Largest Christian Newspaper in America • goodnewsfl.org • February 2023 • Volume 24, Issue 11
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Be the one whose beat goes on. When Doug began having chest pains, he listened to his body and drove himself to the emergency department at (oly Cross Health, where he was quickly treated by their expert heart care team. Doug was surprised to learn that at only 72 he had major blockages in three of his arteries, which led to triple bypass surgery. “I noticed a difference immediately after surgery. I was feeling a lot better and that feeling continued as I participated in cardiac rehab,” Doug said. “I didn’t realize how bad ) was feeling until my heart was fixed.” Today, Doug is active and enjoying life. He quit smoking, watches his sodium and he and his wife work out regularly at the Holy Cross Zachariah Family Wellness Pavilion, where one of Doug’s favorite activities is cycling. The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center provides coordinated care for preventing, diagnosing and treating heart and vascular disease. Learn more at Holy-Cross.com/BeRemarkable A Member of Trinity Health Be always seeking, bravely fighting, forever hoping...
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On The Cover Since February is American Heart Month, we’re featuring Holy Cross, Broward’s only Catholic hospital serving our community for 67 years and a leader in the prevention and treatment of cardiac and vascular diseases. Pictured from left to right: Dr Joshua Larned, Chief of Medicine, Holy Cross Health, and Member Board of Governors, American College of Cardiology Florida chapter; Dr Alexander Llanos, Interventional and Structural Cardiologist, Holy Cross Medical Group; and Dr Karan Munuswamy, Director of Nuclear Cardiology, Cardiology Associates, Holy Cross Medical Group. Read the cover article on page 28. Photo by Justus Martin www.justusmartinphoto.com PUBLISHER 6 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition When I was a kid if I wore something nice and combed my hair, I remember hearing someone say, “I see you’re wearing your Sunday best.” I heard it, of course, but never thought about that “Sunday best” bit. Sunday was just another day for me and certainly not part of any identity. There are a lot of things we hear but don’t really think about other than a shallow surface meaning of the actual words. There’s a lot I don’t know; that’s not my humility, that’s my reality check. Years later being involved in school athletics we were required to wear coat and tie to board the school bus to play our high school away games. You had to wear that tie even if it was a clip on. Years later, I was closely allied with the presentation of Broadway plays, and although there was only a small handful of us in the actual operation those first years, it was strongly suggested by the actual producer, Zev Buffman, that for “Opening Night” we would dress in Black-Tie. Opening Night was a big deal in a two, three weeks or month run of a big-time, national touring Broadway show, and it was communicated we had to set the example because we controlled the highly sought after guest list of press and high-profile invitees for the opening night after show “cast party.” We wore tuxedos and set the stage for the theatre goers; menwore coat and tie, andwomenwore a bit of glitter to say the least. Respect. Respect for where you are, who you are and what you represent. We go towork whether wewear a uniform, a logo shirt or suit and tie. We have to have respect and be prepared tomeet the challenge. We must have self-respect and comport ourselves in a way that is special and important, if that’s an important part of your lexicon. Wearing your Sunday best dates from the 19th Century when people were regular churchgoers and used to wear their best clothes (not formal work clothes) to Sunday service. Does the Bible say you should wear your best to church? Scripture doesn’t prescribe any particular style of dress but rather exhorts us to give attention to adorning ourselves with virtues like humility, sobriety, godliness and good works. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and thewearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes” (1 Peter 3:3, NIV). Similarly, Paul tells Timothy, “I alsowant the women to dressmodestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2: 9-10 NIV). I personally find it a simple tribute of respect when I’m in God’s house, so call me old school, I respect where I am: clean long-sleeved shirt and perhaps a jacket, long pants and leaving the flip flops at home. Enjoy our February cover feature for Heart Month and the highly acclaimed specialists at Holy Cross Hospital, a cherished treasure for good health here in South Florida. Happy Valentine’s Day! Les South Florida Edition • Good News • February 2023 • Volume 24, 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 2023. All rights reserved. Good News Media Group, LLC. PO Box 670368, Coral Springs, FL 33067 954-564-5378 • www.goodnewsfl.org Publisher: Leslie J. Feldman [email protected] Editor: Shelly Pond [email protected] Advertising & Marketing: Robert “Buddy” Helland Jr. V.P. Sr. Marketing Manager [email protected] Art Director: Milton McPherson [email protected] Social Media Manager: Ariel Feldman [email protected] Editorial Assistant: Eric Solomon [email protected] Cover Photography: Justus Martin [email protected] Wear Your Sunday Best PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Drip, Drip, Drip - by Stephan N. Tchividjian IN THEWORD . . . . . . . . . .10 What Can the Righteous Do? – by Franklin Graham REFLECTION . . . . . . . . . . . .12 The ShowMust Go On – by Newton Fairweather PARENTING . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Teach Your ChildrenAbout Love – by Dr. Bob Barnes & Torrey Roberts YOU ASKWHY? . . . . . . . . 16 For God So Loved You! – by Dr. Tommy Boland MARRIAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Marriage Drift - by Lisa May HEART AND SOUL . . . . . .20 Fulbright Winner, Back in Uzbekistan, Recalls the Huge Impact of Scholarships – by Dr. Debra A. Schwinn THE CODE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Make an Honest Evaluation – by Dr. O.S. Hawkins GOODNEWS WANTSTOKNOW . .24 - 26 What is your favorite quote - or words you live by - that may inspire others? COVER ARTICLE . . . . .28-29 Heart Month Focuses onAffairs of the Heart FAITH AND VOCATION .30 Mental Health: AGrowing Concern That Needs Faith and Counseling – by Kate A. Johnson FOSTER CARE . . . . . . . . . . .32 Families Needed to Stand with Kids in Crisis - by Kevin Enders LEGAL Q & A . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Power of Attorney is a Powerful Way to Protect Your Interests – by Willam “Bill” C. Davell VILLAGE HYMNS . . . . . . . .36 Contentment’s Hiding Place – by Josh Bramos CALENDAR . . . . . . . . .42 - 43 CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . . . .44 - 47 Leslie J. Feldman Zev Buffman, Les Feldman, Charlie Cinnamon C O N T E N T S Good News • February • Volume 24 Issue 11
