Dennis Waitley in his book Being the Best reports the story of Reuben Gonzales, a leading racquetball player. Gonzales reached the final in his first ever professional tournament. Holding match point in the fifth and final game, he made an amazing “kill shot” into the front corner. The ball was called good. Match over, Gonzales declared the winner. Or was he? Gonzales turned around and said his serve hit the floor before it reached the wall. He lost his serve and his opponent won the match and the tournament.
In its next issue, the National Racquetball Magazine featured Gonzales on its cover. Everyone wanted to know why Gonzales, a professional sportsman, disqualified himself after being declared the winner of the match point. His answer was simple: “It was the only thing I could do to maintain my integrity.”
INTEGRITY. Webster defines it as “wholeness, completeness.” Integrity is having a well-balanced life. It is to personal or corporate character what health is to the body or 20/20 vision is to the eyes. A leader with integrity is not divided (that’s duplicity) or merely pretending (that’s hypocrisy.) He or she is “whole;” life is “put together,” and things are working together harmoniously..
Leaders of integrity:
tell no one (not even family members or prayer partners) confidential matters.
do not fear the probing light of scrutiny.
have the courage to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, though it may cost them.
refuse to cut ethical corners.
handle success, prosperity, and promotions with grace and dignity..
are personally reliable, keeping their promises.
Psalm 78:72 says of King David, he “shepherded them (the nation of Israel) with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” That’s a perfect balance for a leader. A good leader has skillful hands to deal with situations that have no rules, no boundaries, no precedence. And they have a heart of integrity, a well-balanced life.
He who walks in integrity, walks securely. . . (Proverbs 10:9)
Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site is www.livinggraceministries,com and his email is email@example.com.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, a time to reconnect with family and friends, a time to recharge spiritually and emotionally. But so often, we lose sight of the true meaning of the season because we are overwhelmed by it all.
Traveling, cooking, shopping, decorating … these things are impossible to enjoy if they are causing us stress and anxiety. Here are some tips to help you focus on what’s important and catch a little bit of that elusive holiday spirit instead of that holiday letdown.
Don’t over-commit:From family get-togethers to school parties to neighborhood celebrations, you probably have more social obligations that usual. Don’t offer to bake cookies for 40 if you really don’t have time. Do what you can (within your comfort zone) to help others, but it’s also okay to nicely say “no.”
Set a budget and stick to it:Shopping can be extremely exhausting, especially when you’re adding teachers and co-workers to the list. And there’s nothing worse than thinking you’re finished only to keep adding more names to the list. You know your budget. Don’t break the bank just to make everyone happy. Beyond family and close friends, consider simple gifts that aren’t too expensive: a Christmas ornament, home-baked goodies or a special framed photograph.
Practice healthy eating habits:Try not to overindulge on food or alcohol. Treat yourself, of course, but be choosy about what you eat at parties and social events.
Exercise:If you have a fitness plan, it will probably be hard to stick to it during the holidays, but at the very least, take a walk around the block each day to clear your head and get a little fresh air and exercise.
Don’t isolate yourself:For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays often bring up painful memories. Don’t turn down invitations from family and friends — it’s better to be with people when you’re having a difficult time getting through the holidays. And if you don’t have family or friends nearby, volunteer with a church or charitable organization to do something good for others.
If it’s true that teachers change lives, then Sarah Scott has transformed the lives of thousands.
Scott, a kindergarten teacher at Denham Springs Elementary, recently retired after 50 years of teaching with the Livingston Parish School System.
During the past five decades, she has taught multiple generations, and rarely a day goes by that she doesn’t see at least one of her former students around town. “I go here or there, and I always see someone,” she said, smiling.
Scott’s teaching career began in 1967 at West Livingston High School, a public school serving black students during segregation. “Back then, there weren’t many jobs for black women,” the 73-year-old said, explaining that the limited choices mostly included domestic help or education.
“My mother worked as a housekeeper. She worked so hard, and she started taking in ironing to make more money. She would come home and tell me to wake her up in 15 minutes (following a nap). But I would feel sorry for her and let her sleep longer,” Scott admitted.
Knowing that she didn’t want to pursue the same type of work as her mom, and after briefly considering the military (simply because she loved the look of uniforms), Scott decided to become a teacher. She enrolled at Southern University, where she would later complete a master’s degree in education.
Looking back, it was a decision Scott was almost born to make. Indeed, in her early years of schooling, from first to 12th grade, she studied hard and only missed one day of school. (She stayed home that day at the request of a teacher who thought Scott was getting sick.) “I always obeyed and followed the rules,” she said.
As a teacher, Scott continued to do her best, demonstrating a strong work ethic on the job, where she first began teaching core subjects such as math and social studies. She also cultivated a joyful attitude and a desire to “do whatever was needed,” important traits she said she learned from her faith community at First Church of God in Christ in Denham Springs.
“I was born into church,” she said, explaining how her faith always provided hope, which “would stop you from hating” when you were not being treated fairly. In 1970, Scott began what would become the first of 47½ years teaching at Denham Springs Elementary. That year also marked the integration of schools in Denham Springs.
“It (integration) was so peaceful, not like what other places experienced,” Scott added. The principal, who sets the tone for the school, “bent over backwards to make us feel comfortable,” she said.
Did faith play a role during this time? For Scott, it did.
“You need to let your light shine,” she said, noting that it is important to not just talk about the Gospels, but to “walk the talk,” too. Choosing to love rather than hate is essential in anything you do, she said, and while it played a key role during integration, the idea continued to affect her teaching through the years.
She remembers a 6th grade student who was always in troiuble. “I would keep him in at recess, and we just talked,” she said. “(Later), he wrote me the nicest note.”
