NEW BOOK RELEASE: It’s Not Ok. And That’s Ok.

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NEW BOOK RELEASE

My wife Lynn and I just completed and published It’s Not Ok. And That’s Ok.

Co-Authors Ben & Lynn Hartings

“It’s Not Ok. And That’s Ok.” can be purchased here. 

Surviving through crisis early in life, it opened the eyes of Ben & Lynn Hartings to a world in need – in need of uncommon peace in the midst of crisis. Cancer and death had ravaged their lives, but joy and peace surrounded their journey.

This book is full of lessons and stories through when Life is NOT OK! Disease, Diagnosis and Death overcome our lives – These stories will lead you to the knowledge and peace that – “It will be OK” – regardless of the outcome, because of faith in Jesus Christ.

Read “It’s Not OK. And That’s OK.” to find inspiration through Grief, Anger, Crisis, and Death – be inspired to find uncommon Peace and true Joy eternal.

So Thankful for the opportunity to share.

Peace –

Ben & Lynn Hartings

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 6-7 NIV

Available for immediate purchase here. 

Christianity vs. Other Religions

 

Have you ever asked the question, “What is the difference between Christianity and other religions in the world?”  If you have, take three minutes and watch this video.  It sums it all up in an incredible way.

Jesus is exclusive in his sacrifice and as God’s son heals, once and for all for everyone.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

Pentecost: All Heaven Breaks Loose

“All Hell broke loose!!!”

In the Garden of Eden, the gates of hell were blown open the sin of Adam and Eve.  “All hell broke loose!!”  From that day forward, the devil ran rampant across the earth.  At various moments, God through his covenant people, the Israelites tried to establish a renewed covenant with his people.

At Mount Sinai, God came down covering the mountain in midst into which he called Moses.  He called only Moses, however there were 70 other elders with him who waited upon his return.

Now the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. But to the elders he said, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a legal matter, let him approach them.” Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top. Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24: 12-18

During Moses time on the Mountain, the Lord made a pact, a covenant with His people.  Written on stone tablets, the ten commandments were given to Moses and this new covenant would be the restoration of the covenant broken in Eden.

Moses was gone for 40 days and 40 nights.  Entrapped in the presence of the living God!


During this time, the elders became concerned as the fire of God consumed the mountain – Read again Exodus 24, “The appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountain top!”

Oh no!  Moses is dead...The 70 elders were concerned and for forty days they waited…becoming more concerned and impatient.  

Now when the people saw that Moses was delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.

At this, Aaron agreed, telling the people they should make a golden calf, in honor of the Egyptian God of Creation, Ptah, whom was represented by a bull or calf.

God was burning with anger at their denial of his covenant and rushed Moses back to His people from the mountain in a fury of anger.  Moses finding the people worshiping a calf, destroyed the tablets of the the ten commandments and in order to pay for denial of the covenants, 3,000 men were killed that day (Exodus 32:28).

Don’t forget this…

All Hell had broken loose, again! And another 3,000 people were dead!


At Pentecost, the Jewish people pause to celebrate the feast of weeks, or the celebration of the first harvest, of wheat in June.  Growing up as a farmer, I know this time of year, the first wheat is being harvested and a feast is celebrated.  The Jews commemorate this feast in honor to the Lord.

At Pentecost, in the year of Jesus’ death, something different occurs.  The Harvest was ready, the crop was ripe.  The people gathered and the Lord appears.

On Sinai, the fire of the Lord appeared and consumed Moses. This same fire descended upon the Apostles of Christ at Pentecost.  The disciples of the Lord were anointed of the Lord, and His Spirit for the first time descended upon the earth!

All Heaven broke loose!!! Consuming the Hell of Satan!!!

The Spirit of the Lord flooded out, and in the first ever sermon of the church, Peter covered the people of Pentecost in the word of the Lord! AND 3,000 PEOPLE WERE SAVED THAT DAY!!! (Acts 2:41)

The Spirit breaking loose at Pentecost resulted in the permanent restoration and institution of the church.  And in reference to the salvation history, the 3,000 killed at Mount Sinai were immediately restored and 3,000 men were saved!


Tomorrow in church we celebrate this restoration.  Don’t miss what is happening tomorrow. It is rooted deeply in scripture…

The covenant people’s continued failure to make amends with the Lord.  And we continue this today, we cannot keep our covenant with Him. I can’t keep a covenant with anyone. I fail every day.