PERSPECTIVE 8 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition Several weeks ago, I decided to get most of my annual medical procedures done at once. I have scheduled doctors’ appointments, have had a lot of blood drawn and filled out too many forms. I amhoping that these preventativemeasures are a wise way to take care of my health. However, I have also noticed more aches and pains too. I am amazed how that works. Talking to someone about their heart makes my heart hurt, talking to someone about a sore knee makes my knee hurt, talking to someone with ringing in their ears makes my ears ring too. I find that my friends and I spend a portion of our conversations about what hurts. I notice that those commercials on TV that talk about certain medications that cure diseases you can’t pronounce (alongside with the side effects that are worse than the disease itself, if you can understand the rapid-fire narrator) aremore interesting now. However, the experiences remind me that there are many people who suffer daily with various physical, emotional and spiritual challenges, and my empathy grows as I am encouraged to pray alongside them. Additionally, I am reminded that our earthly bodies are frail and have a God-given expiration date, and we are to commit each day to Him. Lastly, our physical bodies can often be a wonderful metaphor of our spiritual bodies and the means by which we take care of them. Water is essential to life. One does not have to go too long to realize just how essential water is. Sometimes we need water without even being thirsty. The lack of water will often lead to a slow death, often without even realizing it. The poet, king, warrior, David, acknowledged that a tree planted by water is a sign of a healthy and blessed tree; the tree exists without having to thirst and with no need to strive. The tree is able to bear its seasonal fruit because of this water. The tree is a happy tree. Cities, both ancient and modern have been built around access to water. Strife, conflict and even wars have been fought over water rights. The patriarch Abraham recognized that arguments over water were dividing his family and suggested that they each seek their own sources in their own land. Water appears so innocent, so safe, so docile and insignificant, yet permeates almost everything we do, and ignored is deadly. Proper irrigation An Israeli father and son, Simcha Blass and Yeshayahu (meaning YAHWEH is salvation) are creditedwith helping to further develop the science behindwhat is called drip irrigation. The basic concept behind drip irrigation is to provide plants a constant and appropriate supply of much needed water, down into its roots, where it’s needed the most. The alternative is often an inconsistent supply of water, which may or may not reach the roots. Droughts and floods are realities that cause much suffering and pain, simply because roots are destroyed. The science behind drip irrigation and its subsequent application has revolutionized agriculture, providing consistent growth in areas where no growth appeared to be possible. Adesert becomes an oasis. Sometimes when we care for a plant, we may be guilty of either overwatering it or forgetting to water it altogether, both devastating to that poor little plant. I have found myself with a watering hose attempting to water plants in my yard, only to realize that most of the water never had a chance to be absorbed by the very roots of the plant I am trying to water. In fact, the irony of this is that the plant receives very little of the overabundance of water that I have pointed into its direction. A significant amount of that water is wasted, runs off to pool somewhere, sometimes becoming a small cesspool of odor and bugs. My intentions are good, water the plant; however, the consequences are a thirsty plant, a lot of wasted water, some odor and potential disease. Nourishing our faith I have thought about how this principal relates to my faith and my lifelong walk with God. I have known God all of my life. I credit this to the fact that I was introduced to the reality of God by my faithful parents and extended family. The notion of a God who loved me was not a foreign one to me, however, sometimes too familiar. Therefore, I have been intrigued, even at times to the point of doubt, by the abandonment of faith by many men and women who proclaim their devotion to God. These same people appear to sacrifice so much in serving their Savior, they boldly and loudly proclaim His faithfulness in their lives, are quick to share their dismay for those who reject God and are quick to speak of those who live un-Godly lives. However, they themselves fall victim of what appears to be a catastrophic failure of faith and become the very person they were so proud to proclaim they weren’t. Is the drift inevitable; is the failure just a matter of time? Why does this seem to happen? I can’t help but reflect on another Father and His Jewish Son and the model they set for us. The example they set before us on how an intimate, effective and sustainable relationship lasts is more akin to a constant drip to the roots then a fire hose to the branches. The relationship between God and man had become broken, and God’s incredible solution was a personal one, a solution that drove to the root of the problem, the broken heart of man. I am amazed at the level of intentionality that God displayed as He inserted himself, day in and day out, through Jesus, into the details of the life of mankind. Imagine for a moment the countless conversations