Pastor Tamara Bennett Celebrates 10 years in Ministry Celebration

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Categories: Events

Is My Interracial Relationship Wrong?

May 18, 2010 4 comments

Q: I am dating a girl that is of another race. We have a good relationship and it’s getting better. The kids at school are cool with it, but we are beginning to experience some challenges from family members and friends. At both of our churches eyebrows are raising. Does God frown upon interracial couples?

A: I don’t know of any scriptures where God is against interracial dating or marriage. Some people insist that the Bible intends for the races to stay separate and prohibits interracial relationships. Usually two biblical texts are drawn upon to support that view. One is Genesis 9:20-27, where Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Shem and Japheth received blessings from their father Noah, but Ham was cursed because he looked at his father naked. Noah was so angry at Ham, that he cursed him and his descendents. Some people believe that this is the basis for the three races: the Caucasian (White), the Negroid (Black), and the Mongoloid (Asian). They also site this passage as the biblical justification for a curse upon the black race. As such, interracial relationships, including marriages would be forbidden.

The other view is taken from Creation (Genesis 1), where we read that God created everything “after its kind.” People say that this “divine order” means that God made things according to their kind and His intent was that they should stay “with” their kind. This view would include interracial marriage and dating. In both cases these views do not have a leg to stand on biblically; they only support racist viewpoints.

Unfortunately, racism is real and alive. It is an ongoing problem in our society, culture, and yes, even in the Church of Jesus Christ.

Racism in any form is wrong. It doesn’t matter who it is, where it is or how it is done.

Scripture doesn’t prohibit interracial dating or marriage.

When you take a closer look at interracial relationships, the story of Moses comes to mind.

Moses chose a wife who was a Cushite (an Ethiopian). Biblical evidence indicates that she was black. Moses’ sister, Miriam, became very distressed by her brother’s choice of wife and rebuked Moses. It was a racist reaction. Because of this racist response, God judged her and gave her leprosy. It would seem that God, using your word, ‘Frowns’ upon those who are racist- as in those who “challenge” or raise “eye-brows” because of your interracial relationship.

I wish you both all the best. Remember that dating is not marriage, dating is just dating; keep it balanced. Any couple that chooses to date in a culture that still has a high degree of racism must expect some tension directed at their relationship. If you both are willing to endure the regular stuff that goes along with any relationship and also, with the added stuff because you come from different racial backgrounds, then go for it. Keep the communication lines open and clear and stay focused on the stuff that makes for a healthy relationship. I pray you learn from this experience and develop a wonderful friendship.

Gospel Today Columnist

Quaford Coleman is the administrator for Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Los Angeles, CA where he touches lives daily. His passion for youth is a blessing to several national organizations.

Categories: Relationships

Get Back to Basics!

May 18, 2010 1 comment

At graveside services, we commit the deceased to the ground—ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Yet, we often don’t consider that the earth we were created from was filled with the very minerals our internal organs required to function properly.

God created the first natural pharmacy in the Garden of Eden and this should define our health choices. “And God said, ‘See I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be your food.’” (Genesis 1:29).

Unfortunately we have depended on pharmaceutical drugs and prescriptions to maintain our health, with pretty dismal results. Biochemical medicine confirms that herbs neutralize toxic effects in the body and provide the needed minerals and vitamins for health, with no side effects!

Minerals matter!

Minerals are the basic constituents of all matter and remain as ash after decomposition (death). About 4—5% of your body weight is mineral matter, primarily in your skeleton. After death, organic matter in your flesh evaporates into the atmosphere or the soil leaving about five pounds of elemental mineral ash.

To function properly, your body primarily needs calcium, phosphorous, iron, sodium and potassium. These minerals assist in energy production. You also need iodine and silicon (which are necessary for proper assimilation of calcium).

Natural minerals come from the soil. Unfortunately, mass farm production, use of fertilizers and pesticides have diminished the earth’s natural mineral composition in most soil. Remember, if natural minerals are not present in the soil from which food is grown, the food won’t contain the minerals either.

Get Fit 4 Life!

Choose health care reform by growing your own pharmacy in your yard; from a planter box on your balcony or in a pot on your front stoop.

