Monthly Archives: July 2015

Earl: Grateful people are blessed

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By La Vonne Earl
Special to Inside The Pew

Have you ever noticed that people who are grateful are truly happy? Perhaps you think they are happy because things are going really well in their life, which very well could be true. Or perhaps there is a bigger secret as to why they are so blessed. I believe it is because they look for the blessings in their life. Like seeing gold everywhere they look. You might point out to them that it is really fools’ gold, but to them it is the prettiest sparkle they have ever seen.

This simple act of looking for the blessings in your life develops the prefrontal cortex of the brain, where all your happy emotions are stored. Did you know that the more you practice looking for joy, the bigger this part of the brain begins to grow? This makes it easier and more natural to see and feel joy daily.

The more joyful people are, the more others enjoy being around them, which further blesses the person because they have more people in their life. Social people are happier people.

Joyful, happy people are usually better at demonstrating gratitude for others. Either by verbally expressing their gratitude in person or La Vonne Earlthrough gifts and/or acts of service.

Think about it, who doesn’t want to do more for the grateful individual in their life? When people appreciate us we naturally want to do more for them.

So in your relationships, no matter who it is, your child, spouse, parent or business relationship, show your gratitude for them for the blessings they have given to you. Regardless of whether they have blessed you in a small or large way, find out their love language and seek to bless them! And seriously come on, not just once, do it often! They in turn will come to enjoy your company and will seek to do more for you!

By the way, what has happened to the thank you card? Does anybody do those anymore? This is a practice that is becoming so rare these days. If someone receives a thank you card from you they will feel you have gone above and beyond when really you are practicing something that is a common courtesy.

Our pastor Rick Warren has said that all you need to do is just a little bit more than average and people will think you are outstanding!

Become a grateful person and watch the blessings begin to pour into your life! Including feeling great because you know you are blessed!

La Vonne Earl is the founder and director of YKI coaching associates. She is a Master Certified Christian Coach and trainer for YKI coaching. Her professional trainings include coaching, counseling, Neuro Linguistics Programing, Sozo Healing, and Hypnotherapy. She has broad experiences in handling various life issues and is capable of helping you to achieve Emotional Wellness. 

Goodwin: Prophetic blood red moons

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God's Final Jubilee

By Dan K. Goodwin
Special to Inside The Pew

And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned Dan Goodwininto darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come (Acts 2:19-20)

There is a lot of interest in the blood red moons. Let me explain these lunar eclipses and clear up some of the confusion.

  • A blood red moon is a total lunar eclipse. Only a total lunar eclipse is considered a blood red moon. It is caused when the Earth gets between the sun and the moon. The moon appears “red” because of the rays of the sun going through the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • A “tetrad” is four consecutive TOTAL lunar eclipses in a row in a two-year period. There have been seven tetrads in the whole 2000 year New Testament Age where the blood red moons fell on the Jewish feasts of Passover and Tabernacles.
  • Seven times in the last 2,000 years there has been a rare occurrence of these four back-to-back full lunar blood red moons on the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles.
  • There is an eighth tetrad coming in 2014 and 2015.
  • Each of the first seven tetrads is associated with an important historical event that corresponded to Israel.God's Final Jubilee
  • Since the seven tetrads all revolved around Israel, it is very possible that the eighth will too.

Here are the dates of all eight tetrads that occur from Calvary to the end of the 21st century:

  • 162/163 A.D.
  • 795/796 A.D.
  • 842/843 A.D.
  • 860/861 A.D.
  • 1493/1494 A.D.
  • 1949/1950 A.D.: The Jews returned to Israel in May 1948 and got a seat on the United Nations in January 1949.
  • 1967/1968 A.D.: This tetrad began two months before the Six-Day War where Israel won Jerusalem.
  • 2014/2015 A.D.: This eighth tetrad is occurring now and on those same feast days. Three blood moons have already passed. The fourth is Sept. 28 on Feast of Tabernacles. There are no more of these “tetrads” on Jewish feast days for several hundred years.

