How To Legally Get Healthcare Paid For As A Christian Without Insurance

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My family and I have been members of Samaritan Ministries since 2009. Samaritan Ministries is more than 200,000* Christian members sharing more than $20 million* per month directly, one household to another, to meet each other’s health care needs. It’s based on the bible’s command in Galatians 6:2 to “bear one another’s burdens.”

It’s not insurance. It’s health sharing.

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King Saul And The Great Commission

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Jesus, upon leaving this earth, left us with what many refer to as “The Great Commission” (Matt 28:19-20). The Lord Jesus sent us on a mission and said to “go”.

In 1 Samuel 15 we see similar language used in God’s interaction with King Saul.

In 1 Sam 15:3 we begin with God telling Saul thru Samuel to “go”. And God gave specific directives of what he wanted him to do.  Saul chose to partially obey and felt so good about himself that he built a monument to himself (1 Sam 15:12).

Samuel confronted Saul and said, “the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go'” (sound familiar?). He asked him why he disobeyed God in his partial obedience and had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Sam 15:18-19) by not destroying everything, including the sheep, the oxen, and King Agag.

Saul tried to spiritualize his disobedience by saying that he did what he did to sacrifice to God. Samuel responded by saying, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15:22).

Saul finally admits that his partial obedience was sin and that he did it because he “feared the people” (1 Sam 15:24).

In God’s economy, partial obedience is disobedience.

Now back to us.

The Lord has sent us on a mission and told us to “go”, just like he told Saul. Like Saul, he gave us specific instructions on what he wanted us to do: make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.

Are we only partially obeying, doing almost everything that God said but neglecting to make disciples?

If partial obedience was evil in the sight of the Lord for Saul, is it not also evil when we partially obey by neglecting to make disciples?

Do we, like Saul, spiritualize our lack of effort to make disciples by listing all of the sacrifices we make for God: “I get up early to spend time with Jesus. I go to church almost every week. I give money regularly. I’m the first person to serve when there’s needs. I show up at all the prayer meetings.”?

And do we do it with a bit of smug religious superiority, building a virtual monument to ourselves in our own minds, for our exemplary show of commitment?

Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19) and he commanded us to go and make disciples. If we are obeying in other areas but disobeying in this area because, like Saul, we “feared the people”, then we, like Saul, need to call it what it is: sin. It’s evil and it’s disobedience.

We need to repent, turn to the Lord for the courage, boldness, love, and power that he gives through his Spirit to those who obey (Acts 5:32), and then radically reorient our lives around shared mission to particular people and places.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matt 28:19-20)

(Image Credit: The U.S. National Archives)

Making The Impossible Possible By Making The Invisible Visible

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Roger Bannister’s record breaking, under 4 minute mile finish.

“For years, so many athletes had tried and failed to run a mile in less than four minutes that people made it out to be a physical impossibility.” (History.com)

On May 6, 1954, in Oxford, England, Roger Bannister became the first person to do it, finishing in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.

Two months later, John Landy ran a mile in under 4 minutes in a race he lost to Bannister.  Steve Scott has run 136 sub-four-minute miles in his lifetime.  The current record is held by Hicham El Guerrouj, who ran a time of 3:43.13 in 1999. In 1997, Daniel Komen of Kenya ran two miles in less than eight minutes, doubling up on Bannister’s accomplishment. (Wikipedia)

For so long, a four minute mile was never accomplished and then in the 60 years after accomplishing it, the record is blown to smithereens.

What happened?

This quick glance at history would lead you to believe that it was impossible to run a mile in under four minutes prior to May 6, 1954, and then somehow possible after.

But we know that’s not true. It wasn’t impossible before May 6, 1954.

It was just invisible.

The impossible is made possible when the invisible is made visible.

On May 6, 1954, the impossible was made visible by one, making it possible for many.

This is true for so much more than running.

