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Q&A with Coach G.F. Watkins Author of “Test Me: The Malachi Mystery”

Written by Staff on May 17, 2018 – 2:24 pm -

 

G.F. Watkins

G.F. Watkins

Q: What prompted you to write the book “Test Me”?
A:
 I read a study in Barna Research that said only 4% of Christians actually tithe. But in Malachi 3, God clearly says that those who give a tithe will receive His provision and protection. I’ve been tithing for over three decades, and I have seen God do incredible things in my life. While I was a pastor, I would counsel with people who were struggling with various problems in their lives and I began to ask them, “Do you tithe?” The answer was almost always no, and I began to see a correlation. If we are not tithing, we are not under protection and provision which basically means we are choosing to be under a curse. People say they are crucified with Christ yet their actions don’t represent that fact. Everyone has the ability to tithe because whether you make a lot of money or very little, the tithe is a percentage, not an amount. God will always move through the people that love Him. God has hidden a mystery in Malachi, not from the people of God, but for the people of God. I talk to so many pastors who say they don’t have enough provision for their vision. Yet, the provision for the work of the church is contained in the Holy tithe.  Tithing is like a thermometer. You can tell where you are with God by your willingness to give.

Q&A with Coach G.F. Watkins Author of “Test Me: The Malachi Mystery”

Q&A with Coach G.F. Watkins
Author of “Test Me: The Malachi Mystery”

Q: Why is tithing a neglected subject?
A:
 If it is not taught it won’t be practiced. The atheist magician Penn Jillette tells the story of a businessman who handed him a bible one time. Penn said that if Christians truly believed what they say they believe—that without Jesus people are going to hell— then they should be shouting that from the rooftops. In the same way, if a pastor believes the word of God and yet does not inform his congregation about the whole of the bible, including the importance of tithing, they are missing the boat.  I understand a lot of people have abused giving. That turns me off too. But we’ve thrown the baby out with the bath water when it comes to tithing.

Q: What d0 you believe would happen in the United States if all Christians tithed?
A: 
Let’s do some simple math. The median U.S. household income is $53,647. If we take the number of professing Christians in America, which Gallup says is 75%, it would equal 243 million people. Let’s divide that by 3 to calculate the correct family ratio and we get 81 million Christian families. If we multiple 81 million by the average income, then we have an annual combined Christian income in the U.S. of approximately $4.35 trillion dollars. Divide this by 10 for the tithe, and we see $435 Billion dollars that should be in the American Christian storehouse. No offerings, just the tithe! The total cost to eradicate world hunger is $30 Billion. The total cost to eradicate homelessness in the U.S. is $20 Billion. We should still have $385 Billion to solve other problems each year. If we feed people and make sure everyone has a home, do you think they might be open to the gospel? God’s strategy works. This is how God designed his Word to win the world. 


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Q: How has the “Test Me” book affected churches that have used it?
A:
  We have presented this book and program in several churches over the past few months, ranging from 140 to 4000 members. Some churches doubled their tithing in just the first week. We have seen a 30 to 90% increase of people tithing in each instance. If 100% of people tithe, you never need an offering. Everything a church would need, they will get from the Holy tithe. According to Malachi 2:7, the pastor is supposed to teach his flock what God says because most people are simply ignorant of God’s ways. What we are trying to do is come along beside pastors and offer them the tools they need to educate their congregations. The results have been astounding to date.

Q: You have done a lot of work in men’s ministry and wrote a book called “The Alpha Male and the Women who Get Them”. Talk about what you have learned working with men.
A
: Edwin Louis Cole is considered the father of the Christian men’s movement, and I was privileged to have him as my mentor. His book “Maximized Manhood” rocked my world. In churches today, the ratio is usually 80% female and 20% male. Yet we know that when a mom is the first to be saved in a family, the chance the rest of the family will be saved is 13%. But when the father is first to be saved, the percentage increase to 95%. We teach men to be “Alpha Males” ——men who take responsibility, grow up, and lead their families. If a man loves God he will always love his wife. If we know our roles, we can reach our goals.

Q: You make some controversial statements about ADHD in “The Alpha Male” book. Talk about that.
A: 
I come from a family of educators and have a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. Testing in our schools for hyperactivity or ADHD is biased and based on what current trends determine to be “normal.” The fact is the majority of teachers in elementary schools are female. They classify young men as ADHD and they are often medicated with drugs like Risperdal which causes female breast growth in young men. We are literally medicating masculinity out of our young men. As a former high school football coach and having a father that coached as well, I watched his remedy for ADHD on a daily basis. When young boys wouldn’t sit still in class, the teachers would send them to Coach Watkins’ office. Dad would take the boys outside and make them run and do bear crawls. Once they were able to extinguish a little testosterone, they were able to go back to the classroom and focus. And yes, they were a little winded and sweaty.


