Rich Tatum: I'm back.
Kathi: cool :-)
Rich Tatum: Okay, it's easy to say "pray" when you're worried.
Rich Tatum: I'll grant you that.
Rich Tatum: But, I think you'll see it's a helpful strategy to keep in mind! :-)
Kathi: Oh, I don't disagree …
Rich Tatum: First, help me understand something about your friends ….
Kathi: sure …
Rich Tatum: The pagan/wiccan worldview presupposes that there are multiple deities, right?
Rich Tatum: Then why wouldn't your pagan friends be just as happy that you've chosen (to their point of view) just another diety to follow?
Kathi: I know that logically God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would fit into that belief system. However Pagans are not a logical group of people, especially when it comes to Christianity. And I maintained that last sentiment for the last 5 years or so, that's not a new realization <grin>
Rich Tatum: Just for your own edification, I think there's a hint of the true spiritual battle going on there, in that irrational rejection of Christianity.
Kathi: If there are acceptable Christians (to Pagans), they are the ones who believe that a naturalistic all-paths-lead-to-the-center mode is truth. And that's not what I've come to believe.
Rich Tatum: And all who are practicing the old religions are not only blinded by their choice of "ignorance" but they are spiritually blinded, too.
Kathi: As my co-worker put it, I went to bed one night a witch and woke up a fundie. ;-)
Rich Tatum: LOL
Rich Tatum: :-)
Kathi: It's pretty close to the truth, too … like I said, everything about me's changed. I even look different, according to various people I've talked to.
Rich Tatum: That's excellent!
Rich Tatum: Because, as, one of my friends reminded me recently: "The Christian with an experience is never at the mercy of an unbeliever with an argument."
Kathi: <grin> I hadn't thought of it that way …
Rich Tatum: This is one of the most powerful aspects of God's miraculous hand — not only in changing your lifestyle but also in healing you:
Rich Tatum: God uses miracles to make his power and his gospel known.
Rich Tatum: Remember the Book of Acts we talked about so much of late?
Kathi: "experience" is something that's real big in the Pagan movement … "proof" of deity. The feeling that deity-is-present. Yes …
Rich Tatum: Yeah, and there's a lot in the Bible about that. I can point you to some passages that will really resonate with you.
Kathi: I just started a full reading of Acts, last night.
Rich Tatum: Excellent!
Rich Tatum: The Book of Acts is the only biblical record we have of the early church. When you read it, it seems like miracles are happening left-and-right all the time.
Rich Tatum: And, in a sense, they are. Just remember that the entire two-dozen-plus chapters were rercorded over a 30-year period.
Rich Tatum: Acts is a compressed history.
Rich Tatum: Now, thinking about that, when you read about the miracles in the Book of Acts, remember that they weren't necessarily one day after the other. Sometimes there were years between events.
Kathi: I didn't realize that.
Rich Tatum: What helps when you read those passages is to ask yourself "Why did Luke choose to show me this incident? What purpose does this scent have in the overall narrative throughout the book?"
Rich Tatum: I think, as you ask yourself these questions, you'll see that God frequently uses miracles in the Early Church for evangelism.
Rich Tatum: Every place where the gospel is just "breaking ground" in a new town, what happens? Miracles!
Rich Tatum: Every place where there is great spiritual resistance to the message, what happens? Miracles!
Rich Tatum: So, I said all that to say this: There's a reason God's miraculous hand has touched your life. And I wouldn't be surprised if the miracles speak for themselves — or for God, rather — for the purpose of evangelizing your friends.
Rich Tatum: Whether or not any of them make decisions tonight, tomorrow, next month, next year, or in your lifetime — your testimony (with or without words) will stand as a stark reminder to the power of God and the hollowness of the pagan religions.
Rich Tatum: Make sense?
Kathi: I figure it this way … there must be a reason why God is so obviously working in my life. I know that most people do not have experiences like this. I'm sure there's a plan for me, I just don't know what it is yet.
Kathi: Oh yes, it makes perfect sense.
Rich Tatum: You may never know God's "plan" for you except in hindsight.
Rich Tatum: What you do know is that he has a plan for you recorded in the Bible. To know him, to do his will, and to make him known to others.
Kathi: My husband thinks I'm going to become an evangelist.
Rich Tatum: Who knows?
Rich Tatum: We all have niches, and sometimes God moves us from one to another depending on the "season" in our lives.
Kathi: I have a hard time picturing it … but you never know :-)
Rich Tatum: Just remember, don't be hasty.
Rich Tatum: By all means, be a witness, but don't be afraid to take the time to be mentored — discipled — into the faith.
Rich Tatum: Jesus waited until he was 29/30 years old before beginning his ministry.
Kathi: Oh, I plan to take the time …
Rich Tatum: Paul apparently took 13 years before he started his ministry as an Apostle — I'm not saying take 13-30 years. But submit yourself to the godly leadership at a local church and … learn!
Kathi: I have to re-evaluate everything I think I know, so that I don't speak or think simply from habit or past experience.
Rich Tatum: You're right.
Kathi: I'm going to make an appointment to talk to the pastor at our church, about this and other things … one thing that troubles me most is that my son does not want to become Christian … at all, ever. It's not outright rebellion, it's a quiet statement of fact for him. That terrifies me.
Rich Tatum: How old is he?
Kathi: He's 11.
Rich Tatum: Hmm …
Rich Tatum: Well, you may not be able to force him to convert.
