Darkness enveloped me. A chill gripped my chest, hope ebbed, and weariness set in. Obviously, I’d taken a turn off the favored road. I’d trudged the circuitous miserable miles to nowhere only to wind up stuck, deep in the mire, when someone called out to me.
“Hey, do you want help? Do you desire to be free?” the voice said.
We rob ourselves when we skim the surface of scripture rather than exert the effort to dig deeper for the treasures of truth embedded in God’s Word. Bible study leader and award-winning author Stephanie Pavlantos mined God’s Word to bring us a greater understanding of the intersection of Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, (God incarnate, the Messiah) and His New Testament fulfillment. Stephanie brings to light the fascinating Hebrew religious law and culture, the many intricate events leading up to, and the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Did Jesus really die on Good Friday? What is the significance of the Passover feast and the Passover lamb? See God in the details, how He overlooks and wastes nothing and much more in this faith building thought provoking presentation. And there’s more!
Chief Scott Young, a U.S. Marine veteran, retired after faithfully serving 20 years as police chief in Stafford, New Hampshire. Retirement didn’t last long, though. Chief Young raised the bar with his example when, at the request of the Barrington, NH Police Department, he returned to law enforcement as a patrolman to help train and mentor new and ranking police officers.
Chief Young comes from a lineage of police officers, starting with his grandfather and uncles. Now he, two of his sons, and his brother continue their family story of service to our nation and their communities. His family history also includes generations of service as Marines and firefighters, with several continuing this tradition. What a gift Chief Scott Young and his family are!
But as much as Chief Young loves serving in law enforcement, he shares there’s something even more important to him.
Master Police Officer Lewis has served in Virginia for 15 years. He was an active duty U.S. Naval officer for eight years and then in the reserves. He is also a former atheist. Officer Lewis and his wife Mickey adopted their two children from South Korea. Their son is on the autism spectrum. Mickey is a complex trauma survivor and a licensed professional counselor in practice for 15 years. She specializes in trauma treatment: working with abuse victims, sex trafficking survivors, and first responders—those struggling with PTSD.
Disappointment set in when there was no response, but I figured the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association had thousands of correspondence to monitor a day and probably wouldn’t see mine.
“Lord, I just want some of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association team to see my article and be blessed by what I said about Billy and their magazine.” I prayed when I tweeted the link to my 2018 blog post entitled What #BillyGraham Meant to Me in answer to a #HealthyFaith Chat question on Twitter.
Several days later, I was stunned to receive the following message from BGEA’s Twitter account:
“Hi Rachael! I’m a website writer at Billy Graham. My team recently came across your incredible testimony involving Decision magazine, and we’d love to have an interview with you and write an article. Is that something you’d be willing to do?… — Lizzy Long”
Challenges are more often like marathons than sprints. We’re most spent as we near the finish line, and when I can’t see the end, sometimes I falter and it’s tempting to quit rather than carry on.
“God,” I said, “I’m not entering any more writing contests if I don’t win something this time.” —I almost didn’t enter, but I figured entering my article on failing was appropriate since I’m so adept at it. Besides, the road to success is often paved with failure.
The best will fail the most.
George Washington lost more battles than he won. Thomas Edison scrapped more “great ideas” than he ever saw come to fruition.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to award winning journalist, sports writer, author, and speaker, Del Duduit.
Del, we’re excited to hear about your newly released books featuring the stories of #MLB and #NFL stars. But first, can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your family, and your writing background?
My wife Angie and I have been married for 32 years. We have two sons who are both ministers and have their own families. We have two wonderful daughters-in-law, one step-granddaughter and a grandson due in May.
My first job out of college was a sports writer for the Portsmouth Daily Times. I worked for four other newspapers, one radio station and two television stations.
I have been a pharmaceutical sales representative the past 13 years. I continue to write for some magazines such as Sports Spectrum.
Press Awards, one for a column you wrote about your interview with Boston Celtic’s Larry Bird, and you received the Outstanding Author Award at the Ohio Christian Writers Conference in 2017.
Recently you Tweeted, “When you think it’s over, it’s actually a new beginning.”
That sounds like there is a story there. Will you please share with us what you were referring to?
That was actually a quote I saw online from CS Lewis. It sounded good — LOL.