So what does all this mean? In the Bible, the moon seems to be a sign for the nation of Israel. There have only been seven Blood Moon Tetrads on these feast days between Jesus Christ’s first coming and 2013. Remember, we are talking about total lunar eclipses on the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles two consecutive years in a row making them a very rare event that scientists call a tetrad. Each and every time there was some significant event which impacted the Jewish people. All seven times that it has happened in the last 2000 years something significant happened concerning the Jews. Seven times this rare occurrence fell on the first and last of the seven feasts that are in a seven month period on the Jewish calendar and yet, we have preachers around the country scoffing at it. Can you believe that?Detective Conan: Crimson Love Letter streaming

Seven is God’s number of completion. The eighth tetrad ends this fall. Eight is the number of new beginnings. There were eight souls in the ark that started over after the flood. Something may take place concerning Israel. Some believe the rapture may occur. We cannot be sure, but I admonish you to get your heart right with the Lord and be ready. In my book, God’s Final Jubilee, I give more details about these events.

Evangelist Dan Goodwin is the author of God’s Final Jubilee. He travels extensively, speaking in prophecy meetings and Bible conferences across the nation. In addition to God’s Final Jubilee, he has authored several books and study guides. Contact him to schedule a meeting or to get information on his books.

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SAGU football standout spends semester in Zimbabwe, Africa

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By Natalie Tristan
Special to Inside The Pew

It wasn’t the way Southwestern Assemblies of God University football standout Jeremiah Maat pictured his junior Maat on mission tripfootball season going.  During spring ball over a year ago, the linebacker tore his rotator cuff.  It was a season-ending injury and it changed the course of the next year.

“Having to sit out last season was the worst for me,” Maat said, “It was the first time that I haven’t played and started football in my position since I began football in seventh grade.”

It didn’t take Maat long to readjust his focus. The mission’s major from Slidell, La., decided to take an internship in Zimbabwe, Africa. He spent three months oversees, completing a semester of school while getting invaluable hands-on experience, “I worked with the missionaries on the field, and was allowed to do many things on my own such as speaking engagements, prayer meetings, and just fellowshipping with local pastors who became good friends.”

Maat worked hand in hand with local missionaries, helping to build churches, visiting villages and speaking toMaat and Group congregations. One all-night prayer meeting stood out in his memory, “We arrived at what I can only describe as a brick and mud hut. It had two rooms and no water or electricity. We had a small lantern for light and our voices for music. It was me and these amazing African people worshiping God in a hut the entire night. We sang and danced at times, cried out to God, and just sat in his presence at times.”

The semester overseas was life-changing for Maat as he came to realize people, at the core, were all the same, “It’s those moments when you make a friend despite color of skin, continent you grew up on, or amount of money you have. Those are my favorite moments.

Maat is back in the United States preparing for what will be his final season of football, “I have never worked out harder in all of my life as I am now. My shoulder is getting stronger than it has ever been, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will come in this season in my best shape.”

Being in his best shape ever is exciting news for SAGU football. In 2013, Maat helped lead his team to a 6-4 record and a Central States Football League Co-Championship, averaging nine tackles a game as a sophomore.

Maat’s immediate goal is focused on his strongest football season ever, but his long-term goal is to make it back to the mission’s field, “My time overseas has changed my outlook on life a lot. I have a deeper perspective on what poverty is and what is necessary for happiness.  I learned just to love people no matter what because that is what Christianity is at the core of it all.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu to stay second night in hospital

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Desmond Tutu and wife

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST News Service

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (ANS) – The BBC is reporting that South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu will spend a second nightDesmond Tutu and wife in hospital for treatment of a “persistent infection,” his family said.

Archbishop Tutu thanked “everyone who had sent love and prayers” since his admission to hospital in Cape Town, his daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu said.

The family hopes he will be able to return home “in a day or two,” his daughter said in an earlier statement.

He retired from public life in 2011 but continues to travel widely.

The 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate cancelled a planned trip to Rome in December following another infection.

“The admission is not thought to be linked to Archbishop Tutu’s treatment for prostate cancer, which has afflicted him for more than a decade,” according to the BBC.

His hospitalization comes a few days after he renewed his wedding vows to his wife Leah Tutu to mark their 60th wedding anniversary.

The BBC says that Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe may have described him as “evil,” but Archbishop Tutu remains a much-loved figure across the world – principally for his role in South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.

