By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

Steve Green, president of arts and crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby (www.hobbylobby.com), has been named the 2013 recipient of the John M. Templeton Biblical Values Award by the National Steve Green, president of Hobby LobbyBible Association (www.nationalbible.org). The organization will recognize Green’s accomplishment at the annual NBA awards luncheon in New York City on April 15 at the Union League Club.

“I am honored to receive the award,” Green said during an interview with Inside The Pew. “I am humbled to join the ranks of other leaders who are committed to the Bible to guide their spiritual and religious beliefs as well as their business.”

The award is named after John M. Templeton, who successfully integrated work and his Christian faith. By using his investing talents to help ordinary people and practicing biblical values in the work world, Templeton serves as a model to all business executives of faith.

“The honor goes to a nationally recognized business leader who exhibits values the Bible promotes, takes the Bible into the marketplace, and lives it, said Richard Glickstein, president of the New York-based organization.

“Matthew 6:33 says to seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Steve Green exemplifies that in the market place. In business, it is difficult to choose biblical values over the money. With Green and his entire family, it is God first, the company second. They live that out every day.”

Founder in the early 1970s and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., Hobby Lobby has 525 arts and crafts retail stores with more than 20,000 employees in the U.S. The decision to close stores on Sundays cost the company more than $100 million in product sales each year. The decision to pay all new employees at least 80 percent more than the minimum wage is a further reflection of the company’s values. Hobby Lobby also offers biblically based spiritual and financial counseling to its employees.

“The guidelines that are given to us in Scripture. We believe they are God given. As our Creator, He knows what works best. Sometimes it is counterintuitive we think to be the most successful we have to be open longer hours, but the guideline the Scripture says to take a day of rest, Green said.

“As we apply the principles the scripture the Bible gives us, we believe this is what is best for the business. Not that we won’t have challenges or struggles and operate the business according to biblical principles that we will find the most success in our lives and in business by doing that.”

Nearly half of Hobby Lobby’s annual profits are donated according to Biblical principles and for the promotion and reading of the Bible itself. These donations have allowed Hobby Lobby to acquire one of the world’s largest private collections of Bibles and Biblical artifacts, a collection that will be housed in a 50,000-square foot Bible museum opening in Washington, D.C., in the near future. Green has been at the forefront of this project since its beginning in 2009.

NBA will also make a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit charity designated by Green that has biblical values.

Glickstein said the NBA was founded 71 years ago during World War II by a group of American business leaders. The mission of the organization is to encourage individuals to read the Bible. Early in the existence of the NBA, the members were asked by NBC radio to read the Bible over the station’s coverage of the Japanese’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Tonya Andris contributed to this report.

By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

CAIRO, EGYPT (ANS) – Kidnappers in Egypt have released two Americans, one of them a pastor, and their Egyptian tour guide, after holding them hostage for three days, a news source stated Monday.

Mohamed Fadel, writing for the online presence of CNN in a report to which CNN’s Salma Abdelaziz and Ed Payne contributed, cited Gen. Ahmed Bakr, head of security in northern Sinai.

“They are at security headquarters with us now, in good condition. The negotiations succeeded, but we did not give in to the kidnappers’ demands,” said Gen. Bakr.

CNN reported the Americans were happy and relieved to be free.

“We are heading directly to Israel to join the members of our church as soon as we get our passports sent to us from Cairo,” said Michel Louis, the pastor of a Pentecostal church in Boston.

“I tell my family I am in good health and in good spirits, but I have not taken my medicine since Friday, so I am a little tired.”

Family members had previously said that Louis suffers from diabetes and they weren’t sure if he had his medicine with him, according to the CNN report.

Lisa Alphonse, a parishioner at another American church, said the group was “treated really well,” the CNN report said.

Earlier Monday, a senior Egyptian government official told CNN that intelligence officers had visited with the alleged kidnapper, Germy Abu Masouh, on Friday and on Sunday, and communicated with him by phone.

“We saw the hostages, who seemed to be composed, but in a state of shock and fatigue from the grueling heat, especially Michel Louis, who said he had suffered a minor diabetic attack and avoids eating much,” the official said before the hostages’ release.

CNN said that Abu Masouh, a member of a prominent Bedouin tribe in the Sinai, had said he wanted Egyptian police to free his uncle, whom Bakr said had been caught in Alexandria, Egypt, with a half-ton of drugs.

