Author Archives: grelanmuse

Bradshaw: Wisdom is supreme

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Proverbs

By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

Eating salads was something I added to my life in college. It was one of those discoveries that I am so glad I made. I love and enjoySherry Bradshaw, author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life a good salad and find great comfort in knowing I am eating healthy. At least that is what I thought for a while until I decided to become a lifelong learner and read more. It was then that I realized choosing the salad bar for a meal didn’t exactly mean I was eating healthy. It was pretty embarrassing when I learned I was intaking as many calories at a salad bar as Thomas was taking in with a burger and fries! I realized I was absolutely deceiving myself on what I thought was a good choice. I love cheese, croutons, among other things, and a salad “drowned” in blue cheese dressing.

I had good intentions and thought I was making the wisest choice. There are many places in life we deceive ourselves. This is just one simple way I was patting myself on the back for nothing! I wasn’t really getting the benefit from my intentions. Proverbs 14:8 states, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” I was deceived and realized a healthy salad looks more like loads of vegetables on top of very green lettuce with low-fat dressing. Yuk! It is not nearly as good as my former salads, but for sure more beneficial.

Wise choices aren’t always fun nor do they always taste good. Seriously, being wise doesn’t always bring quick satisfaction. Refraining from gossip could exclude you from a popular conversation. Or, if you are really bold and gently call it for what it is, you may not only be excluded, you may lose a friend or draw ridicule. How about choosing to stay in and study when all your friends are going out? How about playing a game on your computer at work when you should be working? Or justifying paying your personal bills online when you are at work? I vividly remember our kids talking about a golfer calling a penalty on himself when his ball moved; no one saw but him. He chose to call the penalty and it inevitably cost him his PGA tour card!

Making wise and right choices aren’t always comfortable and could cost us in the short-term, but almost always, wise choices bring benefits; those benefits can be years in coming. Sometimes the benefits are peace of mind, comfort, and satisfaction that you personally know you did the right thing even if no other human knows it, ever. I have found in life – confronting wrong, making a wise choice, or simply standing for right – can do many things, but it can bring short-term or long time hurt, devastation, or loss. That is where trust comes in. I have found I can’t trust myself nor others as much as I can depend on and trust a Holy God. It promises in Proverbs 4:11, “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

I love all of scripture but the most encouraging scripture that I read often and draw from to encourage myself to pick Godly wisdom over human desires or daily whims and temptations is the following found in Proverbs 4:20-27. In my Bible, it is under the subtitle “Wisdom is supreme.”

“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words, Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips; Let your eyes look straight ahead fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

I would like to, but will refrain from writing the whole book of Proverbs from the Bible. If you have never read that book, read it; I believe it is the best book in the Bible on how to live a “wise” life. I have found the more I strive with intention to live the instruction found in the book of Proverbs, the easier it is to run and run with a pace that is challenging, testing, convicting, but most of all, rewarding, and, I do much less stumbling!

Sherry Bradshaw, is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.

Jenkins: Clippers owner’s comments are more than just racist

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Donald Sterling

By Dave Jenkins
Special to Inside The Pew

When you look at the comments that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made concerning his team and minorities, IDonald Sterling think that you have to look at them as more than a racist comment.

Mr. Sterling in one voice recording managed to insult, demean, and marginalize three groups of people.

One group of people he disrespected where the players on the team. Not just the ones that are currently on the team, but any future players, Black or non-Black. When Mr. Sterling states that he gives them food and money for cars, he is negating the fact that these players were not given anything, but earn it on the basketball court. They earned it from the long hours of practice and sacrifice to develop themselves into top level athletes who can easily do what most of us, including Mr. Sterling, can only dream that we can do.  Maybe we should look at how much money the U.S. government gave Mr. Sterling in the form of tax abatements and write-offs that allow him to have a net worth of over $10 billion. The Bible says that a man’s gift will make room for him. These athletes have worked hard so that their gifts can get them into the NBA and earn commercial endorsements.