During the long years that Nelson Mandela was in prison, Archbishop Tutu spoke out against the regime – and won the Nobel peace prize in 1984 for his efforts.

He was chosen by President Mandela to chair South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and investigate the crimes committed by all sides during the apartheid regime.

At 78, “the Arch” – as he is known – has remained irrepressible and influential both in his native South Africa and on the global political stage.

He is chairman of a group of former world leaders called The Elders, launched on Nelson Mandela’s 89th birthday in 2007 with the aim of tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Photo cutline: Desmond Tutu, left, and his wife, Nomalizo Leah Tutu, have four children and seven grandchildren together (Getty Images).

Hostetler: The top seven prayer secrets of Jesus

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By Bob Hostetler
Special to Inside The Pew

If anyone exemplifies the blessed life, it is Jesus. Though he never owned a home or car, and never held season tickets for his favorite baseball team (the Cincinnati Reds, in case you were wondering), he lived a singular life. A rich life. A healing life. A life filled with laughter and song. A life that exuded beauty and blessing. One man, however, has not only read the Bible numerous times. He has also written it. Every word. By hand.

But how did Jesus live such a life? How did he get those riches? Was he born to such blessing? Did he bring those things with him from heaven? Were such blessings his because he was the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah? Or did he access those blessings in the same way we can?

I think the snapshots of Jesus we see in the Gospels show us exactly how he— who was thoroughly human in every respect, yet without sin—managed to live the kind of life he did. I think they depict how we can live the Christ life, too. And I think they reveal that his blessed life was due in large part to his prayer life. Prayer was critical to Jesus. It was essential to his connection with the Father. It was vital to the water-to-wine, walking-on-water, lunch-for-the-multitude, and victory-over-sin-and-death kind of life he lived. It was the source of his ability to speak like no one else, before or since. It was the conduit by which he healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. And it will be no different for us, if we learn from the top seven prayer secrets of Jesus:

He prioritized prayer. The Gospel writers often said things like this: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he

Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler

departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35, ESV). In my book, rising before the sun indicates commitment! The Gospels make it seem like prayer, to Jesus, was like a letter from home to a soldier or prisoner—refreshing, reinvigorating, restorative, required.

He prayed relationally. Not a single prayer of Jesus begins, “O Thou Ineffable, Invisible, Intangible Ruler of All…” He said, “Father.” In Aramaic, “Abba.” It was a way of praying that not only assumed a close relationship, but relied on it. And he made “Father” the first word (in Greek) in the prayer he modeled for his followers.

He sought the Father’s agenda. When Jesus taught his first followers to pray like him, he told them to pray, “May your Name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10, CJB). In other words, according to Jesus, prayer is first and foremost about the Father, not about us. It is not about getting things from God but entering into partnership with God and seeking his glory, his kingdom, his will.

He kept it simple. As a first century Jew, Jesus was heir to some of the most beautiful and eloquent prayers ever spoken. But his prayers—at least the ones his biographers recorded—are about as simple and earthy as they come. Like, “Make them one,” Forgive them,” and “Take this cup from me.”

He kept it authentic. Two of Jesus’ most famous prayers seem to be amazingly vulnerable: When he prayed, “Get me out of this,” in Gethsemane, and “Where are you?” on the cross. I’m paraphrasing, of course (his actual words were “Take this cup from me” and “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Still, those two moments provide a glimpse into the raw authenticity of Jesus’ prayer life. He didn’t pray platitudes; he prayed authentically, sincerely, even bluntly.

He was specific. Jesus apparently never prayed “bless them” prayers. For example, he prayed for Peter’s faith to withstand Satan’s attacks (Luke 22:31-32). And he told his followers to do likewise. He could have taught us to pray, “Bless us” or “Provide our needs.” But he didn’t. He said, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, KJV).

He kept at it. Luke recorded, “At about that same time he climbed a mountain to pray. He was there all night in prayer before God” (Luke 6:12, The Message). On the night of his arrest, he prayed three separate times, while his closest friends dozed nearby. Like the friend at midnight and the importunate widow in two of his parables, he prayed insistently and persistently.

