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Steve Trullinger

Man’s Sight Restored- Kenya 2017

Now he can see!

After I finished preaching on “Exceptional Excitement – The Power of the Testimony” at the Sunday morning service (Feb 19) at Glory Mission Centre in Dandora (Nairobi, Kenya), I was relaxing in the office of FTAF Apostle Benson Kiunjuri, enjoying a simple lunch and some chai (tea). After a few minutes of “winding down” after this “last” ministry activity on this trip to Kenya, I found out I wasn’t actually finished.

Pastor Elihud brought to the office a friend named Richard, whose vision was so severely impaired that he had not been able to see more than 3 or 4 inches in front of his face, for over 20 years!

Apostle Kiunjuri “informed” me that I wasn’t done with ministry that day, and I whole-heartedly agreed! The compassion of Jesus welled up in all of us as we prayed for healing of Richard’s eyes. The power of that compassion improved his vision so much, that he was able to see the clock on the wall, and the hands on the clock, something he could not do when he first came into the office. He correctly identified several objects and their colors, and was able to accurately discern the number of fingers Apostle Kiunjuri held up to test his vision.

Joy filled the office and the Joyful One rejoiced with us, because His compassion has once more paved the way for changing a blind man’s life forever! Bwana asifiwe (Lord be praised)!

I was now able to finish my chai and head to dinner and the airport for the safari home, although I’m not sure I needed the plane to fly!

Abolish the Adjective

(Originally posted September 19, 2013)

I read a recent post on Facebook that referred to “radical” Christianity, and the author offered a clarification/opinion of what it is [decades of faithfulness] and is not [mission trips and conferences].  I offered my “two cents” of opinion/advice on the use of the adjective “radical” and this prompted a constructive interchange with a few readers.   Such interchange often helps sharpen my thinking on the issue under discussion, and in this case I’ve realized that I’m actually a radical abolitionist concerning the use of the adjective “radical” for Christianity.

Here are my two cents that I offered:

“The use of the adjective “radical” in connection with Christianity is either superfluous or an indictment of the Christianity that needs to be ‘radicalized.’  Be careful if you are tempted to enhance the meaning with the use of ‘radical.’

It should be enough to refer to oneself as a Christian, and even that shouldn’t really be necessary. As the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said a long time ago when addressing a group of young women, ‘If you have to tell someone you are a lady, you’re not!’ So let your fruit do the talking and your faithfulness as a son of God will become apparent.

Radical concept!”

One reader commented on the utility of the adjective “radical”: I believe it differentiates between what common and cultural Christianity represents these days as opposed to biblical Christianity.”

My reply: “I agree with your phraseology that “common” and “cultural” Christianity is opposed to biblical Christianity. Indeed I would hesitate to call those “versions” Christianity at all. In my view, there is no other form of Christianity than biblical, and it would be wise for all “believers” to compare their professions of faith to actual expressions of faith that are commensurate with what Jesus advertised, for example, in John 14:12. Self-deception is a vicious trap. (See, for example, the warning by the Apostle John [1John 2:3-6].) Let’s drop the adjectives used for Christianity and begin living according to the ways of the One after whom the movement is named!”

Christianity is inherently shocking to the unbeliever, and even to the maturing Christian. I shouldn’t have to call you radical if I call you a Christian! Let’s work to restore Christianity to a place such that its inherent meaning allows us to abolish the adjective!

God Is Not Outside of Time!

Every so often, my training and experience as a research physicist and university professor for more than  two decades come in handy when contemplating the awesomeness of God! In my “former life” as a  scientist, I was used to thinking about some of the “fundamental” aspects of the physical world. Such  topics as energy, light, heat, gravitation, electricity and magnetism, etc., are standard “fare” in the diet of  physicists, and the concepts and principles I learned in my studies and research often helped me be even  more in awe of God’s creation than if I hadn’t had the privilege of a physicist’s perspective.

From the incredibly minute scales of sub-nuclear particles to the vast magnificence of the observed  universe, God has made himself known through his creation [Rom 1:20], and my study of the physicist’s  pursuit of “understanding” of the natural realm often helped my “jaw drop” in amazement with many of  the revelations of his divine nature and power evidenced in his intricate handiwork!

With delight and a warm heart, my ears perk up when I hear believers proclaim their wonderment as well.  I love hearing the awe in voices that share their amazement at God’s attributes and creativity, even as we  all must confess our limited, infinitesimal understanding of his ways [Is 55:9]. We all delight in the  mysteries of God, even as we each are mystified in unique ways that depend on our individual understanding and perspective of the physical realm in which we live.

