By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, W.V. (ANS) — To juggle means to keep thingsBill Ellis “continuously in the air.” I tried it with green apples, tennis balls and once with three croquet balls. I was doing well until two of those wooden balls collided and went separate ways enough to allow the third ball to hit me between the eyes. After that headache, I lost my desire to be a juggler.

We all may have been warned, “Don’t try to do too many things at the same time.” We are advised to keep our minds on what we are doing.

There was a time in which parents and grandparents lived a very scheduled kind of life. The father was expected to earn money for the upkeep of his family. Mothers had the primary role of taking care of the family.

We may remember singing, “Monday is wash day, Tuesday is ironing day”David Cain juggler and on it went for every day of the week. Little girls were taught about cooking, cleaning and sewing. Little boys had their chores and learning experiences. Our first teachers were before we started to school.

America’s beloved poet, Robert Frost, had it right when he wrote, “It takes a heap of living to make a house a home.” My friend, Charles Swindoll, brilliant speaker and author of many books, was on target with these wisdom words, “You know what’s helped us in the Swindoll home? To think of where we live as a training place, not a showplace.”

We find many things to do at work, in the community, the home, school or at church. We become like, Martha, the sister of Lazarus, and of whom Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41).

It seems like men and women have been in the juggling business since the creation. We always have too many things going at the same time.

Financially we juggle bills. At work, we try to put in more hours than there are in the day. In some communities, there are more volunteers than people able to work.

Mothers and fathers can be busy doing things at the school where their children attend. The pastor is always looking for volunteers to serve in the church. Hospitals get much of their work done by volunteers.

I was the speaker for a Tri-State fund raising rally for the Boy Scouts of America. Two of my all-time favorite Boy Scout executives were Don Berg and Bud Trigleth in Decatur, Ill. Contractors and thousands of volunteers are busy at work to prepare the gigantic new national Boy Scout Camp, not far from where I live in West Virginia.

A piece of paper just dropped from my desk. On the front staring back at me were these big bold words, “WE’RE COUNTING ON YOU!”

We are all in the juggling business to get everything done for ourselves, our family, our school, our church, our neighborhood. My pastor is Dr. Melissa Pratt, one of the most talented young pastors in the nation. She scheduled David Cain, world champion juggler, for special events for our mothers and children the weekend of Mother’s Day.

I and a few other men sat on the back row for one of the most amazing programs I have ever seen. Cain would thrill those at any youth convention, family camp, high school and college audience, award ceremonies. He deals with faith, evangelism, spiritual warfare, Christian living and to demonstrate it he uses balls, rings, boomerangs, a bullwhip and has them all in continuous motion.

His web is www.christianjuggler.com and his e-mail is davidcainjuggler@hotmail.com. Be a winner in the juggling business. Learn how to juggle successfully.

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.

By Terry McGee
Inside The Pew

As 2012 hastens to a close, I reflect back on the marvelous things God has done this year. This writing is to encourage those who are pursuing their passion or dream that was given by God. I know we all experienced some entrepreneurial pains in 2012, but that was to toughen us up for the reward he has for us in 2013.

God wants all of his children to experience success in something. And “something” is not always tied to a dollar sign. We sometimes get caught up in that numbers game and lose sight that our life is not our own! If we let God do this thing, he will set everything up for us, including the people we need around us. It seems that when we try to set it up the way we want to do it, disappointment in the people we pick happens. That is why God will send us the right people when we let “His” will be done. He comes to us most of the time at night, while we are sleeping. He will drop that “something” off in our dream, and sometimes, later, wakes us up to give us directions. Over the past few years, I know that so many of us have been out there trying to make things happen. For those, let me tell you God always delivers! As in everything in life we do, let’s remember Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV).

Believe it’s your season, claim it’s your season! But by all means, give God His due! God is already there waiting, he sometimes holds off because we are not there, or we decided to take the wheel and make Him the “shotgun” rider, and at that point, he will patiently wait! So if you are driving, pull over and swap seats with “Him” and see how much faster you get to where you want to go! As the old saying goes…Let go and Let God!! As I close this out, please be mindful that the enemy does not want anybody to succeed if it lifts up the Lord, so take with you:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV).

Now get ready for the reward of your faithfulness in 2013!! Blessings!

Terry McGee is host of Simply Inspiring Radio on Pew Talk Radio. His show runs from 5 to 7 p.m. CST Tuesday through Friday. Visit www.pewtalkradio.com to listen to his show and learn more about McGee.

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ANS) — Texas-born author and pastor, Max Lucado, is a man who loves words – both spoken and written.

He loves to craft sentences that are memorable, inspiring and hopefully life-changing. In almost 25 years of writing, more than 100 million products-80 million books-filled with his words have been sold.

Max is the only author to have won three Christian Book of the Year* awards-in 1999 for Just Like Jesus, in 1997 for In the Grip of Grace, and in 1995 for When God Whispers Your Name. In 2005, Reader’s Digest magazine dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher” and in 2004, Christianity Today magazine called him “America’s Pastor.”

