Tag Archives: online Christian magazine

Haviland: The perception of single fatherhood

Published by:

By Matt Haviland
Special to Inside The Pew

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is theMattDaughterFeature heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)

Be honest: when you hear the words “single dad,” what sort of image immediately pops into your mind? Do terms such as “deadbeat” top the list? Or, do you think of a man with solo custody of his children? Do you see them as equal to a single mom? Interesting topic, one I’m sure that many people do not think of regularly- but why not? Are there not plenty of men out there raising their sons and daughters, either by themselves or in a co-parenting situation? To help shed some light on the subject, let’s quickly cover four “point of views” that all add up to one very important question: Are we viewing single fathers the way we should be?

The World’s Point of View

Look, I am well aware of the devastating effect fatherlessness has had on this world. However, to place all single dads in the same category would be equivalent to stereotyping any racial or social class in a likewise manner. It just doesn’t work. Single parenting in any aspect is extremely difficult and those who don’t experience it think they know more than we do. Do not be deceived, however, God’s wisdom is infinitely superior (1 Cor 2:14, 3:18-19) and the Bible tells us that we really shouldn’t be shocked if others don’t care for us (John 15:18, 1 John 3:13).

Our Children’s Point of View

Any sort of single parenting arrangement must be confusing in some way to a child- because it is not God’s natural design and our  human nature knows it. Regardless of how we got here, as fathers, we are still called by God to raise our kids in Christ and to prepare them for adulthood (Psalm 145:4, Prov 20:7). Our kids need us to be there as their protectors and life leaders. A strong, authentic, and Christ-centered lifestyle will only be effective on them if we are truly walking that way and have found what it means to “be still”- even when all hell is breaking loose around us.

Our Point of View

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can forget who we truly are sometimes? God’s Word tells us that we are hand-stitched and perfectly created for His good works (Gen 1:26, Psalm 139:13-14, Eph 2:10). News flash: God doesn’t make mistakes! When we begin to view ourselves through spiritual eyes rather than our natural, we position ourselves to get a glimpse of the only point of view that truly matters.

God’s Point of View

If we truly believe that Jesus is with us always and we can do all things through Him- then our victory has already been secured. Others may choose to put labels on us or be quick to judge without all of the facts, but as one single dad so perfectly put it, “Just because she left me doesn’t mean He will too.” Brokenness may hurt when it’s fresh, but it is only when a wound is left unattended that it can become infected. God does not see us as the world sees us; He doesn’t even see us as we see ourselves sometimes. Hold fast to His Word tonight, knowing that in Him, all of those promises are “Yes” and “Amen.”

So, going back to my original question: Are we viewing single fathers the way we should be?

Matt Haviland is the founder of “A Father’s Walk” single dad ministry and the author of the book, “A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resources for Single Fathers.” He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., is the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Single Parenting Expo, and is a single dad to a beautiful little girl himself.  For more information on the ministry and how to form a single dad small group in your own church, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

*Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on Crosswalk.com on Aug. 22, 2013. Republished with permission.

 

Tanielle: Separated by denomination

Published by:

Niya Tenielle

By Niya Tanielle
Special to Inside The Pew

My former co-worker had been married for seven years. Being raised Hindu, she married her Christian husband at 18, and surprisingly there wasNiya Tenielle no talk of the difference in religion with her deep rooted Hindu family. Seven years later, her family is no longer practicing Hinduism, but are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Wow, what a difference. And here I was in a relationship with another Christian that was proving difficult to maintain.

Why was the relationship not working? Denomination. Spiritual conversations that were supposed to uplift, enlighten, and create a sense of fellowship, turned into World War III with screaming, telephone hang-ups, and irrational break-ups that would last hours, and sometimes days. I’ve never had so many fights about the interpretation of Bible scriptures in my life. I found myself saying things like, “You sound stupid!..”, and asking, “Does that scripture make any sense to you?”, and my favorite, “Your reading that scripture all wrong!” Needless to say that soon we had lost the lovin’ feeling. A Hindu and Christian have a seemingly “happy” marriage, and two Christians can’t get it together?

He was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, who even though he called himself a “liberal Adventist”, our teachings were completely different. I am classified as, what some call, a New Testament Christian, believing in speaking confessions and using my mouth to shape my future (Isaiah 55:11), speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4), and resting in the promises of God (Matthew 11:28-29, Colossians 2:16-17), not an old covenant practice of a physical Sabbath day in the Ten Commandments. For him, Exodus 20 is one of the foundations of his faith, and he had no understanding of what confessions were, among other things.

