Category Archives: Christian life

Pray, Fast, Vote

IGWT-TMlogo-bannerIn an unprecedented partnership, a coalition of Christian television broadcasters is calling Americans to place their trust, and their vote, in God. To deliver their message, In God We Trust, a one-hour special (a 30-minute version is also available) will run on networks across the nation. The message is simple, powerful, and universal, crossing racial, political and socio-economic lines. It is time for God’s people to pray, to fast for wisdom, and then to vote for the candidates of their choice in the upcoming election this fall. Facing the stark reality that over 27 million registered Christian voters did not vote in the 2012 election, these leaders believe that a responsible turn-out of Christian voters this November will pave the way of hope for our nation and a return to the Christian principles on which it was founded.

In God We Trust viewers will be provided the opportunity to sign an online In God We Trust proclamation, pledging to pray, to fast, to vote and to place their trust in Divine Providence. A downloadable e-version of the devotional In God We Trust 21 Day Action Plan will be available to guide participants through 21 days of prayer and fasting for the nation.

This television special is spearheaded by Don Black, president and CEO of Cornerstone Network, along with other ministry broadcasting partners including Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and Pathway to Victory TV and radio program, Andrew Wommack, founder and president of Andrew Wommack Ministries and host of The Gospel Truth TV program. Also adding their voices are Joyce Meyer, founder and president of Joyce Meyer Ministries and host of Enjoying Everyday Life, Perry Stone, founder and CEO of Perry Stone Ministries-Voice of Evangelism/OCI and host of Manna-Fest TV show, Henry Fernandez, founder of Henry Fernandez Ministries and senior pastor of The Faith Center, and Gordon Robertson, CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

“Most American Christians will agree that we have drifted far from our Judeo-Christian values and face perilous times as a result,” states Black. “We simply believe that, election or not, it is time to take our country back to our roots and to faith in Jehovah God. The upcoming election provides us an opportunity to begin that process.”

The special, hosted by Kristi Watts a former co-host of The 700 Club, will begin airing on Labor Day and continue up to the election. The program will air in various lengths on Cornerstone and other participating networks as well.

America is hurting and needs a miracle. In God We Trust aims to inspire millions of Christian Americans to exercise their authority in electing our next leaders and to petition Almighty God for His Divine mercy to sweep this great nation with a fresh move of His Spirit.

For more information please visit www.InGodWeTrust.tv

Founder of Disruptive Truth Launches We Choose Life

New campaign brings light into the enveloping darkness of the culture of death.

400_we-choose-life_graphic.jpg43 years ago, the battle for the life of the unborn was brought to the forefront in the historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Since that time, pro‐life advocates have sought to have the decision overturned and return public opinion from choice to life. According to Dave Sterrett, founder of Disruptive Truth, the battle for the hearts and minds of Christians must be won first if this is to ever become a reality.

“A passive approach to the Christian faith will only result in the Church reflecting the values of the culture in which it exists,” states Sterrett. “We are making an intentional effort to capture the heart and mind of today’s believer with sound instruction and to raise up a people who choose life as a matter of biblical conviction.”

Toward that effort, Sterrett’s organization is launching a new initiative, We Choose Life, in January 2016. The objective is to train and equip 500,000 high school and college students to be able to give an answer to the abortion issue with clarity, compassion and conviction, while offering real answers, real stories and real hope to a new generation.
We Choose Life provides a small group, one‐day, training and discussion guide available as a free download and designed for a one‐ hour gathering. Short films will include pro‐life training and biblical hope from Dave Sterrett, along with true stories from pro‐life leaders including Lila Rose, founder of Live Action.

Sterrett is also the General Editor and contributing author of a companion book, We Choose Life (Hendrickson Publisher, 2016), that will release in January 2016 as well. Proving that in times of tragedy and pain, there is opportunity for great hope and compassion, Sterrett has gathered a collection of compelling stories about the pro‐life movement from men and women who have been through the trenches and come out on the other side. People like Ramona, who found forgiveness after quitting her job at Planned Parenthood; Melissa, who survived a failed abortion attempt and now ministers to others; and Jon, who found mercy and grace after living for years with the guilt of an abortion heavy on his heart. In these powerful, true stories about forgiveness, hope, and passion, readers will see that their stories can also make a difference. We Choose Life brings light into the enveloping darkness of the culture of death.

“The Bible reminds us that in Jesus Christ ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’…Dave Sterrett’ s book, We Choose Life reminds Christians that truth will continue to make significant inroads into the darkness of abortion so long as God’s people continue to stand with principle, compassion and conviction,” states Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family.

