Six steps to more fruitful Bible reading

Nicole2By Warren Coe

An Earnest Plea

From time to time I receive email correspondence from students in Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey.  They ask all sorts of questions.  The one that excites me the most is when they ask about getting more from their Bible reading.

Here is a note from one of my students.  She writes, “I am hoping you can give me your thoughts on how to maximize my experience and studying (of God’s Word).  I went into this class (Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey) knowing I would most likely be spending the rest of my life (ok, maybe I exaggerate) trying to grasp the Bible.  I work full time and time is not something I have an abundance of.”  

Here is What I Wrote

There is a passage that came to mind when I read your email.  It is in Deuteronomy 4:29.  “But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

It is not like the Lord is hiding from His people but there must be effort to find Him.  This is so true in knowing God’s Word.  Yes, some truths are like the gold flakes on the shoreline near Sutter’s Mill.  However, many of God’s truths are set deep into the soil of His Word and require us to dig them out in order to own them.  I think God is pleased to make this dynamic a reality in the Christian life.

I would suggest the following course of action for digging out the gold nuggets of the Bible.

Six Steps for Getting More Out of Your Bible Reading

Step One: Be patient with yourself.  He is patient with you.  Take your time about discovering the truths of God’s Word.  Knowing the Bible is a lifetime endeavor.

Step Two:  Call on the Holy Spirit to guide you in His Word.  In John 16 Jesus promised to give us the Holy Spirit who would guide us in all truth.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (Joh 16:13-15 ESV)

Step Three: Read a little each day.  I used to think that devouring the whole cow was the best way to eat a steak.  Just eat the steak.  Spend time with one passage or one chapter.  Ask questions:  What is happening in this passage?  Who is doing the action?  What truth is revealed?  How do I apply this truth to my life?  Very simple questions can get a lot more riches out of the Bible.

Step Four: I would work out a daily reading plan.  With me, this changes each year.  Sometimes I start in Genesis and read to Revelation.  Other times I will spend time in Paul’s pastoral epistles like 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.  Other times I will read through the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Make your reading plan simple and doable.

Step Five: Keep track of your questions arising from your reading.  Ask a friend who you trust to know and explain the Bible.

Step Six: Meditate “day and night” on God’s Word.  God gave a simple command to Joshua.  “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:7-8 ESV)  Meditate when you are driving to work.  Meditate when you take a walk.  Meditate in those midnight hours when you can’t sleep.  Let the Word of God encompass your mind and heart.

These steps will aid you in wrestling with God’s Word and discovering the gold nuggets of God’s truth.  I’ve been reading the Bible almost daily for 45 years.  I’ve studied the Bible from a scholarly perspective, pastoral perspective and personal perspective.  I’ve gained a greater confidence in my understanding of the Bible and my relationship with the Lord.  It is a good start and I have a long way to go.

Start small.  Build up.  Read more.  Grow more through God’s Word.

God’s blessing,


Six steps to more fruitful Bible reading

Everyday Faith: Gospel Multiplication in the Workplace


Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (Jn 17:17)

Do you park your faith in the parking lot?

Come Monday, many Christians park their faith, along with their car, in the parking lot and work like atheists the rest of the week until Sunday church. Obviously dividing one’s life into sacred and secular like this is a fragmented and inauthentic expression of both self and faith.

The Great Commission in the Workplace

So it was refreshing to hear from Steve Mann and Shane Morin on this topic. Steve and Shane shared how they have been faithfully implementing the Great Commission over the last 8 years in the corporate workplace with multiplying impact. They encourage whole life integration focused discussion groups that meet every other week, focusing on Bible study, prayer, community and life application.

General Guidelines

Steve and Shane offered general guidelines such as the following:

  • Dependence upon God.
  • Spiritual preparedness.
  • Love for one another.

Be careful, they advise, of corporate diversity initiatives, which are likely to encourage “all-roads-lead-to-God” universalism.

The Importance of Multiplication

Steve and Shane place a strong emphasis on multiplication. This ‘each one teach one’ model equips people to be fishers of men who teach others to be fishers of men. The principle of multiplication is so powerful that, as Steve and Shane showed, the entire world could be evangelized within a generation if it were taken seriously. In the Book of Acts the Holy Spirit birthed a multiplying church that turned the Roman Empire upside down and became a worldwide movement. That’s the power of multiplication.

