Author Archives: grelanmuse

Newcombe: Jefferson’s religious views have been misread

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Jerry Newcombe

Editor’s note: This article is part 2 of a series that focuses on the book, “Doubting Thomas: The Religious Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson,” by Drs. Mark A. Beliles and Jerry Newcombe.

By Dr. Jerry Newcombe
Special to Inside The Pew

There has been a massive shift in the understanding of “the separation of church and state” in America. As a nation, we were founded for religious liberty, but now that freedom seems under attack by the forces of a militant secularism.

Just as an example. Recently, in Houston, city officials have sent out subpoenas, demanding certain ministers who have spoken out against homosexuality to hand over their sermons and emails. In Idaho, a husband and wife team who run a wedding chapel might have to go to jail and be fined because they refuse for conscience sake to conduct same-sex weddings. City officials upholding traditional stances on marriage or other issues have lately come under fire.

To paraphrase one professor of law, the First Amendment has been put on a search and destroy mission for any sneaky vestiges of religion left in public places.

Yet our founders, the same men who gave us the First Amendment, hired chaplains who say Christian prayers for the military and the legislatures at taxpayer expense. They proclaimed state and national days of prayer and thanksgiving. Thanksgiving itself is an annual reminder of our nation’s Christian heritage.

What’s happening today is in part because of a misreading of Jefferson, and it is our goal in this book to set the record straight. Suffice it to say that the Thomas Jefferson of history is not the Thomas Jefferson of the ACLU, People for the American Way, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, etc.

The separation of the institution of the church from the institution of the state, properly understood, is a biblical concept and was promoted by some of our founding fathers, including Jefferson and Madison. However, today’s “separation of church and state” is often defined in such ways as to essentially mean “state-sanctioned atheism”—something different than what the founders advocated. Groups like the ACLU actively promote the “state-sanctioned atheism” version of the separation of church and state. Many courts and public officials have bought into this vision, and we read about the results virtually every day in the news.

But is this even what Jefferson wanted? The real answer is no, even in his most liberal, skeptical phase of life. For instance, when he was president, Jefferson attended church on a regular basis at the Christian worship services held in the U.S. Capitol building. You might ask, “But what about the ‘separation of church and state’?” He certainly didn’t understand it in the strict way it is often imposed today. Like the other founders, he understood it to mean that no one national denomination would lord if over the others. No one denomination would become the national church “by law established.”

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the author/co-author of 24 books including bestsellers George Washington’s Sacred Fire (with Dr. Peter Lillback) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with Dr. Kennedy). Newcombe serves as a co-host, columnist and spokesperson for D. James Kennedy Ministries, where he produces/co-produces more than 60 one hour television specials that have aired nationwide. He has appeared on numerous talk shows as a guest, including “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” (4x), Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, C-Span2’s “Book Notes,” Janet Parshall’s America, Point of View, Moody Radio Network and more! Newcombe also hosts a weekly talk radio program on “GraceFM.” He is happily married with two children and a grandchild, and resides in South Florida.

Excerpt from ‘Doubting Thomas?: The Religious Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson’

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Editor’s note: This book excerpt is the first in a series that will focus on the religious legacy of the United States’ third president, Thomas Jefferson. “Doubting Thomas?: The Religious Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson” (Morgan James Publishing, Nov. 4, 2014) is co-authored by Mark A. Beliles, Ph.D. and Jerry Newcombe, D.Min.

Thomas Jefferson was a complicated man, especially when it comes to religion.

TRINITARIAN CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AND WORSHIP ALL HIS LIFE

Despite Jefferson’s late unorthodoxy, he maintained his support and attendance with orthodox Trinitarian churches (when available) his entire life. (He once describedThomas Small himself as a lifelong Episcopalian; but for two periods that type of church was unavailable to him—when he was in France (1784-1789) and after he retired back to Charlottesville (1809-1819).

The evidence in this book from his own writings and actions shows Thomas Jefferson to be much more involved in Christian activity than most people realize. Documents prove about 70 times that Jefferson worshiped or attended services, and over 400 incidents of him supporting religion or religious persons in one way or another. And it was proven that Jefferson worshiped other times, which he mentions in letters, but which simply do not show up in any documents.

Some may argue that just showing Jefferson financially supporting his local church does not mean he attended its services, but the overwhelming testimony of so many diverse observers clearly testify that he did so. For instance, Margaret B. Smith describes his eight years in Washington by saying: “Jefferson during his whole administration was a most regular attendant [at church in the Capitol].”[1] His political opponent Manasseh Cutler confirmed the same during those years—and even use the phrase “ardent zeal” in reference to Jefferson attending Christian services there. And Jefferson’s overseer at Monticello said of Jefferson’s retirement years that he never missed a chance to hear any preacher that came along. (This was even during the period before the Episcopal Church started back up in Charlottesville.) His family members and neighbors confirmed the same for his retirement years. And never once did any of his local pastors nor any other person in Williamsburg, Richmond, Philadelphia or Washington mention that Jefferson refrained from attending church or taking communion and participating in the weekly recitation of the Apostles’ Creed. On the positive side are many comments from the same, noting his attendance. In short, Thomas Jefferson was a committed, life long churchman.

