May the God of ENDURANCE and ENCOURAGEMENT grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that TOGETHER you may with ONE VOICE glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My mind had been almost yelling at me inside my head for two years—GET ORGANIZED. We moved in quickly after a long remodel. When you have everything in storage for 10 months, you forget what you have. You also buy things you packed that you needed, because you weren’t planning on being out of a house that long. When you have a high maintenance daughter, in the cutest ways of course (MOSTLY), free time isn’t exactly something you get. When you do, it’s difficult to choose to tackle a closet or a toy room. Right? You know what I’m saying. You have your own stressful disasters needing attention.
So, I was sitting in the middle of the bed working on the magazine, when I received a note. We had a Christian organizational genius wanting to advertise. Interesting. We sent emails. Ideas were flying. We talked through who she would be targeting. Somewhere in the exchange, I realized “Hold on. I am her target market.” I’m a completely worn out, super busy mom, doing more things than sound possible to keep up with our family daily to-do lists. Are you with me? You don’t have to answer. You probably don’t have time.
Pretty soon she was ringing my doorbell like an angel from heaven. I heard her own little theme song in my head, “Here I am to save the day.” She started the next day. Just knowing she was coming gave me relief. My super busy soccer/dance/gymnastics mom brain needed RELIEF. I didn’t even realize it when she reached out. I was so worn out that it took a little bit.
Was it possible God sent her to get me settled, so that I could focus on all that He had given me that mattered? I absolutely think so. Of course, I think He had plans to help her with her business. God can and does send us blessings that are precisely what we need JUST when we feel at the end of our rope. So, she tackled my daughter’s massive number of toys as her first project. Now, we have neat little baskets, lined up under tables and in cabinets, offering my daughter a pleasant playtime experience. She can also keep organized now because things have a place where they go! It’s a beautiful plan. She found toys my daughter thought she lost. My daughter was thrilled. So was I. And, RELIEVED. What a breath of fresh air—and I needed some really fresh air.
When she left, I thought—maybe YOU also need to know she exists. It’s highly likely YOU could be a super busy mom caught in the cross hairs of happy exhaustion. We love our families, but sometimes keeping up is just beyond what we can do. Sometimes a little relief—maybe in the form of a super organizer is exactly what you could use too. Moving? Unpacking? Pantry hiding your food until it expires? Closet overtaking your bedroom? The list goes on of things God has really gifted her to do to organize worlds. Plus, she loves it. That’s a perfect fit for us all.
In case you’re me, give her a call and see what she can do for you. Whether she inspires you to tackle other rooms using her ideas after she gives you a start or comes in and takes the whole mess off your very full plate—I hope you feel some of what I felt today. She was a breath of fresh organized air.
Take a lesson from your seven-year-old
Written by Randy C. Cowell, M.S, LUTCF, CFP®, CRPC®
He called a little child to his side and said to those that would listen, “Unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 is one of many verses that encourages us to take on childlike qualities. As we observe the little ones at play, it is easy to envy their non-complicated world. They live a simple, straightforward kind of existence without a lot of strings attached. By all accounts they seem to manage just fine. In fact, it would often appear they get along better when adults don’t get involved with their hidden agendas and the added pressure that success in the “rat race” brings.
A Childlike Faith
I recall the time my son accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He was seven years old and we were attending the wonderful performance of A Toymaker’s Dream. As the performance was about to end, the actor playing the role of Jesus gave an invitation for all unbelievers. He simply asked the question, “Would you like Jesus to live in your heart forever?” No sooner than he finished the question, my son, sitting in the balcony isle, raised his second-grade hand as high as possible. What was about to happen wasn’t in any of the parenting manuals! Jesus directed those that responded to come down immediately. At a breakneck pace, my only son began his life-changing journey down the steep stairs! As he ran to Jesus, I tracked the top of his head bobbing and weaving in and out of the crowd. I finally caught up as he was being ushered to a large counseling room behind the stage. Quietly assuming a non-conspicuous position as observer, I witnessed a young man proceed to confirm my son’s spiritual decision. As he presented the simple plan of salvation, I remember how impressed I was with his unassuming approach. He did not mention doctrinal issues or offer an elaborate explanation of denomination platitudes. Instead, he simply presented the gospel in terms a seven-year-old could comprehend and accept. You see, salvation is quite a simple concept when seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old.
The Envelope, Please
We take this same simple approach when we teach our children about finances. In this issue we will discuss how to teach children how to handle money and more importantly, teach them how to be good stewards with God’s resources.
