7 most important things

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My 22-year-old son is scared. Like most Millennials, he has a global perspective largely shaped by the internet, and that perspective is not a good one. We live in a time of great uncertainty. Political unrest, division, authoritarian world leaders vying for control, economic instability, massive inflation, global warming, lies and conspiracies everywhere, world hunger, water shortages, fires and floods, hackers stealing our privacy, loss of credibility, fear and loss of hope. The famous line from Dante’s Inferno at the gates of hell, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” seems to apply as much to stepping into an average day today as it does to crossing the line into the underworld.

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‘I am not having a good day’

It began with fraudulent charges on my credit card. I say “fraudulent,” because I first approached Marti who was insulted by my accusation. She concluded our argument with “Fine,” which means she cannot be bothered with the issue any longer because she has something else to do. 

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Going live is intergenerational

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by MartiFischer

We find ourselves in the middle of an unraveling period, maybe even on the brink of a crisis. How we respond has everything to do with whether we are alive in Christ or just dabbling in life. There are no other options — in or out; alive or drooling. 

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‘Time to get the news out’

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Jonathan convinces his parents to allow him to stay all night in the hospital, and in the middle of the night, with his mom and Ben’s parents asleep in the waiting room, Jonathan slips quietly into Ben’s room and climbs into his bed. Ben is expecting him. The dreaded moment has arrived, but Ben is ready. His arguments with God are over. The only thing he’s concerned about, noticing the clock reads 3:00, is to tell Jonathan that it’s time to get the news out referring to Jonathan’s afternoon paper route. By the time Jonathan looks at the clock and points out to Ben that it’s three in the morning, not three in the afternoon, he looks back at Ben and he has left this world.

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Truth-teller

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“Yeah, but the message was true. It was really the right thing to do. It was the most right thing we did all summer. We didn’t mess up anything; the mess was already there. All I want, for just once in my life, is to make a success of doing the wrong thing.” – Ben Beamering p. 237

Poor Ben. He just can’t seem to have any success doing the wrong thing. 

Ben here is lamenting the fact that in the pranks the boys were playing on the church, he was trying to mess things up for his father and inadvertently ended up making things better, because people were being forced to face the truth. In the case made in this story, the boys, in the process of “spying” on the church, uncover the fact that the associate pastor is acting indiscreetly towards junior high girls. When the boys discover that Jonathan’s sister may be the next victim, Ben decides they will use the platform they have created illustrating scripture on Sunday mornings to reveal this indiscretion to the whole church. As expected, it creates a big scene, but it also exposes what is wrong so it can be dealt with.

Ben is a truth-teller. And this story is what happens when you have a truth-teller in a community. It ends up being good for everybody. It may hurt, and most often it does, but it’s a good kind of hurt. Jesus said the truth would set us free. He didn’t say it would make us feel good. He said it would set us free because the truth forces us to deal with what’s really there. More often than not, we try and cover up the truth, but that only makes things fester and grow worse. 

I’ve been driving around a car with expired plates — a very dumb thing to do. I got caught yesterday and I must admit that although it’s painful and there are penalties involved, in the end, I will be set free, because I won’t have to hide anymore. The truth always sets you free.

We need to welcome people like Ben and be more like him in our willingness to reveal and be revealed. It’s what it means to walk in truth.

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A BIG THANKS to those who have gotten us this far!

Priscilla from Rochester, New York

Roger, Whittier, California

David, Lakeville, Minnesota

Tim, Burien, Washington

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Marty, Salem, Oregon

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Steve from Nashville, Tennessee

Robert, Iowa City, Iowa

Michael, Sacramento, California

Sandy from Englewood, Colorado

And don’t forget to join us when we Go Live at noon tomorrow (Pacific) for the next reading of Saint Ben. Be a part of this live audiobook with discussion to follow.

(Click on the picture to link to our zoom room at noon.)

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Ben hears from God

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“No, Ben’s joy this morning was more than the anticipation of another prank. It was because something had happened to him that we all long for — something saints have lived and died for without ever finding — and Ben received it last night at the ripe old age of ten. Ben heard from God.”