Dave Sterrett is an evangelist, educator and ethicist. He is the founder of Disruptive Truth, a non‐profit organization dedicated to disrupting culture with the truth of the Gospel. In the last decade, Dave Sterrett has been a director, spokesman or board member for some of the most innovative Christian organizations that are reaching millennials with the hope of Jesus Christ.

He is the author or co‐author of nine books, including the Wall Street Journal best‐seller I Am Second (Thomas Nelson), Why Trust Jesus? (Moody Publishers), Aborting Aristotle (St. Augustine’s Press), Is the Bible True…Really? (Moody Publishers), The Apologetics Study Bible for Students (B&H). Dave has contributed articles for the Washington Post, Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, and the Gospel Coalition. He has been cited on CNN, USA Today and the Christian Post.

www.wechooselife.info

Political Correctness Propagates Victim Thinking

262_James_Suit_-_BlackGuest blog from James E. Ward Jr.

I am convinced that political correctness emerged from and propagates victim thinking in America. Merriam-Webster defines politically correct as “conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.” If you look at this particular definition closely, it suggests that an individual’s speech and behavior should be eliminated because of the potential to offend the sensibilities of another person. It attempts to prevent an offense that hasn’t happened and may not even occur. We should also note that political correctness is aimed at protecting the sensibilities or feelings of another individual. I would argue that the most abstract, inconsistent, least quantifiable, and easily able to be manipulated expression of human personality is our feelings.

Being politically correct presents an impossible challenge for everyone. How can we possibly modify our words and conduct in advance to prevent an unrealized possibility of offense from happening? To do so, we would have to be able to read other people’s minds!

Political correctness attempts to govern an individual’s speech, attitude, and conduct based upon a potential perceived injustice. A twice-flawed idea, potential perception is unsubstantiated and completely subjective. Political correctness forecasts victimization, and by default labels everyone a victim, even before a legitimate act of victimization is identified. This ideal can be seen in existence in our government, our media, our corporations, and on our university campuses.

I believe political correctness explicitly contributes to the propagation of victim thinking for two major reasons. First, the idea is based entirely upon belief and perception, which are both exclusively internal, personal, and private realities. If an individual believes something to be true and perceives people and events in a particular manner, absolutely nothing and no one can change their belief and perception apart from Jedi mind control.

No matter how much evidence gets presented or how well you defend your position in a debate, you cannot forcefully change another person’s mind once their beliefs and perceptions have been concretely formulated. This truth can work for us or against us. When beliefs and perceptions are accurate and positive, they can impact circumstances for the better. However, when they are inaccurate and negative, they can make matters considerably worse.

Our beliefs and perceptions are often communicated as feelings, which tend to change with the weather forecast. A person with victim mentality can experience similar events at different times and feel differently about each of them. As a result, inconsistency and unpredictability will characterize your interaction with that individual.
Personal feelings are very strong and are very influential upon our lives. Let’s be honest. Each of us tend to prejudge how we feel about people, and whether or not we like or dislike them based upon limited interaction with them or understanding about them. The result of attempting to manage these abstract feelings with political correctness will be flawed at best. I’m not arguing for or against the actions of Dr. Walter Palmer in killing Cecil the lion, but I must say that I marveled at how deeply some people were offended by his actions. Many of them prejudged how they felt about Dr. Palmer’s exploits and embraced victim thinking.

The second problem with political correctness is that it caters to an individual’s capacity to be offended and anticipates them being offended, even when they actually may not be. Political correctness works as a blanket rule concerning offense that unfairly applies to everyone. Its application is defective for the simple fact that no two people will respond to a potentially offensive incident in the same way. What offends one person may not offend another at all. We’ve seen this recently concerning the Confederate flag. Some people are very proud of the very same flag that has become highly offensive to others. Who’s right? While political correctness in some instances may possibly benefit an easily offended person, at the same time it attempts to censor the words and behavior of everyone else—a clear instance of discrimination against them.

Political correctness is a concealed, fear-based method of controlling people that complements victim mentality. It changes freedom of speech into limited speech. Tyrannical in nature, political correctness suppresses an individual’s freedom to share differing thoughts and creative ideas, while claiming to protect other individuals who are really subject to victim mentality.

