Good News - February 2022

Largest Christian Newspaper in America • South Florida Edition • • february 2022 • Volume 23, Issue 11

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On The Cover Live the Life South Florida Board Members gather at BrandStar Studios’ beautiful state-of the-art facility to discuss the kickoff of their 10-year initiative entitled “All In” for marriage and families, which is designed to transform Broward Country for the better through healthy relationship education. Read the Cover Story beginning on page 24. Pictured Center: Vikki & Bernhard Langer; Left to Right: Kelly & Milan Stefanovic, Danielle & Scot Seagrave, Lynn Ellen & Ron Collins, Deretta & Wayne Cotton, Christina &WadidDaoud, Debbie &KevinGroeneveld, Susan & JimYezbick, Margaret &Scott Whiddon, Candace (not pictured) &Romney Rogers. Photography by Luis Feliz PUBLISHER 6 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition I am reminded that I’m influenced by a lot of nonsense. You can call it clutter. Every now and then I get lucky, and things crystallize in the most bizarre way. It usually starts with my noticing the background and I ponder why? The main frame seems obvious to everyone, but for some reason it’s the setting that has always interested me. My mind seems like a camera lens; I try to capture the essence. The soul. There must be a reason, more to the story? This month we feature Live The Life a ministry to “strengthen marriages and families.” When I first became aware of LTL, I was mesmerized when Lisa May talked about their mission. Mind you, most organizations seem cookie cutter with noble intentions, lofty expectations and reasonable accomplishments to inspire you, but my “lens” was curious. Lisa talked about her stellar Board of Directors, and this is where the rubber hits the road. “We seek” the husband and wife as a unit. Marriages suffer when the man goes off to attend meetings and leaves the home, and when the woman goes off to her groups. We don’t want to separate the marriage home. We want them to come TOGETHER, and if they have young kids at home, bring them too; they will find things to play with at the board meetings if necessary. Ok. They get it. They practice it. They live it. That is the soul of this group right there. The Good News was blessed to be hosted at the beautiful BrandStar studios for this Month’s feature front cover photo shoot: the Live The Life, Board Of Director couples. Prominent. Activist. Leaders. Please read the feature by GN Editor, Shelly Pond starting on page 24 and tastefully photographed by Luis Feliz. “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their soul” - Ted Grant, famous Canadian photojournalist. We are fortunate to co labor with many charities and organizations, so I encourage our readers to reach out and contact one of the fifty (50) plus charities we featured in our November 2021 issue and offer to volunteer and get involved; they need you, but you need them even more. If we are going to do life together, you’ve got to get involved in some way. Meet new friends. Make a difference! “Family is at the center of God’s plan for the happiness and progress of His children. The Holy Bible teaches that God established families from the very beginning, and it shows us many examples of strong families. It also teaches us how to have a loving, happy family.” Be a Valentine, Les South florida Edition • Good News • February 2022 • Volume 23, Issue 11 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] If you embrace it, you can Live The Life PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . .8 The Fog – by Stephan N. Tchividjian IN THEWORD . . . . . . . . . .10 Franklin Graham: The Antidote to Fear – by Franklin Graham INSIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Nothing Matters More – by Rob Hoskins PARENTING . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Teaching My ChildAbout Sex – by Dr. Bob Barnes & Torrey Roberts YOU ASKWHY? . . . . . . . . .16 The Wisdom of Wax On, Wax Off – by Tommy Boland CHURCHUNITED . . . . . . .18 Church United Prepares for 2022 Kickoff Event with Expectancy – by Edwin Copeland THE CODE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Jesus In Genesis – by Dr. O.S. Hawkins HEART AND SOUL . . . . . .22 Camp Provides Fun, Friendship and Caring Community – by Dr. Debra A. Schwinn COVER STORY . . . . . .24 - 26 Live the Life South Florida Is ALL IN for Marriages And Families – by Shelly Pond GOOD NEWSWANTS TO KNOW . . . . . . . . .28 – 30 What is one experience you've had that taught you a lesson you'd like to pass on to others? THERE & BACK AGAIN . .32 MethodAnd Message – by Dr. Gene L. Green VILLAGE HYMNS . . . . . . . .34 Why do we sing? - by Grace Coleman LEGAL Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 What Is ACharter School? – by William “Bill” C. Davell, Jeff Wood and Thomas Sternberg, ENCOURAGEMENT . . . . .38 MissionAccomplished – by Omar Aleman OPINION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 2022 – AChange Is Coming – by Newton Fairweather CALENDAR . . . . . . . .42 – 43 CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . . . . .44 47 C O N T E N T S Good News • February • Volume 23 Issue 11