This difference destroyed any plans we had of building a future. Through all the fighting, I held out some shred of hope that we could compromise, learn from each other, and find a happy medium. He was everything I told God I wanted, and some of the great things I forgot to add. We, unknowingly, represented the church as a whole, and played out how the church has been fighting itself for centuries. Pastor against pastor, small storefronts against the mega churches, and I have yet to find a place in the Bible where a demon is fighting against another demon. Hell is on one accord, ladies and gentleman, while God is waiting on us to lead with the same agape love he has shown us.

Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. Christian love, distinct from erotic love or emotional affection.

We didn’t shine our light before each other; we simply argued point after point. Stop trying to convince people to see God the way you see Him. It’s a waste of time. God will finish His work, not you (Philippians 1:6). You are a believer, NOT a debater of the Hebrew version of this, and the Greek translation of that. I don’t know anyone who truly cares. People care about your heart, your motives, and a Jesus that’s available to deliver them out of their mess.

I see now we had different aspects to offer each other, and we were in a position to be the best teachers. Maybe if we learned this lesson early, our budding romance could have been salvaged. Lesson learned. What aspects of religion have caused you to lose out on the growth of a relationship, either with God or people? I’d like to hear from you!

Niya Tanielle is editor in chief of The Journey Suite, a Christian-based news site for women. Visit www.thejourneysuite.com.

Tebow: Just win, baby

Published by:

Tim Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

By Paul Hughes
Special to Inside The Pew

If Tim Tebow never plays another down as an NFL quarterback it won’t be because he can’t. It will be because they say he can’t.Tim Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

I don’t even say “because they think he can’t,” since thinking — actually assessing the data they have in front of them — hasn’t been much involved here.

And the bottom line of that data, the evidence people so often claim they “need” before they can “know” what to do, is that when Tebow plays, his teams win.

This has been the flat out facts since before high school for the man, who’s now approaching five years out of college.

But because he doesn’t play what and how they think he should play, and they are in charge, they will continue to ignore those facts.

Despite our vaunted “rugged individualism” and supposedly believing in bootstraps and quality, we Americans actually have a long history of living as if might makes right, and that whoever is in nominal, public, and visible charge has that might.

And is therefore right.

So if the New England Patriots — who just plucked the man out of oblivion — play him in a different role it will be seen as vindicating that pre-conceived, pre-judged (i.e. prejudiced), and unproven notion, that he can’t play quarterback.

Some news stories indicated that Tebow would now be open to playing a new position, where he had in previous instances apparently declined this.

Perhaps he was committed to what he wanted, to what he believed was the correct and only way to do something, and perhaps to a fault. But now fullback or tight end seems open again.

And he may get the chance: Last week, we learned police want to talk to a Patriots receiver; he’s entering some legal trouble, which would affect his availability to play football. A second player has had multiple surgeries.

Perhaps that was the team’s idea all along, since they surely would have known such a need was beginning to churn. Training for a new season, they’d seek someone who knows how to play the game.

Tebow was in Nowheresville.

The team was hedging bets.

He’d become available.

A match was made.

So Tom Brady may be throwing to Tebow — in the same division as the New York Jets and the same conference as the Denver Broncos. The Patriots have epic rivalries with both these teams.

Recent reports have indicated tight end is not an option. But when the Patriots signed Tebow, someone asked Coach Bill Belichick what position he’d play. His response was, “We’ll see.”

A more likely scenario has Tim Tebow available at the right price — no guaranteed cash and the league minimum for two years if he makes the team — simply to bolster their quarterback ranks.

Meantime the Jets jerked Tebow around all last season. They may be paying for that one — and in more ways than one — for the next couple years.

But undeniably, we live in interesting football times, my friends.

In fact, interesting times are commonly a result when one’s cherished pre-conceptions don’t jibe with truth. As Zig Ziglar used to say, we’re like a cross-eyed discuss thrower: we don’t set many records but we do keep the crowd alert.

We’ll have to endure the crowing by the naysayers, convinced they were right about Tim Tebow — when they had decided beforehand, stacked the deck against him, refused the plain proof, and now may have the opportunity to say, “We told you so.”

But we’ve endured worse.

And Tebow has lived in it.

And anyway, it will be fun to see a situation develop where what’s actually happening is what’s been said all along: that Tebow can play, and should play, and will win if he does. Because that, exactly, is what has happened when a team actually, you know, tries it.

In the little ebook I wrote when Tebow was producing the proof while playing for the Broncos, one point was that Tebow would pick up somewhere, with somebody, that could, somehow, see this — and know what no one else would even look at: the simple bottom line results that when Tebow was allowed to play by the powers-that-be, he certainly could play professional football, and his teams won.

