Category Archives: National

Wooding: Opponents pour cold water on ALS Association‘s ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

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George W. and Laura Bush

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS) — Many around the world have been posting videos of themselves taking part in the “ice bucket Ann and Ted Bleymaierchallenge” to raise funds for the ALS Association, who are trying to find a cure for this terrible degenerative neurological condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

I have been moved as I watched these videos of celebrities and ordinary folk, taking part in their “soaking,” for a cause that is close to my heart.

You see, I recently lost to this dreaded disease, Theodore “Ted” Bleymaier, a dear friend.

It was Ted and his lovely wife Ann, who were among the first friends we made when we, as a family, moved over from the UK to Southern California, back in June of 1982. They showed us great love and introduced us to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, then being pastored by Chuck Smith – the “Father of the Jesus People Movement” – and with whom I am now a “Media Missionary.”

Ted was then working for Maranatha! Music, with his close friend, Chuck Fromm, and spent many hours helping us to readjust to our new life in the “New World.”

But sadly, Ted’s life changed forever on March 27, 2012, when this super fit former Stanford football player, and his wife Ann, sat across the examination table from specialist, Dr. Kamisky, as he confirmed to them the devastating diagnosis for Ted of ALS.

“It is hard to put into words exactly what I felt at that moment,” he said shortly afterwards. “Other than a few mechanical injuries I had sustained playing sports all my life, I had never really been sick.

“I was 62 years old, in great shape with a beautiful wife, two daughters, a son in law and the greatest dog in the world named Berwyn. My wife and I were traveling the country helping non-profits put on fund raising golf tournaments and we loved it. This also afforded me a great opportunity to play golf as I have most of my life. In fact, with a career in the Air Force and then as International VP for Word Entertainment, I have been blessed to have played golf in over 40 countries around the world.”

Ted Bleymaier, who met Ann in the U.K. while serving with the US Air Force – she is from North Wales – continued, “Lou Gehrig’s disease affects the motor neurons; they die and your muscles atrophy. It affects the voluntary muscles, but not the involuntary. Your heart is not affected and for the most part you are fully cognizant of the fact that your body is falling apart and there is nothing you can do about it.

“You will lose most of your motor skills including the ability to breathe and swallow. To this day, they have not figured out what causes ALS and there are no known remedies or medications to cure the disease. In the US, only 2 out of 100,000 come down with ALS. 50% of the patients die in the first 18 months and 90% die in 3 to 5 years. As a result, there are only about 30,000 people in the US who have this disease at any one time.

“In fact, if it was not for Lou Gehrig, this disease would be almost invisible. If I may, let me take you back to 1939. Baseball was the biggest sport.by far.in the country and since Babe Ruth had retired in 1935, Lou was the sport’s biggest hero. There is no equivalent to Lou’s stature in our country today. He had not missed a single game in 17 years for the NY Yankees – truly the original iron man.

“As the season began, Lou was only batting 158 with just 1 RBI. He then gets diagnosed with a disease which no one had ever heard of and then two weeks later the Yankees and all of baseball honored Lou before the start of a home game. Lou never played another game and died within two years. This was later immortalized in the movie, ‘The Pride of the Yankees,’ starring Gary Cooper. In one of the most recognizable sport quotes of all time, Lou called himself ‘the luckiest man on the face of the earth.’

“WOW.now that is having an attitude of gratitude!”

Ted Bleymaier was so moved with learning of Lou Gehrig speech, that he received a standing ovation when he recited it at a Nashville Sounds baseball game in Nashville, not long after receiving the news that he had the same illness as the baseball great.

Sadly, Ted passed away this year at his home in Spring Hill, Tennessee, on Friday April 4, and that is why I have watched and cheered so many “ice bucket challenges,” especially those of my family members and also friends as they have posted the videos on Facebook.

But now recently, an eRumor has been circulating on the Internet criticizing this worldwide “ice bucket” phenomena.

One of the messages reads, “Everyone has seen video after video (on social media) of friends, family, and colleagues taking the #IceBucketChallenge for the ALS Association research foundation.