In order to move forward, every nation needs the respectful cross-exchange of nonconformist thoughts and unconventional ideas, even if they are considered to be somewhat offensive. Creativity and invention are always birthed out of plurality of beliefs, opinions, and perspectives. Therefore, in any setting political correctness slows growth and stifles innovation. I’m certainly not endorsing any form of hate-filled speech, but a person’s potential perception about what you may say or do to offend them, should not be used to deny you the right to speak or act in a respectful manner.
As a nation, it is time for us to stop being immature, to stop being offended, and to grow up. Instead of continuing to propagate victim mentality by implementing political correctness, we must adopt a Zero Victim mentality that calls individuals to the personal responsibility of not being offended. Where people have developed Zero Victim thinking, political correctness is unnecessary.

Read more from James Ward on his website www.ZeroVictim.com

Two Nations…

Not Under God… Easily Divisible

 

 

 

 

 

The Civil War of 1861 has been described as the central event in America’s historical consciousness. Approximately 78 years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War that created the United States, another war was fought that would define the United States. Having secured its sovereignty and established its identity, this fledgling nation now had the greater and more difficult task of examining its soul. America desperately needed to answer two fundamental questions concerning unity and justice. “Can individual states function together as one nation?” and “Is slavery just or unjust?” Unity and justice were the pilings of the Civil War and the prime determinants of the future of the United States of America.

Of course we know that the Northern Union Army won the Civil War, which unified our nation and announced the end of the vile act of slavery. Unity and justice prevailed, but not without great cost. Nearly 625,000 lives were lost in this war and remains as one of the bloodiest wars in American history. This grave truth reminds us that war should be avoided at all cost, but is occasionally necessary—that unity and justice must sometimes be fought for.

Considering the recent controversy associated with the Confederate flag, it is clear that we are presently fighting another civil war where victim thinking is evident. This civil war is not about the division that exists between geographical states, but the growing division between people groups with differing ideologies, who are hampered by victim thinking. Similar to the American Civil War of 1861, our nation is once again struggling to answer vital questions that concern unity and justice—questions that are still the principal determinants of the future of the United States of America.

In 1954, President Eisenhower and Congress revised The Pledge of Allegiance to read one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. This phrase within our pledge is an optimistic confession of three important ideas: 1) that our nation is unified, 2) that our nation publicly acknowledges God as the Sovereign authority figure to whom we are submitted, and 3) that our nation cannot be divided regardless of our differences. It saddens me to say that this confession is not true. Today America is divided. We question God’s existence and have rejected His authority in the name of personal “rights” and “freedoms.” Instead of being one nation under God, indivisible, today America is at least two nations not under God, easily divisible.

The numerous references to God in our nation’s history prove that faith in God has always been a unifier in America since its inception. One of the most important principles of true American freedom is the fact that no one can or should be forced to believe in God. Americans are free to believe in God and to not believe in God. However, being a nation under God instead of a nation under people has protected us from ourselves. Being under God has given us an umbrella under which we can be united as a country. It has provided us with a standard of justice that transcends our mortality and delusional self-righteousness, and upholds liberty and justice for all. As we reject God’s authority as a nation, we are proportionately losing liberties, becoming more divided, and experiencing greater injustice. Each of these is an immediate consequence of not being a nation under God.

The Bible reveals to us several important attributes of God’s nature and what are just a few of the many blessings of being a nation under God.

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
(2 Corinthians 3:17).

These verses of Scripture reveal that all the things we desire and optimistically confess to be true in The Pledge of Allegiance—unity, liberty, and justice for all—can readily be found in God and under God.

I cannot recall a more polarizing time in our nation in my lifetime. It seems as if our nation actually prefers the partitioning of people groups, and nurtures and promotes the disunity of Church and State, blacks and whites, men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans. It is clear to me that faithlessness toward God and victim thinking combined is a catalyst that is exponentially increasing division among people in America.

Jesus gives us the unfortunate outcome of America being two nations not under God, easily divisible. He warns us, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” [Mark 3:24-25]. Contemplating His sobering words, we see that divided people within America’s borders is a national security matter that represents a greater threat to us than ISIS, Al Qaeda, or any other terrorist organization. Homeland Security, along with the finest military in the world cannot protect us from us!

I would like to humbly summon the people of America to end the present day civil wars being fought between people groups, by pursuing the unity that only comes from being under God, and by embracing a Zero Victim mentality which disarms the hostilities that cause division. For the sake of our nation’s survival and national security, we must once again strive to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

James Ward is an author, corporate executive, and musician who speaks nationally on cultural and spiritual issues. A visionary skilled in organizational leadership, he is known for his genuine love for people, his impeccable integrity, and his ability to challenge listeners intellectually from God’s Word. He is a pastor, scholar, author, community leader, entrepreneur, and gifted teacher who emphasizes personal character development.

