Monthly Archives: September 2014

Davis: 7 confessions of a Bible-toting, scripture-quoting Christian

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By Laurel J. Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

I was called out once for being “one of those Bible-toting scripture-quoting Christians.” Crazy thing is, it was by a fellow Christian! My immediate response was, “Aren’t you?”  I didn’t take it personally, though. Sure, I got the “twang.” But it’s a compliment to be called a Bible-toting scripture-quoting Christian. It means I’m being bit like those in the Bible who staked everything on what “thus saith the Lord.”

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3a). Something’s terribly wrong in the church when a believer risks ill will from a fellow believer for daring to think, dialogue and live according to God’s Word, and to encourage others to do the same.

That’s why I’ve come up with seven confessions for being a bible-toting scripture-quoting Christian. God wants us to be close to Him. But how can we be close to anyone we take little time to get to know? How can we really love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength as He commands (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) if we’re not also hanging on His every word?

Confession #1 – Even after 30 years as a Christian, I still have plenty of room to grow in my personal relationship with the Lord. Being a Bible-toting, scripture-quoting Christian at heart is foundational to that growth (2 Peter 3:18).

Confession #2 – I love Jesus more than my own family. But He’s not tangible in this earth realm in the same way they are. The best way to show Him how much I love Him over anyone and anything else is to know, share and obey His Word.

Confession #3 – I am helpless, useless and hopeless without Jesus and His Word. Our very eternal salvation is affirmed by God’s inspired Word (cf. 1 John 5:11-13; 2 Timothy 3:15), our spiritual well-being and witness are dependent upon it (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and Christ’s empty tomb seals the deal when it comes to the all-sufficient, eternal hope it alone unfolds for us.

Confession #4 – I’m afraid of my own folly and shame. It is folly and shame to belittle the very thing that sanctifies us: “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Knowing the Bible helps keep me from the folly of complaining that a fellow Christian is acting like a Christian.

Confession #5 – I don’t want to be deceived, and I don’t want to be deceiving (2 Timothy 3:13). Toting and properly quoting the Bible helps to shield God’s people from false doctrines and the false teachers who use it to manipulate the vulnerable.

Confession #6 – When someone challenges my faith, they don’t care what I feel in my heart, what I’ve personally experienced, what subjective vision I think I had after eating that left-over pizza, or what my pastor thinks. Sometimes they really are seeking true understanding, and God’s Word provides something solid, something objectively verifiable, something independently credible, something not so easily dismissed.

Confession #7 – Relying on God through His Word has gotten our family and ministry through some very hard trials (e.g. Psalm 119:92).Laurel Davis  That’s why no one can ever be too much of a Bible-toting scripture-quoting Christian — except if you always quote it out of context, cherry-pick verses to suit your own preferences, or possess knowledge but lack love (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Praise God for the authority and reliability of His written Word, the Holy Bible! Even when heaven and earth pass away, His Word will stand forever!

Laurel Davis is a pastor’s wife in Los Angeles and also a Christian writer and women’s ministry speaker. Her blog, The Reluctant First Lady, is based on 2 Timothy 3:1 – 4:4 and takes a bold stance for God’s truth. Laurel and her husband have four grown children and a grandchild.

Shape what your Father gave ya!: Dove Foundation gives seal of approval to exercise DVD

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Kristy McCarley is not one to question God, but she still finds it hard to believe that she – a woman with two engineering degrees and aThe Shazzy Fitness team of Vira, left, Kristy, Apollo, and Leslie sport red shoes in honor of the blood Christ shed for us. limited choreography background – has produced two well-received exercise DVD’s.

Two years ago, McCarley, founder and CEO of Shazzy Fitness, decided to create a family-friendly exercise DVD’s for the masses. In August, she reaped the benefits of sacrifice and obedience when the Dove Foundation recognized Shazzy Fitness by giving it a seal of approval.

“I wanted the music to be fun and for people to get excited about fitness,” McCarley said. “Shazzy is good for people who want to do something good for their body and for their spirit.”

The Dove Foundation described Shazzy Fitness’ Christian hip-hop dance workout videos as a “wonderful workout that not only exercises the body but the mind and soul alike.”

Furthermore, in August, the workout DVD was the top seller in the fitness category for Shazzy’s distributor, Total Fitness DVD’s.

“The fact that an independent faith-based video is leading all other secular dance fitness video sales is just incredible and so very humbling,” said the creator of the fat-burning (cardio) and dance DVD.

The invigorating choreography from Apollo, Leslie, and Vera mixed with the sounds of award-winning Christian hip-hop offerings from Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Breezy Brown, E.Dot, and Jai have won over parents and exercise enthusiasts.

“One thing moms said is that they can do it (Shazzy Fitness) with their kids,” said McCarley, who is a wife and mother of two girls. She decided to create a Shazzy Fitness to bring family-friendly exercise DVD’s to the masses.

McCarley said Shazzy is short for Daniel’s Babylonian name, Belteshazzar (Daniel 1:7).