“The goal of which has been stated to find a cure for those suffering with neurological breakdown through diseases like ALS.

“For any who have witnessed such struggle in those we love, the sincere and desperate hope for a cure seems like a big payoff for a bit of ice cold water being dumped on the head!

“The only problem here is that–unknowingly–this very challenge is contributing to the ongoing destruction of human life–intentionally.

“The ALS association is actively now funding embryonic stem cell research and admitting that they likely will continue to do so in the future.

The message went on to say, “The funding of embryonic stem cell research means that children are created and at their earliest stages of life they are destroyed so that the stem cells (from usually the base of the brain) can be harvested to perform tests with.

“Embryonic stem cell research has proven zero percent effective in combating diseases like ALS and other neurological degenerative diseases.

“Adult stem cells – which can be harvested from living humans without them being killed – have on the other hand – proven vastly effective in making progress towards slowing down and in some cases seeing remission or reversal of degenerative defects.”

There have made other criticisms of the #IceBucketChallenge, one of which stated, “Be it that millions around the world die from a lack of clean water, while millions of Americans have now poured out tens of millions of gallons of it. Or the idea that ALS takes approximately 1.6 lives per 100,000 deaths, while hunger amongst orphans is taking the life of a child every 90 seconds with roughly 60 million orphans globally.”

So what is the truth behind all of this condemnation? Well, intrepid veteran eRumor investigator, Tony Ashlin, who runs Truth or Fiction, a web site started by the late Christian broadcaster, Rich Buhler, has looked into the stem cell allegations, and says that it is only true in just one case.

“The ALS Association funds one study that uses embryonic stem cell research, according to an August 23, 2014, article by the Minneapolis Star Tribune,” said Ashlin in a posting on his www.truthorfiction.com.

“The ALS Association said that the research was funded by ‘one specific donor who is committed to this area of research.’

“Additionally, the ALS Association said donors were able to stipulate that they do not want their donations used to fund any stem cell research, if they so choose.

“Human embryonic stem cell lines that are used in research come from embryos that were left over from in vitro fertilization, or from embryos that carry genetic mutations like cystic fibrosis or Tay Sachs disease, according to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s website.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

“After a couple completes the in vitro fertilization process, they either continue paying for the leftover embryos to remain frozen or allow them to thaw, which destroys the cells.

“Couples in some states, however, also have the choice to donate the embryos to research or adoptive families, according to the institute.”

Ashlin added that the ALS Association said on its web site, “The discovery that human embryonic stem cells can be isolated and propagated in culture with the potential of developing into all tissues of the body is a major medical breakthrough.” It admits, however, that “it has raised a great deal of ethical questions.”

So there you have it.  Many of the tens of thousands who have taken the “ice bucket challenge,” have often done so for dear friends, like Ted Bleymaier, who they have lost, and who made a huge impact on our lives.

They were not making any statement other than that!

Of course, there are those who appear to have as their life slogan, “You name it; I’m against it! They dedicate their blogosphere lives to criticizing others, as I well know, having been on the receiving end of some of these folk.

Of course, each one of us has a choice to make in participating, or not, in the “ice bucket challenge,” especially if one personally knows someone who has died from ALS. However, if there is only one case involved here in which the funding from the challenge is not being used, I am trying to figure out why there has been such a fuss, unless maybe it is to build up their mailing lists.

For me, I prefer to follow what Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward” (Mark 9:41 NIV). You could substitute, a “bucket of ice water,” if you wish.

Where do you stand? I know where I do, and it all relates to a dear friend called Ted Bleymaier.

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Good news from Ferguson, St. Louis!: The Church responds to crisis

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

ST. LOUIS/FERGUSON, MO (ANS) –We have all witnessed the extraordinary scenes from the streets of Ferguson, a city in St.Robert Loggins Louis County, Missouri, over the past several days, wondering what could be done to bring calm, peace, and civil treatment on all sides back to this small city.

But there is also good news: the Church is responding to the crisis.

Christian Emergency Network (CEN) Founder and President Mary Marr, has interviewed Pastor Robert Loggins, Executive Director of Mission Metro St. Louis and a city missionary for 38 years.

