Tag Archives: arkansas

Texas Wesleyan, Northwood, SAGU join Sooner Athletic Conference

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Texas Wesleyan University, Northwood University, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University are on the move.

The three Christian-based universities– all longtime members of the Red River Athletic Conference – are among four universities slated to join Sooner Athletic Conference beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.

Also joining the SAC is Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Okla.

The announcement was made jointly by the schools’ presidents – Texas Wesleyan’s Frederick G. Slabach, SAGU’s Kermit Bridges, and Northwood’s Kevin Fegan on Sept. 18

Texas Wesleyan, located in Fort Worth, as well as Cedar Hill’s Northwood and Waxahachie’s SAGU, have enjoyed their tenure with RRAC, but are looking forward to what the new relationship will offer, Slabach said.

“This move isn’t just about joining a more competitive conference,” Slabach said. “The closer proximity of other conference schools gives our student-athletes the benefit of spending more time in class and less time on the road.”

Having 10 schools in the SAC — which is based in Oklahoma City — means the conference will be able to advance two teams out of the conference to post-season competitions.

“The competitive environment in the Sooner is demanding,” Slabach said.  “But we look forward to the challenge.”

SAC Commissioner John Hudson said the conference is delighted with the additions of these three great institutions and believes the move creates one of the strongest conferences in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“These are exciting times in the conference,” Hudson said during the press conference. “Expansion into the Metroplex area is great for the Sooner Athletic Conference and brings Northwood, Texas Wesleyan, and Southwestern Assemblies into the NAIA’s premier league.”

Current SAC schools are John Brown in Siloam Springs, Ark.; Mid-America Christian in Oklahoma City; Oklahoma Baptist and St. Gregory’s in Shawnee, Okla., Wayland Baptist in Plainview, Texas; and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha, Okla.

Four tips to improve your listening skills

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Editor’s note: The view of this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Inside The Pew staff.

By Karen Jordan
Special to Inside The Pew

“Are you listening to me?” Has someone ever asked you that question? Or maybe that thought pierced your heart and mind, as you felt the sting of someone else ignoring or rejecting you?

Consider these four ways to improve your listening skills.

  1. Resolve to be quick to listen.Many times, people who come to us for help, just need for us to listen. James 1:19

    Karen Jordan

    offers this advice, “Understand this … You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (NLT).

  2. Decide to be available. Jesus gives us an example of a wise counselor who made Himself available to listen. “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught” (Matthew 6:30).
  3. Desire a discerning heart. Not only does Jesus listen, He discerned the needs of others. When His disciples came to Him after their ministry tour, Jesus observes their need for solitude and rest: “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (ibid.).
  4. Choose to be quiet. Jesus also taught His disciples the importance of being quiet. In Matthew 11:15, Jesus asks his disciples, “Are you listening to me? Really listening? (MSG)

At times our failure to listen before responding can provoke a negative, emotional response from our loved ones or friends, who we may need our help. In fact, Proverbs 18:13 warns us, “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude” (MSG)

What can we offer others with our response, after we listen to their needs?

  • Grace, not criticism or judgment. Romans 2:4 reminds us, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (NLT)
  • Companionship. We must encourage others to be dependent upon Jesus, not co-dependent upon us. Jesus promised His followers, “I’ll be with you … day after day after day, right up to the end of this age” (Matthew 28:20 MSG).

So, the next time someone comes to you for help, I hope you ask yourself this question first: “Are you listening … Really listening?” (Matthew 11:15)

Karen Jordanauthor, speaker, and writing instructor, writes creative nonfiction about her faith, family, and writing. She also encourages others to “tell the stories that matter most” in her writing workshops, her blog, BLESSED Legacy Stories (www.blog.karenjordan.net), and her website (www.karenjordan.net). A native Texan, Karen now resides in Hot Springs Village, Ark., with her husband, Dan, near their two children and seven grandchildren.

Jordan: 5 steps to get grip on your stress

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By Karen Jordan
Special to Inside The Pew

The book of Lamentations offers a clear word about dealing with stress. “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear” (Lam. 3:28-29 MSG).

1. Go off by yourself.Jesus knew the importance of spending time alone with His Father. When He needed to listen, He

Karen Jordan

would pull away from everyone. After Jesus fed the 5,000, He “climbed the mountain so (He) could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night” (Matt. 14:23).

2. Enter the silence. When we seek God, the accuser tries to distract us with fear, like in the story of Hannah. Hanna’s husband had two wives, and her husband’s other wife taunted her, accusing God for Hannah’s inability to conceive. Even when Hannah prayed, the accuser attacked. “… Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk”…” (1 Sam. 1:13).

3. Bow in prayer. God promises that if we call on His Name, He’ll listen. “… And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours” (1 John 5:15).

4. Don’t ask questions. My questions often interfere with my communication with God—I’m talking, instead of listening. When Jesus taught His disciples, He asked them on several occasions, “Are you listening to me? Really listening?” (Matt.11:15).

5. “Wait for hope to appear.” The psalmist speaks of “waiting,” “I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip” (Ps. 40:1-2).

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt. 6:34).

So, remember, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear” (Lam. 3:28-29).

Karen Jordan, author, speaker, and writing instructor, writes creative nonfiction about her faith, family, and writing. She also encourages others to “tell the stories that matter most” in her writing workshops, her blog, BLESSED Legacy Stories (www.blog.karenjordan.net), and her website (www.karenjordan.net). A native Texan, Karen now resides in Hot Springs Village, Ark., with her husband, Dan, near their two children and seven grandchildren.

Sandi Patty & Friends to play 3-night concert event

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Legendary contemporary Christian singer Sandi Patty will headline a three-event concert in select cities in the south from March 23-March 25, according to Dennis Fioravaniti with the Christian Classic Agency.

The Sandi Patty & Friends Tour is slated for March 23 in Memphis, Tenn., March 24 in Birmingham, Ala., and March 25 in

Sandi Patty

Little Rock, Ark.

The Sandi Patty & Friends Tour featuring one of the most highly acclaimed Christian vocal performers of our time with five

Grammy awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three platinum records, five gold records, and 11 million units sold, Patty is simply known as “The Voice.” Patty is the most awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music history, with 40 Dove Awards. She was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and as an Indiana Living Legend in 2007. She has released more than 30 albums, including her latest Dove Award winning project, “The Edge of the Divine” (2010).

Patty is joined by her long time friend and five-time Grammy Award and eleven time Dove Award Male Vocalist of the Year,

Larnelle Harris

Larnelle Harris. Together, Patty and Harris have recorded some of the all time greatest duets and they will be singing several of them during the tour.

Also slated to join Patty on her three-night concert event are Dove Award winning artist Wayne Watson, whose career has spanned three decades and who has penned dozens of award-winning songs; Dove Award winning artist Clay Crosse, with his powerful soulful tenor voice; and Group of the Year winning Christian music group, 4HIM.

The event is promoted by the Christian Classic Agency, whose focus is to bring back the “classic” Christian music of the 80s and 90s to audiences everywhere.

Tickets for the shows are available at www.christianclassicagency.com.