According to the company’s website, “The Hebrew prophet, Daniel, is a model of the power of faith. Despite dire circumstances, Daniel never let fear override his commitment to God. If Daniel were alive today, his hip-hop nickname just might be … ‘Shazzy.”

McCarley, a longtime professional in IT management, was laid off from her job in late 2011. Instead of finding a job that replicates her Kristy McCarley, center, works with the guys from her production team, ECG Production, on video editing.background, she opted to take a not-too-distant memory from 10 years ago and make it a reality.

“During a ‘spin’ class, a Kirk Franklin song was played. I had never heard that type of music in an exercise class,” McCarley said. “I just enjoyed how it made me feel not just during the class but after the class. It made my soul feel good. It made difference to me; it made a lasting impression. We need more of this.”

She wanted to do a live class in the Atlanta area, but she figured it would limit visibility. At the suggestion of others, she decided to produce a DVD.

McCarley pumped up her pursuit. She did her research, found a production company – ECG Productions – and choreographers to make inspiration a reality.

Diversity in the video is important to McCarley. The video’s participants vary in age and race.

“Christian hip-hop transcends race, gender, and age” she said. “Everybody can do this; it is not just for one group of people. Plus, good music is a universal language.”

McCarley said her organization is also aggressively seeking churches, schools, dance studios, non-profits and community organizations that are interested in becoming Shazzy Fitness ambassadors – meaning they are interested in partnering with them to bring their faith-based dance classes to their communities, events, and dance studios.

A question that consistently pops into the mind of the self-professed reluctant entrepreneur is, “Lord, what are we doing?”

“This is purely a walk of faith,” McCarley said. “I remember you can do all things through Christ. There are days when I ask myself, ‘How are we gonna make it?’ The only answer is Jesus.”

Learn more about Shazzy Fitness at Also, follow Shazzy Fitness on Twitter and Facebook.

Renaldo Davis: To be loved and lead by a true shepherd

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Renaldo Davis

By Anita Jarrell-Robertson
Special to Inside The Pew

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently conducted a study of a few hundred laypersons over a span of 60-Renaldo Davis 1plus churches to write down what they desired of a pastor. Their responses were open-ended, and there was no limitation on the number of items they could list. According to Rainer, the top ten characteristics of the ideal pastor include:

  1. Love of congregation. 
  2. Effective preaching. 
  3. Strong character.
  4. Good work ethic.
  5. Casts a vision.
  6. Demonstrates healthy leadership.
  7. Joyous.
  8. Does not yield to critics.
  9. Transparent.
  10. Models evangelism.

All these points relate to Minister Renaldo Davis, who serves on the Ministerial Board, Music Ministry, Youth Ministry, Men Ministry, Evangelism Ministry, and Armor Bearer Ministry at Ever-Increasing Life Ministries under the leadership of Apostle David A. Cowan and Elect Lady Linda Cowan.  He is also a well-traveled Independent Gospel Recording Artist, a dedicated husband, father, and friend.

Renaldo is very serious about ministry and believes that in order to reach unusual people you must have unusual church. Minister Davis’ ultimate dream is to see young men living strong and young women living beautiful from the inside out.  Originally from the Bahamas, Davis served at a vast array of ministries upon initially entering the United States until finally reaching what he considers to be “the best church on this side of heaven, Ever-Increasing Life Ministries located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”

Davis reflects, “I have a great relationship with my pastor. I consult him in every aspect of my life from my marriage, my music, to my business, and all ministry affairs. He and I talk weekly and sometimes even daily.”

Renaldo’s success as a recording artist is included amongst the areas in which his pastor leads him. He proudly exhibits a strong family life, which he believes should look the same at home and in ministry.  His perception of his pastor and his choice to emulate those positive qualities lead him to success on all sides- balanced living.

“I remember growing up hearing people say they wanted to be like Michael Jordan, well I want to be like him. To me, my dad is Elijah and I want to be his Elisha. I regard our relationship somewhat like I do my marriage. I protect it, guard it, give time to it, and keep the lines of communication wide open. Now, I must say this… I love my mom (Lady Linda Cowan). Talking to her is just like talking to Dad. Their wisdom is far beyond their years. My mom has the perfect nurturing spirit. Overall, our relationship is wonderful and amazing.”

Judging Renaldo’s sentiments about his pastor, Rainer would probably adopt his pastor, Apostle Cowan, as the poster child of an ideal pastor.  In an age where recording artists, independent or otherwise are seen by some as wild and undisciplined bigots who wear their egos on their shoulders, Renaldo is a counter example of how a balanced disciple of Christ operates and why it’s important to submit to a shepherd versus a hireling.  Renaldo’s latest music video can be found at He can be reached via email: or More from Renaldo Davis @

Anita Jarrell-Robertson, a Baton Rouge, La., native and graduate of LSUBR, became a volunteer columnist for Inside The Pew Magazine inAnita Robertson 2014 after writing an article on the Rev. Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..  Robertson also writes for The Holy Hip Hop Ezine. See more at and follow: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @anitaworships.