Finding Lasting Peace of Mind


Finding Lasting Peace of Mind

By Pastor Jeff (CMU Contributing Author)

New International Version
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:7)

One of the hardest parts of living the Christian life is having peace in a world that is in chaos. I want to encourage you today and give you some practical advice in how to deal with this. To do this I borrow from both the medical and spiritual realms.

Let’s start with the medical. The brain is the organ of our body that controls our body processes like the heartbeat and breathing. However, the brain is also a mystery in this realm we know as thinking and even the soul. The brain has been shown to be active in different areas under the scan of an MRI during certain thought or emotional cycles. The research tells us today that most cognitive thought takes place in the big part of our brain or cerebrum. This is the part of our brain that we use to make decisions and think about things. What if we could be like Mr. Spock from the Star Trek series that acted from pure logic without emotion, His counterpart Captain Kirk was always arguing with Spock saying that being human is to be emotional.

The emotional part of our brain is the simple brain which lies underneath our cerebrum. This is where emotions are created in our brain due to the chemistry that is created. Have you ever had an emotional experience where you felt like you had little or no control? This has been the experience of many of us. We struggle with the thoughts of being out of control and maybe even feeling condemned. This is the sad barrier that needs to be overcome. We need not be dismayed for much longer. Just keep reading.
The spiritual is also coming into the picture. I would like to bring this reality into the focus of the picture as well. Paul the Apostle said that he struggled with what he wanted to do and found that sin had victory.

“I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to—what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking. But I can’t help myself because I’m no longer doing it. It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.”(Romans 7:15-17)

It is pretty safe to say that even the great Apostle struggled with conquering his emotional self. The human condition is no different today that in his time. We have a struggle in the spirit to overcome sin in our body. My experience is that this is really a journey that needs to be taken and not an instant cure for things like anxiety or depression. We also know that Satan preys upon our human weakness through accusation and taking advantage of our humanity through temptation. How do we overcome?

Let me share with you my experience with this. I lost my full time employment about a year ago. I was working for a great company with a lot of promise for the future and upward mobility. In essence I was very full of joy and loved what I was doing. Then unexpectedly everything changed. Now I was out of a job and had all the fear of what to do now. I suffered for many days and nights struggling with the pressure and stress of it all. Then I decided to tackle this big giant like David versus Goliath. But you need to have the right weapon to fight the giant. So this is where I would like to take you as well.

I would pray and things just seemed to get worse and I still did not have any peace. I was really struggling. Well, I did some research and found out that our brains naturally go towards the negative thought processes due to the fight or flight response cycle which focuses on survival. I decided that this part of me could be overcome. Would I ever find the weapon I needed?

They say that prayer is our weapon against the enemy that we read of in Ephesians 6. However, my experience was that even though I was praying, my experience was still fear, anger, anxiety, etc… Praying is the right path but, allow me to share what I believe works. The Bible tells us to be still and quiet before the Lord.“ Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”(Psalm 46:10) So what you do is just sit still and let go of your thoughts and focus upon the greatness of God. This time of silence became a daily discipline for me that I made deliberate time for. What happened next was simply amazing. My thoughts became quiet and the thoughts of fear and anxiety faded. This is because I made God my focal point instead of the problem of being unemployed. Once the fear was gone then I could come to the Lord in a better state of mind. Thus I experienced the peace of God that has carried me through the hard time of life.

Going back the verse at the beginning of this article, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Phillipians 4:7) The peace became a new reality for me and I was free from the simple brain controlling my mind. This is when I could surpass my emotions and think with my cerebrum. This has made it possible for me to fight the giant. We all have giants in our lives that need to be conquered. I know you can overcome because if I can do it anyone can!


Copyright © 2015 Pastor Jeff.

Pastor Jeff is the founder of Worldwide Gospel Teaching Ministry that is dedicated to reaching out to the world through the use of social media with the love of Christ. Join him or get involved at members can also contact him directly @pastorjeff.

