Monday, October 29, 2012

Eye of The Storm

This very hour, our ministry headquarters braces for what is predicted to be a storm of historical and epic proportions. It could impact the lives of nearly 25% of America’s citizens. The forecast by the experts is indeed dire. But even so, the so-called East Coast ”Frankenstorm” is no surprise to God. He is aware of the implications and the outcome. He is also aware that many of His people are in the massive area under assault and about the many more there that need His salvation far more than they need deliverance for any weather catastrophe.

We need to pray for wisdom, peace and protection. And as Christian we
need to know that, even in the eye of the storm we reside in the hands of our Lord! In Psalm 107 we read, “He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!"

Bill Breckenridge

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oldest Auschwitz Survivor Dies

It is a vivid reminder of one of the most gruesome chapters mankind's history. Antoni Dobrowolski of Poland died Sunday in the town of Debno. He was the world's oldest survivor of Auschwitz at the age of 108.

In 1939 the Nazi invaders tried to hold the Polish people back by limiting their educational opportunities to just four years. It was an attempt to convert them into a slave race. An underground effort by Poles to continue to teach children arose but those who were caught were sent to concentration camps or prisons. Dobrowolski defied the orders of the brutal occupiers being himself a teacher and was among those arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz in 1942. He was liberated in the spring of 1945 at the war's end.

At least 1.1 million people were killed by the Germans at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Most of the victims were Jews, but many non-Jewish Poles, Roma and others were also killed there.

The Holocaust as a whole was but one gruesome and historical representation of the depths capable by unregenerate and sinful men. Despite the centuries of terrible consequences caused by human sin, its dark and dreadful marks on the entire race really began through just one specific act and at one point in time.

In Romans 5, the inspired author spoke of this terrible truth in verse 18. He wrote, “Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation." In verse 19 he added, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.”

But this painful truth is sandwiched between words that prove to be the glorious undoing of this most wretched of all realities. The same two verses include the opposite side of the spiritual coin. Speaking of the Savior we also find in verse 18, “Even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” And then verses 19-21 confirm and expand on the theme by declaring, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Human brutality seen in a place called Auschwitz is overwhelming evidence of the existence of evil – wickedness that sometimes seems to be nearly limitless. It is simply hard to even fathom such intentional horror without a foundational belief in the reality of pure good and ultimate evil. It makes no logical sense apart from the literal existence of a real and holy Creator God and a real and fully evil Satanic being. But as horrific as life’s darkest moments may be, even the greatest agony experienced on earth cannot be compared to what may be experienced in eternity when life comes to a close. It is impossible to even comprehend what lies in store, according to Scripture, if one’s soul remains captive and is never rescued from the guilt and penalty of sin.

All sin, and not just evil on the level of an Auschwitz, must be judged by a just and holy God. For many, that is not very good news. But the great news is that sin has already been judged. This occurred in the long ago on an old rugged cross. It was there that God allowed His precious Son to sacrifice Himself. It was there that justification in God’s eyes became a possibility for every prisoner of sin who would personally trust the Savior.

This freeing of every willing captive is wonderfully laid out in 2 Corinthians 5:21. There the apostle writes, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This is beyond human understanding but does not diminish the blessing of the truth it proclaims!

Tragically, things as heinous as an Auschwitz still exist today. They will continue on in a fallen world until Christ someday crushes all evil forever. But until then, spiritual liberation readily awaits any and all no matter how difficult their lot in life may be when they gain the freedom that counts the most and never ends through faith.

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

 Bill Breckenridge

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Body Breaks The Sound Barrier

Just a few days ago, Felix Baumgarter of Austria was a pilot. But now he is a pilot with a world record and with a great and new distinction.

On October 14, Baumgarter jumped from a manned flight in Roswell, New Mexico. The 43-year-old Austrian said his pressurized space suit prevented him from experiencing the supersonic boom as he broke the sound barrier and accelerated through the sky at an amazing speed of 833.9 mph. He was an incredible 128,000 feet above Earth. That’s roughly 24.2 miles above sea level. The full journey, including the times using his parachute for the second half of the fall, lasted just over nine minutes.