CNN also reported that family members said the two Americans and their guide were taken hostage Friday when gunmen boarded their tour bus, which was on its way to Israel.

Louis offered himself as a hostage after gunmen took the female parishioner, his son, the Rev. Jean Louis, told CNN on Monday.

“Being the leader of the missionary group, my mom said that … he stood up and he just asked that they leave the lady and take him. So this is why there’s two people in addition to the translator detained right now somewhere in Egypt,” he said. Michel Louis’ wife was on the bus when the kidnapping occurred.

Jean Louis told CNN the family was not aware of security concerns about travel across the Sinai, where Americans had been kidnapped and swiftly released in two separate incidents since February.

“If we were aware, I would believe we would use correct judgment not to enter that area,” Louis said.

According to the CNN report, Bakr earlier said the situation was “partially the fault of the travel agency,” which he said had not informed police of their route. If it had, “we would have sent a police escort,” he said.

Kidnappings and armed robberies have increased since the “Arab Spring” popular uprising which ousted Egypt’s long-ruling dictator, Hosni Mubarak, last year.

By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – I, like millions of other people-particularly here in New Mexico, had an amazing opportunity to

see the Eclipse of 2012.

As it turned out, Albuquerque, New Mexico was in the direct path for observation of a total eclipse. We weren’t disappointed. Literally thousands flocked the mountains, museums, and mesas to see the amazing natural event.

Throughout history an eclipse has been an event of astronomical fascination-and even fear. At times the Ancients interpreted eclipses as omens and signs.

Even the Bible gives record of events that describe eclipse-type occurrences, connecting it to looming danger or judgment (Amos 8:9).

Many scholars even connect the crucifixion of Jesus to an eclipse-type event.

According to one online site, scientists, Colin Humphreys and W.G Waddington of Oxford University, “reconstructed the Jewish calendar in the first century AD and arrived at the conclusion that Friday April 3 33AD was the date of the Crucifixion. Humphreys and Waddington went further and also reconstructed the scenario for a lunar eclipse on that day.”

In their article, “Dating the Crucifixion,” (Nature 306, December 22/29, 1983, pp. 743-46), they conclude, “This eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise. …. The start of the eclipse was invisible from Jerusalem, being below the horizon. The eclipse began at 3:40pm and reached a maximum at 5:15pm, with 60% of the moon eclipsed. This was also below the horizon from Jerusalem. The moon rose above the horizon, and was first visible from Jerusalem at about 6:20pm (the start of the Jewish Sabbath and also the start of Passover day in A.D. 33) with about 20% of its disc in the umbra of the earth’s shadow and the remainder in the penumbra. The eclipse finished some thirty minutes later at 6:50pm.”

Fascinating. True, a very “naturalistic” perspective of the event, but still intriguing in that it does correspond to the traditional timeframe attributed to Christ’s death and resurrection.

For my part, I used the Eclipse of 2012 as an opportunity to reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection and thank God for His marvelous creation.

After trying to get in to the Albuquerque Balloon Museum Park with my family (where the line was over ½ mile long-and a two hour entrance wait), we decided to separate: my kids heading to the Bear Canyon in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, and my wife, Melanie, and I heading towards Petropglyps National Monument (ancient art carved on volcanic rock) on Albuquerque’s West Mesa.

For fun, I brought along a Native American flute made by Marvin Toya; Melanie brought her camera. Together, we walked up the hill toward Boca Negra Canyon.

As the eclipse began around 6:28, I started to play the flute, using it as means of prayer. I created notes mimicking the syllable nuances of the Lord’s Prayer.

Folks next to us were using the opportunity as a photographic session, taking pictures in differing clothes. They were kind enough to give us protective sheets of tint so we could view the whole eclipse without burning a hole in our retina.

All around the Mesa cars stopped to view the marvelous experience. People made observation apparatus out of cardboard and tubes; other folks had telescopes and fancy pinhole cameras.

Overall, the encounter was grand affair, bringing people together for a God-given light show. So cool, I thought.

Earlier in the day, I attended a lecture by prominent New Mexico art historian, Dr. Joseph Traugott. Traugott spoke on New Mexico Art Through Time, the title of his newest book and exhibition at the New Mexico Museum of Art and History.