No Condemnation: Freed From the Penalty of Sin

Question: “What are the different English Bible versions?”

What are the different English Bible versions?

Question: “What are the different English Bible versions?”

Answer: Depending on how one distinguishes a different Bible version from a revision of an existing Bible version, there are as many as 50 different English versions of the Bible. The question then arises: Is there really a need for so many different English versions of the Bible? The answer is, of course, no, there is no need for 50 different English versions of the Bible. This is especially true considering that there are hundreds of languages into which the entire Bible has not yet been translated. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with there being multiple versions of the Bible in a language. In fact, multiple versions of the Bible can actually be an aid in understanding the message of the Bible.

There are two primary reasons for the different English Bible versions. (1) Over time, the English language changes/develops, making updates to an English version necessary. If a modern reader were to pick up a 1611 King James Version of the Bible, he would find it to be virtually unreadable. Everything from the spelling, to syntax, to grammar, to phraseology is very different. Linguists state that the English language has changed more in the past 400 years than the Greek language has changed in the past 2,000 years. Several times in church history, believers have gotten “used” to a particular Bible version and become fiercely loyal to it, resisting any attempts to update/revise it. This occurred with the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and more recently, the King James Version. Fierce loyalty to a particular version of the Bible is illogical and counterproductive. When the Bible was written, it was written in the common language of the people at that time. When the Bible is translated, it should be translated into how a people/language group speaks/reads at that time, not how it spoke hundreds of years ago.

(2) There are different translation methodologies for how to best render the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into English. Some Bible versions translate as literally (word-for-word) as possible, commonly known as formal equivalence. Some Bible versions translate less literally, in more of a thought-for-thought method, commonly known as dynamic equivalence. All of the different English Bible versions are at different points of the formal equivalence vs. dynamic equivalence spectrum. The New American Standard Bible and the King James Version would be to the far end of the formal equivalence side, while paraphrases such as The Living Bible and The Message would be to the far end of the dynamic equivalence side.

The advantage of formal equivalence is that it minimizes the translator inserting his/her own interpretations into the passages. The disadvantage of formal equivalence is that it often produces a translation so woodenly literal that it is not easily readable/understandable. The advantage of dynamic equivalence is that it usually produces a more readable/understandable Bible version. The disadvantage of dynamic equivalence is that it sometimes results in “this is what I think it means” instead of “this is what it says.” Neither method is right or wrong. The best Bible version is likely produced through a balance of the two methodologies.

Listed below are the most common English versions of the Bible. In choosing which Bible version(s) you are going to use/study, do research, discuss with Christians you respect, read the Bibles for yourself, and ultimately, ask God for wisdom regarding which Bible version He desires you to use.

King James Version (KJV)
New International Version (NIV)
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New King James Version (NKJV)
English Standard Version (ESV)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Century Version (NCV)
New English Bible (NEB)
American Standard Version (ASV)
Good News Bible (GNB) / Today’s English Version (TEV)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Today’s New International Version (TNIV)
New English Translation (NET)
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
God’s Word Translation (GW)
Common English Bible (CEB)
New International Readers Version (NIrV)
Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Bible in Basic English (BBE)
21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
What is the Modern King James Version (MKJV)?
What is the Modern English Version (MEV)?
World English Bible (WEB)
Revised English Bible (REB)
Jerusalem Bible (JB)
New American Bible (NAB)
The Living Bible (TLB)
The Message (MSG)
Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
The Bishops’ Bible
Douay-Rheims Version (DRV)
Tyndale Bible
Geneva Bible

Recommended Resources: How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions by Gordon D. Fee & Mark L. Strauss and Logos Bible Software.

(Article reproduced from by permission from (

Article © 2014,

Father’s Day

Father's Day

Father’s Day

by John Bollow.