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Q: You actually created what you call “Man Church.” What is that exactly?
A:  
If you want people to change they have to go deep. When men are in a group together, and a woman walks in, they shut down. The same dynamic also happens in a group of women. There has to be trust in a group of men. Instead of having a normal Wednesday night service, we do church for men on Wednesdays and church for women on Tuesdays, and have had great results. Our meetings begin over a meal, and then we start talking about the evening’s subject such as courage, sexual integrity, being a better husband, fatherhood,  how to be a leader, etc. We have over 1oo men each week at our church and many groups that meet monthly outside of church. Many of the churches we coach now host their own Man Church.

Q: What would you say is the most important concept for men to understand?
A:
 Men need to understand who they are. Genesis 1:28 says that God created man to subdue it and have dominion over it. In God’s perfect world, He made man to rule and reign with Him on earth while He is the Lord of Heaven. When man sinned, the keys to this earth were handed to Satan and man gave up his authority to Satan. Nothing on earth was contrary to God until sin entered into the equation. We were created to rule, yet most men don’t know that. Dr Cole used to say being male is a matter of birth, but being a man is matter of choice. Heroes act on a need greater than themselves. We need more men willing to sacrifice themselves and become heroes to their families and communities. Affirmation is a father’s most powerful tool. Men need their fathers’ affirmations in order to reach their destiny.

Q: Talk about the Jordan Ranch and how it came about.
A:
 As a pastor of a large church for many years, I became frustrated when I noticed that, although we were gaining membership, people were not growing in Christ. We decided to go on an “Encounter God” weekend, and it was life-altering. It is 3 days of intensive ministry about the delivering power of the cross. And just like Jesus took twelve men to the cross and then He left, I have watched men bring needles, condoms, cocaine, pot, whiskey —things they brought with them not knowing what the weekend would bring— and they laid them at the cross. It became so popular with our church that small retreat centers couldn’t hold us anymore. I felt like the Lord said we need to build a facility to not only accommodate our church, but many other churches and organizations. We wanted Jordan Ranch to be an excellent place of refuge and retreat for people. In the past 9 years we have hosted all kinds of groups at this $10 million dollar, 65,000 square foot rustic elegance retreat center that sits on 86 acres. With 23 rooms, the ranch can accommodate groups as small as two and as large as 73. Our dining room and conference room can seat up to 120 guests, and our executive chef cooks everything on-site with a variety of menu choices. Chick-Fil-A’s Winshape Foundation has partnered with us to offer a retreat free of charge for high school coaches in Texas. We have an annual Intense Men gathering which is the largest campout in Texas with over 1600 men attending this year. We believe in top-down ministry in everything we do—training leaders to train others. Churches send their kids off to summer camp, but then they come back to dysfunctional leadership. If we can get the leadership in our churches and in our families correct, everything else will fall into place. 



About G.F. Watkins:

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G.F. Watkins is an international leader, author, speaker, and church planter. He is the founder of Jordan Ranch retreat center and has planted churches in Texas, Africa, and Peru. As the founder and leader of GenesisTeam.org he now oversees and trains ministry leaders worldwide. A one-time All-American athlete and coach, he has used the principles and patterns learned in athletics to encourage, motivate, strengthen, and mobilize thousands. He is considered an authority in the area of Men’s Ministry and on the topic of fatherlessness. He is the husband to Rose, for 31 years, a father to 3 adult sons, Cole, Grant, and Dayne, and a mentor to many. For more information visit www.testmebook.com.

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Johnathan Dale: This is your NOW

Written by Staff on May 11, 2018 – 6:41 pm -

Johnathan Dale: This is your NOW

Johnathan Dale: This is your NOW

At CCX’18 recently, JB Rocket of Country Music Television’s “Can You Duet” were headliners at the event. One of the members of JB Rocket is Jonathan Dale, our guest Christian Country artist this month. This family man is born and bred country, from the foothills of North Carolina, and a recovering addict who grew up singing gospel music. He is also a professional photographer and website creator.

 

Lorraine Walker: Who or what inspired you to begin your musical journey?

Jonathan Dale: Music for me has always been my source of survival. I started singing Southern gospel music when I was eight years old. My mom entered me into the local 4-H talent search, where I was named the overall winner, and I went on to perform at dozens and dozens of North Carolina political events and galas. At that time, I was literally and totally obsessed with performers in the Southern gospel genre like Jason Crabb, Sheri Easter, Michael Combs, and TaRanda Greene. I love it all so much.

