"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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Category — What We’re Watching

Charlatans, Kooks and Calculus

When I was a kid, there were only three television networks: CBS, ABC, and NBC. (Four, if you count PBS.) Fox did not yet exist. Cable did not yet exist. You watched what was on the three channels, or you read a book, listened to records, or took a walk. TV entertainment was a scarce commodity.

For this reason, my dad and I never watched TV on Sunday morning. Saturday morning was all about cartoons. Sunday morning was reserved for Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, and other televangelists. Sunday morning TV was religious, and religion was for kooks.

I spent the first part of my adult life with this preconception about Bible teachers and preachers on TV. It didn’t help that the transgressions of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart received unbridled media attention in the 1980s. Televangelists were all a bunch of charlatans and hypocrites. That’s what my dad believed, and that was what the news media reported. So, that’s what I believed, too.

And then I got saved.

After I became a Christian, my preconceptions were still there. I was wary of watching a preacher on TV, but I was also curious. Some were overly saccharine. Some were painfully dull. Some were unsettlingly focused on fire and brimstone. And some…some were very good.

A couple of the television Bible teachers really resonated with me. I liked their style of communication. I appreciated their depth of analysis and their insights concerning the original language and historical context of various Bible passages. I valued the real world application of their teaching, and I found that the more I listened — the more I studied and learned — the more interested I became in other teachers. A message that previously may have seemed too radical or extreme made sense after I understood the fundamentals.

Imagine sitting in a lecture on calculus when you are 8 years old and just getting a handle on fractions. The instructor is blabbing on about limits, derivatives and integrals, scribbling formulas on the whiteboard — and it’s all gibberish to you. It simply makes no sense. You may feel bored, annoyed, or even a little stupid. You have no context, no foundation for the teaching, and so you have no interest. It is not until you have learned fractions, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and other mathematical fundamentals that you can understand and appreciate the application of calculus.

I watch several television Bible teachers frequently now, and their instruction is invaluable to my personal development and my Christian walk. Are there charlatans and hypocrites out there? Sure. There are also some pretty crappy math teachers. You can find people who lack character in virtually any profession. You will also find some very talented, committed people of integrity who are walking in their natural gifts.

If you are new to the Bible or not even a Christian, I recommend you check out Joyce Meyer. She’s a real straight shooter who speaks in a voice reminiscent of Marge Simpson’s sisters. You can watch episodes of her show, Enjoying Everyday Life, for free on her website. Give her a try for a week. If you are bold, give Creflo Dollar or Jack Hayford a shot. They rock. On the web, check out the blog by my friend Rebecca Carrell at Love.Serve.Shine.

Are they all a bunch of kooks? I encourage you to set aside any preconceptions and simply listen. Then make up your mind. You might be surprised at what resonates.

December 13, 2011   5 Comments

Martin Dale’s Magic Pill

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Martin and Kim Dale, longtime friends of my husband, Craig, and directors of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Houston, Texas. They were in town for a conference, and Craig was eager to get together, given that it had been more than ten years since he had seen them last. We rendezvous’d on Saturday afternoon at a lovely Greek cafe in north Dallas and spent some 90 minutes sharing stories over hummus and baklava. I left with a full belly and a humble heart.

The reality of drug addictionYou see, Martin and Kim are passionate people. They have a genuine calling to help the kind of individuals whom many would look upon with disdain or dismiss as “hopeless”. Specifically, YWAM Houston ministers to prostitutes, crack addicts, transexuals, drug dealers and gang members in an effort to rescue them from the streets and help them turn their lives around. They also train teens and young adults for ministry, equipping them with the skills and courage to enter the roughest inner city neighborhoods and offer assistance to anyone in need. The group is part of YWAM International, which currently operates in more than 1000 locations across 149 countries.

The Dales share the combined giftings of compassion and evangelism, and have dedicated their lives to reaching the lost. They also manage to do it in a way that’s not preachy or self-righteous. If I say any more, that’s exactly how I’m likely to come off, so I’ll let the video do the talking.


Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. (Proverbs 24:11)

May 27, 2008   No Comments