Category Archives: National

Track and field ministry reacts to bombings at Boston Marathon

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

The April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon has caused great concern within the track and field community.

Steve McConkey, president of 4WINDS, a track and field ministry that works with athletes worldwide, said the attack will change how road races will be conducted in the United States.

“You will see Olympic type security at all events, including more track and field meets. Sad day for the running community in the USA.

“We need to pray for those injured and for the families of those who died at Boston. Pray the authorities would find who is responsible.”

On Tuesday, federal agents continued their investigation for possible clues to the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured 170. Authorities have asked the public to help by submitting video clips or other evidence that could lead to answers. Two bombs exploded within seconds of one another at the finish line of the storied race.

McConkey said he was 100 meters from where the bomb went off during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Steve was with his wife, Liz, their son, and a family friend.

After the Atlanta bomb, McConkey said members of his family were interviewed by the FBI because they saw a person with a large Army bag going in the direction of where the bomb eventually went off in Atlanta. In Atlanta, they saw people being pushed back or more people would have died. They were close enough to feel the wind from the bomb.

The McConkeys have been involved in world-class track and field ministries since 1981, spanning eight Olympics. Their ministry is based in Madison, Wis.

Read more about this ministry and keep up with the latest news from in track and field at http://www.trackandfieldreport.com.

Maggio: Sex and the single mom

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By Jennifer Maggio
Special to Inside The Pew

Yep, I’m going there. There’s no sense in pretending the subject does not exist, so… buckle up.

I recently came across a website that INFURIATED me. In fact, that is probably a serious understatement. Since my life’s passion is singledsc_0062 moms, I am always researching single parents’ topics. I happened upon an article regarding sex and singles. I would not dare give you the name of the site, because I will not give them the satisfaction of multiple hits. But here is what the meat of the article said, loosely translated:

“My name is Sally. I am single. I have been for some time. I am also a Christian. I have been for some time. And I am sexually active. I have been for some time. God created sex. Sex is good. And since no normal human being would be able to abstain for any length of time anyway (and God really does not expect us to), I know God will forgive me. I’m going for it and you should do the same.”

The lengthy article sparked quite the controversy. I almost chimed in with the hundreds of other comments and voiced my outrage, but quickly knew that it would fall on deaf ears and she wrote that article (and many like it) for that exact reason.

Eighty percent of the country identifies themselves as Christian, so why is it that none of us talk about this subject? Christians follow God’s written word as their life’s instruction book – The Bible. The Bible is more than clear on its principles regarding sex.

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does…” 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NLT).

There are dozens and dozens of Scriptures that outline God’s word for how sex is supposed to happen. Sex is good. It IS right. But only within God’s plan for our lives.

This is not new news for most of us. We’ve heard it before. But have you ever wondered why God puts such a difficult “don’t” on our list? Have you ever thought, like the woman above, that this was a ridiculous measure for which no one could ever live up to? That ain’t right how God won’t let us have any fun, huh?

Well let me tell you what “ain’t right”…

– Suicides among teen girls

– Sexually transmitted diseases affect millions

– AIDS in still an incurable disease

– Millions of babies have been killed through abortion, because moms cannot afford to or do not see how they could care for them.

– Fifty percent of babies are born outside marriage today, which leads to single parenting. Single parenting among those under 25 is most often associated with lower income rates, higher high school dropout rates, suicide, depression, and abuse.

Those are the facts. (The Church and the Single Mom, Carepoint 2011). That does not even broach the subject of giving oneself over sexually to another and how the emotions tie in or the broken hearts that follow

Let me challenge you with this idea. As a parent, when we tell our 7-year-old not to play in the street, is it because we do not want him to have any fun playing kickball with his friends? Are we just plain ol’ mean parents? No, of course not. It is because we understand the potential danger that our precious 7-year-old could experience and we want to protect him — EVEN IF HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHY. The exact same is true for Christians. Our Heavenly Father does not want to hinder joy in our lives, but He does want to protect us from potential harm.

And before you decide that I am some rigid, unbending, beat-you-over-the-head-with-the-Bible, finger-pointing, judgmental Christian, let me stop you. I WAS some of those statistics. I was sexually active at 13, pregnant four times by 19, and dabbled in sexual promiscuity for years thereafter, living in poverty, depression, abuse, and more. I have lived it and seen first-hand the devastation it causes.

