Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Church Embezzler

Get It in Writing
We all would admit that these are strange times. It calls for keen discernment. Churches now have to protect themselves from lawsuits initiated by supposed brothers. Brother Whitman related to me of a treasurer who embezzled money from his church out of an overflow account. Every month that had a fifth Sunday, money was put in a special account.

In the beginning of his new ministry at this church he wanted to orient himself on the finances. Upon inquiring he found out that the treasurer had all canceled checks sent to his home address. Brother Whitman called the bank and requested that they send the canceled checks to the church.

When he went through them he found a  $300 check written to the treasurer and signed.

At this very time the deacon board had a business meeting. Pastor Whitman waited till the treasurer's report was accepted and showed the check cashed by the treasurer. The chairman looked at the check and handed it back to the treasurer. The incident was dropped and Brother Whitman thought he had lost his evidence.

The very next day the chairman of the board called and explained that he was asked by the treasurer to co-sign for a $1,000 loan to pay back money "borrowed" from the church by the treasurer. The chairman was told that if he did he was as big a crook as the treasurer.

Pastor Whitman immediately called the bank and asked of they had any canceled checks from the church. They didn't but did have all checks written from the church on microfilm. After going through them he found that the treasurer had embezzled $7,500 from the church.

A lawyer friend was immediately consulted. It was advised that if the church did not legally prosecute the man they must get a signed written confession and an agreement to pay back the church.

The lawyer then shared this story. A deacon in a church caught a man in the act of embezzling $5,000. The man admitted it and asked for forgiveness at a deacon's meeting. They forgave him and dropped it. The man left the church and two years later when someone inquired why he left, the inquirer was told that "it was because of the $5,000 he stole."

This got back to the embezzler and he hired a lawyer. They sued the church for $10,000 and won. The church had nothing in writing.

Armed with the lawyer's information Brother Whitman went to his board and shared everything. They then confronted the embezzler and in the presence of the lawyer he signed a confession and an agreement to pay the money back.

At approximately the same time it was found out that the embezzler had a summer cottage. When confronted, the ex-treasurer denied it until the pastor pointed out the color and many details. He was then instructed by gutsy Pastor Whitman to sell it and pay the church $7,500.

The embezzler reluctantly carried out the request and paid the church from the sale of his cottage.

The men of this church did not go to court over the embezzlement, but getting his confession signed and an agreement to pay back the church was important to protect the church and have the Lord's money returned. 
"Pastor, the Lord told us that you are to move on."

One Saturday morning in one of Pastor Whitman's churches he was praying in his study. When he concluded, he gathered his family together and went to the scheduled Sunday School picnic.

Getting out of the car he was approached by a man who had gathered a group of brothers around him; and as his pattern had been with other previous pastors, he said, "Pastor, we've been talking (no doubt at his instigation) and the Lord told us that your pastorate is over."

Without blinking an eye, Pastor Whitman said, "That is very interesting! Why I was just talking to the Lord no more than 20 minutes ago and He never mentioned it."

Needless to say Pastor Whitman Stayed!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bell Found in Coal

This bell was found  
inside a lump of coal

Mr. Newton Anderson found this bell inside of a lump of coal in 1944. The coal was from a mine near his home in West Virginia. The lump was dropped and it broke. Newton found the bell encased inside.

The significance of this is so great your life's eternal destiny may be weighing in the balance. Read on.

The image on the top bears a striking resemblance to a demon worshiped by the Babylonians. They both have wings, pronounced facial marks and an ibex horn on the head.

I know what you're thinking. "O.K., what is the purpose of this?"

Would you just stop and think with me for a moment? Here is a bell made of brass with an iron clapper found in a lump of coal that is supposedly "300 million years old." None of this fits present theories. A nuclear activation analysis test done at the University of Oklahoma revealed that the Anderson Bell contained a strange combination of brass that did not fit any known metal mixtures or workings.

Genesis 4:22 says Tubal-Cain was "an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron..." This civilization had an abrupt ending in a universal colossal flood described in Genesis chapter seven. (This is not an isolated artifact. Many such artifacts have been found.) *This artifact was encased in vegetation that was buried and eventually formed into coal. Thousands of years later it ended up in the coal bin of Newton Anderson's father.

The Bible is the Word of God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 "for verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Not the smallest portion of the Bible is false and all the Scripture will be fulfilled in its entirety.

Just as a day of judgment came to a civilization thousands of years ago and they perished in the flood, the Bible says to us today, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." (Heb. 9:27)

The Day of Judgment Can be a Joy
Some day everyone will stand before God in judgment. One of the exciting joys of the Bible is the crystal clear fact that on the day of your judgment you can stand before God without condemnation. You will not have to give account for your sins, because of what Christ did for you.

God loves you -- will you give him a few more minutes of your time and read on?

The way to heaven is not what you may think.

Centuries ago God wrote through the Apostle John: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the son of god hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (I Jn 5:11-13)

Do you have the Son?
This Scripture is talking about Jesus Christ the Son of God. It shows us that a person either has Christ and eternal life or does not have Christ and eternal life.

It's not some goody goody thing.  You see -- eternal life is in Christ. It's not something you can work for or produce in your life through your own efforts.

The Bible says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)

Going to heaven is -- are you ready? -- totally, completely, and entirely a gracious gift of God. This is why your religion may not be helping you. You may be obeying all the rules that your religion gives you, but that will not produce eternal life or bring joy into your life. Most of my frustrations as a boy growing up came as a result of my religion. The only way you can have eternal life and the joy that accompanies it is to have Christ.

