Category Archives: In the News

How the world revolves around us.

Snow Day

For the first time in 22 years of living in western New York, the Governor declared a State of Emergency before a storm actually hit. All of the weather maps show a major snow event colliding with an air mass coming from the opposite direction.

A trip to get groceries is due.

The gas tank needs to be filled up.

It feels good to be prepared.

Yet the storm didn’t come as predicted for our area. And people scoffed. “We’re hardy New Yorkers,” we said. “We can take a few feet of snow.”

In 2,000 years of proclaiming the message of Christ’s birth, repeatedly the warning has been sounded, “Get ready. Christ is coming again.”

But the storm hasn’t hit yet, and so people are doing business as usual. “We’re strong,” we say. “We’re gonna live forever.”

What’s in my pantry?

Is there salvation?

Compassion?

Devotion to God’s Word?

Have I filled up my gas tank with God’s presence in my life?

It feels good to be prepared, yet, what about my neighbor?

Does the gal in the checkout line know the message of Jesus?

How about the boy who put gas in my car yesterday?

We weren’t put on this earth to go our jolly own way. It reminds me of Mordecai’s words to his niece, Queen Esther, “Maybe you have been positioned in this place, for such a time as this.”

We were born into this generation for a reason. There are people next to us every day who yearn to know the purpose of life. Jesus said He came to bring fullness. If we don’t tell them about Jesus, then who will? They need to know there is a Resurrection Day coming, when we will give an account for our lives. And the One who is coming, is the One who loves us most.

If we put so much effort into preparing for a snow storm, wouldn’t we do so much more for an even greater day, The Day that will determine where we spend eternity?

Sally

Almost Home

On our return from Africa, our Mission Team flew into Toronto for the last leg of driving home to Jamestown, just south of Buffalo. The 17 hours of flight had only served to make us more homesick, as we longed for sweet sleep in our own beds.

Finally, with luggage gathered, tired bodies accounted for and vans retrieved, we settled in for the three hour drive home.

As we approached the Canadian/US Border, we noticed traffic slowing. And then it came to a standstill. We could see the flags of our own country, but could not advance to it.

photo

In these tumultuous days, we’re watching the effects of sin take a toll on our planet. War, hatred, abuse, the sex trade, people hungry for power, poverty, drought and all sorts of evil in between. And it makes us long for our Heavenly Home. Jesus said we would face trouble. But He also promised His presence would comfort and guide us. This is the time to stand firm and pray. When you hear the news, pray. When you see bad things happen, pray. And when you think you can’t take any more, pray.

Answers in Genesis opened their replica of Noah’s Ark on July 7. One of the first visitors was Bill Nye, who claimed children are being brainwashed. As I scrolled the comments of his supporters, I couldn’t believe the bashing toward Ken Ham (who happens to have the same name as one of Noah’s sons) and his Ark. And I wondered if that was just an inkling of the mocking Noah endured in his day. We are not home yet.

Our Heavenly Home is just over the horizon and our King is on His Return Trip. Stand firm; we’re almost Home.

What helps you stand firm? Leave a comment in the link just under the title, and I’ll send you 6 Tips for Talking to God.

Sally

Bible Study Expo

2016 Poster

Marnie Swedberg annually hosts an event that has become a go-to resource for me. She invites authors to share the stories behind their Bible studies, and in the process, makes the writer more real. It brings a smile to follow the conversation threads during this event; the fast paced comments on the Facebook party happen at the same time as The Bible Study Expo, and the enthusiasm is contagious. It’s fun, because these gals have become friends. As we dialogue over author quotes, we encourage, inspire and enjoy one another!
Maybe you’ve wanted to lead a Bible study, but never had the courage to step out? I’ve blogged about that at “Why lead a Bible Study?” Here, I want to tell you how I’ve benefitted by connecting with authors. Listening to their voices online, you can hear the passion for the subject they researched. Marnie interviews them, they share behind-the-scenes discoveries, and we all come away enriched by the treasures in God’s Word.