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PERSPECTIVE 8 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition The story that you will find below has been a story that I have shared in the past. I share it again because I believe it’s more appropriate today than it may have been when it occurred. I sense that many of us, as followers of Jesus, are experiencing some kind of fog. A fog can bring about a sense of lostness, confusion and even depression. I sense that I am not sure where I am, where am I going and what is next. I have found that when I am in a fog, having a sense of what is real and what is unreal is rather critical and can avoid the painful mistakes made when we “lean on our own understanding.” A number of years ago I remember going through a drought. I define a drought as a struggle to find meaning and purpose in what I was doing. The days seemed to drag into each other and everything in my life appeared to be laborious. I had lost energy for anything. Asimple telephone call took tremendous effort and was often pushed off to the next day. Do you every feel like this? I was able to hide this situation well, and you would never have known how I was feeling if you simply were talking to me. I was frustrated because I was not aware of the source of this foreign feeling. My marriage was great, my family was wonderful, my health was good, work was engaging. I kept asking myself why was I feeling this way? I had planned on taking a day off on a particular Thursday morning. I woke up early to attend a planned breakfast but was looking forward to a day at the beach. some time off… some me time. We always need those moments to be replenished, and if we don’t get them, we begin to work off a source of strength that is not fromGod but from our own abilities, which never ends well. I noticed as I looked out the window that morning that a thick fog had blanketed our South Florida community. We don’t get fog often. The fog prompted a conversation with God that I will never forget. Question 1 “Lord, I feel like that fog outside describes my life right now. I am in a fog. I have lost all sense of direction. I am not sure if I am facing the right way. I feel that I may be upside down or possibly right side up, I am confused. I am scared. I am wanting a better view.” He was quick to answer with a question. God usually asks good questions. God prefers to teach us with these good questions than with dogmatic directives, though He is capable of that too. “Stephan (He always calls us by our name), if you were the captain of your ship and you came across a patch of dense fog in unchartered territory, what would you do?” I appreciated the fact that God was not responding with some esoteric idea, but a practical metaphor that I was able to personalize and apply…. He’s a good counselor. I was quick to respond to His question. “Well, I would do three things: • I would slow the ship down. • I would put my crew on high alert and lean on them. • I would go to the bridge and be on alert and fully engaged.” God then simply clarified for me what I was to do next. I needed simple and clear advice and He knew that. “Stephan, I want you to do the following: • I want you to put your life into maintenance mode… this is not the time to tackle new things, grow where you are planted, work but don’t overwork… slow down. • Lisa (my wife) is your crew. I want you to lean on her, spend time with her, appreciate her presence, have a cup of coffee with the gift I have given you, take walks on the beach… enjoy this person I have placed into your life. • Lastly, I want you engage with me. Enjoy my presence in your life. Read biographies about amazing men and women of faith, listen to worship, take walks with me, enjoy what it means to simply follow me.” His advice is so simple yet so freeing. I think it’s important to remember these for other seasons of our life. How is the pace of my life? Who are my crewmembers? How is my relationship with God practiced? Question 2 God then asked me a second question. “Stephan, what burns the fog off?” I answered and said, “Well, when the sun rises, it usually burns the fog off.” God said, “Correct, I am the SON (and He apologized for the pun… He is funny even as He counsels us… I love that about God). You have DONE NOTHING to bring this fog upon you (I needed to hear that bad) and you will DO NOTHING to lift it (I also needed to hear that). Question 3 Finally, God asked me the third and final question “Stephan, what happens when the fog is burned off?” I simply said, “full steam ahead,” and God was quick to say, “exactly.” I remember the day the fog was lifted… it was unexpected, but I knew God had just burned the fog off. The moment occurred over a breakfast several months later. I had done all God had suggested. I had slowed my life down, leaned on my crew (in my case my wife) and drawn closer to my Lord and Savior. The season was a precious one and a difficult one. Looking back, however, God was once again faithful in how gently and clearly, He cared for me. Therefore, I ask you, “Are you in fog?” Perhaps God is simply asking you to slow the ship down, lean on your crew and draw close to Him. Let this be the year that your fog is burned off and you are able to navigate the uncharted waters of your life with clarity and confidence because God is navigating. 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 The Fog

