31 August 2006

Personal trials, tragedies, and prayer requests

(Updated 9:00am Friday)
by Phil Johnson

  1. Frank Martens's grandfather is dying of cancer. Please pray for God's grace on behalf of the family; pray that even in the midst of sorrow, Frank will be able to make the truth of the gospel clear and the love of Christ evident to unbelievers, especially in the circle of his family and loved ones; and pray that Frank's grandfather will have every opportunity to partake of the water of life before his earthly life ends.
  2. Frank Turk has had some major trials the past week, but he's not a complainer, so he hasn't said much about it. His van was destroyed in a flash flood when water got into the engine. Keep him in your prayers, along with his lovely and infinitely-patient wife.
  3. The offices of Alpha and Omega Ministries were burgled Wednesday night, and virtually all of James White's best-loved technological gadgets were stolen (except for the green laser). That includes his amazing tablet computer, his iPod (with the complete S. Lewis Johnson sermon collection), and his Tungsten T5 Palm device. The burglar alarm malfunctioned.
         One remarkable thing you'll notice about A&O Ministries is that they rarely talk about ministry finances. That's not because they are heavily underwritten, but because James hates anything that smacks of fund-raising. But as a dispassionate observer who has benefitted from James's ministry for some fifteen years now, and as someone who has no selfish or personal interest in the financial affairs of A&O, I'm in a position to give this objective word of advice: support them financially. I'm sure they could use as much help as we can give them right now.

Friday morning addendum:

I have a very hectic day ahead of me and will not be able to post anything substantive today. But if time permits, sometime between now and Monday, I want to post a sequel to last week's post on "Guilt by Association." (I've been trying to write such a follow-up for several days, but I do have a job in the real world that takes priority over the blog.)

Ever since I made that post, there's been a frenetic effort to get me to repent of my refusal to join the dogpile against "Slice of Laodicea." I've been beseiged with private e-mails and backhanded with indignant blogposts from the fringes of the evangelical blogosphere, all of them upbraiding me severely for not publicly declaiming Ingrid Schlueter and her blog. Never before have the swamis of tolerance in the blogosphere been so hungry for a negative PyroManiacs post. Apparently, nothing less than a fulminating and final denunciation of everything remotely connected to "Slice" will quell the furor.

My response to that campaign is forthcoming.

Phil's signature


Carla Rolfe said...

I blogged on the situation with Alpha & Omega earlier as well, as have many other #pros regulars.

Thanks for getting the word out about the needs there, and about Frank & Frank.


Frank Martens said...

Thanks for posting that. Just to fill ya'll in, most of the family members are not believers. I'm praying for every opportunity that either myself or some (gospel focused) pastor will get the opportunity to preach the gospel to everyone involved in this mess. :)

Kay said...

You guys. All this asking for prayer and help stuff. It's almost like blogging is ministry.

Steve said...

Thanks for sharing how we can pray for the needs of the brethren. That's how it should be...

kletois said...

My heart goes out to Frank Martens and his family. Cancer is a horror even for the believer.

FX Turk said...


You were just dying to say that, weren't you? It's gonna become a meme.

I'm gonna make a "LIKE MINISTRY" T-SHIRT.

Frank Martens said...

I'm gonna make a "LIKE MINISTRY" T-SHIRT.

Dear Lord, help us!

Sharon said...

Note to James White: Been there, had that happen to me.

Two words: BACK UP! Boy, am I glad I had weekly tape back ups of my hard drive twice--when my laptop was stolen, and when my hard drive went south. And my back ups include iTunes library and all PDA files. Whew!

I know mentioning this is like shutting the barn door when the horse has fled, but perhaps this will be a word to the (un)wise who never back up their files shudder!.

DJP said...

My response to that campaign is forthcoming.

Man! This is more suspenseful than the end of ST:TNG's "Best of Both Worlds -- Part One"!

Ryker: Fire!

{ exiting geek mode }

Pastor Jason said...

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to pray for Frank. My own dad is suffering with terminal brain cancer. While our Lord is sovereign in the timing evening of these situations it is a blessing to be able to take others with similar circumstances to throne of grace.


Pastor Jason said...

Oops! That's "even in the timing"!

candy said...

We just had my mother's memorial service yesterday. The retired military chaplain talked about everyone going to heaven and the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Sigh. I countered by reading a prepared paper and sharing a lot of scripture. It was the opportunity to share the gospel with my unbelieving family. I hoped and prayed that hearts were softened to hear the gospel. It was funny. Before I shared, when the chaplain had us pray, he ended with "In Your Name we pray". After I shared the gospel, he ended the last prayer with, "In Your Son's Name we pray." Just a tad bit more boldness in his totally spineless presentation.