As Traugott made connections between art and nature, I couldn’t help but reflect-later in the day during the Eclipse of 2012-that this incident was a masterwork of divine origin: God’s artwork displayed through nature for the world to sit in awe.

And sat in awe, I did.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not of the staff of Inside The Pew.

By La Vonne Earl
Special to Inside The Pew

Now that Mother’s Day has come and gone, many are able to breathe again. Mother’s Day is filled with mixed emotions for many people who have

La Vonne Earl

endured relationships that would be considered anything but perfect. In Hector Tobar’s article depicting the play “Cafe Vida,” he conveys the story of three moms that have endured homelessness, prison, and drug abuse. He gives a glimpse of what life was like for them. The guilt and torment that they have suffered knowing that they were not the best of mothers due largely to the life they lived. They are working on changing not only their future, but that of their children. One of the mothers, Alfaro mentions “for all the pain I was in, I knew there had to be something beautiful for me. By the grace of God, I found it.”

These are only but three of many moms that have suffered the painful things in their life that most of their children know nothing about.

Some, like these mothers, have found God’s grace and have changed their lives and continue to break the patterns to improve their children’s lives. Others continue to repeat the patterns by holding onto resentment and pain. In a study I have participated in for sexually abused women, author and counselor John Eldredge reminds us that every woman who is callused and cold on the outside is a woman who has suffered some form of abuse. We must remember that hurt people, hurt other people.

It is not always easy to tap into the pain and seek to console the woman who has the tough outer shell. For this reason most of these women live lonely and desolate lives as many tire of trying to form a relationship. For those of us children that long for that deep relationship with our mothers this is not an easy situation. But God’s grace is sufficient. If you will allow Him to fill you with His love, He will give to your mother what you alone cannot, forgiveness and love. Only He can offer the unconditional love that is life transforming. “Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We must follow Christ example and offer our Mothers the unconditional love and forgiveness that even we ourselves do not deserve.

In the end, we form our families and create the life that we desire. God tells us in scripture to proclaim that which we desire. “Call those things which be not as though they were” (Roman 4:17). We all create our own reality with our thoughts and feelings, so beware. Using your imagination for God’s glory by creating and seeing in your mind the beauty that is the true identity of your mother will increase the love that she feels coming from you! This is what brings healing and transformation.

Continue to pray, create and transform your relationships and your life! This will bring God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

California resident La Vonne Earl is a certified Christian life coach and counselor. A former Mormon, she has studied neuro linguistics programming, Sozo healing, and other avenues to bring healing into the lives of many. You may contact her at lavonne@yourkingdominheritance.com.

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

The story I am about to tell is two months in the making. I could have told you all the story before Mother’s Day weekend, but it is too good to pass up.

If you have children, you understand the difficulty they can sometimes cause parents. If they don’t get their way, they complain. If you direct them in the right direction they don’t listen most of the time. When they want something, they want it now. Well, I don’t know if this describes your kids, but it sure describes mine.

One morning before school, my 8-year-old son, Torry, overslept and he was running a bit late in preparing to get to school. The more I rushed him to beat the clock I set to notify the kids that I am out the door and down to the car, the grumpier he became. When everyone was piled into the car, he said very little. Once we got to the school, I told Torry and the twin girls, “Bye, have a good day.” The girls said, “Bye.” Nothing came out of Torry’s mouth. I was a little disgruntled. The last thing I wanted was for Torry to have a terrible day at school. Or, was I just worrying too much.

Here is where I get a little personal. After taking my morning walk, I got home and took a shower. I hardly look in the mirror after taking a shower, mainly because it is usually covered with mist. But this time, there was a message in the mist. On the mirror where the words, “I love your mommy.” All I could do was smile and shed a tear. Ironically, although I have cleaned the mirror several times since then, the message still appears when the mirror gets misty. To pick his mind, I asked Torry why he wrote that message on the mirror. He told me, “I love you mom, and you do a lot for me.” That’s my boy!

The greatest example a mother can show her child is love despite the circumstance. As a child of Christ, the love mothers show their kids comes from no other place than Him. We learn how to respect, adore, and guide our children because He does all these things for us (1 John 4:7-8 and Ephesians 3: 16-19).

Let this story become a reminder to all the moms who struggle with their kids. They love you no matter what because they realize the importance you play in their lives. Rough spots occur in parenting. Kids will always remember the good and bad moments in the entire process. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.