Category Archives: Pew Talk

Mother figures’ love rests in their day-to-day walk with Him

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

In today’s society, there are many mothers who need role models. These

Tonya Whitakerwomen have been in the trenches as parents, wives, and grandmoms. For many mother figures, the world is a different place from when they reared their children. But, they can still provide the frame for parenting that crosses generations. The church and my work with Inside The Pew is where I clung to the women who inspire me and help me as I go on the journey of motherhood. The greatest aspect about these women is they lead by example. To me, that is the greatest way to go. I watched, learned, and listened. Solomon writes in Proverbs 30:26, “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (NIV). In return, they encouraged, prayed, and inspired. It doesn’t take a woman to have a self-prescribed label to mean something to a younger mother. Mother figures should make the sacrifice without waiting for a young mom to ask. Even if she doesn’t ask, just continue to live your life the way God want you to. While I feel I have a long way to go, I would like to take on that role one. Who knows? Maybe God has always blessed me with that role. For your love and kindness on Mother’s Day, I issue this prayer for all those pure in heart mother figures out there:

“Dear Lord, I thank you for placing women in my life who encourage me as a mother and Christian. Please be with them as they continue in their walk to live a life in Your image. May they always be a blessing to others. Give her strength to maintain her loving life and home, and provide the deepest knowledge in her hear that You love her. Amen.”

Hughes: Giant in the land

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Dallas Willard

By Paul Hughes
Special to Inside The Pew

Dallas Willard revised his affairs May 8, moving to the headquarters of theDallas Willard Kingdom of the Heavens to live slightly nearer to God, whom he spoke of, served, embodied.

The life he continues to live today.

Unceasingly infused, this life was and is. For these ideas and Our Lord were everywhere in what Dr. Willard said and showed. For instance, revised his affairs, is from this comment —

A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do. … Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.

— and in that, it’s in the larger reality, that Christians don’t die; and in that, it’s in the still larger reality, that such a life (indeed, life itself) is simply what happens when one walks after and near and with Jesus.

These things, too, he said and showed. We who were simply readers and listeners — he would not want us to say “followers” — could know little of what he daily did, and even less about what he thought and felt. We affirm those distinctions.

Except that in stronger measure such distinctions — thought, felt, said, did, showed — are erased when all are part of the seamless garment of after, and then near, and then with.

He separated them to better consider them — here and here, say — but knew we don’t live that way. We can’t.

And this, finally, is what he said and showed —

that heart, soul, mind, strength, and showing to others are simply one’s life
that living our lives is done by intentionally and integrally pursuing Jesus
that as we do so Christ’s conquering of death becomes real in us, each day

— and we will never die.

Big Stuff, and somewhere Dr. J.P. Moreland uses “giants in the land” to refer to Dr. Willard, and the latter would rightly demur and the former would rightly insist and both would be right.

And both would be showing us God, so then it’d be time for the really big stuff.

To in Him we live and move and have our being.

That is, to continue to.

Paul Hughes is a writer in Southern California, author of The Columbo Case Files: Season One and The Columbo Case Files: Season Two. His website is here and his books are here.

 

Northrop: Can you be content in the midst of a storm?

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By Cynthia Northrop
Special to Inside The Pew

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that the things that happened to meCynthia Northrop have rather furthered the advancement of the gospel, so that my imprisonment has become known in the whole palace guard and to everyone else, and most of the brothers, having put their trust in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have even more courage to speak the word fearlessly” (Philippians 1:12-14).

These words in the Book of Philippians, penned by Paul while he was in prison, always struck me with such force. There is something powerful occurring when one can see beyond a particular set of circumstances they find themselves in. I suppose that is one of the reasons his words, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am,” (Philippians 4:11) resonate with me and is one of my favorite bible verses.

We all face challenging times and difficult circumstances. More often than not, these times that challenge the soul happen throughout our lives and are not limited to just one or two isolated instances. Many of us have read inspirational quotes like, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” or something to the effect of trials will come but it’s how we choose to respond to them that makes the difference.

What really makes the difference is the power of the Holy Spirit residing in believers because when the going gets tough we need something bigger than ourselves. We can rely on the fact that Jesus in us is greater than any circumstance or obstacle we may face.

God’s faithfulness may not look or feel like what we think it should look and feel like. He may ask us to learn to be content in the midst of the storm or the fire. He may ask us:

  • Can you be content in me in a job where you have been marginalized, persecuted, demoralized and humiliated?
  • Can you be content in me with your less than perfect health?
  • Can you be content in me with your loneliness?
  • Can you be content in me when you lose a loved one?
  • Can you be content in me with failure?

The secret is resting, trusting and believing that just as God ministered grace, mercy and peace to Paul while he was imprisoned, He will be faithful to do the same to us in our particular set of circumstances.