It’s true for the person…

…who doesn’t believe it’s possible to have joy without health until they see a man w/ no arms and legs radiating supernatural joy.

…who doesn’t believe it’s possible to be joyful without being married until they see a single person full of genuine joy.

…who doesn’t believe there are any good men out there until she sees a man treating a woman like a queen.

…who doesn’t believe that God is a loving Father until they see an older man displaying the unconditional, adoptive, love of a father.

…who doesn’t believe that children are a blessing rather than a nuisance or inconvenience, until they see well behaved, joyful, and orderly kids.

…who doesn’t believe that kids can sit still and be well behaved without entertainment until they see a large family eating at a restaurant in an orderly way without any electric devices.

…who doesn’t believe it’s possible to have more than two kids without going crazy until they see a family with 9, happy and in their right mind.

…who doesn’t believe it’s possible to date or be engaged, without sinning sexually with their body until they see a couple’s first kiss on their wedding day.

…who doesn’t believe in distinctly different gender roles until they see a man and a women displaying them rightly.

…who doesn’t believe Christianity is anything but superficial hallelujahs until they see worship in the midst of suffering.

…who doesn’t believe marriage can last until they meet an elderly couple still holding hands and being affectionate after 60 years of marriage.

…who doesn’t believe that church is anything more than a joke until they see true authentic spiritual family.

…who doesn’t believe that God heals the sick until they see a person lay hands on a sick person and they get well.

…who doesn’t believe that prophecy and dreams are given by God to people still today until they are told of a prophetic word or dream that “reads their mail”.

…who doesn’t believe that God is real until they meet him in their neighbor.

Roger Bannister will be remembered for demonstrating to the world that the seemingly impossible feat of a 4 minute mile was possible.

What invisible possibility are you aiming to show the world?

The Loneliness Epidemic And What’s Causing It [VIDEO]

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The following video from Shimi Cohen is called “The Innovation of Loneliness”. It’s pretty insightful and very well done. It explores the connection between social networks and being lonely.

It’s four and a half minutes long. Check it out.

 

Why A Lot Of Christian Accountability Is Lame And What To Do About It

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Is it just me or is a lot of what’s done in the name of Christian accountability super lame?

This is a typical Christian accountability conversation:

“How are you doing?”

“I’m struggling with XYZ.”

“Me too.  Let’s feel bad together and do nothing to change.” OR “Let me lecture you and/or try to fix you.”

This is lame #1

Asking someone how they are doing is a bad question.

You hear it all the time, right?

“I heard Jimmy is doing bad.”

“Do you know how Jimmy is doing?”

“Oh he’s doing really good right now.”

The reason that talking this way is lame is that it implies that “doing” is what is most important, and whatever constitutes “doing good” or “doing bad” is completely subjective depending on the one who’s saying it.

This is lame #2

Accountability centered around what I’m “struggling” with puts the focus on me and creates fertile ground for condemnation and self righteousness.  The last thing a person needs is more self focus.

This is lame #3

There’s nothing worse than taking the time and effort to bear your soul with another person for accountability, only to leave feeling worse than when you started, or convicted with no clue of how to get out of what your in.

Consider An Alternative Approach

How about approaching it like this:

“What is God currently saving you from?”

“God is saving me from XYZ.”

“How is he doing it?  How are you accessing gospel power to save you from the power of sin?”

The bible teaches that salvation isn’t just a past and future event, but a present one as well. (1 Cor 1:18, 15:2, 2 Cor 2:15, Acts 2:47).  Everyone who has put their faith in Christ is “being saved” from the power of sin.  This is also called sanctification. (2 Thess 2:13)

If that’s true and the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1:16), then we should testify of God’s current saving power.

Truly effective accountability emphasizes the need for salvation and the way to receive it now.  Truly effective accountability should result in a person leaving the conversation full of faith in Christ.