Let’s review some of the other highlights of his personal pro-faith religious life:

  • He received his education at the hands of Christians, and he paid for his children and grandchildren to receive such an education. He also was a financial supporter of many Christian schools and colleges.
  • He was a member in good standing at Episcopalian Trinitarian congregations and a frequent worshiper at services organized by many other denominations that were predominantly orthodox.
  • On occasion, he even recommended a preacher to the Congressional chaplains, whose responsibility it was to fill that pulpit.
  • He was a very active giver to Christian causes. This was a pattern throughout his life, even in the last phase, which was the least orthodox of his earthly sojourn. Per capita, Jefferson probably gave more than today’s average Christian. He kept meticulous record of his expenditures, and it shows repeated donations to Christian churches and causes.
  • As a young man, Jefferson served as a vestryman (like an elder and a deacon rolled into one) for the Anglican Church. Also, around this same time, in 1777, he wrote up the charter for the Calvinistical Reformed Church in his town with an evangelical preacher, the Rev. Charles Clay—with whom he had a lifelong friendship. Jefferson was the biggest single contributor to this fledgling congregation.
  • Between 1821 and 1826 dozens of letters between Jefferson and Rev. Hatch, along with donations, show a renewed orthopraxic faith. At that last stage he was publicly a Christian member of a Trinitarian Episcopal church and he was accepted as a member by his pastor, while privately holding to Unitarian views.

Yet there was also evidence of doubts beginning with the 1788 letter, where he declined being a godparent because he did not understand the Trinity. But there was no subsequent evidence of a separation or withdrawal from Trinitarian churches. Despite the influence of Rev. Joseph Priestley and Unitarian friends, Jefferson claimed he did not turn away from the Christian faith. On April 21, 1803, to Rush he said unapologetically: “…I am a Christian…”

But after ten years more, in private—never public—he began to clearly express more unorthodoxy in his views. From about 1813 onward, Jefferson’s own words show a desire to promote a “restored” Christianity (that jettisoned the doctrine of the Trinity). In these later years there are several letters clearly identifying himself as an Episcopalian and a Christian (but in a non-creedal way). He said he could never be an atheist, and never once called himself a Deist. In his last year he called himself a Unitarian for the first time. Like many of the Restorationist believers in his area and like Unitarian Rev. Joseph Priestley, he believed the Scriptures had been corrupted over time, but his long-time pastors thought it was intellectual playfulness in the closet. Their perspective hopefully has been introduced through this book as a legitimate way of interpreting Jefferson’s personal faith.

[1] Margaret Bayard Smith, First Forty Years of Washington Society (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1906), 13.

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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. 28watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 2017 movie online now

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/.

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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.

 

Davis: Priorities in a race-charged culture

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By Laurel Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: This article originally appears in its full length on Laurel’s blog, The Reluctant First Lady (http://www.reluctantfirstlady.com/all-souls-matter) under the title, “7 Reasons Why My Faith, Not My Race, Comes First.”

My two young adult sons have been called “nigger” too many times in their own neighborhood for me to be indifferent to the fact that racism is alive and well in America. I have before and will continue to “pull the race card” whenever it’s truly warranted. I’ve picketed, boycotted, stormed the castle, and held up signs about “Equal Rights for All” just like my maternal grandmother did during the Civil Rights Movement decades before me.

I get righteously indignant at hasty judgments against the nuances of Black American Culture that I identify with and find downright endearing. See just one movie, any movie, with a mostly Black audience. While some people may complain, “Why can’t they just act normal?” I celebrate what makes us unique. We are normal. Normal for us. And what’s normal for us is far beyond, far deeper and far richer than what’s portrayed in the media.

And while I respect that many well-meaning non-Blacks have their own perspective on 400 years of American slavery, Jim Crow laws, socio-economic discrimination, racial profiling, so-called “white privilege,” and why we Blacks can’t just let it go, I wish they knew what it feels like in the 21st Century to have to sit your teenage boys down to tell them what to do if they’re ever confronted by a cop or the neighborhood skinheads. To the extent it’s in their control, I don’t want my law-abiding, smart and well-nurtured sons to ever be mistaken as “just another angry Black thug” by someone with preconceived notions and a gun.

But, even as I say all of that, I am a Christian. And I am a Christian before I am Black.

People may see the Black in me before they see the Christ in me, but I hope it’s the Christ in me they walk away with more than anything Laurel Daviselse. Being Black is certainly part of what defines me in this life. But being a Christian defines me for eternal life to come.