How do you receive Christ?
1) The Bible says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) That means that you and I are sinners and we need to admit that to God. 
2) The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23a) God's Word says that we receive the wages, death, because of our sin. This is physical, spiritual and eternal separation from God.
3) "...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23b) Look at this! God is offering us the Gift of Eternal Life. God can do this because Christ suffered the wages and punishment, DEATH. We would all have to die and be eternally separated from God. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Christ paid the debt. God's holy and unchanging character demands that your sin be punished. Christ satisfied God's holy demand by taking the punishment for every one of your sins. Will you believe in your heart that he died for you?

Let's suppose you get a $500.00 traffic ticket, but don't have a dime to pay the fine. A friend finds out and goes to court with you. The judge after hearing testimony says, "That will be $500.00, please." Your friend steps up, pulls out his wallet, and says, "I'll pay your debt." At this point you have a choice. You can let him pay it by receiving his gift or you'll have to pay it, which means that you will go to jail. God is eternal. If you pay your own sin debt it means punishment forever for every sin. If you receive Christ's payment, you are forgiven and free.

How do you receive God's payment?
4) The Biblical demand is "...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21) This demand is more than just asking god for forgiveness. Many people have asked God to forgive them for sins numerous times yet they have never experienced a change in their lives.

The change comes through Christ
Before you can receive Christ and experience the change He can bring in your life, you need to be willing to repent. In the Bible repentance means that you are willing to change your attitude toward God and turn from sin. Why don't you right now confess to God that you have sinned against Him and that with His help you are willing to turn from your sin. Now you need to receive Christ as your Savior. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12)

Say the following prayer to Jesus:
"Lord Jesus, I ask that you forgive me for sinning. I don't want to sin anymore. Come into my heart and be my Savior and my Lord. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins."

If you have made this decision for Christ, write and tell me.
Norm Sharbaugh
P.O. Box 215
Brownsburg, IN 46112-0215

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Share This With An Open Catholic

(You may have to duck!)

This spring I sat in a restaurant and shared the following material with a Roman Catholic man. He looked at me as if I was sharing that his mother had just died. When I was finished he said, "It's impossible," referring to the Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary defined by his church. I had succeeded in putting a large crack in his Mariolotry indoctrination which brought him a step closer to trusting Christ as his Savior.

Here is what I shared.

Could you explain the following doctrine of the Catholic Church to me? The Roman Catholic Church teaches that "Every grace granted to men has three successive steps: By god it is communicated to Christ, from Christ it passes to the Virgin, and from the Virgin it descends to us." (Pope Leo XII, Jucunda Semper)

Speaking of the Virgin Mary, Pope Leo XIII also said, "None receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee."

Pope Pius XI in his encyclical, Ingravescentibus Malis, says, "Every blessing that comes from Almighty God comes to us through the hand of our Lady."

How can Mary distribute every blessing and grace of Almighty God to mankind?

The form of devotion given to Mary in the Catholic Church is called "Hyperdulia." This is the highest devotion that can be given a "created being." The Catholic Church acknowledges that Mary is a created and finite being. Yet they attribute a divine task to her. Let's think about what is involved in this task.

It is claimed there are 945,000, 000 Catholics in the world. Simple math will show that if Mary ministers grace just to the catholic population, giving each catholic one opportunity in a year to receive grace, each catholic will receive .03 (3/100) of a second of her time. (Thank God that in actuality we receive thousands and thousands of times more grace from the "Father of Lights" every year.) That means that Mary has to know their need, plead with Jesus on their behalf (the premise of the Roman Catholic Church is that Jesus could not refuse the pleas of His mother) and then distribute the grace God the Father gives to Jesus for them. She has to do this in .03 of a second for each person in the Catholic Church. Since it is also taught that she ministers grace to the entire world (all created human beings) we now have to add four more billion people to her care. This means that each person on planet earth will have .0063 (6/1000) of a second of her time to minister grace to them one time in a year.

Now here is another problem. The Catechism of the Catholic Church in doctrinal Statement #2677 says this. "By asking Mary to pray for us, [in the Hail Mary Prayer these words are used '...pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.'] We acknowledge ourselves be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the 'Mother of Mercy,' the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender 'the hour of our death' wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus in paradise."

Now consider this. There are 945,000,000 Catholics in the world. It is part of the training of every catholic to pray the "Hail Mary Prayer." They all ask Mary to be at their side in the hour of their death. According to population death statistics 24 Catholics die every minute. This means that, on the average, Mary has to be at the bedside of 24 Catholics in 24 different parts of the world 24 times every minute to pray for them. She must also at the same time continue to disperse grace to each person in the world. (And I thought my mother was busy.) Yet official catholic teaching is that she is a human being. (Some of the best Scriptures for this are I Timothy 2:5; John 4:13-14; I Peter 5:7; James 1:17.)

The gentleman that I had dinner with has heard the Gospel a number of times. It makes no sense to him because he is so bound by Catholicism. I presented this material to break up the fallow ground of his heart.

Perfect tactfulness may not keep your catholic friend from getting angry. If your catholic friend gets angry that is not necessarily a bad response. Pray much for him or her, asking God to bind Satan so your friend can be set free.

The Holy Spirit labored with me in the Word for ten months, setting me free from Roman Catholicism so that I could be saved. There were also at that time things shared with me that made me angry. But it was necessary to crack loose the enormous Roman Catholic indoctrination that had bound me and separated me from simple salvation in Christ. I have had many Catholics through the years get angry, who later received Christ and were gloriously saved. Believe me -- God the Holy Spirit is not going to stop working because they get angry. They will bounce back like a rubber ball with less Roman Catholicism on them, and in them. Many of them will follow through and get saved.