He would begin his days in a circuit that bisected Chicago, driving a beat up Chevy company car, averaging over a hundred miles a day. After calling on clients, he would then return to the machine shop, darting about, directing orders through to fabrication and shipping. On days like that he would say, “I feel like a mosquito in a nudist camp, I don’t know where to strike first” — one of his many bon mots. And if the order didn’t get done, I would see him finishing it in his basement workshop at home.

His word was his bond. His standards were impeccable, yet he could never bring himself to buy a decent pair of shoes. And until the day he retired, he wore godawful clip-on ties that he ripped off after meetings and would pile up in his backset like linguini.

It didn’t matter. His sales chops, his natural timing, his charm, and his winsome way with people made up for the mail order shoes and the damn neckties. He always treated everyone in his company with wit and an even-handed way that didn’t care what their station was.

He went through his days with a twinkle in his eye, often coming into the office and saying to his fellow salesmen with a raised arm, “No saluting men, not necessary.” Yet he carried himself with a humility that could admit when he was wrong. He never talked business with clients at lunch, but would ask about their lives, their children, making them feel at ease. If asked, he would share what his lapel pin signified. It was rounded silver triangle, with a diamond in the middle. “Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” he’d say, “That’s the Trinity.” His other favorite lapel pin was an American flag, and he did not wait for an invitation to talk about that or the country he loved. He never did forgive Jane Fonda for Hanoi.

Home from work, he’d finish his day reading to us, then reading his beloved history, usually of the Civil War or World War II, but if I remember him saying anything it was, “I don’t know of anything more stupid than war.” His stack of books on his nightstand was two deep and a foot high but he couldn’t stop buying them. His weekends were filled improving the house, teaching us how to mow the lawn or snow- blow the driveway, or hosting a friend who might drop in for a kitchen-table talk over coffee. His work ethic, loyalty, and principles were without equal. His clear-eyed sense of right and wrong is a compass I still carry in my heart.

One day, I hope I’ll be able to tell my sons, when they ask about him, that my dad was a little like me. Or more correctly, that I’m trying to be at least a little like him. Like him, I’ve been inspired to walk precincts during a campaign. Like him, I keep a stack of books on my nightstand and can never get through them. Like him, I rationalize my career fulfillment for the sake of my kids. Like him, I try to come home every night on time and hug the mother of my children close. Like him, I’m already taking them to airshows and history exhibits.

One of my most cherished memories as a little boy is laying next to him, watching his hazel eyes as he would read to us; they would move, just slightly, left to right, following the words across the page. Today, his hazel colored eyes belong to Finley, 4, and like my father, I read to the boys at night. And like my dad, I call him “my big guy” and like my father have a nickname for Sam and Cooper, too. My father never met anyone whose name he did not lengthen, or shorten, into an original nickname all his own. I have the same affliction.

God I miss him. Like me, my children will not know their grandfather. Like me, they lost their father’s father before they were born or could recognize him. Sam was just six weeks old the night before Dad died and we laid him in his arms.

There are still so many things I want to ask him about fatherhood, about life, about his ancestors, about the convertibles he owned before I was born. But even now, some things drift back and embody my days with inclinations I cannot take credit for. I seem to intuitively know, without even thinking about it, how to be with my clients. I put out the flag like he does, and make a point to introduce my sons to veterans when we see them. I try to put my wife first like he always did. But I still have a long way to go to live up to his stature.

His quintuple bypass in 2007 was a bitch. They broke the sternum to get in and do all they had to do. His rehab was slow but he went, treading a treadmill for all he was worth. One day, another gentleman in his seventies showed up and they recognized each other; my father had bought an acre of land from Mr. Stanciu in 1970, where my dad built our second home. They started catching up; one of Stanciu’s daughter’s went to my dad’s church. Another one had dated me in college. Dad invited him to church. Stanciu demurred. But Dad wouldn’t let up — it’s like he knew that neither of them had much time. Weeks went by. One day, Stanciu showed up at Dad’s church, telling one of the pastors that he finally relented just so he wouldn’t have to hear it anymore. He asked where we could find my dad, but he wasn’t there. Dad was slipping away by then, a stroke laying him low. At Dad’s memorial, we heard that Stanciu had become a Christian several weeks later, just before they both passed away.