Later in life, I found influence in my music from all different types of genres. I find inspiration from a range as wide as current top 40 hits to Tony Bennett jazz music. It all inspires me to create and develop whatever the theme of the song I’m working on may be. (It inspires me) to pull a little gospel, add a touch of pop, with a hint of country … sign me up.

I love music more than anything else material. It holds me together on most days, because I’m able to express whatever I feel through writing or just listening. Music is powerful.

But I think the moment, or what inspired me to begin my musical journey, was when I performed the national anthem for an NFL (National Football League) football game. I was 12 years old, and the game was in Charlotte, N.C., between the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys. I stepped onto the field, and there were 80,000 people screaming for me and with me as I hit the high notes. In the moment, I saw my name going around me in lights. I felt like I could see each and every single person. I thought to myself, as young I was, (that) if I can positively impact this many people’s lives with music, then this is what I want for the rest of my life. I’ve been going non-stop ever since.

 

Johnathan Dale: This is your NOWWalker: How many dates do you perform each year?

Dale: The last few years I’ve been very picky about the events I’ve played. In 2016, my wife and I were planning a wedding. Then, in 2017, my wife and I were expecting our daughter, and now we are trying to learn how to be first-time parents. In 2018, my calendar is wide open though. I’m excited to talk with people and promoters, or anyone holding an event that they feel I would fit the style of. I’m excited for 2018, because I’m trying specifically to spread awareness about opiate dependency at all my events.

However, I have to say the event I am most excited about in 2018 is the Christian Country Expo, in Cookeville, Tenn. (Editor’s note:this event has passed.) My old friend and duo partner, Brandon Green, from CMT’s “Can You Duet,” will be reuniting with me for our first performance in seven years. I cannot wait to take the stage with him again. I look up to him more than he will ever know or understand. He’s partly responsible for (me being) the man I am today. I really am thankful for the time we sang together, and I can’t wait to do it again.

 

Walker: What has been your most memorable experience in your career to date?

Dale: The most memorable experience in my career thus far was most certainly my time on CMT’s “Can You Duet.” Working with the same production company as “American Idol,” the celebrity judges were Big Kenny of Big and Rich, Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), and Naomi Judd of the Judds. Naomi and Scott specifically were just wonderful. Big Kenny wasn’t a JB Rocket fan, but nonetheless, it was a wonderful experience. We signed a record deal with Big Machine Records after being the first runner-up on the television show. Learning how the industry works and being trained by BMLG was the most rewarding experience. All together, it’s something I’ll never forget, and it’s something else that has molded me into the man I am today.

 

Walker: What is your most favorite song to perform?

Dale: My current favorite track to perform is my latest single, “This Is Your Now.” I wrote this song with my old duo partner from JB Rocket, Brandon Green, and Parker Wellings Nohe. This song is all about self-empowerment, inward faith, and overcoming the obstacles at hand. We live in a time where we question every move we make, because of bullies or insecurities. But this is our now. I’m ready to see a generation rise up that believes just that … “This Is Your Now.”

 

Johnathan Dale: This is your NOWWalker: Some say Christian Country is experiencing a resurgence not seen since the 1990s. Do you agree?

Dale: I spent from the time I was eight years old, until my time on CMT’s “Can You Duet,” traveling all over the country singing gospel music. Those memories are special to me, as are all the opportunities that God has allowed me to walk into. But personally, when it comes to Christian country, I think the reason it saw a decline for almost two decades was because of recording and writing quality. Instead of just rewriting a popular country song with Christian lyrics, I think artists in this genre are finally evolving into true artists.

I see artists writing songs about true life experience again, songs people can relate to lyrically instead of melodically. So, I totally agree that there is a resurgence happening in the industry and with the artists. I applaud people like Red Hen Records and Rick Schweinsberg for developing true and authentic Christian country records and music. I literally love every song they put out and (every) artist. It’s a formula that, in my opinion, will catch on and be the core of the Christian country.

 

Walker: What one message do you hope to convey to your audience?

Dale: The message I want to convey to my audience is hope … hope in the darkest situations. When we walked away from our record deal in Nashville, I fell into a dark addiction – heroin addiction. But on Dec. 7, 2017, I celebrated being clean from heroin and a long list of other drugs for five years. I owe the success of my sobriety to my family and now my wife and my daughter.

But totally and fully, I owe the daily deliverance from that long list of drugs to my Lord and savior. It was when I found my identity in Christ that I found my recovery.


