What is a ‘Fallen’ Catholic to Do? Leaving That Church Apparently Ruined Me

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This was an eye-opener for me. (Kristina Hernandez via Flickr)

In the past 34 years, I’ve never had anyone defend Roman Catholicism to me like this. 

Shawn A. Akers

This was a first for me. Since 1984, when I left the Catholic church, no one had ever previously labeled me as a “fallen” Catholic—and much less one that needed to be evangelized.

I must admit I wasn’t quite prepared for it. It took me completely by surprise.

In fact, I broke my own rule of becoming offended by a reader. I promised myself and God I would not take offense to the responses of mine or Charisma’s readers. I slipped. I would like to justify my response, but I can’t.

And for that, I beg God’s forgiveness.

Let me put the situation into context. A Charisma reader and I were engaged in a conversation that started out on a pleasant note. She had commented about Rich Wilkerson Jr. and his wife, DawnChere, who had just become parents after an eight-year odyssey of fertility struggles.

It wasn’t clear—and perhaps still isn’t—whether the Wilkerson had used In-Vitro Fertilization or some other method to help them conceive. Yet, the first sentence of the reader’s initial post read, “Many, many people are not aware In Vitro Fertilization and Surrogacy are not of God. A child, a brand-new person and a body and soul, comes about through the self-giving of a man and woman (vowed for life, married before God) in the marital act.”

She then regurgitated something that came from Article 6 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 2376 – “Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ right to became a father and a mother only through each other.”

Having come from the Vatican’s website, my guess is that this is man-made law from someone within the Catholic Church. Like the reader, I don’t subscribe to another person’s sperm or egg to be involved in the process. I agree wholeheartedly with that. IVF shouldn’t involve another person in my opinion (because it defeats the process of having your own child). But there are ways of IVF that only involves the parents. And I know many whom have gone through this.

But there are other ways to go about the fertilization process, including IUI (Interuterine Insemination), a method my wife Patty and I used to help conceive our two children, Rachel and Joshua. Please forgive the graphic nature, but that did involve masturbation on my part so that my sperm could be inserted into my wife. The reader says, “artificial insemination, using sperm from the husband, not only involves others in the procreation of what should be to the spouses alone, but also requires the husband masturbate, which is an immoral act.”

I once again agree that masturbation—if done for pure fantasy and self-gratification—is a sin. There can be no denying that. That discussion is for another day. But, if it’s part of a way that God had provided to help us have children, a way that we prayed He would show us and that was all for His glory, then I can hardly label it immoral. I don’t believe God would have put it upon our hearts to do IUI if it was immoral in any way. As you can read here, Patty and I struggled with infertility for years and had a miscarriage. When we decided to leave it God’s feet for him to take care of, he spoke to our hearts about IUI. It worked, but only because we put our complete trust in Him.

A point I am trying to make is that In-Vitro Fertilization, IUI and other methods are not immoral. I asked the reader to find a passage in scripture where it denounced such things, and she could not. That should tell you something.

She went on to say in another response, “There can never be discussion about the valid obvious reasons listed to why IVF is against God. … Who is correct on IVF? The Church giving the reasons for this hard teaching, I know who is. You should too now.”

I realized at that moment that I was speaking with a hardcore Roman Catholic. But, then it got worse. When she discovered that I grew up in the Catholic Church and left when I was 18, she really started to dig into me. I think I gave her the wrong impression about my mother, who used to be a Charismatic Catholic, but is now simply a Charismatic believer (the reader believes my mother still is Catholic). When I said I was done with the “Catholic thing” (perhaps not the right choice of words and ones in which I ask forgiveness for), this was the reader’s response:

“The ‘Catholic thing,’ sounds dismissing, rather insulting. Is that what you say to your dear mother?” It is so hard to evangelize fallen away Catholics. They are more stubborn than some of our Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ. … Yes, hard to accept Catholicism is it … Jesus is coming to show, you, me, everyone, the Remnant is Roman Catholic. … In Protestantism, each person becomes their own pope. They choose which of Christ’s teaching to accept (you have Protestant leaders professing contraception is no sin at all!) … Jesus did all on the Cross. You are in, you are saved. I can pray.

