Good News - December 2021

Largest Christian Newspaper in America • South Florida Edition • • December 2021 • Volume 23, Issue 9

Each of the past five years as we plan out our Christmas Issue, I am reminded how our spirits rise with anticipation. For many it is a time of hope and merriment; for others it may be disappointment or despair. It is real and that is reality. Perhaps that’s why we come together? We know our role. The smiles on those who grace our 5th Annual December GOOD NEWS front cover are our Faith Leaders who come together and gesture this is our village and we choose Hope. We are thankful they come together and appear on the front cover to greet you as you enter churches throughout South Florida all December. Problems or challenges? Moving right along, I see this on Facebook, an organic 5 week survey; 82,500 respondents with no suggestion of category. Question: If I could rid the world of one thing? (Top 13, parentheses is in thousands) Normally I distrust surveys solely because I believe they are agenda driven based on the polling party taking the “survey.” In this case the survey respondent numbers, over 82,500, would be considered a huge survey by any measure. I accept this organic survey because it is not run by anyone, it is simply a respondent response to a question – thrown out there to anyone; no age, gender or preconceived bias. I am not surprised by the findings or rankings, although I like baked beans, mind you this is a “If I could rid the world of one thing” survey – the field was wide open. Then I notice what was next: religion. Rid the world of one thing, Religion? That takes some serious thought and I chose to see that as a huge challenge. My friends know I like to stir the pot and love response. Personally I generally challenge “friends” to elicit response; I do not unfriend or block people unless they are vulgar – but contrarians are fun and therapy for many. I find I am “unfriended” or blocked by intolerant liberals who only seek affirmation, and the more the better. What do you think? While reading through the list, you may notice “Covid” did not rank high enough to enter the top tier with the assumption perhaps that it is temporary in the minds of most. Mind you these were not one-word responses, many if not most respondents gave their why’s and wherefores with explicit reasoning with no Facebook editing, and some were brutal but also provide a clear window in transparency. I get that there is no biblical attachment to this survey, but the suggestion there is a large unchurched population (that we already know), and it’s not passive. It also provides what I believe is an entry point of necessary dialogue. We know we have a lot of work to do, and we each play a vital role. I pray this is a challenge we accept with enthusiasm: there is Hope; follow Him; we know Him by name. “Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 NKJV). Merry Christmas to all, Les PUBLISHER 4 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition South Florida Edition • Good News • November 2021 • Volume 23, Issue 9 Advertising: We reach over 110,000 readers each month. 80,000 in print and 30,000 via our online digital edition. Placing an ad in our publication is affordable and effective to help grow your business. Call us today! Distribution: Available inmore than 800 locations throughout South Florida. To become a free distribution point for the newspaper, please contact Shelly. The Good News is published by Good News Media Group, LLC, Reproduction in whole or part strictly forbidden without the consent of the publisher. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Good News Media Group, LLC. PO Box 670368, Coral Springs, FL 33067 954-564-5378 • Publisher: Leslie J. Feldman [email protected] Editor: Shelly Pond [email protected] Art Director: Milton McPherson [email protected] Advertising & Marketing: Robert “Buddy” Helland Jr. V.P. Sr. Marketing Manager [email protected] Vice President: Michael Denker Corporate Engagement [email protected] Social Media Manager: Ariel Feldman [email protected] Editorial Assistant: Eric Solomon [email protected] Cover Photography: Justus Martin [email protected] On The Cover Good News Salutes Faith Leaders 2021-2022 in the cover photo shoot graciously hosted by Pastor Rob Pacienza and the staff of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in their grand sanctuary. Pictured from left to right, Front Row: Stephan Tchividjian, President and Co-Founder, National Christian Foundation South Florida; Doug Sauder, Lead Pastor, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale; Rob Pacienza, Lead Pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church; James R Welch, Lead Pastor, First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale; 2nd Row: Rev. Dr. O’Neal Dozier, Senior Pastor, The Worldwide Christian Center; Troy Gramling, Lead Pastor, Potential Church; Eddie Bevill, Pastor, Parkridge Church; Dr. Bob Barnes, CEO, Sheridan House Family Ministries; Edwin Copeland, Executive Director, Church United; 3rd Row: Darren Bennett, Campus Pastor, Calvary Chapel North Miami; Joe Vitkus, Rabbi, Temple Aron HaKodesh; Dr. Tommy Boland, Pastor, Cross Community Church; Dr. Mark George Van Dorn, Pastor and Chaplain, Florida Faith Church and The International Swimming Hall of Fame; Larry Lacy, Pastor, The Answer Church; 4th Row: Rev. Myron Rhodes, Jr., Senior Pastor, Grace Wesleyan Church; Douglas Lidwell, Pastor, Faith Farm Ministries; Dr. Gary Colboch, Senior Pastor , Grace Church; Arthur Connor Jr., Pastor, Metropolitan Baptist Church; David Cassidy, Lead Pastor, Spanish River Church; Justin Beam, Senior Pastor, New Presbyterian Church; 5th Row: Eddie Vega, Senior Pastor, Fuel Life Fellowship; Alex Umole, Campus Pastor, Christian Life Center Sunrise; Casey Cleveland, Lead Pastor, TheAvenue Church; Dr. PrestonWilliams II, Pastor, Gateway Church; Thomas Manning, Senior Pastor, Christian Life Center Fort Lauderdale; 6th Row: Steven Chapman, Campus Pastor, Christian Life Center Coral Springs; Edgar Pinares, Campus Pastor, Christian Life Center Spanish; Dr. Jason Jackson, Overseer and Senior Pastor, The Lion’s Den Missions Base; Brian McMillian, Campus Pastor, Coastal Community Church, Lighthouse Point; Bob di Scipio, Sr. Pastor, Hope for All Nations Church; Steve Daigle, Campus Pastor, Calvary Chapel Parkland; 7th Row: Michael Johnson, Associate Pastor, Jesus TeamMinistries; Brian McMillian, Campus Pastor, Coastal Community Church, Lighthouse Point; Steve Daigle, Campus Pastor, Calvary Chapel Parkland; Robert Barron, Pastor, Two Rivers Church; Ray Fowler, Senior Pastor, Plantation Community Church Christmas Blessings PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . .6 Tuesday Nights - by Stephan N. Tchividjian IN THE WORD . . . . . . . . . .8 Franklin Graham: The Gospel Can’t Be Stopped – by Franklin Graham INSIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Resurrecting Advent – by Rob Hoskins YOU ASKWHY? . . . . . . . .12 A Christmas Carol – by Tommy Boland LIVE THE LIFE . . . . . . . . . .14 Find the YES! – by Lisa May PARENTING . