Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 31, 1517

Author: Jim Elliff

It was October 31st, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany.
Martin grasped a hammer and a long piece of paper covered with his writing. He walked out into the street and straight over to the castle church door. It was here that community messages were often posted.

Martin nailed his 95 points of discussion on the door. He only wanted to lay out his newly discovered views of the Bible to other church leaders in the Medieval Catholic church. He thought he was free to do so even though his thoughts were radical. After all, he was an Augustinian monk and a professor of theology.

Martin called himself a “stinking bag of maggots,” and certainly did not dream of being a leader in a revolution of thinking in Germany and across Europe that shaped history in a powerful way. But God had determined something far bigger than the monk Martin Luther expected when he penned those 95 Theses.

Without his knowledge someone printed his words on the newly invented Gutenburg press, distributing it all over Germany. Within a very few days, Martin found that he was the subject of everyone’s thoughts. In the cathedrals and great stone castles of his homeland, the pubs and peasant’s cottages—everyone was talking about the views of Luther. Without a signal to announce it, the Protestant Reformation had begun!

Just what was the Protestant Reformation all about? What did Luther and others protest?

The protesters were seeing something new about how a person is accepted by God—that is, new to them. They protested that the church had been teaching the wrong view about the most important issue of life. They discovered that the Bible says we are not accepted on the basis of our religious deeds, or even our good deeds along with our faith, but that we are accepted before a holy God only through faith in Christ.

“Through faith alone in Christ alone” began to be heard all over Europe. The people must transfer their confidence for salvation in the church’s religious traditions to Christ alone. The reformers wanted the people to return to the Bible’s plain teaching on how to be a true Christian. Because heaven and hell were at stake, the passions rose very high. Many would be persecuted and some even killed for this truth. But through it all, tens of thousands of people were converted to Christ and were assured of heaven.

We have been feeling the effects of the Protestant Reformation ever since. Many of our churches have their historical roots in the Reformation. Returning to the Bible as the source of understanding about how we are to relate to God has shaped nations. Perhaps no other religious period since the coming of Christ has been so influential as this one.

But many people, and even many churches, have forgotten the great lessons that were made so clear beginning on October 31, 1517. What difference can this mean to you nearly 500 years later?

This passage from the Bible is a good place to start. It describes God’s way to understand salvation:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

Through these 500 years since the Protestant Reformation, and throughout time, men and women, youth and children have come to Christ in this simple way—through faith alone in Christ alone. Placing our full confidence in Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death for sinful people is the only way to God. It is not that good works are not important—they are a result of true faith in every believer’s life. But those works cannot save. Salvation is a gift of grace, not a reward for trying to be good.

Like Martin Luther, you may come by faith alone to Christ alone even now, all these years later. In fact, this is the very way the first New Testament believers came to Him!

Copyright © 2002 Jim Elliff.
Permission granted for reproduction in exact form. All other uses require written permission. Find more free articles at, a ministry of Christian Communicators Worldwide:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creation Reveals God

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Romans 1:18-20

I had the privilege last week to speak at a conference for police leaders in Niagra Falls, Canada. During my time there I visited The Niagra Falls. A few of my thoughts are filmed below.

Armor of God Donates Safety Vests

Police chaplains encounter dangerous crime scenes and volatile people during the calls they respond to every year.

But until Thursday, they did it all without the security of wearing ballistic vests.

Armor of God, a Tulsa-based ministry that is committed to providing free body armor to law enforcement officers across the country, donated ballistic vests to each of the 17 chaplains on the Tulsa Police and Fire Chaplaincy Corps.

Tulsa Police Capt. Travis Yates said five other area police agencies that cannot afford vests for their officers also received vests Thursday.

The cost of the vests was about $25,000.

McDonald's, Bama Pie Co. and Interim Solutions For Government made significant contributions to make the donations possible, he said.

Danny Lynchard, who leads the Chaplaincy Corps, said the donations are very much appreciated because "where the officers go, we go," and that can often include dangerous places.

The chaplains also can be assaulted because emotions run high at the scenes where they respond.