A few years back, Sue Edwards was involved in the Expo, with her book, Ephesians: Discovering Your Identity and Purpose in Christ. I connected with Sue’s work, even though she was not able to attend at the last minute, and used it with my Women’s Bible Study group. I had the opportunity to participate in launching an online study of Ephesians on Sue’s Facebook Page. We also went on to use another in the series, Luke: Discovering Healing in Jesus’ Words to Women.
This year, Kathy Carlton Willis is on the docket with her book, Grin With Grace. Our Women’s Class just wrapped up this study, and I’m looking forward to hearing more stories from Kathy’s quirky take on life.
How can you benefit from attending the Expo? You develop friendships, find studies to share, and more fully appreciate the author’s work. Besides, you may be one of the winners of the door prizes from Sarah Young, Logan Wolfram, Raechel Myers, Barbara Roose, Sherry Poundstone, Kathy Carlton Willis, Jeanne Brooks, Sherri Burgess, or Gwen Smith!
Come join us at The Bible Study Expo, Thursday, March 17, 2016!

Noon – 2 Pacific

1-3 Mountain

2-4 Central

3-5 Eastern
Sally


Book Review: The Breeding Tree

The Breeding Tree

In this riveting tale of utopian society, the characters are forced to choose between their conscience and safety. The Breeding Tree tackles important questions about right to life, and who determines whether or not a person is useful to society. Do birth defects, accidents or age dictate a person’s worth? Or, does the value of human life come from something intrinsically deeper?

J. Andersen is a budding author who understands the pace and rhythm needed to move a story. From the establishment of the Institute’s Code of Ethics, to the description of lab experiments, J. Andersen has created characters and environments that are believable and compelling. I found myself cheering for Kate and warning her about the shadows chasing her through the streets of Sector 4. I had a hard time trusting Micah, yet felt pulled to find out more about him. And Kate’s grandmother held more secrets!

The book is targeted to the Young Adult audience, yet held lessons for all ages. The storyline is fast-paced and multilayered. Fans of The Hunger Games will recognize the same thirst to rebel against an establishment that threatens life and liberty.

Fantastic book! I can’t wait to see how the ongoing story will unfold!

Sally


Sanctity of Life

What does it mean to set apart life as sacred? What is so special about one life, that it would cause others to guard it? Maybe that one life, is that of the inventor of the smallpox vaccine? Or maybe it was the life of Winston Churchill, who taught us to “Never, never, never give up.”

Who determines the worth of a soul? Does government? Does popular opinion? Hitler declared the Jewish race inferior to his own. He succeeded in swaying public support for his beliefs. Watch as Joel Rosenberg describes the horror of Auschwitz.

When does a human being have the right to terminate the life of another? Before birth? At the end of a long life, now being snuffed out by disease?

Where are the limits to what a person/regime/political entity can impose on another country/race/individual?

Why should people care, when life is spiraling out of control in so many arenas? Joanna Weaver says, “God created us with a primal instinct for life and a violent resistance to death. There is a fight reflex within us that battles to breathe, scratching and clawing to the surface of whatever we’re going through in order to survive. And that is as it should be. If we don’t have a desire to live, then something is terribly wrong. Something has short-circuited our wiring, both physically and spiritually.”

How could one person make a difference, in a world where values are relative to circumstantial evidence?

Allow me to share a story. A reporter happened upon a beach where starfish upon starfish had washed up upon the shore, casualty of the previous night’s storm. The sea creatures would not survive out of their natural habitat, and the morning sun would surely bake them before hitting the noonday sky. But a lone beachcomber tossed specimens into the breakwaters, barely moving from one spot to reach for the next one. The reporter asked what difference it would make, when so many would not make it into the water. The man continued with his task, not even looking up to answer, “It makes a difference to that one.”

Is it an insurmountable task, to stem the tide of abortions in our country? Maybe. But it could save the life of one, who could save the life of one, who could…

abortion

I watched a movie last night with Hubby that left me cheering for life. The Martian, starring Matt Damon, is about an astronaut left behind in an aborted science mission to Mars. The ensuing struggle to survive on his part, and to launch a rescue attempt on the part of others, is a beautiful commentary on the value of one human life. One that is worth saving at all odds and all cost. Hmmm. That sounds a lot like the Rescue Effort launched by the Father and the Son. Jesus came to save us at the greatest cost of all time. Could we treat life any different?