Discussion Group Structure

Steve and Shane recommend a simple, repeatable structure for regular group meetings.

  1. Open in prayer, and share current issues or testimonies. (5-10 minutes).
  2. Bible study – read designated passage and discuss. (25-30 minutes).
    • Ask ‘What does this say to you?
    • ‘How can you apply this to your life?’
    • ‘Who can you tell about this?’
  1. Prayer and Praise. (10 minutes)

Meeting Guidelines

  • Don’t let Bible studies interfere with work — use the lunch hour.
  • Meet every other week. This works well for most people.
  • ‘Come as you can’ — Don’t pressure people to attend every session.
  • Foster community through lunches and coffee meetings between meetings.
  • Leave organizational titles at the door.
  • Be intentionally invitational — Invite others to join in.
  • Grow future leaders through training.

Multiplication is happening in many parts of the company where Steve and Shane work, and it’s now spread to other companies and countries, having a ‘salt-and-light’ impact, and regenerating the milieu of work wherever the gospel spreads.


Over the last 8 years, Steve and Shane have developed a robust set of tried-and-tested resources which they are happy to share. This approach is transferable to any other workplace as well as your neighborhood. Come and observe a discussion group meeting, or take a training session. Contact Steve.  He would be delighted to talk with you and help you get going.

How do I start?

  1. PRAY!
  2. Keep it simple. Find other Christians with whom to partner. Invite friends.
  3. Just start. Steve is available to help.

Dear Jesus — As lost, broken, sin-corrupted people, we desperately need the salvation you bring through the gospel. Because our lives are hidden in yours, Jesus, we are adopted children, righteous in God’s sight, recipients of His Spirit, and loved as much as the He loves you. The gospel is extraordinary and we praise you for it! Yet we need the gospel’s ongoing transformational power, shaping us into your likeness. Keep imprinting the grace and truth of gospel into our hearts we pray, and help us be continually faithful to your mission wherever we go. Amen.

Everyday Faith: Gospel Multiplication in the Workplace

The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem

I came across an article written by R. Albert Mohler.  It’s about the growing problem of biblical illiteracy in America.  Shocking!  At the end of Dr. Mohler’s article I remind us of the power of God’s Word in the life of God’s people.

“The Nature of Our Problem

While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home–biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.

Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”

Scary Statistics

How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.
Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.

According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm.

Here is the bottom line.  “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.”  [see Barna Group’s web site]

Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.

Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.

A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble.

The Problem Isn’t Secular America

Secularized Americans should not be expected to be knowledgeable about the Bible. As the nation’s civic conversation is stripped of all biblical references and content, Americans increasingly live in a Scripture-free public space. Confusion and ignorance of the Bible’s content should be assumed in post-Christian America.

The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.

This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course.

Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.]

Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.”

Testimony of Scripture

The Testimony of Scripture should stir us up to be people of The Word.  In Matthew 4:4, when Jesus was in His wilderness temptation he said to the Devil, “Man Shall not live by bread alone…

Moses told the people of God in Deuteronomy 32:46, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.  For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.

God commanded Joshua in Joshua 1:7-9, “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn from it to the right or left that you may have good success wherever you go.  This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.”

The Psalmist said these words in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

In Psalm 119:11 we read, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

James 1:21 writes, “Receive the Word implanted which is able to save your souls.

Then we read in Ephesians 6:17, “And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Listen to Great Quotes

God’s Word alone tethers us to God’s reality.

The Word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress.”–Billy Graham

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” –George Washington

I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man.” –Abraham Lincoln

Enjoy God’s Word.  Feast on God’s Word.  Be blessed by God’s Word.

by Warren Coe

Article quoted: The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s our problem by Albert Mohler found on

The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem

Everyday Faith: Legal Do’s and Don’ts for Christians


If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Ro 12:18)

Retired attorney Sandra Gilbert recently shared with us her perspectives on legal considerations of which Christians should be aware.

Minnesota State Law

The Minnesota Human Rights Act aims to ensure freedom from discrimination in matters such as employment, housing, property, education and public services. Discrimination based on the following factors is illegal: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance status, sexual orientation, age, and familial status.

Equal access is considered a civil right. Discrimination is considered inequitable and unfair, threatening the rights and privileges of the state’s inhabitants, and a menace to the institutions and foundations of democracy. It is therefore the public policy of the state of Minnesota to protect everyone from discrimination. However, the law also provides exemptions for religious organizations.

