You Can’t Change the World

39009419_sSometimes it seems that for all of our good intentions, we can get off track in our thinking. Consequently we think we are supposed to be doing something that we really are not.

Take, for instance, the idea of changing the world. That sounds like a really swell idea. How noble. How ambitious. But is it even right? Does God intend for us to change this world? Don’t get me wrong, yes—absolutely yes—we are supposed to have a very positive effect on this world as salt and light. But change it?

Jesus came into this dark world as light (Jn. 3:19). The world is still in darkness (Php. 2:15). The whole world still remains under “the power of the evil one” (1 Jn. 5:19).

Does this mean Jesus failed? Not at all. He didn’t come to change the world, He came to seek and save the lost in it (Luke 19:10). He came to provide a way of escape from it. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:3-4).

Our purpose as God’s people is not to change this world but to be salt and light in it; that others can see the glory of God through us and know that there is hope beyond this world and this life.

Yes, lives are changed in the process, but the world continues on its path to the end to which its “god” leads it (2 Cor. 4:4).

Be salt and light? Be an influence for good and righteousness? Help lead as many others as we possibly can to all spiritual blessings in Christ?

Yes, yes, and yes!

But, change the world? No.


I Don’t Look Like Jesus

5839424_sWhat makes one “like” Jesus? How does one know what to do in answering the question, “What would Jesus do?” What does it look like when Jesus is “formed in” us (Gal. 4:19)?  What does it mean to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29)?

I wish to be like Jesus, I really do. I want my life to look like Him. I pray that I am more like Him today than I have ever been. But I also know there are so many ways in which I am not like Him. I don’t look like Jesus when…

  • my response to humankind is anger or resentment or disgust instead of compassion (Lk. 7:13).
  • I cannot feel comfortable in the company of the irreligious (Mk. 2:15).
  • my only associations are other church people (Lk. 15:2).
  • people with wrecked and ruined lives do not feel comfortable around me (Matt. 9:36).
  • my own preferences and ideas carry more weight in the practice of my faith than does God’s own word (Jn. 4:34).
  • I do not possess an overwhelming sense of utter and complete dependence on God always (Jn. 5:30).
  • in helping serve people in need I fail to also point them to spiritual food and clothing and shelter (Jn. 6:27).
  • I isolate myself from the world (Lk. 13:22).
  • I think everyone will love me (Jn. 15:18).
  • protecting personal comforts prevent me from engaging the world (Lk. 9:58).
  • my family ties prevail over spiritual ties (Matt. 12:48-50).
  • I only preach to people and fail to serve them (Matt. 9:35).
  • prayer is only of marginal importance and infrequently practiced (Mk. 1:35).
  • tradition takes priority in my actions and practices over God’s own word (Mk. 7:8-9).
  • temptation cannot be met and defeated through the use of Scripture (Matt. 4:4,7).
  • I expect people to come to me and I am unwilling to go to them (Lk. 13:22).
  • if concern for the condition of lost souls is not the highest concern in my life (Lk. 19:10).

It appears that I don’t look much like Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, it is NOT that our being accepted and received by God is based on our ability to emulate Christ. It isn’t as if He’ll love me more the better job I do of being Christ-like. That would put my standing with God on the basis of human merit and that is actually “contrary” to the gospel (Gal. 1:8).

Neither is this about heaping up guilt for our shortcomings. If it were, that wouldn’t be like Jesus either.

Instead, I need to know that growing up “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” is the objective (Eph. 4:13). And, no matter how far I’ve made it, I still have a long way to go. There is no place to stop, no time to look around and compare my progress with others, no reason to despair and give up. He is there every step of the way to help, to encourage, to restore, to heal, to forgive, and to guide.

The fact that I’m not like Jesus in so many ways motivates me. It’s like Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Php. 3:12).


027: Ordinary People Extraordinary Faith Interview with Dema Grischuk, Ukraine Preacher


Ukraine-Map_(Renovated)Tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine.  In certain areas, like the Dontesk/Donbass region and the city of Donetsk itself, it’s particularly tense.  The new Ukrainian president has initiated an “anti-terrorist” military campaign intended to oust the pro-Russian insurgents in various locations.  The result has been much fighting and the disruption of daily life.  The city of Donetsk waits for these efforts to be brought there.

Dema Grischuk is a preacher, teacher, and ministry director who has taken a leading role in trying to minister to the suffering and hurting citizens of Ukraine.  His efforts extend beyond the local congregation. The Let’s Love ministry which he directs has long been reaching out to orphans, children at risk, and the poor and needy throughout the Donetsk region.  With many of their efforts suspended due to the unrest, much attention has now been directed to refugees; those leaving eastern Ukraine to escape the violence and danger.