The other group of people Mr. Sterling impacted was NBA fans everywhere and Los Angeles Clippers fans in particular. For Clippers fans, the experience of a playoff run was overs-shadowed and tainted by the words of Mr. Sterling. This year, the ClippersDavid Jenkins Jr. have a legitimate shot at going deep into the playoffs. However, Mr. Sterling comments have removed the spotlight from the hardwood court and placed the attention in the public court of opinion. It was to the point that the opposing team, Golden State Warriors, seriously considered not playing Game 5 of the series. Can you image the aftershocks in the sporting world if the Warriors had boycotted the game? If the boycott had occurred you can truly say that the Warriors understood Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Mr. Sterling’s comments have also insulted women. I am not going to address the motives of why his girlfriend recorded the conversation, but it is evident that Mr. Sterling has control issues when it comes to women. A man has to be very insecure to want to control who a woman communicates with and at what level, even to the point of trying to determine who she can be seen with and where. Women are not objects to be controlled, but people with their own thoughts and goals. As a man, you have to be comfortable with your relationship with a woman, in order for both of you to enjoy what you have. If a man has to control every aspect of a relationship, then affection has been replaced by contractual agreement, Song of Solomon 1:16: “My beloved is mine, and I am his …”

Dave Jenkins 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.

Seeking inner peace: Agency encourages abused women to ‘know who they are in God’

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Footprints

By Tera Alston
Special to Inside The Pew

One of the dark and often dirty secrets that plague our society is domestic violence. According to the National Coalition AgainstErica Hermann, CEO of Inner Peace Christian Life and Marriage Coaching Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience this type of abuse in her lifetime; a statistic that is alarming. Based on these numbers, more work is needed to help those affected by this oftentimes unseen form of violence.

Resources allocated for programs that assist individuals in need have steadily decreased over recent years however, there are still agencies that continue to see the need and continue to reach out. One such agency is Inner Peace Christian Life and Marriage Coaching, a Portsmouth, Va., agency that helps individuals deal with issues that negatively affect their lives and helps them understand God’s plan for their lives. One main focus of Inner Peace is to help women affected by domestic violence. The CEO, Erica Hermann, started the agency because she saw a serious need and realized there were limited places for abuse victims to go for assistance.

While working for years in home health, “I found myself doing more ministering when I went to visit versus anything else,” Hermann said.

Hermann said she sees her work as a ministry not just a business. God was telling her where He wanted her to be; He wanted her to go towards ministry, and she said yes.

Once launching her business, Hermann quickly began to see the layers of issues clients were dealing with. Women would come in for one issue and through coaching sessions, other issues such as childhood sexual abuse and low self esteem would be revealed. When these issues are coupled with current physical or emotional abuse, it makes the path towards healing a long road to travel for many. To help clients down this road, Hermann uses individual coaching sessions along with Bible studies that focus on the biblical truth that God loves them and the beauty God sees in women. Lessons also focus on topics such as the Proverbs 31 woman.

According to Hermann, “a large percent of the women do not know who they are in the eyes of God” and because they are in abusive relationships, many find it hard to believe God really loves them.

Another issue that Hermann helps the women deal with is the jaded view many have concerning submissiveness. This view often comes from years of misinterpreting what the bible truly means about the subject and often times this causes many Christian women to stay in abusive relationships. It may be hard for an abused woman to relearn what submissiveness truly means in biblical terms and to learn that the husband is mandated by God to love their wives as their own body (Ephesians 5:28), not to abuse them. Hermann believes the church can play an important role in helping women get over this hurdle by providing sound biblical teaching about submissiveness, providing domestic violence education to their congregations, and offer support groups.

Hermann’s prayer is that her services will help women get to a point when they are no longer in abusive relationships. To helpTera Alston women get to this point, the agency offers more than just coaching sessions. Inner Peace also provides job training/placement assistance, transportation, assistance finding shelter and other community resources. These added services can be invaluable to a woman fleeing abuse.

