Monthly Archives: February 2015

Jenkins: Dangers of the Golden Calf

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Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series discussing the Golden Calf (Exodus 32).

By Dave Jenkins Jr.
Inside The Pew

Leaders and parents have to be careful not to fall into the “Golden Calf” syndrome.  This syndrome is when we think we have lost somethingDave Jenkins Jr of great value and we look for cheap imitations to replace it.

The Golden Calf syndrome is when appearing successful is more important than being true to who God created us to be. The Golden Calf syndrome is when fear of losing control replaces following the blueprint.streaming Patriots Day movie

When we give into the Golden Calf syndrome, we not only lose our focus and fire for the Lord; those who follow us are a part of the collateral damage. We see this so well in Exodus chapter 32.

The number one danger of the Golden Calf is that it tried to replace something that it can never replace.

In Verse 1 we see that in the absence of their spiritual leader, the people begin to seek a substitute.  They appreciated Moses but they needed something they could see to lead them to the next phase. They needed a new God that would guide them into the promise land.

They realized from crossing the Red Sea and the other military victories that they needed divine intervention. However, they chose to replace the eternal with the temporal.

Leaders we do that as well. It happens when we look for the short cuts and the quick hits instead of the proven principles. It happens in our homes when we allow the blessings to be more appreciated than the giver of the blessings.

The next danger of the Golden Calf is in the long run the imitation will cost more to be in your life than the original.

To make the Golden Calf the people had to give up the golden items that God had provided for them.  The gold earrings and other gold items did not cost the people anything since God had restructured a portion of the wealth from the Egyptians to them. So what God had given them freely, they had to pay as the cost for the Golden Calf.

When leaders take the resources that they have been given stewardship over and create a Golden Calf, they create a beast that you will always have to feed. The leadership at Enron is one example of this.

Another danger is it always requires you to sacrifice more than you intended; it is never satisfied.

Not only did Aaron have to make the new god, now he has to arrange a festival and burnt offerings. The request from the people was for Aaron to make a god for them. Now the false god requires more from them.

The Golden Calf will seem like a smart move, it will say to you “let’s not do all of that quality stuff so we can get the product out faster.” Then in a couple of months we are correcting returns and doing rework because we gave in to the Golden Calf.

Instead of checking with our spouse before we made that BIG decision, we allowed the Golden Calf of convenience to lead us. Now we have to make more adjustments than we intended just to keep the Golden Calf.

Dave Jenkins Jr. is an ordained minister and leadership and relationship teacher. Jenkins, a former chaplain for the Allen (Texas) Police Department, is a graduate of Grambling State University in Grambling, La., and earned a master’s of Christian leadership from Criswell College in Dallas. He also received advanced counseling training from Amberton University. Jenkins and his wife, Phyllis, are hosts of their own weekly family relationships show, “Marriage Monday,” on KGGR 1040 at 5 p.m. CST. Follow him on Twitter at @IamDaveJenkins and “like” him on Facebook (IamDaveJenkinsJr). Learn more about his ministry at www.davejenkinsjr.com.

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Sulack: Guide to practicing mindfulness for a healthier life

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Dr. Pete Sulack

By Dr. Pete Sulack
Inside The Pew

Most of us at some point feel as though we’re caught in a never-ending circle of chaos, thus propelling poor nutrition choices and creatingDr. Pete Sulack an overall lack of motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes. For some, it’s now harder than ever to find ways to clear the schedule, make healthier meals, and just slow down.

Being too busy and over-scheduled is a real challenge when it comes to making changes of any kind – especially changes that involve food. In our fast-paced society with an instant gratification mentality, we are not mindful of our food. We value efficiency, ease, and low cost more than the actual experience of enjoying what we put into our bodies.

In his book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown doesn’t specifically address food, but is on target about the groundswell popularity of mindfulness. From the nap pods and yoga classes to meditation rooms and organic food delivery popping up in offices, businesses are realizing that slowing down is good for both employee and the bottom line.

With the infiltration of technology designed to make our lives simpler, why did we end up busier than ever? According to McKeown, the smartphone, social media and extreme consumerism have fueled the ‘busy-ness bubble’. For the first time in the history of the world, we are aware of what everyone else is doing, eating, reading and buying – and believe we should be keeping up with it all.

For most, being busy equates to being important and successful. However, successful people manage their eating, exercise, and overall health. If we can’t seem to find the time to manage what God has called His temple, our bodies, then we cannot say we are truly successful. Changing any habit – especially lifelong habits of eating – requires mindfulness. We must pay attention, and that means slowing down.