In 1978, Scott began devoting some of her time outside of the classroom to the U.S. Army Reserves, finally giving in to her love of uniforms. She said a relative told her it wasn’t too late to join, and as she thought about those comments at her home later, she noticed the phone book just happened to be opened to the army recruitment office. “Wasn’t that something?” she said, laughing. Scott ultimately joined the reserves, where she was assigned writing letters and completing work for the company commanders. She retired after 26 years.
Scott’s willingness to do what was needed on the job was highlighted in 1981 when, at the request of her principal (who needed to fill a teaching spot), she began teaching kindergarten. Scott enjoyed working with the younger children and stayed at this post; however, several years ago, a health scare almost ended her career. Again, she turned to her faith, asking God what to do. She said his answer proved that she would make it to her 50th year in the classroom. “He’s a good God,” she said.
Now that she is retired, Scott hopes to spend more time with her family, which includes two grown sons, nine grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and a godchild that she raised. She is recently widowed. She also plans to remain active in her church, where she still serves as a Sunday school teacher, a church coordinator and secretary, district representative and state Prayer and Bible Band president.
In addition, she helps lead Camp Empowerment, a free one-week summer camp for kids, and she has served on the Martin Luther King Task Force and as chairwoman of the King Day Scholarship Committee. Scott was one of the first organizers of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March and celebration in Denham Springs.
In July, State Representative J. Rogers Pope, who retired as Superintendent of Schools in Livingston Parish, presented Scott with a proclamation honoring her 50-plus years in the classroom. “I didn’t expect this,” she said, humbly. “It was a wonderful honor.”
Elijah Precciely was literally the answer to a prayer — his father’s.
Steve Precciely was the last male in his family’s line, and after two daughters, he and his wife Pamela desperately wanted a son. They would have to wait 11 years. “At one point, I felt God say to me, ‘What is more important? My desire for you to do my will or your desire to have a son?’ I realized that I needed to be happy doing God’s will … that the situation was beyond my control … so I accepted that it might never happen, and I felt a burden lifted.”
And not long afterward, the Preccielys learned they were expecting. Elijah came into the world weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces — a big baby destined for big things. “When he was born,” said Steve, “I heard God say, ‘Name him Elijah, for he will be a prophet to the nations.’”
At 11, Elijah is already a published author, host of a Christian radio show, and owner of five patents for several inventions. This month, he will become a licensed minister of The Church of God in Christ, and next spring, he will be a full-time student at Southern University, where just last month, he was offered a full scholarship to study physics and mechanical engineering.
Elijah is a true child prodigy and his parents say they are humbled by God’s grace. “We really believe he’s going to change the world,” said Pamela. “And we want to facilitate what God is doing in his life. We give the glory to God and we let the Holy Spirit lead us.”
The Preccielys’ faith is strong. Steve is pastor of Grace and Truth Church in Baton Rouge, while Pamela has served in many ministries throughout their marriage. They home-schooled all of their children and raised them in a godly household. At just 5 years old, Elijah was so comfortable talking about Scripture that he stepped up to the altar and preached his first “message.”
But his parents knew he was gifted long before that. At just 18 months, his daycare teacher told the Preccielys that he should probably be moved up with the 2- and 3-year-old children. This became a pattern. By age 3, Elijah’s parents were amazed by how quickly he soaked up information. “We had posters on the walls, lists of all the things he had learned,” said Pamela. “The planets, the presidents, the continents, all of the times tables. We couldn’t hold him back.”
Television and video games were limited, while books and musical instruments were encouraged. Elijah has played piano, guitar, the recorder, the violin and the drums. “I want to be a jack-of-all-trades,” he said, and a master of all!”
By age 6, he was flipping through college level textbooks, and by 7, he was learning about science and law, and was elected president of his class at Camp CEES. Through a program called TeenPact, he increased his knowledge of government and civics, and was elected governor among his peers. His parents took a Hebrew class and brought their son with them. Elijah learned Hebrew right alongside them. By age 8, Pamela says she had to find help and looked to nearby Southern University, where a professor suggested he enroll in classes right away.
“At that time, Elijah was doing experiments, every day using things from around the house,” Pamela said. “I was always looking for something that had disappeared from my kitchen.”
“I would ask my mom, ‘can we get some liquid nitrogen, some dry ice and some north and south magnets? Please?’” Elijah said. “I just had so many ideas and I didn’t want this information to just sit on a shelf in my brain! When I get thoughts and ideas in my mind, it’s … pop, pop, pop … like popcorn!”
The classes at Southern University opened up a new world for Elijah. For the past three years, he has taken one or two classes every semester, mostly math, science and engineering. One of his parents attends every class with him, and they say he is certainly not shy about discussing the material with his instructors. If anything, they have to remind him to let the other students engage in discussions as well. “His hand is always up,” says Steve.
As for faith, Elijah says he loves praying and speaking to God. “Someday, I want to use my academic knowledge and show how it’s tied to the stories and lessons in the Bible,” he said. “I want to explain that the Bible is the truth. If there is ever an opportunity to minister to someone, that’s what I’m going to do.”
He prays and talks with his parents to get ideas for his radio show. “Sometimes, I’m filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit,” he said, “and I speak in tongues. The Holy Spirit speaks through me and gives me solutions to problems, and shows me how things happening in the world can be used in my radio show. It’s not just a brainstorm. It’s a God-storm!”
Dressed smartly in a coat and tie, Elijah is all smiles as he shakes my hand when we meet. He is articulate and funny, modest and well-mannered. When we mention video games, he talks about their adverse effect on gray matter in the brain. When we mention a Bible verse about fear, he segues into a discussion on the chambers of the heart. When he talks about his love of cooking, he ends up explaining the difference between saturated and trans fats. It’s easy to forget that this little boy with so much encyclopedic knowledge is just 11 years old.