When I made the statement that: “I don’t see any basis for your argument against In-Vitro or any other artificial insemination located in the word of God,” she responded: “This (her reasoning) is not bias, but fact. This is the problem with Martin Luther’s ROTTEN (emphasis mine) Bible alone. Luther pronouncing the written word is now to be our authority on earth. No way! Roman Catholicism is the Church who gave the world the Bible, she is the pillar and ground of Truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Proves again, with modern IVF, Sola Scriptura is heresy because not everything God has revealed is found in the Bible.”

I Timothy 3:15 reads, “But if I am delayed, you might know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the foundation of truth.”

The reader’s inference in these statements, and please correct me if I’m wrong, are that the Catholic Church is the only true church. By using 1 Timothy 3:15, I interpret her words is that you must conduct yourself as a good Catholic at all times. Luther’s rotten Bible? Roman Catholicism is the Church who gave the world the Bible? I thought the Catholic Church was the one who only wanted their priests and high officials to have the Bible so they could interpret it for the “lay” person.

Needless to say, I stopped the online conversation with the reader. It let my emotions get the best of me to let it go on that far. But, as God has always said to me, “Don’t do that.” I will take care of it. There’s nothing you can say to convince that person you’re right. Let the Holy Spirit do His job.” So, once again, I ask for forgiveness for trying to do things my way.

And for my cousins and friends who attend the Catholic church, please forgive me. I didn’t mean to offend you, either. Please don’t take my words the wrong way.

And now, I ask you to join me in prayer for this reader:

“Lord, you know the heart of this reader. She does love you, and that is such a wonderful thing. But, I ask you now to give her a teachable Spirit. Let her know that some of the things she believes in may not line up with Your word, especially if she puts her faith in the Catholic Church and not Your word. Give her a pure heart and let her see your glory from every side.

And, bless the Wilkersons and their new child and I lift them up to you. You a rewarder of those that wait on you, and they did just that. Thank you for their faithfulness and diligence. And, thank you for your faithfulness.

And, I also pray for myself to continually help me to respond to people the way you want me to. As my friend and publisher Dr. Steve Greene taught recently, “Let my conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer everyone” (Col. 4:6).

And, remember to do something to rise up higher in your calling today.

What do you think of the reader’s comments? Please comment below, would love to hear from you.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

Pray Today For: Hosts of ‘The View’

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Hosts of ABC’s “The View” (Facebook)

Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Today and every day going forward we will pray for those in the news and for those who need the love of Jesus in their hearts. If there is anyone you feel compelled to pray for in this blog, please email me at akersofracing@aol.com.

As God’s children, we are instructed, nay commanded in His Word, to love and forgive those who persecute us.  Look no further than Luke 6:27-29 when Jesus says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do go to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you one one cheek, turn to them the other also.”

How difficult is it for us, in our human nature, to obey that that command? Isn’t our first inclination in most cases to seek revenge, restitution or, at the very least, fire back at those who have slandered you?

This week, Vice President Mike Pence took the high road, and should be lauded for his restraint. When hosts of the liberal ABC talk show, “The View,” chastised Pence for his Christian beliefs and mocked him for “hearing from Jesus,” Pence responded, I believe, in a Christ-like manner:

“I actually heard that ABC has a program that compared by Christianity to mental illness. And I’d like to laugh about it, but I can’t. It’s just wrong. And it’s an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith. … I just think it demonstrates how out of touch some in the mainstream media area with the faith and values of the American people. … But it’s simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that type of religious intolerance. We’re better than that. our country is better than that.”

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matt. 5:11).