Just the words themselves make a difference: “I’m struggling with” vs. “God is saving me from” puts the focus on God and off of us.  Talking about our sin with the focus on us brings shame.  Talking about our sin with the focus on God’s saving power brings humility, joy, and liberation.

Instead of the focus being on how I’m doing, it needs to be on what I’m believing.  We access the power of the gospel now in the same way that we accessed it when we first met Jesus – by faith.

It’s no longer “how are you doing?” but rather “how are you believing?”.

The bible says that the saints conquered the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Rev 12:10-11).

What if our times of Christian accountability consisted of testifying about the precious blood of Jesus’ power to save us from the present power of sin and how we practically access that by faith?

(Image Credit: SDASM Archives)

Public School, Private School, Or Home School? [VIDEO]

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Josh McPherson, pastor of Grace Covenant Church, does an excellent job answering this question.

It’s an important question for every parent to seriously consider.  How we choose to educate our children is no small deal.

HT: Shane Pionkowski

(Image Credit: The Library of Virginia)

What’s So Bad About Sex Outside Of Marriage?

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A study done two years ago by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that 88% percent of unmarried young adults (ages 18-29) are having sex.

Some look at that stat and are appalled.  Others shrug and ask, “What’s the big deal?”

In a world where sex outside of marriage is becoming more and more acceptable to the culture at large, what is the big deal?

What’s so bad about sex outside of marriage?

We could definitely have a discussion about the perceived pros and cons of sex outside of marriage, and I believe there’s some value in that.

But it really only comes down to one issue: the God of the bible calls it sin.

So the issue is really not about what you believe about sex outside of marriage, but rather what you believe about God himself.

What does dismissing God’s commands about fornication and adultery say about your beliefs about God?

Do you really believe that he’s God if obedience is optional or on your own terms?  Or if you do believe that he’s God and your sins are not a big deal, then your salvation from those sins isn’t that big a deal either – which would explain why your response is so lackluster and dispassionate.

But what if Jesus really is God?  And what if because he’s God, disobeying his commands really is a big deal.

If I slap my brother in the face I probably won’t get in any trouble.  If I slap a stranger on the street, I may.  If I slap a police officer in the face, I’d be arrested.  If I slapped the mayor of my city in the face, it would be a bigger deal, and if I slapped the president of the United States in the face, it would be a huge deal.

Who the sin is against determines how bad the sin is.

Sex outside of marriage, and all sin, is like slapping God in the face.

That’s what makes it bad. And that’s why we need to be saved.

(Image Credit: Jeremy Blanchard)

Dad Changes Mind On Abortion Of Down Syndrome Daughter [VIDEO]

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The video below is a very moving story of a father’s change of heart, regarding the possibility of aborting his daughter, who tests had shown, had down syndrome.

I think Owen Strachan said it best when he said that “the children we need most are the ones we don’t want“.

The video was done by ESPN. Thank you, ESPN for doing this video and for telling this story.

HT: Justin Taylor

Your Sin Is Wicked, Vile, Dirty, And Gross, But You Don’t Think So

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How do you view your sin?

How you view your sin is one of the most important views you can have.

The greater the sin, the greater the savior that saves you from your sin, and therefore, the greater the response to that savior.

And I’m not implying a need to embellish the wicked nature of our sin.  I’m advocating an accurate view.

What is an accurate view?

The magnitude of our sin is determined by the magnitude of God’s holiness.  Because God is infinitely holy, our sin is infinitely wicked.

But that’s not how we look at it, is it?

We categorize sins into differing degrees of wickedness to coddle our least detected sin of self righteousness.  We justify ourselves, because our sins, in our minds, aren’t as bad as pedophilia, murder, or rape (which proves our sin of self righteousness).

But that’s our problem.  Our most exalted thoughts of God’s holiness fall dreadfully short of how holy he is, because our finite minds can barely even begin to comprehend the magnitude.  In the same way it’s not even possible to comprehend how wicked, vile, disgusting, and gross our sins are.

