Saturday, March 26, 2016


by Tim Howard

Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Because of Him – people are able to experience freedom, joy, peace, love and a future hope. He provides the power for people to live and is the foundation and focus of the Christian faith!  That’s a reason to celebrate this weekend!

The death and resurrection of Christ not only changed our calendar from B.C. to A.D. but also has the power to change your past, your present and you destiny – when you put your faith in Christ.

The Apostle Paul had a tremendous desire to experience the power of the resurrection and said: “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Phil. 3:10-11 NLT

Resurrection is the Power to cancel your past sins and failures. Paul in his letter to the Colossian people said that Jesus has “forgiven all our sins… and canceled every record of the debt we owe.” Christ did this through His death on the cross for those who would repent and turn to Him.

Resurrection is the Power to conquer your present problems and the challenges you face. We are told in the book of Romans that nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ. Since He is for us and not against us – we are more than conquerors. Check out Romans 8:35 & 37

Resurrection is the Power to change your identity and destiny. "When someone becomes a Christian he or she becomes a new person inside.  He or she is not the same anymore. A new life has begun." 2 Cor. 5:17 (LB)

Resurrection is the Power that reveals a God who is alive and actively involved in the universe. Across the world this weekend tens of thousands of people will remember and rejoice in a God who Was, Is and Will Be – He is Alive!

Today God wants everyone to experience the power of his resurrection and I have been praying for that to happen in those who live in Kings County – Our country  and the world at large.

I am a follower of Christ because I accepted His invitation over 60 years ago and began my journey back then. That being said, I have leaned that resurrection power doesn’t remove all difficulties and obstacles.

For every Sunday of rejoicing, there is a Friday of sorrow – Just like it was for Jesus. But for those who put their confidence in Jesus and rely upon Him for their daily existence – their Friday will succumb to His Sunday.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Speak Life

by Sylvia Gaston

Now that we are well into 2016…how are you doing on that New Year’s resolution you made? I don’t usually make resolutions, but this year I set a goal for myself – to speak life into my family.

Life can be so negative and difficult at times - for children and adults alike. We all face challenges and trials in every day life. Sometimes other people can begin to beat us down, intentionally or unintentionally.  Every single one of us can use someone in our life that will build us up, encourage us, and tell us positive things about ourselves that will make it easier for us to continue on.

So how can we be the person that builds up and speaks life into our loved ones?

First, ask yourself, “Who?” Do you have young ones at home? A spouse? Do you have teenagers? How about adult children? Grandchildren? Nieces/nephews? Parents? Siblings? Godchildren? These are the people that God has given you to care for.

We all have a unique sphere of influence – people that only we can pour into. Loved ones whose lives we can positively effect.

For example, only I can be a wife to my husband. Only I can be a mother to my children. Likewise, you are unique to many people in your life. You have the power and the ability to speak life into them. So at the beginning of 2016 I made a conscious decision to speak life into their lives on a frequent basis.

There is great power in our words – power to tear down and the power to build up. The Bible says it like this in Proverbs 15:4 - a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit but the tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.

How do you use the power of your words to speak life? It will probably look different based on your family dynamics.

For me, it looks like this: I pick at least one of my loved ones each day and pour into them. I might tell my teenage daughter or son that they are a good friend or how much I love their personality. I try to remember to encourage my husband as the provider and the head of our family. I might text my adult son that he’s doing a great job as a father to his 2-year-old and newborn. I try to let my college kid know that I’m proud of her efforts at work and school.

There are a number of ways to use the positive power of your words: by phone, text or email. Send a card or letter to those near or far.  But the sweetest way, by far, is in person. When you are with someone dear to you – find a way to let them know how special and precious they are. Once you start looking for uplifting things to say about them, you’ll be surprised at how wonderful they are and how much they really mean to you. They need to hear this.

Do I forget to do this every day? Yes. But remember, it’s not a resolution – it’s a goal. I do know that I am speaking life into my family more than I ever have in the past. That’s a step in the right direction.  That is who I want to be and who God has chosen me to be.

And one day, after I’m gone, I hope that my family will recall fondly a mom/wife/sister/daughter/aunt who poured into them, encouraged them and spoke positive words of life into them. I also hope and pray to leave behind a family that will, in turn, learn to speak life to those that they care about most.

So, I say – forget that New Year’s resolution and set a goal…think about the legacy you can leave – it’s never too late – to begin to speak life!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

To Be Continued

by Tim Howard

The older I get the more I think about death! It’s not a subject I dwell upon but it does cross my mind from time to time – since I am closer to death than birth. 
When I was a senior in High School – my mother became ill and none of us were prepared for her death. That was a difficult season for the whole family and especially hard for a teenager like myself.  Even though the doctors did everything within their power – she succumbed to the battle of cancer. Gwendolyn Howard died in the year of 1969 at the age of 52 years.