Learn to say “no.” It’s OK to say no to your boss, kids, neighbors or church to ensure you are not over-extending yourself. As a starting point, give yourself permission to say “no” to committing your time at least once a month.

Set aside technology-free time at home. Ever notice how slowly things go when the power is out? We’ve become so dependent on the stimulation we receive from our technology and media sources that we never have the ability to truly wind down. Turn off phones, tablets and computers for an evening and connect with your spouse, children or a friend – or use the time to spend with God in a devotional.

Don’t take on a new activity without getting rid of an old activity. We only have 168 hours in each week, and 24 hours in each day. You can’t do everything. Get rid of existing activities before you sign up (or your kids sign up) for new activities.

Dr. Pete Sulack is a Stress expert, writer and speaker. He is the author of “Fellowshipping with God’s Voice” as well as the founder of Matthew 10 Ministries and Unhealthy Anonymous – a wellness support program that provides tools for healthier living.

 

Communities of faith to converge for TogetherLA; Tebow hits links for charity

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Tim Keller

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Feb. 26-Feb. 28

In Los Angeles: Key leaders from non-profits, churches, businesses, and communities in the Los Angeles area will convene beginning Thursday, Feb. 26 forTim Keller real-time collaboration, prayer, networking and strategic partnering. The free gathering is set to take place at West Angeles church of God in Christ, 3045 Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles.

Dr. Timothy Keller, lead pastor of Manhattan’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, is the slated main speaker for the three-day conference as well; all other speakers will be active leaders in the Los Angeles area. Speakers include Bishop Charles Blake, Dr. Barry Corey, Mark Labberton, Mayor Aja Brown, Efrem Smith, Caitlin Crosby, Tim Chaddick, Albert Tate, Larry Acosta, La Verne Tolbert, Michael Mata, Tom Hughes, Father Greg Boyle, and many more.

For more information, go to www.togetherla.net or email connect@togetherla.net.

March 15

In Ponte Vedra, Fla.: Tickets for the annual Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic are still available online. The event will take place at TPC Sawgrass inTebow Foundation Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Gates open at 9 a.m., with shotgun starting at 10 a.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for 18 and under.

March 22-March 29

Aboard Freedom of the Seas: Back to the Bible Canada, a world-wide ministry based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, will hold its second annual Bible Canada/Laugh Again ministry cruise. Author, speaker, and humorist Phil Callaway will serve as a special guest for the voyage. The seven-day cruise will leave you smiling, refreshed, inspired and renewed in your walk with Christ. To register, http://www.laughagain.ca/cruise-2015/.

Student ministry denounces murders of Muslim students

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By Bill Bray
Special to the ASSIST News Service 

The Overseas Students Mission (OSM) has denounced the murders of three Muslim students studying at the University of North CarolinaUNC murder, Chapel Hill.

OSM is a Christian organization working with local community and student leaders to provide hospitality and welcome international students to the United States.

The three students were slain execution style on Feb. 10 by a neighbor Craig Hicks in a dispute over parking rights, according to his wife. However, on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13, social media has been ablaze with accusations that it was a hate crime against Muslims. According to media reports, the charge is being investigated by police and the FBI.

In a prepared statement, OSM leaders said: “Our prayers today are going up to heaven for Mohammad Abu-Salha, father of one of the students, and to all the families of these students at this time of terrible tragedy. One of the students, Deah Barakat, was organizing a student dental mission to aid Syrian refugees in Turkey, something which we can only commend and appreciate as Christians.

“As believers, we condemn these killings. We have no reason to believe this was a hate crime but the accused killer, Craig Hicks, is reported to be a deeply anti-religious critic of Christianity.”

According to media reports, the slain students were Deah Shoddy Barakat, 23, and his new bride Yson Abu-Salha, 21, as well as her sister, Razon Abu-Salha, 19.

Direct Relief jets deliver supplies, medications to West African health facilities affected by Ebola

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Direct Relief-chartered Boeing 747 jets departed Los Angeles International Airport on Feb. 4 carrying more than $7 million in prescriptionDirect Relief Ebola Supplies medicines as well as supply modules to sufficiently equip 83 health facilities in Liberia and Sierra Leone that affected by Ebola, according representatives for the nonprofit organization.

The supplies – expected to supply the facilities for several months – will help restore medical facilities weakened by the worst outbreak of Ebola in history.

With the substantial decrease in new Ebola cases in recent weeks, the airlift represents a pivot toward helping local health facilities deal with both the pre-existing health challenges exacerbated by the outbreak as well as the still serious threats that Ebola presents.