Therefore, I pray:

“Dear Heavenly Father, we come to you and ask for your forgiveness for the hosts of “The View” program–Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin and Megan McCain, for their hardness of heart toward you. We know that we will be blessed when people insult us because of our allegiance to you. Your word says so. But we ask now that you take hold of the hearts of these women and reveal Yourself in a mighty way to them so that they can see Your glory. They obviously have a big audience and have a great deal of influence with their position, so while their hearts are still far from you, protect their viewers from the words of the hosts that do not glorify you. Let hearts be transformed and let that stand as a testimony to your greatness and the power of the Holy Spirit. With God, NOTHING is impossible, as we know.

“We also pray for Omarosa Manigault, who has taken to reality television to spread gossip about Pence and the Trump White House. We ask that you grab hold of her heart and that it be transformed and help her to see that all she needs is you, and not the allure of fame and fortune that the enemy is dangling in front of her.”

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? … But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:32-33, 35-36)

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. … Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:43-45, 48)

Why Not Celebrate God’s Goodness Instead of Tearing it Down?

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Rich Wilkerson Jr. and wife, DawnChere with their new baby son. (Instagram)

The miraculous birth of a child is an occasion for joy, not legalism.

Shawn A. Akers

Infertility can cause married couples a great deal of heartache. I know from whence I speak, as my wife and I suffered through nearly four years of it in the early 2000s.

It can become a gut-wrenching issue, especially if it carries on for an extended period of time, and if it also involves a miscarriage or two. The emotional pain can also become a tremendous emotional strain on a marriage.

So, when I recently learned Rich Wilkerson Jr., the pastor of Vous Church in Miami, and his wife, Dawn Chere, were blessed in January with a healthy baby boy after eight years of trying, I praised God for His goodness. And, I praised God for the Wilkersons’ unwavering faith and trust in Him to deliver upon His promises. Indeed, it is an event to be celebrated.

At least some of us think so. But then there are those who refuse to see the Wilkersons’ realized dream of having their own child as a blessed event and even go as far as to criticize and judge not only the Wilkersons themselves, but also the way they went about the process of having the child.

After years of several alternative treatments, the Wilkersons decided in 2015 to try In Vitro fertilization, which, for some couples, signify the final and “desperate” procedure to have a child of their own. The procedure is invasive, and it can be extremely expensive.

And, I praised God for the Wilkersons’ unwavering faith and trust in Him to deliver upon His promises. Indeed, it is an event to be celebrated.

And, apparently, it’s from da devil, to quote Mama from “The Waterboy.”

“Many, many people are not aware In-Vitro Fertilization and Surrogacy are not from God,” one Charisma reader wrote.  A child, a brand new human person with a body and soul, comes about through the self-giving of a man and a woman (vowed for life, married before God) in the marital act.

“Catechism Catholic Church: 2376 – Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus) are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.

“In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) results in the destruction of least one other embryo, since IVF cannot help but fertilize more than one egg. The rest are thrown away or frozen. These embryos are human beings.”

Wow. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the moment of conception occur when the union of the sperm and egg generate a new human embryo? It’s not just the egg, the sperm is also needed, right?

The reader goes on to say:

“The second reason is that artificial insemination, using sperm from the husband, not only involves others in the procreation that belongs to the spouses alone, but also requires the husband to masturbate, which is an immoral act.”

Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, says that the question about masturbation as a sin is difficult because the Bible does not pronounce it as sin. And, it is agreed that if it “involves sexual fantasies and/or pornography, then it is certainly not pure and very sinful.” But what if the spouse does it while thinking of his or her spouse? Again, the Bible doesn’t declare it to be sinful, so we cannot put a label on it, especially the label “immoral.”

The other issue readers have is with the Wilkersons themselves, simply because of their association with the Kardashian family, Kanye West and Justin Bieber. He writes: “Looks like one apple fell far from the tree. One Wilkerson went to the most vile of places to reach souls for Christ, and one decided to join the sinners and instead let the sinners influence him.”