Sally


Bible Study Expo

Check out the Bible Study Expo on Thursday, August 20, featuring 12 authors:

– Liz Curtis Higgs with “It’s Good to be Queen”

– Pam Farrel with “7 Simples Skills for Every Woman”

– Sara Hagerty with “Every Bitter Thing”

– Kimberly Sowell with “The Thin Red Line Series”

– Danette Crawford with “Total Turnaround”

– Sheryl Pellatiro with “Fearless Faith”

– Stephanie Olson with “Jesus is Passing By”

– Mindy Ferguson with “Moses”

– Jessie Seneca with “Joseph”

– Kathy Howard with “Embraced by Holiness”

– Carey Scott with “Untangled”

– Marnie Swedberg with “Flow Through Vessel”

The Expo is 100% free and online, catch it while it happens, or come back to dig in later. I have found this exercise to be very helpful in picking out resources for our study groups, as well as for networking.

How about you? Are you looking for your next study for Fall?

Sally


The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

The Art of Work

The mystical world of “calling” is tackled expertly by Jeff Goins in his book, The Art of Work. He unpacks what it means to find a fulfilling vocation, and the steps needed to get there. This book is actually less about a “job,” and more about a life well lived.

Goins says there are seven common characteristics to a calling: awareness, apprenticeship, practice, discovery, profession, mastery and legacy. These characteristics overlap to form a lifetime process, and when followed, will bring clarity to one’s work.

I love the perspective this process provides. In an “instant society” where we expect graduates to move directly to their dream job, the author brings reassurance for those of us who feel we’ve never arrived. He says a vocation is “not something you try; it’s someone you become.”

The book’s resource list is extensive. Citing stories of ordinary people who took leaps into their calling, Goins paints a portrait of the commitment it takes to go against the mainstream workforce. You find friendship in failure, that proven learning ground for change. And you’re reminded that pursuing your calling is supposed to be difficult.

One of the biggest takeaways for me, is connection to the idea of a portfolio. When life is seen as a collection of experiences that contribute to a whole, they become a collaboration, or portfolio, moving toward an extraordinary life. Doesn’t that take the pressure off of finding one “perfect” job, and instead, steer one toward learning tools from each place we’ve been?

No matter what stage of life you’re in, you need this book. It will empower you to leave the legacy you’ve always wanted!

See this product

See other reviews of this book

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sally

I review for BookLook Bloggers


Fifty shades of grace

Guest post from James N. Watkins

Someone asked me, why am I so bent out of shape by the best-selling book and now major movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s certainly not because I hate sex. I’ve written three books celebrating sexuality and lifting up the sex act as the highest form of intimacy and pleasure on earth.

It’s because I am so pro-sex that I am so anti-Grey!

The apostle Paul writes: “As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Ephesians 5:31-32).

Throughout the Bible, sexual intercourse has been used as a symbol for the unity and intimacy that God wants to have with himself and his people. (He used circumcision as a symbol of faithfulness to him! And called unfaithfulness to him “adultery.”) God is so pro-sex that the Bible devotes an entire book, The Song of Solomon, to the celebration of sexual pleasure—with some pretty graphic images!

I believe that’s why God gave us strict and detailed commandments on how sexuality is to be expressed. And that’s why I believe the enemy tries so hard to degrade, demean and devalue sex. We see it in porn, in child sex trade, sadomasochism, and many, many other perversions of God’s original design.

So, that’s why I’ve spoken out so strongly against Fifty Shades of Grey. (I suspect the sadistic main character’s name, Christian, is a not-so-subtle attempt to further sully the name of Christ—and sex.)

But here’s the good news! God’s grace has made a way for everyone—no matter his or her sexual past—to experience a relationship with him that far exceeds any earthly symbol. (Sex is just a pale preview of what pleasure awaits Christ’s followers in heaven.)

Click to learn how you can experience God’s love and fifty shades of grace!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins from www.jameswatkins.com


Moving Party!

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Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php)
(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / ilona75
To celebrate my new blog, and to “lighten the load” in moving, and to celebrate the new release of my ebook on Kindle, we’re having a sale! For five days only, January 5-9, 2015, you can pick up your own copy absolutely FREE!
Are you planning a Spring Retreat? Now’s the time to start the process! Get your own copy on Amazon.

Would you be willing to post a review on Amazon or on your own blog?

It would be a big help on the Amazon Ranking to let others know what tips you will implement as you plan your own event. Get it while it’s free!
Don’t have a Kindle? I got my own copy for PC free. Check that out here.
And welcome to the party at my new home!
It’s gonna be a great year!
Sally