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Is It Truly More Blessed To Give Than Receive? – by Dr. Bob Barnes & Torrey Roberts THE CODE . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Don’t Give In: Be Resistant – by Dr. O.S. Hawkins HEART AND SOUL . . . . .20 Recovery Church Movement Brings Freedom and Purpose to Those inAddiction - by Dr. DebraA. Schwinn VILLAGE HYMNS . . . . . . .22 A Thrill of Hope – by Lane Wood THERE&BACKAGAIN . . .24 Phoebe And The Sisters – by Dr. Gene L. Green ENCOURAGEMENT . . . . .26 Trading Places – by Omar Aleman GOODNEWS WANTS TOKNOW . .28 – 30 What is the best Christmas surprise you've ever received? FAITH LEADERS 2021-2022 . . . . . . . . . .31 – 46 LEGAL Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . .48 How Do We Avoid Surprise Partners in Our Family Business? - by William C. Davell CALENDAR . . . . . . . .68 – 69 CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . . .71 - 74 1. Hate (13.7) 2. Cancer (10.8) 3. Politics (10.3) 4. Racism (4.9) 5. Government (3.5) 6. Ignorance (3.3) 7. Baked beans (3.1) 8. Religion (3.0) 9. Israel (2.1) 10. Abuse (1.9) 11. Poverty (1.9) 12. Social Media (1.6) 13. Vegetables (831) C O N T E N T S Good News • November 2021 • Volume 23 Issue 9

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PERSPECTIVE 6 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition A fun question to ask someone as you get to know them is whether they consider themselves an introvert or an extrovert. In essence, the answer to that question provides some insights as to how that person is refreshed. An extrovert is refreshed when they are around other people… the so called “energy in the room”. The introvert, on the other hand, is refreshed by finding a quiet place, alone with a good book. I am both… weird. I found out a few years ago they call that person an ambivert. I sometimes find it hard to navigate the idea of Christian community, sometimes relishing the idea of a crowd and other times resenting it. However, community isn’t always about a crowd. Almost 18 years ago I was asked to lunch by a friend. I always respected my friend and knew him to be passionate about his faith and always eager and bold to share it with others. My friend was participating in a small group of business men who would get together weekly for the primary purpose of learning the Bible. However, in addition to that time together in the Bible, the desire was to build deep friendships. I was asked if I would be interested in leading that group. I was honored to be asked. The body The past 18 years has taught me a lot of about what it means to be a part of something God puts together, like a body. I have learned a lot about other people; I have learned a lot about the Word of God, and I have also learned a lot about me. I have observed with great delight (most of the time) the wonderful variety of characters that God calls. The variety says something about how God thinks… which is always a mystery and when observed is absolutely endearing. Let me explain the format of our group meetings. First of all, everyone is welcome, and I mean everyone. A person can attend once and then come again weeks later… some people come once a year and others come weekly. You never know who will be in the room. There is usually a time of prayer, a time of short testimony (where someone shares in 10 minutes or less, their story) and then a discussion on a Biblical topic that has been assigned for the day. The simple format and group seem to attract an incredible variety of people, whose personality profiles would push the limits of your best tests. I have often observed characteristics of God through the various people that have attended this group. Let me indulge. Where we are I observed that God loves us where we are. We have seen people at their worst and yet were loved despite their situation. Think about a time when you were at your worst. Who reached out to you? Who loved you despite being tough to love? I am reminded of some in our group who were awaiting a prison sentence for some white-collar crime they had committed. The crimes were different as were their sentences. The group not only helped them prepare for their sentence, kept in touch with them and their families while in prison and then loved them back after their release. They are better today because they didn’t just hear about the love of God, but experienced it. God’s patience I have observed the patience of God. He sees the picture when it’s finished and is willing to allow us to take the journey. Yes, He loves us where we are, but He also loves us too much to keep us there. I have seen people come and go, some with a shallow understanding of God shaped by years of an image of God as the angry taskmaster that must be pleased or else. I have also observed people who have been shaped by His Grace and their arrogance, self-proclaimed superiority and success sobered by their own failures. I have attended and facilitated funerals of those who passed away and in the process was able to meet those who loved them dearly and get a glimpse of the “man at home.” I have observed men weep, men curse, men laugh, men sacrifice. I have seen fragile men, strong men, bold men and weak men. I have met men that live in regret and others that have not yet learned that lesson. I have met humble men and arrogant men. I have met men that are difficult to love and others easy to. Each time I am reminded at how God looks at each of us. Yes, He is a patient God. Small steps Lastly, I have been reminded that its more