“As you can see, we have our own in-house scientist, doctor, dietitian …,” said Pamela. “You know that phrase — like a kid in a candy store?’ Well, Elijah is like that in a science lab or a library. He looks around and is so excited by the opportunity to learn new things.”
Steve and Pamela are clearly outstanding parents, and it’s easy to see the closeness they share with their son. Seated between them, Elijah smiles as they tell stories about him and occasionally reaches over to rub their arms or hold their hands.
“The key for us as parents was to pray every day,” said Steve. “And we got him into the Word of God early on. His faith in Christ is his foundation.”
“And you two,” says Elijah, looking at his mom and dad. “I couldn’t be who I am without my parents. They are my foundation, too.”
Elijah is often asked to speak at academic, community and religious gatherings. If your group would like to schedule an appearance, contact Brianna Craig at (225) 733-9245.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL) helps children, teens and adults establish, strengthen and enjoy their love for literature. Many of us recall summers full of swimming, bike riding, picnics and summer reading programs at the public library. We loved to read and we spent warm evenings and rainy days curled up with a wonder-filled book. Building a habit of reading laid the foundation for academic and lifelong success. But that’s not the case for every home.
When students don’t practice their reading skills over the summer, they lose ground, or as reading specialists say, they experience the “summer slide.” This regression is totally preventable, since any resident of the parish can borrow books from the public library at no cost. Even kids whose parents can’t go with them to get a library card still can come into our library branches to find a good book and a comfy place to relax and read on a hot summer’s day or even check out an e-book from home.
The Library’s annual Summer Reading Program helps encourage readers of all ages to stay motivated in getting their pages turning. This year’s theme is Libraries ROCK! The program is designed for children from birth to age 11, with special incentives every week. For reading a minimum of five books, each participating child can receive a reading certificate, coupons from area merchants and their choice of a book to take home. They also will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 Wal-Mart or Target gift card, or $50 of school supplies.
And that’s not all. Nearly every day of the summer is jammed-packed with FREE fun with special performers and programs like visits from Harvey Rabbit & Friends, Farmer Minor & Daisy the Reading Pig, the Louisiana Sinfonietta and many others. Stop by any EBRPL location to sign up!
Did you know that participating in the Summer Reading Program can help teens develop high levels of literacy that are needed for higher education and future employment? It also helps prepare students for the reading comprehension portions included in most standardized tests. Teens going into grades 6-12 are invited to join the Teen Summer Reading Program by signing up in the Teen Section at any EBRPL location and picking up their reading log.
To complete the program, teens should read any six regular books, or 18 graphic novels, to receive six Library Bucks, a drawstring backpack and a pair of earbuds. Plus, if they keep reading, teen readers will be entered into the weekly prize drawing. Every three regular books or nine graphic novels results in an entry into the drawing for cool prizes like autographed books, virtual reality headsets and more. The top teen reader across East Baton Rouge Parish will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet bundle!
Why should kids and teens have all the fun this summer? We’ve got a Summer Reading Program designed just for adults ages 18 and older. Enjoy programming on a variety of topics that aim to enrich your Library experience. After reading a minimum of three books, adults can submit their list of completed titles to receive a summer prize pack. For more information about the 2018 Summer Reading Program for all ages, contact your Library branch directly, or visit us online at www.ebrpl.com.
Kayla Perkins is the Public Relations Director at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. A native of Baton Rouge, Perkins holds both a Bachelor of Art and a Master of Art in Mass Communication from Southern University. Perkins has worked for the Library for more than six years and is directly responsible for composing, editing and producing the monthly newsletter The Source, which has a distribution of more than 8,000 each month. Perkins also serves as the in-house reporter for “Beyond the Stacks” in the Library’s monthly television show, The Library Road Show
Many people, Christians included, think Christianity is a religion of the heart, not the head. As a result, beliefs are more about what you think is true than what you know is true. Furthermore, this type of thinking gives skeptics understandable pause when they are asked to consider Christianity as true. If indeed Christianity is a set of unverifiable beliefs, then the skeptic is right to declare: Christianity may work for you, but it is not for me.
Skepticism about Christianity is on the rise and the results are directly impacting church attendance and church growth. Recent research indicates that as many as 10,000 churches have closed their doors in recent years and that perhaps as many as 50% of the surviving churches did not add a single member between 2010 and 2012. Finally, 80% of the formerly churched indicate a “weak” to “no” belief in God. Wonderful music, appealing coffee shops, and entertaining sermons have done little to alleviate these disturbing trends. Indeed, it seems that these perks are perhaps most successful in convincing those who attend church to leave the one they currently attend in favor of one that might have better music, fresher coffee, or more lively sermons.
It is fair to question if the 80% we just mentioned have weak to no belief in God because their biggest questions were unanswered while they were attending church. That could be the case since two of the biggest reasons for leaving church are: a) I could not get my questions answered in a safe environment; and b) When my questions were answered, the answers were so bad that I concluded there must not be an adequate answer.
If the observations of those leaving the church are accurate, and we have no reason to assume they are not, then it is clear music, coffee, and wit will not be sufficient if the church hopes to regain the ground it has lost. Good questions deserve good answers, and that is why we* wrote our book The Four Pillars of Christianity.
We wanted to focus exclusively on the essentials of Christianity, the things that any Christian should declare as true regardless of their denomination or inclinations. Too often, the church argues about the age of the earth, predestination vs. free will, infant baptism, and a host of other topics that are irrelevant if the essentials of Christianity are not true. What then, are the essentials, the pillars of Christianity? If true, the following four theses create a compelling reason to examine Christianity as much more than a curiosity.What then, are the essentials, the pillars of Christianity? If true, the following four theses create a compelling reason to examine Christianity as much more than a curiosity.