But I know, at Pentecost the Lord restores our value once and for all.  He restores in word (tongues), in actions (fire), in community (not one but many receive), in history (restoration of the 3,000 men) and for all eternity (anointing, covering of the Spirit)! The Lord anointed Pentecost, the celebration of the first Harvest. Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, he had prepared a harvest – and now was the time to prepare his people for reaping.

We are in this season now, until His return. Our Pentecost, the celebration of Harvest is every day, all day in the covering of the Spirit of God.  The Spirit continues to pour – All Heaven will break loose tomorrow!  All heaven is loose upon the earth!! Come Spirit, Come!!

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:27

Into the Wild

The Devolution of Man…

 

Men are meant to be men.  We are meant to honor, love and protect women.  Not so we oppress them, but so women can be free.  This requires something from men, an honor and strength unique to man.

This is controversial I know…But I’m on a trip with my brothers this weekend.  We go every year with my nephews as well.  There will be 15 men from 60 years old down to the youngest being 4 our weekend adventure.

As look around, I want for my son more than what these quotes outline about our culture:

This morning, the Washington Post highlighted a study showing that the grip strength of a sample of college men had declined significantly between 1985 and 2016. Indeed, the grip strength of the sample of college men had declined so much — from 117 pounds of force to 98 — that it now matched that of older Millennial women. In other words, the average college male had no more hand strength than a 30-year-old mom.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/439040/male-physical-decline-masculinity-threatened

Boys and girls are different, after all. But spend time with teen boys today and you’ll find that their common experience revolves more around Call of Duty than around work or even sports. As kids get older (and even during their teenage years), the male gaming experience is supplemented with copious amounts of porn.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/439040/male-physical-decline-masculinity-threatened

Now, for parents of the privileged, raising a boy to be a young man has to be an intentional act. You have to ignore the voices who are telling you to indulge your child’s inclinations — no matter what they are — and train them to be not just morally courageous but also physically strong.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/439040/male-physical-decline-masculinity-threatened

Pray for me and my brothers, as a fathers. May I introduce my son to being strong, not to conquer anything but his own mind, body and soul to harness that strength for the betterment of his future wife, his family, his community and first & foremost his own morality.

Trust, I will be praying for you.

 

Moses, David & Paul…

There was an episode of “Cheers” where Cliff Clavin was on Jeopardy and his answer to final jeopardy was “who are three men who’ve never been in my kitchen?” Needless to say, he was not correct!

Moses, David and Paul have never been in my kitchen…that is certainly true.  However, they also share some other more memorable things in common.  Each of them were great leaders of their time.  Moses led the Jews out of Egypt.  David defeated Goliath and was the greatest king of all kings of the Jewish people.  Paul, a great Jewish scholar, led the effort to spread the gospel of the fulfillment of the old testament prophecies in Jesus Christ.

Each of them also shared an active dialogue with the Lord, sharing regular visions or conversations with God.  Three great men they were.

Moses, David and Paul also shared a skeleton in their closet.  Murder

Moses murdered the Egyptian man. David sent Uriah to the front line and his death to cover up his affair with Bathsheba. Paul oversaw the death of Stephen and killed many other early followers of Christ.

These men were great men of God.  But they also had a very checkered past.  They were murderers.  The images in their mind of having murdered men haunted them as my past has haunted me.  Yet God believed in them and made them unique in the image of God.

Whenever you feel your past dragging you down, remember that Jesus came to cover our past.  Picture yourself in an Art Museum full a photos and paintings on the walls.  Those images are of your past.  Moments in life, some of which are proud, honorable times.  Others are times which you do not wish to remember – like Moses, David and Paul & their murder.  You are in that museum of your past with Jesus.

Jesus looks at you and shares that his blood covers your past.  He picks up a silver, shiny aluminum bucket and stares you in the eyes asking…”May I?”

And with that he throws the contents of the bucket against the wall and blood splatters all over the wall, covering those photos in thick crimson red.  His blood covers the wall of your past.

Your past is your past.  Do not let it stop you from pursuing your future.  Permit Jesus into your museum.  He covers your past.

In Luke 9:62, it states:
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” ESV
Do not look back. With eyes on the horizon, seek a new future.  With Jesus as your guide.

I Have…I Am…I Will…

Three statements can define our past, present and future.

“I Have…” – This is your past.
“I Am…” – This is your present.
“I Will…” – This is your future.