An African-American, born in Winona, Miss., but considers Laurel, Miss., his hometown, he shared that in the midst of the looting, escalating violence, finger pointing, and with media lights on full throttle in Ferguson and parts of St. Louis, the Hope of Christ is shining ever brighter!

She began by asking him what was the overall situation in the area from a Christian worldview?

“Ferguson and St. Louis are not unlike other cities in the U.S. We suffer from the same divisions which often separate the body of Christ. But there is an invitation from Jesus Christ to the Christians of these two cities right now to be Light in the midst of this darkness. Only Jesus can do what needs to be done to right the wrongs and to heal the land,” he said.

“The Lord Himself is bringing the Light of Jesus Christ in the midst of the pain and the turbulence in the area. He is inspiring unityJustice Peace and Love through the many prayer gatherings and is moving us toward acts of loving kindness toward each other, as well as toward the Brown family and all those who are confused and hurting. We are able to put our arms around the anxious and the fearful with the Hope of God.

“I pray the Lord would penetrate the radiant Light of Jesus Christ through His followers here that would spread across this nation.”

How are Christians praying, caring, and sharing the Hope of Christ in the area?

“We have had lots of humble prayer meetings, beginning at the First Baptist Church Ferguson, then St. Marks, and tomorrow prayer meetings will be held in North County Ferguson/Moline area. Each group is sending out prayer info within their own network on this,” said Pastor Loggins.

Pray

“Prayer meetings are continuing with calls to unite in prayer for healing in the city. The Christian leaders within our community have issued a challenge to all Christians to participate in inter denominational prayer gatherings with calls to action. Bishop Scott of Word Fellowship Church, one of the largest African-American churches in area, is calling Christians to unite their voices and begin a dialog of repentance reminding them of the Scripture, ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, I will heal their land.'”

Care

He went on to say, “After Pastor Joe at First Baptist Church Ferguson held an excellent prayer meeting, his church got with other churches in the area and started cleaning up the community and helping the businesses by not only cleaning up, but apologizing on behalf of those who had damaged their property.

“There is a lot of hurt and shame here, but this situation does not reflect our city. Rather, we are feeding and helping the needy with clothes. And one ministry group is giving $20,000 in scholarships to the other members of the Brown family. There is an out-pouring of compassion from all ethnic areas. St. Louis is a divided city, but Christians are seeing this as an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ in action. We may not be doing it at the level of excellence all the time, but His heart is moving us in St. Louis. Serve St. Louis and other ministries like it here, are doing so much, and yet they do not advertise themselves.

Share

“We are sharing information in St. Louis [and Ferguson] as well as sharing resources to open the door for the Gospel to be seen. We are witnessing things happening through relationships we have not previously seen, which have allowed us to present the plan of salvation to people who are coming to churches.

“We are seeing people who are more desperate, who may not have anything directly to do with the incident, come forth saying they are fearful or have a need. Teens are coming asking for help with their family problems, or police are coming asking for prayer and comfort in dealing with their many challenges. We are just lovin’ on people. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we have seen Christians re-dedicate their lives to Christ. Lots of good stuff.”

Mary Marr then asked the pastor if he believed there may be more incidents like this one.Mary Marr

“God has been speaking to America,” said Pastor Loggins. “It is not the same America as what I saw growing up. God has been speaking and America is not listening. How we treat Jewish families – we are not listening. Congress and the President are not listening. Pastors, often, we are not listening! Proverbs 7 reminds us it is not about the seekers but about the believers God is speaking to. Yes, groups are coming into our city and tearing the city down, and some may be of other convictions as well.

“But this is a wakeup call. And if we do not answer His phone call and give God the right info on what we have done wrong or what we are going to do about the matter, more will come.

“We are told righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach unto God; so our sin and disobedience are because we are not sharing the Gospel right here where we find ourselves, in a nation with the largest mission field that exists because we are not sharing our faith in Christ. We need to come to the end of ourselves, stop focusing on buildings and numbers in the pew, and expand the Gospel by leading others into a saving knowledge of God.