about the small steps then the giant leaps. I often live with the fear and question, as many of us do, that if someone truly knew the “real me” would we still be loved and accepted or would you be dismissed? I believe that many of us carry this burden that we pay God by living a life that pleases Him. However, since we feel like we have fallen behind, we begin each day with a deficit. The new day gives us another chance to make up some lost ground, and the pressure mounts. We need a spiritual homerun or perhaps a hail Mary. However, that’s not how God sees it. I think He’s much more tolerant and interested in the day-to-day journey… knowing it’s a bit raw and challenging. Remember, He made you the way you are but He is also at work in you to finish what He started. In conclusion, God has created all of us to be connected to another. Therefore, whether you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert…we are still in desperate need to find that group, that person, that community, that place that we belong. The place is important because we can’t hide there, eventually the true you is exposed. A God-created community is a beautiful thing. I find it amazing that as you walk with God a while you will see things in community that you may or may not see if you were to try and rush the journey. Tuesday nights has been that for me. It’s not always easy, but its real and lifegiving, and I have been gifted a front row seat to watching God work in the lives of my fellow man, and in the process, He has worked in mine. Stephan N. Tchividjian is the president and founder of the National Christian Foundation South Florida. Visit to learn more. - Stephan N. Tchividjian - National Christian Foundation President Tuesday Nights

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Imagine a nation wracked by killer plagues, divided by cultural factions, rife with corruption and immorality, and all too eager to blame and persecute Christians. Anation whose rulers have rejected almighty God and enthroned themselves. Did you think I was talking about our country and our times? Actually, I’m thinking about Rome during the early years of the church. In the New Testament era, the Roman Empire was a superpower that would soon be headed down a slippery slope. Pockets of prosperity made things seem better than they really were. Immorality, homosexuality and hedonism were rampant, especially among the ruling classes. Graft and corruption were systemic throughout the entire Roman bureaucracy. By the end of the first century, the persecution of Christians became a blood sport in Rome. Emperor Nero burned Christians as human torches, and Decius ordered the execution of Christians who refused to make sacrifices to the Roman gods. Yet in spite of all the obstacles, the Gospel of the crucified, buried and risen Christ was exploding throughout the known world, as bold believers filled with the Holy Spirit followed Christ’s Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Just 300 years or so after Roman authorities crucified Jesus, their empire was on the brink of collapse, rotting from the inside out. Rome fell, yet the church has prevailed for millennia. Now that our nation is in our third century, we need to learn lessons from Rome, so that we don’t end up on the ash heap of history. Some of our threats are external — including terrorism, a virus from China and aggressiveness from nations like North Korea and Iran. But the greatest threat to our nation is sin. It’s appropriate that one of the Apostle Paul’s sternest warnings against sin was in his letter to Roman believers. He detailed a long list of blatant sins and said that God eventually gave up these rebellious souls to their vile passions—people “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). We can see this all too clearly now in what has been the greatest nation on earth for so long. Homosexual marriages have been legalized by the ruling of the United States Supreme Court. The LGBTQ movement has become one of the most powerful lobbies in America, and progressive liberal politicians court their votes and seek their endorsement. Christian business owners who stand by their Biblical convictions in refusing to promote the LGBTQ agenda are punished by government authorities or targeted by people on social media. Just look at what’s happened to people like Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman, Colorado baker Jack Phillips and artisan Chad Barela. Yet in the midst of all this, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is marching forward. There is a growing spiritual thirst and hunger that only Almighty God can satisfy. The hopelessness of the world is priming multitudes to find the answer in the hope of the Gospel. That’s what I saw at every stop during our God Loves You Tour along Route 66, starting in Joliet, Illinois, and passing through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in San Bernardino, California. As I preached the Gospel of repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ, thousands stood to indicate they were committing their lives to the Savior. Praise God! It’s exciting to think of the great change that has already happened in their lives, and of the changes yet to come. Already, their sins have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and they are no longer under God’s condemnation. By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit will work to change their behavior, empower them to work and serve in Jesus’ Name, and help them stand boldly for their faith with a firm conviction. The Word of God that they heard when I proclaimed the Gospel now will become a treasure chest full of the Lord’s promises and principles to live by. That’s why the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope — not just for individuals, but for the world. When the Bible informs our conscience and guides our decisions, then local communities and towns, schools and workplaces can be redemptively affected. Their worldview is no longer shaped by an ungodly culture, but submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His Word. I thank God for the freedom we still have in this nation to proclaim the Gospel. It’s my prayer that many, many more will receive Christ as Savior and Lord as His Word is uncompromisingly preached in pulpits across America in the perilous days and years to come. This is truly our only hope. Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Photo: ©2021 Samaritan's Purse ©2021 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. BGEA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Used by permission 8 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition IN THE WORD - Franklin Graham - President and CEO Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Franklin Graham: The Gospel Can’t Be Stopped Yet in the midst of all this, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is marching forward. There is a growing spiritual thirst and hunger that only Almighty God can satisfy. The hopelessness of the world is priming multitudes to find the answer in the hope of the Gospel. ” “ The greatest threat to our nation is sin. ” “ From early Sunday mornings to middle of the night calls, THANK YOU PASTORS for always giving it your all.