Jesus had with the person in pain as they tried to explain what was wrong and how He may help. Jesus knew the pain, He knew the solution, but He still listened. He gave dignity to the one with the burden…. He dripped His love, His compassion, His authenticity, His character, His kindness into the very roots of each person He encountered. He does the same for me every day. Avoid dehydration Therefore, how do I stay true? The reality is that it’s His strength not mine. I say, surrender early and surrender often. However, it’s also important for me to understand that the day-to-day drip of His promises, His mercy, His wisdom, His correction is far more impactful then the haphazard and frantic search for a quick gulp of God because I have become dehydrated of His spirit. The latter simply does not work and can create a faith that may appear healthy, except upon closer inspection the roots are dying and the faith falters and simply fades away. I’m encouraged to seek out the daily drip of God’s love, HisWord andHis presence. I have foundmy journeywithGod increasingly more simple, less frantic, more rhythmic and certainly more peaceful. Keep in step with His Spirit and your roots will grow, ever so slowly, but strong and vibrant and able to withstand both the torrential rains and the deadly droughts. Stephan N. Tchividjian is the president and founder of the National Christian Foundation South Florida. Visit southflorida.ncfgiving.com to learn more. - Stephan N. Tchividjian - National Christian Foundation President Drip, Drip, Drip
10 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition IN THE WORD Just a few weeks ago, Congress passed legislation that codified same-sex marriage as the law of the land, certifying the 2015 Supreme Court ruling Obergefell v. Hodges that had already sanctioned same-sex marriages. Joining the Democrats in the Senate were 12 so-called conservative Republican senators whose votes gave the bill the 60 it needed to move it to the House, where it was easily passed by the Democratic majority. This is a watershed moment in the moral state of our rapidly depraving and godless culture. To satisfy the incessant, sinful cries of the incredibly powerful LGBTQ lobby, the halls of Congress gave their endorsement to an immoral and degenerate lifestyle that not so many decades ago was a criminal act. The deceptively and deceitfully named Respect for Marriage Act is anything but that. The senators rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah that used stronger language to protect the religious liberty of people of faith. As the law is written, it could threaten churches, Christian institutions and individuals who hold to the traditional, Biblical view of marriage between one man and one woman. As this calamity unfolded, the once-solid bastion of traditional family entertainment Walt Disney was unveiling an animated movie featuring gay characters, and this on the heels of another popular animation that featured a gay kiss that was originally cut from the movie, but then restored after pressure from the LGBTQ lobby. As I write, the case for a young website designer in Colorado who does not want to be compelled to design custom websites for same-sex weddings is being argued before the Supreme Court by Alliance Defending Freedom, which has done yeoman’s work in protecting religious freedoms in our nation for a number of decades. Lower courts have already ruled against her, much like they did against our good friend, baker Jack Phillips, who continues to be harassed by hateful activists. How far and how rapidly we have fallen in our country! Sins that were unthinkable when I was a young adult are now heartily approved, endorsed and ratified by virtually every segment of our society. The slippery slope of moral compromise that we warned about for so long has now become a free fall into debauchery and dissolution. Where is it all headed? I don’t know. The pressure on Christians from ungodly leaders and a depraved culture will only continue to increase. Remember what Christ said, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). For millennia, followers of Jesus Christ around the world have been oppressed by wicked governments, false religions and secular cultures that don’t want to hear the truth of the Gospel. The psalmist asked this pressing question long ago: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). It certainly appears that the moral foundations of our nation that was founded by Christians seeking freedom to take a stand and practice their faith have eroded so much that we wonder what we can possibly do. First and foremost, the righteous can pray more fervently than we ever have. We all know that the Scripture exhorts us to pray for our leaders, but I wonder how seriously we take it. During our time of Bible reading and prayer, which believers should practice every day, let’s be sure to take a period of concentrated time to intercede for our nation. Pray for the president. Pray for Congress. Pray for governors, state legislatures and your local authorities. Pray for their decisions to be guided and informed by Biblical principles. God can move the heart of kings however He wishes, and He may use our petitions as part of His sovereign working. God hears prayer. God answers prayer according to His will and wisdom that is always for our ultimate welfare and His glory. Second, the righteous can pursue personal holiness and purity in our own lives and witness. God has called His people to be a holy people, whose lives will be markedly different from the culture around us. If there is little difference between God’s people and society, the witness for the Gospel is dimmed. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Christians have always been called to be salt and light to a rotting and dark culture. Only God can affect the change and transformation that must happen, but He uses the bold witness of disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ whose lives clearly testify to the saving power of the Gospel. We are not to fear what others may think of our witness, but rather fear God and trust Him wholeheartedly, whatever may come. Third, the righteous can work in God’s strength to make a difference in our communities, schools and local governments. Christians can run for office. Many have been elected to school boards where they bring a badly needed godly influence. We can work to help elect officials whom we know are aligned with godly principles. We are not to sit on the sidelines but do all we can to fight and stem the rising tide of godlessness. Evil must be resisted, not yielded to. We may not succeed as often or as much as we would like to, but we must stay in the fight regardless. Rest assured that we at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will work tirelessly to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ far and wide. For 2023, we have Festivals and Celebrations scheduled for Mexico City, Mexico; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Seoul, Korea; Chisinău, Moldova; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Essen, Germany; Curitiba, Brazil; and evangelistic tours in the United Kingdom and the United States. As gloomy as the future may look, our Lord has greater things in store for those who are faithful. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). ©2022 BGEA Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Decision magazine, January 2023; ©2023 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; used by permission, all rights reserved. - Franklin Graham - President and CEO Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Franklin Graham: What Can the Righteous Do? The slippery slope of moral compromise that we warned about for so long has now become a free fall into debauchery and dissolution. —Franklin Graham ” “
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REFLECTION 12 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition Like millions of Americans, I like to watch football. On January 2nd, I decided to watch the Monday night football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals. These two combatants had the potential to be in the championship game of the NFL, and I tuned in to watch these modern-day gladiators. It was as if I had assumed my seat in a Roman Colosseum, ready to see these gladiators inflict hurt and pain on each other by way of hits, blocks and tackles. I had my thumbs ready to put up or down on the performance of the two combatants as was one of the ways the winner of a Roman gladiator fight was determined. Let the games, begin! Withinminutes of the game, I, along with millions of Americans, was awestruck as we witnessed the aftermath of what seemed a typical defensive tackle. In America’s most popular sport of football, which has been said to bring us together as a people, on this Monday night of January 2, 2023, this statement would be challenged. The interlude: 70 Minutes What all of America witnessed in that game, had never been seen before. A tackle initiated by Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin caused him to immediately suffer cardiac arrest after the hit. Right before our eyes he died twice and had to be resuscitated twice - a 24-year-old, who began a great football career with everything before him, a loving family, strong connection to his community and great friends. For 70 minutes, Damar fought for his life while the “SHIELD” (NFL) was fighting for its life. As Damar was transferred to the hospital, the “SHIELD” was faced with a public relations nightmare unlike any other: Do we continue the game after a moment of cool down or not? Since millions of Americans witnessed this incident, mothers and fathers of children who played the sport may have questions. The various football programs could potentially be affected. Not to mention the revenue streams connected to the game of football. This was bigger than just a hit. There seemed to be no answer for the 70 minutes. Nothing. No glass case to break in case of an emergency, no “Clark Kent” (Superman) to call, and no rule in the “rulebook” to follow. What we witnessed was a seismic shift! What thesemodern-day gladiators, those in the stands, as well as we who watched, resorted to was prayer. These gladiators knelt in their combat uniforms and began to pray. Believers and nonbelievers were reaching out for a power that they believed could heal this young man. The “SHIELD” had no choice but to cancel the game. The show would not go on. In that moment, the need for a miracle drove everyone to pray. The football game was secondary. Takeaways There is much to learn from the pre and post observation of what happened to Damar. Here are some takeaways: 1. Prayer changes things. 2. We still serve a sovereign GOD. 3. God has the last words in everything we do. 4. There is power in agreement (Matthew 18:19 was manifested). 5. There is nothing too hard for God to do (Matthew 19:26). Getting back to the show The game of football resumed being played every weekend since that Monday, and Damar has been the “face” of the SHIELD (NFL). Apublic relations nightmare was averted. Additionally, over 8 million dollars was contributed to the “Go Fund Me” account that Damar had established to assist in giving back to the community. He is home now, out of the hospital, recovering and could possibly resume his career. It was reported that the first question Damar asked the doctors was: “Did we win?” Their answer was “Yes, you won the game of life.” The doctors said the quick response of the Bills training staff and other medical personnel saved his life. As a result during the next game, a game ball was given to the team trainer. Nonetheless, let’s pump the brakes a little and recognize that THE GLORY BELONGS TO GOD. Your name might not be Damar, your situation might last longer than 70 minutes, in fact you might still be in a foggy situation. It is good to know what God has done for Damar, HE can do for you. This young man and his family will need constant prayer and God’s healing hands to strengthen him, even stronger than he was before. No one may be able to understand what he has gone through or will go through. Only God knows. Many of those who contributed to his “Go fund Me” collection will forget about him. The show carries on Let me give you a quick example. As I sat and watch the NCAA Football National Champion game a few days later, I witnessed many hits identical to what Damar delivered and nothing happened. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us, the next day, the next hour, the next down, or our next breath. Often, we go back to what we used to do before our emergency. God often gives grace and mercy to our situation. The truth is it was not Damar’s time. No man knows when his time is up. Although God has made everything perfect in its own time, we need to learn from this incident. As I write this article, I see an urgency to store this almost tragic event in our national memory. You see, no one knows when the next emergency might happen, or if it will come to your address. In the meantime, I urge you to do these things: 1. Stay prepared by developing your own prayer life. 2. Put this in that glass container you might have to break in case of an emergency: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Newton Fairweather is the pastor of Faith and Joy Church and the CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin. The Show Must Go On Newton Fairweather Pastor, Faith and Joy Church, and CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin The Buffalo Bills organization dropped to their knees in prayer after the tragic injury to Damar Hamlin. Photo Credit: BuffaloBills.com
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14 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition PARENTING By February, many of our families are back into the swing of the new year and all that entails. We are back into school rhythms, sports, homework, etc. This month offers another great opportunity for teaching and training our children. With so much focus this month on Valentine’s Day, why not seize this time to teach our children more about love. We can focus on sibling love, loving our neighbor, modeling romantic love and setting up some fun family traditions as well. Speak into their hearts We can use this season to pour into our children emotionally. When our kids were small, they each had a mailbox on our kitchen counter. Every morning through the month of February they could open their mailbox to find little notes of encouragement, character qualities we could see emerging in them and sometimes little treasures. I have read about other parents attaching love notes to their children's door every night through February. Why not jump on this opportunity to encourage our children and speak into their hearts. Random acts of kindness This is also a great time to focus on sibling love. Siblings can get in on the action of leaving encouragement for each other in the mailboxes. In the Sheridan House Residential homes, we set up Random Acts of Kindness boards where we would “catch” them in the act of being kind to each other and would post it on the board. There would even be a family game out of who could be caught showing kindness to others the most. Demonstrate love This is also a great time for parents to model love in a marriage. Eyes are always on us and how we treat each other as spouses. The flowers and cards do not go unnoticed by our children. We are training them how they should treat their future spouse. Role modeling is important because our marriage sets the expectations for our children. This is a great month to refocus on that with our spouse. You can also use this time to have a valentine’s “date” with your children. Even though the day to day doesn’t feel like it, the years we have with our children are fleeting and even small moments create memories. These are the lasting moments that our children will carry with them. How will you use this month to teach and train but also create moments for your family? Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts. - Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts - Sheridan House FamilyMinistries Teach Your Children About Love
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16 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition YOU ASK WHY For God So Loved You! As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, I would like to share a word of cosmic comfort with you from the One who loves you exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ever ask or imagine. The apostle Paul prayed that we would be able to “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18). In other words, the love of God in Christ Jesus is beyond your imagination! “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). John 3:16 is probably the best-known passage in all Scripture, even among unbelievers. There are times, however, when verses that are so well-known and so frequently repeated can lose their message and ministry in our lives. So let’s take just a few minutes to look closely at these words from Jesus. First, notice the love of God in His Son Jesus is a gift to us. There is nothing we do to invite it. There is nothing we do to deserve it. There is nothing we do to earn it. It is simply a gift from God to undeserving sinners like you and me. Second, this gift comes to us through belief, not behavior. We simply need to believe Jesus is who He says He is and did what He said He did on our behalf. Do you believe? Have you trusted in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life? If you have not, all you need to do right now is transfer your trust from yourself and what you are doing and place it on Jesus and what He has done for you. If you would like to say a prayer of commitment to Jesus, the prayer of the tax collector in the temple is one of the best: God be merciful to me, the sinner. Praying that prayer from your heart will, by grace through faith, bring you the gift of eternal life. God could have responded to us in a variety of ways that had absolutely nothing to do with love. Remember, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, it was willful, rebellious disobedience to His loving and gracious will. They were unfaithful to God, the One who created them in His image and gave them the gift of life itself. God could have responded with judgment. God could have responded with wrath. He could have responded with contempt. At the very least, God could have responded with disappointment. But He did none of these things. God responded with love because God is love (1 John 4:16). God demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus into this world to pay the penalty for all of our sins so that we could live in an intimate, personal relationship with Him throughout all eternity. More than sentiments Valentine’s Day is a