Vindication: God and Hillsborough—From Tragedy to Triumph

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In 1989, England’s Liverpool Football club was playing Nottingham Forest in an F.A. Cup semi-final at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, 35 miles east of Manchester in South Yorkshire.  The cheapest tickets sold in the stadium were for admittance to the terraces, a typically-boisterous  area without seats where the most loyal fans would stand for the duration of the game.  For many, especially young fans, watching from the terraces was an integral part of football culture.

But something went tragically wrong at Hillsborough that day in April as thousands of fans poured into the stadium.  In the absence of adequate crowd control or police or other match-day security to manage the crowds entering the stadium, fans surged into terraces that were already filled to capacity.  Spectators in the terraces – caged behind metal barriers – had no way of escaping the intense crush in which they were caught.

The results were tragic: 766 were injured that day and 96 people killed, the majority of them from compression asphyxia, a term which begs no definition.

That the tragedy occurred during a televised event heightened the seriousness of the disaster and the sickening sense of what was a national tragedy.  With soccer hooliganism at the time a blight on both English football and society, it was easy for authorities to point the finger of condemnation and blame Liverpool supporters for killing 96 of their fellow football fans.

Condemnation of Liverpool fans was savage, led by some of the most prominent voices in the media. Many of the fans who were there that day struggled to cope with being blamed for the deaths of their own friends.  Some did not.  Several who were on the terraces at Hillsborough on April 14, 1989 and who had themselves been caught in the crush, committed suicide.

But twenty-seven years later, on April 26, 2016, a jury in a courtroom in Warrington, east of Liverpool, ruled that the fans themselves were NOT to blame for the deaths of the 96 victims.  Instead, the police were found to be negligent and culpable in the deaths of the unfortunate soccer supporters.  There had been, for almost three decades, a monumental miscarriage of justice, but now the dishonesty of the key figures in this horrible tragedy was finally revealed in its true light.

It took 27 years, but finally the truth was told.  And that’s the thing with the truth.  Sooner or later it comes to light.

Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a vicious lie has been perpetuated, a lie claiming God is responsible for the enormous amount of sin and misery in the world.  “If only God had stopped the devil.”  “If only God had stepped in and prevented sin from happening in the first place.”

If only God, then we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Let’s think that through.

Could God have stepped in and simply stopped sin from entering the universe?  Being God, there’s no doubt He could.  But what would have been the ramifications of God overruling the sovereignty of personal choice?

God-given freedom of choice is valued by most people above almost all else and says that (subject to appropriate laws) you can believe your own conscientiously-held views, express your opinions without fear of retribution and determine to a large degree the trajectory of your life.  Even if the decisions you make might not ultimately be in your best interest, you have been granted freedom of choice and given authority by God to make those decisions if you choose.

For God to intervene and prevent Adam and Eve from eating the forbidden fruit would have meant God would have removed their freedom of choice.  They would have been reduced to being robots, capable of doing only what God dictated.  Although God urged them not to do so, the decision to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was ultimately theirs.

Reprogramming Adam and Eve – or the devil, for that matter – would have been the end of love.  Love only exists when it is given voluntarily.  A husband who buys his wife flowers can’t be said to be buying them out of love if she is holding a gun to his head.  Love is not love if it isn’t voluntary.

If God had destroyed the devil after Lucifer had gone down the path of rebellion, the angels in heaven would have served God out of fear rather than love.  Again, choice would have been removed from the equation.  Without a complete understanding of the love of God and the issues involved in Lucifer’s rebellion, the destruction of Satan would only have served to instill fear in the hearts of heaven’s holy angels.  The universe would have been plunged into chaos.

When sin entered the universe, God only had two viable options; only one of which – while horrendously expensive – was workable.  He could either destroy the devil and imperil the security of the universe, or…

Or, God could choose to let sin run its course.  That would mean that should people turn from God and embrace the enemy there would be wars and violence, famine and sickness, and death and distress as sin took up residence in the human heart.  Should, however, humans yield to God and trust Him and serve Him, there would be nothing to fear.  But in letting sin run its course, God gave the universe a chance to see not only the true character of Satan, but also the depths of the love of God.