GROW YOUR OWN HERBAL PHARMACY

in four easy steps:

If you don’t have much time or space, start small. Find a sunny spot for a tomato plant and a few herbs; you can expand as your schedule and growing area will allow later. You can grow veggies anywhere on rooftops, along curbs and driveways, in front and side yards; even in pots!

DIG

Compact beds need 3 to 4 square feet. Get four, 2’ x 4’s; nail them in a square and place them in your sunny spot or if you have space lay out a 4’ x 4’ area in your yard. Loosen the soil with a spad fork or tiller, then dig down 10” to 12” into the dirt. Over that area, spread a 3” to 4” layer of compost and a light layer of 5-10-10 fertilizer. Mix evenly with your spading fork. For pots, just fill with soil & fertilizer and plant the seeds or seedlings.

PLANT

Set out herbal or veggie seeds or plant seedlings in rows. You can tend to the rows from all sides of a 3 x 3 without having to create a path in the garden.

TRELLIS

All vine crops, such as tomatoes and pole beans need a sturdy support. An A-frame of wood or a wire mesh will do. If you want to, just plant the tomato plant in a pot and let it hang for sprawling growth.

WATER

Irrigate your seedlings and transplants regularly—as often as three to four times per week in hot or windy weather; keep soil moist but not soggy. Avoid wetting foliage, if hand watering, apply water in furrows or basins around the plants. Soaker hoses between rows are other good options. Eating something – anything that you grew for the first time, will change your life and attitude forever.

Fit 4 Life Tip: Pick up some parsley!

Parsley is an herb with more Vitamin A per ounce than carrots, 3x more vitamin C as oranges and 2x as much iron as spinach. Chew 3 sprigs a day and you will cleanse and detoxify your blood and freshen your breath (it’s great for absorbing the odor of garlic). Other bonuses of parsley are that it treats jaundice, menstrual and urinary difficulties, asthma, coughs, and indigestion. You can also use parsley as a diuretic and laxative. For more natural herbal remedies consult your local naturopath or dallas@lifebydallas.com

Renette Dallas (www.lifebydallas.com) is a natur- opathic doctor (N.D.), minister, author, lecturer, certified fitness trainer, raw food chef, and lecturer with expertise in nutrition, herbal therapy, enzyme therapy and magnetic therapy. She is the creator of the healthy organic snack product, Life by Dallas Popcorn.

Categories: Inspiration

Social Media, Ministry and Digital Evangelism

BY PAM PERRY

Everyone has jumped on the social media bandwag- on—full throttle. Well, almost everyone; certain sectors are lagging behind. The nonprofit sector, especially churches, have yet to really grasp it and make a digital imprint like they could. Outside of pastor and New York Times bestselling author, Joel Osteen, most churches are not ranking up top in Google. Osteen’s podcasts, by the way, are the second most downloaded podcast in the world, according to Religion News Service.

So, should churches and Christian authors be focusing on us- ing the “world wide web” to market their message?

According to Zondervan’s director of publicity, Karen Camp- bell, “Publishers should build on their authors’ networks, including social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blog and Web Sites) and personal contacts to help enhance their brands.”

Zondervan, the world’s leading Christian publisher, has had great success “matching the Christian message with tech- nology” for Inspired By…The Bible Experience, BibleGateway.com and recently, Glo.

To increase lagging readership of Christian books or bolster church attendance (especially among men and youth), technology and social media strategies are viable and can be helpful when used properly, according to David Murrow, author of “Why Men Hate Going to Church.”

“A church that uses the latest technology to teach and encourage,” Murrow writes, “will be sending a strong message to men and young adults: We speak your language.”

Most churches realize that they should use social media to “draw people to Christ” but don’t know how or where to start.

Here are some steps to get going:

Set up a Facebook Fan page and ask members or readers to join it.

Set up a twitter account and connect it to your Facebook. Learn how to “tweet” using your mobile phone device.

Create a blog so that you can have members or readers comment. Blog your sermon notes or, if you’re a Christian author, blog your book! Set your blog to post to your Facebook account and set up a “Networked Blog” so people can follow your blog on Facebook. Creating a community online is critical. Don’t talk at people – engage them.

