Category Archives: Pew Talk

Sulack: Guide to understanding stress

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By Dr. Pete Sulack
Inside The Pew

Stress is the internal reaction to outside circumstances. Modern life is stressful, and no two people respond to it the same way – even if they are faced with the same stressors. We Dr. Pete Sulackare wonderfully made, and the ability of “choice” is a gift from God. With this gift comes the responsibility to make choices that best take care of our body, mind and spiritual health. However in order to live a less stressful and fulfilling life, we must first understand stress: what it means, what it does and how it can present.

Stress in not inherently bad. Everything in life stresses us to a point, but some stress can motivate us and wake up our brain. At the first signs of stress, the immune system, memory and the ability to learn actually all increase. Without stress in our lives, our minds would be come dull and our bodies, weak. Good stressors can be identified as normal responsibilities: a regular schedule, productive work and study, strenuous physical exercise, interaction with others and fighting off normal germs and toxins found in the environment.

However, chronic stress can both shorten the length and diminish the quality of your life. Chronic stress from career, family obligations and even good things like ministry or volunteer work can eventually wreak havoc on your overall health. If you drove your car at a high speed every day, all day, it would wear out faster than if you drove it a reasonable amount and speed.

Stress affects the body and mind. The true cause of sickness and disease is not stress, but rather the body’s inability to adapt and recover from stress. When we are stressed, our pulse rate and blood pressure increases and the adrenal gland dumps cortisol into the bloodstream. Stress can also create a desire to escape or avoid tasks, because we believe we are out of control – and the more out of control we feel, the more stressed we become. This is what we know about stress and the body: it’s not so much the amount of stress, but the amount of time you are in a state of stress.

It is possible to “catch” stress. Recent studies show that when we observe another human under stress, our bodies react empathetically as if it were our own. If people around you are consistently negative, sarcastic, combative, or stressed out, there is a good chance it will cause you to feel distress as well. The autonomic stress response (fight or flight) is triggered by both real and perceived events, so even something as small as a stressful scene in a movie can elevate your cortisol levels. Found in your common morning brew, too much caffeine puts the nervous and hormonal systems into a constant state of “fight or flight,” depleting energy reserves and leading to anxiety, weight gain and insomnia.

You may be stressed and not even know it. Between the bromine in flour, the chlorine and fluoride in drinking water, and the carcinogenic chemicals in personal care products, our bodies are bombarded every single day with toxins that stress the entire system. When you combine an overabundance of toxins with the number of years we are absorbing these toxins unknowingly, we eventually hit the tipping point. Years of chronic stress wears out the adrenals and immune system, and unbeknownst to us it can feel quite normal. When our bodies are used to the high stress levels, anything different would alert us to an issue. God made thousands of foods for us to enjoy, and most of them don’t even require preparation. Instead of opting for man-made foods, eat a variety of raw, natural, organic foods to nourish your body.

Understanding stress is the first step in identifying it and how it might be infiltrating your mind, body and overall health. To help combat chronic stress, make physical exercise a priority, get adequate sleep, eat a diet that optimizes gut health and learn to slow down – being busy is not synonymous with being successful.

Some stress is good, but too much stress can be harmful. A good rule to remember: some stress motivates; more stress complicates; and a lot of stress deteriorates.

By Dr. Pete Sulack is a stress expert, writer and speaker and is the author of “Fellowshipping with God’s Voice.” Sulack is  founder of Matthew 10 Ministries and Unhealthy Anonymousa wellness support program that provides tools for healthier living.

 

Jenkins: Dangers of the Golden Calf; the calf just doesn’t happen

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The Golden Calf

Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a series of columns on Exodus chapter 32.

By Dave Jenkins Jr.
Inside The Pew

In Exodus Chapter 32 we see the dangers of falling prey to the Golden Calf syndrome. The Golden Calf represents our attempts to do what only God can do. The next danger of theDave Jenkins Jr Golden Calf is that the calf just doesn’t happen.

Aaron was afraid of the faces and voices of the people in the absence of Moses. A lot of times the second in command thinks that he/she can do what God’s appointed leader can do, all they think they need is a chance.

When a leader is anointed they make it look so easy. They seem to be able to stop a speeding financial crisis and leap dangerous traps with a single bound. So, when the second has his/her chance to act, they sometimes find out what looks easy from the outside is actually a very prayerful and skillful balancing act.