And this is a team sport, right?

Here it is in the form of a proof:

When Tim Tebow plays, his teams win.
His team is the New England Patriots.
If they let him play, they will win, too.

Even if it’s not what anybody thought it would look like in the end.

 

Paul Hughes is a writer in Southern California. The ebook is Tebow: Throwing Stones.

 

Titles provide children a view of rescued Gulf Oil Spill pelicans

Published by:

By Lynda Deniger
Special to Inside The Pew

Lynda Deniger is president of HIS Publishing Company, a publisher of children’s books. The Abita Springs, La., resident will soon offer ebooks and Christian testimonials.Lynda_@_B&N-1 Deniger is the author of “Salty Seas and His Heroic Friends” and “Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill.”

Why did you create your business?

“I had written a children’s book manuscript in 1988 but kept telling myself I wasn’t a children’s author. I wouldn’t pursue publication until 2008 when I felt God impress me to self-publish. Once the process started I knew I wanted to perform the book for children. I got a mentor who taught me the art of storytelling and thousands of school children later, I found I really could entertain them and entice them to enjoy books and their stories.

When the Gulf Oil Spill happened, my characters ended up in the middle of it. Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill gives children a bird’s eye view of the event and how more than 2,000 pelicans were rescued, rehabilitated and released. It’s a realistic redemption story that provides valuable insight into the need for environmental stewardship.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Judges 18:9: ‘Arise… For we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good. Do not be too lazy to go; enter to possess the land.’ Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“Walk in integrity in all you do. Seek God’s guidance for your business decisions and trust Him to direct your path. When you face obstacles, ask God for wisdom to handle it. Just believe that if He called you to step out in faith, He desires to bless you and the work of your hands.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“I didn’t do kids. Didn’t have any; didn’t hang around them. Actually, I was afraid of them and didn’t know how to relate. I find it amazing that given my history with children that God would call me to write children’s books and bring them to life through my performances. But then again, I’ve been performing since I was three. God just changed the age of my audience. I find great delight in their awe and wonder about my books, especially when they ask for my autograph. Oh, to be a celebrity for God!”

Both books by Deniger are available at www.saltyseasandfriends.com. Want to have your business featured on our Pew Business spotlight? Send us an email expressing interest to pewnews@aol.com.

Tags:

 

Davis: Tithing is not a law … kind of

Published by:

By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

My first experience with tithing was when I was homeless sleeping out of the back of my 1991 Ford Explorer. I heard Dave Ramsey on the radio and his show gave me hopeTithe and inspired me to get out of debt and start to tell my money what to do.

As I gained composure and wrote my first budget on a yellow pad and starting to see some traction in my finances, he was also inspiring me to tithe because of some of the testimonies and experiences I was hearing on his show. So I begrudgingly wrote my first tithe check to a church that I had only visited once, but they were kind to me.

I soon recognized that my own inner struggles with writing the tithe check was not isolated, many people have a tough time giving 10% to God for various reasons. But, one reason was reconciled with me a while back and I wanted to share it with you.

Tithing was pre-law. The very first tithe was performed by Abram to Melchizedek. According to Genesis 14:18-20 (NKJV), the author wrote, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemiesAhmad Davis into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.”

This scripture shows that Abram gave a tithe to honor God who has already blessed him. There was no commandment given by God prior to this event to give ten percent of your earnings, it was done because it was the right thing to do.

As a rule of thumb, the first actions in the Bible set the precedent.

You might have a few reasons why you do not tithe, but read over the entire Genesis 14 chapter and pray over what God’s word is saying here. Prayerfully, you will feel a sense of peace about this piece of the great debate.

Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at coach@thebiblicalblueprint.com.

 

Review: Petra Vela Kenedy’s faith in God births a ‘legacy’ in South Texas

Published by:

Petra’s Legacy: The South Texas Ranching Empire of Petra Vela and Mifflin Kenedy

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Nearly 140 years after the death of Petra Vela Kenedy, residents inPetrasLegacy Brownsville, Texas, and Corpus Christi, Texas, are benefiting from her legacy.

It takes one person’s sacrifice and will to help make a difference in the lives of others. Keep in mind Petra died in 1875, but she taught her children at an early age the importance of helping others. This mindset was passed down through numerous generations. The biography of Petra is chronicled in the book, Petra’s Legacy: The South Texas Ranching Empire of Petra Vela and Mifflin Kenedy (Texas A&M University Press, $35). Written by Jane Clements Monday and Frances Vick, the authors surround their story around the creation of South Texas thanks in part to the efforts of Petra, her husband, Mifflin Kenedy, and his business partner, Richard King. All contributed to created King Ranch. Located between Corpus Christi and Brownsville, King Ranch is one of the largest ranches in the world.