INSIGHT 10 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition I love the days leading up to Christmas. Visiting family, enjoying great food, and seeing the anticipation for Christmas grow in my grandchildren are a few of my favorite things about this time of year. However, what I enjoy most is the celebration centered around Christ’s birth. Every year there seems to be an uproar over when it’s considered too early to begin the Christmas season. Some put away the fall decor and break out the Christmas tree weeks before Thanksgiving. Others wait until the Thanksgiving leftovers are long gone before even considering making the holiday transition. While some prepare weeks or months ahead for the commercial aspects of Christmas, many believers have forgotten the practice of preparing their hearts for Christmas through the celebration of Advent. The journey to the manager Traditionally celebrated during the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, Advent is a beautiful reminder of the journey to the manger. It prepares the hearts of believers for the arrival of our Savior. Advent provides all believers the chance to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas early by intentionally slowing down and following the biblical journey leading to Christ’s birth. This beautiful tradition has gradually been lost in many denominations today. However, it should be a time of year where we grow deeper in our faith as we meditate on the events leading up to the birth of Christ. Both on a family and individual level, participating in Advent is a meaningful way to celebrate Christmas early. Devotional readings Taking time to read an Advent devotional or follow Advent Scripture readings keeps my focus on what Christ’s birth means while I continue to enjoy traditional Christmas festivities. Learning more about the trials leading up to His birth also provides comfort and assurance that the trials we face now are only temporary. Think about Joseph and Mary in the moments after their son’s birth. They held their baby and knew they were looking at God. Imagine how they must have felt! The event of Christ’s birth was history-making, but often we are too quick to pause there and not consider what happened next. Mary and Joseph had the honor and responsibility of caring for Jesus, not just as a newborn, but for years to come. He was theirs to nurture and guide in every season, whether they were safe in a stable or running for their lives from a king. The image of Mary and Joseph physically carrying baby Jesus into their next season both warms my heart and convicts it. Carry Christ into the next season It can be easy to follow Advent for a few weeks, celebrate the birth of Jesus, and then tuck the story away. However, we need to be intentional about carrying Christ into the next season of our lives as well. That’s the power of Advent. Hope is born at Christmas, but the hope that is only found in Jesus is what sustains us all year. Even if you missed the majority of the celebration of Advent this year, you don’t need to miss out on the power of Advent for the rest of your life. As you consider your next season, think about this: Christmas and Jesus’ birth not only point us to Easter, but to the in-between – to seasons of new beginnings, of growing pains, of refinement. These are the seasons in which we need Jesus and His everlasting hope the most. I encourage you to take a step back this Christmas and allow yourself space to participate in Advent as we focus our minds and hearts on celebrating Christ’s coming. When Christmas comes to an end and 2022 approaches, I encourage you to include Jesus in every season. Build your goals for the next season on the power that Jesus brings - a power that doesn’t begin or end at His birth but continues through every part of our lives. Rob Hoskins is the President of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004 he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 1.7 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word. Resurrecting Advent - Rob Hoskins - OneHope President

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12 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition YOU ASK WHY A Christmas Carol “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). Growing up, I could not wait every year to sit in front of the television and watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” These were two of my favorite Christmas specials, and they still are today. As I got a little older, Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” was added to my list. You know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, whom Dickens described as “a squeezing, wrenching grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner.” One Christmas Eve, after eating “his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern,” Scrooge is visited by four ghosts. First, the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley, warns Scrooge of the consequences of continuing to live a greedy, self-serving life. This visit is followed by the apparitions of the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. The combination of these supernatural visits utterly transforms Scrooge’s cold heart, and it begins to beat warmly for the welfare of others. Gospel themes You can always find Gospel themes in every story, but Dickens wrote as a professing