With this appreciation of the varied perspectives we all have, I would like to share my own view on just  one of the many inscrutable aspects of God’s nature, namely his relationship to that somewhat confusing  and often misunderstood creation of his that we call “time.” This “nugget” is intended only as an  “appetizer,” and there is very much more that I will try to share later on. But for now, I want to focus on  the phrase that I often hear from folks expressing the majesty of God, namely that “God is outside of  time.”

To be sure, God is sovereign over time! He made it and he is Lord over it, often “adjusting” it as he sees  fit. But to say that he is “outside” of it I think misses a key facet of God’s amazing nature. I presume that  what most people are thinking when they say that God is “outside of time” is that he is not controlled by  it, or limited by it, or otherwise constrained in the same way that we think that we are. Let me share a  different perspective with you, one that takes into account some of the nature of this concept we call time  as understood by physicists.

Without launching into an extended “physics lecture,” I do want to summarize one of the key features of  “time” that escaped much notice until just over a century ago. It is my hope that by understanding this  feature, you may gain increased “awe” of God through what he has made. In 1905, Albert Einstein burst  onto the “public” scene with the publication of several revolutionary discoveries/theories, among which  the most popular was what later became known as the “Theory of Special Relativity.” Many popular, and  readable, accounts have been written over these many years since his theory was introduced to the public,  and it is not my intent to explain his theory here. [You may have already been yawning just at the mention of “physics!”] Rather, let’s focus on just one important aspect that bears on the subject of God and time.

Einstein hypothesized that both space and time were not absolute “entities,” in the sense that all observers  would measure the same (or absolute) values of distance and time intervals separating two events. Instead, Einstein concluded that two observers in relative motion with respect to each other would measure different values for the distance and time interval between two events, and these differences would become quite dramatic as the relative motion of the observers approached the speed of light! In fact, he proposed that “space” and “time” were not in fact independent of one another, but were intimately connected aspects of the more general four-dimensional “space-time”continuum that serves as the “grid,” so to speak, for describing events that occur in our physical realm. As a consequence, space and time  could “morph” [my language] into each other, depending on the relative motion of two observers.

Let me summarize this nature of space-time and its connectedness to observation with an oversimplification: One man’s “meter” is another man’s “hour!”  

If that seems too much to fathom, you are not alone in the mystery! This aspect of space-time was not  generally anticipated before Einstein’s radical hypothesis, primarily because the amount of “mixing” of  space with time was incredibly small and undetectable for observers moving at achievable relative speeds  (incredibly much smaller than the speed of light). Nevertheless, the nature of space and time is such that  they are not separate, absolute, entities but instead are aspects of the more general space-time that God  created, and uncountable experiments that do probe this “mixing” have verified that Einstein’s hypothesis  has merit and is incredibly accurate in the context [constant relative velocity of observers] where it is  presumed to be valid. [For situations where the observers are accelerating with respect to each other,  Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is needed.]

What’s the point? The point is that what we call “space” and what we call “time” may differ from what  our brother perceives from his “vantage” point, if we are moving with respect to one another.

How does this relate to God’s nature? If we agree that God is omnipresent (everywhere in space), then he  must also be everywhere in time (omnitemporal)! Since space and time are not “disjoint” entities, in the  sense described above, we cannot in the same breath say that God is ‘everywhere in space” and also say  that he is “outside of time.” Indeed, instead of God being outside of time, he is everywhere in it! 

I hope to pursue this subject much more at a later “time,” but for now let me say that the concept of God  being everywhere in time actually may help shed light on some related questions. For example, God  existing everywhere in time fits well with his own declaration of who he is: “I AM!” [Ex 3:14]. Also,  we are helped to avoid the temptation to think of God as a sort of “super-prophet” who can “look into the  future” perfectly. Rather, he is already there! I’m sure you will think of other questions that can be  approached differently now, with this broader appreciation of God’s nature.

Our God, who created space-time, can exist everywhere in it and still be sovereign over it. He is not  outside of time. He is much more amazing than that!

It Will No Longer Occur to You!

I recently saw a post on Facebook by a woman who expressed sincere doubt about whether it is right to bring a child into the world when it is likely that it will have to endure extreme hardship, violence, and other forms of suffering. The implication was that it would be better to abort such a one. Here is my answer, which I hope will prove helpful to others struggling with similar questions:

“Without God’s guidance in the matters you raise, there will always be unease and a lack of certainty in any decision you make. You will never know if you have done the right thing. The kind of peace you seek requires surrender to the Lordship of a perfectly moral, just, and loving God who knows exactly the right behavior and attitude that will be best for his creation. You will have to make a choice to trust God to give you the right advice and guidance all through your life. You don’t have to beg Him to provide this guidance; He already wants to help you. 