Clearly, to Jesus, prayer was “the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings,” as St. John Chrysostom would call it. Jesus’ connection to his Father was key to his enjoyment of life, command of the elements, authority over sickness and Satan, and more. It was prayer—not his special status or privilege—that strengthened him in dark times and blessed him in brighter days. And so it will do for us, if we simply apply a few of his secrets in prayer.

Bob Hostetler is a writer and speaker whose 36 books include The Red-Letter Prayer Life (which inspired this article). He is also the author of the iPhone and iPad app, “31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids,” and blogs twice a week on Guideposts. He and his wife live in southwest Ohio.

Youth engagement summit comes to Dallas Baptist; spoken word ministry preps for ‘Rhetoric’

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

In Carrollton – Holy Arms Ministries will play host to a Community Response Intervention Event on July 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Carrollton Public Library, 4220 N. Josey Lane/E. Hebron Parkway in Carrollton. The event is free and open to the public. The event will bring awareness to child safety. The Child Advocacy Center of Denton County. Call 972-822-9408 for more information or visit www.holyarm.org.

In Los Angeles – Passion 4 Christ Movement will hold RHETORIC 2015, billed as the world’s largest Christian Preston Perry and Jackie Perryspoken word event, on Aug. 7 starting at 7 p.m. at Cottonwood Church, 4505 Katella Ave. in Los Alamitos. Cost is $20. To learn more about this exciting ministry, visit http://www.p4cm.com or view on YouTube.

In Waxahachie – Southwest Assemblies of God University will hold its diaper dandy camp for boys and girls ages four to 10 years old on July 24 and July 25 from 9 a.m. to noon.  The camp will be held on Sheaffer Gymnasium on the university’s campus.  Sign-up on the day of the event is welcome.  For more information call the Athletics Office at (972) 825-4672. Cost is $50 per camper.

In Dallas – On July 11, World Vision will host its fourth annual Youth Engagement Day for youths and adults from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Sadler Global Missions Center on the campus of Dallas Baptist University, 3000 Mountain Creek Parkway. Free event but registration is required. Lunch will be provided. Organizers say the event is appropriate for those entering grades 8-12 and students entering college and those completing their first year of college. Contact Rafael Munoz at 972-790-1204 ext. 2228 for more information.

In Anaheim, Calif. – The Harvest Crusades with evangelist Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, will return to Southern California for the 26th year. From Aug. 18 to Aug. 30 at Angel Stadium, the SoCal Harvest will feature a message of hope and contemporary Christian entertainment each night, including THIRD DAY, Jeremy Camp, Phil Wickham, and Lecrae. The free event will be broadcast live via the Internet at www.harvest.org and daily blog accounts of the crusade will also be made available. Updates about the Harvest outreach will be posted on Facebook (www.facebook.com/harvestcrusades ), Instagram (harvest_org or search #HarvestSoCal and Twitter (www.twitter.com/harvest_org ).

In Washington, D.C. – Rodney and Adonica Howard Browne’s Celebrate America 2015 will continue this Rodney and Adonica Browneweekend with Power Evangelism daily until July 11 at 10 a.m. and nightly events at 7 at the Daughters of American Revolution Constitution Hall, 1776 D. St. NW in Washington D.C. The Brownes say this event is for Americans to come together and turn their hearts to Christ, something much needed in this nation. Celebrate America’s promotional clip and the 2014 highlights are available at http://celebrateamericadc.com/media/.

Photo cutlines: Top, Preston Perry, left, and Jackie Hill Perry perform the poem, “The Fall“, during Rhetoric 2014.  Courtesy: Zoe4Life Productions. Bottom: Rodney and Adonica Browne.

Submit church and nonprofit events, Christian concerts, and fundraisers to Jacob Trimmer at pewnews@aol.com for publication.

Marschall: Faith of our fathers, distinguished guests’ comments

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One Nation Under God

By Rick Marschall
Special to ASSIST News Service

SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. (ANS) — We approach the Fourth of July again. I am going to suggest we save a little time apart fromOne Nation Under God our backyard barbecues, or town parades if your town still holds them. In addition to ketchup and mustard, add some of these patriotic condiments to your picnic fare; in addition to cheering the flag or the Boy Scout troop in the parade, cheer some of these quotations.