The product line for 3:16-The Numbers of Hope sold more than four million units worldwide, including one million units of the cornerstone trade book of the same title (released in September 2007), making it the fastest selling Lucado product in his career. His Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference (September 2010) hit both the Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestseller lists and has been featured on “Fox & Friends” and “CNN American Morning.” He has participated on the “Good Morning America” Christmas Day panel in 2009 and 2010.

His works have appeared on every major national bestseller list including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and Christian Booksellers Association. He has been featured in countless media outlets and national broadcasts.

Max is also a Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, where he has served since 1988. He has been married to Denalyn Preston Lucado since 1981, and they have three grown daughters-Jenna, Andrea and Sara-and one son-in-law, Brett.

I caught up with this delightful man at the NRB 2012 Convention in Nashville, Tenn., where he shared about his life as a pastor, a missionary in Brazil and also as a best-selling author.

He began by talking about his latest book, Great Day Every Day (Thomas Nelson), saying, “You know I’m a pastor of a church I’ve been at the same church since 1988. It’s called Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and one of the things that I’ve noticed is that this basic fundamental challenge that people that people have trying to have a good day. You know it’s not easy, and I remember several years ago running into some of our members in a grocery store and saying, ‘How is your day going?’ and they gave me kind of a ho-hum answer.

“And the thought occurred to me was why can we not have a great day every day? If we’re children of God, couldn’t a Monday be a fun as a Saturday or a Sunday and couldn’t you know a deadline day be as satisfying as a holiday. I know it’s not that easy but I think that as children of God we can really get to the point where every day is a great day.”

Lucado went on to say that he had read the verse from Psalm 118:24 that said, “Today is the day that the Lord has made …”

“Every word of that verse is helpful when you know that today is the day God has made — not some days are days that God has made but God makes every day. So that means that every day has the potential of being a good day. Then he says, ‘I will rejoice and be glad in it.’ The psalmist made a decision the that he was going to rejoice in this day, not after this day, not once I get through this day, but right in the middle of this day ‘I’m going to rejoice and be glad in it.’ So all your readers right now could say, ‘OK, God made this day. I didn’t make it like this but God did, so I’m going to rejoice and be glad in it.”

How does he describe his writing style?

“I like to write books for people who don’t like to read books,” he laughed. “I have such high regard for academic writers. I loved, for example, reading John Stott’s books through the years and how helpful they were. I feel like I try to write books for people who find academic books a little to meaty and so I’m thinking, ‘What can I say for the person who drives a truck, to a busy mom and how can I take this message and put it put the cookies on the lower shelf so we can all have access to them.'”

If you would like to hear the audio version of this interview, please go to: http://www.assist-ministries.com/FrontPageRadio/FPR08.12.12MaxLucadoMono.mp3

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Based on the success Cullen Jones has displayed in swimming, one would find it hard to believe he almost drowned at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Penn., when he was 5 years old. But, Jones turned the horrific event into a positive. He learned how to swim, and 20-plus years later, he became a gold-medal winning swimming champion in the 50-meter freestyle at the Beijing summer games in 2008.

Jones, 28, the second African American in history to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming (400-meter freestyle with Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, and Garrett Weber-Gale), places his faith, courage, and hard work in a children’s book titled “Speed to Glory: The Cullen Jones Story” (Zonderkidz; $6.99), currently in bookstores.

In the 2012 London Olympics, the North Carolina State University alum will participate in the men’s 100-meter freestyle (July 31 heat), men’s 400-meter relay (July 29 heat), and men’s 50-meter freestyle (Aug. 2 heat) at the 2012 summer games.

Written by Natalie Davis Miller, the book is truly inspirational. Whether it is swimming or in life, Jones wants readers to understand that commitment and trusting in God goes a long way.

Miller said Jones, who lists Proverbs as his favorite book in the Bible, attended church as a teen with his father and mother, the late Ronald Jones and Debra Jones. Although he is unable to attend church on a regular basis, Cullen Jones still devotes time in his schedule.

“I call on religion in every aspect of my life, whether I’m at the OIympic Games representing the USA or about to get on a plane to an event,” Jones said.

In the chapter “Finding Faith,” Miller said Cullen Jones keeps faith at the core of his daily life.

Jones also addresses the stereotypes about African American swimmers which exist. In chapter 12, “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones,” Miller describes how Jones came to create his swimming initiative, Make a Splash With Cullen Jones. In August 2010, Jones was taken aback by the drowning of six African American children in the Red River in Shreveport, La. This event prompted the gifted swimmer to partner with the USA Swimming Foundation and ConocoPhillips to help minorities across the country learn how to swim. In addition, Jones provides free to low-cost swimming lessons to children.

“Speed to Glory” is a simple read with a strong message: honor the steps His has provided to you, work hard, and always give back to others.