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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Romans 18-32 - A wake up call

Today, we finish the first chapter of Romans.  This is not easy stuff.  It's very important, though. 

We want to let God's Word speak for itself.  Please pray "God help me understand your message for me" and read the following verses.

I'll jump in with a little commentary -- but -- most importantly -- let God speak to you in these words.

What is He trying to tell you -- tell us -- tell our nation?  Let's see:

Romans 1: 18-32

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God’s presence is defined in everything around us. He is clearly with us, yet people turn away from him. You don’t have to look hard to find evidence of our sin. Just check out the media – TV, movies, magazines.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

This passage is chilling. Many people today who claim they are “wise” “saavy” or “enlightened” have turned their backs on the basic principals God gave us for living. They have created new idols to worship: self centeredness, laziness, money, sex, TV, fame, looks. Check out reality TV (or, actually, stear clear of it!) You will find disturbing evidence of how we have become “fools.”

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them .

These passages speak for themselves. God is pointing out our sins. No one sin is bigger than another. The big difference is whether we see sin (or the way we turn away from God) for what it is: something we need to run away from. In today’s society, however, some people, not only embrace their sin, but demand we all condone and applaud it.

Notice the list. Gossip, arrogance, envy, murder, disobeying parents, sexual sins – all are listed together. We need to examine our lives and see where we stand in light of verses 28 – 32.

We need to humble ourselves and ask forgiveness and pray for strength to stand against the powers that pull us in the wrong direction.

Everyone has weaknesses. The devil knows our weaknesses and will taunt us into falling into them. Simply be aware of the powers that call us to sin. Run away. Pray. Take time to read God’s Word. Pause. Ask God to help you take a stand against a culture which reflects verse 32.

More than anything, we want to make sure we are not practicing verse 32:

32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

May God forgive us and help us. Our world is certainly confused.

God, please help us embrace your light and shine that light on others.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Fun!

Object Lessons

Here's a way to teach simple Bible concepts to your child this summer: OBJECT LESSONS.

Simple everyday objects can illustrate BIG concepts for children. The best part is: They are EASY to do.

Here is an example:

A sponge, water and a potted plant can show how you can “soak up” God’s love!

Tell your child: “God loves you so much!” The sign language for “love” is a big hug to yourself – Tell your child to give himself a big hug.

“Never forget how much God loves you.” God’s love is like this cool, refreshing water.

We want to be like this sponge and soak it all up! Let the sponge soak up the water. Move it over the plant to wring it out.

"THEN we can use that love to shower other people. Look how the water helps this plant!"

Look for more objects to illustrate God’s love – How about a blanket you wrap around you?

Think of other things you can use to illustrate the reality of the Bible Verses, like MMs, Lifesavers, Watering cans, mousetraps…. This can be great summer fun!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

On the Road!

Sorry for the delay!  I've hit the road and am far away!

This is a good time to get focused, however!  Taking a look at Romans again.  Here we go:

Romans 1:16 - 17  

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[e] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” -- Romans 1:16,17

Let's take a look at the words in this verse.  Paul is not ashamed to talk about the Gospel (the message of Jesus).  He says it has the power to save.  -- To save who?  Everyone who BELIEVES.  

To believe something is to trust in its certainty - to take it to heart. 

Let's take a moment to explain what we (and Paul) mean when we use the words "saved,"  "salvation,"  and "Savior."  

God sent His Son to earth to SAVE people from their sins, as Matthew 1:21 tells us.  

We speak of Jesus as the SAVIOR who brought deliverance or who SAVED us. Jesus freed men from the punishment they deserve for their sins (Sins are the things we do that fall short of  God's standards).

Jesus freed us by dying on the Cross.  We call this salvation. Salvation also includes forgiveness sins.  

Everyone is called to do three things:
     1. BELIEVE Jesus is the Son of God who died for us.
     2.INVITE Him to take over your life and ask for forgiveness of everything you have done wrong.
     3. ACCEPT His gift of salvation

When these three steps are taken, the Believer is forgiven from the guilt and penalty of sin. 

Did you know the true penalty for sin is eternal hell ? This is separation from the Savior who loves you.  

Who wants to be forever trapped in the dark flame of hell?

 Hmmmm -- some of us have not thought about that much before. Consider this:  If you tell God to leave you alone and ignore Him all your life,  He will, in fact, leave you totally alone when you die. That's scary.

So -- feel free to accept that "power" of "salvation" by simply believing and giving your life to the One who loves you most!

Verse 17 talks about "righteousness."  This is another term we need to break down.  It means being "right" with God. In other words, it means following His guidance, which is clearly outlined in the Scriptures. 

When we give God our lives, He empowers us to do the "right" thing.  No, we do NOT become perfect.  We just become God's child who is working out his salvation on this side of Heaven.