Federal Law

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” So in terms of the First Amendment, the US cannot establish a state religion, nor can it prevent anyone from exercising his or her religion.

The Civil Rights Act explicitly recognizes the fundamental rights of faith-based organizations to hire employees who share their religious beliefs in order to carry out their mission. This provision allows a Christian organization, for example, to hire only Christian employees. This provision for faith-based groups protects the religious liberty of communities of faith.

 How are these laws applied?

The courts try to apply the law fairly to all parties. Sandra gave an overview of the following cases currently before the courts:

  1. Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, was prosecuted for declining to make cakes that celebrated homosexual weddings. In his view, this violated his Christian convictions. Read more here.
  2. St. Cloud wedding videographers were similarly prosecuted for declining to make videos which celebrated homosexual weddings — the videographers regarded this as violating their Christian convictions. Read more here.
  3. Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired by the Atlanta city mayor for writing a book in which he expressed his Biblical views on marriage. Read more here.

Depending on how these cases are ultimately settled:

  1. Christians may face increasing legal pressure from groups considered to be anti-Christian. Already, Christians feel under obligation to be silent about their Christian convictions, and not act on them — or face time-consuming and costly legal action.
  2. As the law seeks to balance the rights of different groups, Christians may feel discriminated against, in spite of laws implemented to prevent discrimination, and despite exemptions for religious organizations.

The Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom non-profit (which advocates religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family), can be a helpful resource in anti-Christian cases.

The Law Applied in Unexpected Ways

Sandra also outlined a case involving a church in which an associate pastor claimed sex harassment by a church pastor. In this case, the associate pastor was terminated under the exemption provisions for religious organizations. Christians should therefore be aware that the law can be applied in sometimes counter-intuitive and unexpected ways.

Inappropriate Workplace Pressure

Sandra ran through an actual workplace scenario in which a subordinate was invited to attend a luncheon by her supervisor. The luncheon turned out unexpectedly to involve a Christian speaker. In this scenario, the subordinate felt under some expectation to align her views with the supervisor’s Christian views. This kind of ‘bait-and-switch’ tactic combined with supervisor/subordinate pressure, however subtle, is inappropriate and should be avoided.

In another scenario, Sandra outlined a situation in which an employee was invited by other colleagues into an office for a meeting, apparently for business purposes. There the employee was asked the “if you were to die today, do you know where you would go” question. This kind of ‘ambushing’ behavior can feel like harassment to non-Christians, and is therefore inappropriate.

As Christians, What Should We Do?

Christians should avoid any semblance of manipulative behavior. Christian conversations that are worthy of Christ are based on authentic, transparent relationships. Build good relationships with everyone (Ro 12:18), share faith in Christ at times and in a manner that is appropriate, and leave conversion to the Holy Spirit.

Sandra suggested the following:

  1. Pray for your day… that you will be a light in a dark world. Be a servant to others.
  2. Study the Bible to learn about God’s Word to be able to discern truth.
  3. Participate actively in a community of believers and live generously towards others.
  4. Meet regularly with a Christian friend or mentor for perspective and counsel. Let the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) inform your conduct, and be kind to all.

Closing Prayer

Father, We thank you, as the Great Lawgiver, for the Ten Commandments which help us understand both your holiness and our sin. We confess that, sadly, we sin against you every day and hour in thought, word and deed. So we thank you, Lord Jesus, for your atoning work on the Cross, and for helping us understand that God’s Law is rooted in love — for both God and our neighbor. Thank you for the grace of the gospel, through which your people are adopted into your family — fully and wonderfully forgiven, justified, and reconciled — now and forever. Truly, nothing compares with the profound treasures we’ve received in the gospel! We must share this treasure with others. Help us do so with love, wisdom, kindness and grace. Amen.

(This article was written by Warwick Alcock, Director of Strategic Operations, Village Schools of the Bible)

Everyday Faith: Legal Do’s and Don’ts for Christians

Everyday Faith: God Turns Tragedy into Victory


Tragedy is all around us.

What do we say and do to help people struck down through unimaginable disaster like the Las Vegas shootings or the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico? As Christians we respond with compassion and prayer, but inside we ask ‘what would we do in that kind of situation?’

Gordy and Nancy’s daughter Kathryne and son-in-law Jamison Pals had a heart for lost people, and sold everything they had to put the world decisively behind them, to go to a difficult mission field in Japan where less than 3% of the population know Christ. On the eve of their departure for Japan, on July 31, 2016, Jamison, Kathryne and their three children were tragically killed in a vehicle accident.