time when we express our affection for others by giving cards, candies, and gifts; many of these reflect mere sentimental feelings. Not so with God! His love acted decisively in history and in our hearts. God’s agape love is sacrificial. God so loved that He willingly and intentionally sacrificed His Son in order to pave the way for a love relationship with sinners like you and me, who were in desperate need of a Savior. Here is a passage of Scripture that best describes God’s profound love in the most personal way: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). The great apostle Paul said that Jesus loved me and gave himself for me! When we planted Cross Community Church, my mentor and spiritual father Dr. Ron Kovack taught me many things, including how to understand deeply and personally, these words from Paul, and how to connect them to one of the most well-known passages of Scripture in all the Bible, John 3:16. “It is one thing to know that ‘God so loved the world,’” he told me, “but it is another thing altogether to know that God so loved me!” Dr. Ron encouraged me to teach this verse to others by personalizing it. That is what the apostle Paul did, and that is what we are to do too. Remember Here is something to remember as we bring this word of encouragement to a close. Everything God does in your life, He does out of love. When the sky is blue, the clouds are fleecy, and the sun is brightly shining, it is because God so loves you. And when the sky is dark and foreboding and the storm winds blowing, it is because God so loves you. When you are delivered from the attacks of the devil, it is because God so loves you. And when you mess things up, it is because God so loves you. Everything God does in your life He does because of love. Never forget this: When God gave His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins, it was not a measurement of our value, our worth, or our significance. God gave His Son “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8) and “alienated fromGod” (Colossians 1:21). No, it was simply a measurement of His unconditional and unending love, for God so loves you. I pray this truth will be a source of both encouragement and empowerment for you to live the life God is calling you to live for His glory and the good of others, with freedom and faithfulness to the One who so loves you right now and will continue loving you throughout all eternity. 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 (www.thecrosscc.org). He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com. - Tommy Boland - Cross Community Church Pastor
MARRIAGE 18 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition It’s not uncommon for couples to find their relationship in a place where they believe they’ve grown apart. They haven’t really “grown” apart. They’ve slowly drifted away from one another. It’s not unlike mission drift. Marriage drift, like mission drift, unfolds slowly with seemingly insignificant decisions. Like a lazy river, the current is slow, usually goes unnoticed, and certainly doesn't create an alarm. We mindlessly drift. But as life changes, such as children, a new job, relocating, losses, etc., many couples find themselves off course, in choppy, uncharted waters with no provisions or paddle. Many couples marry with the expectation that the spark they had at the beginning of the relationship will self-maintain; it will naturally evolve and continue on its own. If we stop investing in our marriages, the spark will go out, and the relationship will drift. Like the second law of thermodynamics, the cooling of a marriage is inevitable unless we regularly infuse heat and energy into fueling and safeguarding the relationship. We must choose to do the hard work of investing in the relationship to protect it. Are you heading to Marital Drift? Access your Marriage Drift: Rate your responses on a scale of 1-10. 1 = Strongly disagree 5 = Neither agree nor disagree 10 = Strongly agree 1. Do you regularly attend church together? 2. Do you discuss the Bible as a couple outside of church? 3. Do you regularly pray together beyond a blessing for meals? 4. Do you have a marriage mission statement? 5. Is there clarity in your communication with one another? 6. Do you express appreciation for what your spouse does on behalf of you and your family? 7. Do you have a date night with EACH OTHER ONLY at least once every two weeks? 8. Is there growth in your fruit of the spirit? Love, patience, kindness, (Galatians 5:22-23) 9. Do you have a SHARED plan for your future together? 10. Are your friendships encouraging your marriage? 11. Do you believe marriage is a lifelong commitment? 12. Do people outside your family know you hold to Christian principles and precepts? 13. Does your spouse listen to you when you need someone to talk to? 14. Do you feel connected and bonded to your spouse? 15. Do you feel lonely? 16. Is it emotionally safe to confide and share my feelings with my spouse? 17. We have the ability to solve conflicts healthily. 18. We participate in a relationship education class yearly. 19. We often engage with one another sexually. 20. Do you sincerely apologize when you’ve behaved poorly? Add your scores and calculate your overall average. Any score that’s a 7 or lower is heading toward Marriage Drift. How Do We Get Back on Course? Every marriage experiences drift at some point. The key is being proactive about getting back on course. It won’t just naturally right itself. 1.The gospel is primary to protecting our marriages. If we aren't convinced that our Christian faith is essential, then we won't sacrifice to maintain it. We often ask couples, "Will you do it for Jesus'? 2. Don't put your marriage on the back burner. It's twice as challenging to rebuild a neglected marriage than to keep it strong. You must be proactive. 3. Cut back on other commitments. If you’re exhausted physically, you won’t be fully present emotionally. You must carve out time to maintain your marriage. 4. Reestablish common interest. Read a book together. Do something that requires you to interact with one another. Go out of your way to be together. 5. Address the elephant in the room. We all know it’s there. Ask the question. 6. Work on yourself rather than criticize or point out your spouse's negatives. 7. Express a simple word of appreciation for something your spouse has done or how they are: I appreciate your patience with me, I appreciate you taking out the trash, I appreciate your parenting skills. 8. Attend a relationship and marriage education class or conference annually. 9. Seek biblical counseling if necessary. The future of your family and future generations is at stake. “We must remember that love begins at home, and we must also remember that the future of humanity passes through the family." Mother Theresa 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 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 livethelifesoflo.org - Lisa May - Executive Director, Live the Life South Florida Marriage Drift
