Category Archives: From The Pulpit

Lee: One must first be whole before connecting with another person

Published by:

By Donald Lee
Special to Inside The Pew

To anyone anxious about getting into a relationship without first being a complete person: Understand that you cannot be good to anybody else until you can allow God to

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto" (Matthew 6:33).

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto” (Matthew 6:33).

do a work on the inside of you.

When you allow God to smooth out your rough edges, you won’t subject yourself or your children to domestic abuse. When you allow Him to work on you, your tolerance level for foolishness drops to zero. You begin to understand that it’s not about you running a household in your own understanding, but instead about you allowing Christ’s headship to be the final authority in your family. It’s about kingdom principles being applied in the home.

Singles, if your desire is to be married or in a relationship that potentially leads to marriage, the best thing for you to do is to get into the presence of God — to strive to do what is pleasing to Him. Once you get hooked up with Him, then He knows how to connect you with the one who best complements you.

If you’re praying to God for a mate after having submitted yourself totally to His will for your life, the person He has for you will have a spirit that’s the right fit for who you are, and it has nothing to do with sex. It’s just an overwhelmingly special, holy feeling that grips the both of you, a result of having consulted with God sincerely before proceeding.

And when you seek God first before seeking a relationship with someone else, the Lord defines you (see Matthew 6:33). He lets you know who you are. That saves you the heartache that comes with permitting someone else to damage your self-esteem through the definition of you that he wants you

Donald Lee

Donald Lee

to have rather than the one God has given you.

When you allow God to prepare you for someone else, you’ll have a greater appreciation for that person and vice versa. And you can “see” one another. In other words, the two of you can see into one another’s hearts and discern agape love, an authentic, heavenly love — the kind of love that is best expressed through people who are committed whole-heartedly to the Lord.

So, the best way to significantly increase the likelihood of your entering into a truly loving relationship is to simply put God first. He will make you complete.

Donald Lee, co-author of the relationships book “Married to Commitment,” is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas. He can be contacted at

pastordonjlee@yahoo.com or (225) 773-2248. Visit him online at http://www.christiancouplesconference.com. Follow him on Twitter at @donaldj_lee. You can also write him at P.O. Box 211186, Dallas, TX. 75211. 

Related stories

Bible explains how sin passed down from one man 6/12/2012

Lee: Book has reinforced ‘humility, patience’ in me 1/31/2012

Daily: Some thoughts on surprise resignation of the Pope Benedict XVI

Published by:

By Dennis Daily
Special to ASSIST News Service

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (ANS) — As a journalist who was raised in a Catholic home and went through 12 years in Catholic schools — and, like many Catholic boys,

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

thought he wanted to be a priest at one time – I am watching closely the events that are happening in the wake of the resignation of the Pope.

I awakened to the headline, “Pope Benedict XVI to resign, citing age and waning energy.” For there it was in black-and-white in the Washington Post, “Citing failing strength of ‘mind and body,’ Pope Benedict XVI stunned his closest aides and more than 1 billion Catholics by resigning on Monday, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years and ending the tenure of a formidable theologian who preached a gospel of conservative faith to a fast-changing world.

“Keeping with his reputation as a traditionalist, Pope Benedict delivered his resignation – effective Feb. 28 – in Latin, to a private church body in Vatican City. ‘I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,’ he said. ‘For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter.'”

On hearing this news, I was startled for several reasons:

First of all, since this is only the second time in 2,000 years that a Pope has called it quits, I realized instantly that this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Actually, it’s a once-in-many-lifetimes kind of thing.

From a pure journalistic standpoint, this was QUITE a story.

Secondly, I began to realize all the things that must be going on in the Vatican to prepare for the election of a new Pope.

I’m fortunate, when I was in high school, a nearly ordained priest came to the parish and he taught religion to us. You have to remember that most Catholic kids, and others who go to religion-sponsored schools, have to attend a religion class every day. No Sunday school for us Catholic kids.

The young priest assigned to my high school would eventually, in later years, go on to teach at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that this youthful priest was a real rebel — a fire-brand.

He had spent his seminary time at Collegium Canisianum, located in beautiful Innsbruck, Austria.

It’s funny, after all these years, I can still remember his mailing address there, when he went back for a while as part of a project: Tschurtschenthalerstrasse 7. I guess had his school been on White Street of Alps Boulevard I would have never remembered its address.

Actually, Kress was more than a fire-brand. Some in the parish thought he was a radical. His sermons were full of questions and doubt that troubled many of the older members of the parish.

One week, after wondering aloud from the pulpit if there really HAD been a “Great Flood” and if the “Noah Story” were just a great parable, my own grandmother went to the pastor, Kress’s boss, asking that he be sent to some other parish.