When he’d drop us off somewhere, for a sleepover as kids, or many years later at college, he’d say: “Remember, as you go through life, you’re the greatest.” To this day, it is a phrase that is mysterious to me, just like his other beloved phrase, “Keep the faith.”

But I cherish that benediction like nothing else I’ve ever heard in my life. It is at once a compliment, an affirmation, an exhortation, a call to live up to something. I tell it now to my boys all the time, most recently when I’d dropped Sam off at kindergarten over this past year.

I said it to Finley the other day and he said, “You’re the greatest, too.” Oh, I don’t know about that, sweet boy. I’ve seen the standard. The bar has been set high. Maybe one day, maybe one day.

Copyright © 2014 John Bollow.

John Bollow is a creative director and author living in Pasadena, California. He and his wife, Lori have three boys. He is currently capturing the humor and agony of that in a book on fatherhood he plans to publish next year. You can follow him on Twitter @AdDaddy

Amazing Grace – The Story Behind the World’s Most Famous Hymn

(U2 performing “Amazing Grace”)

Amazing Grace – The Story Behind the World’s Most Famous Hymn
by Greg Hanson


“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” So begins the most famous hymn in the world. You would be hard pressed to find a hymnal printed in the past 200 years that does not contain the music and lyrics to “Amazing Grace.”


Recorded by such music superstars as Elvis Presley, LeAnn Rimes, and Whitney Houston, “Amazing Grace” has become the hymn most identified with the Christian Church. It has been featured in movies ranging from Coal Miner’s Daughter to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and has even appeared on The Simpsons. With over 7000 known recordings, “Amazing Grace” holds the world record as the most recorded song in history. The simplicity of its music and the honesty of its lyrics has made the hymn a favorite of millions worldwide, both within and outside the Church.


“Amazing Grace” was originally written in 1772 and published in 1779 by John Newton, a former sailor and slave trader. According to Newton, one day during a storm while aboard his slave-trading ship, he encountered the grace of God and his life was drastically changed as a result. This conversion eventually led to Newton, who no longer wished to participate in such a vile occupation as slave-trading, leaving the business to study theology and later become the curate at a local church in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England.


While serving in that church, Newton considered the transformation he had undergone and realized how utterly bankrupt his life had previously been. Considering the despicable nature of his former profession, he was in awe that God would still extend grace and forgiveness to one such as him. Out of that sense of wonder and brokenness flowed the words to “Amazing Grace.” (Newton’s concept of God’s grace would also come to influence William Wilberforce, the English parliamentarian who successfully led a decades-long fight to put an end to the slave trade throughout the British Empire.)


Over the years, “Amazing Grace” has connected with singers and listeners alike. Though not everyone shares Newton’s history of selling people as property, most people recognize significant deficiencies in their lives. Whether they identify it as sin, moral failure, skeletons in the closet, or some other synonym for personal inadequacy, each person has an area of regret and shame, either regarding a past activity or a current condition. The concept of a God who can extend grace even to the worst of offenders offers freedom and hope to those who otherwise would feel trapped and hopeless.


The hymn by itself is powerful, but an understanding of the back-story adds to its impact. In an era when popular music styles change regularly, “Amazing Grace” continues to touch hearts and inspire hope. As it has done for well over two centuries, it will continue to convey the message of God’s amazing grace to all who feel unworthy of receiving that grace.

– by Greg Hanson

(U2 Video courtesy of Vimeo: Eugene Cho – please also check out Ugene’s non-profit organization at
Article © 2014 Christian Faith-Based Community, Inc. All Rights reserved.