Christian, and he was clearly intentional about writing his classic tale from a Christian perspective. The title of his story — A Christmas Carol — proves this. A “Christmas carol” is a song celebrating the birth of Christ. Dickens structured his celebration on the foundation of the Gospel themes of sin, salvation and sanctification. He portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge as a sinful, self-centered scoundrel, sitting in his counting house on a frigid Christmas Eve, refusing to allow his shivering clerk, Bob Cratchit, to have even a small shovelful of coal to burn for heat. The word scrooge means “to squeeze,” and Scrooge squeezed every ounce of value out of everything he owned and everyone he knew. He was a curmudgeonly old miser, refusing to part with even a “farthing” (a single cent) to help his fellowman. Even his first name, Ebenezer, is wrought with significance. You may be familiar with the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and the lyric, “Here I raise my Ebenezer; here by Thy great help I’ve come.” Eben-Ezer is a location described in 1 Samuel as the scene of battles between the pagan Philistines and God’s people, Israel. The prophet Samuel prayed for God’s protection and deliverance, and God answered his prayer at Eben-Ezer. “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mitzpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us’” (1 Samuel 7:12). So to “raise my Ebenezer” is to erect a monument to God’s glory for His deliverance, and to make it known to the watching world that God is our Helper in times of need. In Dicken’s story, the final time the word Ebenezer appears is when the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come points to a tombstone, into which the name Ebenezer Scrooge is carved. It could be said that this tombstone might serve as a monument for others, warning them not to follow the path of godless, self-absorbed men like Scrooge and Jacob Marley. The gift But Dicken’s story does not end in a graveyard. The “gift” of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is the opportunity for Scrooge to repent of his sinful past. Scrooge cries, “The Spirits of [Christmas past, present, and future] shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!” The three ghosts have done their work; Ebenezer Scrooge is utterly transformed. Dickens concluded that Scrooge “became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town or borough in the good old world.” There are many lovely parallels between Dickens’ story and the Gospel, far too many to illustrate here. But I would like to return to one of them, because it seizes my heart every time I read it or see it on screen: Scrooge kneeling, terrified, before the gravestone, realizing for the first time that the wages of sin is death – his death. Judgment is at hand, and Scrooge begs the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, “Tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!” I cannot help but think that there will be untold millions of people who will utter a similar plea on the Last Day. The books will be opened, their lives will be judged against the perfect standard of God’s Law, which was etched in stone onMount Sinai, and the verdict will be pronounced: Guilty. For it is appointed for a man to die once, and then the judgment. There will be no “sponge,” no “Purgatory,” no way to alter their fate, only the grim sentence of eternal death. These lost souls will kneel, terrified, and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and beg that they may sponge away the condemnation etched next to their name . . . to no avail. God bless us every one And therein lies the wonder and joy of Christmas morning. “God bless us every one!” Tiny Tim exclaimed, and He did! The sovereign Lord of all the universe left the splendor and majesty of His throne room in heaven and put on flesh, becoming the babe in a manger who grew up to die, so that you and I might live with Him forever. “Glory to God in the highest,” the heavenly host sang on that first Christmas Day, “and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! I hope your heart is lifted this day by Charles Dickens’ lovely work of fiction; and I pray that your heart will open to accept this amazing, eternal truth: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” From the Boland family to yours: May your Christmas season be filled with the transforming power of the glorious good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “And it was always said of [Scrooge], that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!” Merry Christmas! Dr. Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach ( He blogs regularly at - Tommy Boland - Cross Community Church Pastor

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LIVE THE LIFE 14 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition I’ve been reading theNewTestament chronologically. I’ve read the NewTestament many times but never chronologically. The stories and teachings are more than familiar. Still, I hold fast to the truth of Hebrews 4:12, “For theword of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” I believe that a person’s soul and intents of the heart can and will be changed if they read the Scriptures, even in the absence of teaching. In reading chronologically, I’m reading the same story by a different author many times over. So, each day I ask God to showme what He wants me to glean from the familiar passages that day; something new, a different perspective, what is he telling me today. Again, His word has proven to be true. Still alive, still powerful, still speaking, still current, never antiquated, still direct, still personal. Of all the messages in the gospels, the one, for now, is the word yes. He’s telling me to find the YES! Saying yes doesn’t mean never saying no We live in a culture where we talk a lot about self-care, which sometimes requires us to say no to things. God doesn’t overlook that. He knows we need rest; He knows we need to talk with Him. He acknowledges that in providing the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 says, "The Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath." The Sabbath isn’t something else we have to do; it’s what we get to do. Saying yes, doesn’t mean we never say no. WhenHe needed