God exists. If there is no God, then Christianity is obviously false. But what exactly is the evidence for God’s existence and is it sufficient to continue to investigate the other three pillars?
Jesus is divine. If he is not, then Christianity is obviously false since Jesus clearly declared himself to be wholly God and wholly man. Perhaps the biggest testimony to Christ’s divinity is the next pillar.
Jesus physically resurrected from the dead. If he did not, Christianity is obviously false
because the movement held from the earliest days that Christ defeated death.
Christianity provides a proper view of pain and suffering. Skeptics correctly wonder why there is so much evil in the world if God is all-good and all-powerful. If God is not all-good and all-powerful, then Christianity holds no particular claim to truth.
Christianity rises and falls on the particular and collective truths of these pillars. In our book, The Four Pillars of Christianity: Essential Knowledge for Every Christian, we investigate these pillars one at a time, looking at the evidence that supports each one. For the believer who is struggling with doubts, the book is a resource to help restore their faith. For the person who has never been able to articulate why they believe what they believe, the book should also be of benefit. Finally, for the skeptic, the book takes a sympathetic view of their concerns. After all, the only thing we are asking people to believe is that God exists, Jesus is divine, he physically became alive after most certainly dying, and all of these pillars provide a framework for understanding how pain and evil can co-exist with an all-loving and all-knowing God. Oh, and belief in this God/man named Jesus is a path to eternal life. Nothing in those claims to be skeptical about, is there?
Dr. Wade Smith received his bachelor of education degree in Chemistry and Biology from Louisiana State University in 1978. He taught for 11 years in Livingston Parish and after finishing his M. Ed. from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1985 became the principal of Denham Springs Junior High School from 1988-2001. Wade received his Ph.D. from LSU in 2001 and was appointed assistant professor of educational administration at Auburn University. Dr. Smith served in that position until 2003 when he was appointed director, now superintendent, of the Louisiana State University Laboratory School. Dr. Smith maintains an active research agenda focusing on self-efficacy, organizational structures and organizational leadership. He has numerous refereed publications and presentations. Wade has been married to Linda Smith for more than 30 years, and they are the parents of two daughters, Christie and LeAnn.
While libraries are known as a hub for community programming and resources, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL) has made strides to ensure that we go far beyond the old expectations of your grandfather’s library.
For more than 75 years, EBRPL has served the community, and we work to add quality experiences at every age and stage of life. Not only is EBRPL an institution that fosters education and encourages learning and creativity, but we also are committed to providing fun and innovative environments for people to work, play and read.
For the sixth consecutive year, EBRPL was named one of America’s Star Libraries by Library Journal, the only Louisiana library system to be selected for this honor. Overall, in 2017 your EBRPL experienced an active year with almost 300,000 patrons who utilized the Library’s collection of more than 2 million free items! Our collection of digital resources continues to grow, with several major new online additions, including the Gale Small Business Builder for business planning, Lexis Nexis Legal for in-house legal content, Mergent Intellect which is a business research directory, and Kanopy for streaming films and documentaries, including the Great Courses.
Whether you’re a student, a mother, a small business owner or anything in between, the Library’s got something valuable for you. Patrons can find a robust Digital Library at the EBRPL website, full of tools and resources for business, online learning and continued education, scholarly research databases, online tutoring, foreign language learning and more. The Library’s Career Center is located within the Main Library at Goodwood and offers monthly seminars for job searching, résumé writing, mock interviews and one-on-one job coaching.
Your Library is FUN! Every year, we offer thousands of engaging performances, programs and events for all ages, including arts and crafts projects, monthly exhibits, game and movie nights for the whole family, plus after-hours book talks and events for adults. You even can search and research your family tree with free classes and workshops hosted by the Library’s Special Collections genealogy staff.
Rock out with tunes from Freegal or snag your never-ending concert ticket with Qello Concerts for full-length performances and documentaries. We also encourage the discovery of new interests and abilities through science, technology, engineering, art and math-centered (STEM/STEAM) programming for children and teens. The BR Mini Maker Faire® provides families a terrific opportunity to experience new technologies each fall.
The Summer Reading Program for kids, teens and adults (yes, adults can get in on the reading fun, too!) is designed to encourage an enjoyment of reading with incentives and prizes for books completed. Amazing performers and presenters like Harvey Rabbit and Friends, Farmer Minor and Daisy the Reading Pig, the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre and many others tour the Library system each summer to delight and entertain youngsters.
Whether you like to use an electronic device, listen to an audiobook or hold a hard copy in your hands, we’ve got a book format to suit you! In the Digital Library we offer ebooks with the Libby app from OverDrive, RBdigital for popular magazines, audiobooks and ebooks, Flipster for top digital magazines and much more. Print copies of daily local, national and some international newspapers are available for in-house browsing and hundreds of print magazine titles may be checked out.
With 14 convenient locations across the parish including the Main Library at Goodwood, EBRPL is open to serve you seven days per week, and 24/7 online at ebrpl.com, and in the Digital Library at ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary. Get access to computers and Wi-Fi, computer classes, online databases, books and magazines, downloads and e-media, programs, concerts, book talks, game nights, various workshops and storytimes, business tools and seminars, career and technology resources and much more – all free with your Library card!
Kayla Perkins is the Public Relations Director at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. A native of Baton Rouge, Perkins holds both a Bachelor of Art and a Master of Art in Mass Communication from Southern University. Perkins has worked for the Library for more than six years and is directly responsible for composing, editing and producing the monthly newsletter The Source, which has a distribution of more than 8,000 each month. Perkins also serves as the in-house reporter for “Beyond the Stacks” in the Library’s monthly television show, The Library Road Show.