Petra’s story is not exactly ordinary. In 1854, she married Mifflin Kenedy, who was raised a Quaker, and they had six children together. Petra was previously married to Luis Vidal – a Mexican general – who died in 1849. Petra’s and Luis’ union resulted in eight children. Although Mifflin wasn’t a Catholic (sources show Mifflin’s ancestors were Irish Catholics), Mifflin respected Petra’s Catholic beliefs, and he gave generously to the Catholic Church in honor of “Petrita.” While others might see this pairing as being unequally yoked, Petra and Mifflin placed their religion backgrounds aside and gave their money and time to establishing the foundation for two Catholic Churches in South Texas, Church of the Immaculate Conception in Brownsville and St. Patrick’s Church in Corpus Christi.

Whenever I read a book, I like to take into consideration the points the author is trying to convey. With Petra’s Legacy, there are more than a couple. According to a review in Catholic Southwest, Petra’s Legacy has provided “a valuable addition to the history of South Texas.” The book also highlights a faith journey. An aspect overlooked the most is Petra’s unwavering reliance on God, through the good and bad times. She experienced the death of two sons, Adrian Vidal and John William Kenedy, and one infant daughter, Phebe Kenedy. Although her heart was heavy, she prayed to God for strength (John 14:1-4) and understood Phebe’s death was God’s design (Matthew 5:8). When Brownsville was ravaged by a fire, she prayed for the safety of her home and children. Petra understood that blessings – the birth of a healthy child or a successful business venture – were the workings of God. And she read her Bible frequently. I don’t want to go too far into the prosperity gospel, but Petra’s Christ-like habits benefited her and her family (Matthew 21:12).

Since the Monday and Vick relied heavily on second-hand accounts of Petra’s life, the reader can only see a glimpse of Petra’s relationship with the Father. However, there is no assumption that Petra taught her children the important of helping others. If this wasn’t the case, the fortune and the desire to give back to the less fortunate would have fallen by the waist side. Two foundations exist in 2013 because a Petra knew it was her “Christian duty” to help the less fortunate. The John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation (established by Sarita Kenedy East, granddaughter of Petra Vela and Mifflin Kenedy) and The John G. Kenedy Jr. Charitable Trust are Petra’s legacy that honors her devotion to her family and her church. The quote from Sarita shows the legacy Petra passed on her children and on to her grandchildren – “Sarita Kenedy East never wanted her name on anything… she just wanted to help.”

I’m sure Petra would approve.

 

Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year

Published by:

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Tyres Dickson’s dream of becoming a college football star at the University of Texas ended when an accident with a drunk driver left him paralyzed from the chest down. Life after the 1998 accident has had its ups and downs. But, a chance opportunity of securing employment with Goodwill has helped him rebuild his confidence. The Houston native was recently named Goodwill Industries 2013 Achiever of the Year for his efforts to redefine what makes a successful work life.

Dickson, 35, will be honored during Goodwill Industries’ annual Delegate Assembly meeting in June in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“I was either going to end up on government assistance or make a way for myself,” Dickinson said. “This award validates the struggle. After I got out the coma I decided that I would stay with God and persevere through the adversity. I have many solitary, heavy moments. Then, I made it to Goodwill to see there are good people. Working for Goodwill has been good for my soul and spirit.”

For the past four years, Dickson has worked as a traffic dispatcher for Goodwill Industries of Houston.

After the accident, Dickson spent 18 months of recovery in the hospital and eight months learning life skills to deal with limited mobility. He then re-enrolled at UT to continue his education, but was unable to attend classes due to difficulties related to his paralysis and he moved back to Houston, to live with his mother. Compensation from the accident allowed him to pursue his own audio and sound mixing business, but the theft of his audio equipment in December 2008 left him without the means to earn a paycheck.

Dick Taylor, a UT alum and football booster who’d met Dickson almost a decade earlier, heard about the theft. Taylor was a friend of Steve Lufburrow, president and CEO of Goodwill Houston, and called him immediately and set up a meeting between Dickson and the CEO.

Lufburrow saw promise in the young man and hired him as the agency’s transportation dispatcher. When he learned Dickson didn’t have a way to get to work, LufburrowDicksonWork enlisted help from others at Goodwill, including Emily Conner, who worked in the Goodwill’s human resources department and was paralyzed in a diving accident. She helped Dickson access the job readiness supports that helped him succeed on the job.