You can find out more about Dale here 

By Lorraine Walker

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in March 2018.

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Selena Day writes an open letter to Pastors

Written by Staff on May 5, 2018 – 11:28 am -

Chuck and Selena Day

Chuck and Selena Day

Dear Pastor,

 

Why should you have an outside guest come into your church?

 

Or better yet, why should you let a singer or singing group come into your church?

 

Over the past 29 years of traveling with my husband and doing our type of ministry, we have seen a decline in churches opening their doors for singers to come in.  

 

Contemporary music is pretty much obsolete, being swallowed up by praise and worship music. I am not knocking praise and worship. I actually love it and listen to it a lot, but I also love to hear a song that tells me a story that I can identify with.  

 

Recently, we received an email from a man asking how to purchase Chuck’s music. He told us that he and his wife had just recently gotten back into the church and were working on their marriage.

 

His pastor had recommended that he begin listening to the Christian radio station in their area. He heard one of Chuck’s songs about working things out in marriage. The man listened to the words of the song, and it touched his heart because of the season he was in with his family.

 

This is a regular occurrence for us. Many times after a concert, a man or woman will come up to us and begin to tell us how one of Chuck’s songs paralleled where they are in their walk in life and how it gave them hope and encouragement to trust that God had them and would not let them fall.  

 

CHUCK AND SELENA DAY

CHUCK AND SELENA DAY

But back to my open letter….

 

Why should you have singing ministries in your church?

 

For one, it opens the door for the invitation. It has been discovered that many churches find that their new members come for a gospel concert after seeing it advertised. It sparks within them a remembrance of their mother, grandmother or grandfather’s love for that old-time music, and something propels them to check it out.

 

While there, they discover that the church wasn’t too big and dynamic with all the lights and smoke machines, or that Christians weren’t actually judgmental and angry as society leads them to believe … and the peace they felt there draws them back the next Sunday.

 

Secondly, it’s the evangelism. People open up when they hear music. It unlocks something within us. Neuroscience is studying the effects music has on our brain. One study even showed that patients about to undergo surgery were split in two groups. One group was told to listen to music prior to surgery while the other group was given anti-anxiety drugs before surgery. It was found that the patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than the patients who took the anti-anxiety drugs.

 

Selena Day

Selena Day

Scientists are still studying how the brain processes music, but they are finding that music affects many different parts of the brain. When humans are listening to music, not only the part that is auditory reacts, but other parts as well. It stands to reason that when a person hears a message in a song, they more easily accept that message than if it is given to them by words alone. So bringing in a singing ministry is quiet evangelical as well.  

 

In these days of rediscovering what church means in the postmodern society, I would challenge pastors to not overlook the benefits of bringing in outside singers or singing groups to your church. There is a benefit to having them come.

 

Pastor, as a good steward of what God has blessed you with, I would encourage you to open your doors to those who have chosen the profession of travel while ministering through the gift of song that God has given them.

 

You, your church, and your community, may find healing from the music that is brought to you.  

 

Blessings,

Selena Day

 

April 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

April 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Selena Day is a motivational speaker and is available to speak at your conference or event. She can be contacted by e-mailing selenaday@me.com, by visiting www.queenliving.org, or at www.facebook.com/queenismsbyselenaday.  

Selena Day is a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.

Day by Day: An Open Letter to Pastors was first published by SGNScoops Magazine in April 2018

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Weekend Word from SGNScoops

Written by Staff on April 28, 2018 – 12:27 pm -

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“…but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.” – 2 Corinthians 8:5b

When it comes to your responsibilities, are you just involved or are you committed to give it your all for the good of your team, the group, and all concerned?

Even more important, are you totally committed to do your best for the glory of God?

Life is sometimes hard and we all get in ruts, but we should always strive to do our best for God.

Have an awesome weekend. Share Jesus!

Blessings from SGNScoops.


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Rob Patz: Get started again in Spring

Written by Staff on April 25, 2018 – 8:42 am -

 

Publisher's Point by Rob Patz

Publisher’s Point by Rob Patz

Publisher’s Point by Rob Patz for April 2018

Welcome to the April edition of the Publisher’s Point. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again … I love spring. I love this time of year because it is a sign of new beginnings. If you look around, the flowers are blooming. The sun is out longer throughout the day. It just feels new.

 

If you look back at the first few months of the year, I challenged you to begin this year as a “new you” and a “new year.” How have you been doing? I wish I could say that I have taken all of the things that I wanted to implement into my new year and that I have successfully done that. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I have done some things, just not everything. However, I also feel that, besides the first of the year, spring is like a time of resetting things in your life.