Post videos on YouTube. Everyone loves to watch short videos. But don’t post anything too heavy. Keep it inspirational and short- under five minutes. Post it and load it to Twitter – which would post to Facebook.

Set up a Cinchcast.com account. This is like leaving a voice message on the internet. Again, make it short (under 2 minutes) and post out into your accounts – people love hearing “real” messages.

Approximately 60% of people under 30 in the U.S. say that they get their news online.

Social media is a great way to reach young people—the ones who will grow your ministry and spread the word. Keep them excited by showing that you’re on the cutting-edge. Make them proud to be associated with a church that has tons of “fans” on Facebook or a ministry that Tweets.

The Internet and digital media is going to continue to grow and become more and more commonplace. Social media marketing is the way to fulfill the Great Commission to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Categories: Inspiration

New Women’s Center Opens in Nation’s Capital

On Friday, April 9th, Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook (Dr. Sujay), launched Wisdom Women Worldwide (WWW), the first international, intercultural, interfaith center for women leaders housed in the Washington, DC.

“Wisdom Women Worldwide provides a place and space for all voices for and from women. They can come together and be heard. We are a movement that celebrates women leaders from every sector of life around the globe to help them “map” their lives by offering mentoring, advocacy, affirmation, preparation and presentation for public life,” states Sujay. “Our vision is to be a fueling place and wellness center for women leaders, where women who care for, lead and serve others are cared for, with confidentiality and compassion.”

At the opening ceremonies, selected women were recognized for their contributions toward improving the lives of others. The honorees included: Trina Frundt, the first American to receive the prestigious Frederick Douglass award for her tireless efforts to rescue and restore the lives of girls victimized by trafficking (Courtney’s House); Teresa Hairston, Gospel Today Magazine Publisher, and the first woman to successfully publish Gospel News worldwide; Trina Jenkins, (Lady Trina) First Lady of First Baptist Church of Glen Arden; and, 90-year-old activist, Dr. Thelma Adair, the first female moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA.

Categories: Events

Christian Dating and Online Mating, Can It Work for You?

May 11, 2010 7 comments

For a lot of people, the prospect of finding a date or a mate via the Internet can be filled with extreme trepidation. Fear of unknowns and preconceived negative notions often results in procrastination or permanent disillusionment. Are Internet “singles sites” filled with mostly losers and liars? Should Christian singles avoid looking for love on the Internet?

Perry Broadnax & Coretta Wright

For Elder Perry Broadnax and Coretta Wright, the Internet proved to be the path to wedded bliss. The pair met and married! And it all started when they met at Match.com. Over the course of two years, they communicated first by email, then by phone and finally met face-to-face and finally tied the knot! (He lived in Nashville, TN and she resided in Birmingham, AL).

While both agree that the Internet is just a “tool” and not “the answer”, both are quick to confirm that when you seek “God’s will”, the Internet can be the “way.”

What made you think about connecting for “love” on the internet?

Perry: I lead a very busy and demanding professional life. Outside of the work environment, I have very little (or no) time to devote to meeting people.

Coretta: I have a very full life and wanted to meet a like- minded man. I was ready to merge my life with someone; I knew it would not be easy but I was open to receiving what God had for me.

What were some of your reservations about moving into a relationship via online?

Coretta: The “What ifs”—“What if he doesn’t look like his picture?” “What if he is lying?” “What if he has a hidden agenda?” Then, it occurred to me that he too, could have the same “What ifs.” And, I knew my intentions were earnest and true; “So why not his?” I looked to see if things lined up. “Did his actions reflect his words and heart?”

Perry: Honestly, I don’t know that I had any reservations. I knew what I wanted and was very purposeful in pursuing it. Let me also say, one cannot have an ‘Online’ relationship! The Internet is only the resource that enables two people to connect. Once the connection is established, it is up to the individuals to develop the relationship.

How did the conversation go from casual to serious?