How to Weather Tragedy

Gordy and Nancy Engel shared with us their encounter with this unimaginable tragedy. It is impossible in a blog post to do justice to everything that Gordy and Nancy shared. Each person deals with tragedy and grief differently. Here are some key points on how they weathered the storm:

  1. Keep your mind on God’s truth, not what you see around you. This means knowing God’s truth as revealed in the Bible, and believing it. To trust God is to believe His Word. Faith and trust are closely related. To trust God is to have faith in Him, and faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). God has given His people the gift of faith which can help His people endure tragedy. God quickly revealed to Nancy and Gordy that this is not about tragedy — rather it was about victory in Christ.
  2. Make the right choices. We have a choice. Focus on God’s truth. Discipline yourself to be continually in God’s Word. Choose to set your mind on things above (Col. 3:2). Stay grounded in the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2).
  3. Focus on Jesus. Take note of what you are thinking about. Christ lives in us (Jn 14:20), so live in His presence, knowing that greater is He in us than the world (1 Jn 4:4). Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Focus on the redemptive nature of God’s truth. Words are powerful – are they positive or negative? Keep them positive and constructive.
  4. Know that what Satan means for evil, God uses for good. The enemy tried to stop the good work on which this family was about to embark, but, as we see below, they are now having a worldwide impact!
  5. Understand the resurrection through Christ which means we can envision loved ones worshiping and dancing in heaven. The best day of anyone’s life is the day they depart for heaven. We have the assurance that at that time, they are more alive than ever before!

We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)

Where is God in Tragedy?

 God was right there with them. This is how Gordy and Nancy experienced God:

  1. God comforts His people through His Word. Upon hearing of this tragic death, John 11:25-26 immediately came to Nancy’s mind: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? We have hope as we grieve. God gives peace to His people.
  2. God brings comfort through His people. The body of Christ overwhelmed the Engels with love and support.
  3. God comforts by equipping and enabling for mission. The Engels resolved to be used in this situation for God’s glory. God equipped them for the task. The indwelling Holy Spirit enabled them to speak and testify to God’s goodness.
  4. God comforts by enabling the comforting of others. Gordy’s life verse is 2 Cor 1:3-5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

God’s Glory in the Face of Tragedy

Through it all, God shone His spotlight on what happened, in Gordy’s words, turning the incomprehensible into the unbelievable. Nancy and Gordy saw that this was not about tragedy, rather it was about victory in Christ. Just consider, for example, how God magnified the missionary impact of this family:

  • 1500 people attended the funeral — which became a glorious celebration of the family, and testimony to God’s goodness. The funeral was live-streamed to 1600 more people.
  • The Engels were interviewed by the media – Gordy and Nancy gave their testimony and spoke openly about their faith over the air waves.
  • Katheryne and Jamison had written about their mission on their blog. Media exposure multiplied the impact of their writing, giving it a much wider impact.
  • Gordy and Nancy had an opportunity to give their testimony at faith night after a TWINs game, and at the annual National Day of Prayer in Medina.
  • They have shared at churches, men’s groups and and on the Village Schools of the Bible blog.
  • The family’s story was told in ‘The Unexpected Journey’ on Facebook.
  • The family’s story was translated into Japanese, which enabled sharing the message of the gospel to Japanese people on
  • The Jamison and Katheryne Pals Family Foundation has been set up to support missionaries going to Japan.

Through the above efforts, hundreds and possibly thousands now hear the gospel around the world. The seeds born in their death are producing a great harvest!  Jamison and Kathryne and family show us how we can all live lives that can have far-reaching impact for God’s glory long after we are gone.

Aren’t You Mad at God?

Periodically, Gordy and Nancy are asked how they are doing. Sometimes the question is “Aren’t you mad at God?”  Their response is as follows:

  1. They are now closer to God than ever before. The Engels are closer to God through the strength He has given them to bear this tremendous loss and heartache. Jesus is the center of hope. They experience Him being there right beside them, and so they turn to Him. They know God is not done forming them yet. But they know that struggles strengthen them; and in them God reveals Himself so much that, as Nancy puts it, “I have joy!”
  2. The Engels are now closer to their children – they have learned from their children. God has blessed them because they have come to know their daughter better. They learned from their daughter’s journal and notes how she and her husband had impacted others for Christ, and they learned about their daughter’s meeting God, and her deepening identity as a child of the King.
  3. The Engels see what God is doing through this experience: spreading the Good News. And to them, that’s all that matters! Almost daily, they meet people and share victory in Christ instead of tragedy in loss. Because of Katheryne’s and Jamison’s passion for the lost, they are inspired to inspire others!