In this “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” interview, Dema shares his thoughts and experiences of trying to share the peace and comfort of God with his countrymen in a nation torn by aggression, violence, and turmoil.  Not only is Dema involved in addressing physical needs, but also the often-overlooked spiritual dimension of these troubled times through an active, public prayer grouped that has assembled every day since the first difficulties arose, over 100 days ago.



Dema's family

Dema’s family


Dema leading Donetsk prayer group













Prayer group meeting daily for prayer in Donetsk for over 100 days.

Prayer group meeting daily for prayer in Donetsk for over 100 days.

Former prisoner of insurgents being given aid

Former prisoner of insurgents being given aid










Burned out public transportation, Kramatorsk

Work with refugee children

Work with refugee children












Bible Passages:

These are the Scriptures that Dema shared that he has found most helpful, not only for himself but those to whom he ministers, all coming from Isaiah.

  • Isaiah 40
  • Isaiah 41:14
  • Isaiah 43:1-7
  • Isaiah 54:15-17

Prayer requests:

• For peace in Ukraine
• For the Vacation Bible School program to be conduced for refugees’ children (end of June)
• For the week of Bible camp for refugees’ children (end of July)

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026: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview with Ukrainian Christians During Upheaval and Conflict


UkraineUndoubtedly one of the most remarkable world events of the past three decades was the fall of the “Iron Curtain” and dismantling of the former Soviet Union.  Though considered by many a great event in the progress of freedom and democracy, the fallout from these world altering events is far from over.  Several nations broke away from the USSR including Ukraine in 1991.

The church in the west saw this as a great opportunity to evangelize this atheistic.  Many Christians, myself included, were completely unaware of the long and rich history of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Still, massive efforts were made, hundreds and thousands were converted and numerous congregations were planted.

The move to a free market system and democratic political process has not been easy or smooth.  Right now Ukraine is in the throws of political upheaval.  Mass rallies ousted the sitting president with a new presidential election scheduled for the near future.  In the meantime, pro-Russian separatists have taken action in eastern Ukraine (the area most heavily populated with native Russians) going so far as to holding a referendum election to separate the eastern part of the nation from the rest of Ukraine.  Blood has been shed, ordinary daily life has been greatly affected, and the churches find themselves in very difficult times.

This episode’s interview is with two of the preachers from Kramatorsk, Ukraine—Vladimir Paziy and Vitaly Rodichev—as well as some of the Christians in that community.  In it they speak to the uncertainty of their situation, their efforts to maintain peace in the church amidst a variety of political viewpoints, and the assurance and comfort they draw from their faith.



Screenshot 2014-05-14 11.20.33

Vladimir Paziy

Vitaly Rodichev

Vitaly Rodichev



Screenshot 2014-05-13 10.40.19

Christians in Kramatorsk, Ukraine during Skype call–Eugene Tebel (in blue shirt)









Favorite Bible Passages:

These are passages mentioned by Vladimir and Vitaly as well as several of the other Christians that they find most helpful in the middle of their uncertainty and turmoil.

     Psalm 37:3-9
     Psalm 71
     Psalm 89
     Psalm 23
     2 Kings 4
     Romans 8:28
     James 1
     1 Peter 1
     Revelation 2:10


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025: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview with Betty Robins; Surviving the Oklahoma City Bombing


At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995 a massive bomb destroyed the Alfred E. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  At the time it was by far the most destructive terrorist act in American history.  It was, of course, surpassed by the events of September 11, 2001.

In that April blast—19 years ago on this podcast release date—168 persons lost their lives and nearly 700 were injured.

In this episode, we return to our “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” interviews for a conversation with Betty Robins who was in the Murrah Building that fateful morning. Had she not been detained mid-errand by a co-worker she would, in all likelihood, have been the 169th victim—she was headed to an office at the front of the building, which took the brunt of the impact.

Betty shares her experience, not only on that fateful day, but of her recovery process.  Primary she shares with us the emotional and spiritual impact and the journey of recovery.  Betty provides excellent insights for anyone trying to cope with traumatic events of any kind in their lives.







                                                                              The bomb’s devastation


         Betty Robins


Betty’s Favorite Bible Passages:

These are passages Betty shared that played an important role for her in the difficult days of her recovery and healing.
Philippians 4:13—“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Jeremiah 29:11—“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”



Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial website:

Mandi Cofer’s blog:


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Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast. Come back again to listen soon!

God bless!


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