Coretta: After spending many hours on the phone, before meeting, I felt like we knew each other well. So, when we met for the first time (he looked better than his picture!) we talked about how we wanted the relationship to proceed. We had a very long first date; this provided a lot of time to talk and get to know each other. On our second date, I went to visit him and it was then that I knew we had the same desires.

Perry: For me it was never casual; it was purposeful. That is not to say that all our conversations were always rigid and heavy. What I am saying is, I was not just talking to her just to be talking. If what we were doing was not ultimately go- ing to result in us ending up at the altar, it was a waste of time. So, all my conversations were aimed at getting to know her in order to determine if she would be “the one!”

As a Christian adult, it is imperative that before you begin a relationship, utilize any resource like the Internet, or even meet someone in the mall; you should seek God’s direction and guidance! This is the most important thing! Tell God (I mean, really tell God) what you want and what is the true desire of your heart. Wait for Him to give you the impetus to move. It’s all about ‘His timing’! Once He gives you the ‘go ahead,’ then you can begin to look.

I might also say, one must know exactly what one wants because when the waters are troubled, there will be several possible candidates. The only way to distinguish between them and ‘the one’ is to be diligent in knowing what you want and not settling for anything less. —Rev. Perry Broadnax

How did you date (long distance) and make the relationship grow?

Perry: Long distance relationships can be challenging. I don’t recommend it at all to anyone that is merely interested in “dating.” Find someone local! Seriously, once we estab- lished the necessary foundation of truth and trust; did the background checks and established compatibility, we were able to schedule our times of being together. The upside of long distance relationships is that it establishes a premium on quality time as opposed to quantity of time.

Coretta: Long distance relationships are hard and have to be more intentional. When we do spend time together it is quality time. We communicated in various ways several times a day. For example, we used webcams which allowed us to see each other more. Having a long-distance relationship has its advantages; it provides more time to gradually transition into couple-hood and builds an immeasurable amount of trust and confidence in that person.

What advice do you have for singles who want to meet someone and to potentially marry?

Perry: Please seek God’s guidance and wait for His direc- tion! Know yourself! Know what you want and refuse to settle for less!

Coretta: Seek God’s direction. Don’t rush marriage! If you can’t see yourself being honored to have his last name, let him know and move on.

Categories: Inspiration

Tips for the College Graduate

May 11, 2010 2 comments

As many of you (or maybe your son or daughter) graduate in the next few weeks and embark on a new life, remember that all your dreams are at arms length. The economy, people, family, friends might tell you one thing but following your dream will be the best thing to do. Here are a few tips to take as you set sail.

  1. Current Resume: One of the worst things not to have at this point is a current, clean and professional resume. Most interviews after college are formatted in the style of behavioral and situational questions.  Your future employer wants to see how your personal or collegiate experiences can be applied to daily task on the job.  Knowing your resume inside and out and being prepared with examples for each item on your resume are highly suggested.
  2. Got Loans?: Every graduate breath a sigh of relief when you find out that most loans are deferred for six months after graduation. For those of you that have jobs upon graduation began paying yourself. If your loans are expected to be $400/month save that amount monthly in the bank. This will ensure that you are not caught off guard in November and it will establish a habit of paying your debt. Lastly, should you ever face tough time you will have $2400 to cover your loans to prevent default and severe interest penalties.
  3. Keep in Contact: Keeping contact with college friends is a must; you will be able to share experiences and help each other through the transition. This keeps communication open and can help if you lose or need a job. Also keep constant dialogue with professors as they can help with reference letters, recommendations and possible employment opportunities.
  4. Explore more education: I know many are tired of school after 4 or 5 years of undergrad, but take a brief break and get back to it. From personal experience its best just to keep going, don’t stop, and get ahead as early as you can!
  5. Dream Realistically: Dreaming and hoping is the cornerstone of any graduate. But be sure your dreams are in a scope of reality. The chance of you becoming CEO in five years with a bachelor degree is quite lofty. Be sure to plan reasonable and push toward your dream. It is said that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and your career won’t be either.

I hope these five tips help you on your journey to the real world. The transition can be easy if you have a plan and a few back up plans. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t work out the first time. Stay focused and remember that your greatness lies within your Authority to be great.

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Categories: Youth