Trust and know that In the midst of any hardship or challenge that He has a plan and a purpose, and like King David, command your soul to hope in the Lord. Believe that He loves you and that He has you in the palm of His hand. Believe that He is your provider, protector, defender, and even your best friend.

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” John 15:15.

Cynthia Northrop considers herself a community activist desirous of being salt and light in the world as called by God. She has been active in local government serving in the capacity of elected official and has served on numerous boards and committees including The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and currently serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Texas. She is a musician singer/songwriter with 5 self-produced CD’s of mostly original work and has served on her church praise and worship team for over 20 years. Cynthia’s writing endeavors include stints reporting for a Christian tabloid released in the DFW metroplex, articles for local newspapers, technical writing and blogs. She is currently writing her first book. Cynthia is a long-time certified health and fitness professional with over 20 years of group exercise and personal training under her belt.

Snyder: Facing our fears with faith

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By John Snyder
Special to Inside The Pew

The horrifying bombing in Boston on April 15 brings to our minds the tragedy of September 11. None of us have forgotten that day. Nor have those who lost their loved onebostonwebs and friends. These hideous acts are designed to strike fear in our hearts and cripple our strength.

As Christians, we’re just as likely to become fearful as the next person. We can permit this use of violence and intimidation to completely overwhelm us, or we can say with the Psalmist:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
-Psalm 46:1-3

God has called us to be his people of strength and courage. Our lives are in his hands. When these situations fill us with fear, let’s remember that God is by our side—we have nothing to be afraid of. Let this thought empower us to walk boldly and encourage our families, neighbors, and friends. Read through the Scriptures, sing songs of God’s power and deliverance. Praise him for his might and mercy. Let us be the pillars that people lean on during these, and other, fear-filled times.

John I. Snyder, a pastor and speaker, is the author of “Your 100 Day Prayer.” Connect with Snyder at at http://your100dayprayer.com or

 

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.

Muse: ‘Behold, I stand at the door …’

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – Easter is one of the most sacred holidays to Christians.

On March 31, take a moment and remember the reason we celebrate it. I remember Easter Sundays vividly growing up. It wasn’t the Easter egg

Muse

Muse

hunt after service, but the message of His death, burial, and resurrection.

With a change in priorities by many people, it is important to continue to tell the story of Jesus beyond Easter. As believers, we must be consistent and resonate that message because it is His death that we are saved.

According to Revelation 3:20, the author said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (ESV).

No matter how we live our lives, Jesus is the door. To make any strides to get to heaven, it goes through Him. Therefore, we have to learn all we need to know about Him and teach His words to the next generation. If Easter means dressing up to the 9s and Easter baskets, we are doing the Lord and our children a great disservice. Be accurate and tell the truth. The secular word has tried its hardest to take Him out of the holiday (Christmas too). Believers won’t deny Him.

If you take a look at the sacrifice He made for us, we don’t need flashlight Christians. These are the people who cut His word on when they want to cut it on. Instead of flicking His word on and off, become a spotlight for God. My favorite scripture on this is 2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

He didn’t die for Himself. He died for all mankind.

Grelan Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew. Email him at pewnews@aol.com.

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.

 

Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder

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By Melanie Stone
Special to Inside The Pew

People that help start and grow churches are kingdom builders. They are men and women working together to expand the kingdom of Jesus Christ. In I Corinthians 3:1-17, Melanie_StonePaul compares church planting and pastoring to constructing a building. In verse 9 Paul says, “We are God’s fellow workers… you are God’s building.”

A Kingdom Builder has God’s heart and vision to reach more people. My husband, Jerry Stone, and I have a vision to support church planters and pastors through Grow Churches, Inc. (www.growchurches.com). We believe the best way to reach the world is through starting and serving life-giving local churches in nations around the world. People who want to build the kingdom of God want to see new churches in communities that will reach out to the lost and the hurting and bring them to salvation and wholeness.

Kingdom builders realize they are part of something bigger than themselves. Christians with a kingdom building mentality realize that the Church that belongs to Jesus Christ is bigger than their local church; it goes beyond their city, their state, and their nation. The kingdom of God is larger than it has ever been in history. There is a growing sense of Christ’s return, and the importance of winning souls is intensifying.

A Kingdom Builder has Jesus as his King. Jesus is what we all have in common in the family of God. When Jesus is the Lord of someone’s life, that person will not only listen to Christ, they also will obey Him. Their motivation to serve Christ’s cause in building His kingdom is the love that men and women have for Him.

A Kingdom Builder wants to see development. We once lived next to a plot of land where someone was building a new home. We enjoyed watching the process. We saw the foundation laid, the electrical system put in, the framework go up and the roof and walls put on. When people participate in church planting, I believe they enjoy watching the development process. It’s fun to take the journey together. It’s exciting to see the grace of God meeting every challenge and every need as we move forward. We get to build the kingdom of God together.

