Four years ago today our triplets finally graduated from seven weeks in the NICU and spent their first night at home! The photo above was the first Audrey took with all five children where the triplets were not connected to monitors, feeding tubes, or in their isolettes. Once they could “suck, swallow, and breath” at the same time, we were home free! God is so faithful. There were so many moments that caused us to panic, but we always prayed and trusted God. Learning we were having triplets was quite the shock! We were informed Abel likely had a hole in his heart (I have the picture they drew). We were advised Ryder “may not make it” from TTTC. Jaxson was thought to be too large for a triplet. Audrey had circulation issues carrying the boys to 33 weeks. We also had Lily Faith and Justin with us through it all. Again, God is so faithful. “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” Psalm 119:71. Affliction causes us to know God more closely.
We remain close friends with many of the angelic NICU nurses and tremendous staff at Texas Children’s Hospital. We have hundreds of people who are new to our ministry email list, so I encourage you to read a blog Audrey wrote about the experience, here. The LORD continues to use the story of these triplet boys and Audrey’s faith to reach people for Christ. As a family, we are called to ministry with Christian Thinkers Society. As you pray for me, please do not forget Audrey, Lily Faith, Justin, Abel, Ryder, and Jaxson, too!
When I think about our five children and your children and grandchildren, the rest of what I have to share with you below has my undivided attention.It has been an extremely busy month of ministry at Christian Thinkers Society. I spoke remotely LIVE last weekend in Michigan and on the first weekend of August to churches in Florida.
Would you like to learn more about how you experience more Shalom in your life? What are the most important six adjectives, two nouns, and one verb for you to have God’s indescribable peace in your life? Check out my message below!
The media is coming for our children and grandchildrenMy sisters read The Babysitters Club series growing up. When Lily Faith stopped by my office while I was working away, I gave little thought when she told me she was going to watch a new Netflix series The Babysitters Club because it has a “TV-G” rating, which alerts parents the content is safe for all ages. Big mistake! I happened to walk through our living room while the show was on and it was featuring paranormal as normal with fortune-telling and other nonsense. We, of course, immediately turned off the series. My point is, if it can happen in my home, I know it can happen in yours, too. The series was once a wholesome experience that many young girls grew up with, learning lessons like hard work, friendship, forgiveness, honesty, and responsibility. This new Netflix version repeatedly celebrates transgender children, homosexuality, witchcraft, and the occult! (movieguide)
Our friends at Movieguide wrote:
The writers for The Baby-Sitters Club show on Netflix have now come forward to openly admit that they are working to reshape America and its culture through our children. Netflix gave one of the writers, Rose Dommu, control of their official Twitter account to spell out what the show was trying to accomplish. The outcome was an astonishing in its honesty and is a horrifying affirmation of what we’ve been saying at Movieguide for years … Hollywood [is] intentionally exposing children to transgenderism and radically reshaping their worldview.
What’s more, Netflix is now under fire for sexualizing children in a new French film called “Cuties” – I want you to see the Netflix Customer Service response. Their “non-answer” is an answer related to pedophilia. Sadly, this is the tip of the iceberg friends. The media is coming for our children. It is the perfect storm because so many families have allowed our kids to have more “screen time” during the pandemic.
We have to protect the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren. Our ministry, Christian Thinkers Society, is dedicated to ing you do this through equipping your family with a biblical worldview.
I have some ful immediate recommendations for you:
1. Consider subscribing to Minno Kids as an alternative to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus. Our ministry is not being compensated in any way for this recommendation. I subscribe to this personally for my family. Our kids LOVE the content. It is fun and biblically-based.
2. Subscribe to my friend, Dr. Ted Baehr’s site, MOVIEGUIDE.
This is not only for kid’s content. Ted’s ministry reviews all movies and most of the TV shows. Audrey and I regularly use MOVIEGUIDE before viewing a film or show. It’s a blessing to our spiritual lives. We want to watch content that inspires our walk with Christ and commitment to our family. We also don’t want to waste time watching something we will eventually turn off.
True story, after spending the evening with Dr. and Mrs. Baehr, in their home in California, Audrey and I decided to name our daughter Lily. Mrs. Baehr’s first name is Lillie!