Today, as I work full time with single parents, I have seen hundreds of young teens walk through the most difficult seasons of their lives because they did not wait. I’ve seen thousands of single moms struggle emotionally and financially, because they did not wait. I’ve seen the trickle affect that this one simple concept (or lack thereof) has had on our economy, emotional well-being, and spiritual growth.

And before my inbox is flooded with countless emails, let me be clear. Everyone has their list of issues they are working on. (I know I sure do). No one thing is greater than the other. I am not saying this is just a single parent problem, obviously, but my passion is for helping the single parent live a better life.

Before you embark on one more meaningless sexual relationship that could very well leave you more emotionally broken, more financially broken, and more spiritually broken, think about its effects and know that there is great freedom in simply waiting for the right one.

Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parent issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who travels the country sharing her riveting story of homelessness, severe abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies. She has appeared on countless radio and television programs, and she is founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.

 

Rick Warren’s youngest son takes life after struggle with mental illness

Published by:

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LAKE FOREST, Calif. — Pastor Rick Warren, author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” and senior pastor of Saddleback Valley

Rick Warren and Dan Wooding this year

Rick Warren, left, and Dan Wooding this year

Community Church in Lake Forest, Ca., has announced that his 27-year-old son, Matthew, has taken his own life.

In an anguished message sent to the church staff early on Saturday morning, Warren wrote, “Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us.

“No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.

“You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them.

“But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided.

“Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”

Pastor Warren went on to say, “Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said ‘Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?’ but he kept going for another decade.

“Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back. Pastor Rick.”

On hearing the tragic news, Southern California evangelist and pastor, Greg Laurie, who lost his first-born son Christopher David Laurie, in an auto accident in Riverside County, Calif., in 2008 posted on his blog, “I too have had a son die, so I have a sense of the pain Rick and Kay are facing. But their circumstances are different and my heart goes out to them. At times like these, there really are no words, but there is the Word.

“There is no manual, but there is Emmanuel. God is with us. I know the Lord will be there for all of the Warren family and Saddleback Church as they grieve together.

He added, “Looking forward to that day when God will ‘Restore all things'” (Acts 3:21).

Founded in 1980 by Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, Saddleback Church serves the Southern California community with several locations, including in Lake Forest.

Pastor Warren, 59, author of the Purpose Driven Life, which is the best-selling hardback non-fiction book in history and the second most-translated book in the world, after the Bible, has two other adult children, Amy and Josh, and five grandchildren.

King: Uncle M.L.’s lasting message to obey God’s moral law

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By Alveda King
Special to Inside The Pew

Forty-five years ago today, my Uncle M.L., the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered by an assassin’s bullet. Sometimes I wonder

Alveda King

Alveda King

what life would be like if that shot had never been fired; what our nation would be like if that bullet had missed. Many are the times I wish he were here.

But though Uncle M.L. is no longer with us on earth, his voice lives on in the words he used to change our nation in the cause of justice.

We are a more just society today because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Not because he brought new ideas into the public consciousness, but because he reminded us of fundamental, eternal truths — truths that needed to be restated and lived out. He once asked and answered this question: “How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust?” He went on to explain:

“A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: ‘An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

These timeless truths must be restated again today.

Remember Reverend Martin Luther King — let us not forget that he was an ordained Baptist minister and preacher of the Word of God — taught that we are to respect the law. But he also taught that there is a law higher than man’s. There are no commands more deserving of obedience than God’s.

Those commands caused Uncle M. L. to look beyond city ordinances, state statutes, or even federal law for guidance. He believed that those

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

ordinances, statutes, and laws were to be respected, but that they were to be weighed against God’s law or what some would term natural law to determine if they were just.

The same is true today. But some still look to themselves to determine right and wrong.

We are told by the Obama administration that it is “unjust” that women should have to buy their own birth control pills, so everyone else must reach into their pockets to pay for them.

We are told by abortion advocates that it is “unjust” that some women cannot afford to abort their babies, so tax dollars must be used to finance the killing of those children.

We are told by same-sex “marriage” advocates that it is “unjust” that men cannot marry other men and women cannot marry other women, so 2,000 years of wisdom must be abandoned.