10 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition IN THE WORD As we enter into this New Year, I sense that fear has a grip on our nation and our world in a new and profound way. WhileAmerican families gathered for a hearty Thanksgivingmeal, news broke about a new strain of the COVID-19 virus. Named Omicron, the heavily mutated strain was discovered in South Africa, and it wasn’t long before it was found in numerous other countries across the globe, including our own. Despite comments from the doctors who originally spotted it that the cases seemed mild, strict travel bans were instituted worldwide. Fear spread like wildfire as the media warned of grave dangers from this new variant. Harsh lockdowns and closures were once again threatened. However, COVID isn’t the only front where fear is rising. Inflation has skyrocketed to the highest level seen in decades. People are struggling to handle the surging prices in groceries. Gas prices have soared more than 30% since the current administration came into office at the beginning of 2021, and many families are worried about whether they can pay their heating bills this winter. Violence — I mean brutal, wicked violence — has taken hold in major cities from coast to coast. School shootings, horrendous killings of innocent parade bystanders, brazen daylight looting and stealing, and other evil acts havemade people feel unsafe. Add to that the helplessness that people feel as they watch our government seek to turn our country into a socialist welfare state, that if continued, will take us down a proven, failed path. I recently saw a survey where more than one-third of young people say “there are other countries in the world that are better than the U.S.” More than half of young Americans believe our nation is “in trouble” or “failing.” But the follower of Jesus Christ must not succumb to such apprehension. Instead, this should be the prime hour and time for believers in our Risen Lord and Savior to stand firm in their faith and bear strong and godly witness to a panicked world. The Lord admonished the Prophet Isaiah, who was speaking God’s truth to a decaying Jewish culture: “Do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let himbe your fear, and let himbe your dread” (Isaiah 8:12-13). You see, the perfect antidote for battling the fears that have become endemic in nature is a well-placed trust and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ who rules over men, nature, nations, diseases, presidents, prime ministers and every single aspect of life. This is what Jesus said: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear himwho can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).Aproper reverential respect, awe and admiration of the One and Only Holy God should give us the perspective we need as the world swirls and spins in fear around us. God is in control. He holds the world in His hands. Immediately following the Lord’s strong command to fear Him, Jesus revealed the all-encompassing care the Father has for His children. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31). Think about that for a minute. If God takes personal notice of every bird that falls in the distant Amazon forest, then will He not provide every necessary thing for us? The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sin on the cross, was buried, and then on the third day God raised Him from the dead. If He cared enough to save us from eternal damnation and give us the gift of everlasting life, will He not tend to our every need? Yet, as the Scripture instructs us to fear God — not man — it also recognizes that fear does rise in the believer’s heart on occasion. The Lord knows our tendency to worry and fret, and He also tells us what to do about our worries. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh [or any circumstance in life] do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4). I personally believe that the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is in the not-too-distant future. The Bible clearly tells us that as that moment approaches, the situation in the world will grow more and more desperate. Fear-inducing calamities will intensify across the world. The Scripture is clear that unbelievers who haven’t repented of their sins and put their trust in Christ are living without any regard for the holiness of God. “There is none righteous, no, not one…There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10, 18, NKJV). But the redeemed follower of Christ can always find safety by taking refuge in the shadow of theAlmighty, who promises to protect and provide for His blood-bought people. We can look confidently to all-knowing, all-powerful,Almighty God in simple trust and faith when the turbulent waves of anxiety that sweep through our so easily frightened culture are raging. Back when my father was growing up during the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared in his first inaugural address: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That’s pretty good advice, but it doesn’t come close to matching the powerful truth of God’s Word. “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Unless otherwise marked, Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. The quotationmarked NKJV is taken fromThe 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 - Franklin Graham - President and CEO Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Franklin Graham: The Antidote to Fear Christ’s followers can trust in the care of our sovereign Lord This should be the prime hour and time for believers in our Risen Lord and Savior to stand firm in their faith and bear strong and godly witness to a panicked world.” “ The redeemed follower of Christ can always find safety by taking refuge in the shadow of the Almighty, who promises to protect and provide for His blood-bought people. ” “