For lack of a better name, we can call this the “envelope method.” It involves three envelopes, very little supervision, and is based on three principles. These are, give some, save some, and spend some. To demonstrate the process, let’s assume you give your six-year-old a dollar for picking up his or her toys.
The first envelope is for giving back to God. I believe you should emphasize the concept of giving back to God as opposed to simply calling it a tithe. That’s a complicated term and God doesn’t care what your child calls it. Initially they will need your assistance. Remember dimes and the one-tenth concept of tithe are new concepts, so be patient. Soon, they will be putting dimes into God’s envelope on their own. As they grow in their faith and stewardship, you will see their self0esteem and confidence grow. If we examine closely, it would seem that in their acts of obedience they are attempting to teach us a lesson. Not only is it more blessed to receive but it’s a lot of fun!
The second envelope allows you to teach your child about saving for a “rainy day,” or a large future purchase. This could amount to a coloring book or a new football, but teaching your child about saving supports the concept of delayed gratification and financial discipline, a concept, I might add, that many Americans need to be reminded of. How much a young person should be encouraged to save is a good question. I believe that saving at least twenty-five percent of their allowance or birthday money from “gramps” is a great start. For all those counting, that’s two dimes and a nickel. Can you imagine if we adults did this? Saving money for future purposes, paying cash and ultimately not being forced to use credit cards at usury rates sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I could dwell on that subject but I must go on to the third envelope.
The third envelope is the spending envelope or the “one for fun.” It receives sixty-five cents and for many young children, that is quite a bit of money. More times than not, they will want to save and give even more. In fact, they will often question the amount they are giving to God. Not that it’s too much, mind you, but that it’s not enough! What happens between the time we want to give God everything and the tie we allow our giving to be secondary to MasterCard™ and a new car? Maybe we don’t really become selfish and believe we can live without God until we become more “mature.” Many would argue and say it’s because our adult financial plans have become so complicated. This is certainly true. As our financial plans become more complex with asset modeling, betas, and multi-fund management, it seems our financial concerns are like so many spinning plates wobbling out of control. I wonder, when we ultimately stand in front of God to give a final account of our stewardship, if He will accept our excuses. We would be wise to observe the little children, learn their ways and strive for simplicity.
Randy is the President and Senior Strategist of ACT Financial Services, Inc. He is a Certified Financial Planner®, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor®, Investment Advisor Representative of HTK, Inc. and recognized as a Fellow by the Underwriters Training Council (LUTCF). His expertise combined with a unique “Biblically-based” philosophy, has served his clients well for over three decades.
Registered Representative of and Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC (HTK). Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC 4111 S. Darlington Ave., Suite 800, Tulsa, OK 74135 (918) 664-6511. HTK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. ACT Financial Services, Inc. is independent of Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC. HTK does not provide legal or tax advice. 483857AL_APR21
Written by Karen Hardin
If you are watching the political horizon, it is clear that our nation is in crisis. The two primary political parties have never been more divided. At the core of this battle is the determination to remove God.
Yet here in Oklahoma, something very different is taking place.
“We are getting the church and its people back into government rather than the silent posture we have taken over the years,” explains Jesse Leon Rodgers, founder and president of City Elders and chairman of the Oklahoma Watchmen on the Wall Network; the pastor’s network of the Family Research Council.
City Elders is a biblical, reformational form of city governance which is based upon the model of the governing elders of the ancient cities of Israel and the function of New Testament Eldership.
Over the past two years, Rodgers and his team have been working with leaders across the state and the transformation taking place has been nothing short of amazing. So far forty-two of the seventy-seven counties have embraced this new structure in which governing city leaders now sit at the table to work side-by-side with Christian leaders in their city to bring strength and transformation.
Who and what are city elders? “They are shepherds, civil servants and stewards,” Rodgers explained. “They are experienced, anointed and recognized leaders from the three primary spheres of God ordained authority; the Church, civil government and business.”
As Rodgers and his team continue working to introduce this model to every county in Oklahoma, they are already receiving requests to assist in other states as well. Why is this important?
“The truth is, we’ve been lied to that the Church and its people are to remain separate from government. It’s not in our constitution and it’s not in the Bible,” Rodgers continued.
Throughout the Bible, religious leaders took on the role to assist in the organization and governing the people and also interacted with governmental leaders.
When the task of governing the Israelites became too burdensome, Moses called upon the Lord who said, “The Lord said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.’” (Num 11:16-17)
Daniel and Joseph of biblical days both served as advisors to government leaders.