And yet, the Bible tells us that human life is sacred. We are thereby to choose life over abortion. The Bible teaches us that natural marriage between one man and one woman is part of the procreative process. We are thereby compelled to choose holy and procreative matrimony.

In forgetting our heritage, in distancing ourselves from God’s moral rules, we are doing Uncle M. L. a disservice, and we are in danger of coming face to face with disaster. So, in remembering Uncle M. L. today, I urge America and the world to remember that he was a servant of God who, though imperfect, tried to point people to the truth.

Ellis: Life is worth living because our Redeemer lives

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By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, W.V. – Centuries bring unbelievable changes to human life. What there is to know about life has grown with quantum leaps Bill Ellisfrom one century to another.

One nagging question existed before Job gave it verbal significance centuries ago, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).

Life would be dismal and bleak if it abruptly ended with no hope for anything beyond. Charles W. Koller, brilliant author, world famous teacher of preachers and seminary president said, “Death is not the end of life – only an incident along the way of everlasting life.”

In 1999, I listened to Gary Coffey, chaplain of the Putnam General Hospital, Hurricane, W.V., deliver an inspiring message which he titled, “Live as though He’s risen”, based on Luke 24:1-12. He was speaking primarily to hospital personnel, and those who do all they can to alleviate suffering and bring people back to good health.

Speaking of the problems we may face in life, Gary said, “When faced with the most difficult situations, what we said we believe is no longer what we expect.” He followed with this story.

“How different were the Jews who were hunted during the reign of Nazi terrorism. Written on the walls of their secret refuge underneath the Cologne Cathedral (Germany) were these words: ‘I believe in the dawn, even though it be dark; I believe in God, even though He be silent.’ “This is resurrection faith.

Being nailed to a cross, as Jesus was, and remaining there until death came was the common way for criminals to die. That was their sentence after being found guilty of crime. It was a torturous death. A terrible way to come to the end of life. No wonder Job and others wanted to know, “Is there anything more? Is this how it all ends?”

Easter is celebrated annually as the “day of days, the queen of Christian festivals.” It is never earlier than March 22 or later than April 25. It is only mentioned once in the Bible, in the King James Version. Most other versions refer to the day as Passover.

King Herod was persecuting the church. He had killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. He put Peter in jail, “Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (Acts 12:4).

Easter is not only the most important of all Christian days, but it is also the oldest of the Christian festivals. St. Paul writes, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast” (I Corinthians 5:7-8).

In every country of the world, Easter is celebrated in the hearts and minds of believers. In some places, it cannot be done openly and freely as it is in America.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes the sting out of death, the victory out of the grave. Bill and Gloria Gaither, our good friends of 60 years, wrote in one of their songs: “Because He lives I can face tomorrow, Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”

If you want to know more about living forever and the resurrection, read John, chapters 11 and 20 and I Corinthians 15 in the New Testament.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest fact of history. In fact, all history as we know it, is dated on the authority of His resurrection.

I want to live forever. That hope is assured through my faith in Jesus Christ. It is guaranteed by His resurrection. With St. Paul I can say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).

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.

 

Children’s Bible app soon available in multiple languages

Published by:

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Easter is just around the corner, and 4Soils is doing its part to make sure children all around the world can learn about the

Thanks to generous donations, the 4Soils' Bible Heroes app will be able to translate their biblically bases apps into multiple languages.

Thanks to generous donors, the 4Soils’ Bible Heroes app will be able to translate its biblically based apps into multiple languages.

life of our Savior.

Lusi Chien, founder of the series of Bible Heroes apps, announced last week the children’s Bible app producer has reached the initial goal of raising $5,000 in its Kickstarter campaign.

“Only 6 percent of the world speaks English but many children don’t know the love of Jesus,” Chien said. “Help us change that by allowing us to reach them via our apps. Currently, the 4Soils apps have been already downloaded in more than 90 countries around the world.”

The $5,000 raised will allow for 4Soils to translate the eight apps into one language, one app into eight languages, or several apps into several languages.

Because of its success, Chien said the company has adjusted its goal and is aiming to raise another $5,000 to translate 10 more apps, bringing the total to 18 apps.

“This has been a project that’s near and dear to our hearts.  Ever since we launched, people have asked us if we planned on making it available in their language, and our answer has been we’d love to but we just don’t have the resources right now.  We’re looking for others who want to join us as “sowers” to get the seeds of truth out to children everywhere!”