“I was taught how to love God and share His love at an early age in the midst of the projects filled with drugs and all sorts of problems, yet my life was untouched by these things. And why? Because my Aunt had walked faithfully before me and showed me the way.

“If God’s people are to be the presence of God, they must be marinated into His being, then the racial, economic, educational, all these issues which we focus upon will be resolved. We need to produce fruit from the bottom up, not top down, as we have been prone to do in the church today. Come to the end of yourself. Get back to forming disciples!”

Three-year-old says Jesus saved her from drowning in backyard pool

Published by:

Ella Kimbro

By Mark Ellis
ASSIST News

She leaned over to rescue a cat that fell into her backyard pool. Then she plunged in herself and nearly drowned until JesuElla Kimbros brought her back to life, according to a story by WMC Action News 5 in Memphis, Tenn.

Ella Kimbro, a Gibson County 3-year-old, nearly died May 22 in her family’s pool when she tried to reach in and rescue a cat named Elsa, according to WMC.

Like many parents in the mid-South, Johnny and Christy Kimbro like to spend time in their pool when temperatures rise.

Christy thought the three Kimbro kids were out riding their bikes on that fateful day. But she was surprised when she looked outside and didn’t see Ella.

Christy scanned the backyard carefully until she saw a horrible sight — her young daughter floating face-up in the pool.

“I thought she was dead when I first saw her. I remember yelling ‘Oh My God, she’s dead!’” Christy told WMC.

“She was blue, she was cold. I pulled her out of the pool. She wasn’t breathing,” added Christy. When Ella’s father, Johnny, startedKimbro pool CPR he could see her pupils were dilated. “What I do remember is standing over my daughter and I reached down to feel for a pulse, and I couldn’t find a pulse,” he told WMC.

After a few minutes of CPR something miraculous happened. Ella came back to life!

She was airlifted to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and was on a ventilator for five days, according to WMC.

When she awakened, Christy will never forget the story Ella told.

“She said she drowned. She saw a bright light and a man walking to her with long hair.”

Christy’s sister showed Ella a picture of Jesus on her phone and asked if the man looked like that.

“Ella said that was the man who saved her.” Christy says her 3-year-old had never heard a bright light story before this happened.

Ella has recovered completely, thanks to a Rescuer and Savior with much more than CPR at His fingertips.

 

Round: What will it take to stop the madness?

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By Carol Round
Special to Inside The Pew

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it”—Proverbs 22:6 (NIV).

Did you know the recent school shooting at Reynolds High School inFei Wilkening leaves flowers at a growing memorial at the entrance to Reynolds High School on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Troutdale, Ore. (Statesman Journal) Troutdale, Ore., marked the 74th one since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012? In 2014, so far, there have been 37 school shootings and as of February, about half of the incidents were fatal.

In the latest shooting, at least one student was killed and a teacher was injured by a lone gunman who later took his own life. According to police the teenage gunman had an AR-15 type rifle, a semi-automatic handgun and nine loaded magazines in his possession.

Have school shootings become the norm in our country? According to press reports, each gunman, including the ones involved in the Columbine High School massacre, occurring in 1999 were outsiders – loners who didn’t fit in or who had been influenced by our culture of movie and video violence.

In the case of the Columbine massacre, 12 students and one teacher were murdered by two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Although Harris and Klebold’s motives still remain unclear, their personal journals reveal they wanted their actions to rival the Oklahoma City bombing. USA Today referred to the Columbine massacre as a “suicidal attack [which was] planned as a grand—if badly implemented—terrorist bombing.” The two had also been influenced by violent movie and video games, according to the press.

School shootings have sparked debate over gun control laws, the availability of firearms in our country and gun violence involving youths. Discussion has also revolved around the nature of high school cliques and bullying as well as mental illness.

Why has no one stopped to consider that ultimate responsibility not only lies with the parents of the shooters but our society as well? Government cannot fix our broken country. We can’t enact enough laws to stop the madness.

What can we do? As Christians, we have a responsibility—several actually—to not only make sure our own actions reflect our Carol Roundmorals but to help others who are struggling. Can one person make a difference? Yes!