God is often held responsible for death and destruction.  “Why did God allow that tsunami?”  “Why did God not prevent that car accident?”  It’s no different than the British Police spinning the Hillsborough tragedy in such a way that innocent fans were considered culpable for something in which they had no part.  It suited the authorities to deflect blame from themselves and towards a group of marginalized people unable to defend themselves against the damning charges against them.

No, God is not responsible for death and sin.  God is love and He loves every person on Earth.  The death of Jesus on the cross reveals that sin has cost God far more than it could ever cost you or me.  And it reveals that far from being responsible for sin, God has done everything He can to save us from sin and its effects.  He “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”  (John 3:16).

After almost thirty years, the 1989 football fans at Hillsborough have been vindicated.  And when Jesus returns and the saved are saved and the lost are lost and it is finally and forever seen that God has been entirely just in His dealings, God will be vindicated too.

Success Stories

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Since the early 1970s I’ve followed from afar the fortunes of Leeds United, a professional soccer (football) club in Yorkshire, in England’s North. Leeds have fallen far from the heights of their glory days in the ‘70s, and in recent times have achieved little on the soccer field.  They currently play in what is politely called the “Championship,” a rather grand name for what was once known as the Second Division.  This year they flirted with being relegated to the third tier of English football.

The biggest sports story of the year so far involves another under-performing English soccer team, and reveals that little guys sometimes do beat the big guys and that perennial losers can actually become big-time winners.  Two years ago, Leicester—a small club in a city of 330,000 people 100 miles northwest of London—was playing in the politely-named Championship. Thirteen months ago—after having been promoted—they were dead last in the Premiership and looking like they were headed back down a level. Yet today, they’re the champions of the most competitive soccer league on the planet, the most celebrated team on Earth.

Nobody at all expected Leicester to win England’s Premier League this year. Up against global soccer powers like Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool, made up of an unlikely cast of under-achievers, and coached by a man who once coached Greece to a humiliating loss against the Faroe Islands—Leicester won the biggest club competition in global soccer with two weeks of the season still left.  Seven points ahead of their nearest rivals, they will be crowned English champions even if they lose their next two games. There has never been a sports story quite like this one. It’s impossible to imagine there ever will be again.

However, it is only sport and sport doesn’t matter a bit in the big picture. Truth be told, the influence of sport is far from all good and sport itself pulses with moral ambiguity. But Leicester’s amazing and improbable triumph is a remarkable story that would bear telling no matter its background or context. It’s a story of victory in the face of impossibility. It’s a sporting David versus a host of Goliaths—virtually any other team in the Premiership would have been expected to do better this year than Leicester—reminding us the script doesn’t always have to be followed. Expectations don’t always have to play out. The unlikely can happen and you don’t have to sink to meet the lower expectation of others.

The Bible says that all human beings are sinners, and deserving of nothing better than death. A sinner is a failure bound for eternal loss. The language in which the Old Testament was written describes the human heart as “incurable” (Jeremiah 17:9).  You could say “terminal,” and terminal is not good.

But read the book of Revelation and you find a group of people reconciled eternally to God. How in the world does a group of sinful losers find themselves wearing crowns of gold standing faultless before the throne of God?

This is where the story of the triumph of Leicester City falls short in portraying the experience of sinners looking for salvation. Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 10:23 that “It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps,” and in Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.” In other words, there’s simply no way out of being lost for the sinner. 

Except for one thing.

Whereas soccer players win because of hard work, commitment, and to some degree what you might call luck—the bounce of the ball, an opponent’s injury, or a rival team’s lack of form—sinners can’t try their way to heaven. Instead, victory is found in Jesus who gives us His righteousness, credits us for His own goodness, and “works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

The Bible is full of the stories of failures who collapsed into sin. People like King Saul, Korah, Judas, and the Pharisees who stubbornly refused to yield to Jesus’ invitation of mercy. But then there are the myriad success stories. The woman at the well, the woman taken in adultery, Peter and Thomas and James and John (who thought it right to incinerate their enemies) and Saul who became Paul and…  And in every case, the loser, the defeated one, found victory not through his or her own skill or talent or hard work, but through faith in a Savior who can turn a life of failure into a life of success.