“Give thanks in all circumstances”, they advise, “by God’s strength. Always bring it back to Jesus and the hope that is available through Him.”

What happened to the driver who caused the accident?

He has been forgiven.

He watched a livestream of the funeral, but he is not a believer yet. Gordy and Nancy have spoken with the driver’s parents. The driver and his parents deserve our prayers.

The Need for Vigilance

The Engels caution that the devil is always trying to thwart Christ’s victory. “Resist the devil, and he will flee,” they advise, quoting James 4:7. “Say it out loud. Be on your guard. You need others to come around you. Bear one another’s burdens. Have your best friend to pray for you. And know that in tragedy, God stands right beside you.”

God is Always Present, and Always at Work

God is always with His people, enabling them, and working out His purposes in all circumstances.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Rom 8:26-30).

Inspired to Inspire

This incident has brought Gordy and Nancy to a place where they are, as Gordy describes it, “Inspired to Inspire.” They have been changed forever by their passion for the lost, and so their prayer is that we who hear this story will be inspired as well. The following quote from Bill Hybels in “Becoming a Contagious Christian” describes Kathryne and Jamison:

Those who choose to follow Christ will eventually come to the conclusion that there’s nothing more important than reaching people. And when they do, their values will change forever. They’ll be seized by the realization that every other earthly activity pales in comparison with helping an individual man, woman, boy or girl, come into the saving, liberating, life-changing relationship with the God of the universe…They’ll become consumed with how they can become more effective fishers of men.

Says Gordy: God amazingly calls us into His salvation process.

  • Prayer is our connector
  • Love is the common denominator
  • Passion is the igniter
  • The Holy Spirit is the converter

Jamison and Kathryne knew what they were getting into. The Cross was before them. There was no turning back. In his last sermon, Jamison preached from Romans:

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved…

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Rom.10:9-10; 13-15).

Jamison and Kathryne longed to make God’s name famous. God is honoring that longing today as thousands hear their story in America, Japan and around the world; and as hundreds of missionaries are inspired to pursue the mission field in Japan and beyond.

Jamison and Kathryne have the blessing that we should all long for: to live a life in such a way that it has an impact for God’s glory long after we are gone. Their legacy is their intentional, dedicated passion for the lost.

This movement of God is only just beginning…

The gospel changes everything! See Gordy and Nancy’s video testimony here.

(Those interested may wish to contribute to the Jamison and Katheryne Pals Family Foundation to support missionaries going to Japan.)

Dear Jesus, we are so deeply saddened by intrusive evil and the harsh brokenness of our world. But in the day of devastation, we choose to remember You, Jesus. Otherwise we would be twisted by rage, or succumb to despair. We delight in you, for you make all things new, and one day there will be no more death or tears, brokenness or heartache; and no more evil. Thank you for inviting us to join you in your redemptive mission for the world, sowing the gospel, anticipating the harvest, and delighting in the celebration to follow! Come Lord Jesus. We eagerly await your return. Until that day, grant us the grace and peace and strength we need for your mission this day. We pray these things in your name, with great joy and certain hope! Amen.

(This article was written by Warwick Alcock, Director of Strategic Operations at Village Schools, with grateful appreciation for Gordy and Nancy Engel’s input and help.)

Everyday Faith: God Turns Tragedy into Victory

The Tongue


Our students at Village Schools of the Bible study the book of Proverbs—a book that has much to say about the tongue.  Several have written papers helping us master the truths of Proverbs and the tongue.

One student wrote, “I am reminded of the old E. F. Hutton commercial where everyone stops what they are doing to listen to the firm’s wisdom (‘When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.’)  I want to be that person!  I want my words to be so full of God’s wisdom that people stop and listen – not for my own glory but to glorify God and edify the body of Christ.”

Another student wrote, “Though it is one of the smallest appendages in the body, the tongue holds great power!  It has the power to bring life and death, blessing and cursing according to how words are spoken.    Nations have been won and lost according to how their leaders used their words.  This is true in an individual’s personal battles as well. The LORD gives stern warnings to those who use their words for deceitful gain, lying and folly.”