Reflect on these choices:

  • Do your values reflect God’s Word or do you allow culture to define who you are?
  • Do you allow your children to watch television shows or movies or play video games depicting violence or behavior that society deems acceptable?
  • Do you read and study the Bible and pray with your children? Do you attend church regularly?
  • Do you teach your children the value of human life, including accepting others who might be different? Do you tell your children it is wrong to bully others?
  • Do you spend quality time with your children in wholesome activities?
  • Do you teach your children about peer pressure? Do you emphasize the importance of following godly principles instead of the crowd?
  • Are your life choices the ones you want your children to emulate?

This list is only the beginning.  I urge you to reflect on your life and help stop the madness.

Need a speaker for your women’s event? Email carolaround@yahoo.com.

 

 

A son’s sacrifice: ‘The Hornet’s Nest’ strengthens family of fallen soldier

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Terry Burgess, right, and Bryan Burgess

By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

As a youngster in Cleburne, Texas, 101st Airborne Sergeant Bryan Burgess was an exciting and fun-loving kid who loved to climb

Terry Burgess, right, and Bryan Burgess

Terry Burgess, right, and Bryan Burgess

trees and play sports. Like older brothers are prone to do, he was protective of his younger sister, Brandi. Bryan always wanted to be a firefighter, police officer, or a member of the military.

Bryan Burgess chose the latter. He served his country well. He gave his life for his country.

Bryan Burgess, 29, died March 29, 2011, in Afghanistan when his unit was ambushed by the Taliban. According to The Associated Press, another solider was also killed in the attack.

The airborne sergeant’s life is one of many men and women who serve and die for our freedom is told in “The Hornet’s Nest,” a moving documentary now in theaters.

Terry Burgess, father of Bryan Burgess, told Inside The Pew that someone had contacted him about the making of the movie, but, at the time, he really didn’t pay it any attention because he was still grieving his son’s death.

The producers of the movie arranged a meeting with Terry and his family in Dallas and to review the footage of Bryan in action and his fellow soldiers. Terry indicated that it was a moment of joy and sadness but yet uplifting. Footage used in the film shows the ambush that claimed Bryan’s life.

“There was times in the movie we wanted to tell our son to stop and don’t go there,” Terry said.

He said the watching this movie and seeing his son and those brave soldiers give their life of this country renewed his faith in God and God restored him and gave him his purpose and mission to tell the story about these brave men and his son. Terry felt God united them together again in the Spirit.

“It was Bryan’s spirit that help us through this difficult time,” Terry shared.

A soldier is born

According to Terry, Bryan entered the National Guard right out of high school and was greatly impacted  by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was after the attacks that Bryan made the decision to join the Army.

“Bryan told me that his decision was to fight back for real so he joined the Army,” Terry said. “Nine-eleven really hurt Bryan, and he was ready to fight for his country. He was ready for the sacrifice.

“Bryan stated that he wasn’t asking me, he was telling him he was going to join the Army and fight back. I was very, very proud of Bryan for making a decision to what to fight for his country.”

Terry said Bryan’s decision to join the Army provided a mixed bag of feelings. He said his family was proud of Bryan’s decision but, at the same time, they were afraid of the warrior.

“We stood by him because we love him had faith in him; he had faith in God,” Terry Burgess said.

The elder Burgess said Bryan’s faith and spirit carried him where he needed to be, and Bryan believed and lived by it.

Bryan was a member of Glendale church of Christ in Cleburne. Growing up in Cleburne, Bryan Burgess was very active in the church in Sunday school and teaching Sunday school even up until adult life.

Bryan’s Christ-like demeanor was impressionable to superiors and soldiers alike, Terry said.

“Bryan loved the Lord,” Terry said. “Because of what his men saw in him, they stated that they would follow Sgt. Burgess into hell and they pay a heavy price.”

Terry Burgess said he was very happy and pleased about the making of “The Hornet’s Nest” and was ready for the whole world to see these touching moments of this movie.