These words were uttered by Ben’s father, Pastor Beamering, from the baptistry, high above the choir loft, where he stood weighed down by four feet of water that had flooded the chest-high fishing waders he wore when baptizing so he could stay dry while in the water. Ben had seen to it that his father would get all wet this time by devising a plan from his hospital bed to have Jonathan poke holes in his father’s rubber waders, never realizing that the water would make the boots so heavy that he would be unable to leave the baptistry for the remainder of the service.

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Getting all wet

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“Imagine John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in fishing waders! We can’t let him get away with baptizing people without getting wet himself.” – Ben Beamering p. 219

The last trick Ben and Jonathan played on his dad was indeed their best. He had devised it from the hospital and solicited Jonathan from his hospital bed to execute the deed. It was brilliantly simple. All they had to do was poke two holes in the chest high fishing waders Pastor Beamering put on when he baptized people in the church baptismal. All Ben wanted to do was to get his dad all wet because he thought it was hypocritical for him to stay dry when the people he baptized had to get all wet. It would turn out even better than he hoped, however, because when the waders took on water they would become so heavy that the pastor would be stuck in the baptismal for the rest of the service.

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‘A car only certain people can love’

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“As far as the real Edsel is concerned,” Ben said, “I must say I love it and hate it at the same time. Love it because not everyone likes it. It’s a car that stands out in a crowd — a car that only certain people can love. I want everyone to like the Edsel, but I’d somehow be disappointed if they all did. Do you know what I mean?” Saint Ben p. 193

I think I know what he means. I sometimes feel this way about Christianity.  I want everyone to be a Christian, but I’d somehow be disappointed if they all were. Not that I don’t want everyone to be saved, or I don’t want God’s grace for everyone. It’s just that it would somehow cast doubt on the sincerity of everyone’s faith if everyone were a Christian. It would make you wonder if something other than following Christ was making people “Christian.” 

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No shame; no blame

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“I suppose life is your fault, too. While you’re at it, why don’t you blame yourself for that? Saint Ben p. 178

When Jonathan blames himself for a bike accident that puts Ben in the hospital, Ben comes up with this sarcastic comment — sarcastic, but appropriate. Blame never helps even when you use it on yourself. 

Blame doesn’t help for at least two reasons (I’m sure there are more). First, blame is always about the past — the past we can’t do anything about. So it’s useless to try. About the only thing the past is good for is learning from it in order to affect a change in the future. Second, we are sinful people living in a fallen race. We make mistakes, we blow it, we hurt people … if we were to blame ourselves for everything we do wrong, we would never even get out of the gate. The only way forward is to forgive — forgive ourselves, forgive others and move on because of God’s amazing grace. 

The only one who can take all the blame and the shame and live is Jesus. That’s why Jesus went to the cross — not you or me — and then He rose again from the dead to put our sin away forever. So to blame yourself as Jonathan did in our story, is to mock the death of Jesus Christ. As in: “Yes, Christ died to pay for our sins and our failings and mistakes, but I have to pay a little for this one. Ben is my best friend. Christ’s death wasn’t enough. I have to suffer, too. I have to climb up on the cross with Jesus.” Nonsense. 

The only one who belongs on that cross is Jesus. So Jonathan did make a big mistake. He didn’t screw the generator down tightly enough for the light on Ben’s bike, and it slipped down, caught in the spokes of the front wheel and catapulted Ben’s face into the back end of a 1958 Pontiac station wagon, breaking his nose and sending him to the hospital. Yes, Jonathan did that, but what ends up happening to Ben is not his fault. Sin and death entered the world long before Jonathan, or you or I, showed up, and where sin abounds, grace did much more abound. That’s why in Christ, there is no shame and no blame.

Yearning to unite God’s people at this time in history to shine the love of Christ in meaningful ways. Lin A

Our Campaign is actually an Anniversary!