INSIGHT 12 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition Serving a global ministry like OneHope, I’ve had the opportunity to hear hundreds of incredible testimonies from young people all around the world who have experienced the life-changing message of the gospel. Each story I hear reminds me of the necessity of reflection, of taking a moment to look at our past and thank God for seeing us through. My good friend, Pastor Mayo Sowell, recently brought a prophetic reminder to the OneHope team from Philippians 1:18, and I believe it has application to all of our lives. The verse reads: “But what does it matter? Nothing matters except that, in one way or another, people are told the message about Christ” (GW). Focus It’s easy to get distracted in the fast-paced, dynamic world we live in today. Just think of the sheer amount of information we have access to. According to Forbes, the average American sees between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day. Back in the 1970s, 500 to 1600 was the norm.1 We shape our lives and pour our energy into what matters to us. The enemy would love nothing more than to move our focus away from God’s mission. However, we must be steadfast in our devotion to the Word, or our attention will be easily captured by not just the media we consume, but by the situations we can’t control. Nothing matters more than God’s mission for each one of us, to share the Gospel with those in our sphere of influence. While each of our lives are filled with tasks and obligations due to the different roles we fill, we can’t let the busyness of life distract us from continually pointing people to Christ. I’m a husband, a dad, a grandfather, a friend, a mentor and a ministry leader - roles that I cherish. There have been many sweet moments while in these roles where I’ve had the chance to bring others closer to God and His Word, but I have to be watchful for those windows of opportunity on a daily basis. When we share the hope of the Gospel message with others, people’s lives are changed. Stay the course We see in Scripture another reminder to stay the course in Joshua 1:6-7: “Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their ancestors to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to observe carefully the whole instruction my servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go” (CSB). At OneHope we passionately believe in God’s Word. Every Child., because it invites children to live with hope and a purpose. We cannot lose sight of what matters most in the ministry, which is seeing this generation and future generations experience and engage with God’s Word. This generation needs to know that with so much competing for their attention and affection - nothing matters more, and nothing will sustain them more, than the Word of God. We cannot go on this journey alone. To reach every child, we need guidance from the Holy Spirit. We need to walk alongside the Church and other organizations, bridging together denominations and cultures. It takes many people working together. One body, united in Christ, working to bring the transformational power of the Gospel to every child and youth. Share His story If you’re a follower of Christ, remember to not get bogged down, off track, disunified, or distracted. Focus on what God has called you to do – share His story. We’re part of one mission, one Church body, one victorious ending. God’s Word brings about transformation and we are invited to participate in sharing it with others. Inviting them to move from darkness into light. From bondage into freedom. From hopelessness to hope. Nothing matters more. 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. 1Simpson, Jon. 2017. “Finding Brand Success In The Digital World.” August 25. Accessed January 11, 2022. sh=6b9c6446626e Nothing Matters More - Rob Hoskins - OneHope President

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14 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition PARENTING As you look at our culture, it’s obvious we are not sure about the role or the purpose that our sexuality plays. For far too long the Christian home has attempted to teach a child about sex with one word: DON’T. Then the child goes off to school, or turns on the television, or listens to music or social media or TikTok and hears a totally different message from every other part of our culture: Go for it… experiment! Parents must first decide what they think about sex and then be very proactive in teaching their children about sex. Is sex merely a biological act for procreation? Is sex a pleasurable experience one person gets or takes from another person, or is our sexuality something much grander than what is revered on the internet? Could it be that God actually invented sex and created us to be sexual beings? If that is the case, it would make sense that the Inventor Himself would give mankind sexuality with instructions for how to make use of it. Our sexuality is a beautiful part of the way God chose to create us. For thousands of years, children had a much better and much earlier understanding of their sexuality. They walked into the barn with dad and asked, “Hey, what’s going on here?” Mom or dad was forced to do some explaining… then months later the child participated in the birthing of the calf. The children were also present or at least nearby when their siblings were born. They understood at an earlier age. Today’s child understands at an early age, but mom and dad have been removed from the training process. No longer is it portrayed as the beautiful act of marriage that it is. Sex has become a commodity… an experience you get. It is little wonder that today’s youth are confused about their sexuality and their sexual identity. Dating is seen as a