According to Andrew MacCalla, director of emergency response and international programs for the nonprofit medical relief organization, dozens of primary care facilities shuttered during the crisis; malaria and other conditions went untreated; vaccination programs were suspended, prompting a recent measles outbreak; and pregnancy-related complications saw an uptick as more women gave birth at home.

“As the focus shifts to long-term health systems strengthening in West Africa, these items will help restore confidence in health care for both providers and people seeking care,” he said.

Each module contains 36 of the essential supplies needed to operate a functional medical clinic for two months, including items such as surgical gowns, gloves, masks, lanterns, medical disposal bins, and non-contact thermometers. The contents were developed in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ministry of Health of Liberia, and Last Mile Health.

The supplies contained in the modules were donated, in part, by the city of Yokohama, 3M, BD, California Nurses Foundation, and OneMillionLights. Additional supplies were purchased through a grant from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Another 17 modules will ship later in the month for a total of 100 modules. In Liberia, 40 modules will be distributed by Last Mile Health. In Sierra Leone, 10 modules will be distributed by Wellbody Alliance and 50 modules will be distributed by Medical Research Centre. Prescription medicines contained on the airlift will also be delivered to all three of these partners, as well as to Africare in Liberia.

The pharmaceutical supplies were made possible by Accord Healthcare, Inc., Actavis Pharma, Inc., Bayer Corporation – USA, Baxter International, Inc., GSK, Hospira, Inc., Mylan Laboratories, Inc., Prestige Brands, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Since Direct Relief began responding to the Ebola outbreak last spring, the organization has sent 40 shipments of Ebola relief aid valued at $25 million (wholesale), which have been distributed to more than 1,000 clinics and health centers in West Africa, in coordination with partner agencies.

Text Request makes communication easier between churches, nonprofits and their audiences

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Special to Inside The Pew

Text Request, a newly launched text communications company based in Chattanooga, Tenn., is making it easier for the public toText Request Logo communicate with their favorite organizations.

Text Request enables individuals to text their favorite organizations the same way they text friends and family. The company is fulfilling its mission of “connecting organizations with their customers through personal texts” by allowing the public to use standard text messaging to share and receive information from schools, local businesses, places of worship, and more.

“Text Request started as a great tool for consumers to contact their favorite businesses,” said Brian Elrod, the company’s co-founder. “However, it’s also an ideal tool for nonprofit organizations to stay in touch with their patrons and to further relationships with them.”

A Pew Research study cites that 33 percent of Americans prefer texting over all other forms of communication. This data suggests the trend will increase as text messaging continues to take over a larger percentage of everyday communication.

Text Request can be implemented anywhere from schools to hearing-  and speech-impaired institutions, to colleges, churches and other nonprofits to effectively open personable lines of communication with students, parents and members.

Organizations using the service find that phone lines are more open and incoming inquiries are handled much more efficiently. For example, parents inquiring about school events simply text a designated number to request the information instead of making a time-consuming and inefficient phone call.

The company has already helped several organizations to communicate more easily and effectively with their base.

St. Nicholas School in Chattanooga is one of the organizations using Text Request.

“Our parents love the convenience. It’s much easier and faster for them to text rather than call,” said Tammy Niel with St. Nicholas School. “With a text, parents don’t have to wait for a call to go through, then someone to answer and take a message.”

Chattanooga’s Christ United Methodist Church is another nonprofit using Text Request to stay in better communication with its congregation.

“Communicating with our parishioners and the community is one of the most difficult tasks that we face,” said Mark Flynn, senior pastor of the church. “We have so much going on, and want to make it easy for people to connect with us – to make sure that the lines of communication are always open. The reaction has been so positive from our community. Not only younger users, but people who are workforce age; everyone is texting.”

Christ United Methodist parishioners use Text Request to ask questions about what is going on in the life of the church, to send in a prayer request or notify other church leadership about hospitalizations.

There are no apps to download. Consumers simply text a standard phone number unique to each organization. Organizations can even respond in real-time to messages received through the Text Request platform.

Text Request is not a mass texting or SMS marketing tool and users will never receive unsolicited messages from Text Request nor the businesses they choose to communicate with. Additionally, other than standard text messaging rates from their cell phone provider, Text Request is completely free to consumers.

The company rolled out a beta launch in the summer of 2014 to a diverse set of initial customers within a variety of consumer segments, including hospitality, education, ministry and food service.

These beta test users and others have encouraged their customers to contact them through the Text Request platform and have reported significant growth and satisfaction since implementation.

Those interested in learning more can visit textrequest.com to see how it works for free. Scalable pricing plans are available to meet every size business.