"It is hard to describe, because I didn't feel it," Baumgartner told reporters after the jump. "When you're in a dead pressure suit you don't feel anything." But his feat made him the only man to achieve supersonic speed without a jet or space shuttle.

Coincidentally, 89-year-old Chuck Yeager also made his own repeat supersonic flight on Sunday. This time he rode in the back seat of an F-15 Eagle as it soared through the skies above the California Mojave Desert – the location he first achieved the feat of breaking the sound barrier back some 60 years ago.

It can hardly be imagined what it must feel like to be traveling nearly a thousand miles an hour using little more than one’s fragile and flawed human frame. Obviously, for some this would a nightmare come true as they might have major issues with even a small slow merry-go-round at the local county fair. But for others, like Baumgartner or Chuck Yeager, this type of thing must be the ultimate thrill and a feeling of sheer and unmatched excitement.

It is also probable that few, if any, will ever achieve such a feat and sensation as did this daring skydiving pilot. But interestingly, there are millions who will make a great trip some day but one at a far greater consequence and also by traveling the opposite direction – uphill!

This future travel event will not only infinitely surpass the recent daredevil stunt by this one man in terms of speed, but will be taken by a large group of individuals al at the same time. They will not even have the benefit during their sudden and spectacular trip of any external protective suit as the One in full control of their supernatural journey will have all things under His divine control.

1 Corinthians chapter fifteen lays out this coming flight plan. It is one where all legitimate reservations will be held only by those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior - the Captain of their soul and eternal destiny. Beginning in verse 51, the apostle records, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

The word translated ‘moment’ above is from the Greek word ‘atomos’. Its root word means literally to be ‘uncut’, with the implication suggesting an indivisible amount of time or an ‘atom’ of time. In other words, this trip upwards will take place at a speed that will make Mr. Baumgartner’s fall look like a stroll in the park in comparison.

This same thing is seen in 1 Thessalonians 4. Paul writes, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Those now in possession of the sacred reservation for that soon coming supersonic journey to heaven can proceed through this life with a blessed hope. They alone can face the trials of life knowing that any and all hardships are but temporary, that have the help of the Holy Spirit, and that the Captain of their soul will safely complete their glorious journey to a place of eternal bliss, where they will praise Him and enjoy His presence forever.

Bill Breckenridge

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tebow Time Is All The Time

Tim Tebow is a household word. It is not because he won college football championships. It is not mainly because of winning the coveted Heisman Trophy. It is not even because of taking over at quarterback for a badly struggling Denver Bronco team, as a rookie, and miraculously leading them to the playoffs. And it certainly is not for being traded to the New York Jets and thereby being instantly thrown into a media circus quarterback controversy all while under the microscope of the entire sporting world.

No, Tim Tebow is known for far more important things - eternal and spiritual things. He is perhaps best represented by what is known universally now as ‘Tebowing’. This is his famous kneeling position that looks to even a casual observer as an act of prayer with one's head resting on one's fist. And it is just that. Tim Tebow is not a football player first. His priority is as an outspoken, fearless and committed follower of Jesus Christ. This has in turn made him a point of contention and a spectacle by those who adore him and by those who detest him – and again not for his quarterback skills or lack thereof.

Tebow was born in the Philippines to American parents who were serving as Baptist missionaries at the time. His mother, Pamela Elaine, while pregnant, suffered a life-threatening infection. Because of the drugs used to treat her dysentery, doctors expected a stillbirth and recommended she have an abortion. But she refused and today Tim is the youngest of five children. He and his siblings were all home schooled by their mother, who worked to instill the family's Christian beliefs along the way.

A nationwide controversy surrounded Tebow's decision to appear in an ad funded by Focus on the Family that was broadcast February 7, 2010, during Super Bowl XLIV on CBS. It included Tebow's personal story as part of an overall pro-life stance. In the Philippines, Tim Tebow preached the Christian Gospel in front of schoolchildren and entire villages and assisted in medical care. He supports more than 40 national evangelists working in that nation. In the States, he has shared his Christian faith in prisons and schools, to church and youth groups, and at meetings and conferences. And of course he does so in the locker room and in front of the TV camera without hesitation.