sport, and the commitment of marriage is viewed as something to be avoided. We as parents have not done well at portraying and explaining God’s plan for a man and a woman, and our children have been left to figure it out. But they haven’t been left in a vacuum. The world is working overtime to stimulate their biology and passion while confusing their goals. It’s time… past the time… for parents to spend time opening the doors of communication about sex. First, sex is good The life lesson about sex begins with the understanding that sex is good. Of course it’s good; God made it. In the two-parent home, it is important that the children know mom and dad enjoy a passionate relationship; obviously, not by demonstration but rather by innuendo, touch, kiss, romance, etc. Children can be taught much by growing up in a home where they know their parents obviously enjoy time alone in the bedroom or a weekend alone at a hotel. It tells the children that physical intimacy is good. It also demonstrates the proper arena for this intimacy: marriage. Second, sex is of God It’s also important to include God in the lesson. God made it so he has a plan for it. That plan is for marriage not for pre-marriage recreation. Though the world will challenge that truth, it’s important to emphasize that the world challenges every truth of God… right from the beginning… right back to that apple in the garden. Third, sex is so good, discipline is needed That fact that sex is good and tempting before marriage means there will need to be personal discipline and training in the area of impulse control. The reason smaller children need to be taught that there are consequences for temper tantrums and lack of impulse control is obvious. It prepares them for the reality that there are also consequences for walking away from God’s plan for handling our sexual urges. When you train a child to fight the urge to stay in bed, when he is told that it’s time to get up in the morning, you are teaching him more than good early morning habits. You are teaching him impulse control. You are teaching him to do what is responsible rather than what seems momentary pleasurable. The lesson is much bigger than getting out of bed. It’s the beginning of personal discipline. Personal discipline is transferable to the other… greater… temptations of life. It’s not about getting out of bed! Fourth, sex is the ultimate wedding present Teach your children that the greatest gift they can give to their spouse is the discipline of their virginity. The discipline of staying pure before marriage helps stamp the resolve to stay pure after the wedding. Get a book (There are many amazing age-appropriate resources for Christian families.) and read it out loud with your child. Read it to them earlier than you think they are ready. Then keep reading it so that you spend their first decade opening the doors of communication about this extremely important topic. Remember, it’s not the children that are squeamish about talking about sex… yet. Visit for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts. - Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts - Sheridan House FamilyMinistries Teaching My Child About Sex

16 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition YOU ASK WHY The Wisdom of “Wax On, Wax Off” In the early 1980’s as I was beginning what would become a lifelong study of the martial arts, I went to see what has become one of my favorite movies of all time, “The Karate Kid.” Much like Daniel in the movie, I too had a Mr. Miyagi, who was teaching me the mysteries of karate through many different aspects of training that I did not understand at the time but grew to greatly appreciate. Mr. Miyagi’s methods Most readers will remember the plot of the movie; Mr. Miyagi agrees to train Daniel in karate, but he begins by directing Daniel to perform what seem like menial and completely unrelated tasks. Daniel sands the floor, paints the house, refinishes the fence and waxes Mr. Miyagi’s entire collection of cars. Daniel is becoming increasingly irritated, feeling more like Mr. Miyagi’s slave than his student. But with every chore, Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel careful instruction as to the way he is to perform it. The “wax-on” clockwise motions and the “wax-off” counter-clockwise motions are the foundation for specific martial art movements that will be used as defensive blocks . . . but Daniel is entirely unaware of Mr. Miyagi’s purpose. Eventually Daniel’s frustration boils over, and he begins to storm off, but Mr. Miyagi sternly calls Daniel back and instructs him to demonstrate the movements of each of those “unrelated” tasks he had performed. Suddenly, Mr. Miyagi throws a punch at Daniel, and Daniel instinctively blocks it with the movements he had been using to complete the chores. The muscle memory Daniel developed through the countless movements of sanding, painting, refinishing and waxing, had prepared him to defend himself when Mr. Miyagi delivers a series of punches and kicks at Daniel. Daniel’s eyes light with dawning understanding; every seemingly mundane chore Mr. Miyagi had assigned was teaching him the basics of karate. Growing faith Isn’t that just like our God in the way He has purposed and planned to grow and mature us in our faith? “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Our God is the all-knowing, all-seeing, everywhere-present God of the universe, and He is Lord of every aspect of our lives. No matter how often we come into His Presence, there are many things He is doing in our lives that