rest, the Scriptures say He departed, went to the other side of the lake, found privacy, but there's never mention that He denied someone earnestly seeking Him. Over and over, Jesus says YES! Yes, to the paralytic, yes to the blind, yes to the centurion, yes, to the criminal on the cross, yes to the Samaritan woman, yes to the hungry, yes toMaryMagdalene, yes to dinner with the tax collectors, yes to Hismother Mary about turning the water into wine, yes to being made human, yes to the cross, yes to forgiveness, yes to me, yes to you! Yes does How often do we say yes? Saying yes creates responsibility. Yes requires action, saying yes requires commitment, yes is often inconvenient, yes, may require your time, yes, may be financially costly. Yes, requires engagement. Yes, often requires sacrifice. Saying no is easier. Saying no usually ends the conversation. Saying no removes responsibility. No, is often selfish, Yes, is usually selfless. Bob Goff wrote a book titled Love Does. The premise of the book is that love does things. Donald Miller wrote the foreword; he said, “Love does things; it writes a letter and gets on a plane. It orders pizza and jumps in a lake. It hugs and prays and cries and sings. It's a lot like finding the Yes! YES does and NO doesn’t. Say yes to giving your focused time to your family, yes to telling them you love them, yes to helping someone when it’s inconvenient. Christmas is a season of love. It’s the ultimate gift to humanity. Godmade human and born an infant because He said Yes to us. If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, I encourage you to say YES to Him. Live the Life South Florida exists to strengthen marriages and families through healthy relationship education, beginning in middle school through senior adults. We are educators, coaches, and pastoral counselors. If you're interested in learning more, I encourage you to consider participating in a Live the Lifeworkshop aswell as exploring a class with Life Essentials ([email protected]). If you're looking for a clinical counselor or therapist, we are blessed to have many in the South Florida community. We'd be honored to provide you a list of highly qualified and reputable individuals. Visit - Lisa May - Live the Life South Florida Executive Director Find the YES!

16 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition PARENTING “More blessed to give rather than receive?” You’ve got to be kidding! What kind of a statement is that? That’s ridiculous! Of course it’s more awesome to receive than it is to give. That’s what we’ve been taught all our lives. That’s what makes us feel good isn’t it; getting more things? What’s your appetite? But what if it were true? It’s kind of like eating vegetables. Once I was taught to eat them I eventually liked them. Then I really liked them. Then I discovered that I felt better when I ate my vegetables. It actually made me healthier than my previous diet of burgers. How could it be true? How could I be more blessed by giving than by getting? First we have to acknowledge that it must be true because it comes from Truth. “…You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35 NLT). Just because I don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Next we need to see if we can understand why the vegetable of giving is a better appetite to acquire. When I spend my life getting, I never seem able to satisfy that hunger. No matter how much I get, I want more and bigger. My appetite becomes insatiable! How long will it last? When I spend my life getting things, I end up with more things that can get lost, stolen or broken. I spend much of my time wanting to protect my acquisitions. When I risk learning the fun of giving, I end up doing something that can’t be taken away from me. Sharing with others is free of baggage. Whether the recipients express appreciation for my gifts or not is irrelevant if I’m doing it for the right reasons. Giving to others is really an opportunity to do something for Jesus. He even said when we do things for people in need (He called them the least of these in Matthew 25:40), we are really doing it for Him. It’s actually pretty exciting to imagine being invited to a party to give a gift to God. So giving that should excite us is really giving that uses people in need as an opportunity to give to Jesus and then give the glory for it to Jesus. When I give like that no one can take the blessing away. When I give without waiting to be thanked then I know I am giving to Jesus. A Counter-cultural lesson This is a difficult lesson to learn because our culture doesn’t teach it. Parents that teach this lesson to their children will give their children a great gift for life. These children will grow up without being victimized by marketers and advertisers. These children will learn the great lesson of learning to be content with what they have (Philippians 4:11). So what if we turned this Christmas upside down? What if we decided that it really was Christ’s birthday celebration? Imagine if we taught our children to get excited about giving rather than getting. This lesson would no doubt take a while to take, but it is a great lesson they would take on into adulthood. The teaching could start with a family meeting in early December. Decide the target for giving. It could be a widow in the church or a single mom family in the neighborhood. Pick the target of your generosity and get excited about giving to Jesus through this target this Christmas. It’s time we decided that the word of God is truth. Though my feelings have been poorly trained and corrupted to think it’s better to get gifts than it is to give gifts, this is the year to get it right. If you’ve spent a life time ignoring the health rules and backed away from vegetables, starting to eat asparagus takes some getting used to. But then you begin to realize that eating vegetables literally does make you feel better. When it comes to this year’s Christmas, it’s time to teach our children the joy of another kind of healthy consumption. The joy of giving is the blessing no one can take away, but it is a hunger and thirst that must be taught. Visit for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts. - Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts - Sheridan House FamilyMinistries Is It Truly More Blessed To Give Than Receive?