And the Apostle Paul, as a religious leader of his day, referred to government laws and interacted with government leaders. (Acts 16:37, 22:25)
So as Christians how can we transform our nation? City-by-city. County-by-county. State-by-state.
According to Marc Nuttle, political consultant to Governor Stitt’s Campaign—
“We don’t need a revitalization plan. We need an infastructure plan. What we currently have is not sustainable. For example, in Oklahoma in many of our county seats, the government is the largest employer! Our constitution’s language is outdated and needs to be updated. Our school system needs to be reorganized and restructured to better utilize the funds available.”
Although Nittle was referring specifically to Oklahoma, this can be said for almost every state in our nation.
The reason our country is in crisis and on the verge of socialist takeover, is because the biblical example of Christian elders and leaders in government positions has been abandoned. When the Left introduced the false narrative of “separation of church and state,” sadly many bought into this lie, which is not only not in our constitution, but the phrase used by Thomas Jefferson was about protecting the Church and religion from the government, not the reverse. (For more on this go to: https://wallbuilders.com/separation-church-state/)
So as Christians how can we transform our nation? City-by-city. County-by-county. State-by-state.
So what can we do?
2. Get involved.VOTE. VOLUNTEER.
3. Give. Prayer by itself is not enough. Faith without works is dead. We need to open our wallets and put our money where our mouth is. If there is a God-fearing candidate willing to put their name and time on the line to help bring about transformation, the least we can do is get behind them financially to help them.
4. Spread the Word. This is an area in which everyone can help.
How? Talk about upcoming elections. Be informed. Search out when elections in your local area are taking place. Go and take others with you.
Talk about candidates and why you support them to your family, friends and those you meet. Be willing to engage in conversations, rather than remain silent.
If you would like to know more or get involved with City Elders, go to: CityElders@gmail.com or call (580) 320-7188.
ABOUT: Karen Hardin is an intercessor, author, minister and literary agent. She is called to exhort, encourage and help raise up the remnant. She desires to empower those who have grown weary so they can reposition to walk in identity and destiny. Her work has appeared in USA Today, World Net Daily, Intercessors for America, Charisma, CBN.com, The Elijah List, etc. For additional information you can contact her at www.prioritypr.org or www.karenhardin.com
Written by Teresa Goodnight
In the July issue, I shared a story about nearsighted children. Dr. Chenoweth had my full attention, explaining how he could stop most nearsightedness for children in its tracks with CRT, potentially preventing eye diseases later in life that could lead to blindness. I was so amazed, I started asking parents who had children with glasses, “Are they nearsighted?” I’m not kidding. I did it across Epcot, Hollywood, and the Magic Kingdom. I wanted everyone to hear the good news. Then God kicked me in the shins. HARD.
Why in the world do I not have that same gusto (if not greater of course) for sharing Christ with people? When you have such incredible news—you just can’t HELP it. Right? You want to share it. I am not sure I ever have had that same gusto for telling folks about Christ. Why? I mean preventing potential blindness is big news. Don’t get me wrong. You should check out the July issue. But really? Knowing Jesus makes an eternal difference. Every single day people lose their life without knowing Jesus. Every single day, they are destined to be separated from God for eternity. How in the world is THAT life altering news not coming out of my lips with everyone I met? I have the information that could save their soul for crying out loud.
I used to stop at booths in the mall with the Campus Crusade Four Spiritual Laws booklet in tote. I USED to know sharing Jesus was THE most important thing I could ever share with anyone. If you’re reading this magazine, you likely already know Christ. (If you don’t—we need to talk!) So, you would agree what God did for us sending His son—it was a bit monumental. Life changing. It restores man to a relationship with our heavenly Father.
Why doesn’t it flow into my conversation with such zesty purpose as it did with the news about protecting a kid’s vision?
What in the whole big world is more important than sharing the life-altering, eternal redemption found in how He removed our sins as far as the east is from the west?
Judging by my life?
I considered myself a spiritually charged evangelist when I joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU). It’s an organization built around Jesus’ basic ministry: You go share Christ. You bring in the new believers. You teach them. Then, you challenge them to go out and do the same. Discipleship 101.
I wasn’t as good as CRU founder, Dr. Bill Bright, at getting someone into a meaningful conversation about Christ, but I was learning. Watching. Trying to get better. It was an active pursuit while I was in college and while I was on staff. It mattered. Then somewhere along the way, it didn’t. It faded? Maybe having a job and other responsibilities took away my focus? Whatever it was—it faded until it was so close to non-existent, it simply moved from my priorities—from my heart.