Two years ago, the city of Baton Rouge simmered with racial tension after Alton Sterling, a black man, was shot and killed by two white police officers. The shooting made national headlines and set off weeks of unrest. Barely a week later, Gavin Eugene Long ambushed and shot six police officers, killing three.
In this climate of fear and violence, pastors throughout the city were comforting their congregations and urging people to stand united rather than divided. But the hurt and anger flowed along racial lines, and finding common ground was easier said than done.
Pastors Gerrit Dawson and Albert White, already longtime friends, took a leap of faith and decided that racial healing had to start somewhere and it might as well start with them.
Dawson is the senior pastor at the mostly white First Presbyterian Church in downtown Baton Rouge. White is pastor at Abounding Love Ministries, a mostly black congregation in the northern part of the city. Their friendship had led them to partner with each other for vacation Bible schools, Habitat for Humanity projects, and Bible studies. But the two congregations had never really mixed with each other on a personal or social level. And that seemed like a logical next step.
Their first step was to identify congregants who were willing to participate. Then “matches” were made among black and white families, who took turns visiting each other’s homes, sharing meals, and getting to know one another. Those first meetings had their awkward moments, but many friendships have been formed and the feedback from both sides has been positive and encouraging.
“In the beginning, some people worried that they would be uncomfortable in someone else’s home or that they wouldn’t know what to talk about,” said Pastor Gerrit, “but in fact, once they engaged with each other, it was easy … because after all, both had Christ in common.”
They called their campaign 50 on 50 because they hoped to enlist 50 families from each church, but because of the smaller size of Abounding Love Ministries, 20 was a reasonable compromise. Looking back, says Pastor Albert, the project almost didn’t happen.
“For the announcement (and very first night) of the program, we invited the First Presbyterian group to our service at Abounding Love,” he said. “But that was the night the city started flooding so we had to cancel. Then our church flooded, and of course, the people at First Presbyterian came and helped us over the next few weeks. So we ended up developing relationships even before the program started.”
While the First Presbyterian volunteers were helping to restore the Abounding Love facility, Pastor Gerrit invited White’s congregation to the First Presbyterian services for the next few weeks. That invitation led to history in the making.
“My wife Adraine gave a sermon there,” Pastor Albert said. “It was the very first time an African-American woman had done so in that church. And I gave communion to the congregation along with their elders. That was another first.”
The home visits have expanded to include field trips, outings, and serious discussions. “We all got together and went to Donaldsonville to visit the River Road African-American Museum,” said Pastor Gerrit. “It was an amazing experience, and afterward, we went out to eat and had a heart-to-heart discussion about slavery and its impact on all of us, black and white, even today.”
“That trip was something that many of our white friends would never have done on their own,” said Pastor Albert. “But it was truly special to share an experience like that together.”
Today, the affection between the two pastors has flowed to their congregants, who have learned how to look beyond the color of each other’s skin and really see the person inside. Now, among the two churches, new friends ask about each other’s families, their health, their needs.
“We are all valuable,” said Pastor Albert. “We all have something to offer … and we are all so much alike. We just need to encourage each other to step outside of our comfort zones whenever we can.”
Humble yourselves.” That’s the secret. It has been there all along, but we rarely use it.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Fear and anxiety sufferers like myself have tried on a number of Scripture passages over the years. We might start with Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount … “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life.” (Matthew 6:26). When we need something easier to memorize, we move on to Philippians 4:6 … “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
These passages work very well as counters to low-level anxiety. But in the face of an anxiety assault — they aren’t enough. At those times, they can sound like mantras that are devoid of power, which is actually a good thing. Anxious and fearful people can easily slip into taking Scripture as a pill. Take one passage twice a day for two weeks and your symptoms will be gone. When the pill doesn’t work we have two choices. We search for another treatment, or we confess that we are using Scripture as a self-help book for symptom relief, in which case it is time to get back to basics. If you choose to get back to biblical basics, Peter’s exhortation to humble ourselves is a great place to start.
I had an anxiety assault recently. I was facing perhaps the worst fear I could imagine, and there was nothing I could do about it. What a mercy that I was confronted with the call to be humbled before the Lord. It resulted in a simple prayer.
“Lord, you are God and King. I am your servant. I know you owe me nothing. For some reason you have given me everything in Jesus. I trust you. And please give me grace to trust you.”
A few minutes later, my prayer moved even closer to Scripture.
“Father, forgive me for always wanting things my way. By your mighty hand you have created all things. And by your mighty hand you have rescued your people. I want to live under your mighty hand. Please have mercy.”
It sounds very simple — and it is — but it changes everything. This is the secret to dealing with fears and anxiety. The words of God and the comfort of the Spirit become much more obvious when we are repentant and humble before him. No deals — “if you spare me from this suffering then I will . . .” Just simple trust. We trust him because he is God, not because he is going to immediately remove our anxieties or our fear-provoking situation.
This passage has been a secret because we have typically entered it at verse 7. “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.” But to understand its meaning, you need to start with the preceding verse, “Humble yourselves.”
“Humble yourselves” is the only exhortation in the passage. This is what Peter wants us to hear (and obey). If we jump in at the middle, it makes no sense. We can’t cast our cares on him until we have recognized that he is God and we are his servants who have also been elevated to become his children. A paraphrase could read like this (and I highly recommend putting Scripture into your own words.)
Humble yourself before the Lord. This shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, he is God and King, Lord of all. He is the Creator. You belong to him. The creature is the possession of the Creator. Humble yourself before your King. And here is one way to express this new-found posture of humility: cast your cares on him. Did you catch that? When you come humbly before the King he reveals his unlimited love. Who would have thought? He actually wants you to cast your burden on him. You were never intended to carry those burdens alone. He is the mighty God who never leaves. You can trust him. And this casting is no mere act of your will. It comes as you know that he is God and you are not. Oh, and you can be sure that he will lift you up from your kneeling position and give you more than you ever expected.