Thus, when the faces and tones of the voices became menacing – Aaron did what any poor leader would do, he folded like a cheap tent. What the people needed was direction and he gave them sinful satisfaction.

In Exodus 21, Moses asks Aaron the accountability question, “what did they do to you to cause you to lead them in the wrong direction?” Aaron takes the next couple of verses to blame the people and indirectly he blames Moses. However he lays the final blame at the feet of “it just happened.”  Look at his explanation in verse 24. However, in verse 35, God declares that Aaron made the calf. If you are going to lead, it must be God’s purpose that leads you and not the voice of confused people or the result will be a Golden Calf.

The biggest danger of the Golden Calf is to get things back in order, drastic action must be taken. Aaron and the people had allowed things to get wildly out of control. To get things back in order Moses had to take drastic action.

Because of the nature of the mistake and the way that the majority of the people had embraced the Golden Calf as their new god, Moses could not just send out a memo. Where Aaron was weak, Moses was stern and to the point. He knew the importance of this moment.  It was not just about the temporal comfort of the people but their eternal destiny. Something had to “GO” and in Moses’s eyes it was the Golden Calf and those who were now foolishly aligned with it.

Moses next decision was not an easy one. He called for faithful men and then instructed them to kill every man near the “gate.” Even if that man was your friend or brother he had to be killed no exceptions. Why those near the gate? It could have been they were telling anyone who passed by about the false god and not the true God.

The action Moses took was similar to what the skier whose arm was trapped under a boulder had to do. The skier knew that he could not move the boulder and if he stayed pinned by the boulder he would eventually freeze to death. So he made the decision to live – with one arm. He began the process of cutting off the arm that was trapped under the boulder. It was not an easy choice but it was the only way that he could survive.

On that day 3,000 men lost their lives. The body could only move forward when the infected part had been removed.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Dave Jenkins Jr. is an ordained minister and leadership and relationship teacher. Jenkins, a former chaplain for the Allen (Texas) Police Department, is a graduate of Grambling State University in Grambling, La., and earned a master’s of Christian leadership from Criswell College in Dallas. He also received advanced counseling training from Amberton University. Jenkins and his wife, Phyllis, are hosts of their own weekly family relationships show, “Marriage Monday,” on KGGR 1040 at 5 p.m. CST. Follow him on Twitter at @IamDaveJenkins and “like” him on Facebook (IamDaveJenkinsJr). Learn more about his ministry at www.davejenkinsjr.com.

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Newcombe: Jefferson’s religious views have been misread

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Jerry Newcombe

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

By Dr. Jerry Newcombe
Special to Inside The Pew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sulack: Guide to practicing mindfulness for a healthier life

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Dr. Pete Sulack

By Dr. Pete Sulack
Inside The Pew

Most of us at some point feel as though we’re caught in a never-ending circle of chaos, thus propelling poor nutrition choices and creatingDr. Pete Sulack an overall lack of motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes. For some, it’s now harder than ever to find ways to clear the schedule, make healthier meals, and just slow down.

Being too busy and over-scheduled is a real challenge when it comes to making changes of any kind – especially changes that involve food. In our fast-paced society with an instant gratification mentality, we are not mindful of our food. We value efficiency, ease, and low cost more than the actual experience of enjoying what we put into our bodies.

In his book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown doesn’t specifically address food, but is on target about the groundswell popularity of mindfulness. From the nap pods and yoga classes to meditation rooms and organic food delivery popping up in offices, businesses are realizing that slowing down is good for both employee and the bottom line.

With the infiltration of technology designed to make our lives simpler, why did we end up busier than ever? According to McKeown, the smartphone, social media and extreme consumerism have fueled the ‘busy-ness bubble’. For the first time in the history of the world, we are aware of what everyone else is doing, eating, reading and buying – and believe we should be keeping up with it all.

For most, being busy equates to being important and successful. However, successful people manage their eating, exercise, and overall health. If we can’t seem to find the time to manage what God has called His temple, our bodies, then we cannot say we are truly successful. Changing any habit – especially lifelong habits of eating – requires mindfulness. We must pay attention, and that means slowing down.