Part of his reasoning about the existence of a Great Flood was based on similar stories in myriad other cultures. He seemed to be more excited about relaying the liberal Catholic thought in which he was immersed during his time in Innsbruck, than delivering a traditional sermon that would warm the hearts of the congregation.

But, that was Father Kress.

The reason he enters the story here, is that during those years in Austria, Kress had worked among many members of the Catholic Church there who were helping to prepare for the Second Vatican Council … that great assembling of religious leaders of all stripes, from around the world. It had been called lovable Pope John XXIII.

Kress’s seminary years were spent during an intense period of debate within the church. The conflict, of course, centered on whether the liberalization of the Church was indeed necessary.

John Paul XXIII had used an Italian word to describe what he wanted to do at the council; that word was “aggiornamento,” or “updating.” But the then roly-poly Pope who, while a bishop, had saved the lives of countless Jews who would have been swept up in the Holocaust, wanted more than an updating. He told media that he wanted to “open the windows and let some fresh air into the church.”

Liberals in the church in Europe were thrilled at the Pope’s announced intentions. They were even happier when John XXIII invited observers to the council from every known religion in the world.

Conservatives were worried that the Church would make a decidedly leftward shift. The church had already begun to look more catholic (with a small “c”) and more universal in John XXIII’s time; he had increased the number of bishops and cardinals from Third World countries and worked for the canonization of saints from lesser-known areas of the world.

So, we students in the 1960s, during the Vatican Council, were given a running play-by-play of what was going on in the halls of the Vatican by someone who had been in the thick of planning for the multi-year re-examination of the status of Catholicism.

We would watch news reports and Father Kress would point to the TV screen and say: “Oh, look, there’s Cardinal Konig,” or, “There’s Cardinal Frings.”

Kress had worked with these men, especially with Frings. The cardinal, who was from the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, had graduated from the Canisianum and maintained close ties with the school.

Frings, at the time, was one of the closest of confidants of another priest from the region, a teacher and writer who, at the time, was perceived to be on the liberal bandwagon.

That priest was Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, today’s Pope.

Frings and Ratzinger and two other liberal thinkers, Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx, were Fr. Kress’s heroes.

Shortly before the first session of the council opened, Frings had given a speech in Genoa, about the First Vatican Council. It called in 1868 by Pope Pius IX, ostensibly to deal with a quickly changing world in the height of the Industrial Revolution.

Frings looked at the impact of that first council and wondered if Pope John XXIII was simply re-opening an old concept, putting a modern-day “aggiornamento” spin on it.

When the Pope was informed about Frings’ speech, he summoned the clergyman to the Vatican. The session was not negative, as Frings had feared. John XXIII actually liked the speech. Frings thanked him. He didn’t tell the Pope that the speech had been written by his friend, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

After leaving high school, and those five-day-a-week sessions with Fr. Kress, and the daily play-by-play of what was happening in Rome, my thoughts of the Second Vatican Council faded.

Occasionally, I would have dinner with Fr. Kress, during the time that both he and I lived in Washington, DC.

I remember one evening when he wondered what had happened to all the fire-brand liberals of the European church over the years. He told me that many of them had “converted” to the conservative cause. One of them was the man who would one day become the first German-born Pope in a long time … and who would startle the world by resigning.

There will be a lot of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” over why Ratzinger is leaving his post. As a close adviser to the late Pope John-Paul II, the current Pope saw his predecessor grow weaker and weaker and shakier and shakier, while still trying to minister to his flock.

I am sure that Pope Benedict didn’t want to be that kind of Pope.

It will be interesting for all of us, though, to see what kind of role a former Pope will play in society. The last time anyone had a chance to witness that was 77 years before Columbus first sailed to the New World.

 

Dennis Daily is a lifelong journalist and radio news anchor and programmer. He spent 20-years with UPI (United Press International). During most of his tenure there he worked for the now-defunct UPI Radio Network. During several of those years he served as the network’s Religion Editor. He previously worked as a national spokesman for the USDA in Washington, was a Congressional Press Secretary, all-news anchor and producer for “The Larry King Show.” Long associated with religious programming, Daily returned to his hometown in southern Indiana for 26 consecutive years to anchor and produce five hours from four churches on Christmas Eve. For several of those years the broadcast was relayed around the world via Armed Forces Radio. After his two decades with UPI he went back into local radio in California’s San Joaquin Valley. He now lives in Palm Springs, Calif., where he is semi-retired. He continues to do freelance radio work, voicing daily reports on various topics. Dennis also produces the Religion & Ethic s Minute based on the stories of the ASSIST News Service. He can be contacted by e-mail at: newscaster@earthlinknet.