Learn more about “The Hornet’s Nest” at http://thehornetsnestmovie.com/

The American Bible Challenge returns for another season on GSN

Published by:

The American Bible Challenge

By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

Starting Thursday, May 22, the game show platform will once again be implanted with a dose of the good word. On this day, The American Bible Challenge returns to GSN (Game Show Network) at 8 p.m. EST with host Jeff Foxworthy and newly added co-host The American Bible ChallengeKirk Franklin for another season of  quality family entertainment.

The studio-based game features contestants competing against each other by answering questions drawn from the Bible. In addition, the contestants share back-stories about their lives, which is often very interesting and inspiring, and each team plays for their charity of choice.

“I think it’s the only game show ever that’s done that. I think that’s what makes it unique, and to me that’s a big part of the show,” Foxworthy said. “It’s one thing to talk about faith, but when you can see it, when we go in and show what these people are doing in their communities, to me that’s when faith gets interesting, when you can see it in action.”

The American Bible Challenge celebrates the Bible, its teachings, relevance, and place in American culture.

Foxworthy said the success of the show has caught him off guard. At the onset of the game show’s creation, he held the belief that it would have critics from the secular and faith community. In fact, there was no outcry over the show.

“It was such a pleasant surprise, here you’ve got a faith-based show, you’ve got a show about the Bible on a network that’s not a faith-based network and it’s the number one show in the 18-year history of the network. Who saw that coming?” he said.

The comedian lauded the addition of Franklin to the ensemble.

“I think in Season 2, bringing Kirk in was just such a great move. It added so much fun and modern-day relevance to what we were doing.”

Franklin told Inside The Pew at the beginning he didn’t know exactly what he would bring to the show. After learning more about The Challenge, he eventually found his place.

“So I got the call and started finding out more about it. I thought, ‘Okay, well maybe it’ll be cool to work with Jeff and see if there’s a space to try to create something new and try to be a part of something different, Franklin said.

“They allowed me to bring some ideas to the table, and they were really open to those ideas. They thought they were pretty fun. And so I hope I add something that’s kind of fun and entertaining and maybe just try to add a little part that just kind of makes it a little more fun, make it pop a little. I really hope I’m doing that.

Franklin said the show serves many purposes. The American Bible Challenge brings the Bible to life and it crosses racial and generational lines. The show garnered GSN’s highest delivery in its 17 year history; it ranked among the Top 5 cable networks in total viewers, women 25-54 and viewers 25-54 in its time period.

The Christian hip hop of Franklin and Foxworthy’s country influenced humor are solid in this medium.

“It is a great privilege to work with him,” Franklin told Inside The Pew of Foxworthy. “He does things to help other people, like feeding the homeless in Atlanta.”

“I love to watch Kirk. It’s fun for me to have somebody to bounce things off of, because when I ask him something it’s usually going to be a pretty funny answer that I did not see coming. He just brings a whole element of fun to the thing,” Foxworthy said.

The most important aspect Franklin and Foxworthy want to bring to the viewers is to show infiltrate the Word into the minds of the lost and encourage believers to re-connect with Bible.

“I had somebody say to me, “Well, we thought of the Bible as a book of rules and then I’m watching the show and I’m like, ‘well, maybe that’s not right,’” Foxworthy points out. And I said, “No, you know what it actually is? It’s the coolest love story ever written.

“That would be kind of my desire, to take people that maybe had never been exposed to it or had a preconceived notion of what it was about and to go, “You know what? It’s not that at all. It’s very personal. It’s the most personal relationship you ever have.”

Texas governor rebaptized in creek where Sam Houston was immersed

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Rick Perry and his wife, Anita (AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Joyce Marshall)

By Melissa Nordell and Mark Ellis
ASSIST News Service

Surrounded by a small group of family and friends, Gov. Rick Perry was publicly re-baptized in Little Rocky Creek near Rick Perry and his wife, Anita (AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Joyce Marshall)Independence, Texas, the same place Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, was also immersed.

The prolonged Texas drought left the creek choked with algae, so the local volunteer fire department had to clear a decent place for the governor’s baptism, according to The Texas Tribune.

Mac Richard, pastor of Lake Hills Church in Austin, conducted the baptism in March, the governor’s office reported.