Learn to say “no.” It’s OK to say no to your boss, kids, neighbors or church to ensure you are not over-extending yourself. As a starting point, give yourself permission to say “no” to committing your time at least once a month.

Set aside technology-free time at home. Ever notice how slowly things go when the power is out? We’ve become so dependent on the stimulation we receive from our technology and media sources that we never have the ability to truly wind down. Turn off phones, tablets and computers for an evening and connect with your spouse, children or a friend – or use the time to spend with God in a devotional.

Don’t take on a new activity without getting rid of an old activity. We only have 168 hours in each week, and 24 hours in each day. You can’t do everything. Get rid of existing activities before you sign up (or your kids sign up) for new activities.

Dr. Pete Sulack is a Stress expert, writer and speaker. He is the author of “Fellowshipping with God’s Voice” as well as the founder of Matthew 10 Ministries and Unhealthy Anonymous – a wellness support program that provides tools for healthier living.

 

Davis: Priorities in a race-charged culture

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By Laurel Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laurel Davis is a pastor’s wife in Los Angeles and also a Christian writer and women’s ministry speaker. Her blog, The Reluctant First Lady, is based on 2 Timothy 3:1 – 4:4 and takes a bold stance for God’s truth. Laurel and her husband have four grown children and a grandchild.

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Pastors, faith leaders from around country gather in Dallas to promote racial healing

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST and the ASSIST News Service

DALLAS, TX – A racially, denominationally, geographically and generationally diverse representation of nearly 100 pastors, civic and faith-Alveda King and James Robisonleaders from across the country gathered for an unprecedented summit on racial reconciliation at The Potter’s House in Dallas on January 15.

Convened by Bishops Harry Jackson and T.D. Jakes and Pastor James Robison, “The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide” summit focused on Seven Bridges to Peace and included four panel discussions in which the participants shared practical solutions that they have successfully implemented in their respective communities. They also strategized other initiatives that can be scaled for national roll out.

According to a news release from A. Larry Ross Communications, host Bishop Jakes welcomed attendees, saying, “The Church should lead the way; we can’t complain about Congress and community if we don’t communicate with one another. We all love our children; let’s talk about how we can make our country better for subsequent generations.

“We have one brief shining moment to say, ‘not on my watch,'” Jakes continued. “We cannot remain silent on this issue, because our silence is costing lives. I’m praying that we would care enough to do better with the resources and influence that we have.

“We can’t fix the problem today, that’s not even the goal,” Jakes added. “This is a forum for discussion and debate, but we need to focus on what we will work on, including education and the criminal justice system. We can do better regarding civic engagement in our churches.”

Bishop Jackson shared his vision for the summit, to encourage the Church to come together to address the three-fold problem of class, race and poverty. “Church leaders need to go up into the gap and be courageous and catalytic to make a difference,” he said. “We want to leave here with a declaration, a challenge and a prescription for our nation.

“The Church is divided black and white, and not as connected as we should be,” Jackson continued. “The first thing we can do is come together united as the Church. A group like this can shake the foundations of the nation – for God and for good.”

“With all my heart I believe the purpose of this meeting is to bring together the Body of Christ without all of the dissension, strife and division that keeps us apart and from fulfilling the will of God,” James Robison said.

Other key participants included Dr. Bernice King, CEO of The King Center in Atlanta and daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.; legendary civil rights leader; Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. King, and a civil rights activist and Christian minister; former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young; Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference/CONELA; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, among others.

Several participants admonished the Church for not taking action. “Today’s complacency is tomorrow’s complicity,” Rodriguez said. “There is no such thing as a silent Christianity.”

This theme was echoed by Pastor Jack Graham, senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. “There are a lot of good people in our churches who are sinfully silent,” he said. “It is our responsibility to engage them on what matters most.”

The timing of the summit was propitious, occurring on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, actual birthday, which was referenced by his daughter. Reminding attendees that her father was a pastor and that the Civil Rights movement originated in the Church, she thought it a fitting tribute to his legacy that faith leaders were once again taking the lead in the area of racial reconciliation.

“The Church was one of the institutions (my father) criticized in his letter from the Birmingham jail,” King reflected. “He was deeply disappointed that there was not more engagement by the Church in the issue of segregation in the South at that time. Unfortunately, we have had a stand-off posture since then, and 11 a.m. on Sunday is still the most segregated hour in America.”

