Tebow for his outspoken testimony or hate him regardless of his performance on the field. Detractors seem irate just because of his unashamed and outspoken faith. That is simply an evidence of ignorance, conviction, or an obvious evidence of spiritual darkness.

But interest, positive or negative, was seen even on Yahoo’s home page recently when “Tebowing” was on the top ten items “Trending” after the victory on January 8th in Denver. The audience watching the game topped American Idol, and Twitter numbers went berserk when the winning touchdown pass was thrown. And perhaps Tim has taken his now famous and imitated stance queue from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:14-15. “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” But despite being constantly made fun of on numerous media sources nationwide, the Christian quarterback has become one of the most compelling and inspiring stories in sports and non-sports America.

A few days ago, a caller spoke to the local New York sports station and asked a simple, but profound, question concerning Tebow bashing. He basically said, "I’m the dad of several children. And I’d just like to know one thing. Why is it that other football players are treated differently? Brett Farve sent inappropriate pictures of himself on his cell phone. Michael Vick went to prison for illegal dog fighting, Plaxico Burress was imprisoned for firing a gun in a club in New York city. And even Tebow’s QB rival on Sunday has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment. And yet these, and many others like them, are only spoken of concerning their football skills - period. But Mr. Tebow, who seems to be above reproach and a man of great and consistent faith, is ripped to shreds no matter what he does on the field and just for being a committed and outspoken follower of Jesus Christ. Can you explain that to me as a fan and father looking for role models for my kids?”

The program’s normally highly intense and fast talking program hosts were uncharacteristically tongue-tied for a few moments as the articulate and polite caller had backed them into an appropriate corner with his comments and question.

There is no doubt that some of the Broncos comebacks during Tebow’s 7-1 winning run seemed ‘miraculous’ as did the record setting victory over Pittsburgh. But what did not escape even many of the godless in the media was that Tebow, who does not throw nearly as much as other NFL quarterbacks, threw for an uncharacteristic 316 yards on just 10 passes. The 30 yards per catch average was also a record. But the number of yards got attention beyond being just an impressive and unexpected statistic Denver’s new QB.

It was not very long before people realized the significance of the exact number of passing yards from Tebow. John 3:16 is one of his favorite Bible verses and perhaps the most famous verse for salvation in all of Scripture. It states: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." This same verse was the one that Tim Tebow put on his black eye-glare-blocking strip for the BCS championship game in 2009 for the University of Florida. A coincidence? You decide.

No one can predict Tim Tebow’s future on the field or any other player so young for that matter. Everyone who knows football knows that quarterbacks take several years to get their acts together when they enter the pro realm. The complexities of their position and the much higher level of the competition makes this the norm. Most organizations give them at least 3 years to improve and mature before making any long-term plans – unless of course your name is Tim Tebow. Those who detest him, and his faith, expect from only from him immediate miraculous results. But when he delivers just that, they get even more irritated. Something is obviously wrong and it takes no brain surgeon to figure out what it is.

But one thing is certain. Tim Tebow seems to be the ‘real deal’ - a role model in word and deed when many are that in just word and bank accounts only. God has given him a platform and he is using it to the ultimate for his Savior’s glory no matter what people think, say, or do. And his spiritual future, something infinitely more important than a few glory years on the gridiron, is certain. This eternal destiny is certain, not because he threw 316 or 3,016 yards in a record-setting overtime playoff game win. But it is because he has personally acted through faith on the reality revealed in John 3:16 and is not ashamed to boldly admit it and live it! He is a living modern example of Peter’s words in his first epistle chapter three.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15) This, too, is the major thrust of  “Tebowing”.

Bill Breckenridge

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Mom – At Home In Heaven!

In the words of the wisest man who ever lived, we read in Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” James echoed that same basic sentiment in his book of practical wisdom in the New Testament declaring, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13-14)

For me, one of these ‘days’ recently came about. Although I was preparing for it, it was something no one can really be fully ready for. Just three days before this Christmas day, my precious and beloved mother went home to be with the Lord. She had been quite ill for a while, but then experienced a miraculous rebound giving our family the hope that she would be with us for a while longer. So our great hope was short-lived and today her ‘mansion’ in Heaven is her brand new home.