HEART AND SOUL 20 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition The Women of Distinction gala luncheon comes but once a year, supporting a Palm Beach Atlantic University scholarship. But daily at the university, we see the fruit of such scholarships in the terrific impact PBA students and graduates are having in their communities and across the globe. FromUzbekistan, via Skype, Chanel Nassir recently talked about receiving the Women of Distinction Scholarship, finishing her degree in international business and taking on an English teaching assistantship under the Fulbright Program. The bright faces in the photo give you a clue about how well she is doing in Uzbekistan. That’s Chanel at far left, posing with members of a girls book club she organized after landing in the Uzbek city of Navoi. What better way to teach English than to share classics like “Sense and Sensibility”? “It was wonderful,” said Chanel. “These young girls have such a desire to learn, like a fire about them.” She landed in Uzbekistan in September 2021, reporting on Facebook: “My first week in Navoi has been an absolute joy! While I may be thousands of miles away, I feel right at home thanks to the kindness of those around me. What an honor it is to spend this year exchanging language and thought, all while experiencing beautiful Uzbekistan.” Indeed it is an honor. The highly competitive Fulbright Program is the flagship international academic exchange sponsored by the U.S. Government. Chanel is one of 10 PBA graduates to earn Fulbright placements since the university created its Prestigious National Scholarship Program several years ago. Fulbrighters are good will ambassadors The Fulbright English TeachingAssistant (ETA) Programs place Fulbrighters in classrooms around theworld to provide assistance to local teachers of English. Working under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, college graduates like Chanel serve as cultural ambassadors as they teach, building relationships and good will. In Uzbekistan, formerly part of the Soviet Union, the people speak mostly Russian, Uzbek and Tajik, a Persian language. In the region where Chanel began her assistantship, to her knowledge, she was the only American. That brought some loneliness, she acknowledged, “but also, it forcedme to dive into the community and assimilate with the people in a way that I probably wouldn’t have if I had another American as a social crutch.” So she dove in! In addition to the structured English classes she taught alongside an Uzbek teacher, Chanel enthusiastically took advantage of Uzbek hospitality: “the thing that reallymarks these people.” She receivedmany dinner invitations to Uzbek homes, where she would join the family, sitting upon lovely floor mats arranged around a low table. Though the high school students in Chanel’s classes were eagerly learning English, the language barrier was tougher with the adults she encountered in students’ homes. “But we’d meet halfway,” she said. “I have very broken Uzbek, they have very broken English, and we learn to get to know each other a little bit.” Working through the barriers of language and culture could be emotionally draining. She learned that these things simply take time. “Sometimes it’s just day in and day out being beside people and loving them, serving them and contributing to what they need. And trusting that that’s enough before the Lord.” Now teaching English to college students She was so well received in Uzbekistan that she was invited back for a second year. She’s now in a different city, this time teaching English to college students. And as an unexpected bonus, she started a lacrosse club, introducing the sport to students there with a grant from the organization World Lacrosse. Back home, one of Chanel’s Facebook friends posted, “You amaze me with everything you get yourself into. It’s like watching an adventuremovie!” Chanel’s former professors would smile at that comment. At PBA they loved her enthusiasm for learning, her thoughtfulness for classmates, and the role model she became for peers. She graduated summa cum laude, a member of PBA’s Frederick M. Supper Honors Programand a veteran of varsity lacrosse. Nowas I celebrate her remarkable accomplishments, I also celebrate the supporters of the scholarships she received. Scholarships “were huge,” she said, “lifting off some of the financial weight and allowing me to devote myself to studies in such a way that opened doors for me.” This is what scholarships do. They open doors. Observing the paths of graduates like Chanel makes me conclude that supporting college scholarships is one of the most powerful forms of philanthropy. That’s why I’m happy to invite you to the gala I mentioned earlier, theWomen of Distinction Luncheon, February 21 at The Breakers PalmBeach. (Seewww.pba.edu/wod.)We’ll be honoring philanthropistsMary Freitas and Monika Preston, and proceeds will fund scholarships for deserving female students. This year six students will receiveWomen of Distinction Scholarships. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all of you who contribute to this fund or to other scholarships. As students graduate and begin their careers of service, their impact is also your impact. Dr. Debra A. Schwinn, a physician, researcher and innovator, is president of Palm Beach Atlantic University. (www.pba.edu) - Dr. Debra A. Schwinn - Palm Beach Atlantic University President Fulbright Winner, Back in Uzbekistan, Recalls the Huge Impact of Scholarships PBA graduate Chanel Nassir (far left) with members of a girls book club she organized in Uzbekistan.