Dickson has also used his experience as a platform for speaking engagements. He said he has spoken to several business groups, Christian schools, and Camp LT, a preparatory academy established by former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson

Interestingly, Dickson said his job allows him to use quarterbacking skills because he has to strategize and dispatch trucks to Houston-area stores.

“The job gives me a sense of accomplishment. I help send the trucks that are delivering products to destinations intended to help people who otherwise would not be able to afford items.”

Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.

Robertson: Evening with King inspires me to live my dream

Published by:

By Anita Jannell-Robertson
Special to Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – “I have a dream. So I’d die for it, so much so that I actually live for it.”

Alveda King – niece of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – was the keynote speaker at an elegant event where I recently had the privilege of serving as guest recording

Anita Jarrell-Robertson meets with Alveda King during a fundraising banquet  for Women's Health Center in Baton Rouge on March 1.

Anita Jarrell-Robertson meets with Alveda King during a fundraising banquet for Women’s Health Center in Baton Rouge on March 1.

artist for the evening on March 1 at The Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge, La.

The Women’s Help Center hosted its 15th annual fundraising banquet to help support families in the Baton Rouge community. The center  has been providing services to more than 30,000 women experiencing unplanned and/or crisis pregnancies for nearly 20 years.

Moved to tears on several occasions throughout the evening, I dedicated my hit song, “Even Me” to Alveda King and anyone else in the audience who had either had an abortion or been accomplice to one. Little did I know King had planned to base much of her presentation on the controversial pro-life topic, including her own heart-penetrating testimony about the perils of abortion and its effects on the family and community.

Alveda C. King serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, and a former college professor and member of the Georgia State House of Representatives.

Beyond sharing about how difficult it was to grow up in the historical shadow of her grandfather (a powerful minister), father (a civil rights activist the Rev. A.D. King) and her uncle (MLK), Alveda King reminded us all to let our light shine and to remember that it wasn’t so little after all. She told us that every time she shared her story, she got a little more healing. She talked about a lyric in my song, “Even Me,” and that gripped my soul – “the exchange at the Cross is mighty to save.”

Was she really referencing my music?  It was a life-altering experience, a real game changer because I am a Christian recording artist with fans in several countries on all seven continents. Would I have been able to do that as comfortably if it had not been for the selfless contribution of Dr. King and her family?  Probably not.

What about the other unsung heroes? My grandfathers. One was a sharecropper who demanded that my father “leave this place boy, ain’t got nothin’ for ya here.” My father went on to be a military veteran, business man, and a pastor.  My other grandfather was a civil rights activist himself, who feared for his life as he hosted and attended secret meetings for black farmers across the South in a time when it was almost a sin for blacks to be farmers in their own right. His daughter, my mother, is one of the strongest women I’ve ever met, beautiful and brilliant. My mother continues to run with seeming ease and integrity the business my father began long before his death.

Taken from my song, “Even Me,” “You will pour water on the soul who is thirsty…flood upon the dry ground.  And You’ll pour Your Spirit on the seed of the righteous.  Your blessings are flowing now!  So I pour my soul out to You!  And You pour Your soul out to me!!  The exchange at the Cross, Lord, I believe . . . is mighty to save- even me.”  On his death bed, my father’s eyes softened as I sang to him.  My heart is sore only because I wish he had been there to witness Dr. King mentoring me after the event before both our tables were crowded with fans and well wishers.

In retrospect, Dr. Alveda King’s statement to me is one I will carry in my heart forever, “Anita, there is a new sound of worship in the earth and it’s you.  Your music transcends realms.”  Realms?  Not just races?  Not just genders?  Not just religions?  Realms?  Well, amen.  I receive that.  Do you?

I always wondered what it would be like to meet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Always wondered what it would be like to be in the presence of such greatness.  Well, being with his niece fulfilled that curiosity.  Her essence caused us all to erupt in applause after her address.  The applause I received after my songs “Even Me” and “Future Generations” were graciously received, but I would have paid to just package that applause and give it to an elder soldier, Dr. King.  Getting to know her for a moment, I believe she would have just given it right back.

Applause is a kind gesture, but for those of us who believe we are called by God to affect nations, generations, realms even, applause belongs to the One who called us, who mercifully empowers us on a daily basis to be who we are in Him.

Anita Jarrell-Robertson, a native of Dallas and resident of Baton Rouge, is a contemporary Christian recording artist. Visit her website at www.anitaworships.com. Email her at booking@anitaworships.com. Find Anita on Facebook and on Twitter @anitaworships.

Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder

Published by:

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!’

Published by:

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.