With $5,000, Chien said 4Soils can modify the programming infrastructure of the company’s two series of apps to allow for multiple languages. Bible Heroes includes the stories of Noah, David, Daniel, Jonah, Esther, and Joseph. Life of Jesus features His virgin birth, baptism, miracles, the last supper, and resurrection. Chien said the last two apps in the Life of Jesus series will be available by Easter. Furthermore, the funds raised will allow 4Soils to translate a total of eight apps in several languages. 4Soils is not only looking for funding to translate the apps, but also volunteers to help with the translation, narration, and marketing in various countries, which will bring the cost down and allow for more translations.

A successful campaign for Kickstarter rests on backers meeting 100 percent of 4Soils’ funding amount. Therefore, if the funding goal is not met, Kickstarter will not secure funds from backers’ payment choice. It is all or nothing. Every dollar counts, and pledge amounts are never displayed to the public unless a backer does so themselves.

Pledeges will be accepted through April 2. To make a pledge for the 4Soils campaign, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4soils/telling-the-greatest-story-ever-toldto-the-world.

 

1st English-language biography of Pope Francis set for release

Published by:

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

The world learned on March 13 who was elected as the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. For those who desire to learn more about Pope Francis, the moment is just around the corner. Matthew Bunson, Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology at St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology in Steubenville, Ohio, has written the first English-language biography on Pope Francis.

The book’s publisher, Our Sunday Visitor, announced March 22 the book, titled “Pope Francis” ($16.95 USD), will arrive in bookstores on April 10. The book is available for pre-order through Our Sunday Visitor.

Considering a leading authority in the United States on the papacy and the church, Bunson also wrote the first English-language of Pope Francis’

"Pope Francis" by Matthew Bunson

“Pope Francis” by Matthew Bunson

predecessor, Benedict XVI.

The 224-page book is split into three parts to allow readers to get an idea of how and why Pope Francis of Buenos Aires, Argentina, selected and what his selection means for the Catholic Church. First, Bunson puts forth a comprehensive analysis of the unprecedented final days of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. Second, Bunson provides an enlightening perspective on the interregnum and the biggest issues facing the Cardinals as they headed into the conclave. Third, Bunson dedicates more than 150 pages to Pope Francis including:

  • His family history as son of an immigrant railway worker;
  • His active, social youth where he experienced firsthand the challenges of a society ravaged by war, economic despair and cultural unrest;
  • A Jesuit priest, trained as a chemist, who even as a cardinal was referred to as Father Jorge;
  • His work as a priest, bishop and Cardinal in the very unique setting of Buenos Aires where he navigated politics, extreme poverty and high culture;
  • His reputation as a man of the people who lived simply, cooked his own meals, and rode the bus.

With its research conducted in five different languages into the lives and ministries of the world’s leading Cardinals, their backgrounds, writings and homilies, “Pope Francis” shows why Cardinal Bergoglio was ultimately elected as the Catholic Church’s pope.

Bunson is the author of more than 45 books, including “The Pope Encyclopedia,” “The Encyclopedia of Catholic History,” and the soon-to-be-released “Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History.”

Maggio: Starting a single moms ministry in your church

Published by:

By Jennifer Maggio
Special to Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – With almost 15 million single parents in the country today, many churches are beginning to focus on the need to minister

Jennifer Maggio

Jennifer Maggio

to single parents more effectively. Our organization is elated to be part of that journey. We receive tons of questions about how to minister to the needs of single parents in a more effective, creative, long-term way. We believe one of those ways is through a single moms support group. It provides long-term discipleship, beyond simply an outreach, an event, or a meal.

For those who have not started a single moms support group in your church, here are a few things you may want to know.  For those who have started a group and are frustrated with the lack of growth or possible issues within the group, read on. We’ll try to help you with those questions, too.

Before I launched The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, I was fortunate enough to work with my local church. This has allowed me to gain great wisdom and insight on what does and does not work within the walls of the church on ministering to single mothers. There is very, very little resource material on the market for single parent ministries and the little that is out there is often written by someone who has yet to be in the trenches running a successful program.  (It’s kinda like buying a parenting book from someone who hasn’t parented).