“Today we had four ‘Cs’ of Christ, conversation and collaboration that will lead to change,” said African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Vashti McKenzie. “The Body of Christ came together in unprecedented conversation. We must be role models for people who look to us for leadership.”

The day’s events concluded with a worship and communion service at The Potter’s House, which was attended by more than 6,000 individuals.

Bradshaw: The draft

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By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

On Friday, 4 out of 5 of our family members saw “American Sniper” on the opening night of the movie. While homeschooling Brewer andSherry Bradshaw, author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life Thomas in middle school, their favorite subject was history. I distinctly remember Brewer being home on Sept. 11, 2001. The day that will be recorded in history as the most vicious and deadly attack on American soil. I vividly recall watching the horror on Brewer’s face as we watched, in utter shock, the “malicious and unthinkable” being played out on the news.

Friday as I watched the movie, sitting right beside Brewer, it brought back the thoughts and emotions I had on September 11. Knowing I had two sons, one of which was 12 at the time, I remember thinking this could mean a mandatory draft in the future and we have two sons! I realized we had never really studied the draft. I didn’t know everything but that day I looked it up.

I will be perfectly honest fear and selfishness welled up in my heart that day. I was overcome with terror and fear and thinking hundreds of thoughts–one of which was selfishly thinking how these attacks could change not only the destiny of America, but the future of our two sons and many others. It was really kind of sick on my part to be relieved that Thomas had Type 1 diabetes knowing from my reading about the history of the draft that he wouldn’t qualify.

Getting back to the movie and the years that we have lived since, I have a whole different perspective on the draft, the military, being a citizen of this country and the freedom and safety I enjoy. This particular movie has done an amazing job of giving an accurate picture of what it must be like to serve on the front lines in our Armed Forces.

The “visual” multiplied my respect and gratitude and overwhelmed me with tears, and a pit in my stomach as this true story unfolded. After the movie, which by the way was packed with every seat filled; there was a hush in the audience. Everyone stood up and silently exited the theater. A hush of reality, sobering realization of real and true heroism like I have never witnessed.

A real and meaningful picture to me — I see very clearly that a civilian who  has never been trained or seen trained or been in combat, especially on enemy soil on the front lines —  make decisions and judgments of how things should be carried out. Simply stated it is ridiculous, absurd and irrational on all levels — to think we could possibly understand many things about soldiers, their lives, their actions, their commitment, their action in the face of fear and their sacrifice.

Underpaid is an understatement. When you compare what we value in America, according to where we spend our money and who we look to as our heroes, we as a nation are missing the mark; we are clueless. Numbers don’t lie, look where we spend our money.

From the beginning of time Scripture records stories of war — the falling and rising of nations. I believe the Bible to be the inherent Word of God that is true and infallible. A deep study of Scripture shows that no nation has survived when turning their backs and thumbing their noses at a Holy God. I could quote several passages from the Old Testament but let me give you just one example found in Jeremiah 18:8-10. “And if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.”

A true and accurate study of American history, includes sinful man, but it also clearly shows that we, as a nation, founded our country on and were guided by biblical principles, in reverence and reference to a Holy God.

Point of post, first, just a small way God has shown me that I can encourage readers of this post to love, respect, pray for and show gratitude to anyone who freely volunteers…to serve and protect the freedom we all enjoy.

Second, to hopefully encourage others to vote for people whose hearts are guided by biblical principles and willing to serve in political offices.

Third, to place a higher value on where we all spend our personal money and time. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matthew 6:21). I want to encourage all of us to take a moment to reassess what is important to us, to God.

Forth, to possibly encourage someone to run for political office–which our media has turned into a battleground. Someone with a passion to uphold the principles on which our country has enjoyed freedom and God’s protection.

I love Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quote that I believe to hold truth, “A people that values privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

In closing, I now feel that one of the greatest things anyone can do is to serve in our military. I believe those who serve do it out of a true love for our country and a sense of call and desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It certainly cannot be for the large paycheck nor the fame — very few receive either.

To God be the glory for the few, the brave, the selfless!