I was thinking about new things lately, and I was challenged by the fact that, sometimes, when we start something new, we are the only one that can see it. Maybe God has given us a vision for something that, down the road, others will catch a hold of but haven’t yet.

 

I think of Noah. He didn’t just start building the ark one day before it started to rain. In fact, he was ridiculed for his actions, but he knew what God had in store.

 

There are times in life where we have to truly seek God and know that He has, and will, do a good work in us. The Bible reads in Philippians 1:6 (NIV), “Being confident of this, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


I have to be honest with you. Lately, I have a new project that I desperately want to do, but at the same time, I have been very reticent to do it out of fear that those around me would think it was dumb or not worth doing. I know I should just take the leap of faith and do it because I truly believe God has put it in my heart. At the same time, I’m not totally sure that I can pull it off, though I know the Word says we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us.

 

Creekside 2017 newspaper

Creekside 2017 newspaper

I guess I look at it kind of the way I look at the Creekside Gospel Music Convention. When I started it, a lot of folks thought I was completely crazy. They said that there wasn’t room for another event in our industry of the type I was suggesting. But God has allowed it to grow, expand and change.

 

I find it interesting that God planted a seed of what I was going to do. Over time, that vision has changed or evolved. The truth of the matter is, a little over seven years ago when He wanted me to get started, He didn’t give me all of the pieces. He gave me the vision, but He wanted me to put feet to that vision.


When I was a freshman in high school, my dad gave me a book by Robert Schuller. One of the quotes in the book that has stuck with me ever since is this, “Starting means you’re halfway to the finish.” What he means is, by putting the effort together to start a project, you are at the point where you are already close to completion.


So what vision is God giving you? What project has He laid before you, that you’re worried that others might find ridiculous, funny, or strange? Let me challenge you … it’s spring 2018. Grab your vision and move forward.


That is the Publisher’s Point.

By Rob Patz

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Autism Awareness Month: Faces of Autism

Written by Staff on April 20, 2018 – 8:40 am -

Autism Awareness Month: writer Angela Parker and her son, Christian

Autism Awareness Month: writer Angela Parker and her son, Christian

What Is Autism? 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability of great complexity; signs appear during early childhood typically and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/, April 20, 2018.)

Faces of Autism by Angela Parker

People often ask me, “What is Autism to you?”

Well, I’d have to say that Autism, to me, is a lot of different things. It’s been many things to me over the last 18 years. It has been tantrums, late nights, stimming (short for self-stimulatory behavior, behaviors that may include hand- flapping, rocking, spinning, or repetition of words and phrases), schedules, worried days, Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings, therapy sessions, repetition, behaviors, among many other things.

Autism Awareness Month: writer Angela Parker's niece, Kylie

Autism Awareness Month: writer Angela Parker’s niece, Kylie

However, it has also been big smiles, goofy jokes, huge laughs, unexpected hugs, reaching goals that we thought were unattainable, unimaginable pride and more love than any mother could ever hold in her heart. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

I never knew that my whole world would be surrounded by the most awesome kids, including my own son, niece and nephew.

I’ve been blessed to not only have a son with Autism, but also a niece and nephew. I believe that God only gives His most precious gifts to those He trusts the most. I keep asking God if He’s sure He trusts me so much.

The challenges began 18 years ago in January and haven’t stopped, but God has seen us through every step of the way. One of our latest struggles, for instance, was Algebra 1. Without it, my son, Christian, couldn’t graduate.

I worked as hard as I could with my son to get him through Algebra 1 so he could graduate, and now he’ll be graduating in December. I couldn’t be more pleased. This will be the most exciting moment of my life. Words can’t describe it.

Autism Awareness Month: writer Angela Parker's nephew, Zach

Autism Awareness Month: writer Angela Parker’s nephew, Zach

My niece, Kylie, and nephew, Zach, also have an amazing mom that is an awesome Autism advocate for them. I love her for that. They have such a supporting mom. Not all Autism Spectral Disorder (ASD) kids have that luxury, unfortunately.

Two years ago I was blessed again to be able to start working with Developmentally Delayed children at a place called Early Autism Project. God blessed me with the ability to learn quickly on the job. Before I knew it, I was a Behavior Therapist working with some of the most amazing kids ever. The kids and the families loved having us there because they knew we were there to help.

So, when someone says “What is Autism?” I have to ask them if they mean scientifically or personally. Because the meanings are so different for me and a lot of other Autism caregivers.

 

By Angela Parker, special to SGNScoops website.