we simply will not understand. But this mystery is not to cause us to doubt Him; rather, it is designed to deepen our dependence upon Him. Jesus is in the business of strengthening our trust even when He seems not to be strengthening our understanding. God has told us that His ways are not our ways; thus, it is best that we stop trying to figure everything out and simply follow Jesus wherever He is leading us. Follow Me God will often lead us in a way that seems strange and foreign. There will be times when, much like Daniel in “The Karate Kid,” we are convinced that God is leading us in the wrong direction, away from our desired destination. At those times, we must keep in view the fact that the signs on the path God has set before us read Follow Me, not Figure It Out. When Jesus lovingly and graciously restored Peter to fellowship and ministry after Peter’s three craven denials of our Lord, Jesus simply said to Peter, “Follow me.” They began to walk together, and we read that Peter looked behind him and saw John following them. Puzzled, Peter asked, “Lord, what about him?” Our Lord’s response was enigmatic: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:19-22). “Don’t try to figure it all out, Peter,” Jesus was saying; “Just follow Me and trust that I am working all things together for your good and My glory.” When I look back over my life, I can see that everything God has asked me to do, even the most seemingly insignificant acts, had infinite meaning and value in growing and maturing me in my faith. The words of the prophet ring true: “They do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan” (Micah 4:12). This has often been my own experience, and surely it was the experience of Peter and the disciples when Jesus provided a miraculous catch of fish. “Jesus . . . said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break” (Luke 5:4-6). The disciples had fished all night with nothing to show for it. When Jesus instructed them to head back out on the water for a catch, it made no sense at all to Peter. “We’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything,” he said doubtfully. But Peter trusted his Lord; he followed Jesus’ instructions, and a wholly unexpected blessing followed. Understanding is not a prerequisite to obedience. And being faithful in the little things will prepare you to be faithful in the bigger things that God has planned for you in this life. After years of walking with Jesus, I have learned the value of simply trusting Him, especially when I cannot trace Him. This has brought an entirely new depth of understanding to my reading of Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Here is the best way I know to summarize all that Jesus has taught me; I’ll use the pidgin speech of Mr. Miyagi: “First learn crawl; then learn stand; then learn walk; then learn run; then learn fly.” This is what I call the Wisdom of “Wax On, Wax Off,” and it will serve us well in our walk with Wisdom Incarnate — our true Teacher and Master Instructor, Jesus Christ. This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN! 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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CHURCH UNITED 18 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition 2022 feels different. It feels important. There’s an expectancy in the air — a sense that God has been preparing us (the local Church in South Florida) for this moment — to lean in, to seek him, to come together united on a mission that’s fueled by prayer, repentance and dependency on God to do what only He can do: move. Throughout the journey of Church United over the last six years we have been praying and trusting God to do a work in South Florida that was of such magnitude we’d have to look back and say only God did it. Looking back, we can trace God’s faithfulness and begin to see the groundwork of a new story in the life of the Church in South Florida emerge. We’re maturing as a movement. We’ve seen relational trust, equity and collaboration deepen over the test and strain of time without losing missional focus. We went through 2020/2021 finding strength in our weaknesses and humility through our repentance. We discovered new rhythms, new learnings and found a fresh vision for church life and leadership. All of that has birthed an expectancy and furthered a dependency on prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives, leadership, churches and relationships together. Battle plans There are two battles in the book of Joshua that are recapped with some detail. The first is the famous battle of Jericho. God miraculously moved almost inexplicably through nothing more than their shouts and trumpet blasts of faith. It taught God's people that He is a miracle worker and they are utterly dependent on Him. The other battle is the second battle against Ai. This is strikingly different than Jericho. There was nothing bizarre or overtly supernatural. But it was a brilliant battle strategy. Both battle plans, that of Jericho and Ai, came from God. He's a God of spontaneity where He shows off His power in our weakness. But He is also a God of order and planning. At Church United, we refuse to pick between the two. And we don't believe those are in tension. We’ve seen and lived Jericho moments over the last 6 years, and we’ve also planned for Ai — prayerfully giving everything we’ve got to unite together to reach South Florida. We’ve successfully launched the largest digital evangelistic campaign in the history of our region — an effort that’s only getting stronger