How is it with you? A sad reality of the Christian experience is that believers endure their generous share of down moments and regrets.  But where you have failed, Jesus can bring success. Where you’ve stumbled, faith in Christ will place your feet on solid ground.

Leeds United? That might be too much to hope for. But you? That’s a success story in the making!

Day 7: Our Final Day in Mongolia

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It’s early Saturday morning before our teams have even gotten up. What amazing week this has been. Everybody is exhausted but it’s the good type of exhausted—the type of exhaustion where you fall asleep and awaken with a smile on your face. The numbers are in. We have seen over 1,000 patients and our total combined nightly attendance is over 1,200. Praise God!

Last night I preached on the second coming and the excitement about the return of our Lord and Savior was palpable. What you may not realize is that I wasn’t just sharing an account that they already knew in one form or another—for many it was actually the first time hearing about the second coming of Jesus. Let that sink in.

Yes, we’re in a place where most people know next to nothing about the Bible and everything we’re teaching them is new and exciting and life-changing. It gives me chills thinking about it.

Today is going to be a big day. I’ll be preaching at the Amgalan (Peace) Church. During the program our guests will each receive a Bible. For most us this doesn’t mean much because we already own many Bibles, however, for them it will be their very first. Then this afternoon I’ve been asked to baptize nine people (can’t wait). Then tonight our group is going to have a celebration meal with all of the local volunteers from both churches. I’ll complete this update tonight.

Well, it’s now “tonight” here in Mongolia. We’ve just had an absolutely incredible day. The Amgalan Church was nicely full with at least 15 people attending a worship service for the very first time in their lives. Right before the sermon everyone without a Bible received one. The smiles were priceless as people held that precious book for the first time in their hands. Then during the sermon I gave them the opportunity to “test drive” their new Bibles. The sight of church members helping the new people find Bible texts was precious.

The best was yet to come: the baptisms. This was the very first baptismal service held at that little church. What an honor to have been given the opportunity to be part of this moment. I will never forget the people’s smiles as they came up out of the water. The baptistery we used was crudely made just for this event. I wasn’t sure it would hold up but it did. And the water for the baptism was brought in by hand one bucket at a time from the local community water station (the church has no running water). I will never take water or a church baptistery for granted again.

In a few hours our group begins their long journey back to the United States. We take back with us a lot of souvenirs but more importantly the most wonderful memories of people who have touched our lives. We came to give but really we are the ones who received the most. Mongolia has changed us forever.

Thank you all for your faithful prayers. By the way, if you desire to be part of any of our upcoming mission trips to Mongolia (August, 2016 and June, 2017), please contact me at yves@iiw.org.

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They each received a Bible in Mongolian.

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Looking up verses for the first time in their new Bibles.

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Looking through their first Bible

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During one of our nightly “Jesus Talks”

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Each day we handed out Beanie Babies to the children

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We will all remember their smiling faces

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It Is Written Associate Speaker Pastor Eric Flickinger spoke to the group

Filling up the baptistry

Filling up the baptistry

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One of the nine people baptized

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Oh the joy!

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So thankful to be a part of this event

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Day 5 In Mongolia!

Today is our fifth day in Ulaabaatar, Mongolia.

We are now on the homestretch of our one-week mission trip for Mission:Mongolia at the Yarmag (Quickly) and Amgalan (Peace) community centers which also serve as churches. I’m glad to report that everything is going very well. Our two medical teams are still flooded with patients and our meetings in the evening are still standing-room only.

The combination of clinics during the day and evangelistic meetings in the evening is working so well. At the Yarmag Church over 150 people are attending in a church that holds 100 comfortably. And, at the Amgalan Church we are 40 people over capacity. And guess what?! No one is complaining about being squeezed in like sardines. People are too happy to hear wonderful uplifting messages to be worried about how tight things are.

I’m very thankful to all the presenters who are doing such an awesome job with the nightly health presentations and Jesus Talks. The health presenters have taken time to contextualize the presentations so that the messages are very relevant to the people. Our two pastors, Silvano Barbosa and Eric Flickinger, It Is Written’s associate speaker, are preaching powerful messages designed to introduce people to Jesus. From my little corner in the back I can tell that people are connecting to what they’re hearing.

