Monthly Archives: October 2012

Iluno: Christian ladies, become attractive in manner that God approves

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By Rev. Nelson Iluno, corresponding assistant to Prof. Herbert Eze
Special for ASSIST News Service

NNEWI, NIGERIA (ANS) – “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold pearls or costly garments’ but rather by means of good works, as befits woman making a claim to Godliness” (1st Timothy 2: 9-10).

I have written this article for women, but I encourage men to read it also. The reason for addressing this article especially to women is because Paul, in our text, (also Peter in 1st Peter 3: 1-5) addressed himself primarily to women. This is not to say that men should not dress modestly, and cannot dress immodestly. Apparently, Michal felt that King David had displayed himself in an immodest manner in 2 Samuel, Chapter 6, so it is possible. The truth would seem too likely to be by a well-dressed man, as by a partially nude one. Taking these matters into account we may conclude that the principles of modesty apply equally to men and women, but they are principles of which women especially need to be aware.

In the story of David and Bethsheba we have illustrated the usual pattern of immorality. Bethsheba displayed herself in an immodest fashion, and David looked on her with lust (2nd Samuel 1: 1-4). Both sinned in ways that are far too common on the part of men and women. Neither could blame the other for their sin, for each had to assume the responsibility for their particular wrong doing. It is the same way today. Men need to be warned against lust, but women need to be concerned about how they present themselves to men; whether modestly? This article deals with this issue. Which is one that goes beyond the question of skirt length and styles?

The aim of this article is not to designate those clothing that are modest, and those which are immodest. I am not going to be picking on particular type of clothing nor do I wish to answer such question as: how short is too short? How tight is too tight? How low is too low? And how little is too little? What I do want to do is to encourage you to think about what is modest, and what is immodest.

I believe Christian ladies, young and old, need to give thought to the question of modesty when they put on, and when they put off, their clothes. The fact that many do not is what concerns me most. This point was driven home to me a few years ago when I was pastoring a Church in the northern Nigeria. I asked teenage girls in the church to name some styles of dress that they would not wear because they viewed them as immodest. The young girls could not identify as immodest any styles. However, the alarming thing was that they rarely gave thought to the question of modesty in selecting their clothing. I told them what I am telling you now. I have desire to set myself up as the final authority on what is, and what is not modest. However, I do want to exhort each individual to develop a personal sense of what constitutes appropriate dress, with the full realization that they must give an account of the standard they adopt.

I know there are those who would not hesitate to name certain styles of dress as being immodest and if pressed to do so I could supply you with a list of my own. However, in doing so I believe I would be failing to really impress on you the message of our text. There are those fundamentalists who would tell you that it is a sin to braid your hair, wear jewelry, or dress in expensive clothes, and they would point to our text as proof of their position. However, by taking such a literal view of another text which deals with the matter of modesty, I can prove that a woman should not wear any clothing. Note what Peter says: “whose adoring let it not be that outward adoring of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel” (1st Peter 3:3 (KJV) – emphasis mine).

If Peter’s words here are taken literally, then women sin by putting on clothing! I doubt that very many fundamentalists are going to want to take that position. To the contrary, most fundamentalists are more interested in putting more clothing on than seeing any taken off. In fact, any discussion of modesty will invariably focus on the matter of sexual stimulation; despite the fact, that doesn’t appear to be the primary emphasis of the two texts I have quotes.

Let’s hasten to make a point about what I am saying, before someone tries to misinterpret me. I am not saying that it is all right for women to take off their clothes, and that the potential for inciting lust is not to be a matter of concern. What I am saying is that a barrier against such misconduct will be better established by being true to the point of Paul and Peter’s words, than by using them as a pretext for setting ourselves standards of dress.

It is my conviction that the Holy Spirit is making the same point in both texts penned by Paul and Peter. The point being that Christian women are being noticed for their character, not their bodies. An attractive, well-dressed, well-manicured Christian woman is not a sinner. In fact, I believe Christian woman should be (and are) the most neat and attractive woman on earth.