 

Iluno: Christian ladies, become attractive in manner that God approves

Published by:

By Rev. Nelson Iluno, corresponding assistant to Prof. Herbert Eze
Special for ASSIST News Service

NNEWI, NIGERIA (ANS) – “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold pearls or costly garments’ but rather by means of good works, as befits woman making a claim to Godliness” (1st Timothy 2: 9-10).

I have written this article for women, but I encourage men to read it also. The reason for addressing this article especially to women is because Paul, in our text, (also Peter in 1st Peter 3: 1-5) addressed himself primarily to women. This is not to say that men should not dress modestly, and cannot dress immodestly. Apparently, Michal felt that King David had displayed himself in an immodest manner in 2 Samuel, Chapter 6, so it is possible. The truth would seem too likely to be by a well-dressed man, as by a partially nude one. Taking these matters into account we may conclude that the principles of modesty apply equally to men and women, but they are principles of which women especially need to be aware.

In the story of David and Bethsheba we have illustrated the usual pattern of immorality. Bethsheba displayed herself in an immodest fashion, and David looked on her with lust (2nd Samuel 1: 1-4). Both sinned in ways that are far too common on the part of men and women. Neither could blame the other for their sin, for each had to assume the responsibility for their particular wrong doing. It is the same way today. Men need to be warned against lust, but women need to be concerned about how they present themselves to men; whether modestly? This article deals with this issue. Which is one that goes beyond the question of skirt length and styles?

The aim of this article is not to designate those clothing that are modest, and those which are immodest. I am not going to be picking on particular type of clothing nor do I wish to answer such question as: how short is too short? How tight is too tight? How low is too low? And how little is too little? What I do want to do is to encourage you to think about what is modest, and what is immodest.

I believe Christian ladies, young and old, need to give thought to the question of modesty when they put on, and when they put off, their clothes. The fact that many do not is what concerns me most. This point was driven home to me a few years ago when I was pastoring a Church in the northern Nigeria. I asked teenage girls in the church to name some styles of dress that they would not wear because they viewed them as immodest. The young girls could not identify as immodest any styles. However, the alarming thing was that they rarely gave thought to the question of modesty in selecting their clothing. I told them what I am telling you now. I have desire to set myself up as the final authority on what is, and what is not modest. However, I do want to exhort each individual to develop a personal sense of what constitutes appropriate dress, with the full realization that they must give an account of the standard they adopt.

I know there are those who would not hesitate to name certain styles of dress as being immodest and if pressed to do so I could supply you with a list of my own. However, in doing so I believe I would be failing to really impress on you the message of our text. There are those fundamentalists who would tell you that it is a sin to braid your hair, wear jewelry, or dress in expensive clothes, and they would point to our text as proof of their position. However, by taking such a literal view of another text which deals with the matter of modesty, I can prove that a woman should not wear any clothing. Note what Peter says: “whose adoring let it not be that outward adoring of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel” (1st Peter 3:3 (KJV) – emphasis mine).

If Peter’s words here are taken literally, then women sin by putting on clothing! I doubt that very many fundamentalists are going to want to take that position. To the contrary, most fundamentalists are more interested in putting more clothing on than seeing any taken off. In fact, any discussion of modesty will invariably focus on the matter of sexual stimulation; despite the fact, that doesn’t appear to be the primary emphasis of the two texts I have quotes.

Let’s hasten to make a point about what I am saying, before someone tries to misinterpret me. I am not saying that it is all right for women to take off their clothes, and that the potential for inciting lust is not to be a matter of concern. What I am saying is that a barrier against such misconduct will be better established by being true to the point of Paul and Peter’s words, than by using them as a pretext for setting ourselves standards of dress.

It is my conviction that the Holy Spirit is making the same point in both texts penned by Paul and Peter. The point being that Christian women are being noticed for their character, not their bodies. An attractive, well-dressed, well-manicured Christian woman is not a sinner. In fact, I believe Christian woman should be (and are) the most neat and attractive woman on earth.

However, their beauty is not to result from undue attention to their outward appearance, but as one of many products of their inward spirits. This exact point is made by Peter as we see when we complete the thought begun in verse 3: “And let not your adornment be merely braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses: but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quit spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women` also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being frightened by any fear” (1st Peter 3:3-6).

Those who would abuse Peter’s words here to place under restrictions on women who are aimed only at making them drab and unattractive might want to consider this. Sarah, whom Peter used as an example, was so attractive that Abraham was afraid Pharaoh would kill him to have her for himself (Genesis 12: 10-20). Also, Rachel’s good looks caused Isaac similar concern (Genesis 26). Finally, Esther not only entered the King’s beauty contest, but was declared the winner (Esther 2: 1-20). All of these examples should show one’s physical appearance to become the focus of attention in your own mind, and the thing which others are most aware of when they observe you.

