Thursday, May 26, 2005
ATI E-mail Update
ATI e-mail update forwarded to me.
Dear ATI Families,
We would like to thank you all for your prayers for the Big Sandy Training Conference. We have been hearing many reports of how families were impacted by the powerful messages that were shared. The conference speakers were outstanding! Several seasoned ATI parents presented keys on how to raise children who will remain faithful to the Lord. Dr. Gothard spoke on the rewards of memorizing and meditating on Scripture, and included presentations by individuals who have memorized large portions of Scripture. Testimonies were shared by several individuals who have experienced severe trials, and have seen God's faithfulness in the midst of tragedy. All families were welcome to join in the First Year Family training which was presented by Dr. Gothard and Phil and Diane Bowman. The sessions were very practical and inspiring for families with children of all ages. (For a review of the Big Sandy Conference, please visit www.ati.iblp.org/events/trainingconferences/gallery05/.)
Plan now to attend one of the 2005 Regional Training Conferences! There is still time for your family to experience the inspiration, fellowship, and refreshment of a Regional Training Conference. Join us at one of the following conferences:
May 31-June 3, 2005 in Nashville, Tennessee
July 5-8, 2005 in Sacramento, California
August 9-12, 2005 in Indianapolis, Indiana
For more conference information visit the website shown above.
As we prepare for the Nashville Training Conference, we would appreciate your continued prayer support. Please consider the requests below as the Lord brings them to mind.
Wednesday, May 25
Please pray that the city of Nashville and surrounding areas will be protected from evil influences, and that the conference will benefit those in the community. Pray also that the weather next week best accomplishes the needs of the attendees.
Thursday, May 26
The publications team at Headquarters is preparing many of the resources that will be offered to the families. Please pray for wisdom, efficiency, and safety as they prepare and transport these materials. Pray that vehicles and equipment will function well, and that these resources will have a lasting impact in the hearts and homes of those who use them.
Friday, May 27
Please pray for Dr. Gothard as he prepares for the conference. Pray that each attendee will be encouraged with a special message from the Lord that will impact their future decisions.
Saturday, May 28
A major topic for the Nashville Conference is using our kingdom authority in Christ to disable Satan's work. Obviously, Satan is trying to stop this message however he can. Please ask the Lord to do something great in each life and protect the people, facilities, and equipment from interference.
Sunday, May 29
Please pray for safety, encouragement, and strength for the ATI staff as they plan, and for the Nashville Training Center staff as they finish preparing their facility. In the midst of final preparations, pray that each person will honor the Lord's Day as He directs them.
Monday, May 30
Please pray for the staff traveling to Tennessee today, and for all equipment to work as the video team preserves the messages given this week for future use. Pray that hearts would be cleansed for the Lord to work freely.
Tuesday, May 31
As families travel to Nashville today, please pray for safety, family harmony, and circumstances that will prepare everyone for a good week. Pray also for the staff as they coordinate last-minute details. As the sessions begin tonight, pray that the Lord will work in each heart in a powerful way.
Wednesday, June 1
Today's sessions address marriage harmony, hearing a child's heart, Scriptural foundations for education, and conquering fears. As ALERT Cadet, Pre-EXCEL, COMMIT, Children's Institute and WINGS programs begin today, pray that team leaders will have wisdom and sensitivity to work with challenges that arise, and that each child will benefit from this week.
Thursday, June 2
Today, please pray that the Lord will use the messages of Dr. Karl Coke, Dewey Novotny, and George Keller to bring about world-changing results. Pray also for the musicians who are ministering throughout the week, and for mothers who have young children with them.
Friday, June 3
On this last morning of the conference, pray for continued strength for each family. Please pray for Dr. Gothard and others as they present insights today on showing love to offenders, meditating on Scripture, and using kingdom authority. As the student choir sings tonight and the conference concludes, pray the Holy Spirit will prompt total surrender in each heart and that relationships will be restored.
Saturday, June 4
Praise the Lord for His blessing on the week! As the families and staff return home, pray for safe travel, time to reflect on lessons learned, and that God will be glorified in new and greater ways through each life!