Is it our place to judge the Wilkersons because of who they hang out with? Didn’t Jesus hang out with sinners, including tax collectors, prostitutes and other undesirables of society, which some might consider equal to the modern-day Kardashians and Kanye West? How do we know that the Wilkersons have “let the sinners influence him?” How do we know it’s not the other way around?

My point to this article is that birth is a miracle of life, especially for those who have waited as long as the Wilkersons have. It’s a miracle that the Wilkersons didn’t simply write God’s goodness off and stop trusting Him and his promises. It’s not a stretch because most of us are simply not into longsuffering.

My point to this article is that birth is a miracle of life, especially for those who have waited as long as the Wilkersons have. It’s a miracle that the Wilkersons didn’t simply write God’s goodness off and stop trusting Him and his promises. It’s not a stretch because most of us are simply not into longsuffering.

I praise God for the miracle that God has bestowed upon the Wilkersons. Hallelujah, I say! But I also pray for those who would try to put a damper on that miracle and turn it into a legalistic attack on a couple that is trying to be faithful to God. The Wilkersons must be doing something right or I don’t believe God would have blessed them as He did.

Let us celebrate God’s incredible faithfulness and goodness instead of making this a legalistic issue.  And remember to do something to rise up higher in your calling today.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

Pray Today For: Victims and Families of Florida School Shooting

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Students flee from a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (YouTube). 

Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Today and every day going forward we will pray for those in the news and for those who need the love of Jesus in their hearts. If there is anyone you feel compelled to pray for in this blog, please email me at akersofracing@aol.com.

Certainly, yesterday and today are days for mourning. We mourn for the victims and the victims’ families involved in Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed.

The incident marks yet another in a long line of senseless, devastating school shootings in this country. It should break the heart of every believer—if not every citizen—in the U.S. Thank God police apprehended the killer, only 19 years old.

Believe it or not, according to Reuters, it is the 18th shooting in a U.S. school so far this year, which includes suicides and incidents when no one was injured. It doesn’t make sense, and this has to stop. Therefor we pray:

“Dear Father in Heaven, our hearts today are broken for the victims and the families of the victims of Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida. It is difficult to comfort the families who have lost loved ones. Parents are undoubtedly numb from having lost a child to such violence. But, we ask you now to wrap your arms around them and touch them in a way that only you can. Those of us who have never experienced anything like this cannot relate to them, but you can. Your heart is breaking wide open and You know their grief and their pain. Touch them in a mighty way and let them know that You are still on the throne and that they need now, more than ever, to put their trust in you. Open their hearts to You and turn them away from bitterness.

And right now, dear Lord, we ask that you transform the heart of Nikolas Cruz, the gunman. He seemingly has stored bitterness and hatred in his heart to commit such a heinous act. Let there be healing in his heart. He has determined his own life destiny and most likely will spend the rest of his life incarcerated. Take over his life and help him to find You because You are his only hope now. Be with him and transform his life. For too long, apparently, the enemy has ruled in his life. We proclaim this child, which You love, to be yours now. Bless him and help him to make the most of his life, no matter what happens.

And we pray now that these shootings cease, in the name of Jesus! Protect the children and students in every school across the United States and worldwide, in places where we don’t hear about these types of things. Help us to see how we can prevent these shootings, and touch the hearts of those who are thinking about committing such acts of violence. Holy Spirit, rule in their hearts and help them to see that life, that You created, is simply too precious to throw away.”

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” (Jer. 22:3)

“… with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, …” (Eph. 4:2)

“He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, and their blood will be precious in his sight.” (Psa. 72:14)

Pray Today For: Quentin Esme Brown and Peter Cary Peterson

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Getty Images

Note: Please forgive the absence for the last couple of weeks. I was ill with the flu.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Today and every day going forward we will pray for those in the news and for those who need the love of Jesus in their hearts. If there is anyone you feel compelled to pray for in this blog, please email me at akersofracing@aol.com.

When I read this today, I was dumbfounded; totally floored: “Tiffany Trump’s friends just entered a sexless marriage, which isn’t a terrible idea.”

