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3/31/2009

CAMELS AT THE OASIS

Jesus, in Matthew 23: 23-24, warned a certain type of person about their actions. These are words we need to remember today. All around are people who fill their time with making sure others "measure up", that others are doing right, and that others are doing what they should.

These micromanagers of others spiritual worth and life, are often guilty of not seeing their own problem, and applying their own advice to their life. They "swallow camels" and "strain at gnats" in the words of Jesus.

What are some of these "camels" that get swallowed so easily?
  • The camel of intolerance: spiritual, domestic, social, relational....you name it.
  • The came of control: 'my way or the highway'
  • The camel of unforgivenessa: still hauling around the baggage from hurts from 50 years ago!
  • The camel of greed: me first and what I want
  • The camel of stasis: "not gonna change, no way" ; Hasn't changed in 50 years and is proud of it

What are some of these "gnats" that choke them up so much?
  • The gnat of agreement and peace; recognizing that there are some areas we can disagree on and still be brothers and sisters in the faith
  • The gnat of partnership and cooperation: the confusion of power, control and leadership
  • The gnat of forgiveness: to forgive is to forget and move on, to heal, and this they cannot do
  • The gnat of giving: to place others needs and desires above self, to sacrifice like Christ for others
  • The gnat of love: to love is to accept, to protect, to sacrifice, and to provide for spiritually, emotionally, phsyically, and (among friends and stranges) even fiscally at times
  • The gnat of response and growth: to live is to change, grow, and develop; the Christian should not be the same person or have the same faith of 50 years ago...it should be deeper, richer, broader, more gracefilled, and knowledgeable.

What did Jesus mean by all of this camels and gnats? Think about it for a moment. Camels are known for holding a lot of water, traveling a long distance, and carrying a large load. Gnats are light and fast.

We are what we consume......are we full of camels....heavy, slow moving, weighed down with a lot of "junk" or are we quick, fast moving, efficient - gnats?

MAH

3/17/2009

SCU PLANS NEW COURSE ON STORYTELLING

The Academic Council of Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Oklahoma recently approved adding an elective on Christian Storytelling. This exciting elective will look at the traditional art of oral storytelling, its role and uses in history (including the Bible), and its potential to communicate values and themes to a post modern society - across careers and vocations. It will stress the use of storytelling in communication, family entertainment, education, healing arts, business, and as dynamic ministry tool. Students will hear and interview guest professional storytellers and prepare to perform their own stories in public. SCU is an accredited educational institution in the state of Oklahoma and the course will be for college credit. Financial aid (State and Federal) may be available to assist with tuition costs for potential students meeting requirements.
Target date for the class will be Spring 2010.
For info contact: Marilyn A. Hudson, 405-789-7661 x3451 or email:
marilyn.hudson@swcu.edu

3/10/2009

The Hornet and the Bee

God sent Hornets into the land….
In three O.T. passages there are references to strange ‘hornets’ sent into the land to prepare the way for the Children of Moses to proceed into their promised land. It is assumed that anything ranging from a plague of hornets to a military tactic was used. There is, however, another possibility. The Hornets might have been guerrilla warriors sent into disable and terrify the populace. Since there is mention of clean food and water maybe they used some form of artifice to convince the population that leprosy or some other problem had emerged and they must flee.

Now, fast forward to the Judges where a woman known as “Deborah” sat at the tree of judgment serving as prophet and judge of the people. Why did she become a Judge? How was she a leader, aside from her role as a prophet? Her name has been interpreted as “Bee”….and the root words, according to some sources, for Bee and Hornet appear to be related. It has been suggested that such a group of women warriors did exist as an honor guard before the wilderness tabernacle. Did they also serve in other ways as well? Had she achieved her place of respect and honor because she had been a small Hornet…a bee…a woman warrior used to helping drive the occupants from the land?
When Deborah called the soldier to her from his mountain home...his readiness to come and his eagerness for her to come with him....make incredible and sudden sense. She had been a warrior, she knew the way of the soldier and the tactics employed, and had great experience in battle. Coupled with her prophetic skills, this experienced warrior woman would have been greatly respected, honored, and followed. No wonder she rose to the position of a Judge in the land...and no wonder the land had peace for forty years.....

3/08/2009

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

The minister of God must show he or she is adept at the holy scriptures. They know the "Book" as the witness of God through the ages. The have learned it front to back in mind and soul. They apply it to their life...they may stumble...they may make mistakes (just as anyone can) ...but they raise to their knees and seek the face and forgiveness of God.

To not do so opens the door to abuse, ridicule, and hardship for others in the faith. This is rightly so. When a minister provides fodder to websites dedicated to detroying the the Gospel or destroying the work of God it is a shame.

Mistakes in the Message. The Bible verses listed on this explaination of blessings to be garnered from celebrating passover with offerings cause large questions to arise :http://www.stevemunsey.org/index.php?p=passovermore

Should Christians Keep the Rituals of Passover?