AND, speaking of HEAVEN -- THAT is where we go when we Believers die!  -Cool in so many ways!

FAITH, again, refers to our belief in God and our trust in His direction. 

So -- by golly -- these are GREAT verses to sort things out.  Please understand that our walk with God is hinged on our DECISION to BELIEVE and TURN from sin.

We are called by God to live, not by emotion, neediness, whim, habit, guilt or self-interest, but by FAITH.

The next verses will outline what happens when we turn AWAY from God.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book of Romans - Chapter 1 - Verses 1 - 16

I hope you have met Paul - the writer of the Book (or shall we say Letter?) of Romans!

If you want -- open up the Book of Romans in .   Let's read the opening verses together.

What did you learn about Paul from verses one?   Paul, a once powerful leader as both a Jew and a Roman citizen, considers himself a SERVANT.

WHY? - Paul went through a life-changing experience.  He met Jesus on the road.  Have you "met Jesus on the road" ?  When we truly commit our lives to Christ, He will equip us to do GREAT things, especially when we SERVE others!   I pray we all proudly say we are servants of Christ.

Who was Paul writing to?  -- The Christians in Rome. Paul made it clear he had a message for the Gentiles (In Bible times, anyone who was not a Jew was considered a Gentile)

How did he feel about them?  -- Paul  thanked God for them.  He prayed for them.  He longed to see them.

The opening of Paul's letter is a great example of communication.  You can just see the group of believers drawing closer as this letter is being read out loud.  They liked to hear his words of encouragement.

Paul greets his readers with love.  (verses 7 - 14)  Do we communicate that way?

Paul was a great teacher.  He knew he had some tough stuff to say to the Romans -- but he also knew they needed to know he cared.

You will often see Paul begin his letters with wonderful greetings of love.  We can learn from this!

Paul starts right out in verses 2 - 6 with the Gospel message.  It can basically be summed up in verse 6:

"And you also are among the Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." 

Guess what?  This is a great message for ALL of us.

We are called to belong to Jesus Christ!  
Have you answered the call? 

Next:  Read Verses 16 - 32 -- Paul will get to the tough stuff -- We need to, also. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

American Family Association Creates New Movie!

Summer Snow is gaining momentum. 

Would you join us as we make the movie?

We would like to invite you into the movie making process of Summer Snow.  Our
intent with this movie is to
spread the good news of Jesus Christ!  

We have posted clips from the movie, media coverage and give you an insiders look.  
America is going to love this film and
being an AFA supporter you have made it possible!

How can you help?   Like our fan page on Facebook then forward this email and pray for us. Book a chuch event in the fall.

   Watch our video clips   

coffee.jpgEnjoy the same coffee we are drinking
to us by My Brothers Cup.
The profits go to missionaries and your

Dear Loyal Supporter,            
The American Family Association is proud to announce the making of
, a dramatic comedy that is a game changer for the Christian
film industry.  Shot on location in Lexington Kentucky, AFA has put
together an all-star crew that is striving to produce the highest film quality
in the industry.  We invite you to watch this sample clip of Summer Snow
which we are sure you will enjoy.   It is vital to our mission that
you forward this to your family and friends to get this grass roots started.
Face book and like on your wall

Summer Snow
tells the heart wrenching and hope filled story of Susan Benson's death, and
how it forever changed her husband Dan, and three children's lives. Forced to
find a new "normal," the Bensons must now re-learn how to be a family
without the glue that held them together. The Bensons were always a family of
faith, but now that faith has been shaken and they are unsure where God fits
into this new reality. But just as God often answers prayer in unique and
unexpected ways, Susan provides comfort and words of wisdom when each person
needs it most, setting her family on a path of healing and hope.

Summer Snow stars David Chisum, Cameron Goodman, Garrett Backstrom, with
Brett Rice (Forrest Gump, Remember the Titans, Super 8, Country Strong,
and House) and introducing, Rachel Eggleston. Critics say
"This is a breakthrough performance from the entire cast!" "What
a refreshing change of pace! Summer Snow is truly a family film."
"Rachel Eggleston's heartwarming portrayal of Hallie…shines and leaves you

Release Date: October 1, 2012 limited release. Distributed through American
Family Studios, and in conjunction with Voice of the Martyrs.


15 Things Wives Should Stop Doing

What do your words and actions say to your husband about your love for him?

by Mary May Larmoyeux
In the 1960s, The Supremes recorded their hit song “Stop! In the Name of Love!”  I remember singing the words as a teenager:  “Before you break my heart … think it o-o-ver …”

Even though I’ve been married for decades now, it’s still important for me to consider my husband’s needs. I should think about the possible effects of my careless words, attitudes, and actions before I break his heart.

Can you identify?