3. Daily screen time for kids 5 to 7 averages 4:30 hours! Teens spend upwards of 9 hours per day connected. Our kids’ digital world is not threat-free! Add filter software to all of your kids’ devices (ipad, iphone, tablet, etc). 41% of kids have contacted dangerous or undesirable strangers. 34% of middle and high school students have experienced cyberbullying. 31% of kids have sent or received messages with sexual content. We use Qustodioon our kids’ devices. It is excellent. We receive a daily report of their usage, we pay for all of the blocking features, Again, our ministry is not being compensated for this recommendation. This is what I pay for in our home to protect my family. Please take a minute to protect your family. I’m looking at all the Dad’s out there to lead the way in this. We are the pastors and protectors of our home.
Finally, please pray for me. I eclipsed 50,000 words on my new book! It is due September 1 to my publisher and will be closer to 60,000 words. I have much more to share with you about this project and the corresponding ministry. If you wanted to, it would be a great idea to look up the 550 passages on Shalom in the Bible. After “Jesus,” “Shalom” is the greatest Word in the Scriptures! Right now, I ask for your prayers as I finish writing during non-stop ministry, and of course, taking care of my family. It is all a blessing. God never calls us where he doesn’t equip us!
Be committed to being a Christian Thinker — every single day. Don’t let your mind be pushed in by the world, but let it be transformed and renewed by the Word of God!
Yours, as ever
Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.
Check out some important stories:
Dear Friend, This week the CDC released the first definitive quantitative study on the mental health toll of the pandemic on Americans. I have said (repeatedly) the church’s response to mental illness is one of the most important apologetics issues of our time.
This Sunday, August 16, I will be speaking at 9:00 and 10:45 am (eastern) at Harbor Light Community Church in beautiful Northern, MI (I will be teaching LIVE from Houston where the heat index is over 100F!). Please join us for the services, where I will address the six adjectives, two nouns, and one verb that guarantee God’s peace in your life! Website for LIVE stream: https://hlcc.online.church
CDC: One-quarter of young adults contemplated suicide during pandemic (June 2020 Report). Pastors and concerned Christian Thinkers please review the full report, here.
The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey (10.7%) was significantly higher among respondents aged 18–24 years (25.5%).
The toll is falling heaviest on young adults, caregivers, essential workers, and minorities. Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are skyrocketing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study completed in June by the CDC suggests. The mental health challenges are, by far, revealing that fear of the virus is more dangerous and damaging than the virus itself. Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States from April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.
– 30.9 percent of respondents said they had symptoms of anxiety or depression. – 26.3 respondents reported trauma and stress-related disorder because of the pandemic. Another 13.3 percent of respondents said they have turned to substance use, including alcohol and prescription or illicit drugs, to cope with stress from the pandemic. What are the “drivers of adverse mental and behavioral health during COVID-19”? According to the CDC, contributing factors to the sharp rise in mental pain may be attributed to social isolation, absence of school structure, unemployment, and other financial worries, and various forms of violence (e.g., physical, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse) serve as additional stressors.
What can we do immediately?
#1 Talk to Someone. ACCESS THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE If you or someone you know needs , contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This number should be saved in your phone contacts. “Like” the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Facebook page. This phenomenal organization interfaces with Facebook to geographically pinpoint suicidal comments on Facebook and intervenes with responses to provide assistance.
#2 Stop the Silence. The real problem we currently face is that people see Christianity as an answer to yesterday’s questions, and hence of no relevance today. What we need to do is translate our faith language into what C. S. Lewis calls the “cultural vernacular.” We need actually to think about how we translate our faith language into today’s language but also answer the questions people are asking. They are still asking deep questions about meaning, about value. One of the questions our culture is asking is this: Do I really matter? Science might tell us how we came to be here; faith tells me why I am here. If you are a pastor, you must address mental wellness from the pulpit. If you lead Christian education, your Bible study groups must address mental wellness from a biblical worldview. If you are a Christian leader, you must know how to discuss the life and health of the mind. If you are a parent, you certainly need to know how to identify mental health issues with your children. As a parent, you must also know the message of Jesus is the way to peace and happiness. This is a message our kids need today. If you are an educator, you already know how important this issue is and why we must be conversant. Before we can become conversant and have the confidence to address issues related to mental wellness, we must be educated by what the Bible says about the Shalom of God in our lives. We also need to know coping methods and intervention steps.