But Tim Tebow’s current ‘professional’ life is not perfect. Far from it actually. And many feel it is due to his faith. Basically, he is warming the bench for the New Jets despite less than impressive play from the starter there – Mark Sanchez. Tebow has a calf-skinned carrot dangled in front of him weekly when he is put in for a few odd plays. He is almost never allowed to throw the ball or do anything more than run up the middle into a slew of 350-pound linemen. It enrages his fans, confuses many spectators and professional analysts, and does not help the team much because of its now sheer predictability to any defense.

But what is this all doing to him after so much success before coming to New York? The rare and unlikely answer is this. It is likely making him stronger and closer to his Lord while offering him greater opportunities on a larger stage to show the world that he is the real Christian deal!

That was seen yet again in a recent Tebow tweet. It not only summed up the view of his relationship with God in the good times and bad, but something we can and should all  incorporate into our own lives and witness:

He tweeted, "Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, THANK GOD." Tim Tebow may not now be playing. His team may not be playing well or winning. But he is a winner in the truest and most important sense of the word!

I have no idea what Tim Tebow's life verse might be. Many could be a good match. But perhaps none better than the one seen in the words of Peter's first epistle. "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" (1 Peter 3:15)

Bill Breckenridge

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The IRS Or The Will Of God?

The 2012 Presidential election is nearly upon us and voters are honing in on the candidates and considering each one’s stand on the various issues they care about most.

But as some may not be aware of, there has been for several decades a serious restriction in one crucial area of politics that is unfair and likely even unconstitutional. It has to do with the ability of churches and pastors being pressured and forced into keeping silent concerning the moral views and stances espoused by the candidates and their party’s platforms.

Back in 1954 the so-called Johnson Amendment was devised and passed by Congress as an amendment to the 501(c)(3) federal tax code. It basically stated that all entities that are exempt from federal income tax could not openly endorse or tear down candidates based upon the most crucial issues to Christians and houses of worship across the nation. Doing so would supposedly allow the IRS to levy fines and even go as far as removing the tax exempt status of any who dared violate the new rule. This practice had never been the law of the land in America until this was authored by Lynden Johnson because of the intense scrutiny and criticism he was receiving from non-profit conservatives and Christian-based organizations at the time.

For decades most pastors felt handcuffed and avoided entering the political realm and especially endorsing any candidates out of fear of losing their much treasured and advantageous tax status. But that is finally beginning to change. A new organization has come into existence in recent years whose sole purpose is to buck this long-time restrictive IRS requirement. They claim that what is now in place is not constitutional and they are therefore encouraging churches and pastors to put their careers, including possible jail time, and the tax status of their churches on the time on the line for their biblical convictions.

The 'Alliance Defending Freedom' is actively seeking to represent any churches or pastors who are under investigation by the IRS for violating the Johnson Amendment. The group represents all of its clients free of charge for speaking out on what they call "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." This year the event will occur on October 7th. In 2008, 33 pastors from 22 different states participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday. This year the number is pushing nearly 600 or more. Involved pastors plan on bringing sermons that compare the positions held by candidates with what Scripture says about those issues. They then will make specific recommendations to voters in their congregations. Also, in an even bolder move, some pastors will bring their targeted sermons to the attention of the IRS in the hopes that an audit of their churches would spark lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Johnson Amendment.

As of this date, none of the participating churches have had their tax exemption revoked – nor have any received penalties from the IRS for what was said during their politically themed sermons. For information you can check out the “ADF” web site at

The Bible is quite clear on the moral issues and on what God expects of those who are citizens of His heaven as well as of America. He has made His will known in numerous passages like those seen in Ephesians 5:9-11. There the Apostle Paul declares to all believers, “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Then, too, Peter set the biblical pattern for those times in life when hard decisions require hard choices, when society collides with Scripture. When demanded to keep silent concerning his views and beliefs about his Savior, he stood his ground as Acts 5:29 reveals, and he was fully willing to face any dire consequences that might arise. His short but profound words were right, brave and inspiring for his day just as they are for ours!

“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."

 Bill Breckenridge