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Events and briefs for June 4, 2012

Published by:

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

In Katy, Texas: The Katy Christian Women’s Connection will host prayer coffee and fellowship events from 10 to 11:30 a.m. beginning June 14 at La Madelaine’s, 23322 Mercantile Parkway in Katy. Additional 2012 Prayer Connections meeting dates are July 12. Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8, and Dec. 6. For more information about prayer connections, directions, or to RSVP, call 281-232-8338 or visit www.KatyCWC.org. Bring a friend and don’t forget to bring your Bible.

In Dublin, Ohio: Texas Wesleyan University’s Nathan Anderson has received the 2012 Jack Nicklaus Award as the Golf Coaches Association of America’s NAIA Men’s Golf Player of the Year.  Anderson received the award from Nicklaus at the Memorial on Sunday.

The Nicklaus Award recognizes the top players at the NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA levels.  Since 1988, the award for the GCAA Collegiate Players of the Year has been named after Jack Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion at The Ohio State University. Nicklaus annually recognizes the recipients during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of his hometown of Columbus.

Anderson, a junior out of Burleson, Texas, impressed in his first season with the Rams after spending two PING All-American seasons at McClennan College.  He was a 1st-team NAIA All-American selection after finishing as the individual runner-up, one shot off the lead, at the 61st annual NAIA National Championship.  Anderson also finished tied for first at the Dallas Baptist Patriot Invitational before falling in a playoff this season.  In total, he notched four top-five and five top-10 finishes in nine events, while setting a Texas Wesleyan record for single-season scoring average at 72.08.

Author tells fellow believers to ‘Quit Going to Church’

Published by:

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

PLANO, Texas – Bob Hostetler has a message for Christians – quit going to church.

He also tells us to quit saying prayers, quit reading your Bible, quit volunteering, quit enjoying fellowship, and so on.

Bob Hostetler

Hostetler, co-founder of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio, uses the Bible to explain why Christians should improve in these areas in his latest release, “Quit Going To Church.” (ISBN 978-0-915547-70-8, $14.99, 224 pages, Leafwood Publishers)

While all these requests sound a bit far-fetched, think again. This thought-provoking and “pull-of-the-gloves” book is based on the premise that much of how we think and act, a great percentage of what we do today as church-going people, bears a slight resemblance to the way of Jesus and “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3 NIV).

The title of the book and its subsequent chapters issue an eyebrow-raising challenge, showing how many of us have misunderstood and distorted the good news of Jesus and replaced Christianity with something else.

For instance, in the chapter “Quit Going To Church,” he points out that Christians should “stop going to church and start being a church” that resembles the one in Acts 2. What should a church look like? Hostetler said it should be holy (“spirituality” and “being the church”), catholic (“universal” and “all of us together”), and apostolic (“based on the teachings of the apostles” and “provide gift-based leadership”). Furthermore, Hostetler tells readers to shy from the long-held notion by some that going to church makes you a Christian. This portion of Hostetler’s book takes me to James 2:14-26, when James talks about faith and deeds. What are you doing to fulfill Christ’s kingdom Monday through Saturday?

Hostetler contends Christians should quit tithing because the practice is misrepresented in today’s church. Everything we have belongs to God. Therefore, if you truly understand the New Testament church, 10 percent or any portion that man constitutes as tithing is incorrect. Jesus wants His people to surrender all to Him. Not 10 percent, but 100 percent. Everything! (Luke 14: 25-34).

As I read more, I stumbled into another nugget that made me nod my head in agreement. Hostetler tells believers to quit helping the poor and unite with them. The author boldly says, “When Jesus said, ‘You will always have poor among you (John 12:8 NIV), he meant, ‘among you.’ Not ‘on your drive to the office’ … Not ‘in shelters,’ … or in neighborhoods far from your community. He meant among you.”

Sadly, some have swayed from the Christ’s roadmap for His church. Hostetler is attempting to convey in “Quit Going to Church” that traditions and customs were not a part of first century Christianity and it should not have a place in the 21st century church. This straightforward title has nothing to do with “denomination” or who is right or wrong. But, if you believe in Him with all your heart, you would adhere to Christ’s vision for His church.

Learn more about Hostetler at www.bobhostetler.com. To purchase this book, visit Leafwood Publishers.

Praise His Name home of Christian programming 24/7

Published by:

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Keith Wilson and a group of believers in Wintersville, Ohio, decided six months ago to make a positive impact on the Internet. The end result of their collaboration – Praise His Name.