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

Jenkins: Take advantage of those opportune times to share Gospel

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By Dave Jenkins
Special to Inside The Pew

One of my passions has always been sharing my faith. In my younger years, I was very rigid in my approach in sharing the Gospel. I left very little room for the other person to have a right toCalm Gospel their opinion. As I matured, I learned that compassion was a major component in sharing your faith. Jesus showed this in Matthew 9:36.

So on the last day of 2014 my wife and I decided to have lunch at a new place. It was recommended to us by our youngest daughter. I was not feeling all that well, battling a sinus infection, but food!!! Well, that is an automatic cure even if not permanent to make me feel better.

The restaurant had a great feel to it, formal but not stuffy. The wait staff was great. Our waiter was a young man with a very polished demeanor. He was thin in size and medium build. However, there was something more to him that I could not figure out in the beginning. During our meal, he was not as attentive to our needs as he could have been. Several times he forgot items or did not focus on the task at hand. Since it was only 11 a.m. and there were not many patrons, I could not blame his poor performance on the work load. At one point, I wanted to pull him aside and mention a couple of things but for some reason I did not. I would later find out why I did not move on that thought.

At the end of our meal my wife asked him a question about his religious belief. He hesitated for a moment and then begin to explain that he had a relationship with God but was not enamored with the church. It was at that point it became obvious to me why I hesitated to comment about his service. Had I done so I probably would have severely negatively impacted my ability to say what the Lord gave me to share with him.

The first fact I shared with him was that even Jesus went to church (called the Temple) and surrounded himself with others. I then shared with him that there areDave Jenkins Jr some inherent problems we all face when we deal with being connected with others, and just because it is a church does not mean these problems don’t show up at church. I wanted to quote Hebrews 10:25 with him but the Spirit of God said to just teach him the principles.

He acknowledged what I shared but was also concerned about the rigid and formal systems he saw in church when he was growing up. I then asked him if he grew up in a particular denomination, and he confirmed that he did come out of that denomination. However, his mother had since converted from that denomination and he called her a Christian and not by any denominational labels.

My next point I shared with him was that heaven is a place where people are deeply and strongly connected in corporate Worship – so much so that he might be uncomfortable there. He laughed and stated that his mother told him some of the same things.

It was at this point he shared with us that this was not just luck that we were there but a divine appointment. He explained that he does not work on Wednesdays. He also asked, “Did my mother send you guys here?”

He said that he is willing to re-think his position and follow his mother’s advice concerning being connected to a church.

As my wife and I left the restaurant, we felt blessed to have met our young friend. More importantly we enjoyed being able to see the hand of God at work in connecting us to him at the right time.

My prayer is that the work of the Holy Spirit today will propel him into greater places in 2015.

Dave Jenkins is an ordained minister and leadership and relationship teacher. Jenkins, a former chaplain for the Allen (Texas) Police Department, is a graduate of Grambling State University in Grambling, La., and earned a master’s of Christian leadership from Criswell College in Dallas. He also received advanced counseling training from Amberton University. Jenkins and his wife, Phyllis, are hosts of their own weekly family relationships show, “Marriage Monday,” on KGGR 1040 at 5 p.m. CST. Follow him on Twitter at @IamDaveJenkins and “like” him on Facebook (IamDaveJenkinsJr). Learn more about his ministry at www.davejenkinsjr.com.

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Round: Do you know God’s will for your life?

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By Carol Round
Special to ASSIST News Service

CLAREMORE, OK – “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well“-Matthew 6:33 (NRSV).

We humans are a selfish bunch. We want everything our way. We want God’s blessings but we don’t want to surrender anything, includingRound Gods Will our time, talent and treasure.

We want to know God’s will for our lives-at least some of us do-but we don’t want to take the time to discover what His will is. That would mean sacrifice on our part.

Recently, our pastor’s sermon series was titled, “How to Know the Will of God for your Life.” Although I’d read articles and books on this topic, I needed a reminder. We easily become distracted by busyness and the chatter of life. Pastor Ray’s five-part series included the following:

First, we have to seek God’s kingdom, remembering we are coming on His terms, not ours. Matthew 6:33 says, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Second, we need a plan that offers better reception, meaning if we can’t hear t hat still, small voice we need to examine our Christian practices like prayer, meditation and worship. These three are like phone plans designed to help us stay connected and communicate more clearly with God. Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

Third, we have to invest ourselves in God’s kingdom. This takes a commitment. Pastor Charles Swindoll reminds us that “More than onceCarol Round Jesus deliberately addressed certain issues that quickly diminished the number of onlookers. It was commitment that thinned the ranks.”