In fact, in addition to prayers, or the Pledge, at your gatherings — even if your family does not already exercise those traditions — draw together and exchange the quotations by our distinguished “guest bloggers” here. (And they are verified quotations, not those manufactured by well-intentioned patriots or challenged by Snopes and Urban Legend watchdogs.)

Long ago, a Frenchman visited the United States, toured the great cities and smallest towns, and came away astonished. Alexis deToqueville reportedly said, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Our president has denigrated the term of current popularity, “American Exceptionalism.” He has said that he is sure every nation thinks of itself as exceptional. We can worry that his complete misunderstanding of that term reflects his complete misunderstanding of America. Americans are not exceptional by virtue of birth certificates or driver licenses. American farmers or American firefighters are not different, or “more exceptional,” than human beings anywhere doing their jobs honorably. Heroes are heroes. And American villains can be as villainous than any others.

“American Exceptionalism” refers to the American system. What “is” the USA? The first of nations, not to declare independence, but to enshrine Liberty. To acknowledge God in the foundational documents of its Declaration and Constitution. To be a nation of laws, not men. To be a Republic, not a Democracy: elevating individualism, under law, over institutions and governmental whims. To respect religion, and religious freedom, as vital components of our American system. In revolutionary fashion — yes, the first; exceptional in world history — to protect minority rights but guard against majority tyranny.

Here, our guest bloggers may remind Americans of things we might have forgotten, God forbid.

“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” George Washington, first Inaugural Address.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.” George Washington, Farewell Speech, 1796.

“I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning.” Benjamin Franklin, 1787, Constitutional Convention.

“I’ve lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth — That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in t he Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this…” Benjamin Franklin.

“Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” John Adams.

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.” Alexander Hamilton.

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” John Jay, Constitutional framer, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

“[The Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.” Andrew Jackson.

“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins andRick Marschall transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon.” Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation Declaring the National Day of Fasting.

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Abraham Lincoln.

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.” United State Supreme Court, 1892.

“Ever throughout the ages, at all times and among all peoples, prosperity has been fraught with danger, and it behooves us to beseech the Giver of all things that we may not fall into love of ease and luxury; that we may not lose our sense of moral responsibility; that we may not forget our duty to God, and to our neighbor…. We are not threatened by foes from without. The foes from whom we should pray to be delivered are our own passions, appetites, and follies; and against these there is always need that we should war.” Theodore Roosevelt

“Can we resolve to reach, learn and try to heed the greatest message ever written, God’s Word, and the Holy Bible? Inside its pages lie all the answers to all the problems that man has ever known.” Ronald Reagan.

These are exceptional credos. It would be an exceptional disaster if a free people would forget such an inheritance. Happy Fourth. GO forth.

Send comments about this column to Marschall at RickMarschall@gmail.com

Early American Christian poetry: Alexander Mack Jr. 

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By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service

Albuquerque, N.M. – For many literary scholars, American poetry did not take flight until the post-Colonial era, falling roughly between the years of 1800-1900. Poets such as William Bryan (1794-1878), Henry Longfellow (1807-1882), John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), and Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) are mentioned with high regard, but culminating with Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) as the exemplars of a uniquely American voice.

All of this may be true.

But the reality is that poetry was present in the New World prior to the post-Colonial era, not only through theAlexander Mack Sr. various native tribes – where verbal histories, religious explanations, and tribal narratives were plethora – but also through the immigration of individuals from various nations.

This era of poetry prior to the 1800s is called the Colonial period.

Colonial poetry covers the years 1620-1800. Poets such as Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), Samuel Danforth (1626-1674), Edward Taylor (1645-1729), and the first black woman to publish her work, Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), are the normative poets to highlight during the Colonial era.

In all, Colonial poetry was largely religious in orientation, highlighting independence, freedom, and the Puritanical values of hard work, family life, and religious conviction.

Yet tucked in between the more known and celebrated American poets, lies a German-American poet: Alexander Mack Jr.

Alexander Mack Jr.’s life is intricately tied to the plight of the pietist Christian movement his father, Alexander Mack Sr. founded: The Brethren. It is known today through its various off-shoots: Church of the Brethren, Grace Brethren, German Brethren, and the like.