Kathi: He's never known anything except being Pagan, and the fact that Mom did not approve of Christianity. And everything in his world changed overnight.
Rich Tatum: Getting him to cooperate with you on matters of faith, though (church attendance, or otherwise) will be difficult.
Kathi: I have to sympathize with him, it must be very scary.
Rich Tatum: You'll have to be patient.
Rich Tatum: His world has certanly been overturned.
Rich Tatum: And he may resent you for it for some time.
Rich Tatum: But I believe love breaks all barriers.
Rich Tatum: And if he's only 11, then you've got at least another 5-7 years to love him as a captive audience!
Kathi: This is true …
Kathi: I may have found an "in" … he has wanted to get involved in boy scouts for a while, but there's no troops with schedules that work for us nearby. But Royal Rangers meet every Wed. night ;-)
Rich Tatum: Yeah, I was a Royal Ranger. If they have a good program — it can be as good or better than Boy Scouts — in terms of sheer scoutcraft, that is.
Kathi: That's what they told me at church … very active group of about 50 kids.
Rich Tatum: I suppose there's going to be a fine line for you to walk during the next year or so.
Rich Tatum: This is the most effective time for you to witness to your friends — while they still see you as a friend.
Rich Tatum: You may get criticism from people in the church who think you should break off all your friendships.
Rich Tatum: And, in some cases, that may be wisdom.
Kathi: mmmm … not for long, I fear.
Kathi: That's what I've been struggling with …
Rich Tatum: But you can only witness to sinners by befriending them.
Rich Tatum: Jesus drank wine with tax colletors, was seen in the company of prostitutes, and was known as an all around frined to sinners.
Rich Tatum: The single greatest temptation to apathy in the church is this: you stop being friends to sinners.
Kathi: the relationships I have with some of these people have been very deep and close … magickally … do you know what I mean? Becoming a Christian removes that dynamic.
Rich Tatum: This is one of the hardest thing for Christians to overcome. Many older christians have not one single unsaved friend they can name.
Rich Tatum: I understand.
Rich Tatum: Some relationships may need to be broken, entirely, due to the spiritual bonds that could be rekindled.
Rich Tatum: I don't know all the details — don't need to — but when you talke with your pastor he can help you with this.
Rich Tatum: It would be excellent if you could find people in your community who have come out of similar situations and you could get guidance from them. They wouldn't even have to be ex-wiccans or ex-pagans.
Rich Tatum: I mean — wrong choice of words — they wouldn't even have to be attending the Assemblies of God.
Rich Tatum: (My mind is fuzzy).
Kathi: I'm terrified, too, that if I continue to be involved with these people, that I will too easily fall back into what's familiar and comfortable.
Rich Tatum: Well, it may be like fasting---
Rich Tatum: You can withdraw from these relationships for a time
Kathi: I don't ever want to retreat, even an inch, from where I am now.
Rich Tatum: for growth, healing, and understanding.
Rich Tatum: But if you don't "burn your 'friendship' bridges" you may be able to resume your witness to them when y9ou're stronger.
Kathi: You should see the housecleaning that I'm doing … all of my ritual tools, my books, my tarot cards … it's quite an experience.
Rich Tatum: That's excellent!
Kathi: I'm discovering what "leap of faith" means :-)
Rich Tatum: :-)
Kathi: I've depended upon divination for a number of years … it seems strange to work without it.
Rich Tatum: I can only imagine
Rich Tatum: BTW: While you're reading the Book of Acts, I recommend that you read alonog with an excellent commentary by Stanly M. Horton.
Rich Tatum: He's an Assembly of God writer/educator, who writes very clearly and plainly.
Kathi: I'd love to … I've found the commentaries I found at blb to be very enlightening.
Rich Tatum: Book of Acts, by Stanley M. Horton
Rich Tatum: If you like the Blue Line Bible, you'll love this site: http://bible.crosswalk.com/
Kathi: Yes, I like it … checking it out now.
Kathi: Going back to my comment on "leap of faith" a minute ago … I found a great book at the Christian bookstore last night … called After the leap — growing in Christ: the basics of discipleship, by Carol Vance. So far, it's VERY good.
Rich Tatum: Good!
Rich Tatum: Not familiar with the author.
Rich Tatum: Did you find a copy of Mere Christianity ?
Rich Tatum: By C. S. Lewis?
Kathi: not yet …
Kathi: back … Lyris just gave me a call to see if I'd gotten the AOL & html problems fixed … thought that was nice :-)
Rich Tatum: Cool!
Kathi: I'm lunching at the library tomorrow and will see if they have a copy of Mere Christianity. Today's lunch was taken up with trying to interpret psalms. I admit, my head spun for a few minutes … like going back to tenth-grade english class. ;-)
Rich Tatum: I gotta run (literally). If I don't go to lunch now, I never will, and I need to go to the gym for lunch today (I'm a regular fat-so!).
Rich Tatum: Gotta burn my 500 calories, pump some weights, and sweat my derrier off!
Kathi: run run run! have fun!
Rich Tatum: Oke
Rich Tatum: Have a good afternoon …
Kathi: you too! Thanks for being there … I mean it.
Rich Tatum: Oh, by the way, my mother-in-law wanted to read your testimony. Do you mind if I forward it to her?
Kathi: Absolutely … share it with anyone who'll listen. :-)
Rich Tatum: :-)
Rich Tatum: Great!
Rich Tatum: One last thing, you can get more Chuck Colson here.
Kathi: k … will check it out!
Rich Tatum: :-)