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Monday, May 23, 2005
I am Jack's Ripped Spirituality
There's a scene in the nihilistic movie Fight Club where Jack (Edward Norton) nudges his friend Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and gestures toward a Calvin Klein advertisement featuring a buff, bare-chested underwear model. "Is that how a man looks?" asks Jack. "Self-improvement is masturbation," Tyler retorts.
I feel that way about spiritual discipline sometimes. Growing up in ATIA, where one's maturity was measured by the number of disciplines he practiced, I have a respectable resume of spiritual self-improvement. For years, I rose early in the morning to pray and read Scripture. I've memorized whole chapters and a few short books of the Bible, and read biographies of great Christians. I kept a journal full of insights and rhemas. I tithed regularly. And this was all during my teenage years.
I was not alone -- I was joined by a company of other dedicated young people, all improving our spiritual fitness, increasing our stamina, and occasionally flexing to compare our spiritual muscles.
Our chief model and example, of course, was Mr. Spiritual Universe himself: Bill Gothard. He's rumored to have memorized the entire Bible (in at least three different versions), he fasts, he gets up at 4:00 a.m. to pray...and then there's the whole 70 years of celibacy.
But somewhere in the drive to increase my spiritual discipline, I lost focus of the true goal: a relationship with Christ. My disciplines, however well-intended, became an end in themselves. Whenever I sinned (which happened regularly enough), I would try to compensate by increasing my level of discipline. Somehow it seemed to make up for my unworthiness.
Self discipline is an essential part of the Christian life, but it is not a replacement for holiness. If I gauge my spiritual value by how disciplined I am, it will inevitably lead to pride and independence. In that respect, spiritual improvement is a self-satisfying act and a destroyer of intimacy with Christ.
These days I'm not quite the spiritual superman that I once was. But it's okay. I'd rather just be a follower of Jesus.
If you don't appreciate the satire...
...you may be brain-damaged.
Friday, May 20, 2005
IBLP Eight Ball
IBLP has announced plans to release a powerful new tool in discerning character flaws at the next regional ATI conference. The IBLP Magic Eight Ball will be able to to determine which principle the user violated.
Users can follow a simple process to gain God's direction for their lives by crying out for God's wisdom. They then shake the Eight Ball and can ask any question, such as: "Why is this bad thing happening to me?"
The IBLP Magic Eight Ball will answer accordingly, such as: "You have given ground to Satan through rock music," or "You are bitter," or "You have not grafted enough Scripture into your soul."
ATI families are thrilled to learn of this exciting new tool, and many parents have placed advance orders for the product so that they might wisely direct their sons and daughters.
-Thanks to Mairzy
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Our State Fair is an Evil State Fair
The following e-mail was apparently sent to ATI families and was forwarded to me. To be fair, I'm not sure if it is real, but it certainly sounds authentic.
UPDATE: The original e-mail, as forwarded to me, is posted in the comment section.
Dear ATI Families,
Please help your perplexed servant!
Two days ago we received an emergency call from an ATI mother. Her 20 year old daughter was experiencing strong impulses to commit suicide and to harm others. She was also experiencing unusual, lustful thoughts. This daughter has been in the ATI program for 11 years. She is a bright, attractive young lady with many talents and skills. She loves the Lord and has been very obedient to her parents. So what is the problem?
I talked to her for about an hour that evening. Her depression began when a potential friendship with a Christian young man did not work out. I began sharing with her some of the information we will be presenting next week at the first Regional ATI Conference in Big Sandy, Texas. Her response was very encouraging, and we prayed through some vital issues. When she was helped that much by what I explained to her, I became excited by how much more she would be benefited by attending the conference, which is only about a 4 hour drive from their home.
It was at that point that I became totally perplexed! She said, "Our family is not planning to attend the ATI Conference. Instead we are going to the State Fair!" The State Fair? With a daughter who is being obsessed with impulses to kill herself and also with immoral thoughts? I do not understand! This is an emergency situation, and not only are they missing potential help at the conference, but they are exposing her to potential danger at the fair due to her weakened spiritual condition.
