This morning, after preparing myself a cup of Irish Weave Breakfast Tea (with milk) in a Celtic Cross china mug, I decided I had best write down some insights from the latest New Life Adventure lest I forget them along with all of the other insights that have fallen to the curbs and into the drains of a less than completely sticky memory. These may be neither profound nor insightful to you but I am hoping there might be a jewel or two.
The first one of these came in one of the last minutes spent over there. The polite man of my airline asking me security questions must have seen in my computerized records that I was with a group and that my last name was Arterburn and the two swirled around inside his medulla oblongata and he popped out with the questioning statement, “So you are with afterlife?”
I replied that I had never thought of it that way but “Yes, indeed I am with the afterlife organization called New Life.” We really do get people prepared for the afterlife and we help them work through a lot of stuff and develop a lot of new insight so they can experience a lot more of it in this life. (No need to wait, call us at 1-800-NEW-LIFE and we will help you discover more of the afterlife God intends for you to experience right here on earth.)
Sadly we were not in a country where a lot of people are focused on a new life in Christ or the afterlife with Him. It has the smallest percentage of evangelical Christians of any English-speaking country while the alcoholism and suicide rates are among the highest. This after a heritage of spiritual giants like St. Patrick and the monks he won to Christ who would travel to Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire and prevent the barbarians from destroying civilization and valuable art and biblical documents and so much of what we hold to be sacred today. And there have been great Christians such as Arthur Guinness who helped millions after hearing Wesley preach in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, to “make all you can, save all you can and give away all you can.” He taught that to his kids and they have done that generation after generation.
But none of that resonates with a people who desperately need hope and answers that are found in a relationship with Christ. We were fortunate enough to meet some missionaries who sacrificed playing with their grand kids to go there and present Christ by serving and ministering rather than teaching and preaching. They could not have gone to a less receptive country. I am praying for them and I hope you will also.
I learned something about our organization also. Unlike many who travel to forget their problems, it seems people travel with us to gain insight into theirs. So we ended up with some deep discussions, astounding one-on-one personal sharing and amazing content, life-changing content from the devotions and presentations. The speaking was so great that people who did not really want to come to those speaking sessions, never missed one. People who traveled just to write Ireland off their bucket list said the countryside was second to what they saw inside themselves that needed to change. Given the astounding beauty of the land, that statement, which we heard more than once is “not nothing.” It is so affirming of what we are trying to do as a ministry. And what we have been trying to do for the past 27 years, as of today, October 8, 2015.
Something else happened on the trip that I love. People got to know us really well and came away saying they were going to support us for the first time or in a much bigger way. A few said that was why they came with us, to see what we were really made of off the air and behind the scenes. And they left liking what they saw rather than turning away because we are not true to Christ in the way we live. What a team I have that shine through even to people who are expecting to experience tarnish rather than a shining light from hearts wanting to serve Christ in any way possible.
One man shared that before he went to Ireland with us he thought we were all just full of psychobabble, but having heard us, he heard truth. That really is what we are committed to: the true truth. Truth presented the way God intended it to be heard. You see, I hate psychobabble also. If you want to hear it, listen or read the stuff from New Age or Leadership or Success and Motivation. They are full of it.
But there is something I hate worse than psychobabble. That is Bible babble. That comes from people who misuse real live scripture to point people toward death, hate, bitterness and divisiveness. They are against everything except for how they see the world. They refuse to ask themselves if what they are holding up is a lie supported by the distortion of truth. The fruit of their work: hate, rages against them, but sadly too many think they are accurate representations of Christ. They are not.
There are a lot of things that happened in 10 days in Ireland and I will share more here and on radio. But for now I want you to think about something. Is there some area of your life that needs New Life? If so, call and make reservations at 1-800-NEW LIFE. And if you want to take a trip that could change everything, come join us next summer as we return to Alaska on July 13. It is not too early to sign up and reserve a spot on a trip where we will do everything we can to make the depth of truth we present more astonishing than the grandeur of Alaska. You will not be disappointed.
– Steve Arterburn