“The Internet is full of bad stuff, things we don’t want our children and grandchildren to hear,” said Wilson, who serves as chair of PHN. “This is a way to combat the bad stuff and place wholesome content that people can listen to anytime of the day.”

Founded in October 2011, PHN (www.praisehisname.net) is a Christian based website featuring music, comedy, devotionals,

Keith Wilson

meditations, scripture lessons, and sermons. The site boasts visitors from 45 states in the union, nine countries.

“In the beginning, viewers were concentrated in Northern Ohio and Chicago, and then it started to go everywhere – including California and Texas,” he said.

The PHN “Links” page includes church, organization, and indie Christian musicians and singers listings.

To hear sermons, viewers must clink on the churches’ websites on the “Links” page.

Wilson said a benefit of listening to music on PHN is that since the site is stockpiled with MP3s, listeners can hear the song from beginning to end. The user is to click on the “Praise His Name Media Player” to gain access to music selections. Featured artists include Beth Champion Mason, MARK 209, and The Chrisagis Brothers.

In addition, Wilson said, PHN is a good avenue for indie artists to gain exposure. An added bonus of the site is the PHN Music Video of Week.

“All music selections are originally written and performed by the artists,” he said.

Christian comedians and troupes such as Ken Davis, the Sheep Laughs Comedy Show, and Brother Billy Bob Bohannon also have a place on the PHN. The individuals place their unique take on the spiritual walk. Wilson said each submission for a Christian comedic appearance on PHN is carefully screened.

Furthermore, Christian movie happenings are provided via Christian Film News (www.christianfilmnews.com) and Christian news through Inside The Pew (www.insidethepew.net). These links are displayed in the news ticker on the front page.

“We are trying to get to the people who were not churchgoers without throwing it (Christianity) into their face. The intent is to preach to reached and unreached,” Wilson said.

As of press time, Wilson estimates the site averages 500 visitors per month. In addition, he said he is working on obtaining PHN’s 501 (c) 3 status.

“The site was created by tons of friends who were faithful like I am,” Wilson said. “We wanted a broad range of people to give us input as to what we want to hear. We are pleased with the progress, but we have a long way to go. There are many things that we want to do. Start small and slow and build into bigger and better things.”

I forgive because He forgave me

Published by:

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Over the past 13 years of my walk with Christ, I have heard several sermons pertaining to forgiveness. As a young Christian, I had to learn about true forgiveness. I was never in situations where I had to forgive someone for a terrible act against me – until I reached my late 20s. The act included a close family member, and it had harmful ramifications to several members of my family. I was puzzled by something – the people in my family who professed believers are the ones who are holding to the past wrong at this very moment.

It puzzles me. Do they not understand what Christ said in Matthew 6: 14-16, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV). Just imagine what life would be like if Christ never forgave us for our wrongdoings? No person is perfect; we all make mistakes. There is no need to question why someone hurts you. As a Christian, it is our duty to pray to God to bring solace and to pray for the person who hurt you. The Lord told Moses in Leviticus 19:18, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD” (NIV).

To make matters worse, some of them question why I talk positively about this individual. I explain to them it is not about taking sides, the issue is letting go of the past and moving on. I am joyful for life and blessed, while there is a part of their souls that protrudes disdain. I can tell in the way they talk and the way they treat others that there is blockage. These are hurt people. But, luckily for them, I pray for their soul to heal like mine did. Holding on to past transgressions is not good for mental, physical, and spiritual health. Our God is more than willing to take those burdens off us. Why hold on to negative energy? As T.D. Jakes said, “Let it go.” These lukewarm feelings toward a family member should not become a generational curse.

The most powerful testimonies of forgiveness I have witnessed are those of the family members of a murdered loved one. On Feb. 27 in Chardon, Ohio, 17-year-old T.J. Lane opened fire on a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table at Chardon High School. He killed Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr., and Daniel Parmentor and wounded two others.

In an ABC News interview, Hewlin’s mother, Phyllis Ferguson, said she forgave Lane. “I would tell him I forgive him because, a lot of times, they don’t know what they’re doing. That’s all I’d say. … You have to forgive everything. God’s grace is new each and every day,” she said.

I am sure it was difficult, but the family can rest assured Christ has taken care of the situation. As commanded, I don’t forget what happened because it is a part of my history but I surely forgive.

Tonya Whitaker of Plano, Texas, is a former newspaper journalist and copy editor. She is managing editor of Inside The Pew. Follow Tonya on Twitter @twhitaker1974 and @pewtalk.