It may be semantics, but Black is part of what I am, while Christian is all who I am. To me, it comes down to a matter of skin versus soul. My race doesn’t get me into or keep me out of Heaven. Neither does social justice or injustice and the degree to which I do or don’t take corresponding action. What gets me into Heaven and keeps me there forever is the grace of God through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in whom I profess my faith. And just like Jesus doesn’t care that I’m Black, I don’t care that He’s not.watch Filmworker film online now

Jesus is worth infinitely more to me than the color of my skin, the brutal slavery of my ancestors, and the continued discrimination against my brothers and sisters in the flesh. Yes, #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter, but #AllSoulsMatter infinitely more. My faith reminds me, there’s something far more urgent to stand and fight against than another tragic death due to race, and that’s another tragic soul dying without Christ. That’s why, while as a Black person I can pick and choose my battles against racism and social injustice, as a follower of Christ I am called to be in battle daily for my faith, ready to defend it “in season and out of season” because of the growing global bombardment against it.

Racism will one day end, and it won’t be due to picket signs or die-ins. It will be because Jesus makes all things new, in His way and timing, as He wills. If I suffer as a Black person, I may never get the satisfaction of retribution. But if I suffer as a Christian, as the Apostle Paul says at Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present afflictions are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Most importantly, not everyone needs racial sensitivity training, but everybody needs Jesus. I can help turn a non-Christian into a Christian, but never a non-Black person into a Black person. Sure, non-Blacks can reach an understanding of and respect for our ongoing history of struggle, but the satisfaction of knowing if they ever do pales in comparison to knowing you had something to do with leading a lost soul to eternal life in Christ.

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.

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Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy announces 23 Blast Bowl viewing parties

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Special to Inside The Pew

LOS ANGELES – Super Bowl-winning coach and All Pro Dad national spokesperson, Tony Dungy, recently announced the 23 Blast Bowl in

Mark Hapka, left, and Alexa Vega

Mark Hapka, left, and Alexa Vega

conjunction with the family-friendly drama – currently the No. 1 sports movie on iTunes and available now on DVD and digital HD.

Dungy said in a press release that “23 Blast” is “a powerful movie about football and perseverance. The whole family will enjoy!”

Unlike the Super Bowl where sides will be taken and lines will be drawn, Dungy encourages everyone – families, teams and groups – to come together for their very own 23 Blast Bowl viewing party and discussion regarding the topics addressed in the film.

The event offers an entire night of inspiration that is simple to organize and implement in three easy steps.  Participants may buy the DVD at the local retailers or online at 23Blast.com, invite a group over to watch the film at their convenience and complete the night by using the free downloadable resources to begin a deeper discussion on the topics addressed in the film.

All resources for the 23 Blast Bowl can be found at 23blast.com/Bowl and include the official 23 Blast Bowl Event Guide, 23 Blast

Tony Dungy

Tony Dungy

Discussion Guide, 10 Ways For Children to Overcome Obstacles, 10 Ways to Motivate Your Child, 7 Signs of a Humble Athlete, and 6 Ways Your Kids Know You Believe in Them.

“23 Blast” features the story of blind football player Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka), a typical teenager growing up in a small town in Kentucky, who is a local hero on and off the field. In 1997, in the prime of his youth, Freeman is unexpectedly stricken with an infection that destroys his optic nerve; he becomes blind overnight. Under the influence of parents who love him, a physical therapist who challenges him, a coach who inspires him, and a best friend who he cannot bear to leave behind, Freeman shows us what true bravery is by competing on the gridiron, helping his Corbin High School team advance to the state playoffs.

Depicting a story of hope triumphing over despair, of courage and faith overcoming fear and of victory prevailing over adversity, “23 Blast” is designed to encourage and uplift audiences.

Distributed by Ocean Avenue Entertainment, Inc. in association with Toy Gun Films, the DVD features a multi-part “behind-the-scenes” Featurette with Dylan Baker, The Travis Freeman Story, descriptive audio for the visually-impaired, bloopers reel and discussion guide, among others. Having been featured in USA Today, The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, NBC’s Today and Dateline NBC, Freeman’s story was the winner of Heartland Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature.

In addition to Hapka, the film stars Stephen Lang (Avatar, Terra Nova), Alexa Vega (Spy Kids, Nashville), Max Adler (Glee), Bram Hoover, Kim Zimmer (Guiding Light, One Life to Live), Becky Ann Baker (Men in Black, Freaks and Geeks, A Simple Plan) Timothy Busfield (Field of Dreams, thirtysomething), Dylan Baker (Anchorman 2, Spiderman 2 &3, The Good Wife), and Fred D. Thompson (Sinister, Law & Order, Die Hard 2).

“23 Blast” is written by Bram Hoover and Toni Hoover, directed/produced by Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2 & 3, 13 Days) and produced by Gary Donatelli and Toni Hoover.  Executive producers for the movie include Daniel Snyder (owner of the Washington Redskins), Misook Doolittle and Brent Ryan Green.

For the latest news and updates regarding “23 Blast,” visit www.23blast.com.