Inner peace says a lot about what Hermann is trying to accomplish. To her, inner peace means “to have peace; a peace that God meant for us to have” and her desire is to continue to minister to abused women so they can experience the inner peace that can only come from God.

For more information contact Inner Peace at 757-774-0388 or visit their website at www.inpcoaching.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/innerlifecoaching.

Tera Alston works as a women’s ministry leader and human resources professional in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.  She also partners with her husband to assist at-risk youth and their families.  She has a BSBA from Old Dominion University and an MBA from Saint Leo University.

Round: Every morning is Easter morning

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Resurrection Sunday

By Carol Round
Special to Inside The Pew

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end; He will stand upon the earth” Job 19:25 (NIV).Resurrection Sunday

Holy Week dawned with a cloudy sky, rain showers and the threat of freezing temperatures in Oklahoma. It was mid-April. New plants were pushing their green heads through the soil in my flowerbeds. Would they survive the predicted late freeze?

The previous day, our church had celebrated Palm Sunday with the children marching into the sanctuary, waving palm branches and singing “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.”  Not only do our children look forward to this day, the congregation enjoys celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.

In his Palm Sunday sermon, our pastor said Jesus fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies—some of them between 400-700 years before Jesus was born—including his arrival on the back of a borrowed donkey. Traditionally, entering the city on a donkey symbolized arrival in peace, rather than as a war-waging king arriving on a horse. As Pastor Ray said, “The purpose of that first Palm Sunday was to demonstrate the Kingship of God, and to offer peace. It was a non-violent challenge to a very violent (Roman) regime!”

He added, “Palm Sunday was no accident.” Neither was the crucifixion nor Easter Sunday. The events that took place during theCarol Round first Holy Week were all part of God’s perfect plan, a plan to help us focus our hearts on the cross of Christ and His empty tomb. God’s perfect plan was to save humanity.

Evangelist Billy Graham said, “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” But His love didn’t end on the cross. He further demonstrated His amazing love through an empty tomb, offering hope to those who believe.

Remember John 20:1-3? “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’”

Some see Easter as no more than jelly beans, colored eggs, cellophane-covered baskets and giant candy bunnies but it is so much more. Easter is our symbol of hope, renewal and new life.

I came across the words to a song called “Every Morning is Easter Morning.” The chorus follows: “Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on! Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!” The first stanza includes the words: “I am one of the Easter people! My new life has begun!”

For people of faith, every day is Easter Sunday. When we accept the unconditional love of a Heavenly Father, who gave His precious Son for our sins, we can delight in what this youngster said, “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, but Easter is everybody’s birthday.”

Easter was no accident. It was the Pinnacle of God’s Plan.

The author is available to speak at women’s events or to lead prayer journaling workshops. Email carolaround@yahoo.com

 

Shine, Jesus, Shine: Allow children to celebrate Easter’s significance

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The Sparkle Egg by Jill Hardie

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

The death, burial, and resurrection Jesus Christ can be a difficult concept to explain to children – especially when the world has The Sparkle Egg by Jill Hardiemade Easter into a holiday about bunnies.

Within “The Sparkle Egg” (Ideals Children’s Books, $16.99) by Jill Hardie is the beautiful story of God’s grace when we make missteps. Young Sam tells his parents a lie and his parents forgiven for his misdeed. To help the young boy understand the true meaning of forgiveness, his parents suggest he create a Sparkle Egg, write what brings him shame on slips of paper, and place the slips into this ornate egg.

On Easter morning, Sam awakes to find the slips of paper he had placed in the egg have disappeared. The moral of this story: once you ask God for forgiveness, you should not hold on to bad feelings. Allow yourself to live your life’s full potential. 1 John 1:9 reads, “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sings and purify your from all unrighteousness” (NIV).