A question people often ask about mission trips is whether they really make a difference. I asked that question to the pastor of the Amazing Grace church where we conducted a similar program last October. He said this: “Before the It Is Written team came we had a weekly attendance of about 20. Now we average 30 and regularly peak over 50.” Amazing! God is working in a mighty way in Mongolia.

Keep praying for us and keep praying for our fellow Christians in Mongolia. By the way, we have another It Is Written mission trip scheduled for August 10 to 21, 2016. If you’re interested in being part of this exciting experience, please contact me at yves@iiw.org.

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Dr. Vila Consults with a patient.

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Patient siting in pharmacy.

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Each patient is prayed with during their visit to the clinic.

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Dr. Durkus Praying with patients.

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The waiting room in the clinic.

Greetings from Mongolia!

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Today is the third day of our two It Is Written medical clinics in the city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia!

So far, the 20 It Is Written volunteers have seen over 500 patients. The hours are long and draining but no one is complaining. The honor to serve another human being is so rewarding. Our eight doctors have come across all sorts of cases ranging from simple colds to serious heart ailments.

Of all the consultations, the one family that stands out is the one that barely survived a devastating fire in their Ger (traditional Mongolian abode). The mother suffered serious smoke inhalation and the father and two daughters were severely burnt over most of their bodies. Heartbreaking. Our team gave them special cream for burns that is not available in Mongolia. You should have seen the mother’s smiles of thanks.

When the clinic closes in the evening, the It Is Written volunteers do not rush back to the hotel but instead spend another couple of hours leading out in evening meetings. These evening meetings include a children’s story, a health presentation, and a “Jesus Talk” where we introduce people to Christ. The attendance at both churches, where the clinics are being held, has been overwhelming—standing room only! Truly amazing. So many of the people present are the very same ones who came during the day to visit the doctors. This is the health message in action.

One of my favorite things about our It Is Written mission trip is giving Beanie Babies to the children—they absolutely love them. It’s something so simple yet so meaningful. I’m so grateful to the many It Is Written friends who have donated thousands of Beanie Babies for us to share with children around the world.

The final day of our journey will be this coming Saturday when we hope to have a great climactic end to a wonderful experience. Please keep us in your prayers.

– It Is Written Director of Evangelism Yves Monnier

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Children receiving their Beanie Babies after they visit the doctors.

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Because many do not have access to basic health care, Mongolians suffer from medical issues many of us have never heard of.

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Dr. Durkus gives a lady glasses for the first time.

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Dr. Guild consults with a patient.

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The children love to receive their special Beanie Babies.

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Dr. Puen consulting an x-ray.

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Dr. Dally sees boy complaining of ear aches.

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After her medical consultation, this lady prayed for her first time.

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At the nightly “Jesus Talks” this lady sang songs from a hymnal for the first time in her life.

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Dr. Puen giving an evening health talk.

Happy Anniversary Escrito Está!

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Twenty-two years ago today It Is Written had the vision to expand the ministry to a new language: Spanish. Today, it is impossible to count the number of people from all over the world who have been blessed by the ministry of Escrito Está. Currently Pastor Robert Costa serves as Escrito Está speaker/director and Carolina Bonilla is his administrative assistant. Together with the It Is Written team, Escrito Está has grown into a strong part of the ministry, reaching thousands each year with the good news of Jesus.

In honor of this special 22nd anniversary, here are a few stories from the ministry of Escrito Está:

In 2007 Pastor Robert Costa was holding a series of meetings in Perú. The program was airing live on Nuevo Tiempo and his preaching time was almost up, but Pastor Costa felt impressed to continue making the altar call, so he went on, and on, and on… A few weeks later, he received an e-mail from a woman saying: “Pastor Costa, thank you for insisting on your altar call. After much struggle, my mother finally stood up in the last call. And it really was her last call. A few days later her body was found buried among the rubble caused by the earthquake that shook Perú. That had been her last chance and now I have faith that I will see her again when Christ returns.”