In the context of what has been said to this point I would like to suggest two questions that every girl and woman should ask about their clothing and the manner in which they are presenting themselves. First, you should ask “how will others perceive me when I adorn myself in this fashion?

The first question is, perhaps, the more important of the two, and should be the more easily answered. It has to do with your self – image, and the emphasis of your life. I find it contradictory when woman complain about being viewed as sex objects, and yet direct so much attention to their physical appearance. While Paul was not speaking directly of modesty when he wrote that “bodily exercise is only of little profit, but godliness for all things “(1Timothy 4:8), I believe these words have a general application to our society, with its emphasis on physical attractiveness.

Those women who derive a sense of their worth only from the appearance of their hair, the slimness of their figure, the beauty of their face, etc, are to be pitied. We must also understand this tendency in light of the emphasis being given these matters by so many. The wonderful things about God’s commands are that they are always in our best interest. God’s commands regarding modesty are no exception.

The woman who understands God’s will on this matter escapes the “beauty trap” and the superficial value systems of our society, and is able to experience her real value as a child of God’s. While there are women who need to be rebuked for their blatantly seductive and suggestive ways, there are even more who need to be freed from the cross of feeling compelled to give undue emphasis to their outward appearance at the expense of an awareness of their true worth.

The second question, pertaining to how others will perceive you if you dress in a certain fashion, is a little more difficult to ascertain. In seeking an answer I would suggest that you speak with your husband, father, minister, or trusted friend (male or female) whom you know cares about the real you. If they see you as appearing coarse or vulgar, then you probably need to examine your heart and your style of dress.

I must advise you that there will always be those who will be critical, perhaps because of their own struggles with sin. However, if close friends see you as being immodest, or if a majority (or even a significant minority) of people know you more to your dress (or lack of dress, as the case may be) than they do to your Christian character, then you have a problem.

The goal of every Christian woman is not to be unattractive but to be attractive in a manner which God approves, keeping in mind that the ultimate aim of our existence is to give glory to God. The final word in respect to modest apparel may well be this verse from Psalms, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name, worship the Lord in holy array” (Psalms 29: 2).

Prof. Herbert Eze can be reached by email at herberteze@juno.com

 

Bill Ellis: The pastor’s study

Published by:

By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) — The pastor’s study is the one place in every city, county, state and nation that should be saturated with prayer – humble, believing and active prayer. That is the control center of the entire operation.

I have had the privilege of being in the pastor’s study in hundreds of churches, some among the world’s largest churches and the most prominent preachers. The pastor of the largest church east of the Mississippi River had for his working study a four-room house across the driveway from his residence. Those large rooms were filled with books. Dr. R. G. Lee had an inner study, no windows, where he did his most concentrated work on preaching.

In the large Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, Tenn., where he pastored for 32 years, he had a beautiful and well-appointed office. When I was in it with him one day, he told me that particular office was used for interviews, counseling and meetings for church business. His office for study, writing and sermon preparation was located beside his residence on Peach Street.

It is sometimes hard to get much serious research and study done in terms of sermon preparation in a church office with constant interruptions. I am always hesitant to go to a pastor’s study – and only if I think I can be helpful with such a visit. Pastors who are serious about their assignments, have no time for idle chatting with parishioners who have little to do.

As a pastor, I had a beautiful office at the church and fortunately had another inner office, but my main office for study, writing and sermonic preparation was in the basement of the parsonage for 25 years.

Two wonderful parishioners, Elgin and Dorothy Hawthorne, whose son, Dennis, is a successful pastor in Springfield, Ill., and their younger son, Elgin, a church organist of excellence, presented me with a cherished bronze and wood plaque, which had a story engraved on it titled, “Pastor’s Study.” For years, it has been in my office. Here’s its message,

“The pastor’s study is the symbol of the calling of the Christian minister to be the shepherd of a flock of God. His sermons are prepared to feed the congregation on God’s Holy Word.

“Here the work of the church is planned so that the congregation may grow and bear fruit in fellowship, teaching, and witnessing. Here you will always find a friend and counselor in time of need. He will not be surprised at your sins, nor will he judge you in them, but he always invites you to share with him, the wisdom and love of God, the knowledge of forgiveness of sin, and the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“You are always welcome.”

The pastor’s door is never closed to those who need the counseling, encouragement and prayers of their pastor. It is not, however, normally a place for idle chitchat. It is a place where you will find a loving heart and understanding listener.