Here are a few things we’ve learned that may help you in your single moms ministry endeavor:

  1. Recognize that not every single mom is a “churched” divorced single mom. Less than 1 percent of the 300,000 Christian churches in the country have single parent support groups. The few that do often focus on the single moms that are already in their church. This is a big problem, in light of the fact that only 33% of single moms attend church. In order to grow your support group, you must focus on reaching those outside your church.
  2. Teach relevant material. In my work with helping to grow single parent groups, one of the first things we do is change the teaching material. Many of the groups are teaching deep Bible studies on the book of Ruth, the Proverbs 31 woman, etc. While these are excellent teaching tools for the future, focusing on deep Bible study, when a single mom’s life is potentially falling apart (financially, emotionally, and with her parenting skills) is not a timely message.
  3. Meet at a time that is convenient for the momFriday nights, Saturday nights, or Sunday afternoons tend to work best. Moms who are parenting school-age children have homework to contend with. Wednesday nights tend to be most convenient for the church, as childcare workers are already available, but this is probably not the best time for the mothers. And if you want to begin to reach outside the walls of the church to bring in mothers who aren’t yet connected, offering a more convenient meeting time is critical. In addition, a full work-week tends to make a single mom’s support group a daunting task, not a welcomed break … but if you meet on a weekend, she is more relaxed and open to receive new friendships and experiences.

There are a ton of tips that we have found work, but this gives you a brief start. Having said all that, recognize that groups do not grow overnight. Be diligent and faithful with the women you have! You may also be interested in The Church and the Single Mom Resource Kit that offers a comprehensive resource for answering all single parent ministry questions, training new volunteers, growing the ministry, effective discipleship, logistics, and so much more. For more information, visit  http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com/.

 

Robertson: Evening with King inspires me to live my dream

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By Anita Jannell-Robertson
Special to Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – “I have a dream. So I’d die for it, so much so that I actually live for it.”

Alveda King – niece of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – was the keynote speaker at an elegant event where I recently had the privilege of serving as guest recording

Anita Jarrell-Robertson meets with Alveda King during a fundraising banquet  for Women's Health Center in Baton Rouge on March 1.

Anita Jarrell-Robertson meets with Alveda King during a fundraising banquet for Women’s Health Center in Baton Rouge on March 1.

artist for the evening on March 1 at The Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge, La.

The Women’s Help Center hosted its 15th annual fundraising banquet to help support families in the Baton Rouge community. The center  has been providing services to more than 30,000 women experiencing unplanned and/or crisis pregnancies for nearly 20 years.

Moved to tears on several occasions throughout the evening, I dedicated my hit song, “Even Me” to Alveda King and anyone else in the audience who had either had an abortion or been accomplice to one. Little did I know King had planned to base much of her presentation on the controversial pro-life topic, including her own heart-penetrating testimony about the perils of abortion and its effects on the family and community.

Alveda C. King serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, and a former college professor and member of the Georgia State House of Representatives.

Beyond sharing about how difficult it was to grow up in the historical shadow of her grandfather (a powerful minister), father (a civil rights activist the Rev. A.D. King) and her uncle (MLK), Alveda King reminded us all to let our light shine and to remember that it wasn’t so little after all. She told us that every time she shared her story, she got a little more healing. She talked about a lyric in my song, “Even Me,” and that gripped my soul – “the exchange at the Cross is mighty to save.”

Was she really referencing my music?  It was a life-altering experience, a real game changer because I am a Christian recording artist with fans in several countries on all seven continents. Would I have been able to do that as comfortably if it had not been for the selfless contribution of Dr. King and her family?  Probably not.

What about the other unsung heroes? My grandfathers. One was a sharecropper who demanded that my father “leave this place boy, ain’t got nothin’ for ya here.” My father went on to be a military veteran, business man, and a pastor.  My other grandfather was a civil rights activist himself, who feared for his life as he hosted and attended secret meetings for black farmers across the South in a time when it was almost a sin for blacks to be farmers in their own right. His daughter, my mother, is one of the strongest women I’ve ever met, beautiful and brilliant. My mother continues to run with seeming ease and integrity the business my father began long before his death.