I asked some girlfriends, “What should a wife stop doing if she wants to improve her marriage?” This list is based on their responses.

1. Stop thinking that your way is the “right” way. If he does something differently, it does not mean that it’s wrong. When a wife insists on having her own way, she is in essence saying, “I have to be in control.”

2. Don’t put others before your husband. God designed companionship in marriage so that a husband and wife can meet one another’s need for a close, intimate, human relationship. He even said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone.”
So what happens when you put your mother, a friend, or even a child before your spouse? Actually, you take a step (often unintentional) toward isolation in your marriage. If you choose, for example, to spend an afternoon shopping with your mom when your husband asked you to watch a football game with him, you may leave hubby feeling that he has second place in your heart.

3. Don’t expect your husband to be your girlfriend. Most men and women not only look different physically, but also have unique ways of processing life. One example of this is the need for conversation. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m guilty of wearing out my husband with countless conversational details that he doesn’t really care about. Now if he was a girlfriend, all of those details would definitely matter!

4. Don’t dishonor your husband. Suggestions included: Stop all nagging and don’t correct hubby in front of others. If you finish your husband’s sentences, you may be unintentionally communicating, “I don’t really care about what you have to say.”

5. Stop expecting your husband to fail you as your dad failed your mom. “I spent many years waiting for my husband to give up and walk out on me, like my dad had years earlier,” said one friend. Her unfounded fears had robbed her marriage of much joy.

6. Don’t put your husband on the defensive. For example, if you are driving around a section of town looking for a restaurant and he’s obviously lost, does it really help for you to tell him that he’s been going around the same block for the fifth time? One wise wife said that she’s learned to be quiet in situations like this. Now, before she makes a comment, she weighs her words—asking herself: “Are my words needed? Would they be encouraging?” Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”

7. Never use sex to bargain with your husband. Some women intentionally or unintentionally say to their husbands, “When I get what I want, you get sex.” However, 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 reminds husbands and wives that their bodies are not their own. “Do not deprive one another …”

8. Stop reminding your husband about things over and over. Don’t make him feel guilty or nitpick him about small stuff. One friend said that when we constantly remind our husbands about diet, weight, medication, picking up the dry cleaning, etc., we are actually acting more like his mother than his wife.

9. Don’t make your husband earn your respect.  Many women think, I’ll respect him when he earns it. But there’s a reason that Ephesians 5:33 says, “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  As one friend said: “If women could learn to understand that respect is a man's native tongue, that it absolutely heals his heart and ministers to him like nothing else, it would make the biggest difference in the world.”

10. Stop giving your husband your long term to-do list. A colleague warns against overwhelming your husband with too much information. You may unintentionally cause him to feel like a failure, thinking that your long list means you are discontent. Or, he may incorrectly assume that you want him to do something immediately.

11. Don’t act like your spouse is a mind reader. Instead, be specific about your requests. One busy mom said that she used to feel overwhelmed with household chores, wishing her spouse would help her. She now realizes that the only way he knows her needs is when she tells him. “Most often,” she says, “when I simply say, ‘Honey, will you tuck the kids in tonight while I get the kitchen cleaned up,’ he is glad to help.” She’s discovered that a few words are all it takes “to change a resentment-filled, stressed-out night into a team-effort bonding time.”

12. Stop putting housework ahead of hubby. One young mom told her husband that she didn't want to make love one night because she had just changed the sheets and she wanted them to stay clean. What do you think that response said to her husband? Another woman, who puts her husband ahead of the housework, said: “Do not leave the unfolded laundry on your marriage bed.

13. Put an end to taking the lead because you think he won't take it. “The first many years of our marriage,” one wife said, “I would see what needed to be done and get frustrated that my husband would not take charge and get it done.” She went on to say that she’s changed by learning to wait on her husband’s leadership. “I really believe,” she says, “that our men don't lead because we women are too quick to jump in and take care of it all.” 
Ephesians 5:23 says, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body … .”

14. Do not expect your husband to be Prince Charming. After all, the perfect husband only exists in fairy tales and your marriage exists in real life. One young wife said that instead of focusing on her husband’s shortcomings, she’s learned to recognize the wonderful things about him. What’s been the result? He’s been encouraged to do even more to be the man of her dreams.

15. Never look first to a book, a plan, or a person to fix a problem in your marriage. Instead go to God’s Word and believe and act on the things that He says. “He will lead me to any resources I need,” one woman said. “God has already given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) but we have to live according to the promises and expect Him to show up for us.”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Introducing......Paul (Our study of Romans)

The Bible was written by men under the divine inspiration of God.  God uses men and women in a mighty way to do His work.  In the same way, God empowers men and women today.
I like to think God might use me, a frail, human, "cracked pot" (2Corin4:7-9)! 

