Tag Archives: bill ellis

Ellis: Important mothers in my life

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By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, W.V. (ANS) — Recently, I read this startling statement, “37%” of parents who went to church as children doHappy Mother's Day not take their own children to church.” They added this question, “Think every American child knows the words to ‘Jesus Loves Me?’ Think again.”

It is hard to imagine a mother or father who was ever active in a Sunday School or church not leading their own children into such life-changing experiences. If the parents do not, who will?

Grandmother Ellis, with whom my parents lived with when I was born, always lived close to us and was cared for in our home during her last few years. Special memories include spending nights at her house, her large biscuits and delicious fried-apple pies and being taught by her to read the Bible.

Grandmother Perry always had things I liked when I would spend the night with her and grandpa. My favorites were molasses cookies, crisp baked pork rinds and milk, direct from the cow, that grandpa and I would enjoy with cornbread before going to bed.

I relished the times when my mother would read to me. She read each night from a Bible story book what I thought were the most exciting stories I ever heard. She took care of her house. Clothes were sometimes washed in a tub with a washboard. It was a happy day when she got a new electric washing machine. The clothes were hung out to dry. Once dried, she would carefully iron out the wrinkles.

Mom was a superb cook. She made excellent cornbread and the most delicious hot rolls I have ever eaten. She often mailed tastyBill Ellis chocolate chip cookies to me when I was in college.

Before Kitty and I were married, her mother, Sara, wife of businessman Luke Harshbarger, caught my attention. She was a musician, excellent seamstress, knowledgeable, terrific cook and the mother of four daughters and one son.

Kitty is a lot like her mother. She is the most beautiful, talented, versatile and intelligent woman I have ever met. I do not know of anything she cannot do. All that her mother and mother-in-law ever did for their children, she has done for her children and husband.

These important women in my life are the embodiment of the message St. Paul sent to young Timothy: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV).

Mothers are honored because of their great love and the tremendous difference they make in the lives of their children and grandchildren.

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.

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.

 

Bill Ellis: The pastor’s study

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By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) — The pastor’s study is the one place in every city, county, state and nation that should be saturated with prayer – humble, believing and active prayer. That is the control center of the entire operation.

I have had the privilege of being in the pastor’s study in hundreds of churches, some among the world’s largest churches and the most prominent preachers. The pastor of the largest church east of the Mississippi River had for his working study a four-room house across the driveway from his residence. Those large rooms were filled with books. Dr. R. G. Lee had an inner study, no windows, where he did his most concentrated work on preaching.

In the large Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, Tenn., where he pastored for 32 years, he had a beautiful and well-appointed office. When I was in it with him one day, he told me that particular office was used for interviews, counseling and meetings for church business. His office for study, writing and sermon preparation was located beside his residence on Peach Street.

It is sometimes hard to get much serious research and study done in terms of sermon preparation in a church office with constant interruptions. I am always hesitant to go to a pastor’s study – and only if I think I can be helpful with such a visit. Pastors who are serious about their assignments, have no time for idle chatting with parishioners who have little to do.

As a pastor, I had a beautiful office at the church and fortunately had another inner office, but my main office for study, writing and sermonic preparation was in the basement of the parsonage for 25 years.

Two wonderful parishioners, Elgin and Dorothy Hawthorne, whose son, Dennis, is a successful pastor in Springfield, Ill., and their younger son, Elgin, a church organist of excellence, presented me with a cherished bronze and wood plaque, which had a story engraved on it titled, “Pastor’s Study.” For years, it has been in my office. Here’s its message,

“The pastor’s study is the symbol of the calling of the Christian minister to be the shepherd of a flock of God. His sermons are prepared to feed the congregation on God’s Holy Word.

“Here the work of the church is planned so that the congregation may grow and bear fruit in fellowship, teaching, and witnessing. Here you will always find a friend and counselor in time of need. He will not be surprised at your sins, nor will he judge you in them, but he always invites you to share with him, the wisdom and love of God, the knowledge of forgiveness of sin, and the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“You are always welcome.”

The pastor’s door is never closed to those who need the counseling, encouragement and prayers of their pastor. It is not, however, normally a place for idle chitchat. It is a place where you will find a loving heart and understanding listener.

Speaking of Christ’s gifts to the church, “He gave some to be . . . and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). Timothy, a young preacher is informed, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ . . .” (I Timothy 4:6).

I do not know of any calling or profession that demands more of a man or woman than the one to be a pastor. October is “Pastors Appreciation Month.” Do all you can to assist your pastor with the work of ministry.

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.

 

Football theology for Super Bowl Sunday

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By Bill Ellis
Special to Inside The Pew

It all started in January 1985 before San Francisco and Miami met for the Super Bowl XIX. A story about what I have called “Football Theology” and define as “bad football and worse theology”, was written by Bob Fallstron, sports editor of the Decatur Herald and Review, Decatur, Ill., on Jan. 23, 1986.

In the years that have followed nearly 100 definitions make up my list of football terms that are given a “church twist.” It has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines throughout the nation and other parts of the world, including “USA Today.”

Here are a few of the definitions that have been used. At a Super Bowl party, it could be fun to make up some of your own and by other party participants. I’d sure like to see the new ones you come up with. It is my hope that some of these will bring a smile to your face and I do hope your team wins.

This year, without Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers, I’ll just watch and enjoy the game with all who attend my party.

Bill Ellis

Here’s my list, smile at least once and enjoy the game.

  • Tackle – when an alert usher does when a child is sneaking out of the service.
  • Fumble – a lousy sermon.
  • Quarterback sneak – Sunday school officers and teachers entering the building five minutes after Sunday School begins.
  • Quarterback – what church members, who believe religion is free, want after putting 50 cent in the offering.
  • In the pocket – where too many church members keep God’s tithe and their offerings.
  • End around – diaper changing time in the nursery.
  • Illegal Motion – leaving before the benediction.
  • Interference – whispering and talking during the sermon.
  • Penalty – what the church gets when its members stay home.
  • Punt – what the pastor does when nothing else seems to work.
  • National Anthem – the choir and congregation doing their best singing “Amazing Grace.”

Thanks for sending to me some of the super definitions you come up with. Have a super day in your church and every day all week long. St. Paul knew a lot about sports, not football, but running and passed these words to all in the game. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (spectators), let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith … ” (Hebrews 12:1-2). The chapter continues to talk about the discipline and vitality that every athlete needs.

The Bible has a great deal to say about sports, bodybuilding, strength, control and all that enables us to always be at our best. Read it and be amazed by what you discover and learn.

 

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.