"The officers have been very good at protecting our chaplains," Lynchard said. "As far as being assaulted, there have been times when a chaplain has made notification to next of kin, and sometimes the shock and the anger is turned on whoever is delivering the message."

Tom Branch, pastor of Bellview Baptist Church and a volunteer police and fire chaplain for 23 years, has been on his share of dangerous police calls and ride-alongs with officers. The chaplains go with officers when they need to notify people about family members who have been injured or killed.

"One time, a lady answered the door, and she had a butcher knife up her sleeve," Branch said.

The woman had an immediate outburst when she heard that her father had had a heart attack, he said.

"She pulled the knife out. She panicked, as people often do," Branch said.

The woman wasn't trying to cut him, but she was brandishing the knife about, he said, adding that after some tense moments, she was persuaded to put it down.

The vests are not the only safety equipment the chaplains have received in recent years. Last year, after responding to a fatal crash on a dark highway, Branch realized the need for the chaplains to have reflective vests, he said.

"Now we wear the same reflective vests that the police do," he said.

The presentation was made during the one-day survival course "Winning Mind," presented by national training experts Dave Smith and Betsy Brantner Smith, Yates said.

Armor of God, a program of Ten-Four Ministries, has donated 1,450 vests free of charge since May 2009.

Additional information on the program can be found online at

By NICOLE MARSHALL World Staff Writer
Published: 10/22/2010

Special Thanks to the Tulsa World. This article has been changed from it's original appearance. The original article can be located here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

AOG Project: Latest Testimony

"Thank you for the great gift of life preservation while I am protecting my community. I am unable to receive a vest from my PD because I am still attending the academy. Thank you for spreading the gospel through such a great gift."

Officer James Bret Burleson, Winfield Police Dept.

For more information on the Armor of God Project, go here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ten-Four Ministries & Wagoner County S.O.

The Armor of God Project has been an amazing outreach for Ten-Four Ministries. While the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always sent with the bullet proof vests that are sent out to the officers in need, once in a while we get the honor of personally hand delivering the vests and preaching the Gospel directly to those receiving the vests.

The last opportunity we had to do this was in May 2010.

Earlier this evening I travelled about 45 minutes to Wagoner County, Oklahoma along with Tulsa County Deputy Sean Scott and Tulsa County Detention Officer Casey Mcelhanon. Several of the deputies and a few officers from surrounding agencies had requested vests.

In the below video, Sean and Casey hand out the vests.

While the blessing we get from handing out this life saving piece of equipment goes beyond words, the honor of presenting the Lord Jesus Christ to these heroes in uniform is amazing. I would like to thank Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert for graciously letting us visit his agency and not only bring equipment that can save his deputies but a message that will transform their lives both here and into eternity. That message is below.

Preaching Christ Crucified

I just returned from a police agency and had the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the officers present. Each time I am given the honor to preach Christ Crucified I am painfully reminded of the lack of this very preaching behind our pulpits. I have also seen so much pain and hurt towards my own pastor and much of it is his faithful preaching of Christ crucified. It is hard for me to understand why this basic tenant of Christianity is left behind today. John Stott offers some interesting insights on this very issue from his commentary on Galatians.

"What is there about the cross of Christ which angers the world and stirs them up to persecute those who preach it? Just this: Christ died on the cross for us sinners, becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). So the cross tells us some very unpalatable truths about ourselves, namely that we are sinners under the righteous curse of God's law and we cannot save ourselves. Christ bore our sin and curse precisely because we could gain release from them in no other way. If we could have been forgiven by our own good works, by being circumcised and keeping the law, we may be quite sure that there would have been no cross. Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, 'I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.' Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size. And of course men do not like it. They resent the humiliation of seeing themselves as God sees them and as they really are. They prefer their comfortable illusions. So they steer clear of the cross. They construct a Christianity without the cross, which relies for salvation on their works and not on Jesus Christ's. They do not object to Christianity so long as it is not the faith of Christ crucified. But Christ crucified they detest. And if preachers preach Christ crucified, they are opposed, ridiculed, persecuted. Why? Because of the wounds which they inflict on men's pride."

Stott has a great book that I recommend for any Christian or as an evangelism tool. You can purchase his classic, Basic Christianity, from Ten-Four Ministries here.