However, their beauty is not to result from undue attention to their outward appearance, but as one of many products of their inward spirits. This exact point is made by Peter as we see when we complete the thought begun in verse 3: “And let not your adornment be merely braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses: but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quit spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women` also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being frightened by any fear” (1st Peter 3:3-6).

Those who would abuse Peter’s words here to place under restrictions on women who are aimed only at making them drab and unattractive might want to consider this. Sarah, whom Peter used as an example, was so attractive that Abraham was afraid Pharaoh would kill him to have her for himself (Genesis 12: 10-20). Also, Rachel’s good looks caused Isaac similar concern (Genesis 26). Finally, Esther not only entered the King’s beauty contest, but was declared the winner (Esther 2: 1-20). All of these examples should show one’s physical appearance to become the focus of attention in your own mind, and the thing which others are most aware of when they observe you.

In the context of what has been said to this point I would like to suggest two questions that every girl and woman should ask about their clothing and the manner in which they are presenting themselves. First, you should ask “how will others perceive me when I adorn myself in this fashion?

The first question is, perhaps, the more important of the two, and should be the more easily answered. It has to do with your self – image, and the emphasis of your life. I find it contradictory when woman complain about being viewed as sex objects, and yet direct so much attention to their physical appearance. While Paul was not speaking directly of modesty when he wrote that “bodily exercise is only of little profit, but godliness for all things “(1Timothy 4:8), I believe these words have a general application to our society, with its emphasis on physical attractiveness.

Those women who derive a sense of their worth only from the appearance of their hair, the slimness of their figure, the beauty of their face, etc, are to be pitied. We must also understand this tendency in light of the emphasis being given these matters by so many. The wonderful things about God’s commands are that they are always in our best interest. God’s commands regarding modesty are no exception.

The woman who understands God’s will on this matter escapes the “beauty trap” and the superficial value systems of our society, and is able to experience her real value as a child of God’s. While there are women who need to be rebuked for their blatantly seductive and suggestive ways, there are even more who need to be freed from the cross of feeling compelled to give undue emphasis to their outward appearance at the expense of an awareness of their true worth.

The second question, pertaining to how others will perceive you if you dress in a certain fashion, is a little more difficult to ascertain. In seeking an answer I would suggest that you speak with your husband, father, minister, or trusted friend (male or female) whom you know cares about the real you. If they see you as appearing coarse or vulgar, then you probably need to examine your heart and your style of dress.

I must advise you that there will always be those who will be critical, perhaps because of their own struggles with sin. However, if close friends see you as being immodest, or if a majority (or even a significant minority) of people know you more to your dress (or lack of dress, as the case may be) than they do to your Christian character, then you have a problem.

The goal of every Christian woman is not to be unattractive but to be attractive in a manner which God approves, keeping in mind that the ultimate aim of our existence is to give glory to God. The final word in respect to modest apparel may well be this verse from Psalms, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name, worship the Lord in holy array” (Psalms 29: 2).

Prof. Herbert Eze can be reached by email at herberteze@juno.com

 

Waterproof Bible tops recommended military resource list

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By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

BIRMINGHAM, ALA (ANS) — According to Bardin and Marsee Publishing, its NIV Waterproof Bible New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs has topped the list of the Top 25 Recommended Resources published by Military Ministry, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ International.

In a news release obtained by the ASSIST News Service, soldiers and chaplains have used the Waterproof Bible since 2006, and this recommendation will markedly expand its use.

“Thank you for producing such a Bible that I’m sure will withstand the harsh Afghanistan climate,” said an Army chaplain speaking in a news release shortly before deploying with his soldiers earlier this year.

Another soldier put it this way. He said in the news release, “I love my Waterproof Bible. I can carry it with me where ever I go in my ACU cargo pocket. It helps me redeem those little fragments of time throughout the day by reading God’s word.”

The news release said Bardin and Marsee has recently partnered with the Norwegian Bible Society to produce a military Chaplain’s waterproof devotional titled PÅ PATRULJE SOLDATENS ANDAKTSBOK.