My take on that quote means it’s never too late to make a difference. When one door closes, another will open. It tells me to have patience, get out of the way and wait for the next opportunity.
When did you become a Christian and can you tell us about your faith journey?
My sophomore year in high school, when I was 16, my brother invited me to church. I went and it was explained to me that I needed a savior. I heard the Gospel that night and made thecommitment to be a follower of Jesus. I’d always tinkered with God, but never made a commitment. I wasn’t a hoodlum, but I was a sinner. A lot is offered out there but none of it satisfied. I saw my need and decided to act on it and gave my heart to Him. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I met my wife at church too. She was and still is the church pianist—we dated for four years and got married. She is my rock and one of the reasons I am where I am today. She sings with her family, my sons preach, and now I write as a ministry.
Missionaries upend and sometimes risk their lives to serve the Gospel in restricted nations. They are often bold in the face of opposition, while many people in America display passivity in the face of peace, and take for granted our freedoms rather than being grateful for them. American Christianity is uncomfortable with inconvenience. I pray these messages from missionaries who left the comforts and security of their homeland to proclaim the message of Jesus’ love, deliverance, and salvation, will stir your heart.
Anonymous Former Missionary to China: Sharing the Gospel wherever you are is all about leaving the comfortable whether it’s leaving our home or going beyond ourselves. Compassion and caring for people can awaken anyone to go beyond intimidation and our own limitations. We were missionaries in China for four years—that was our commitment. We had a house church, although a lot of our missionary friends had their church in a building.Continue reading “Messages from Missionaries”
The onset of the year is a good time to acknowledge the challenges we face, the changes needed, and to look to Jesus through whom we are more than conquerors. The last two articles in my 2018 series of interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives—have bled over into 2019. So, please, grab your favorite hot cup of comfort, pull up a chair, and let us listen to the words of wisdom offered by these mighty ministers.
How do you feel about the spiritual and cultural climate where you are pastoring?
Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:I think there is a huge spiritual battle going on, and Christians are losing ground rapidly.
Pastor’s Wife, Janet Foley: I feel like the Gospel is often misunderstood and disrespected. I feel a bit intimidated here to share the gospel, more than other places. There is a lot of witchcraft, new age religion and political correctness here. A lot of ex-Christians, a lot of drugs too. Pot has been legal here for a few years so many people are hooked on it as well as methamphetamine. There’s also a lot of spouse-swapping, (married people who exchange for fun), which really freaks me out. Ugh.
Pastor Pablo Catala:I think it has been diluted and stained with perversion and sin unimaginable.
Pastor’s wife, Sophie Foley: It’s a breath of fresh air where we are pioneering. This is such a culturally diverse area, that most people have either not been exposed to Christ and so have no formed opinions and are open. Others have been raised with a respect for church so they are receptive and respectful of both the church and the role of the pastor.
What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?
Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal: Complacency.
Pastor Tim Schmoyer:Consumerism is the biggest threat. Seeing church involvement as one of the many choices in the buffet of life.
Janet Foley:Political correctness, compromise, complacency. Too much activity without true relationship with Jesus.
Sophie Foley:Emotional indulgence. People are so very fragile now, and when it comes time to speak a bit of caution or direction, the confrontation of it is no longer acceptable and they leave for churches that never confront.
Also, media. We are a generation so connected to our devices, and yet we are steeped with loneliness and depression, which causes us to withdraw and avoid dealing with the social interaction of church services. We have several people who want to come but are easily distracted, or too emotionally distraught, so they stay home and binge movies, and then feel terrible and it becomes a vicious cycle.
It is my honor to feature Pastor Chad and Mindy who currently pastor New Hope Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pastor Chad is the founder of Of the Word Ministries, a new ministry to pastors. Pastor Chad and Mindy have been married and pastoring for 22 years and they have eight children ranging in age from 6 to 21 years old. Five of their children are adopted privately from places such as the Ukraine and California. Two have Down Syndrome. Pastor Chad and Mindy have been homeschooling for 19 years. In addition, they have worked with 29 more children over the years in foster care. Oh, and did I mention that Mindy and their daughters Lizzie and Gracie are volunteer firefighters?Continue reading “Fire Fighters, Fire Keepers, Heart Healers”