It was on December 22nd that she peacefully breathed her last and was ushered into the presence of the Savior she had known and loved since her early thirties. And it was through her prayers, words and living testimony that her spouse and all three of her children trusted Christ as well. That is any Christian mom’s ultimate success. The Apostle John described that joyous feeling in 3 John 4. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 

The death of a loved one is never easy and does seem a little harder when it occurs around a special holiday – especially if it is in the Christmas season. So for us now, each and every Christmas from here on out will come with the memory of what happened this year. To many people, there could not be worse timing for such a thing to occur. In fairness, that is somewhat understandable, all things considered. But for those who personally know the Christ of Christmas, there is an added element that accompanies this unique sorrow – something those outside of God’s family cannot possibly grasp. And that one key difference and ingredient makes all the difference in this world and in the next!

The Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the church at Corinth, “For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well-pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:7-8) And in Philippians 1:23 he expressed the confident God-given knowledge of the superiority of a life with Christ in heaven even versus the best imaginable life here on earth. He stated, “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” And the reference there to Heaven being ‘far better’ is likely the understatement of all understatements.

This great truth also prompted Paul to pen the words of inconceivable peace and comfort for all true believers in 1 Corinthians 15. "Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

Again, without a doubt it seems more difficult to lose someone dearly loved around this particular holiday. But the deep-seated grief we feel is part of the natural human condition. It was designed and placed into our hearts by our Creator. We were given the blessed capacity to love, and along with that comes the capacity to experience a deep sense of loss and sorrow. Death is the sad and tragic reality of living in a fallen and sinful world. (Romans 8:19-22) But for those in Christ, there is something more – much more! That ‘more’ is the great supernatural sense of victory even in the midst of the deepest human pain. The Bible promises this and many Christians can testify to its reality in the midst of their own life and death experiences.

There is a Christmas song that our church choir has sung for many years that profoundly merges the Savior’s first coming to earth as a baby to His eternal purpose and ministry as a man. It is appropriately entitled, “A Cradle In The Shadow Of A Cross”. The title alone reveals the incomprehensible combining of the God-Man’s unique virgin birth with His future foreordained death to rescue a sin-darkened world of woes. His miraculous incarnation was in order that He would then travel on a sinless road only to end up on a cruel Roman cross. There He would voluntarily sacrifice Himself to provide the forgiveness of sin for any that would trust Him as the Savior for their sins.

In 1 Timothy chapter two, His unique status as mankind’s lone Redeemer is shown in verse 2. It leaves no room for questions or doubts. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. “ Jesus confirmed this same truth in John 14:6 when he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Our family today deeply grieves the death of a very special lady, mother, spouse and friend. It was a life-altering event that took place just a few days before the celebration of the birth of ‘Emmanuel’ - literally meaning God with us! But as Scripture promises, we do not grieve like those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We share the biblical ‘blessed hope’ spoken of in Titus 2:13, part of which is the striking reality and comfort of seeing her again.

I was given a simple but profoundly helpful little poem penned by an unknown author just one day after Mom’s departure. The words themselves were obviously not biblically inspired, but were supremely helpful and inspiring to me, and based on Scriptural truth. It reminded me vividly about where my mom now resides, with whom she now dwells, the indescribable experiences she now enjoys, and about that great reunion when we will all someday soon be together again with her and with our Lord forever!


I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below, With tiny lights like heaven’s stars reflecting on the snow. The sight is so spectacular, but wipe away your tear, For I am spending this Christmas Day with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear, But their sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir here. I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring, As it’s far beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, by the pain inside your heart. But I am not so far away, we’re not that far apart. So be happy for me, loved ones, you know how I hold you dear, And be glad I’m spending Christmas Day with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift from my heavenly home above, I send you each a memory of my never dying love. When all is done, love is the gift, more precious than pure gold, It was often in the subject in stories Jesus told.

Please love and help each other as my Father said to do, For I cannot even count the blessings all waiting here for you. So have a Merry Christmas, and wipe away your tear, Remember I am spending Christmas Day with Jesus Christ this year.

As our family adjusts to a major loss, we must also keep in mind this monumental gain - one that all who know Christ, serve Him and eagerly look for His coming with equally share. Paul worded it this way when writing to his young son in the faith in 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Bill Breckenridge