Equally important is the egg is a symbol of the empty tomb found on the first Easter. Hardie shows that believers can still teacher our children the meaning of Easter, despite the incomplete truth floating around this time of the year. Children can still dye eggs, but it up to parents to add present accurate lessons for children to grasp. At the end of the book, Hardie gives children the opportunity to create their own Sparkle Egg.

Lydia, second grader from Dallas, said she “likes how Jesus tells him not to tell a lie. Sometimes you make mistakes and you can fix them. I like the story and the pictures.

She can thank illustrator Christine Kornacki for the intricate and captivating artistry.

“The Sparkle Egg” is written for children’s reading pleasure; but, the story reminds adults too of God’s perfect grace.

Aglow with love for Christ

Egglo Entertainment, based in Simi Valley, Calif., has found a way for egg hunt organizers to brighten up things, literally.Egglo Eggs

The company recently launched a product line of glow-in-the-dark Easter eggs known as Egglo Eggs. Founder Darcie Cobos said she strives to incorporate the Christian message of Easter into a family friendly glow-in-the-dark egg hunt. She also wants children of all ages to fully understand the sacrifice of Jesus and the hope of His rebirth in a fun and exciting way.

“A few years ago, I worked with my church’s children’s director on a Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt. We managed to pack the house like never before, and the children were beside themselves with anticipation and excitement!” Cobos said. “I knew that I had to share this success with parents and religious educators to change the way children learn the message of Jesus through the Easter story.”

Cobos said Egglo Eggs are made of safe phosphorescent material that can be used over and over again simply by charging them in either sun or artificial light. A curriculum, known as The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure, accompanies the product too. This material consists of a beautifully illustrated book explaining the meaning behind the eggs, a DVD, and a professional audio version of the book.

“I set out to share this idea with parents and teachers after discovering that there were no other glow-in-the-dark Easter eggs available,” said Cobos. “The Egglo Eggs Egg-cellent Easter Adventure is such a tremendous program that truly comes from the Lord.”

Find out more information about Egglo Entertainment at http://EggloEggs.com/

 

Review: Bradshaw recounts the ‘Front Nine’ of her spiritual journey

Published by:

Sherry Bradshaw

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

I have to be honest: I am not a fan of golf. However, for some odd reason, I felt the need last weekend to catch a glimpse of The "The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count In Life" by Sherry Thrift BradshawMasters Tournament. I didn’t witness Bubba Watson win his second green jacket in three years on April 13, but I did use the brief experience to help me relate to the metaphorical backdrop of Sherry Thrift Bradshaw’s release, “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count In Life” (LifeBridge Books, $19.95).

I enjoy reading faith-centered literature that places the Christian walk into terms that most people don’t think about; Bradshaw’s book follows this model. Bradshaw’s background in golf was fulfilled through her children. Actually, she is a former World Champion Clogger, Miss South Carolina, and 1st runner-up in the 1985 Miss America pageant.

Bradshaw and her husband, Bill, are parents of three Division 1 golfers – sons Brewer and Thomas (at mom’s alma mater, Clemson), and daughter, Collins, at Georgia. You can safely call Bradshaw a golf mom, as she has spent countless hours on the links with her children as they perfected their golf game.

“The Front Nine” has practical advice on topics ranging from building self-confidence to learning from the “double bogeys” and mistakes of life.

“Through my kids’ participation in golf, I have learned so much about life – patience, kindness, and self-control; God is my caddy,” said the Columbia, S.C., native. “My spiritual gift is to help and encourage people.”

Although the book equates golf to one’s Christian walk, you don’t have to be a golfer to understand its meaning. “The Front Nine” is Bradshaw’s story are the lessons, experiences, and adventures she has encountered. At the end of each “tee,” (better known as chapter) Bradshaw provides notes for readers’ scorecard. Tee #2 on “Your DNA” was interesting. As a child of the Almighty, we are created in His image. Sadly, there are many people walking around today thinking they are worthless. God loves you because He made you! Bradshaw wrote, “Don’t ever let Satan convince you that you aren’t worthy; you are a child of God (John 1:12).”