#3 The Church is Central in the Healing Equation. A wide range of research persuasively shows individuals experiencing psychological distress are more likely to seek from clergy (a pastor, priest, or rabbi) before any other professional group, including mental health experts. This reveals what you may already know, the church is central in the healing equation for the multitudes who are seeking peace and joy but struggling with anxiety. There is a great opportunity for Christian leaders and the global church to be present ministering to the afflicted, but as Saint Paul said, “there are many adversaries” (1 Cor 16:9). Some of the most vocal adversaries, sadly, come from within certain Christian circles. This must stop. It is okay to ask for and talk to someone. We also need to pray for our leaders. Some Christian leaders are not capable or prepared to minister through this mental pain crisis. Why? Because many of them – are themselves – barely coping and suffer in silence.
#4 Rediscover a theology of Shalom. Next to Jesus, Shalom is the most powerful word in the Scriptures. We have missed the mark in passing on what I call a “theology of Shalom” in our Christian lives. Jesus had a famous sermon called the Sermon the Mount (see Matthew 5–7). There’s no doubt he preached this sermon more than once. It was effective. If you don’t understand a theology of Shalom in your life, you may have missed the entire point of the Sermon on the Mount. While this book is not an exegesis for Jesus’s famous sermon (there are more books on the sermon than one can count!), we do stand on the foundation Jesus laid, as God’s son, which is a theological blueprint presupposing peace and happiness (or shalom), that is sorely lacking in so many Christian lives today. God wants us to experience joy and that’s what we experience when we have a faith in God that is guided by the facts of Scripture. The words “joy” and “rejoice” occur almost 300 times in Scripture. Several times in his letter to the Christians of Philippi, Paul speaks of joy and urges the people to rejoice. This is what the Psalmist says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps 37:4).
Would you please pray for me as I finish my next book The Spirituality of Happiness and Peace (published by Baker/Bethany House) – what does it mean for God’s people to have Shalom? Do you have His peace? At times, I feel like I am a professional worrier! You might feel that way, too. God wants to unleash his Shalom into our lives. I will submit the manuscript to the publisher, Lord willing, on September 1.
I have included some very important links below. Please stay informed. Be a conversant Christian Thinker! Let’s also stay in prayer.
Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.
Christian Thinkers Society
Not sure why Wallmart is misspelled in this meme? Is a ‘Christian Thinker’ an oxymoron? Well, for some the descriptor may be correct.
Dear , Far too many Christians are soft targets for the ebbs and flows of cultural narrative and misinformation. Being a Christian in today’s context requires some conviction and courage so it’s not just a cultural Christianity. Christianity is not antithetical to education; in fact, the opposite is true. There is this body of truth that is the Christian faith that has been passed along – people have thought deeply about it and it has led to this great Christian thinking that has become the foundation through which we address issues of the liberal arts, humanities, politics, philosophy, the arts, social sciences, natural sciences, media, journalism, and music – the whole spectrum.
Unfortunately, there is a sense in which people think of the Christian faith as being anti-intellectual, somewhat mindless, and totally experiential in approach. The fact is the Christian faith has produced some of the great thinkers in the last 2,000 years. We believe all knowledge, truth, and understanding finds its source in God, yet this is not always reflected in the day-to-day reality of Christian living.
How can you “think Christianly”? I am glad you asked.
Here are 3 Ways to Think Christianly.
Ben Davis, Caldron Pool
#1 All Truth is God’s Truth
In his Faith Seeks Understanding and in his All Truth is God’s Truth, published a few years later, Professor Arthur Holmes (1924 – 2011, long-time professor of Philosophy and English Literature at Wheaton College) made the important point that Christian faith and truth go hand in hand. Christian faith is not and should not be in conflict with truth. The God of Christian faith is a God of truth. He is not a God of error or falsehood. We, humans, are fallible creatures, who must learn and must be taught. We learn from what God has revealed in his Word and in his World. Each s us understand the other. Just as surely as we do not possess all that is to be known with respect to the World, so we do not know all that is to be known with respect to the Word of God. Both must be studied with an open, honest mind. Education is vital. Do you educate yourself in God’s Word? How much time do you spend knowing God in His Word?