After studying music and business at DePaul University in Chicago and touring as a professional musician, Ward pursued a calling to ministry in 1998, eventually earning a Master’s of Divinity in Practical Theology from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. His personal mission is to bring out the best in people by helping them obtain and apply the wisdom of God to avoid the unnecessary hardships of life.

In 2013, Ward founded INSIGHT Church in the North Chicago suburb of Skokie, IL and presently serves as senior pastor. He and his wife Sharon have been married for fifteen years and have two wonderful children, Hannah and Jonathan.

Zero Victim by James E. Ward Jr.
www.ZeroVictim.com

(Permission to reprint this article is granted with credit given to James E. Ward, Zero Victim 2015)

The World is a Hostile Place

Excerpt from Zero Victim by James E. Ward

Judging by the many unfortunate events we see and hear about each day, we could describe the world as a rather hostile place. By hostile I mean that life at times can be somewhat antagonistic, in which circumstances often work against us. Some kind of counterforce is necessary to work for us if we will be successful in not becoming victims of these circumstances.

Without specific actions of intervention such as education, employment, and exercise, our lives would quickly become dysfunctional. Like teeth and rocks that naturally decay and don’t improve without some form of intervention, so do our lives. Those who fail to seek help when necessary may even die an early death. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported that approximately 900,000 Americans die prematurely—yet up to 40 percent of those deaths could be prevented.

Life naturally intends to make victims out of each of us. Therefore, we must intentionally and strategically work against the circumstances that work against us.
To prevent wear and tear, our relationships need specific care and intervention to prevent them from decaying. None of us can survive alone. Perhaps more than we admit, we desperately need each other to thrive. We especially need relationships with our family members, but even in the context of our immediate families, hostilities exist.
Life naturally intends to make victims out of each of us.

Through years of counseling, pastoring, and coaching, I discovered that because challenges are sure to come, the people who do well in life are the people who learn to manage their challenges well. Failure to mentally prepare for unfair circumstances is really unwise. By preconditioning our minds to strategically and intelligently mitigate the inevitable pitfalls of injustice, while anticipating their arrival, we protect ourselves against adopting a victim mindset. Once an individual adopts a victim mindset, they significantly reduce their chances of successfully navigating their way out of the undesirable circumstances they’re facing.

-James E. Ward

www.ZeroVictim.comZV-CoverPic

“One thing I did [in the shelter] was I prayed a lot.”

Shanjula Harris woke up early every morning in the homeless shelter to help her children get ready for school. After she dropped them off, she came back, put on her nicest clothes and started walking. “Every day, Lord knows, I’d walk up and downtown Dallas and ask for work. And I did it every single day,” she said. Shanjula had worked for years as a medical assistant at a Dallas hospital, but when she lost her job in 2009, she had nowhere to go. She and her three children — Deon, Precious, and Twquan, were forced to move into a shelter the day before Thanksgiving.

Her story isn’t unusual. About 85 percent of homeless families in the United States are headed by women — specifically single women with children. “One thing I did [in the shelter] was I prayed a lot,” she said. “There were a lot of things I didn’t understand. And some days I didn’t feel like praying. But I knew I had to because I knew it wasn’t me by myself. I had my kids to think about, too.” In 2010, Shanjula received the break she needed: she was accepted into a self-sufficiency family ministry for single parent families seeking higher education in Dallas. She was also offered a new job. She was able to study and work full time, while her children attended school. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and hopes to someday attend medical school.

Shanjula and her children became part of a “program” that com- bines housing, day care, and access to college education for residents, who are primarily single mothers. On one level, the program offers redemption from abusive, desperate circumstances these moms and their families face. But on a much higher level, the goal and purpose of the program is holistic redemption of the entire person.

Reflecting on her experience, Shanjula says her life “changed from having nothing to having something. It makes me feel good to know I have a goal set. I wanted my children to see me graduate, to say, ‘My mom did it. She was a single parent raising three children by herself. If she can do it, I can do it.’”

Shanjula needed redemption from her circumstances, and she needed a sense of hope for the future. Her redemption began on a spiritual level and later she found full redemption from her circumstances for her, her family, and the next generation. Her world changed as she and her family became part of the story of redemption. She found hope; she experienced God’s unfailing love, and she began to write the next chapter in her story of redemption. Her story represents a cosmic transaction in faith and weaves her into God’s plan of redemption for her, her family, and everyone in her circle of influence.