The Brethren began as a group of eight members in the small town of Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. After persecution, the Brethren splintered into various regions in Europe, then America. The first Brethren group arrived in America in 1719, by the invitation of William Penn, making Germantown, Penn., home.

In 1729, Alexander Mack Sr. and 59 other families arrived on American soil. From here, the Brethren gained in numbers and influence.

Alexander Mack Jr. was born in 1712 in Schwarzenau. Germany. He traveled with his family at age eight to West Friesdland, Germany; little is known of the Mack family during this period.

As mentioned above, Alexander Mack Jr., came to America in 1729 with his family. After the death of his father in 1735, Mack Jr. went through a crisis of faith, culminating in depression and mental turmoil.

To help give direction to his life, Mack joined the Ephrata Community in 1738. The Ephrata Society was an American Christian group, favoring medieval mystical ideology with monastic overtones: celibacy, strict daily orders, prayer, and Bible study.

Mack left the group in 1746 and returned to the Brethren. In 1749, he married Elizabeth Nise and began a family.

Being an educated man, Mack turned his attention to writing poetry, theology, lyrics, and letters. All of Mack Jr.’s writings were written in the German language.

According to author Samuel Heckman, Mack Jr.’s writings demonstrate a “kind and sympathetic spirit of the man, and show him to have been looked upon as a wise counselor and respected citizen.”

Mack Jr.’s largest non-poetical work was written in 1788. The book’s title, shortened to An Apology, is a defense of radical Christian thought and practice.

During the same year, Mack Jr. began publishing poems, many of which were contributions to Christopher Sower’s printed magazine Geistliches Magazien (translated as The Religious Magazine). Sower is best known as the first American to print the Bible in the New World.

According to Heckman, Mack Jr.’s ultimate purpose for the poems was to highlight “pious living and the source of his inspiration was the sacred Scriptures.” But Heckman is quick to point out that Mack Jr. had broader interests as well, stating, “He had larger learning and culture and interests is evidence through his knowledge of historical characters and events.”

Mack, Jr. died in 1803, leaving a body of work that should be placed with the other Colonial poets, as an instrumental factor in shaping early American poetry, particularly American Christian poetry. Though (by modern standards) the poems seem simple in tone and content, they are examples of Christian piety and demonstrate a deep Christian mind at work, cultivating a poetical and biblical worldview.

I leave you with his poem Number 36 (consisting of 55 stanzas), written to help comfort struggling families. The introduction of the poem, possibly written by Sower, states that Mack Jr. wrote the poem for those “erroneously dwelling in sadness, from out their house of mourning, and of leading them, with God’s blessing, to better thoughts.”

Stanza 36:

Whom love makes strong
Him, also, his affliction strengthens
Whom sorrow weakens
Him, also, his love enfeebles.
For love and sorrow
Are always closely related,
Each always extends to the other its hand
Through the whole of life’s journey
.

Sorrow and love were something Mack Jr. knew much about-experiencing the fruit of both. But as the poem continues, Mack Jr. relishes in the outcome of love’s pursuit:

Stanza 42:

The love of God
Is a fire that is effective;
It leads us, through Jesus Christ,
Into a new world.
It melts the folly out
And melts the wisdom in,
And when we are purified
It leads us all home
.

In a day and age where so many people are struggling – economically, socially, politically, and spiritually – Mack Jr.’s short stanzas (and the larger poem) sound as though they were written yesterday. Maybe it’s time afflicted people pick up the poems of Alexander Mack Jr. and learn how our founding fathers stayed the course amidst great turmoil, trusting in God’s love to see us through, eventually leading us home.

Photo (above): Alexander Mack Sr., founder and first minister of the Church of the Brethren.

Notes: Brethren Press published a book of Alexander Mack Jr’s writings in 1912. It was edited by Samuel Heckman, of which much of this material was gleaned. Additional information on Alexander Mack Jr. can be found in Donald Durnbaugh’s book, The Brethren in Colonial America, published by The Brethren Press. A reprinted version of Alexander Mack, Jr’s poetry can be found on Amazon. Also a free internet version can be read on Internet Archive:http://www.archive.org/details/religiouspoetry01heckgoog

 

Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, minister, and family man. You may contact him at www.briannixon.com