#2 Faith is Not Stupid
Faith and the mind are not at odds; faith is not believing nonsense, faith is not embracing unreasonable, illogical things. In short, faith is not stupid. Some people seem to have faith in faith (as Dawkins and other atheists have in fact pointed out). Faith is intelligent; it is educated; it is learned; it is hungry for understanding. A healthy faith is a seeking faith. A healthy faith is not satisfied to be ignorant, to be naïve, to remain in the dark, or to pass on misinformation.
Here’s a great example from recent media of Christian Faith, would you stand alone? Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac first in NBA bubble to stand during anthem
#3 Ideas Are Powerful
Can we really describe the full measure of a human being, if we limit our knowledge to the brute facts of biology? If our anthropology fails to take into account the spiritual and moral dimensions of humanity, will we truly discover the essence of humanity? I probe this very important question in my recently published book, Unimaginable: What our World would be like without Christianity. In several chapters, I describe the horrors that overtook our world in the twentieth century will anti-Christian and anti-God worldviews dominated the social and political landscapes of several countries when the philosophies of men like Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx inspired men like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. Embracing a new worldview that declared God was no more these men erased humanity too. Humans were now nothing more than two-legged animals. No longer made in the image of God, humanity now could be treated like animals. Unwanted humans were rounded up and enslaved, millions were murdered. I mention these atrocities only to underscore the point that thoughts do matter. A worldview is not of little consequence. Today our society is in the midst of a great struggle between two competing and often diametrically opposed worldviews: One worldview is the worldview that has dominated the West for centuries and in the last two centuries has made inroads into the east. That is the worldview of Christianity. It is a worldview that says the World was made by an intelligent, loving Creator. It is a worldview that offers the explanation for the ongoing astonishing discoveries of science. This worldview affirms that humanity is made in the image of God and that therefore human life if precious, that it has purpose and has a destiny.
But this Christian worldview is being pushed aside by an increasingly hostile alternative worldview, a worldview that says there is no God and that we humans have no purpose, that we are nothing more than a cosmic accident; that we have no future, that we have no destiny; that our future ultimately is oblivion. This is the philosophy of nihilism, “nothingness,” from the Latin word nihil, which means “nothing.” The Nihilists affirm that there is no ultimate truth, there is no right or wrong, there are no morals, there is no God, and that we humans are not especially important; we are no more than smart, two-legged animals. Someday the human race will be extinct. It will be the end. Game over.
Before coming to Texas, I taught at Acadia Divinity College, part of Acadia University, located in eastern Canada. Acadia University is Canadian Ivy League. To get into this university you have to be a straight-A student. I kid you not! Acadia is Canada’s Harvard—or maybe I should say Harvard is America’s Acadia! On one occasion Acadia University Professor of Philosophy and atheist Paul Abela presented a lecture he called, “The Struggle for Meaning.” In this lecture he asserted that life had no meaning, that life was hardly more than an agonizing struggle with unending pain, sickness, and weakness. “If we could hear all of the world’s insects and animals, it would be a never-ending scream.” Professor Abela could see nothing in the world that gave him hope. Humanity was nothing more than an unfortunate biological accident. Someday it will end. What a relief!
Can you imagine a worldview more dismal than that? I feel sorry for Professor Abela. What hope can he share with his family, with his students? None. Is it any wonder that suicide among today’s youth is on the rise? Many youth, including children, simply have no hope. They have no hope because they have embraced a worldview that is pessimistic—and worse, it is nihilistic: there simply is nothing, nothing to live for.
Jesus offers a better way. We have to share “the Truth” because He, Jesus, The Truth, sets us free.
Here’s a great example from recent media about the power of ideas and standing for truth: SBA List Responds to PP’s Removal of Margaret Sanger’s Name from Manhattan Facility
Yours in Truth,
Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.