The Yahoo News article talks about New York “socialites” Quentin Esme Brown and Peter Cary Peterson, who were recently married in Las Vegas. They weren’t married on a drunken whim, as many succumb to when in Vegas, but had planned it for years. The perplexing thing about it is that they planned on making it a “sexless, open marriage,” and actually planned on “dating other people.”

“Peter and I are not romantically involved–in fact we … will continue to seek love in all forms,” Brown said.

The same article mentions a new book by a licensed therapist, Susan Pease Gadoua, called “The New I Do,” who says she hasn’t met anyone else with this kind of marriage, but that “it fits in with the way she sees many people deciding to change the rules to suit their relationship needs.”

This type of new age thinking has the potential to influence millions and millions of young people, a generation that could even further destroy what God had originally meant for marriage between a man and a woman. I will expound upon this later in the week.

Therefore, let us pray:

“Lord, we pray today for Ms. Brown and Mr. Peterson. We pray that you sear their hearts. Without judging them, we see that they obviously care for each other, but if they plan to be with others that it may not be the love that you intended between a married man and a woman. We pray that they develop that type of love for each other to where they will not want for others, but want for each other both in agape love and physical love as you intended it. We pray that you bless that home and open their eyes to see that they only need each other, with you as the foundation of their marriage.

We also pray that this type of thinking doesn’t influence others. We pray that impressionable people won’t be influenced by their recent actions and ideals and will turn to You for guidance and direction on love and marriage and what is right in Your eyes. While we don’t pray negatively for anyone, we pray that this new book by Susan Pease Gaduoa is seen and read with eyes of discernment and that others are not influenced by something that the enemy has obviously devised to destroy what You see as good.  We rebuke this movement and pray that the Holy Spirit slays it right now at is very foundation. We praise you and thank you for all marriages between a man and a woman and ask that you bless them and cover them with Your blood so that they may endure everything the enemy throws at them to try to ruin lives. You are greater and mightier than the enemy, and we put our trust always in You to protect us and our marriages from his deceit. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.”

“Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.’  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:22-24) 
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Eph. 5:22-23)

 

 

 

Tua and Case: Improbable Comebacks Orchestrated by God?

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ESPN’s Maria Taylor interviews Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa after the Tide won the national championship last Monday, 26-23. (YouTube)

These two quarterbacks believe it with all their heart.

Shawn A. Akers

What a week for football this was. But more importantly, what a week for Jesus.

While many athletes might bask in their own glory for their triumphs on the field, on the court or on the ice—especially after such an emotional ending—two humble servants of God made certain that the credit for their improbable success went to whom it belonged. For Tua and Case, it’s all about Jesus.

After his team scored an incredible 26-23 overtime victory in the College Football Playoff National championship game, Alabama University freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who tossed the game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass (on second down and 26) to fellow freshman DeVonta Smith, went out of his way to commandeer his interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor. He said, “Excuse me. First and foremost, I’d just like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With Him, all things are possible. That’s what happened tonight.”

Later, he would go on to say in another interview, “I was praying,” referring to his team’s comeback from 13 points down. “I was speaking in tongues. It kept me calm. … I would say my poise comes from my faith. I just pray for peace.” And this from an 18-year-old. And on a network that isn’t exactly kingdom friendly.

You go, Tua.

“I was speaking in tongues. It kept me calm. … I would say my poise comes from my faith. I just pray for peace.”

And then, there is Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum, who led the Vikings to an even more improbable comeback in the division round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday. With the Saints—who had just kicked field goal seconds before—leading 24-23, Keenum hit Stefon Diggs (brother of Alabama sophomore Trayvon Diggs, by the way) on a pass to the sideline that the Vikings appropriately call “Seven Heaven.” When the New Orleans Saints’ defender misjudged the tackle, Diggs stayed inbounds and rambled for a 61-yard touchdown pass that gave Minnesota a 29-24 victory as time ran out. Some dubbed it, “The Minnesota Miracle.”