Even So... said...

Good Candy, way to go...

Trinian said...

Man! This is more suspenseful than the end of ST:TNG's "Best of Both Worlds -- Part One"!

At the risk of geeking out... that is a great comparison.
I have to ask - who in this instance is Commander Shelby? I need to know who to direct unbridled hate at.

Your Slice, as it has been, is over.

donsands said...

I'll be prayin' & supplicatin'.

chamblee54 said...

"Just a tad bit more boldness in his totally spineless presentation"
There is nothing wrong with trying to comfort people who are in pain. There is time later to convert others to your way of thinking.
You should show respect and compassion for those suffering from the loss of the loved one, and not try to shove your ideas about religion on them.
This is a painful and difficult matter for many of us. For you to take a time of grief as an opportunity to preach shows a lack of respect.

Unknown said...

Well ... if I may, I would like to place my prayer request here too. We just found out in the past week or so that my father's cancer has also returned, and me and my family will also covet your prayers.



Taliesin said...

You should show respect and compassion for those suffering from the loss of the loved one, and not try to shove your ideas about religion on them.

I'm not answering for or in defense of Candy, but this is a topic near to my heart.

Here's the thing, what if I love these people? What if my heart breaks for these people? What if I have something that I know can comfort them in the midst of this loss, and, more importantly, all them to face their own end with joy? We are called to proclaim reconciliation. In these situations it must be done gently, tactfully, and with shared sorrow. But it must be done.

Candleman, my prayers are with you, Frank, Frank and James.

Taliesin said...

"all them" should be "allow them"

candy said...

You should show respect and compassion for those suffering from the loss of the loved one, and not try to shove your ideas about religion on them.
chamblee...you are CLUELESS. That was my mother and she was facing eternity as are we all. You are being VERY presumptuous since you have no idea what I shared or the response of people in the crowd. How dare you come in here with your own unbelief and issues and your lack of respect. If you want to email me, I will let you know what I said, and then make your judgement call, not with absolutely no information other than your own limited understanding.

chediak said...

What is the issue with Slice of Laodicea?

chediak said...

OK, sorry, I think I figured it out.

donsands said...


I was actually encouraged and convicted by Candy.
I admire her for proclaiming the truth. God calls us to do this.
At my own brother's funeral I wish i had the courage she had.
The pastor who did the funeral service was proclaiming that my brother was in heaven. And he never met my brother, who died of AIDS.
I did write to this pastor, and confronted him, and his answer was that God is a big enough, and merciful enough God, to save my brother, and even save me and himself.
That's very deceiving.
I don't know for sure where my brother is, and yet this man, who never met him knows. I was with my brother just before he past away, trying to share the gospel. He was silent. AIDS had eaten him up.
I pray that I would have more courage to share the gospel, and have less fear of man, and more fear of God in my heart. And my motivation should be because I care about others eternal souls, and I want to see God's grace and name honored.
Have a blessed Lord's day tomorrow.

Matt Gumm said...

DJP: um, Riker. But an interesting comparison, nonetheless.

Especially since, like an ongoing TV series, you can almost guess what the net result of Phil's comments will be, and yet the how is always a suprise. 'Course, I could be wrong. Already been clowned twice this week by the bossman.

Waiting with anticipation...

chamblee54 said...

"I want to see God's grace and name honored."
Preaching an unwanted message to grieving people does not honor God.
I feel that Christians frequently do not respect non believers. They feel that if they only repeat their message over and over that others will agree with it. However, many of us have made up our minds, and the more you try, the more you alienate us. A heavy religious message at a funeral is perhaps the worst example of this.
I compare many Christians to a dog that will not quit barking. What is the dog trying to say with his barking? Are you going to change your mind because of his barking?
Would you invite a dog to bark at the mourners at a funeral?
Many times the mourners at a funeral will grudgingly tolerate the religious content out of respect for the family. This should not be confused for agreement. While you may convert a non believer, you also may alienate further a non believer. How can you say that one is more important than the other?
This "humoring" of a gospel happy preach-a-holic at a funeral should not be confused with respect. The persistence of aggressive bible thumpers at funerals does not speak well for Jesus, and is a violation of the third commandment.

Martin Downes said...


Having a Christian funeral is not mandatory. If people don't want it then they can go elsewhere can't they?

And, by the way, your not a very good evangelist for whatever cause you are advocating. It must be the barking. Or the straw man that you are building.

Steve said...

Chamblee54...through the years I've met a good number of people who trace their first real exposure to or interest in the gospel message to their attendance at a funeral. Contrary to what you say, there ARE people who are actually interested in hearing what the Bible has to say about death and salvation.

Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the apostles restraining themselves from hearing the gospel message to accommodate those who might resist it.

If your guideline for sharing the gospel in any group setting were to first receive the consent of all in attendance, you'd most likely never have the opportunity to speak.

Matt Gumm said...

Well I for one think Chamblee is spot on. From now on, I will never share the Gospel unless people want me to.

What's that? Some people won't ever want me to? The Gospel smells like both life & death because there are usually saved & perishing present?

Hmm, I better rethink that.

~Mark said...

My condolences and prayers to all of you who are suffering the loss or potential loss of fellowship of a loved one.

I just visited Slice of Laodicea for the first time...I don't see an obvious issue. I usually read a site (or listen to a person) for a while if an issue isn't obvious before making up my mind, so maybe I just missed something?

donsands said...

"Preachng an unwanted message to grieving people does not honor God."

Speaking the truth in love always honors God. If the motive is one of caring for the people as well.

To share the gospel, or good news, of God's forgiveness for sins in the death of Christ Jesus, always honors the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When we are ashamed to speak the truth, (and it must be done with grace and love), then the Father is not honored, neither is the Son.
Jesus said He would be ashamed of all who are ashamed of Him, and His truth.

I hope this isn't a rabbit path that has gone too far off the main path.

candy said...

Well...to continue down the rabbit path because a new post is up, so this will be a path already passed up for a new trail. First of all, when I used the word "spineless" for the minister, it was because he claims to be a Christian, a pastor of a church, and yet did not mention the name of Jesus at all. He also said he believes that EVERYONE will go to heaven. He said that people go toward a bright light and meet all their loved ones who went before, when they get to Heaven. He only shared Psalm 23 which is accepted the same way that people accept Handel's Messiah...tradition (but I do concede that God's Word does not go out void). Much more could be said about it but, oh well. I mentioned to the minister before the service that my husband and I are Christians and asked nothing more than that he consider his words. He looked right at me during the service and said "some people might disagree with me, but I believe that everyone will go to Heaven". He was not that spineless about certain things HE believed in, such as taking an opportunity to state his disagreement about the war in Iraq, of all things, which had nothing to do with the service...he is a retired military chaplain (my mother was in the Army). I knew that I was to share truth and I fully understood that I needed to do so in a gracious and merciful manner. I am not stupid or abrasive and certainly am aware of being sensitive to my family's wishes and my mother's dislike of "religion". But...truth is truth and I may not have another opportunity. I also knew it was an opportunity to not shrink back from being obedient to God. I didn't "shove" anything at anyone, but I will share one line I said, and I may share more on my blog, including scripture references. I shared......" I do not believe that everyone automatically gets a free ticket to Heaven, but I do believe that God is full of mercy and grace, perfect justice, and has power to soften a hard heart."

The choice of a minister was between him and my sister's tarot card reading, psychic, native american "shamanistic" woman "minister" friend that she wanted to preside over the service. My siblings would have outright refused our pastor cuz "Mother wasn't religious, you know!". So...sorry to beat a dead horse...I'm probably just venting by now. :)

David C. Kanz said...

While many may understandably be upset with "Slice," I can tell you from first hand experience that Ingrid is very careful with her documentation and has always been willing to be corrected when called for. She has been in broadcasting for far too long to fall into the category of sensationalist.

I know as I have worked with her personally in producing many radio broadcasts in the past. Be forewarned, her theology is definately historically reformed and consistant and guides every decision. She has a point of reference.

I look forward to your addressing the whining amongst the ranks.

Frank Martens said...

If anyone reads this still... I think this might be of interest:

Just before my grandfather was taken off life support. He was conscience and could nod his head or shake it (depending on what was asked). I know for a fact that my little brothers (who are 12 years old) were told by my dad, "If you have a chance to say anything (and this being the last chance that you will), make sure to talk to your grandfather about Jesus, because this will be your last chance." Come to find out, during the conscience time that my grandfather had, my brothers preach the gospel to him.

It reminds me of these passages... Psalms 8:2 and Matthew 21:15-16

Frank Martens said...

Oh, I should have mentioned this... my grandfather did pass away on Sunday Sept. 3rd. Thanks for all your prayers.

There will be no memorial service (at his request), but there is a burial going on with no preacher. Just my uncle saying a few words.

Still pray that there'll be a chance to preach the redemptive work of God's Son to those who haven't heard through this situation.

donsands said...


Thanks for sharing about your brothers. God is gracious beyond all we could ever know.

My condolences. Our Savior's grace be with you.