I love to learn a bit about the writers of the Bible.  The Book of Romans is actually a LETTER written by Apostle Paul. I want you to meet Paul.  Here's a little background:  

Paul was born about the same time as Jesus. His original name was Saul. He was a native of Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the southeast of Asia Minor. 

Tarsus was the seat of a famous university so Saul spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his native city could afford.

His father was of the straitest sect of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6Phil. 3:5). Saul was a Jew and a Roman citizen, which was a very powerful position. 

Saul attended great Jewish schools and became a powerbroker in the Jewish Temple. He was probably a member of the Sanhedrin. 

Saul was a smart, privileged guy who became the active leader in the furious persecution of the early Christians.  

But then.....Something happened.

Saul was headed to Damascus to find and destroy Christians.  As a Jewish leader, Christianity was a threat to his power base.  He wanted to get rid of the competition. 

Near the end of his trip, within sight of Damascus, a brilliant light startled Saul. He fell down and a voice sounded in his ears, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked in terror.

“I am Jesus who you are persecuting” (Acts 9:522:826:15).

Saul was blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8). His companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).

Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, went to Saul, and was used by God to open his eyes. Saul had become Paul, a believer in Jesus Christ.(9:11-16).  

The whole purpose of his life was now permanently changed. He began to preach the gospel “boldly in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27).

Because he was such a high-profile character, the Jews wanted to destroy him.  He was tortured.  He suddenly became the persecuted, but that did not matter to Paul.

He formed churches and wrote letters to encourage believers.  Many of the New Testament Books are actually letters written by Paul. 

Romans is Paul's letter to Rome, written about 8 years before he was beheaded by the Roman Emperor, Nero. 
Lets continue to read Romans to see what he has to say.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Typing the TRUTH...Bible Verse This Week

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your 
requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends 
all understanding, will guard your hearts and 
your minds in Christ Jesus. --Phil 4:6-7

A Great Resource for Concerned Parents is the website: -- Check it out next time you are browsing the internet !  Learn how YOU can impact TV programming!  From time to time, we will share some of their information.  Feel free to check them out!  We can make a difference in the media and, in turn, make a difference in the culture!  

Laughing Pizza Earns PTC Seal of Approval! 

Teenagers love pop and rock music, and enjoy the excitement of concerts; and often, their younger siblings seek to emulate them. Sadly, much music acceptable for older teens is not appropriate for young children, and little music has been intended or recorded specifically for them…until now, with the band Laughing Pizza!

With happy, upbeat music, lyrics focused on promoting good messages for children, such as respecting parents, doing homework, or cleaning their room, Laughing Pizza draws in parents and younger children alike, giving them all the opportunity to share in enjoying rock-style concerts, dancing, and music in a family-friendly environment.

Now available on DVD or through video-on-demand (check local listings), Laughing Pizza Live! demonstrates the group’s family-friendly messages and delightful music, and has earned the PTC Seal of ApprovalTM! 

TV Viewers - Speak Out! Take a Stand Against Bad TV!

Most Popular Shows Are Family-Friendly  
A much heard mantra in the entertainment industry is that “Sex Sells;” and many in the industry feel similarly about profanity and explicit violence. As a result, the industry’s “creative” personnel put great stock in producing programming that is filled with “edgy” content.

But in fact, the vast majority of viewers are turned off by such shows. Last week, Washington Post TV critic Lisa de Moraes discussed the Top 10 most-watched TV shows of the 2011-12 season. All but two of the Top 10 were programs embraced by family audiences, and which are devoid of sex and profanity. Most also lack violent content; and even on those shows which do contain some, the violence is notably more restrained than on other action-based dramas. So much for the conventional wisdom in Hollywood that programs have to be filled with copious sex, foul language, and graphic violence in order to win viewers.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

October Baby Arrives on DVD September 11!

Get ready to celebrate the sanctity of life in your home:
OCTOBER BABY is coming to DVD September 11! A hit upon its theatrical release this spring, OCTOBER BABY opened as the number 8 movie in the country and the number 1 limited release film. Throughout its run, OCTOBER BABY has continued impacting moviegoers with its powerful story of forgiveness. 
Check out the theatrical trailer below!

Friday, June 1, 2012

What a Friend we Have in Jesus

God wants to be your best friend. Friendship requires time. Friendship requires openness.
Keep connected to God in everything you do. Don’t be afraid to talk to Him.
May we suggest “breath prayers” – short phrases you can repeat through your day:
“Help me trust you.” “You are with me.” Or “I’m depending on you.”
These short phrases not only keep a connection to God, the remind us of our relationship and the important things.
You won’t always FEEL God’s presence, but you can count on it.

Here’s a good question:
What can I do to remind myself to draw close to God?”

Even in the busyness of your day.... you can pause and check in with God!