Really, you have to wonder. How did a CORE message from Christ get pushed out from our daily duties as His followers? I can tell you for me, it was not a difficult push. I believe in reaching people for Christ. However, it was much, MUCH easier to slip into a complacent mode. In fact, I slipped so much that I can’t tell you when I personally shared Christ with someone in a one-on-one situation aside from mission’s trips. I can’t. It’s not that I’m shy. I’ve sold large multi-million dollar deals to the largest telecom giants out there. I can talk to a wall. It comes straight down from my grandfather to my mother in my DNA. I mean, come on—I’m asking strangers about their kid’s eye condition on the other side of the country. My limits aren’t exactly pressing me in.
You know what I think? I think I slowly shifted my focus onto things of this world. I spent my time like other things mattered more. I just kinda let the “Good News” of life everlasting, salvation from sins, and finding a way to live a more meaningful life under God’s grace and out of shame fall out of the front of my mind. Maybe Satan, the oh so powerful distractor, snuck in through a tiny crack and repurposed my focus? Seems like his game. He is quite the master. Regardless of how it happened—I’m still in control of it. It is still off track, but I’m repenting, confessing and hopping back onto God’s path. I can tell you this: It was NOT going to get back on track unless I purposefully moved it back.
The Great Commission is a direct command in its simplest form. The last Jesus shared before heading to Heaven. I guess it might have been important from his perspective?
Have you been there?
Are you there right now?
Have you let the passion for the things that matter most disappear? Let them get pushed behind everything else?
A Look Back at The Call
One thing Jesus did was to focus His teaching on the things that mattered. He didn’t waste time. He knew He didn’t have much time to train His disciples if they were to be the instruments for spreading the news of His death, burial, and resurrection. He poured into them. He lived out the “Great Commission” by example and then challenged them to repeat the process.
It didn’t take years in the church to train His disciples. He spent about 3 years with them. However, they were certainly a part of His ministry as they were being trained through doing life together. They were reaching people with Him. Some of the best training parts in the Bible are Jesus’ ministry days shared by the disciples. (Mathew, Mark, Luke, John). The New Testament shares the teachings as the disciples themselves learned more and guided new believers to keep them in line with Jesus’s teachings.
How long have you known Christ? Been in the church? Been receiving from head pastors teaching into your life? It’s quite likely you are more than well trained.
I suspect most reading are not super new believers. I bet many, like myself, have known Christ for decades, but somehow missed that following His command to go and make disciples wasn’t really optional. It’s certainly not a call for just the pastors of the church. In fact, I could (I will) write an entire article on the role of pastors in the Church. We put a large burden upon their shoulders they were never meant to carry alone.
Jesus called the 12 disciples because He needed to train up a group, who could share the good news. He trained the 12, who got to experience His teaching. Those 12, who after Judas betrayed Him became 11, did exactly what Jesus called them to do. Spiritual multiplication. In fact, through their obedience and of course God’s Holy Spirit, therein lies the path for how you and I came to know Christ. They are our spiritual forefathers.
So if I’m not doing it and you’re not doing it, then who in the world is reaching, teaching and training the next generation for Christ? Just the pastors? I need to break it to you. That kind of teaching does not fall on just the pastors of the Church to pursue. Goodness. They’ve been pouring into most of us for decades. They are probably worn out waiting for us to rise up and take on our role alongside of them.
It’s something we can do with Bible studies—Discipleship 101. We teach the basics of the faith (saved by grace, not works, nothing we can do to earn it) kind of stuff. Then, we take the new believers into the world and show them how to teach those studies. We show them how to share Christ. The greatest lessons are by example as much as by teaching from the Bible. In fact, I would put forth that the Millennial generation is constantly searching for people who do what they say. They want examples to follow.
We all aren’t called to use the Four Spiritual Laws kind of method. However, we should understand the Gospel enough and employ SOME sort of method. We should re-engage (or engage for the first time) with our God-given purpose shared by Jesus—to go and make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them, and setting them up to go and do the same. We should live a life that makes them want what they see we have—like peace that passes all understanding, love that gives when it’s not easy, and grace for when we miss the mark by a landslide.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19–20 (NLT)
If you are wondering: The time is NOW.
At the moment, Americans aren’t at risk of losing our lives for sharing Christ. We still live in a free country (for now). Others are not so lucky. I felt the fear while on a missions trip in China. I saw the guns in the hotel lobby. I knew to be careful what I shared. Here in America though, we are free to have those conversations without much fear of harmful persecution. There, they can be put in prison for having a Bible study in their home.