Afterward, Keenum said, “God is so good. “It’s probably the third best day of my life; the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ, the day I married my wife and probably this one.”

You go, Case.

Diggs and Vikings’ receiver Adam Thielen even chimed in for their Savior, “Give all glory to God,” Diggs said. “That was God. That play right there was God,” Thielen said.

Sounds like a we have a few more Tim Tebows on hands. Maybe even better.

Tebow has come under a great deal of scrutiny from the secular media for his faith, but he continues to live it boldly. And Keenum, who perennially has been a back-up quarterback during his five years in the NFL, says he won’t give the media an excuse to question his relationship with Christ.

His Twitter bio sports the often-quoted Scripture from Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.”

“A lot of people can talk about their faith,” Keenum says. “When you live it every day and act upon the word of God, it’s pretty cool to see. He doesn’t just talk; He acts upon it and leads by example. It helps me become a better person of faith.”

While football obviously is unimportant in the grand scheme of life, it’s refreshing to see these men of faith not only show boldness in their words, but to also do it on national television after significant games in front of millions of people. What a witness.

“A lot of people can talk about their faith,” Keenum says. “When you live it every day and act upon the word of God, it’s pretty cool to see. He doesn’t just talk; He acts upon it and leads by example. It helps me become a better person of faith.”

I have no allegiance to an NFL team, and that’s a different story. But, because of Keenum, I think I just became a huge Vikings’ fan. We already know where my college football allegiance lies. Roll Tide.

But more importantly, go Jesus.{eoa}

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling.

Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

 

Pray Today For: All Social Media Users

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Consult the Holy Spirit before you post or respond on social media. (Getty Images)

Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Today and every day going forward we will pray for those in the news and for those who need the love of Jesus in their hearts. If there is anyone you feel compelled to pray for in this blog, please email me at akersofracing@aol.com.

Many people praise the invention of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., as great and “necessary” means of communication. Social media sites certainly do have their strong points, like being able to connect with people you might have lost touch with years ago, etc., and instant means of getting urgent messages to each other. Social media, if used the right way, is also certainly a great tool to witness for Christ.

Many others, however, view social media as a cultural cancer, and deservedly so. These sites are used to spew venom and hate over the cultural landscape. Every day Jesus must cry heavy tears in heaven from the rancor and hostility he sees people, including His children, shooting at each other all in the name of “I’m right and you’re wrong.” I once felt the same need and know from whence I speak. When I look back on it, I’m deeply ashamed of my reactionary impulses. And now, it breaks my heart to everyday read the animosity and antagonism I once used to spread. Therefore:

“Father God, in the name of Jesus, I pray right now for those who use social media, and I pray for their hearts. I pray that you reach down deep inside them and give them wisdom, before they react to something they don’t agree with, to know that their reactions on Facebook are going to affect those who see their posts and responses. Let them see this before they post or respond that it will only make the situation worse. If they must respond, give them wisdom to know how to say what they need to say in a loving way. Give them discernment to know how to respond in a way that will please you, even if they do not know you.

I pray especially for those who do know you. Holy Spirit, overwhelm them with the love of Jesus and guide their hands and their hearts. Many have good things to say, they simply don’t know how to articulate them in a way that is pleasing to to you.  I ask your forgiveness for past discretions on social media and the angst that it has caused others. If I have made others doubt You because of my actions, I am truly sorry and repent of it. Let social media be used for the good things, including people coming to the knowledge of You. Help us believers to know how to use it correctly to spread the fruits of the spirit including love and peace and joy. Give people, especially Your children, self-control not to offend but to encourage and build others up. We love You for the grace You give us, but help us not to abuse that grace. Let us every day come to the knowledge of who You really are. Thank you for this day and give us peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen.”

  • “Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm” (Prov. 3:30).
  • “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
  • “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel” (Prov. 15l:18).
  • “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools” (Eccl. 7:9).
  • “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16).