Bardin and Marsee are also working with the Bible Society New Zealand to publish a custom NLT New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs exclusively for the New Zealand Defense Force.

“We are very excited to be working with the New Zealand Defence Force to produce a waterproof New Testament for Army, Navy and Air Force personnel,” said Stephen Opie, Program Director for Bible Society New Zealand, speaking in the news release.

Opie continued, “The waterproof edition was chosen as it is more durable than a paper-based Bible, meaning it will serve Defense Force personnel better, especially when deployed overseas.”

At first appearance, the Waterproof Bible resembles a regular Bible, but on a second glance its durability shines through.

“This is why our soldiers and chaplains have long used the Waterproof Bible. It can go to the frontlines and back without being destroyed by the wear and tear that causes a regular paper Bible to fall apart,” said Bobby Bardin, who co-owns Bardin and Marsee.

What began as a project to make a durable Bible for a few friends has turned into a growing niche within the Bible segment of Christian publishing.

With Waterproof Bibles now available in nine foreign languages and five English translations, NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV, and NLT, the news release said Bardin and Marsee Publishing has seen significant growth since its inception in 2005.

Bill Ellis: The pastor’s study

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By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) — The pastor’s study is the one place in every city, county, state and nation that should be saturated with prayer – humble, believing and active prayer. That is the control center of the entire operation.

I have had the privilege of being in the pastor’s study in hundreds of churches, some among the world’s largest churches and the most prominent preachers. The pastor of the largest church east of the Mississippi River had for his working study a four-room house across the driveway from his residence. Those large rooms were filled with books. Dr. R. G. Lee had an inner study, no windows, where he did his most concentrated work on preaching.

In the large Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, Tenn., where he pastored for 32 years, he had a beautiful and well-appointed office. When I was in it with him one day, he told me that particular office was used for interviews, counseling and meetings for church business. His office for study, writing and sermon preparation was located beside his residence on Peach Street.

It is sometimes hard to get much serious research and study done in terms of sermon preparation in a church office with constant interruptions. I am always hesitant to go to a pastor’s study – and only if I think I can be helpful with such a visit. Pastors who are serious about their assignments, have no time for idle chatting with parishioners who have little to do.

As a pastor, I had a beautiful office at the church and fortunately had another inner office, but my main office for study, writing and sermonic preparation was in the basement of the parsonage for 25 years.

Two wonderful parishioners, Elgin and Dorothy Hawthorne, whose son, Dennis, is a successful pastor in Springfield, Ill., and their younger son, Elgin, a church organist of excellence, presented me with a cherished bronze and wood plaque, which had a story engraved on it titled, “Pastor’s Study.” For years, it has been in my office. Here’s its message,

“The pastor’s study is the symbol of the calling of the Christian minister to be the shepherd of a flock of God. His sermons are prepared to feed the congregation on God’s Holy Word.

“Here the work of the church is planned so that the congregation may grow and bear fruit in fellowship, teaching, and witnessing. Here you will always find a friend and counselor in time of need. He will not be surprised at your sins, nor will he judge you in them, but he always invites you to share with him, the wisdom and love of God, the knowledge of forgiveness of sin, and the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“You are always welcome.”

The pastor’s door is never closed to those who need the counseling, encouragement and prayers of their pastor. It is not, however, normally a place for idle chitchat. It is a place where you will find a loving heart and understanding listener.

Speaking of Christ’s gifts to the church, “He gave some to be . . . and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). Timothy, a young preacher is informed, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ . . .” (I Timothy 4:6).

I do not know of any calling or profession that demands more of a man or woman than the one to be a pastor. October is “Pastors Appreciation Month.” Do all you can to assist your pastor with the work of ministry.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.

 

Church, nonprofit organization events for Oct. 4

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

In Stafford, Texas – Living Water International (LWI) will hold a Orality Training Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the headquarters of LWI, 4001 Greenbriar Suite 200. Cost is $35 per person. Visit www.water.cc/orality to register.