If you have ever had a close friend or family member ‘pass on’ then you know the myriad of emotions that make you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster.  At times you may experience deep pain because of the loss and shed many tears. A feeling of disbelief and denial may overcome you because it seems so surreal and then out of nowhere, a sense of great joy arises because you realize how special that person has been to you. 

Emotions are powerful and very real. Even Jesus wept when His good friend Lazarus died. Something emotionally stirred within Him that revealed how much He loved this man.

Death even goes beyond the physical – It signifies the end of a season!  

It happens whenever something comes to a conclusion. When your marriage ends in divorce, when your vocation or occupation comes to a screeching halt or when a child leaves home to begin a new season apart from the parents! When things like this happen – fear can set in and if allowed to grow unchecked, life becomes a struggle; ‘letting go’ becomes very difficult and a blindness to truth can ensue.

Experiences like this can be so emotionally packed that a person may lose sight of the fact – there is life after death! From Christ’s perspective – The end is not the end… It is the beginning of a new season.

Maybe that’s why Jesus said in John 14:1-3, “Don’t be troubled (afraid).  You trust God – now trust in me.  There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you.  If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” 

Simply stated: If you are connected to Jesus in an ongoing relationship – you don’t need to be troubled or ruled by fear when death – of any kind – knocks on your door. Why? Because it’s not ‘The End’ – It is: ‘To Be Continued’…

Jesus has prepared a good future for all those who love Him. The future is not unknown – It is certain.  He has a plan for you and it is a good plan. Even when you fee like you’ve reached end of your rope in a relationship or possibly you’re involved in a dead-end career. Maybe voices keep telling you it’s over – But God has the final word! He says: TO BE CONTINUED…

The Bible talks about Eternal life. A life that doesn’t end – even at the point of physical death! When the words – at the end of a television program say: “to be continued…” one might experience frustration but for the Christian who experiences death in any form – those same words stimulate faith, confidence and hope.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

5 Ways to Improve Your Life

by Andrew Cromwell

If you’ve spent any time on social media sites recently, you know one of the most popular ways to write articles these days is to make them some kind of list. Whether it’s “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Peanut Butter and Jelly” or “45 Uses for Egg Yolks that Will Change Your Life”, these articles somehow get us to click on them by promising us life-changing information. Here is my contribution to this oft-repeated genre in the hopes that you will not only “click” but that your life will in fact be changed for the better as you apply the information.

Proverbs is this incredible book of the Bible that contains incredible wisdom for daily living in bite sized pieces. In its pages you find keys for healthy relationships, an enduring love life (including a healthy sex life), and how to succeed in business among many other topics. In chapter three the author gives us six keys to having a long life filled with “peace and prosperity.” Everyone I know wants that kind of life!

Here’s how you get it:

1.    Don’t forget the essentials! The very first key to living the good life is never forgetting the essentials. Just like oreos without milk, life without the right playbook just ain't right! The Bible is that instruction manual for life handed down to us from holy men and women that walked closely with God. It describes to us the way we should live and tells us what things will destroy us and what things will build us up. It’s not enough just to know about the Bible, or even to know the Bible, the key is to actually live differently. That is what not forgetting actually means. It doesn’t do any good to know that the oil in your car needs to be changed every 3,000 miles unless you actually do it!

2.    Be kind and trustworthy to everyone. Do you want a good reputation? Would you like to be respected by others? In short, would you like people to like you? Stop being mean and stop making promises you don’t keep! Far too often we make the mistake of thinking the way to get respect is to demand it. Nope. The best way to get respect is to give it. Be the kind of person that people are attracted to -- and everyone is attracted to someone who is kind, considerate and does what they say they are going to do.

3.    Stay away from bad stuff. We underestimate what clean living can do for the entire course of our lives. We all know how it works. First, we’re curious, then we dabble, then we become fascinated, then obsessed and before you know it we’re hooked and we can’t get away. We do our best to keep things separated so that the “bad stuff” doesn’t interfere with the “good stuff” but we can only keep the plates spinning for a little while before it all comes crashing down.

4.    Give back to God. Every day we make choices of how to spend our money. We pay the mortgage or rent, we pay the credit card bill, we go out to dinner and the movies, and so much more. If we’re not careful, we find that every dime that we spend is on us and our family. There is something incredible that happens when we choose to give a part of what we earn to God. It requires us to prioritize and it reminds us that we are not first -- He is. Don’t underestimate the power in that practically, but it also does something spiritually as well because it opens the door for God to go to work in the area of our finances (and some of us really need that!).

5.    Take it on the chin. Like any good parent, God too sometimes needs to set us straight. When my children start to behave in a way that is going to result in damage to themselves or someone else, I step in. They don’t generally like it, but it saves them from hurt. And on the rare occasions when they recognize that they have done wrong and they actually receive the correction instead of resisting it, they move from just being punished to actually learning something. When God corrects us, He does it because He loves us. Stop being mad at Him for trying to help you out!

Living by these five principles has the power to change your life. Check out Proverbs 3 for yourself and see the other incredible wisdom you can find.