Speaking of Christ’s gifts to the church, “He gave some to be . . . and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). Timothy, a young preacher is informed, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ . . .” (I Timothy 4:6).

I do not know of any calling or profession that demands more of a man or woman than the one to be a pastor. October is “Pastors Appreciation Month.” Do all you can to assist your pastor with the work of ministry.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.

 

Snyder: Recovering post-Christian Christians

Published by:

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not reflect the thoughts of Inside The Pew staff.

By John Snyder
Special to Inside The Pew

In the United States, many people are praying fervently and trying with all their might to recover a “Christian America,” and they’re convinced it can happen with just the right political candidate. “With our person in the White House we can go back to what we used to be!”

But even if we could elect St. Paul or St. Augustine as our new president, what impact would that have on a very un-Christian, post-Christian population without some massive spiritual awakening taking place first? It’s been said that no leader can be worse than the people who elected him/her.

It’s one thing for Christians to be living in a post-modern, post-Christian society, but it’s quite another for our churches to be packed with “post-Christian Christians.” What I mean is that unless and until we as Christians finally commit ourselves to live our lives as Jesus intended, it really won’t matter who occupies the White House or the seats of Congress, or sits in the Parliament of any other nation in the world.

Even if we can’t generate a predominantly Christian nation here in the USA, we can create a great number of Christian societies in the midst of it through our churches. But the church would have to be very different from what we see right now. By “different” I don’t mean in terms of the usual religious externals—clothing, appearance, religious language, and all of that—but in the way we act, what we value, and particularly how we treat one another.

“How they love one another!” and “With what great joy they live!” were things the pagan world said of the earliest Christians. Who says that about the church today? Virtually every poll that has come out in the last few decades has simply confirmed the continuous dismal slide of the church toward a complete conformity to the culture. We’re no longer distinguishable in any way from the secular world.

OK, so most of us have heard this before. Continuing to wring our hands about it won’t make any difference. Here’s what we can do about it. We can humble ourselves, turn from our own sin and selfishness, and give ourselves to prayer—real prayer, fervent prayer—continuing to ask, seek, and knock until God hears from heaven, forgives our sin, and heals our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

For churches to have any impact on society, change has to begin in us and our families first. We need to clean up our act, ensure that our family is centered on Christ, and then become healthy, active members of a real, God-honoring church.

It’s been said of nations at one time influenced by Christian faith (but no longer) that their social problems are primarily the fault of the church. In other words, when the church really is the church—when the word “Christian” means a person in whom the Spirit of Christ dwells—things happen. The medicine of the Gospel works only when taken full strength. And history has demonstrated that the Gospel has the power to revolutionize society even when a minority are believers.

Few doubt that the world is at one of its most critical points in all its history. We can’t make a mistake here. We’re faced with a full-blown call to arms, not with the weapons of the world, but with unrelenting prayer and the power of the Spirit, manifest in sacrificial love and steadfast obedience to whatever God calls each one of us to do.

This just isn’t the time for Christians to be pursuing along with the world more and more luxury, ease, entertainment, property, toys, and all the rest. The church may have been lulled to sleep by bread and circuses as the rest of the culture, but we don’t have to remain so. Listen to the call of the Spirit. It isn’t too late…yet.

Let’s ask ourselves, what can we do personally to resist the slide toward total cultural absorption of the church?

John Snyder (@jisnyder)is a pastor, author, and conference speaker. He has taught New Testament Studies at New College Berkeley, California, and has pastored and planted churches in California, New York, Switzerland, and Hawaii. Snyder received his Bachelor of Arts from Vanguard University (Costa Mesa, Calif.); his Master of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary; and his Doctor of Theology from the University of Basel, Switzerland. Snyder’s new book, “Your 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God”, is now available from Thomas Nelson Publishers on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, and other major retailers. He is also the founder of Community 321, an online faith community, and Basel Community, an information and relocation service to expats in the greater Basel, Switzerland, area. Contact Snyder via email john@community321.com.

Building better relationships for stronger marriages

Published by:

By Donald Lee
Special to Inside The Pew

With the divorce rate – roughly 50 percent of marriages in the United States – continuing to threaten the family unit, we must do everything we can to reverse the abysmal pattern many homes are falling into.

The best way to combat this epidemic is to lay down the foundation for a wholesome home by sharing the biblically based, yet practical, principles that lead to changed attitudes toward self and relationships. And it is for this reason that I am teaming up with a fellow Christian author, Dr. Aimee (pronounced I-may) Colbert, to host the Christian Couples Conference in the Fort Worth area on July 7 at Grace Church, 4740 Western Center Blvd., in Haltom City. There’ll be two sessions, one from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the other from 5 to 8 p.m.