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THE CODE 18 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition Daniel 1:1–8 Daniel was keenly aware of the temptation to yield to the pressures of the culture around him.After all, he was a long way fromhome, and who would really know if he, for instance, changed his diet? Yet he chose to resist the pressures and not to give in to them. He drew the line. Note, however, that he went along with some things, nonessentials like learning the language or reading Babylon’s history. But Daniel resisted at each and every point he was called upon to do something that was diametrically opposed to his convictions regarding God’s commands. Daniel made some really tough decisions whenmany around him found it easier to go along and give in. To fully understand the significance of what is happening, we need to ask ourselves some questions: where, who, when, what and why. Where does all of this take place? Daniel’s story begins at home in Judah. After the reign of King Solomon, the twelve tribes of Israel divided into ten tribes in the north and two in the south. The northern kingdom never had one good king and met its end in 722 B.C. when they were taken away into Assyrian captivity. In the south, nineteen kings ruled from its capital in Jerusalemover three and a half centuries. Whilemany of the kings strayed from their biblical convictions, several of them were good kings. It was here in the southern kingdom of Judah that Daniel was born, and we meet him when he was a teenager. The other place mentioned is Babylon, located in modern-day Iraq. In Daniel’s day, Babylon had become the antithesis to everything Bible believers hold dear. It was the heart of paganism and the undisputed world power of its day. Who is involved? Abetter understanding comes with a knowledge of who was on center stage in Daniel’s story. There was Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. He was an electrifying leader who built an incredible city and developed a world empire. Next, we meet Jehoiakim, king of Judah, on his throne in Jerusalem. Sadly, he was nothing more than a spineless puppet. He led the Jews to worship other gods and “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 24:19). The Bible places the blame squarely on him for filling Jerusalem “with innocent blood” (v. 4). We are also introduced to a young man named Daniel, who was a descendant of good King Hezekiah. As a boy, he was caught up in the spiritual revival under King Josiah, an experience that profoundly impacted his young life. Extremely bright and handsome, if he lived in our modern world, he would no doubt be elected as “Most Likely to Succeed” at any school he attended. But his world, with all its promise, was turned upside down when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took him captive back to Babylon. When did all of this take place? Daniel 1:1 reveals that these events ensued during the “third year of the reign of Jehoiakim.” That would date this episode in 605 B.C. By God’s design, these were days of severe punishment and persecution of God’s straying people. Nebuchadnezzar rounded up a small group of Judah’s brightest and most promising young people and carried them back to Babylon. When the destruction of Jerusalem became complete in 587 B.C., Daniel had already been in exile throughout his teen years and into his early adulthood. What was actually taking place? It was nothing short of the judgment of God Himself. The Bible frames it by saying, “The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into [Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand” (Daniel 1:2). God was in control, and the lesson is… He still is in control. He is holding the remote. He is pushing the buttons. In a real sense, this wicked king of Babylon was nothing more than the remote control in the hand of God. Jeremiah even quoted the Lord as calling Nebuchadnezzar “My servant” (Jeremiah 25:9). Not a lot of people in our modern world seem to believe that God still judges sin and that He actually still holds in His hand the remote control over our lives and all history. For years, this coming Babylonian captivity had been predicted by God’s prophets in amazing detail (Isaiah 39:5–7; Jeremiah 25:8–12; 2 Kings 20:17–18). However, Judah would not repent. Warning after warning came their way, but they blindly believed that they were indestructible. Before we are too quick to point a finger of accusation their way, we should examine ourselves to see if we are not sailing the seas of uncertainty in the same boat. Once the people of Judah were taken away into captivity, we only have to read Psalm 137:1–6 to catch a glimpse into their hearts: By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth— If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. Yes, it was the Lord who gave the Jews into Babylonian captivity. And why did God allow this? After all, He once called Israel the “apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8), but the Bible says, “Whom the Lord loves He chastens” (Hebrews 12:6). The captivity was not designed so much to scourge His people as to purge them. Many good things resulted in the aftermath. Israel never again followed after idols, and that remains true to this very day. The Hebrew Bible began to come together under men like Ezra. The remnant of God’s people eventually returned to Jerusalem, and in it was the seed of our Messiah. This captivity carried God’s message of hope and love to heathen lands. A few centuries later, when the Magi came from this same region to Bethlehem to worship the Christ child, it was because their forefathers had heard of Him from Daniel and passed the account down through the generations. And all this happened because Daniel refused to give in; he stood resistant to the pressures around him. He stood for what he believed. We need many more like Daniel today. Taken from The Daniel Code by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 by Dr. O.S. Hawkins. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. O. S. Hawkins has served pastorates, including the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for more than 25 years. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he has a BBA from Texas Christian University and his MDiv and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For almost a quarter of a century, he has served as president of GuideStone Financial Resources, with assets under management of $20 billion, serving 250,000 pastors, church staff members, missionaries, doctors, university professors, and other workers in various Christian organizations with their investment, retirement, and benefit service needs. He is the author of more than 40 books and regularly speaks to business groups and churches across the nation. All the author’s royalties and proceeds from the entire Code series go to support Mission:Dignity. You can learn more about Mission:Dignity by visiting For more information on the Code series, visit Don’t Give In: Be Resistant - Dr. O.S. Hawkins - President, Guidestone Financial Resources