with each new church that joins and every explorer who connects with a local Christian. We’re deepening our work with educators, minority leaders and ethnic churches. We’re continuing to focus on soul care and creating safe third spaces for pastors and ministry leaders to connect and find refreshment. We’re preparing to host the State of the Hispanic Church for Latino leaders in South Florida in partnership with Gloo and Barna. However, prayer may just be at the center of what God has for us — his Bride — his people here in South Florida as we prepare for 2022. Prayer Andrew Murray famously said the sin of prayerlessness is a deep rebuke to God and the root cause of a deficient spiritual life and an ineffective Church. If you trace the history of Christian awakenings or revivals, you will find that revivals are not simply period of unusual responses to the gospel, but unusual efforts at godly living by Christians as more people to respond to the gospel message. You’ll also find that revivals are not manufactured, envisioned or sparked by charisma. No. They’re the result of repentance and fueled by prayer. I love the words of 18th century pastor and missionary Dr. A.T. Pierson when he said, “there has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that didn’t begin in united prayer.” Prayer is the fuel of revival as prayer leads us towards greater intimacy with God and fellow Christians. Towards that end we began this year with a 21-day emphasis on prayer with an initiative called, PrayFirst. We spent the first seven days simply coming to Jesus in whatever place we found ourselves in and letting him speak. We came with our burdens, our failures, unbelief, and weariness and expectant vision and found reminders of God’s unfailing love and care towards us. We then took the next seven days asking Him to fill us with his spirit and/or to identify the things in us that hinder the filling of his spirit. Finally, we spent the last seven days asking him to show us how he wants to deploy us in 2022 to grow and further his Kingdom in South Florida. However, I believe that this 21-day emphasis was only the beginning. 2022 Kickoff Gathering If you’re a local pastor or ministry leader I’m personally inviting you to join us Friday, March 11th from 7-8:30 at Rio Vista Community Church. As we come out of our Pray First initiative, we want to create a time and space that feels different and set apart to pray, worship and seek the Lord together as God’s people. This won’t be a big vision casting night — we will unpack more of what I’ve begun to share above for sure, but the focus of the evening is seeking the heart and face of God together on behalf of the work he’s began in this region. With that, allow me a personal plea here: make time for this. If you serve on a church staff, are a local pastor, lay leader or ministry leader, attend if you can. I can think of no better way to kick off Church United this year and look forward to what God has in store for us. RSVP and learn more at Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope, and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit Church United Prepares for 2022 Kickoff Event with Expectancy - Edwin Copeland - Church United Director

THE CODE20 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition “ThenHe (God) said, ‘Takenowyour son, your only son Isaac, whomyou love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you...Andhe (theAngel) said, ‘Donot lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fearGod, sinceyouhavenot withheldyour son, your only son, fromMe.’ ThenAbraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son” (Genesis 22:2,12-13). Anyone who has ever seen a picture of the holy city of Jerusalem has most likely seen the golden-domedMosque of Omar, more commonly referred to as the Dome of the Rock, sitting center stage and glistening in the bright middle eastern sun on the summit of Mount Moriah. It was on, or very near, the same spot where Solomon’s Temple once sat in all its magnificent glory. TheTemple’smassive foundationstones, quarried fromthenorthernsideof themountain, shaped and then moved to the summit, are an architectural marvel to this very day. The Temple’s constructionmaterials consisted of 3,000 tons of gold and 30,000 tons of silver. There, theJews fromaround theworldwouldmake their pilgrimage for theannual sacrifice during their High Holy Days. AnAltar of Sacrifice But centuries before a Muslim Mosque or a Jewish Temple sat on that site, one lone man accompanied by his only son scaled the summit of that same mountain and constructed a simple altar of sacrifice. God had promised Abraham that He was the chosen one to be the father of a great nation whose descendants would be numbered as the stars of the heavens. But there was a bit of a problem. He was already an old man, and his wife, Sarah, was decades beyond childbearing years. As though that were not problematic enough, she was also “barren,” unable to produce a child over the course of her entire life. Then came a miracle birth, not a virgin birth, but a miracle all the more. Isaac, through whom the world would be blessed by the eventual appearance of the Messiah, was born to Abraham and Sarah. Times of blessing in life are often followed by times of testing. And so it was for Abraham. Isaac, this only son, was to carry forward God’s own promise toAbraham. But, God now instructed the father to sacrifice his only begotten son as a test of his trust. God was testing Abraham’s faith to see if His trust was in Isaac or in the promise of the living