A little wordy, in contrast to Peter’s more succinct version, but rambling and embellishment give us more time to meditate on the logic of the passage.
The secret is to:
Pause before you head into your favorite passage on fear.
Consider the greatness of God.
Add some of your own confession and repentance as a way to drive the message of humility home.
Remember some of those sweet words of God to fearful people.
Used with permission of CCEF.
The Gospel & Mental Health
Presented by Dr. Ed Welch
Community Bible Church
Saturday, March 10
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
$15 per person/$25 per couple.
Dr. Welch is a Christian counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He has a Ph.D. in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. Dr. Welch has written many books and articles on biblical counseling, including When People Are Big and God Is Small, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Blame It on the Brain?, Depression, Running Scared, Shame Interrupted, and Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love.
As 2018 begins to unfold, our hope is that our path will be straight and our ways prosperous. History is full of examples of self-reliant people who innocently see their future through the eyes of their own success and actions. We contemplate resolutions that we hope will lead us to a brighter future in the upcoming new year.
As financial advisors, people seek our advice on how to navigate stormy “financial” waters. They have questions about wealth building strategies using brokerage accounts, 401Ks, IRAs, and 529 plans. They wonder if a second home might be affordable or if they should consider buying gold or Bitcoin. There can be a tendency to focus on providing for our own security as we get older or closer to retirement – something that we are not the first generation to do.
Many people have gone down this path for centuries although they had different names for the way they tried to build and protect wealth. As far back as Israel in the Old Testament, people worshiped and hoarded gold, silver and other precious metals. As we look back over time, one thing holds true … the presence of idols (there’s that word we don’t like to hear or use) in the presence of a Holy God is not good for our financial or eternal health.
The Bible provides countless examples of how money and reliance on other forms of idols can take us down. Although there are many examples of how our actions have a direct impact on us in the Bible, the book of Hosea provides insight and examples of how God views us1, what He expects from us2, and what we can expect from Him3. The people of Israel in the Old Testament acted much like we do today. They were blessed4, they fell away from a reliance on God5, and they suffered because of their actions apart from God6.
As stewards of the financial resources we’ve been provided, we sometimes struggle with how to address current and future concerns of financial safety and security. It can be a daunting task to align one’s financial goals with biblical principles, but as Christians, that is exactly what we are called to do. As we balance our own plans and financial goals with what we are called to do as Christians, keep in mind that how we respond to and manage God’s financial resources (they are not ours), is what is important to God and not the number of zeroes in our financial accounts.
In today’s secular world, we have basic financial principles such as:
Saving 10-15% of your gross income before other bills
Paying off debt as quickly as possible
Applying payments from debt to savings once debt is paid off
Establishing financial and charitable giving goals to make sure we stay on course
We also have guiding Christian principles found in the Bible and summarized in Riches – A Biblical Perspective by Vision Foundation which states that 1) God is the creator, owner, and dispenser of our financial resources; 2) He provides us with these financial resources for our basic needs7 for enjoyment as we live the life he’s given us8; and 3) to meet the needs of others9.
When you open your next financial statement or read a colorful and well written investment, automotive, or real estate marketing brochure, and feel the excitement of how that product or experience could make you feel, make sure you take a moment to prayerfully consider and balance these financial and Christian principles.
Hosea 14:9 sums up God’s perspective on how we should navigate our way through life. “ Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them. ” If you have questions, feel free to call Bill Campbell with Peters Wealth Advisors at (225) 766-4885.
Bill Campbell, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, CeBS serves the clients of Peters Wealth Advisors as an Advisor. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, he has helped clients with plans for their cash flow, education, investments, retirement, business, and estates. He earned his master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Tulane University in New orleans and his bachelor’s in economics from North Carolina State University. Bill and his wife ginger are members of The Chapel on the Campus and have 2 sons and 10 grandchildren.
Investment advisory services are offered through Peters Wealth Advisors, LLC (“PWA”) an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Such services are only provided after clients have entered into a Wealth Management Agreement confirming the terms of the advisor client engagement and have been provided a copy of PWA’s ADV Part 2A brochure document.
Goal: The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
Setting a goal is placing a marker on your vision. Goals are best defined as “Going over All Little steps” that will lead you in the direction of where you want to be. our path on this journey of life will have obstacles that may throw us for a loop from time to time.
Without a goal, it is nearly impossible to pick up the pieces and move forward, for the final destination has not been made clear. Without a goal, we spend countless hours roaming in circles and occupying our time going with the motion. As children we are taught to work hard and accomplish the goals that have been set in place for us. in order to fulfill small or large goals, a valiant effort must be made.
It is never too late to start setting goals. Ask yourself, “Where would i like to see myself in the future?” Are your current actions leading you closer to that goal? What changes would you like to make to accommodate the efforts of reaching your goal?
Are you willing to make the necessary changes and stick with the modifications? Challenge yourself to better yourself one day at a time and start by Going over All Little steps that will lead you closer to the finish line.
Entertainment is the pulse of LaTangela Fay. singing is her first passion. Among LaTangela’s accomplishments: she began her career as a radio personality at 15 for one of Louisiana’s leading Hip-Hop/r&b stations. she has been awarded Women in Media’s Female Personality of the Year and represents many charitable organizations, including The American Heart and stroke Association where she was awarded the Ambassador of the Year.