The conference is free.

“The purpose of the conference is to help each individual, married or not, to increase his or her emotional intelligence and self-awareness,” said Colbert, an evangelist, faith-based counselor and author of the upcoming book, “Reality Check: Relationships.”

“I hope that attendees come to a better understanding of themselves, get answers and go forward with a passion to change and a new perspective on love,” Colbert said. “It’s not only for couples. It’s for couples and anyone seeking to be married some day.”

The idea is to reinforce the need for individuals to understand themselves, to have a healthy appreciation of their own self-worth and discern whether someone else has the wholesome spirit that is needed to best complement them. Strong relationships are built on wisdom and humility. And they thrive when those entering into them have genuine, sincere hearts rooted in the spirit of giving.

When someone approaches a relationship with the mindset of seeing what they can add to that relationship to help make the other person’s life easier, better, that produces a powerful connection, one that reflects the attributes of God. But when someone enters into relationships with a “gimme” attitude, always seeking to make withdrawals from the other person’s heart and rarely (if ever) making deposits, then that not only strains the relationship, but it gradually tears down the other person.

So, we want to stress that people have a health attitude toward themselves. A person can’t be sufficiently good to someone else if he (or she) has a negative view of himself (or herself).

Topics Colbert and I will cover at the conference include: “Twenty Questions You Must Ask Your Mate Before You Get Married”; “Twenty Signs That He/She is Not the One”; “Are You Addicted to Bad Relationships?”; and “Evaluating Your Expectations in Your Relationship,” just to name a few.

The conference will be recorded on CD and some video. The content will be available following the conference.

“The conference will be very eye-opening,” Colbert says. “Couples and singles should come prepared to learn. They should invite as many people as they possibly can, as we will be sharing information that they will probably never hear anywhere else. This will be a life-changing event in their lives.”

For more information about the free conference, including registration, visit http://www.christiancouplesconference.com.

Donald Lee is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas and co-author of “Married to Commitment,” the powerful Xulon Press-published book on relationships. To order “Married to Commitment” online, visit http://www.xulonpress.com. Follow Lee on Twitter at @donaldj_lee. Dr. Aimee Colbert also is on Twitter at @aimeetweets4u. The first chapter of Dr. Colbert’s book, “Reality Check,” already is available for download from the conference’s Web site. Also, call in to their Blogtalk radio show at 1 p.m. (Central Standard Time) every Saturday by calling (646) 652-4405. Lee’s and Colbert’s e-mail addresses are pastordonjlee@yahoo.com and aimee­_colbert@yahoo.com, respectively.

Bible explains how sin passed down from one man

Published by:

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Inside The Pew staff.

By Donald Lee
Special to Inside The Pew

Question: I was recently asked, Why is everybody (including babies) paying for the sin of one man (Adam)?

Answer: Because when the one man, Adam, sinned by disobeying God and eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree, he passed the sin nature (or the state of sin) on to every other person born from him and his wife, Eve. So, what this means, is that even though a newborn baby isn’t old enough to perform the act of sin, the sin nature still is passed down to him by his parents (or lineage).

Take, for instance, a baby who is born addicted to crack cocaine because his mother smoked crack while he was in her womb. Just as the “addiction” is passed through the mother’s blood, so it is that the sin nature [or the state of sin] is passed down the lineage of man.

So because of this fact, God’s plan for redemption of mankind (restoring “man” back to his original state of “innocence” and uprightness and fellowship with God) meant that God had to send His Son, Jesus Christ, down here to the earth to suffer the punishment that we all “inherited” from Adam.

Remember what God told Adam in the beginning: The day you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall SURELY die.

What happened? Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, or forbidden tree. So, what was his punishment? He was banned from paradise and he was sentenced to die (even though God’s perfect plan was for Adam and Eve to live forever in paradise).

God’s judgment handed down to the serpent (through whom the devil spoke) was that he’d (the serpent) crawl on his belly and eat of the dust of the ground; God tells the serpent that He’d create “enmity” (which is a natural hatred) between the woman’s “seed” and the serpent’s .

God goes on to tell the serpent that the seed of the woman (He was speaking prophetically about Jesus Christ, God’s sacrificial Lamb, sent here to die for the sins of the world) would bruise his head (the “seed” of the serpent) and the “seed” of the serpent would bruise his heel.

God is speaking prophecy. He’s letting the devil know (through these scriptures) that even though the devil “beguiled”, or tricked, the woman into eating of the forbidden tree, and she in turn gave some of the fruit to her husband, and he disobeyed God and ate it because his wife suggested he eat it, God already has a plan to redeem the “fallen” man (or mankind) back to him.