From the beginning of human history, God’s work and purpose for humanity was to redeem what was lost in the garden. What was intended for harm, over and over again, is made into good through God’s work of redemption. In the Old Testament, we can see patterns of his redemptive work in the lives of unsuspecting people. It is in his nature to redeem broken people.

jesusagendaExcerpted from The Jesus Agenda by Dr. Albert Reyes. For more information visit www.JesusAgenda.com

Q&A with James E. Ward Author of Zero Victim Part Two

For each of us, our mentality represents our personal set of lenses through which we see everything in life. Our experiences and conversations and interpretations of them are tinted by the “color” of our mental lenses. What you see through your lenses becomes “your world.” Despite what circumstances and events are in the actual world, they will always appear to be something different in “your world,” which creates a different, privatized reality just for you.     – Pastor James E. Ward

indexYou point out that the victim mindset has become so pervasive in our society, it powers major industries. Give us a few examples.

o Victims and Their Lawsuits. – Today we are seeing a record number of lawsuits being filed in our nation. An estimated 15 million civil lawsuits are filed each year in the United States. A significant number of these suits are frivolous, having been filed by people who are simply looking for easy money. Many people wait for a good opportunity to file a lawsuit. Those who are not seeking to sue others must be concerned about the possibility of being sued. The excessive use of our legal system can be traced back to citizens who suffer from high levels of victim mentality. The basis for any lawsuit is to seek justice for a victimized person. Whether the lawsuit deals with personal injury, property damage, breach of contract, or a custody battle, a suit gets filed by a person who perceives another individual wronged them in some way. When legitimate wrong is done, justice must be served. In each case, the plaintiff acts as victim. Our multibillion-dollar legal industry thrives on victim mentality.

o Victims’ Fears Drive Insurance – The insurance industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world. Insurance policies covering our health, life, property, and vehicles have become an essential part of our lives. Regardless of the type of insurance offered, companies are in the business of selling protection to people who want to avoid becoming victims. Insurance companies market the need for protection, not only from unforeseen disastrous incidents, but also as a means of protection to defend people and businesses against lawsuits. In some cases, the government mandates insurance coverage because of the likelihood of litigation. Preparation for when you will become a victim of some unfortunate tragedy becomes the premise of the need for insurance. Insurance coverage is the well-financed, strategic anticipation of victimization. Insurance cultivates victim mentality by reminding us it’s just a matter of time before we become a victim.

One of the most sensitive and controversial topics you discuss in Zero Victim is racism in America. How does the victim mentality serve as a catalyst for racism?

Victim mentality fuels the animosity that exists between races:
• By recalling past injustices committed by other racial groups. We cannot repeat past injustices, but we also cannot change past injustices. We must intelligently make the necessary adjustments to correct things for the future, without carrying over the mental scars, emotional hurt, and psychological woundedness of the past.
• By hindering the release of forgiveness toward other racial groups for past injustices, which does not allow forward progress in the development of trust and genuine relationship building.
• By anticipating future acts of injustices by other racial groups and failing to trust their actions and motives – [exegesis versus eisegesis]

Victim Lenses Ruin Lives – For each of us, our mentality represents our personal set of lenses through which we see everything in life. Our experiences and conversations and interpretations of them are tinted by the “color” of our mental lenses. What you see through your lenses becomes “your world.” Despite what circumstances and events are in the actual world, they will always appear to be something different in “your world,” which creates a different, privatized reality just for you.

What factors in a family environment can shape a victim mentality?
• Divorce
• Poverty
• Family Sicknesses and Diseases
• Sibling rivalries
• Child abandonment
• Single relationship status

As a society, how is our response to injustice shaped by the media—particularly in this age of social media?

• A popular idiom says: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” – The louder victim thinkers scream, the more attention they tend to attract. Media makes it possible for victim thinkers to be heard loud and clear by publicizing victimization or even perceived victimization.
• Media has exceptional power to influence regardless of the truthfulness and validity of the content shown. If a lie is repeated loudly and often enough, people will tend to believe it.
• Social media empowers anyone with the freedom to post their personal thoughts and opinions and highly encourages them to do so. This trend tends to give voice to victim thinking while encouraging others who share those victim thoughts to support them by “liking” their comments. In most cases, social media responses will support the mentality of a victim thinker, instead of providing beneficial solutions to assist them in changing their mentality and perspective about negative circumstances.

What is the simplest step people can take today toward adopting a zero victim mindset?

To discipline themselves to always act and never react…To think intelligently about the injustice they’ve experienced and not respond emotionally.

For more about Pastor James E. Ward and his book Zero Victim visit:

www.jamesewardjr.com
ZeroVictim.com