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HEART AND SOUL 20 DECEMBER 2021 Good News • South Florida Edition As we light the candles of Advent I must tell you about a wonderful way the light of Christ powerfully pierces the darkness of drug and alcohol addiction. Meet Recovery Church (, a ministry for people in recovery by people in recovery. Founded and led by Palm Beach Atlantic University alumnus Phil Dvorak, this ministry has become a movement, spreading across the country as God brings freedom and purpose to those in addiction – people like Chris Phillips. Chris had come all the way from Washington State to enter a Palm Beach County treatment center. But he was more than skeptical in 2018 when the center van took him to the Recovery Church service in Lake Worth Beach. “I told them I didn’t want anything to do with Christianity.” The group at Recovery Church responded, “No problem. Just keep coming back.” Phil Dvorak, who has traveled his own path of alcoholism and recovery, explained how this welcoming, “no judgment” attitude gives newcomers a supportive community and space to find their way. “They’re a part of our family,” Phil said. “They can belong before they believe and belong before they behave.” So Chris became a part of that community, and as he worked through the Alcoholics Anonymous “12 steps” in his treatment center, he realized he was amidst people who were “not just sober, but happy and free.” His newfound friends at Recovery Church “were right there” when Chris “was softened up enough to let God in,” he said. “And once you let God in, Man! He does all the work.” The way to stay sober Today 46-year-old Chris is sober, living and working in the area and serving as a volunteer at Recovery Church. The way to stay sober, he has learned, is to help your fellow alcoholic or addict. He’s shared his story at Palm Beach Atlantic in classes taught by Dr. Philip Henry, professor of counseling. PBA’s master’s degree program in clinical mental health counseling has prepared many graduates to serve in treatment centers. Phil Dvorak completed that program in 2003, and he recalls the professors “who just poured into us and invested in us.” He values how PBA faculty integrated their faith into their curriculum, and he made that method his own after he began working in the treatment field. He was working full time at a treatment center when the center director told him, “You should plant a church for addicts and alcoholics in the community.” I don’t have time to plant a church, Phil thought. But with nudging from his boss and from a pastor friend, he took the lead to open the first Recovery Church. To his surprise, about 75 people turned out the first night, and after that, “it just exploded,” Phil said. “It kept growing and growing.” Phil realized the new church was filling a gap between treatment centers and conventional churches. “If you’re in addiction and you walk into a church,” he said, “the natural response from the people who aren’t struggling the same way is to feel a little uncomfortable.” And if a person’s in recovery, but thinking about using drugs again, “in most churches he can’t be transparent and completely honest about his struggle.” Come as you are: RAW At Recovery Church, the transparency begins with the people on the stage leading worship, sharing their testimonies and teaching from the Scripture. Some wear a T-shirt that proclaims, COME AS YOU ARE – RAW, citing Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” APBAphotographer visited the Thursday evening service at Recovery Church in Lake Worth Beach, taking photos only of the people on the stage, but observing the heartfelt worship of the 130 or so men and women gathered. “By the way these people sing ‘Who breaks the power of sin and darkness,’” he said, “you can tell they’ve truly experienced that power.” Recovery Church became Phil Dvorak’s full-time job, and recently the church hired its second full-time worker, Junior Saint-Val. Junior serves as a pastor and national coach as the ministry plants Recovery Churches in other areas. Recovering addicts and alcoholics who came to Palm Beach County for treatment have called for Recovery Churches to be planted when they returned to their distant homes. As a result, Recovery Church Movement now counts more than 1,000 people gathering each week across several states. Junior and Phil hope to see Recovery Church operating in 30 locations by the end of 2021. God has worked in a remarkable way, they say. And Junior cites the gentle, humble leadership in the movement’s leader: “I’ve seen Pastor Phil, late at night, putting himself second, going out of his way to help alcoholics and addicts.” I’ve not had the blessing of attending Recovery Church, but in my mind’s eye I can see Phil Dvorak putting an arm around the shoulder of a struggling brother in Christ. In the same way, I can see our counseling professor Philip Henry sharing his heart of compassion with students. God is good. And Jesus Christ does, indeed, break the power of sin and darkness. Dr. Debra A. Schwinn, a physician, researcher and innovator, is president of Palm Beach Atlantic University. ( - Dr. Debra A. Schwinn - Palm Beach Atlantic University President - Phil Dvorak - Recovery Church founder - Recovery ChurchMovement Brings Freedom to Those in Addiction Recovery Church team at Lake Worth Beach leads heartfelt worship.