Some dispute the day selected for observing the Passover as a Christian. They ask are you observing the Exodus event or the New Testament event in your Passover schedule. Others challenge why a Christian would keep a ritual firmly part of another – although related - faith tradition?

Although rooted in Judaism, the religion of Jesus and his followers – Christians -are named for the very difference that sets them apart from their kin within Judaism. We honor, respect, and pray for all our cousins in Judaism that God bless and keep them. The faithful child of the Jewish faith has a special place in the heart of God. Christians, however, accept that Jesus is the Messiah so long promised and that he came to take away the sin of the world.

John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and declared, “Look! the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” The Gospels note that Jesus died at the time of Passover, and they associate the Last Supper with the Passover meal itself.

Peter uses the language of Passover in 1 Pet 1:18f, when he says that we (Christians and those willing to accept Jesus) were redeemed ‘with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.’ Paul in 1 Cor 5:7, supports that when he writes that -‘Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.’


The O.T. Passover became an annual sacrifice. Christians believe that Christ’s sacrifice is once for all people who believe. Heb 7:27, ‘Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices repeatedly. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.’

These crucial theological differences meant that the Christian view and classic Judaism could not co-exist. So, like many other reforming, renewing, or revolutionary movements, these new Christians left the Jewish synagogue to form their own “house churches”.

Early Christians had the choice to remain a small splinter sub-group of Judaism (like the earlier Essenes) and this was debated hotly in a conference in Jerusalem. The Christians – through the witness of converts from the Gentiles, dreams by Peter, and the success of mission outreach to the far flung corners of the Roman Empire – agreed to expand their fellowship to the non-Jew. As the ministry of people such as Paul exploded among the Gentiles, as the new faith was threatened by false teachers, people trying to bring the converts back into Judaism, and other issues assaulted the growing Christians, inevitable changes continued.

So, should Christians continue the Jewish observance of the Passover? As a teaching tool, as a means of illustrating the stories of the scriptures, and as a means of encouraging reflection and worship the observance is appropriate for Christians.

As valuable as it is to remember the ancient story, to thank God for His miracles and grace, and to recognize the actions of Christ with his closest followers, it is even more crucial that we remember that as Christians it is the action of the Crux fixation and the Sabbath morning that bring meaning to the Christian faith. Christians are, more than anything else, Resurrection People.

OUR PRAYERS GO OUT....

Once the idea of a gunman walking into a church and opening fire was impossible to contemplate. The idea was unfeasible. Yet, today one more such incident joins the growing number of such episodes over the last five years. Our prayers go out to the church, the families, and the communities effected by these tragedies and especially the most recent event in Illinois.

3/01/2009

NEW LIFE COACHING PROGRAM LAUNCHED

"Oklahoma City, a place known for its wind-swept plains, red dirt and horrendous tornadoes, now has a new distinction. It is home to one of the fewer than fifty universities in the nation that offers an accredited, graduate level degree in Life Coaching. Southwestern Christian University Graduate School began offering a Master's Degree in Life Coaching in the spring of 2008. Since its inception, the program has seen over 70 people who have either attended a coaching class or gone through a certification module.

The degree is a two year modular program that is regionally accredited, and is composed of thirty-six credit hours. The students also receive their coaching certification through Lifeforming Leadership Coaching as part of their degree requirements.

John Chasteen Sr., the assistant dean of the graduate school, is the director of SCU's Life Coaching program. Chasteen says his passion for coaching stems from several "divine connections" that God initiated in his life over the past several years. He shares, "I somehow intuitively knew that God was leading me into the arena of life coaching and immediately began to take steps to prepare myself to become a leader in the industry." Chasteen is a certified life coach and trainer with Lifeforming Leadership Coaching.

Chasteen believes that leaders world-wide are embracing this ancient/modern principle of life coaching. He deems that a silent undercurrent of preparation is now evolving that will release an army of coaches into the body of Christ worldwide. He also shares that many organizations including businesses, churches, and denominations are scrambling to catch up with the coaching wave and that the relevancy of coaching, reaches from the board room to the break room.

Coach John also shares his fervor for the life coaching movement through a monthly column with Ministry Today called Hey Coach John. He also has a popular blog with numerous resources and personal articles on the topic; it can be accessed at www.heycoachjohn.com.

Need more information on life coaching? You may contact the Southwestern Christian University Graduate School, or Coach John, at 405-789-7661 ext, 3447. His email address is:
john.chasteen@swcu.edu.

SCU also offers certification training for those interested in coaching, but do not need the college degree side of the program.

Biography

Biography
Noel Brooks: A Life Shining and Burning, 1914-2006

Waiting...Renewing...Moving

Waiting...Renewing...Moving

Huldah's Gate Badge - Men and Women Before God

Huldah's Gate Badge - Men and Women Before God
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If you would like more information on implementing a Daughters of Huldah or a Sisters of Huldah group in your church or community, or in starting a RFA chapter please contact:

Marilyn A. Hudson
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