Or the case of the alcoholic man from Canada. His wife had prayed and prayed for healing for her husband who continuously lost his jobs due to his drunken state. One day the man, completely drunk, turned on the TV and Escrito Está appeared. By the end of the program, he decided to call the number on the screen. A group of young people answered and offered to go pick him up right then and there and bring him to church. Drunk and all, he attended Pastor Costa’s meetings and even fell asleep during the service. But the prayer and love by those young men who answered the phone call helped him to accept Christ and today he is a faithful Christian, no longer tied to his addiction.

One women is serving a lifetime sentence for decapitating her mother and attempting to kill her husband. She recently wrote in to Escrito Está looking for Bible studies. She has been in contact with the team and they are eager to see how the Lord will continue to lead in her life.

Pastor Costa and Escrito Está have a global reach and touch many hearts. They receive feedback constantly from people who want to express their gratitude or ask questions.

From Argentina:

“Pastor Robert Costa your messages are a great blessing to my life… Thank you for the Bible studies you’ve made available to all through your website. My blessings to you and to those accompanying you closely.”

From Uruguay:

“I have been shocked after listening to Pastor Robert Costa’s preaching. I’ve known the gospel for several years and for the first time I saw someone speak with such clarity about the Scriptures that I have no doubt that this message is from God. I would like to receive Bible study material. Thank you and God bless you.”

From Uruguay:

“I am one of perhaps thousands who have been baptized during an evangelistic meeting you’ve held… Your message gave me the necessary little push I needed. I write only to give you a warm greeting. I’m sure that our dear Lord Jesus will fill you with blessings and will enable you to continue with this beautiful ministry for which we are very proud, all your brothers and sisters and compatriots. Thank you for your messages.”

Countless are the number of people who have been reached through the efforts of It Is Written and Escrito Está and we’re very grateful to God for one more year of life, hoping soon to see the Lord come.

Greetings from Zimbabwe!

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Greetings from Zimbabwe!

Beginning earlier in March, the It Is Written team has been conducting 10 simultaneous series of meetings around the city of Gweru, which is right about in the middle of Zimbabwe. I am preaching at one site, my son Jacob at another. The remainder are covered by Chris Holland of It Is Written Canada; Gary Kent of It Is Written Oceania; It Is Written Evangelism Director Yves Monnier; It Is Written Trust Services Representative Curt Dolinsky; SALT Director Alan Parker; and Pastor of the Chattanooga First Church Dave Tunnell. In addition to our team there are three local pastors covering sites. The people have been very gracious, and after a very wet start to the meetings, the weather is now perfect; 84 degrees during the day, clear blue skies and a gentle breeze at most.

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A young boy after he received his Beanie Baby.

Dr. Gordon Guild of the It Is Written team has been doing practical health presentations each night and the reaction has been very positive. He has also been doing children’s stories for 150 to 200 eager children, and his stories have been a highlight. For those of you who donated Beanie Babies, you will be happy to know that Dr. Guild has been diligently handing them out to children when they answer Bible questions during his stories.

The sermon presentations have been appreciated, and every evening we have people making decisions to accept Jesus and to be baptized.  Altar calls are now being consistently made and the response to the invitations has been encouraging for both church members and leaders.

The Spirit of God is at work here. A local city councilor has made a decision to be baptized, and many other people are coming out each night. Similar things are happening at all the sites.  At each location around the city we are seeing God do great things, and I’m extremely grateful He has made this event possible through the prayers and support of those who uphold It Is Written.  There will be several hundred decisions for baptism by the time the meetings have concluded, and each person is being carefully followed up and nurtured.  That part of the process is taken very seriously here.  At my site, each one who makes a decision for Christ is enrolled in a small group.

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Myself and the owner of Antelope Park.

Each day a team goes into the community inviting people to attend the meetings.  The work done here is very thorough, and this is why we see the results we see.  The pastors have multiple churches and so the work of the church is done by church members.  One pastor told us that when he was in a rural district he had 79 congregations.  During a time of economic hardship, the pastors were not paid for two years, but God sustained them all.  There is real faith here, and incredible dedication to God, ministry, soul-winning, and the church.

We were able yesterday to film a television program at a local, private game reserve called Antelope Park. Antelope Park is a conservation park and they have a breeding program through which lions will be returned to the wild. Lion numbers have dropped precipitously in Africa in the last 40 years. The owner, a man we interviewed, has one arm. He had two arms until, yes, a lion got hold of him.  A sobering warning.  You can’t ever let your guard down with these big things, which is one reason Satan is referred to as a lion.