That plan is by sending Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb and Savior to the world, to earth to fulfill prophecy. In other words, God’s plan was to kill Jesus, the Lamb, and shed His blood (which holds in it the power to wash away ALL sins) so that through Jesus’, the Lamb’s, death, mankind (those who accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His blood to pay the cost of their sins) can live throughout eternity with God.

Man, still must die a literal death (as you know). But instead of going to hell and eternal torment after dying, everybody who confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior before they died (or die) will be (or will have been) “SAVED” from eternity in torment and saved into everlasting life in the presence of God (or BACK in the presence of God, rather).

In other words, everybody who accepts that Jesus sacrificed His life so that they can be “saved” (or “born again”) will have eternal life. And everybody who rejects God’s plan for salvation and who rejects Jesus’ sacrifice will be banished into outter darkness (eternal torment in the lake of fire).

So, from this lesson, you see that God is “fair” and He is “just.” Just like the state of sin [or the very nature of sin] was passed down through the disobedience of one man (Adam), salvation also is passed down through the obedience (or sacrifice) of one Man, (Jesus, who also is referred to as the “Son of Man” or “the Last Adam”).

In other words, just like the only thing we had to do to be guilty of sin is to just be born, the only thing we have to do in order to be made righteous (in Christ) is to just be “born again.” So, by one man (Adam), death passed to ALL men (good men and bad men).

So is it that by one Man (Jesus Christ), eternal life has been made available to ALL men (meaning all of mankind). But in order to be “saved,” or “born again,” a person MUST confess Jesus Christ as his (or her) Lord and Savior.

Romans 10:9-10 (in the Amplified Bible) says Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 5:15 says But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.

Verses 16 through 19 continue to explain how Adam’s sin brought death on everybody, but Jesus’ sacrifice of His life has made it possible that all can be saved and be made righteous.

You very well know that not everybody will accept Jesus’ sacrifice. Those who don’t accept what Jesus did for us will have to pay the price for Adam’s fall. That price, again, is eternity in torment.

So, if you haven’t made Jesus your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do so. It’s the greatest, most profound, decision you’ll ever make in your life. Accept His gift of eternal life.

 Donald Lee is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas. He can be contacted at pastordonjlee@yahoo.com or (225) 773-2248. To get a copy of “Married to Commitment,” the profound book on relationships he co-authored, call Xulon Press toll-free (866) 909-2665 or visit http://www.xulonpress.com. Follow Lee on Twitter at @donaldj_lee. Listen to him “live” via teleconference toll-free (760) 466-8123 (code 279498#) for the 10 a.m. (CST) Sowing of the Word on Sundays and 7 p.m. Bible study on Thursdays.

The old man is gone. A new man appears.

Published by:

By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

Going to church on Sunday as a kid was always interesting. My family and I used to attend an old wooden church which sat on the hill in Amite, La. We did not have central air to keep us cool, only a box fan. Service got going at 11 a.m. and the time we shared with the Lord and in fellowship with each other was priceless. The only heat that went on at our church was the fire the congregation showed for the Lord.

The old saints would rejoice and all we had was one big drum and a few tambourines to work with. We clapped our hands and sang praises to the Lord such as Payday is Coming After While and It’s Gonna Rain. Then, the spirit of God encompassed us. The young people had to get up and testify as well. We were so happy to do so and tell how good God had been to us that week. I could feel the power moving all around me and others in the room. As a teenager, I didn’t understand everything that was going on, but I knew it was the anointing that destroyed the yoke, and, at that time, the anointing had broken down the strong holds of the enemy. We were so enthralled with the spirit the physical conditions of the church were no longer a concern.

Now I can appreciate what was happening within my congregation. The Bible says we all were born into sin. The experience of falling in love with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost and being born again in the spirit separates us from sin. Once we allow the Holy Spirit to enter our minds and heart, we can live the life Jesus lived. At this point we are free, and we graciously allow the Holy Ghost to come into our lives. This is why you see adults and teenagers crying like babies because there is no more sin in their lives; they are new creatures in Jesus Christ. We are babes in God’s sight (1 Corinthians 3:1, KJV).

My experience reminds me of the story in Acts 2:1-4 when the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (KJV).

The old man is gone, and a new man is here. The scripture shows the importance of letting the new spirit come in. I can see God working even as I write this column. I encourage those who have allowed the eternal flame to fizzle out to rekindle it. I pray the Holy Ghost will move in your life once again and bring you closer to the One who loves dearly loves you.

Grelan Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew (@pewnews) and Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries . Email responses to this column to pewnews@aol.com. Follow Pastor Muse on Twitter @gremuse.