“The Front Nine” is a message of hope for us. Regardless of past mistakes, the future is always brighter if we cling to Him; don’t allow the “double-bogeys” to deter your path to righteousness. The high point of the book is its brevity; I was able to complete reading it within two hours.

Through her nonprofit organization, fittingly called Back 9 Ministries, Bradshaw is now living her divine purpose by encourages others to be all He created them and to live a life of significance. She has inspired hundreds of audiences at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organizations.

Learn more about Bradshaw and Back 9 Ministries by visiting www.Back9Ministries.org.

Note: In closing, I ask everyone to keep Sherry and her family in your prayers; her mother has recently gone home.

2 Sow or Not 2 Sow: Board game merges God’s word, money matters

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Players engage in 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow board game.

By Michele Lawson
Special to Inside The Pew

Shevon Sampson is the founder of Sowers Reap International and the creator/designer of the Christian based board game 2 Sow Shavon Sampsonor Not 2 Sow.

“As a Mother and a Christian I been seeking ways to teach financial responsibility using the spiritual resources I have learned over the years,” Sampson said, “because, let’s face it, whether you are an adult or a child, talking finances is never exciting.”

A business woman who is a successful insurance and retirement consultant, Sampson often saw people struggling with the delicate balance of obtaining financial success, money management, and living a charitable lifestyle according to God’s plan.  As Christian adults, Sampson believes that it’s our obligation to work morally, be financially successful, and fiscally responsible so that we can provide for our biological family, church family and community. She will tell you, “By putting my faith in God’s ability to provide and by learning God’s will for me and my family in regards to making, saving, spending and giving money, my life has changed.”

Passionate about helping others change their life when it comes to finances, Sampson believes that you are never too young to learn about finances.

“We teach our children what God’s word says about every other aspect of their life so why not tell them what God says aboutPlayers engage in 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow board game. money matters?  They see mom and dad buying groceries, gas, clothing, giving at church and giving to others.  It is important that they understand that this is God’s will in action.”

That is the principle behind the conceptualized game 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow.  An interactive board game, 2 SOW OR NOT 2 SOW takes its players on an entertaining yet educational journey filled with life lessons, teachings about decision making and consequences and spiritual challenges.

What do others think about the project?  Sampson tells us, “Through hands-on research of playing a prototype of the game with people from all walks of life, we have found this to be an excellent game and teaching tool for children, teens, and adults.  Players enjoyed earning, budgeting, spending and investing all while learning the Bible’s message about money.”

To learn more about Sampson’s 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow, visit www.sowersreap.com or follow the company on Twitter @sowersreap and Facebook.

Michele Lawson, RHIT, is a freelance writer, brand manager, and public speaker who is passionate about helping other succeed in business. Previously trained at the University of Florida, Michele taught communication skills, diversity, professionalism, and effective job searching which included resume building and interviewing skills. Michele now helps others with professional development, social media marketing, and provides one-on-one coaching.

Love pens guide to help others walk in a spirit-filled life

Published by:

Natalia Love

By Natalia Love
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Natalia Love is the author of “The ‘How to Love’ Manual” and a private practice pediatric physical therapist. “The ‘HowNatalia Love baptism to Love’ Manual” is a guide to walking the sacred path of love and relationship. It serves as an invitation to step into a new way of living love that is spirit-centered, love-inspired, and forgiving. And in her physical therapy practice, Love provides rehabilitation to beautiful children challenged by developmental delays and various pathologies such as stroke, brain injury, and genetic abnormalities.

Why did you create your business?

“The book was written as a result of a personal breakdown that led me into one of those dark nights of the soul. And as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, God’s comforting presence grew, inspired me to write and literally saved me.