Filming with lions and lion cubs was a special experience, and very much in the tradition of It Is Written, which has featured tigers and lions in broadcasts in years gone by. Walking with two-year-old lions, petting them and even holding them by the tail was almost surreal, and it will make for compelling television to share Jesus. .

We plan to film another television program while we are here, at Great Zimbabwe, the old ruins of a kingdom from the 12th to the 15th century.  That’s where Zimbabwe derives its name. We will go there during the day to film, then come back in the evening to do the meetings.

Pray for us and the work we are doing here. May God be glorified! God bless you wherever you are.

Thank you for your continued support of this ministry.

John Bradshaw

P.S. Enjoy these photos from our visit to Antelope Park:

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The Big Picture

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I was driving to an airport and needed to return a rental car before I caught my flight.  Time was tight and I wasn’t sure where the rental car place was located, and although I had an address, I had no GPS. It was going to be tricky. I needed help to get where I wanted to go. If I didn’t get it, I’d miss my flight.

I called my wife. “Hey, could you pull up this address on the computer and guide me right to it?” I gave her the address, told her my approximate location and she began guiding me to the rental car company.

“Keep going in the direction you’re going, and in about a mile you’ll want to go south,” she told me.

But that wasn’t right. It couldn’t be. One thing I knew for sure was that the rental car place was to the north. If I went south, I’d get hopelessly lost and waste time I didn’t have. 

“No,” I said, “that’s the wrong direction. The airport is north.” 

Melissa was firm. “It’s the right direction,” she said. “Take the road south.” 

A freeway sign told me the road she was talking about was only half a mile away. I had less than thirty seconds to figure this out. I really didn’t want to botch this and miss a flight.

“But south is the wrong direction,” I said, very politely and without any tension showing in my voice. “I’ll be heading away from the airport!” 

She spoke reassuringly and with confidence. “No, you’ll be okay. Trust me. I can see the big picture.” 

Melissa was looking at the map on a computer. While I could only see what was directly in front of me, she could see it all. 

“Okay,” I said. “It doesn’t feel right, but I’ll do it. I hope you’re right.”

“Big picture,” she said. “Remember?”

So I went south—away from the airport, and away from the rental car location. “This had better work!” I thought to myself. And after driving south for about half a mile, my guide said to me, “Now, see that road going off to your right?” Yes, I saw it. “Take that, and tell me what happens.”

I took the road to the right, and it turned me around and took me north—towards the airport! Then there was a left, a right, a left… and I was exactly where I needed to be.

While I couldn’t see much at all, my wife could see the big picture. And I’ve found that’s how it so often is in life. We can see so little, while God sees everything. We might not know just where to go, or it might seem we’re going in a confusing direction, but God sees the big picture, and He knows that if we follow His leading, we’ll end up exactly where we need to be.

In Psalm 32:8, God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Even if you can’t see what’s around the next corner, you can know that God can see, and you can trust Him. 

Whatever you’re facing today, trust the guidance of God. You might not always understand it, but He can see the big picture.

Happy Anniversary It Is Written!

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On March 25, 1956 the first known It Is Written broadcast was aired. Since then, It Is Written has used the most updated technology to share the love of Christ. Today, its programming can be viewed by 97 percent of the world’s population.

Although this ministry was the first religious television program to air in color, It Is Written’s history was not always a success story. When a prominent church leader first asked George Vandeman to try television as a means of reaching people with the gospel, the project failed. It was the late 1940s, and people were unsure how to use television for Christian programming. Not everyone was convinced that the new technology had a future.

George Vandeman circa 1956 at the early It Is Written studio located in New York City.

George Vandeman circa 1956 at the early It Is Written studio located in New York City.

In 1956, George Vandeman tried again and in March the first broadcast of It Is Written finally aired on television. The world of televised evangelism hasn’t been the same since. For the past six decades It Is Written has continued to share the light of God’s love around the world.