 

Bible-based ideas of an honorable husband

Published by:

By Peter Caruso
Special to ASSIST News Service

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – Can a woman find a loving and honorable husband? He is more to be desired than wealth or successful career. She will find purpose and fulfillment in their relationship. His love for her is like Christ’s sacrificial love, putting her needs before his own.

Realizing he will never really understand his wife, he strives to have an understanding attitude toward her. He makes it his life-long job to study her; aware that failing to do so hinders the effectiveness of his prayers. His words bring comfort and healing to her spirit, shaping her character by their affirmation of her strengths. He is attentive to her need for companionship, rest and personal fulfillment. He protects and nurtures her as a cherished treasure. He guards her against attacks from others and defends her from self-recrimination.

He works diligently at his career, knowing God rewards those who are faithful stewards. He develops his God-given talents; continuing to learn and refine his skills for the benefit of others. He is watchful for needs he can meet, careful not to seek recognition.

God showers blessings upon him for he prayerfully rules his household well. He resorts neither to dictatorship – giving his family orders, nor spectatorship – being present but uninvolved. Instead he carefully oversees the administration of his home. He guards against allowing friends or relatives holding priority over his friendship with his wife.

He makes his relationship with God his highest priority, above family and career. He seeks to provide leadership filled with God’s wisdom. His manner is gentle, courteous and peaceful. By modeling the Father’s heart he sets the stage for his children’s relationship with their heavenly Father. They know him as consistent-the same at home as before others. He allows for discussion and is willing to yield to others. He is full of mercy and good deeds.

One day his children will honor him, lauding his integrity and righteousness. He will enjoy the character of his grandchildren, observing the multiplication of godliness.

Together with the wife of his youth he will savor the fruit of a life of devotion and friendship with God.

Pete Caruso and his wife, Bev, have served the Lord together for more than 50 years. They have pastored two churches for 35 years. From those churches they sent more than 100 individuals into full-time Christian service. They have preached or taught in 35 countries: They recently coauthored: Keeping It Fresh-A Love that Keeps on Growing based on the Marriage Enrichment Seminars they team-teach. The Carusos continue to teach and preach. They can be contacted at: Caruso@across2u.com or visit their website: www.PeteandBevCaruso.com

Life is so brief, eternity is forever

Published by:

Editor’s note: The views in this column are of the author.

By Bill Ellis
Special to Inside The Pew

SCOTT DEPOT, W.V. – The biggest surprise of my life is that all of it is so very brief. The Rev. Billy Graham, speaking of

Bill Ellis

his latest book, “Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well,” is quoted as saying, “All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die.”

We all have an appointment with death. There is an uncertainty about life, but none about death. I regularly read the obituary columns.

Some obituaries speak of hope and eternal life. Others seem to offer no hope. Abner was King Saul’s cousin and a commander in his army. At the death of Abner, King David, sang a lament in which he asked, “Should Abner die as a fool dies?” (2 Samuel 3:33).

Brief sadness comes when I read of all the things a person has done, but not one mention of that person’s relationship to God. Most discouraging are the words that come from a writer who has taken poetic license to an extreme and has a person walking heaven’s streets who left no testimony of ever having a desire to walk with God.

Many years ago, I heard a discussion among mountain men about death. One of them concluded, “As a tree falls, so shall it lie.” A person’s testimony cannot accurately be changed after death.

In the midst of the bereavement at death, there is also bright and abundant hope when a Christian dies. The Christian has hope beyond the grave. Jesus said to Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died four days earlier, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26).

A short time later there was rejoicing. Death had been conquered. Read to the end of that 11th chapter and note these events. Jesus went to the grave of Lazarus and said, “Take away the stone.” Then He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” and then Jesus said, “Loose him, and let him go.”

On March 2, Kitty and I were in Sullivan, Ill., to celebrate the life and death of Don F. Pedigo. Celebrate death? Of course, for “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” and that is the hope of every believer in Jesus Christ.

Lloyd Larson, Frank Mathis, and Mark Ellis recalled fond memories of their association with Don at Peoples Church of God in Decatur, Ill., and remembered him as I do, “a man’s man who dressed well and always wore a smile.”

As a churchman, he was involved with the music and missions of the church as was his family and as a church leader he often served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and was able to get more done than any board chairman I have ever known. His work and service for the church was highlighted by always taking on any task as a committed, knowledgeable, concerned, and determined leader who stayed with every assignment until it was successfully completed.

Our churches and country need more men like Don Pedigo. I will always be grateful for what this good, gracious and godly man meant to me and my family and thousands of others in our nation and abroad.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books.