Our safest bet is to think of the sins we deem as most wicked and know that ALL of our sins are worse before an infinitely HOLY GOD.

How would your life change if you started viewing lying, gluttony, laziness, fear of man, not keeping your word, worry, and selfishness with the same level of disgust as pedophilia?  This was one of the main points of Jesus’ sermon on the mount: Lust is adultery, hatred is murder, etc.

All of your sin is wickedly appalling.

There is no one who is righteous.  Not even one.  (Rom 3:11)

Your self righteous belief that you are more deserving of God’s grace because of sins you haven’t committed or because the sins you have committed aren’t that bad, is like a filthy, bloody tampon to God (Is 64:6).  It’s disgusting.

Your unrighteousness and self righteousness are sins that are appallingly great.

“But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Rom 5:20)

The greater your sin, the greater your savior.  The appallingly wicked nature of your sin magnifies the incredibly wonderful greatness of God’s grace to save you.

The greater your sin, the more amazing his grace.

The more radical his grace, the more radical your response to that grace.

How do you view your sin?

(Image Credit: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha)

A Simple Travel Packing List So You Won’t Forget Anything

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This is a packing list I’ve been using and tweaking for about twenty years. I love it because when I use it I don’t forget anything and it takes away the need to rack my brain trying to figure out if I’m missing anything. If I follow the list I can leave confident that I have everything I need.

Clothes

  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Shirts
  • Pants & Shorts
  • Dress Clothes
  • Swimming Suits
  • Pajamas
  • Jackets
  • Sweatshirts
  • Hats
  • Belts
  • Shoes
  • Sandals/Crocs

Toiletries

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving Cream
  • Shaver
  • Sunscreen
  • Lotion
  • Glasses
  • Contacts
  • Extra Contacts
  • Contact Solution
  • Face Cleaner
  • Chapstick
  • Powder
  • Makeup
  • Ibuprofen/Tylenol
  • Medication
  • Hand Wipes
  • Birth Control
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Insect Repellant
  • Towels
  • Wash Cloths

To Do List

  • Get Cash
  • Buy Snacks/Beverages
  • Hold Mail
  • Check Fluids
  • Get Gas
  • Empty Garbages
  • Water Plants
  • Buy/Organize Music
  • Check Fridge
  • Get Ice
  • Turn Down Heat/AC

Miscellaneous

  • Bible
  • Books
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Maps
  • Hotel Info
  • Wallets
  • Money
  • Toll Money
  • Extra Car Key
  • Sunglasses
  • Watch
  • Jewelry
  • Pocket Knife
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Laundry Bag
  • Fan
  • Jumper Cables
  • Umbrella

Food & Water

  • Snacks
  • Soda
  • Water
  • Water Bottles
  • Ice Packs
  • Coolers
  • Vitamins

Recreation

  • Golf Discs
  • Golf Clubs
  • Beach Stuff
  • Beach Towels
  • Floatation Devices
  • Life Jackets
  • Fishing Poles
  • Games

Kids Stuff

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Extra Nuks
  • Pack N’ Play
  • Blankets
  • Eating Chairs
  • Bottles
  • Nursing Pump
  • Books & Toys
  • Stroller
  • Bug Net
  • Hair Stuff
  • Monitor
  • Bassinet
  • Swing
  • Night Light
  • Bibs
  • Walker

Electronics

  • Camera
  • Camera USB
  • Camera Charger
  • iPod
  • iPod Charger
  • Headphones
  • Hands Free Headset
  • Headset USB
  • Headset Charger
  • Computer/Tablet
  • Computer/Tablet Power Cord
  • Computer Mouse
  • Cell Phone
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Cell Phone USB
  • Cell Phone Bluetooth
  • Car Outlet Adapter
  • Flashlights
  • Travel Alarm
  • DVDs
  • Portable DVD Player

What am I missing?

(Image Credit: National Archief)