We have freedom over each aspect of our lives.  We can free ourselves of any past burden through forgiveness (Romans 6:22).  We can free ourselves of any present suffering by joining it the cross of Christ (Romans 8: 1-4).  We can free ourselves of anxiety about the future by trusting in God’s plan for our lives (Matthew 6: 25-34).

Write these down tonight and reflect on your life in these three simple statements.

Seek forgiveness, join to the cross of Christ and your future will be in the hands of Christ.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

In freeing ourselves in this way, it brings clarity to our journey. I love having a clear mind and awestruck heart.  The path forward it full of Joy in Christ.  Release your I Have, I Am and I Will to him and let the Joy permeate your life.

 

The Younger Years

Rebel against low expectations for our youth.

Of course, adults are supposed to set an example for young people. But how many of our young people think this way: I am called to set an example for the adults.

That calls for a dramatic shift in mindset for most adults and youth today: Here’s the truth – Don’t adapt to the low cultural expectations for youth. 

I hope the parents of young children will pay especially close attention and listen for what God is calling your children to be and to do in these younger years.

One of God’s premises is that living for the glory of Christ is not on hold until you are eighteen or twenty-one. There is a way for six-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for ten-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for sixteen-year-olds to make much of Christ.

God is permitting and doing some unusual things in our day among young people. The temptations of youth are deeper and more dangerous than they have ever been. Children, don’t succumb to the temptations.  Adults, the point is, the usual expectations for youth are too low.

Read 1 Timothy 4:12.

This is one of Paul’s words to the younger Timothy who needed to be reminded that his expectation for what he could be were too low. Paul says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”


At baptism, a child is born again and comes to faith in Jesus as the Savior and Lord and Treasure of their lives.

I was baptized very young. I don’t have any specific memory of those days – or much else in my childhood for that matter.  Your child may have the same.

For me, my confidence that I am born again does not rest in being able to remember the point when it happened, but in his finished work on the cross and in the relationship I have with the Lord now. If someone asks me if I’m alive, I don’t reach for my birth certificate to show it’s true!  I breath in, and out – my breath proves I’m alive!

I don’t remember the day of my baptism but I look at my life and see the signs of Christ in my life – I know Him. And see the evidence of my life in Him. I don’t need a date to know I’m Alive, born again in Him! Point our children there too…

This brings me to the practical conclusion for young people and their parents: Don’t let the culture set low expectations for what you may accomplish for Christ. Listen to the way God and Jeremiah argue about Jeremiah’s call when he was young.

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” (Jeremiah 1:6-7)

Be careful young people that you don’t postpone the blessing of fruitfulness in your life because you use the excuse, “I am only a youth.”

God said to Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go.” There are some younger than you that you can lead, and there are some older than you that you can serve. But do not say, “I am only a youth,” as though the only thing you are good for is watching videos and playing games, as though there is no ministry for you to do.

Go on mission.  Do the Hard Things.


Parents, successful parenting is more than compliant kids. It is gospel-saturated living and teaching. Show your children how Christ, crucified for our sins, and Christ, raised for our justification, and Christ, showing the Father’s love, and Christ, guaranteeing the Spirit’s daily help — show them how this gospel is not just something that begins the Christian life but empowers it and shapes and sustains it. Pray and love and teach your children until Christ breaks in on their hearts and becomes their Treasure.

May God give us a vision for the next generation that glorifies the gospel of Christ, and leads thousands of young people to the cross where they find forgiveness of sins, and broken-hearted humility, and Christ-exalting courage to rebel against low expectations and “do hard things.”

Adapted from Desiring God, John Piper (www.desiringgod.org)

Ben & Lynn Hartings Interview

When my Dad passed away last year, my brother found a note on which he had written a few bible verses.  It was tucked away in pages of a prayer book.  One of those verses, struck me deeply.

“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

That verse was the theme of our walk with Christ over two years from 2013 to 2015.

We were honored to share this journey in an interview on “Family Sanctuary,” a Catholic Radio Show in Columbus, Ohio.  The topic was our faith journey since 2013, living through the death of our son James and my own near death experience with cancer.  I am embedding the audio file below.  And also providing a link to the Family Sanctuary site below.

http://stgabrielradio.com/programs/audio-archive-2/family-sanctuary/

I pray this may bring you Joy in your own walk, whatever path it may be.

– Evangelii Gaudium –