A long time ago John Wesley gave this advice to his disciples.    “God has given us two ears, but one tongue, to show that we should be swift to hear, but slow to speak. God has set a double fence before the tongue, the teeth and the lips, to teach us to be wary that we offend not with our tongue.”

Do you have a plan to control the tongue?  How can you use your tongue to bless and not curse?  Then I have a book for you–the book of Proverbs.

Written by Executive Director Warren Coe

The Tongue

More on God’s Providence

By Warren Coe


The “Concurrence” Part of Providence

When theologians use the term “Concurrence” in discussions about God’s providence, they mean that God’s “concurrent” or “confluent” involvement in all that occurs in his world does not violate the nature of things and the ongoing processes or decisions of human beings.  The exception, of course, is when God overturns the laws of nature.  This is called a miracle, like when Jesus turned water into wine in John 2.  How God accomplishes His will and allows free human agency is a mystery to us.

The Bible teaches us that God’s concurrent providence is seen in the following areas of life.

  • In nature. Fire and hail, etc. fulfill his command.  Psalm 148:8.
  • In the Animal kingdom. Psalm 104:27-29; Job 38:39-41, Matthew 6:26, 10:29
  • In seemingly “Random” or “Chance” events. Proverbs 16:33
  • In events fully caused by God and fully caused by the creature. The king makes his decision but the Lord channels his heart (Proverbs 21:1).  Man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).  Even though a natural explanation can be given for actions and decisions behind them, all are the providential decrees of God.
  • In the affairs of nations. Job 12:23, Psalm 22:28, Daniel 2:21, 4:25
  • All aspects of our lives. God provides our food (Matthew 6:11); our every need (Philippians 4:19).  God ordains our length of days on earth (Psalm 139:16).  The Lord directs our steps (Jeremiah 10:23).  In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  Our successes and failure and the ability to make wealth is from the Lord (Psalm 75:6-7; Deuteronomy 8:18).  Children are from the Lord (Psalm 127:3).  Talents and gifts are from the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:7).  “Our words, our steps, our movements, our hearts, and our abilities are all from the Lord.” (Wayne Grudem in Systematic Theology)

What About Evil in God’s Providence?

“Of the evils that infect God’s world (moral and spiritual perversity, waste of good, and the physical disorders and disruptions of a spoiled cosmos), it can summarily be said: God permits evil (Acts 14:16); he punishes evil with evil (Psalm 81:11-12; Romans 1:26-32); he brings good out of evil (Gen. 50:20; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; 13:27; 1 Cor 2:7-8); he uses evil to test and discipline those he loves (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 12:4-14); and one day he will redeem his people from the power and presence of evil altogether (Revelation 21:27; 22:14-15).”  (J. I. Packer in Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. pg 56).

I chose this quote since it succinctly states the entire question of the place of evil in God’s created order.  Our goal is to give a simple but biblical explanation for the problem of evil yet open the door of inquiry to those who want to go deeper.[1]

The question of evil is difficult, especially when our Bible declares that God’s purposes are accomplished in or through evil.  For example, the Lord tells the prophet Habakkuk that He will raise up the Chaldeans to punish His people (Hab 1:6).  In and through the wickedness of a godless nation, the Lord will smite His own people.  How can this be?

There are other passages of this same vein that makes the problem of evil more problematic.  Amos 3:6 “If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?”  Micah 2:3 “Therefore, thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am planning against this family a calamity.”  Isaiah 45:6,7 “I am the Lord, and there is no other, The one forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”  Ecclesiastes 7:14, “In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider God has made the one as well as the other so that man may not discover anything that will be after him.”

What are the Benefit(s) of the Doctrine of Providence for the Believer?

I consider this doctrine the safety net doctrine of the Bible.  The universe and all that it contains—including my life—is sustained and cared for by the loving Creator.  Just as he provides food for the birds of the air, so he provides all that I need to exist.  All created beings; both animals and humans are provided with all that is necessary for life from the providential decrees of God.

This means that my life is not subject to chance, fate or luck.  All that happens to me is the result of God’s perfect plan.  We agree with Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

[1] Students wishing to go deeper should read Charles Colson’s Developing a Christian Worldview: The Problem of Evil, Tyndale Publishing House.  Another reference can be found at  See the Problem of Evil.

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