“My pediatric practice in physical therapy is what God has made me for and the love in my heart for our littlest ones, our children is truly a gift and a blessing to me. I try not to take it for granted.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“The best advice I can share with an entrepreneur is to fear the Lord. With great power comes great responsibility. We all will "The 'How To Love' Manual by Natalia Loverender an account before Him one day, and those of us who have been vested with much, will be responsible and held accountable for much and many. Therefore, we all must ask ourselves, are we doing the Lord’s business, or our own business? Does our business bring glory to God, or glory to the world and us? Is our life, personally and professionally in integrity with the Scriptures or with the world? It is always good to remember what the old proverb says, “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“I don’t know where to start… Will give some interesting tidbits about my life. I was born in communist Bulgaria. I grew up during the times of the Eastern European block and the subsequent harsh conditions during its collapse. I’ve had my tonsils surgically removed without anesthesia (example of harsh post-communist medical conditions). I was a child when Chernobyl, the devastating nuclear meltdown in the former Soviet Union happened, and was the first kid to be admitted to the thyroid hospital for surgery due to a thyroid involvement, which the doctors linked to the fallout radiation. My parents wanted to name me ‘Natalie’ but the government didn’t allow them because it was a western name. They settled for the Russian ‘Natalia.’  But they didn’t settle when it came about my baptism. They baptized me as a baby (Bulgaria practices Eastern Orthodox Christianity) in one of the underground churches left from Ottoman times. My father was not present because at the time he was working for National Security and was being afraid that someone will see him walking into the church and report him to the party. I left Bulgaria at the age of 22 never having seen a Bible in my life… there were none around.”

Follow The “How to Love” Manual on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-How-to-Love-Manual/310561518957350. Also follow Natalia’s writings at www.natalialove.org.

Fort Worth-area ministry schedules job fair; Yolanda Adams to entertain at fundraiser

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Yolanda Adams

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

In Euless, Texas: More than 100 employers will be on the hunt for potential employees, as CareerSolutions, a nonprofit job-seeker ministry, will present its annual job fair on April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair will take place at First Baptist Euless Campus West, 1000 W. Airport Freeway, in Euless. Free resume review and seminars will be available. Learn more at http://www.careersolutionsworkshop.org/job_fairs.html.

In Louisville, Ky.: Christian Hunger Fund founder and president Dave Phillips will host the Rethink Mercy Conference set for AprilDave Phillips 11 on the campus of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville immediately following the Together for the Gospel conference. The Rethink Mercy Conference will feature a pastors’ roundtable discussion on these issues, as well as keynote messages by Al Mohler, author and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta. Information on the conference can be found at RethinkMercy.org. Also on the site, churches can learn more about joining one of Children’s Hunger Fund’s Mercy Networks.

In Port Arthur, Texas: The Port Arthur Christian Women will hold its luncheon titled “Live, Laugh and Love Life” on Friday, April 11, beginning at 11:45 a.m. at the Pompano Club LeChambre  Room, 330 Twin City Highway, Port Neches.  The cost of lunch is $17 per person. Pat Sadler from Nederland will be the special singer; Joann Cravens, well-known humorist from Nederland, will bring the special program. Pat Gordon from Frisco will deliver the inspirational message; her theme will be “Live, Laugh, and Love Life.” Reservations are essential for the luncheon and for the nursery, if needed, and may be made by calling Donna at 409-722-0951 or Gerry at 409-727-8262 by Tuesday, April 8.

In College Park, Md.: Four-time Grammy winning gospel artist Yolanda Adams will headline a benefit concert for EleanorYolanda Adams Roosevelt High School and A Very Taylored Foundation (AVTF) on April 6 at 3 and 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland, 3800 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Dekelboum Concert Hall, in College Park. Funds raised will help Roosevelt students and AVTF purchase tables and chairs, build an additional bathroom, and provide scholarship opportunities for students at the Marmanet Secondary School in Kenya. Purchase tickets at www.yolandaadamsconcert.com.