This article was written by edward Jones for use by your local edward Jones Financial Advisor
How much money will you need in retirement? To arrive at an estimate, you should consider various factors such as where you’ll live, how much you plan to travel, and so on. Not surprisingly, you’ll also need to think about health care costs, which almost always arise during retirement. But there’s one area you might overlook: long-term care. Should you be concerned about these costs?
include receiving assistance at home as well as prolonged care in a facility – can be surprisingly expensive. Consider the following statistics, taken from the 2016 Cost of Care Study issued by Genworth, an insurance company:
• The average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is more than $92,000. And in some places, particularly major metropolitan areas, the cost is considerably higher.
• The average annual cost for full-time services of an in home health care aide is more than $46,000.
These costs are certainly daunting. Of course, you might think that you won’t have to worry about them because you won’t ever need any type of long-term care, particularly if you’ve always been in good health and your family has no history of later-in-life cognitive impairment. However, the odds may not always be in your favor, because almost 70% of people turning age 65 will need some kind of assistance or long-term care at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Given the costs of long-term care, and the possibility that you might really need this care, how can you prepare for the costs?
Things may change in the future, but at this point, you really can’t count much on government programs to help pay for long-term care. Medicare typically pays for only a small percentage of these costs, and to be eligible for Medicaid, you must have limited income and assets. In fact, you might need to “spend down” some of your assets to qualify for Medicaid long-term care services. Obviously, this is not an attractive choice, particularly if you’d like to someday leave something behind to your family or favorite charity.
Consequently, you need to look at your options for paying for long-term care – just in case. You could earmark a certain percentage of your investment portfolio to cover long-term care costs; if you never need this care, you can simply use the money to pay for other areas of your retirement or for other purposes, such as charitable gifts or financial support to your grown children or grandchildren.
Or, as an alternative, you might want to work with a financial professional who can recommend a strategy specifically designed to help you address long-term care costs. The marketplace in this area has evolved rapidly in recent years, so you should be able to find a solution that is both affordable and effective. Keep in mind, though, that the earlier you purchase a long-term care solution, the more economical it will likely be for you.
In any case, don’t delay your planning for long-term care. Knowing that you’re protected against potentially catastrophic costs can make your retirement years less stressful for you and your family.
The words that follow that phrase have stirred incredible controversy over the years, prompting intense debate among scientists, scholars, theologians and politicians. It is a polarizing topic, but there is plenty of middle ground to explore and to ponder.
Creationism, evolution or intelligent design? Just how was the world created? And when? Christian fundamentalists hold fast to the Biblical account that in seven days, God created the universe and its first inhabitants, Adam and Eve. Evolutionists embrace the scientific theory that living things have evolved over millions of years. Intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe are too complex to be the result of natural processes, and must be the result of an intelligent cause.
This article is not a scholarly essay on the creationism vs. evolution debate. This is the story of Dr. Charles Henry Voss Jr. and how his personal beliefs on this subject created a calling that has guided him most of his adult life. You won’t meet many people more determined to share their message, in spite of the fact that he has, as he admits, attracted many critics over the years.
But even now, at 91, Voss is still at it. He has just authored a creationism booklet that he is encouraging Louisiana educators to consider including in their curricula. (Public schools may teach biologic evolution in the science classroom, but creationism, considered a religious theory, is off-limits.*) “Of course, I understand why the subject is so controversial,” he said. “And we will probably never agree on it. But I think if we’re going to present one side, we should be able to present the other. I think it’s a fair and balanced idea. I think it’s in the students’ best interest to be exposed to both ideas.”
And when Voss says “the students’ best interest,” he is talking about not just their science education, but their spiritual well-being. Voss is a devout Christian who takes the Bible literally and takes seriously his obligation to promote his faith. Considering his background, how could it be any other way?
Voss was born to American missionary parents in China, but at a very young age, his parents moved to Baton Rouge, where Voss grew up. After earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from LSU, he earned a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. In 1962, he came to LSU as a full professor in the engineering department where his research focused on biomedical areas, including the development of pacemakers, artificial hearts, hearing aids and protective devices for patients with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy).
In the late 1960s, he invited a guest speaker named Jon Buell to one of his lecture classes. Buell’s topic was creationism vs. evolution, and Voss was mesmerized. “I had always accepted the Biblical version, but this was the first time I had heard so many facts to support it. I remember coming home at lunch that day and telling my wife to stop whatever she was doing because she needed to come back to LSU with me right away and hear this speaker. That’s when it started for me. I wanted to learn and know as much as I could.”
Voss helped form a group of like-minded Christian professionals, and for more than 20 years, the group spoke with local churches and organizations about their cause. He was also involved in Louisiana’s education politics for nearly 15 years, as governors, legislators and educators battled it out.
As a professor, it made sense to share his beliefs with his adult students in Bible studies and Sunday school, which he also did for many years. And at one point, he combed through a number of high school biology textbooks, providing information he felt was missing, calling it “text add-ons” and making it available to educators. He got mixed reviews, but wasn’t surprised. “Not long ago, several friends and I sent a DVD to every science teacher in the state of Louisiana,” he said, “and only two responded. Even so, I have had many people come up to me through the years to thank me for the ideas I’ve taught and for making them really think about what they believe and why.” If he never wins another convert, it doesn’t worry him. “I’ve lived a rich, full life … a Christian life,” he said. “I’ve been married for 63 years to my wife Betty Ann. I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out on anything. I always knew there would be bumps in the road, but I’ve always had my faith. I know what’s required of me.”
And he’s never once doubted what he believes. As he talks about the 50year “ministry” he’s practiced, it’s clear that Voss is respectful of all opinions, whether or not they conform to his own. But it doesn’t look like that will slow down his mission.
To order a copy of Voss’ booklet, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In very general terms …
Creationism: The literal reading in the book of Genesis that God created the universe, as well as man, in 7 days, and that this occurred thousands of years ago.