So, I challenge you, as I’m challenging myself, with Jesus’ command to go. Let’s get back to our CORE purpose. Let’s see what that kind of focus can do in our lives and in other’s lives. It’s a message that can change the world one lost soul at a time.
Not Equipped? Need a Refresher?
Don’t let it stop you! You are not alone. Come with us. If you aren’t in a situation to get the basics of our faith from your church for discipleship purposes—reach out to us. We will help plug you into a church. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Don’t Know Christ? Let’s get that introduction started. Just send me an email and we can help you understand that we are all lost—every one of us, until we choose a relationship with God. That relationship is made possible by the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. He died in our place for our mistakes. He takes away our shame and our guilt. He raises us to new life with God when we claim that gift in a prayer to Him. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can just read these few sentences to Him. He just needs our hearts.
“God—I know I’ve messed up. I can’t get to you without Jesus so you came to me. You sent him for me. He paid for my sins. I accept that payment. I can be born again as a new creation with you. In Jesus name I pray—Amen!”
Written by Teresa Goodnight
Matthew 25:34–40 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
In the church, we TALK A LOT about loving our neighbor. In fact, we talk about loving them like we love ourselves. Those are some pretty BIG WORDS. I wonder though, what good are words without action? I think they are like faith without action. Dead. I know, because too many times I have found myself thinking that someone else had it. That the needs I saw would be met by someone else. They probably were. However, how many chances have I missed to be God’s hands? God’s feet?
I’m a writer. I like words, but not this time.
This time I’m keeping it short. I’m asking you to get up and do something with me.
Matthew 25: 29–30 (NLT) “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness . . .”
With the families who lost everything in the floods still trying to figure out how to find solid ground to stand on, there’s a great opportunity to start putting your actions where your words are. Just read below what a handful of churches are doing in Sand Springs to help . . . and HOW MUCH IS STILL TO BE DONE. These Christians are pouring love all over the place and they need some folks to come give them some relief from the bench.
LOVE IS A VERB.
Here’s what it looks like.
A Requested Report from Rusty Gunn, Pastor, Church that Matters: Coordinators of Flooded Family Relief in Sand Springs
We have had a crazy busy weekend (and about 3 weeks preparing) out here with flood relief. We had a furniture/appliance swap meet where people were able to drop off donated furniture and appliances from 8–11 am and then flood affected families were able to pick up items from 1–3 pm Saturday. We had pallet loads of Tempur-Pedic pillows, makeup, toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, air dryers, pots and pans, coffee makers, and food boxes as well. We served over 100 families.
Then Sunday we had our church’s “Don’t GO to Church Sunday” where we had over 225 people out doing about 15–20 community projects. One of those projects was providing new bicycles for the flood affected kids on Sunday. Our kid’s ministry put on a brief kid and family program with a gospel presentation and then distributed 65 bicycles to kids who lost theirs in the flood. We fed the families lunch after as well.
Then at 2 pm we had our community “Back To School Bash” at Tulsa Technology Center’s Sand Springs campus, where we distributed over 500 backpacks filled with school supplies and had free haircuts, dental exams, eye exams, blood tests, food, games, etc.
All that to say we are fairly exhausted at this very moment.
We have provided sheetrock with mud and tape, insulation, brand new refrigerators, dishwashers, stove/ovens, and cabinets for about 40 homes so far and the needs are still being realized just about every day. There is still A LOT of work to be done. I met a man yesterday who has not even begun his rebuild process. I met a family, whose children are in counseling because of the trauma from this event. People are having to try to rebuild the insides of their homes from the sticks up and at the same time try to maintain their yard work along with their full-time jobs. We have 2 cancer patients we are working with, who are also having to balance their treatments with all the work they are doing.
We are incredibly thankful to those who HAVE sent support, people, and resources. Victory Church has really been a huge blessing to us specifically! We are so grateful for the help we have received but just need more. Our own community is experiencing what is apparently known as compassion fatigue. So much still needs to be done.
It’s our turn.
Grab your wallet.
Grab your church, Sunday School class, your Bible study group—whatever group you can get to join you. If no one wants to come? Just grab yourself.
Let’s get Church that Matters (and the other churches in Sand Springs helping them) what they need. Let’s volunteer to join them in loving our neighbor . . . as ourselves. Email us at info@community
spiritmagazine.com or reach the church directly at email@example.com or call 918-512-1486 to offer what you have. Let’s help these amazing Christians feel supported in their efforts to love their neighbors and give them some love of our Lord and Saviour!