A Kingdom Builder wants to see results. We like to share the stories of the people who receive Christ, who find friendships, who receive wholeness and healing, who find strength their marriage and families, who find a place to serve, and who find freedom! When a kingdom builder sees lives being changed, they want to be a part of it.

I want to encourage you to think beyond your boundaries and see the work that still needs to be done. Decide to be a kingdom builder and do all you can to advance the kingdom of God through planting and growing local churches.

Melanie Stone is a co-pastor, church planter, author, speaker, and Bible teacher. Together with her husband, Jerry Stone, they have founded Grow Churches, Inc. as a ministry to serve and resource churches in nations around the globe. Melanie and Jerry also are planting Freedom House Church in Lexington, Ky., in September 2013. Melanie is a graduate from Rhema Bible Training Center and has a Bachelor of Theology degree from Life Christian University. She has ministered in churches across the United States as well as in Great Britain, Colombia, Mexico, and Canada.

Young: You are ‘all that!’

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By Mylow Young
Special to Inside The Pew

On this journey I’ve been discovering God in a big way. He’s shown me that I’m awesome! Even in my weaknesses, in all of my inadequacies, in all my short comings, faults,

Mylow Young

Mylow Young

screw ups, and sins. To God I’m still all that and a bowl of potato salad!

I don’t have to be Super Christian to be all right with God. And even though the world and its belief systems try to dictate to me what’s right and wrong, what’s hip or not hip, I know that to Him it can’t get any cooler than me. So I don’t have to live by popular opinion, feel me?

I’m not caught up in “religious” perspective or even how I may appear in the eyes of the “church” and I don’t have to perform to earn His love because God “… did see my substance, yet being imperfect;” (Psalm 139:16) and I didn’t have to work for His salvation because of his grace! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But there’s one thing that’s even better than me being awesome… and that is… YOU are! You don’t have to be what people say you should be and you don’t have to be what they want you to be. You know who they are right? The ones who write the script for the world telling you you’re too fat or too skinny or that you’re unattractive. The ones that say that cute or pretty matters and that they are the ones who decide what that even means. God wants you to be who you are because He made you and loves you as you are.

What makes you all that? Because you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). What makes you so awesome? You are “His workmanship, created to do good things” (Ephesians 2:10)

So you don’t have to live up to anyone else’s standards… why not? Because Jesus is the standard and when God sees you He sees Jesus. You don’t have to be “with it”, hip or cool by society’s standards because you’re already all that! He thinks you’re awesome and so do I!

But if you don’t know Jesus, get to know Him. Ask Him into your heart right now!

Prayer: Lord, I know I am a sinner in need of Your salvation. I turn away from my sinful life and I ask You now for this free gift. So come into my heart, forgive me of my sin and make me a new creation. Thank You Lord for salvation, giving me new life and for making me awesome. In Jesus name… amen!

Never forget that you’re AWESOME!

Mylow Young, a licensed minister and native of Philadelphia, is author of “Crack House Exodus: Against the Gates of Hell.” Follow Mylow on Facebook and on Twitter @mylowyoung.

Jenkins: Goodbye procrastination, and say hello to proclamation!

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By Phyllis Jenkins
Special To Inside The Pew

As we move forward into 2013, there are some habits that need to be unloaded and left behind. One of those habits is procrastination. It’s a word that we don’t like to bePhyllis Jenkins reminded of, but we secretly hang on to it. Many of us believe we know the meaning of procrastination, but I heard a definition that will forever be engraved in my mind. Bishop Rosie O’Neal shared that God gave her the following definition of the word procrastination. She said, “It’s the behavioral by-product of a lack of understanding about the delay of an opportunity which is grace. It is the arrogant assumption that God owes you another chance to do tomorrow what He gave you a chance to do today.

WOW!

You might want to read that definition again-slowly and apply it accordingly. Make the proclamation that you will press forward into your purpose and calling without delay in 2013. Philippians 3:14 said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank you for another opportunity to be obedient to your calling and purpose for my life. Please forgive me of ‘all’ the things I left undone because of procrastination. As I move forward into 2013, I will not delay another opportunity of grace given by You. I will no longer minimize my purpose by putting it on hold. Thank You for Your Love, Grace & Mercy.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen.

Over-comer, Believer, Dreamer, and Encourager are just a few words that describe Phyllis Jenkins. She is the founder and president of the Powerful Journey Organization, where she empowers women to live a balanced life by helping them: Find their Passion- Focus on What Matters Most and Flourish in their Calling. Phyllis is also the publisher of the Powerful Journey, an online magazine. She inspires, equips and enlightens audiences of all ages through her practical and powerful presentations. With her captivating energy, she offers strategies which will fuel your Journey with Purpose, Preparation and Perseverance. She is a featured author in the Allen Public Library 2009 and 2010 ‘Write-On’ Literary books. Her first children’s book (co-authored by her 6-year-old grandson), “Rudy’s Unforgettable Flight” is available in bookstores. Contact her at phyllis@phyllisjenkins.com.