Once you decide that God knows best, and are willing to obey his commands that are designed to bring and protect life, rather than destruction and chaos, then you can truly have freedom and peace that surpass your capacity to understand. Then, and only then, will you find peace in agreeing with God that he alone is sovereign over decisions of life and death. In short, you will be able to resist the temptation to take such matters into your own hands and then have to live in turmoil because of a deep uncertainty regarding the correctness of your decision(s). 

By following the way of Jesus, you can place the weight of such decisions entirely upon him. You wouldn’t be here if your parents had decided to abort you because of fear for your future. Aren’t you glad that they allowed God to determine whether you live or die? A morality that embeds uncertainty in its core through humanistic reasoning is an untrustworthy compass for your life. If you surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, he will give you peace because the responsibility for your guidance rests with him. He will teach you to think and feel as he does, and then you will be certain that every unborn child is his creation and that he is watchful over every one. 

And the question of whether it is right or just to bring a child into a less than perfect world will be settled for you. In fact, it will no longer be perceived as a question, but as a blessed privilege to be the parental steward (or to trust God to find one) of a precious life. Murdering an innocent baby will no longer be an option, because it will no longer occur to you.”

–Steve Trullinger, September 27, 2012

Choose Whom You Will Serve

Choose Whom You Will Serve!

(Originally posted: June 27, 2012)

I recently saw this piece of well-intentioned “advice” that was posted on Facebook and noted that very similar “sayings” have also been again circulating for a while:

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”

I understand why this sounds good, because it focuses on self.  It sounds especially good to someone in a very difficult or “chronic” situation – more on that later.

But where is Jesus in this advice?   I’m glad he didn’t walk away from us (when we were yet his enemies!), and I pray that his example helps us serve others, rather than insisting that they serve us, grow us, or make us happy.  The Kingdom of God is antithetical to humanism.   It challenges humanism and its focus on self [Lk 9:23]. 

The fundamental question is this:  Whom will you serve?   Will it be the “god” of self, or your Father in heaven who paid a huge price to send the Servant who gave his life for you?

Is it possible that the above admonishment to increase “self-respect” enough to enable the “walk-away” option is, in fact, a hidden trap leading to decreased respect for the new creature you have become upon your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?  In other words, might there be an increased urge to focus even more on self after such a walk-away, especially if “friends” applaud your “courageous” decision?  [Pr 14:12]

The seduction of such advice is that the “self” you are being encouraged to respect more is actually your old “self,” the old nature that needs no help in satisfying its own soulish desires.  On the other hand, it is prudent to increase respect for your new self, the nature that now lives in obedience to Christ and eschews the old cravings of the former nature  [Eph 4:22-24].  Obedience is a pathway to the true and complete joy that Jesus wants you to have, and when you have overcome the temptation to satisfy your old self, then you will have not only the rewards that Jesus has promised [Rev 2:7b, 11b, 17b-c, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21], but you will also have become someone worthy of true respect of the new self.

But what about the really difficult situation you may be in?  Humanism tells you to walk away.  Christlikeness strengthens your resolve and ability to hold steady to whatever the Lord has commanded you [Lk 22:42].  If he tells you to stay, and serve the Kingdom interest in your situation by doing so, then he will enable you to do so [2Cor 12:9]. 

Being served by others and requiring that they somehow make you better, or that they make you happy, is not the way of the Galilean [Phil 2:3-7].   If the Holy Spirit does give you a new assignment, then you should be obedient to his leading, and you will be if you are a son of God [Rom 8:14].  Your joy will be deep and secure because of your obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit, not because you satisfied the desires of the old self for shallow “happiness” that evaporates with a shift in circumstance.

If you are a follower of Christ, then you have the glorious opportunity to experience the joy of your Lord as you serve in the manner he did (and does!). This high calling is of far more value than the inferior result of settling “for a bowl of soup,” as did Esau when he short-sightedly sold his birthright (as the first-born) to his brother Jacob [see Gen 25:27-34].

Be sure today to make a clear and committed choice.  You can choose either to be a self-server who has been duped by humanistic advice, or to be a Spirit-led new “self” who serves others!  Rather than walk away, walk in the Way!