 

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Q&A with Terri Clark Author of “Fanning the Flame: Reigniting your faith in God”

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on April 5, 2018 – 1:40 pm -

Terri Clark Author of "Fanning the Flame: Reigniting your faith in God"

Terri Clark
Author of “Fanning the Flame: Reigniting your faith in God”

Q: What inspired you to write “Fanning the Flame”?
A: I felt like I was a candle being burnt at both ends. I was still speaking and traveling overseas for the ministry, but my own spiritual flame was not what it used to be. I went to minister in an Asian nation where they were closed to the Gospel. I thought it would be great to talk to those women who had given up so much to minister to others so that I might be encouraged. What I found was that they were getting burnt out as well. I thought if it can happen to these women who are warriors for the Gospel, it can certainly happen to me. So I decided I needed to find out what obstacles had started blocking my own faith and my relationship with God.

Q: You went to great lengths to learn about lamps in biblical times. What did you learn by doing that?
A: I am a visual learner and when God kept bringing scriptures to me about lamps, I became curious as to what those looked like when the verses were written. I learned that the lamps in that time period were made out of clay and they were shaped like small bowels that fit in the palm of your hand. So I went to the store, got some clay, baked it and made one for myself. I put a piece of terry cloth in it as the wick, added some olive oil, and it actually worked! But I noticed it would burn out quickly until I trimmed the wick, then it would burn bright again, just as the scripture suggests. God taught me some important lessons through that exercise. We are the clay formed by the potter, shaped for a purpose — to bring light. But we need the oil (the Holy Spirit) and faith (the wick) in order to do that. And we need to trim that faith (wick) often in order to get rid of the black, burned out things in our lives that keep us from being a bright, glowing light.

Q: What do you think are the biggest contributing factors to people losing their faith?
A: Our society today is so fast-paced. From our food to our information, we want everything instantaneously. People today are so busy that God becomes just another thing on their to-do list. We simply don’t take the time to read the Bible or pray and listen to what God is saying to us. We are not pursuing Him like we should. When He takes a back seat in our lives, we put other things in His place, usually ourselves. We are also a very distracted society. In our home, we have a rule —no phones or electronic devices when we eat together. I watched a family at a restaurant one time. Everyone had a phone, but a little 8 or 9 year old boy. They were all busy on their devices and no one acknowledged this boy. He was sitting at a table full of people, yet he was all alone. I think that’s how God must see us sometimes. We are so occupied with our social worlds, talking to anyone who will listen to our needs, our dreams, our wants, but we never look up to see that Jesus is right there waiting, waiting for us to engage Him in conversation about those things. We need to put down our smart phones and talk to the One who really can make a difference in our lives.

Q: You draw a parallel in the book between the three required Jewish feasts that are in the Old Testament and a Christian’s faith journey. Talk about that.
A: Our spiritual journey can be compared to the pilgrimage God instructed His people to take three times each year. The first was the festival of Passover, celebrating the Israelites delivery from bondage in Egypt. The second was Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, remembering the giving of the Torah (God’s Word) exactly seven weeks after the Exodus and Passover. It is also known as Pentecost. The third festival was Sukkot, which celebrates the wandering of the Israelites in the desert for forty years, when they had to rely only upon God for direction, sustenance, and protection. It seems to me those three feasts correlate with a Christian believer’s walk with God.  Passover—returning to our first love and remembering our salvation by the precious shed blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Pentecost—resolving to wait on and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit, who quickens his Word and enables us to become witnesses to Jesus Christ, guiding us into all truth wherever we go or whomever we meet in the world. And Sukkot—the feast that follows repentance, returning to a total dependence on God for strength, wisdom, guidance, and sustenance—a restored fellowship and faith in our God.

Q: Talk about your ministry in Uganda and how that got started.
A
: Honestly, being a missionary was about the furthest thing from my mind. But a lady from Uganda came to our bible study here in our town, and we kept in touch for a long time. She kept begging me to come to her country, and when I finally did, I fell in love with the people. Today, we have helped build a three-story hospital facility called Ray of Hope, and have created a child education sponsorship program for the children of Uganda, with over 500 children enrolled to date. We also take humanitarian teams each year to the country.

Q: Talk about your marriage and family ministry.
A:
Nearly 30 years ago, my husband and I became a real-life Brady Bunch, as he brought three kids into the marriage and I brought three kids. We learned a lot about the ups and downs of being a blended family, and that’s what inspired my first book, ‘Tying the Family Knot: Meeting the Challenges of a Blended Family’. At that time, there were not a lot of helpful resources for Christians on this subject, and we have been able to hold conferences, seminars and teachings to help people deal with all the emotional issues that come with raising someone else’s kids. I talk about some of the practical things we did such as developing new family holiday traditions, setting standards, and giving each child a feeling of belonging, stability, and love. Blended families have specific challenges, and I teach on how to deal with power struggles, choosing battles, organization, and dealing with ex-spouses. We have seen God redeem and strengthen so many families over the years, and that has been very rewarding.