Don’t run ahead of God. This is where my patience is tested. Remember Abraham and Sarah who didn’t want to wait for God’s promise of a son? The couple took things into their own hands and what a mess they created. While waiting, we need to seek Godly counsel, meditate, pray and read the Bible. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let you r heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Don’t lag behind. Although we are urged to wait on God, we must not lag behind either. When God told Abraham to go, he did. Moses argued with God about returning to Egypt, but he obeyed. It requires taking that first step and trusting God even when what He is calling us to do might be scary. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Another Swindoll quote says, “Your call will become clear as your mind is transformed by the reading of Scripture and the internal work of God’s Spirit. The Lord never hides His will from us. In time, as you obey the call first to follow, your destiny will unfold before you. The difficulty will lie in keeping other concerns from diverting your attention.”

What is God calling you to do?

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

 

Davis: 7 confessions of a Bible-toting, scripture-quoting Christian

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By Laurel J. Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

I was called out once for being “one of those Bible-toting scripture-quoting Christians.” Crazy thing is, it was by a fellow Christian! My immediate response was, “Aren’t you?”  I didn’t take it personally, though. Sure, I got the “twang.” But it’s a compliment to be called a Bible-toting scripture-quoting Christian. It means I’m being bit like those in the Bible who staked everything on what “thus saith the Lord.”

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3a). Something’s terribly wrong in the church when a believer risks ill will from a fellow believer for daring to think, dialogue and live according to God’s Word, and to encourage others to do the same.

That’s why I’ve come up with seven confessions for being a bible-toting scripture-quoting Christian. God wants us to be close to Him. But how can we be close to anyone we take little time to get to know? How can we really love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength as He commands (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) if we’re not also hanging on His every word?

Confession #1 – Even after 30 years as a Christian, I still have plenty of room to grow in my personal relationship with the Lord. Being a Bible-toting, scripture-quoting Christian at heart is foundational to that growth (2 Peter 3:18).

Confession #2 – I love Jesus more than my own family. But He’s not tangible in this earth realm in the same way they are. The best way to show Him how much I love Him over anyone and anything else is to know, share and obey His Word.

Confession #3 – I am helpless, useless and hopeless without Jesus and His Word. Our very eternal salvation is affirmed by God’s inspired Word (cf. 1 John 5:11-13; 2 Timothy 3:15), our spiritual well-being and witness are dependent upon it (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and Christ’s empty tomb seals the deal when it comes to the all-sufficient, eternal hope it alone unfolds for us.

Confession #4 – I’m afraid of my own folly and shame. It is folly and shame to belittle the very thing that sanctifies us: “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Knowing the Bible helps keep me from the folly of complaining that a fellow Christian is acting like a Christian.

Confession #5 – I don’t want to be deceived, and I don’t want to be deceiving (2 Timothy 3:13). Toting and properly quoting the Bible helps to shield God’s people from false doctrines and the false teachers who use it to manipulate the vulnerable.

Confession #6 – When someone challenges my faith, they don’t care what I feel in my heart, what I’ve personally experienced, what subjective vision I think I had after eating that left-over pizza, or what my pastor thinks. Sometimes they really are seeking true understanding, and God’s Word provides something solid, something objectively verifiable, something independently credible, something not so easily dismissed.

Confession #7 – Relying on God through His Word has gotten our family and ministry through some very hard trials (e.g. Psalm 119:92).Laurel Davis  That’s why no one can ever be too much of a Bible-toting scripture-quoting Christian — except if you always quote it out of context, cherry-pick verses to suit your own preferences, or possess knowledge but lack love (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Praise God for the authority and reliability of His written Word, the Holy Bible! Even when heaven and earth pass away, His Word will stand forever!

Laurel Davis is a pastor’s wife in Los Angeles and also a Christian writer and women’s ministry speaker. Her blog, The Reluctant First Lady, is based on 2 Timothy 3:1 – 4:4 and takes a bold stance for God’s truth. Laurel and her husband have four grown children and a grandchild.