In Chicago:  The Midtown Educational Foundation will hold a benefit breakfast to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field on April 10 at the Chicago law offices of Skadden Arps, 155 N. Wacker Drive, 28th floor. Registration and continental breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m., and the program runs from 8 to 9 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit, which provides after-school and summertime enrichment programs for 1,100 at-risk children ages 8-18. Guest speaker is Kevin Saghy, manager of communications for the Chicago Cubs.  Cost is $15 for breakfast and a chance to win tickets to the official 100th anniversary game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, April. 23. Register at http://www.midtown-metro.org/champions for further details.

 

Wright: Noah movie shows one man’s courage, faith, hope

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Russell Crowe as Noah

By Rusty Wright
ASSIST News Service

Mount Hermon, Calif. (ANS) – OK, how would you feel if you thought you heard God telling you he was going to destroyRussell Crowe as Noah every living thing on earth with a great flood?

Except he wanted you to build a boat to survive the tumult with a few relatives and a slew of creatures.

Would you jump at the challenge? Run and hide? Ask – as Bill Cosby did in his classic comedy routine portraying Noah – “Right! Who is this really?”

Perhaps you’ll sense how the biblical Noah felt. Paramount Pictures and director/co-writer Darren Aronofsky bring Noah to the big screen in North America and worldwide throughout late March and April. The cast includes Russell Crowe in the title role, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins.

With breathtaking cinematography, this film imagines some intense struggles for Noah and his family. We see sorrow for lost masses, interpersonal conflicts, and practical realities of living on a creature-packed craft.

Taking Liberties
Paramount says Noah’s story “inspired” the film, but that “artistic license has been taken.” Too much license, feel some. I’m reminded of TV’s iconic psychiatrist Frasier Crane, concerned that an employee was “taking far too much liberty with the liberty-taking!” Readers of the biblical Noah story won’t find there, for instance, the film’s multi-armed fallen angels, its pronounced environmentalist message, or hordes of people fighting to board the ark.

The biblical account is short – mostly Genesis 6-9 – with little detail about ark life. So, yes, the filmmakers took liberties – many. Aronofsky recently told The Atlantic he views the story “as poetry and myth and legend” that helps us understand the world and ourselves.

But the essential framework of the biblical flood story – human evil, divine judgment, hope and salvation – remains in Noah. Consider these facets of that story and their modern implications.

Human Evil; Divine Judgment
Genesis says humanity was a mess: “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. . . It broke his heart.”

Human corruption prompted him to “destroy every living thing.” But “Noah was a righteous man [who] walked in close fellowship with God.” God told him to build a large boat, specifying precise dimensions and design.

Filmmakers took pains to follow biblical specs for their ark. The production designer had many ideas for the ark’s appearance, but Aronofsky, who is Jewish, insisted, “No, the measurements are right there.” 

Salvation, Hope, Promise

Noah built his ark and took aboard his wife, their three sons with their wives, plus pairs of animals, birds, and crawling creatures. Elaborate computer-generated imagery portrays the animals for film.

Rain poured, underground water erupted, and floodwaters covered the earth. Every human, bird and land animal not in the ark perished. The waters receded, the earth dried, and the ark inhabitants disembarked. God promised never again to destroy the earth by flood, offering the rainbow as a pledge reminder.

Faith; Future

If you attend the film, I suggest reading the biblical account first, then again after the screening. Noah’s story has much for a 21st-century audience, including two nuggets about faith and the future.

The New Testament lauds Noah for his faith. He was not perfect.

“Wickedness is in all of us,” he tells his wife in the film. His own drunkenness – depicted in the film – led to embarrassment and family conflict. But his faith in God mattered. I came to faith as a skeptical university student. It has made all the difference in my life.

Concerning the future, Jesus indicated his second coming would be “like it was in Noah’s day” with people carrying on their Rusty Wrightroutines and unaware of impending peril. “You also must be ready all the time,” he continued, “for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

I want to be ready.

Rated PG-13 (USA) for “violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content”

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. His website is: RustyWright.com.