Q: What do you hope readers gain from “Fanning the Flame”?
A:
 I had one lady who read an early copy of the book tell me that she had struggled with her faith for the past 14 years, but this book helped her get back on track. That is exactly what I hope will happen for everyone who reads it. I get very vulnerable in the book and share my own battles with the obstacles that blocked my pursuit of God. The main thing I want them to gain is a renewed sense of God’s presence in their lives. Read more »


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Easter: The Greatest Event for Mankind by David Staton

Written by Staff on March 31, 2018 – 1:22 pm -

Celebrate the Risen Savior

Good Friday. Celebrate the Risen Savior with David Staton

Can You Handle It? by David Staton

Easter: The Greatest Event for Mankind

There are key events that happened in scripture that are staples for those who follow Christ. Christmas is a big one. Scripture says that Jesus was conceived supernaturally and born through a virgin girl. While most Christ followers believe this, it is still debated and argued by those who refuse to believe that Jesus was God in the flesh.

 

The many miracles that Jesus performed were witnessed by hundreds of people, many of which wrote about what they saw. Despite the strong historical evidence of these events, many dismiss, deny, or try to explain them away.

 

The deity of Christ has always been disputed and attempted to be disproven. Ask any politician or public figure who has ever made a false claim, and they will tell you that you are asking for a huge magnifying glass to be placed over your life by those who want to prove you wrong.

 

Before Jesus was ever born, it had been prophesied and Mary let it be known that her firstborn Son would be the long-awaited Messiah. With such a claim, you know that every day in the life of Jesus was scrutinized and examined by those who were just waiting to prove that Mary’s story was a lie.

    

Then after He predicted His own death, Jesus faced the cross. If you are the harshest skeptic, you could say that Jesus was not the first and certainly not the last religious leader to lay down their life for their cause. If you want to ignore the earth becoming dark in the middle of the day, the earthquake, the veil in the temple being torn from top to bottom, and dead people walking out of their tombs, then I guess you can debate the purpose and the epic battle that took place at Calvary.

 

Empty Tomb. Easter. David StatonYou can ignore, argue, debate, dismiss and deny all of these things, but there is one thing that forces each one of us to face the glorious reality of who Jesus is, and that is the empty tomb.

 

Because Jesus had said that He would rise from the dead, all eyes were on that tomb. The Romans sealed it and guarded it with their lives. On that Sunday morning, when the immovable stone was rolled away, and what seemed impossible became possible, it had to have set off the greatest search for a body that the world has ever known. Finding the body of Jesus would have done what they thought they had accomplished with the cross. It would have killed any thought that Jesus was the Son of God.

 

The body of Christ was in fact found, but not by those who were looking for a corpse. The body of Christ was found by over 500 people, but they found that body very much alive. That is why we celebrate Easter. That is what proves every word that Jesus ever said, explains every miracle He ever performed, and opens our eyes to the meaning of the cross. That empty tomb is what drives us to our knees and brings us to our feet when we hear the name above all names, Jesus.  

 

He is alive.

 

Photographs courtesy of David Staton.

David Staton

David Staton

By David Staton

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in April 2017

Download The PDF Version Of March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE

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The Legacy of Billy Graham

Written by Staff on March 28, 2018 – 4:59 pm -

Nancy Reagan Has Passed Away

2/5/1981 President Reagan Nancy Reagan and Billy Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast held at the Washington Hilton Hotel

Rob Patz’ Publisher’s Point for SGNScoops’ March 2018 issue

Welcome to the March Publisher’s Point. As I sit and write this, I have been trying to put into words my emotions about the loss of Billy Graham.

It is amazing to look at the impact that one man had on our world. Dr. Graham never wanted to over complicate a very simple and true message, that Jesus died on the cross for you and for me, and that if you accept Him as your personal Savior, one day you will see heaven.

Sunday Sermon: Who is Jesus? by Dr.Billy Graham

Dr.Billy Graham

I think of how amazing it must’ve been when Dr. Graham crossed over, and for the first time, got to see exactly what he had been preaching about. I read one quote that said that this world was not his home, that he was just a traveler passing through here. I think we should all live that way.

So many of us, me included, work so hard to accumulate possessions here on earth. We want to be able to say, “This is mine,” when in reality, none of this is ours. Everything that we are given is a gift from God. How we use those gifts is a completely different story.