Last night I called the father (who gave me permission to share this information with you). He is a dedicated Christian and committed to doing what is best for his family. He reported that after my talk with his daughter and further discussion with him and his wife, she was improved. But I explained that we have two key issues to deal with. The first is the matter of suicidal impulses, which in part resulted from bitterness over the failed friendship. The second was immoral thoughts, which in part results when a father is not sanctifying his wife and family by his regular
meditation on God's Word.
I explained to him how Jesus sanctified Himself by the Word for our sakes and how a father must do this for those under his spiritual care (see John 17:19 and Ephesians 5:25-27). He acknowledged that he had become very lax in meditating on God's Word. He also realized the importance of rethinking his schedule for next week.
I explained that for 20 years I have been working on lasting results for ATI families, and now we are able to provide significant new tools, resources, direction, and information for parents and teens. However, if the fathers do not make the effort to receive it, it will not be of any value to them or their families. I am sharing this with you because I know that many other families are facing similar situations. The problem is that the fathers are often not aware of the secret defeats that are happening in the lives of their sons and daughters. So often we get calls when it is too late to deal with what could have been easily averted.
A New Offer of Help
Based on the above, I would urge each one of you to first sign up for the Daily Success program to enhance the sanctifying power of meditation. Many of you took advantage of this when it was offered without charge for an early registration. Even though the original deadline for the early registration rate is past, I would like to give a further encouragement for more of you to sign up for these daily treasures of insight and information on the Commands of Christ. If you get your annual enrollment fee in before May 15, you can also receive the Daily Success program without charge.
My second appeal is to make whatever sacrifices are possible to attend a Regional Conference. I believe you will agree at the end of the week that it was worth every effort you made to attend. Further information on the Daily Success program can be obtained by visiting www.iblp.org or by calling 1-800-398-1290. For more information on the ATI Regional Conferences, please visit the ATI website at www.ati.iblp.org/conferences or call the ATI Department at 630-323-2842.
It truly is a joy to serve you and a thrill to see the marvelous fruit that is resulting from our work together.
Through Christ our Lord,
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Mainstream ain't good enough
Rumor has it that IBLP staff today celebrated what they called the National Day of Crying Out. "Mature Christians understand that normal prayer only goes so far," said Bill Gothard during a staff meeting. "God is anxious to set us free from suffering, but he demands that we cry out for his deliverance."
After the meeting, IBLP staffers formed small groups for singing and crying out.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Deliver us from evil
Dear Brother R.C. Sproul, Jr.,
While I normally devote my time to encouraging Brother Gothard and his followers in their pursuit of spiritual perfection, your recent blog post inspired within me such a holy anger that I took time to write this letter of agreement.
Brother Sproul, though your writing style is heavy and erudite, and I may have been slightly drunk (we're not all perfect, brother), I believe people will perceive the simple truth of your recent post: fie upon those women who attempt to teach men by blogging.
As you say -- the Internet, for all its strengths, has the power of diffusing unbiblical communication by women who refuse to be silent among men as is their Scriptural mandate. Gone are the days when women had to leave the home in order to sin -- adorning themselves in immoral dress, with painted faces. Now women can show a brazen spirit by simply signing up on Blogger, Typepad, or any number of weblog hosting services.
Before the advent of the Internet, we could rely on men to easily silence their wives. But now that every lady has her own cyberpulpit, how can we control these women who would step out from the protection of their fathers or husbands?
These women are able to communicate directly to the husbands of other women and, in some cases, are actually attempting to teach men by preaching on their blogs.
Brother Sproul, not many would have had the courage to speak out against this ungodly practice. Thank heaven for discerning men such as yourself who are able to silence these outspoken wenches.
Sadly, there are actually men out there who have lost their own sense of Patriachal calling and regularly read the blogs of women. These welps must be confronted and bucked up with a good, strong, Christian man exhortation.
I confess, I also need your counsel. How do you protect yourself from the onslaught of women who leave comments on your blog? Brother Pierpont has his own method, which seems to work well. I usually encourage each woman to consult with her husband -- does she have his permission to speak? But still they leave comments. How do I protect myself from educational conversations with women who would attempt to influence me unbiblically?