Perry visited nearby Independence Baptist Church after the baptism, played the organ and soaked up the colorful local history. Since 1839, Little Rocky Creek has served as the natural baptistery for the church, which is the oldest continuously operating Baptist church in Texas, according to The Tribune.

Perry hunkered down at the circa-1874 pump organ and belted out a soulful gospel hymn. “It’s not easy to play a pump organ. You’ve got to move your feet while you play,” Phil Hassell, pastor of Independence Baptist Church, told The Tribune. “I thought he played well.”

Hassell showed the governor around the tiny historic church where he was able to see the actual pew where Sam Houston had carved his initials and those of his wife nearly 158 years ago.

“Gov. Perry has a deep and abiding faith in God. Like many people of faith, the governor wished to reaffirm his commitment in a way that holds great personal meaning,” said Felix Browne, a spokesperson for the governor.

Former Perry aide and speechwriter Eric Bearse said he wasn’t surprised that Perry renewed his faith in a private, intimate ceremony. “Baptism is a very personal expression of faith,” Bearse told The Tribune. “He has a deep and abiding faith, and it influences his view of the world and how he lives his life.”

When Sam Houston emerged from having his ‘sins washed away” at the same creek in 1854, he was said to proclaim, “I pity the fish downstream.”

Houston served as governor of Tennessee in the late 1820s and then became the first elected president of the Republic of Texas in 1836, after helping lead settlers to victory in their war of independence from Mexico. Houston was christened in the Catholic Church, a necessity in order to own land when it was Mexican territory.

Later, his wife, Margaret Lea Houston, prayed for him to become a Baptist and God granted her wish after 14 years of persistent prayer. When Texas became a State, Houston represented it in the U.S. Senate and later became its governor.

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

Published by:

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.

 

Registration under way for free youth pastor summit in Tulsa, Houston

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

In Tulsa, Okla., and Houston: Student Leadership University will hold its annual Youth Pastor Summit in Tulsa on April 7 andlogo in Houston on April 8. Registration is free. Visit http://www.slulead.com/ to register.

In Dallas: Paul Quinn College and the 10th District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church will partner together to play host to a job fair on Wednesday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the campus of the college, 3837 Simpson Stuart Road. There is no cost to either employers or future employees. Contact Kelsel Thompson at kthompson@pqc.edu for more additional information.

In Baton Rouge, La.: More than 500 faith leaders from across Louisiana will descend on the state Capitol Building on April 1 for a Faith Day at the Capitol rally to demand Governor Bobby Jindal and state legislative leaders to provide leadership to secure passage of legislation that will curb the high mass incarceration rates in the state. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The rally is slated to run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; a press conference will follow. Visit www.piconetwork.org.

In Dallas: Save April 15 at 11:30 a.m. on the calendar! Hope Mansion, a nonprofit organization in Cedar Hill that helps womenTracey Mitchell ages 18-35 who experience crisis pregnancies, has planned its Extraordinary HOPE women’s luncheon with guest speaker Tracey Mitchell (author of Downside Up). The conference to will take place at The Tower Club in Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm St. in Dallas. Tickets are $30 per person; $240 for table of eight. Contact Jennifer Wulff, luncheon chair, at info@hopemansion.org.

In Shreveport, La.: Centenary College of Louisiana’s World House for Environmental Sustainability, in cooperation with community partner Shreveport Green, will host Chad Pregracke, CNN Hero of the Year for 2013, Thursday, April 3. The Living Lands and Waters founder and president will deliver a convocation at 11:10 a.m. and a workshop-styled lecture at 4 p.m. in Kilpatrick Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public. Visit www.centenary.edu.

In Katy, Texas: The Katy Christian Women’s Connection will hold a fashion show luncheon on Thursday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Golf Club at Cinco Ranch, 23030 Cinco Ranch Blvd. Cost is $18 per person. Take a sneak peek at the latest fashions from La Centerra’s. The guest speaker is Oklahoma native Deborah Cerkovnik. Deadline for reservations is noon on Monday, April 14. Email katyCWC@gmail.com for more information.

Christian nonprofit and events roundups are run weekly. To get your event listed, contact Jacob Trimmer at pewnews@aol.com.