In Port Arthur, Texas – The Port Arthur Christian Women will hold its luncheon, “Fall Forum,” beginning at 11:45 a.m. on Oct. 12 at the Pompano Club LeChambre Room, 330 Twin City Highway in Port Neches. Cost is $15 per person. Deanne Tanner of Nederland will bring the special music. Our inspirational speaker will be Pam Harrelson from Manderville, La.   Her theme will be “Weight Maintenance is a victory at “any” weigh. Reservations are essential for the luncheon and for the nursery, if needed, and may be made by calling Donna at 722-0951 or Mary at 962-5571 by Tuesday, Oct. 9.

In Katy, Texas – Come and her Jennifer Phillips Lawrence deliver a special message during the Kathy Christian Women’s Connection prayer coffee from 10 to 11:30  a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Life Center at The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch Church, 22765 Westheimer Pkwy. in Katy. RSVP to Nancy at 281-232-8338. Bring a friend and don’t forget your Bible!

In Haltom City, Texas – The Christian Couples Conference featuring pastors Donald Lee of Dallas and Lynn Morrison of Baton Rouge, La., and Christian counselor and author Aimee Colbert of Fort Worth is slated for Oct. 6 at Grace Church, 4740 Western Center Blvd. in Haltom City.

In Fort Worth, Texas – The Fort Worth Christian Women’s Connection will hold a “Flavors of Fall” luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Mira Vista Country Club, 6600 Mira Vista Blvd., in Fort Worth. Former Miss Missouri Kali Schneiders is the guest speaker Tammy Baggett of Cartans, and Christina Majors will provide entertainment. Cost is $17. For reservations and childcare, email Patsy at fortworthwomensconnection@yahoo.com

Send announcements to pewnews@aol.com.

 

 

Hurricane Katrina author nets Christian literary award nod

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

PLANO, Texas – The world of many residents in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward changed Aug. 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Crescent City. From the unnerving stories of destruction birthed tales of perseverance and survival.

Author Lynette Norris Wilkinson – a former resident of the Ninth Ward – put the retrospective into words. Now, her retrospective book, UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew, is nominated to receive the prestigious Henri Christian Literary Award.

UNTOLD is told through the eyes of 16 Hurricane Katrina survivors, all of who once lived in the Lower Ninth Ward. The commentators, who range in age from 8 to 80, share their faith, struggle, history, and love of community in a work that sheds light on a dark time in American history.

“While many books have been written about Hurricane Katrina, very few focus on the Lower Ninth Ward,” said Wilkinson, a resident of the Dallas suburb of Plano. “If you want to know the real story behind the faces and images you saw during Hurricane Katrina, you will want to read UNTOLD.”

The author said proceeds from her God-inspired book will be donated to an organization helping residents recover.

Awards will be presented at the 2012 Christian Literary Awards, Nov. 3 in the Grand Amphitheater at Mount Olive Church, 300 Chisholm Place, in Plano. The VIP reception and red carpet begin at 4 p.m.; the award celebration begins at 6 p.m. Ticket information is available at www.awards.joyandcompany.org. The event is sponsored by Joy & Company.

The Henri will be presented to authors in nine categories representing faith-based books under the genre of Christian literature.

As a nominee for the award, UNTOLD is also eligible to earn the Reader’s Choice award. Fans can show their support and vote for UNTOLD at www.awards.joyandcompany.org. Simply log in, click 2012 Awards, select Reader’s Choice, and cast your vote for UNTOLD in the non-fiction category.

The Henri award nomination is the latest in a string of accolades for UNTOLD. The book was named 2010 Book of the Year by the Sankofa Literary Society and a finalist in the African American category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The video/book trailer for UNTOLD was also a finalist in the African American Literature Book Club 2010 Best Book Trailer of the Year contest. In addition, UNTOLD received film credit in an upcoming National Geographic documentary on natural disasters, titled “Forecast Disaster: Deadly Floods.” The episode airs on the National Geographic channel on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. CST.

To purchase copies of UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew, read excerpts of the book, view interviews with the author, or book the author for speaking engagements, visit www.HurricaneKatrinaStories.com.