Taken from my song, “Even Me,” “You will pour water on the soul who is thirsty…flood upon the dry ground.  And You’ll pour Your Spirit on the seed of the righteous.  Your blessings are flowing now!  So I pour my soul out to You!  And You pour Your soul out to me!!  The exchange at the Cross, Lord, I believe . . . is mighty to save- even me.”  On his death bed, my father’s eyes softened as I sang to him.  My heart is sore only because I wish he had been there to witness Dr. King mentoring me after the event before both our tables were crowded with fans and well wishers.

In retrospect, Dr. Alveda King’s statement to me is one I will carry in my heart forever, “Anita, there is a new sound of worship in the earth and it’s you.  Your music transcends realms.”  Realms?  Not just races?  Not just genders?  Not just religions?  Realms?  Well, amen.  I receive that.  Do you?

I always wondered what it would be like to meet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Always wondered what it would be like to be in the presence of such greatness.  Well, being with his niece fulfilled that curiosity.  Her essence caused us all to erupt in applause after her address.  The applause I received after my songs “Even Me” and “Future Generations” were graciously received, but I would have paid to just package that applause and give it to an elder soldier, Dr. King.  Getting to know her for a moment, I believe she would have just given it right back.

Applause is a kind gesture, but for those of us who believe we are called by God to affect nations, generations, realms even, applause belongs to the One who called us, who mercifully empowers us on a daily basis to be who we are in Him.

Anita Jarrell-Robertson, a native of Dallas and resident of Baton Rouge, is a contemporary Christian recording artist. Visit her website at www.anitaworships.com. Email her at booking@anitaworships.com. Find Anita on Facebook and on Twitter @anitaworships.

Hobby Lobby president to receive business honor from Bible organization

Published by:

By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

Steve Green, president of arts and crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby (www.hobbylobby.com), has been named the 2013 recipient of the John M. Templeton Biblical Values Award by the National Steve Green, president of Hobby LobbyBible Association (www.nationalbible.org). The organization will recognize Green’s accomplishment at the annual NBA awards luncheon in New York City on April 15 at the Union League Club.

“I am honored to receive the award,” Green said during an interview with Inside The Pew. “I am humbled to join the ranks of other leaders who are committed to the Bible to guide their spiritual and religious beliefs as well as their business.”

The award is named after John M. Templeton, who successfully integrated work and his Christian faith. By using his investing talents to help ordinary people and practicing biblical values in the work world, Templeton serves as a model to all business executives of faith.

“The honor goes to a nationally recognized business leader who exhibits values the Bible promotes, takes the Bible into the marketplace, and lives it, said Richard Glickstein, president of the New York-based organization.

“Matthew 6:33 says to seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Steve Green exemplifies that in the market place. In business, it is difficult to choose biblical values over the money. With Green and his entire family, it is God first, the company second. They live that out every day.”

Founder in the early 1970s and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., Hobby Lobby has 525 arts and crafts retail stores with more than 20,000 employees in the U.S. The decision to close stores on Sundays cost the company more than $100 million in product sales each year. The decision to pay all new employees at least 80 percent more than the minimum wage is a further reflection of the company’s values. Hobby Lobby also offers biblically based spiritual and financial counseling to its employees.

“The guidelines that are given to us in Scripture. We believe they are God given. As our Creator, He knows what works best. Sometimes it is counterintuitive we think to be the most successful we have to be open longer hours, but the guideline the Scripture says to take a day of rest, Green said.

“As we apply the principles the scripture the Bible gives us, we believe this is what is best for the business. Not that we won’t have challenges or struggles and operate the business according to biblical principles that we will find the most success in our lives and in business by doing that.”

Nearly half of Hobby Lobby’s annual profits are donated according to Biblical principles and for the promotion and reading of the Bible itself. These donations have allowed Hobby Lobby to acquire one of the world’s largest private collections of Bibles and Biblical artifacts, a collection that will be housed in a 50,000-square foot Bible museum opening in Washington, D.C., in the near future. Green has been at the forefront of this project since its beginning in 2009.

NBA will also make a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit charity designated by Green that has biblical values.

Glickstein said the NBA was founded 71 years ago during World War II by a group of American business leaders. The mission of the organization is to encourage individuals to read the Bible. Early in the existence of the NBA, the members were asked by NBC radio to read the Bible over the station’s coverage of the Japanese’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Tonya Andris contributed to this report.