Today, It Is Written’s evangelistic series and weekly programming can be viewed by 97 percent of the world’s population on multiple television networks and online. It Is Written programming is broadcast on several networks including TBN, The Discovery Channel, ADTV, FirstLight, Hope Channel, LifeStyleTV, SafeTV, and 3ABN.

“As we turn the corner into our 60th year, our plans are bigger than ever,” said John Bradshaw, who has served as speaker and director of It Is Written since 2011. “Just weeks ago I met a stranger on a gravel path on the opposite side of the world who recognized me and said, ‘It Is Written has changed my life,’” Bradshaw said.

Sixty years after its first broadcast, It Is Written has sought to remain at the frontlines of media evangelism. Last year, it started a Bible school, released a mobile app, began a humanitarian project in Mongolia, and made the new Revelation Today evangelistic series available live to anyone with an Internet connection or smartphone. At the same time, it produced new television programming in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language, and relocated its headquarters to the U.S. state of Tennessee from California.

“I wish that my father were alive today to see what It Is Written has become in 2016,” said Connie Vandeman Jeffery, daughter of the founder, George Vandeman. “I wish he could meet John Bradshaw, and they could share stories of people who gave their hearts to Jesus because they tuned into a TV station or went to an evangelistic meeting, or found the program online.”

“How many more years do we have left to fulfill the gospel commission? It’s impossible to imagine we have another 60 years,” Bradshaw said. “I am hopeful we won’t celebrate too many more anniversaries. Jesus is soon to return, and the sooner the better.”

It Is Written plans to celebrate their diamond anniversary with a special televised program this fall featuring stories, music, and special features about the ministry’s impact around the world. Check with your church and local listings for broadcast times in your area.

Over the past six decades technology has changed dramatically. However It Is Written has remained steadfastly dedicated to using the most updated media to reach the world with the gospel.

Over the past six decades technology has changed dramatically. However It Is Written has remained steadfastly dedicated to using the most updated media to reach the world with the gospel.

Immeasurable Value

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The year is 1929 and America’s economy is on a rapid decline, while unemployment steadily grows with no end in sight. Many Americans find themselves living in extreme poverty while the American government itself struggles to remain intact. This state of economical uncertainty would continue for ten long years known as The Great Depression; the longest economical disaster to ever strike and paralyze western civilization.

Yet despite the world’s financial crisis there was a young man, automobile maker Ettore Bugatti, who wanted to create luxurious automobiles for the royal and wealthy men and women all around the planet. He would go on to build the Bugatti Royale Type 41 Kellner Coupe; what the London Telegraph has dubbed, “The grandest of all luxury cars.” During a time of great financial hardship, however, very few could afford such a high-priced vehicle so only six were ever produced.

Today, because this vehicle is so very rare, it is one of the most expensive cars in the world. In 2016 an original Bugatti Royale Type 41 Kellner Coupe is valued at a staggering $20.2 million dollars! Imagine paying the car note on that purchase! According to the U.S. Government’s CPI Inflation Calculator, in 1930 that would be the equivalent to $286 million dollars! Why could a car made of metal, rubber, and glass be worth so much? Because it is the only one of its kind in existence. Let that sink in.

Dear reader, do you understand that because of your decisions, failures, and successes that make up your character and personality that you are the only you that will ever exist? Before God and all of the world, you are the only one of your kind in existence. That means that it is impossible to calculate your worth. Your value to God is absolutely immeasurable. In fact, God values you so much, that He willingly gave all of heaven just for you. Yet there is more;

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV)

You are so loved and valued of God, my friend. A loving God that is not only willing to give everything up for you, but a loving God who is also able to give you all things. Not because of anything special that you have done; but simply because He loves you, and values you above all things.

With such a value and love placed on you and I by God, we must respond. In what ways in your life are you not allowing God into to your heart so that He can show you the love and value that He has for you? What walls have been raised where God wants access? If you wish to surrender that area of your life and heart to God now, simply pray with me, “Father God, take me as wholly yours. Forgive me for my sins, and keep me as your own. I surrender my will, and ask that you make it your own. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


Greg Wilson is the SALT Program Coordinator. Greg has been involved in literature evangelism, public evangelism and young adult ministries. SALT is It Is Written’s School of Evangelism. Learn more at itiswritten.com/salt