Evolution: The world developed over a much longer period of time than the Biblical account, and that the life forms we see today arose from prior, extinct life forms … that through natural selection, complex creatures evolved from more simplistic ancestors.
Intelligent Design: Some structures found in nature are too complex to be explained by natural selection, and are best explained by some intelligent cause or being.
“I understand why the subject is so controversial … and we will probably never agree on it. but I think if we’re going to present one side, we should be able to present the other.”
Starting this September, Baton Rouge area ladies will have the chance to acquire valuable work skills and receive professional, godly guidance that will benefit them as they search for steady employment. Unemployed and underemployed women can receive instruction from volunteers with the Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC), an outreach ministry with the Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association. Classes will begin Tuesday, Sept. 12, and continue for 10 weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Judson Baptist Church, 32470 Walker Road North in Walker, La.
The students will learn how to format a resume, operate computer programs and manage money. They will also learn job interview skills, including how to dress professionally and act confidently.
Participants should apply and register by Sept. 1 and attend a mandatory orientation Sept. 8 at Walker Baptist Church. Interested adult women can apply for the classes by calling the ELBA office at (225) 664-9309.
CWJC is a national ministry offered in 25 states, with several locations in Louisiana. The ministry is brand new in the Baton Rouge area. Bobbie Shaffett, site coordinator, helped get the ministry started locally last fall. Previously, she has served as a CWJC volunteer in Starkville, Miss., teaching financial skills to 10 graduating classes as well as mentoring the students.
“CWJC is definitely the Lord’s work!” Shaffett said. “It is amazing to watch what He is doing. We just try to keep up with Him as He sets every detail and volunteer in place. Littledid we know what would happen as we planned for our first semester last fall before the flood, but the Lord sent us two ideal [students].”
Lisa Hidalgo, a hair stylist and member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, was one of the students who graduated at the end of the course. She decided to attend the classes specifically to improve her interview skills after seeing CWJC advertised in her church bulletin. Hidalgo also said she was looking for doors of opportunity to open in her career through networking. Hidalgo contributed to the program by showing volunteers and classmate Yvonne Smith how to style hair for job interviews.
Hidalgo said she received not only career skills, but also a chance to see God’s Word in a new way through Bible study. “I just received a deeper connection with the Biblical liturgy we were going over,” she said. “There were eye-opening moments for me.”
The group started in the book of Genesis, studying Abraham’s calling, and went through the God-appointed tasks for the 12 tribes of Israel. Five volunteer teachers took part in CWJC in 2016, conducting Bible study and teaching important life skills, career education and computer classes each week.
Volunteers interested in making a difference in the lives of these women are needed immediately to begin training for the fall semester of CWJC. A mandatory volunteer training session is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9, at 9 a.m. at 32470 Walker Road North, next to Judson Baptist Church. Volunteers must register in advance.
Opportunities to assist in this ministry include teaching, mentoring and fixing lunches for each session. Mentors, or Christian Friends, will form one-on-one partnerships with students and be available for prayer and encouragement.
“Relationships formed among students, mentors and teachers are always some of the most valuable outcomes of the program,” Shaffett said. Hidalgo said she had the opportunity to meet “wonderful women.”
“They put their heart and souls into what they are doing,” she said. “They never give up on you.” Hidalgo encourages other women to try the program. “If you want a life-changing experience, this is what you need to do,” she said.
For more information about the program or to register, call (225) 664-9309 or email email@example.com.
Shannon is a Denham Springs native who has been writing since before she knew how words were put together. A 2015 graduate of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, Shannon has worked as both a reporter and freelance writer for a number of publications and newspapers. When she’s not writing she enjoys thinking about the future, reading, and spending time with her rescue pup, Mocha.
The SAVE LIV35 Foundation (pronounced save lives) held its first Gala on April 22 in Ponchatoula. It was a huge success in spreading awareness of the foundation’s six initiatives. Founder Stacie Triche was especially grateful to the local community for helping to save lives by sharing her nephew’s story. Her 14-year-old nephew, Charlie, died from inhalant abuse after inhaling keyboard air duster, thinking it was as harmless as sucking helium from a balloon.
“My goal is to warn as many parents, administrators and children as possible of the dangers of inhalants so no other family has to suffer the horror my family has suffered in Charlie,” Triche said.
Sally-Ann Roberts, a co-anchor at Channel 4 in New Orleans and a guest speaker at the Gala, said, “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have been involved with this foundation since its start over a year ago. They are truly saving lives through their six initiatives, through anti-drug and anti-bullying awareness, providing aid to sex-traffic victims, and teaching our youth to give back to their communities.”
Katie Tebow and Christy Tebow Allen (sisters of former football player Tim Tebow) spoke at the gala and are actively supporting the foundation through their FAITH CAR35, LOVE INSPIR35 and TRAFFICKING-ABUSE CRI35 Initiatives, which grant wishes for individuals with special needs and provide aid to single mothers and victims of sex-trafficking.
“I am grateful for the love and support the LOVE INSPIR35 Initiative provides to single mothers as I became a single mother two years ago,” said Katie Tebow.
Christy Tebow spoke on behalf of the TRAFFICKING-ABUSE CRI35 Initiative. “It has been a blessing to see these young girls and boys who are trapped as sex slaves brought into safety and to see mothers reunited with their families,” she said. The sisters thanked SAVE LIV35 Foundation for its support of the Tim Tebow Foundation through Night to Shine, which provides a prom-like experience each year for individuals with special needs.
Others in attendance include Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller, SLU Football Head Coach Ron Roberts, LSU 2012 MVP Placekicker Drew Alleman, News with A Twist Host Jabari Thomas, TV Talk Show Host Jeff Crouere, Comedian Johnny Rock, and countless other media members, politicians and community leaders.