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THE CODE 22 FEBRUARY 2023 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition “The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, ‘The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire’” (Nehemiah 1:1–3). Nehemiah opened his memoirs with the news of a report he received from distant Jerusalem. Hearing of someone who had recently returned froma visit, Nehemiah inquired about the status of the Jewish people and the condition of the Holy City itself. The report was not what he had hoped to hear: “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3). If Nehemiah was to get started right in his task of rebuilding, his first step was to make an honest evaluation of the condition of Jerusalem. Although a remnant of the Jews had returned to their homeland and the temple was in place, there was only a semblance of normalcy. The wall of the city was still broken down from the destruction years earlier when the Babylonians had devastated the city. The gates were still unhinged, burned with fire. Those who had returned had dishonored God with their lifestyles and neglect of the temple, and they found themselvesmired in deep “distress.” It was time to face the facts. First, the broken wall was in need of being rebuilt to provide safety and security for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And second, as long as the gates were burned, the enemy would have easy access to the city. Why some fail to make an honest evaluation Many of us falter and fail in the rebuilding process at this very point — we don’t take the time tomake a thorough and careful enough evaluation of our circumstances and situation. For some, it is hard to get to the place of admitting our need, of admitting that some of our own walls are broken and some of our own gates are burned. I knowmen and women who have met premature death because they wouldn’t face warning signs of pain in their bodies. We all know those who waited too long to go to a physician to get an honest evaluation of their situation. The same can often be said regarding relationships, or, for that matter, anything else that needs to be rebuilt. If we are going to rebuild, wemust first get started right.And we will never get started right until we make our own honest evaluation of the situation. Superficial optimism There are at least three approaches people take when seeking to rebuild something that is broken in their lives. One is the way of “superficial optimist.” The emphasis here is on the word superficial. This is a cosmetic approach that deals only with surface issues. These are people who are constantly in the process of trying to put a positive spin on difficult situations, often pretending a problem does not even exist. The superficial optimist will resist making any semblance of an honest evaluation, wishfully thinking that if he or she just waits long enough or hunkers down deep enough then everything will eventually be made right. The ancient prophet Jeremiah had this person in mind when he said there were some who say, “Peace, peace! When there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11). Busy optimists Then, there are others who approach the process of rebuilding as “busy optimists.” That is, they admit there is a problem, but they attack it by trying to get everyone around them to be as busy as they can be. These people set up new structures and new organizational charts. They acquire new personnel. They develop new slogans and motivate the troops with all types of positive-thinking techniques. But they never get around to honestly evaluating and addressing the situation. And all the new policies, new people, new plans, and new procedures in the world can’t keep a ship afloat if it has holes in the hull. Honest optimists Finally, there are those like Nehemiah who make an honest evaluation of the situation right from the beginning. They have the courage to face the root problems and deal with them directly. WEmight refer to them as “honest optimists.” They have the strength and patience, as well as the wisdom and understanding, to address the systematic issues and actually work to correct them. Those who make such honest evaluations are not afraid of offending others or making enemies. They are not intimated by threats, and they cannot be formed and fashioned into someone else’s mold. Such a person is our man, Nehemiah. He got started right by making an honest evaluation of his situation. There may be many reading these words who are in need of rebuilding—perhaps it’s a relationship, self-confidence or even a life—but they have never arrived at the place of admitting it. Perhaps you take the superficial optimists’ approach, simply dealing with surface issues and ever saying, “’Peace, peace!’ where there is no peace.” Or it may be that you more closely identify with the busy optimist. Instead of honestly evaluating your situation, you busily cover up the problems by moving on to new people and new projects. Learn from Nehemiah, the “honest optimist.” Look at him. Listen to him. He made an honest evaluation. He inquired. He learned. Then he admitted that, not only was the wall broken down and the gates burned off their hinges, but the people were in distress. And, as if that were not bad enough, they had become a reproach to their God. Is there any unfinished business in your life?Are there any walls that need rebuilding? Those who win at the game of life always finish what they start. But before that can happen, they get a good start bymaking an honest evaluation of the problem. Rebuilders who go through the painful process of accurately assessing their situations are soon on the road to the realization that it’s never too late for a new beginning. Taken from The Nehemiah Code by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2018 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. fromSouthwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For almost a quarter of a century, he 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 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 MissionDignity.org. - Dr. O.S. Hawkins - President, Guidestone Financial Resources Make an Honest Evaluation Nehemiah views the ruins of Jerusalem's walls - Picture from The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments books collection published in 1885, Stuttgart-Germany. Drawings by Gustave Dore.www.goodnewsfl.org