Recognizing that congregations all over the world were going to outgrow current facilities, on September 14, 2012, the Catch Ministry founders “purchased” acreage in cyberspace for its cyber church to GO LIVE together to glorify Him.

GO LIVE with us as we CELEBRATE 10 years of putting thousands of real boots on the ground in 143 countries to introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere.

Celebrate our influence worldwide by contributing to our Annual Campaign and its $20,000 goal — the first campaign since before the pandemic.

Hands, voice on ministry. Our world is lacking this … families are broken, people hurt … and you come in and say, you are loved, we care for and respect you — you are Jesus to them.  Sandy C

GO LIVE by making a contribution today!

Click on the green light to contribute!

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And don’t forget to join us when we GO LIVE at noon today (PDT) for the next reading of Saint Ben. Be a part of this live audiobook with discussion to follow.

(Click on the picture of Ben to link to our zoom room.)

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You are official

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Today’s quote comes from Ben Beamering reading the newspaper out loud to Jonathan where Seth Wilson, the mayor of Pasadena, explains why he rode in a 1958 Edsel in the 1959 Tournament of Roses Parade:

“‘Mr. Milner seems to favor either a new car or a classic car as worthy of this parade. To that I wish to say that I believe the 1958 Edsel will, in time, be recognized as the American classic that it truly is.’

“Ben read that last sentence in reverent tones.”

The Edsel was a classic all right. So classic that it disappeared the next year and never came back. One of the 1958 ad lines was “The EDSEL LOOK is here to stay — and 1959 cars will prove it.” Meaning that all the 1959 cars will want to look like Edsels, when in fact not even the 1959 Edsel looked like an Edsel. Which in that sense would make the ‘58 a classic, in that no car before or since has come close. And that is true.

No wonder Ben loves and hates this car. He loves it because it’s unique, quirky, and unpopular, like him; he hates it because of its short lifespan, also like him. But what this teaches each one of us is that we too are unique, and we each have a place in the heart of God where He values who He made us to be. God loves you and made you uniquely you. There is no other you. You are it. You are you. God not only loves you, He delights in you. You bring Him pleasure just as the story of Ben Beamering is bringing us pleasure. 

Ben is an unorthodox instrument of God, and so are you. Come on, let’s face it, we all are a little unorthodox. There’s something a little quirky about each of us. There is something true and serious and laughable that makes you you. So what does it do for us, to know this? It should give you courage to fulfill your calling, to discover your potential, to be who you are in the process of accomplishing what you are supposed to do.

“This was Ben’s own revelation. His odd shape, the horse-collar grille of his mouth, his sunken cheeks, the taillights of his ears curved inward, the gears of his mind that shifted from buttons in the steering column of his inner direction, the engine that ran with a fatal flaw, doomed from the start — this was all a part of the shape of Ben, and this was all loved by God and given a purpose on earth and in heaven. Ben was official.” (p. 277)

LOOK FOR AN EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT TOMORROW ABOUT OUR GO LIVE CAMPAIGN!

Yearning to unite God’s people at this time in history to shine the love of Christ in meaningful ways. Lin A

Our Campaign is actually an Anniversary!

Recognizing that congregations all over the world were going to outgrow current facilities, on September 14, 2012, the Catch Ministry founders “purchased” acreage in cyberspace for its cyber church to GO LIVE together to glorify Him.

GO LIVE with us as we CELEBRATE 10 years of putting thousands of real boots on the ground in 143 countries to introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere.

Celebrate our influence worldwide by contributing to our Annual Campaign and its $20,000 goal — the first campaign since before the pandemic.

Hands, voice on ministry. Our world is lacking this … families are broken, people hurt … and you come in and say, you are loved, we care for and respect you — you are Jesus to them.  Sandy C

GO LIVE by making a contribution today!

Click on the green light to contribute!

go livefbbanner

And don’t forget to join us when we GO LIVE at noon today (PDT) for the next reading of Saint Ben. Be a part of this live audiobook with discussion to follow.

(Click on the picture of Ben to link to our zoom room.)

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