I truly believe as an outsider looking in, that Dr. Graham, throughout his life, took the gifts that God had given him and created a legacy that will last forever.

The last few days have made me realize that the only thing that we leave on this earth is what we do for Christ. That will last forever. It has challenged me to do more, to enjoy more, to seek God more. At the end of the day, I want to leave a legacy of pointing people to Christ and His cross and challenging those around me to do the same.

As we know, March ushers in spring and new beginnings, and I want to challenge you during this month to pray about what God has for you to do, and for the rest of this year. What legacy will you leave? What impact will you have, and what is the plan God has for you?

Rob Patz and Chuck Day

By the time you read this, Southern Gospel Weekend in Oxford, Ala., will have come to a close for another year. I do want to invite you to join us for Christian Country Expo in Cookeville, Tenn., from May 3-5.

Of course, I also want you to be with us for Creekside 2018 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., which kicks off on Oct. 28.

March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

May this be a year that we all strive to point people to the cross and leave a legacy that will enhance the kingdom.

This is the Publisher’s Point.

By Rob Patz

First published by SGNSCOOPS in March 2018

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Join Joan Walker on a Step by Step journey to Health

Written by Staff on March 8, 2018 – 2:32 pm -

Step by Step by Joan Walker

Step by Step by Joan Walker

Step by Step: February 2018 edition. By Joan Walker

We’re almost halfway through January already, and if it’s cold where you are like it’s cold here, you’re looking for hot soup, hot coffee or tea … or anything hot.

 

And … it’s almost two weeks since New Year’s Day. That makes me think of Rob Patz’s Publishers Point for January – A New Year, A New You. I’m sure we’ve all thought of changes we can make in our life. Just to introduce myself, I am a copy editor for SGNScoops. I reside in Ontario, Canada, am single (but may get a cat in the spring), and am looking to get healthy.

 

I’ve dieted all my life. Unfortunately, I’ve never arrived at what a BMI (body mass index) table or doctor’s chart says is my ideal weight. I’ve struggled with body image and self-esteem as well, knowing these issues can all go hand in hand.

 

A couple of years ago, my hair stylist talked about how she was losing weight. Amy inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and try a new plan. It’s not totally new to me, but there were updates.  For me, I needed the “new.” That’s probably something I need to dig into a little, how I need the “new.” But that’s for another article.

 

So, take it from a chronic dieter … the new year always seems to be the best time to start something. I am currently on a plan that seems to be working for me, even over the Christmas holidays. Over the next few months, I want to share with you what is happening with my health plan.

 

Do you find that when you begin to take care of your body by watching what goes into it, other parts of your life are suddenly under the spotlight? I see my spiritual life and health for what it currently is, good or bad. If I stop watching what I eat, the lack of discipline in that area may lead me to feel defeated in my spiritual walk, causing me to put aside my Bible, stop praying, or even staying home from church. Is it possible that we feel guilty when one part of our health isn’t up to par, so we draw away from God?  

 

I am a Christ follower. I’ve been one since my early teens, and as we all know, there are bumps along the way as we allow life to affect how close or how far away from God we are. One big bump happened last year when I found myself suddenly restructured out of a company I had worked at for over 10 years. Wow, that’s a big bump that caused doubt, anger, and many tears. As a stress/emotional eater, this threw my eating-healthy plan for a loop.

 

Step by Step by Joan WalkerWith this feature, I want to focus on what and how I’m doing with this food plan, in order to encourage you if you are also trying to get healthy. Also, I will fill you in on my spiritual walk, and maybe my journey can resonate with some of you and help you in some way. I do not have all the answers, and it is attempt 10,002 for getting healthy at least, both physically and spiritually … but perhaps we can go on this walk together.

 

This is really pushing me out of my comfort zone, but I think there is someone out there who is fighting a battle with their weight, or in their walk with God. Perhaps we can grow together. If you want to respond to me directly about what I’ve written, you can reach me at joan@sgnscoops.com. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Please note, I am not a paid spokesperson for any specific plan, and as this is a plan that is working for me, I won’t focus on the name of the weight-loss plan. If you want to know the details, please feel free to contact me, but remember to get the approval of your doctor before you start on any food/exercise plan.

 

Step by Step by Joan Walker

Joan Walker

Editor’s Note: Joan Walker, copywriter for SGNScoops Magazine, joins us this month to begin a look into her life as she follows a path to improve her health, both physically and spiritually. Please watch for Step by Step every month and write to Joan at joan@sgnscoops.

By Joan Walker

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in February 2018

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