God. Times have not changed much across the centuries. Many of us who have been blessed by God with so much can be tempted to transfer our trust from the Blesser Himself to the blessings we have and hold. Abraham’s response to this hard challenge was one of faith, faithfulness and trust in His God. There was no doubt... no defiance... no delay. He simply took God at his word, and the New Testament writer of Hebrews framed it thus: “By faith Abraham obeyed... therefore fromoneman, and himas good as dead, were born asmany as the stars of the sky in multitude —innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore... By faithAbraham, when hewas tested, offered up Isaac and hewhohad received the promises offered up his only begotten son” (Hebrews 11:8,12,17). Father and SonAscend the Mountain This trek of Father and son up Mount Moriah is replete with one picture after another of a journey 2,000 years later to the same mountain taken by our own Heavenly Father accompanied by His only begotten Son and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon arriving at the foot of the mount of sacrifice, Abraham instructed his servant to stay there, saying, “the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5). What was about to take place on that summit was a transaction between a father and son alone. The same would be true at Mount Calvary (the northern extension of Mt. Moriah). During those three hours of darkness God the Father and God the Son did business alone. The agony of those hours is indescribable. When the final sacrifice for the sins of the world was being made, God closed the door to all human eyes and turned out the lights of heaven. He closed the curtains, and for three hours the eternal transaction for your sin and mine was between the Father and the Son alone. Look closely at Abraham. He “took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son” (Genesis 22:6) as they journeyed up the mountain. This is a portent, a foreshadow, of the divine side of Calvary. Much of our thoughts concerning the cross are from the human side, what itmeans for us. But think of thedivine side. Look at the Father’s heart as He places the wooden cross upon the bruised and bloodied back of His own Son and watches as He carries it up the way to Golgotha, the place of execution. As they journeyed along together, Isaac, bearing the wood for the sacrifice upon his back, makes an inquiry of his father, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7). Quick cameAbraham’s response, “‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb’…so the two of themwent on together” (Genesis 22:8). Yes! God, Himself will provide the lamb. In fact, God will Himself be the Lamb, the sacrifice for our sin. It was of this very event and to these very words that Jesus addressed the Jews, saying, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). Arriving at the summit of Moriah, Abrahammeticulously built an altar, arranged the wood for the burnt offering upon it, then bound his only son, Isaac, and laid himupon the altar. Then he “stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:10). Immediately, theAngel of the Lord (the pre-incarnate Christ Himself) called to him from heaven, “‘Do not lay your hand on the lad... for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, fromMe.’ ThenAbraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up... instead of his son” (Genesis 22:12-14). Our imaginations can onlywonder what must have been racing throughAbraham’s mind that day. Fifty years before, God had promised hima son. Thirty years had passed, and God repeated the promise. It would take a miracle. And Abraham believed. Paul would later say, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). And God kept his word. Isaac was born and grew up. Now God tests Abraham, and when he keeps the faith, God provides a substitutionary sacrifice, a ram. And that ram is a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus. You and I deserved to die, but Jesus providedHimself the lamb. He rushed out toCalvary and took our place, bore our sin, died our death so we could live His life, took our sin so we could take His righteousness. What a substitutionary sacrifice and all-sufficient Savior. “AndAbraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided’” (Genesis 22:14). If there is any doubt that Abraham understood what was happening that day, Jesus settled it two millennia later when, traversing those same dusty roads, He said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). Behold the Lamb You and I have a God who can and will provide…who, in fact, provided Himself as our very own substitutionary sacrifice. No wonder when he burst from the obscurity of the carpenter’s shop and appeared in the Jordan valley, John theBaptist thrust a pointed finger in His direction and shouted, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Yes, we can find Jesus in every book of the Bible, sometimes in type, sometimes in shadow, sometimes in prophecy.And here in Genesis? He is that ram at Abraham’s altar... our own substitutionary sacrifice. Taken from The Bible Code by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2020 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. Anative 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 $21.5 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 all across the nation. All of 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 - Dr. O.S. Hawkins - President, Guidestone Financial Resources Finding Jesus in Genesis He is the Ram at Abraham’s Altar