There has never been anyone like you before … There is not anyone else like you right now … There will never be anyone like you in the future.
Because you are unique, God has made you just as you are for a specific purpose—
“This signature on each soul may be a product of heredity and environment, but that only means that heredity and environment are among the instruments whereby God creates a soul. I am considering not how, but why, He makes each soul unique. If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you. The mold in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you.” (C.S. Lewis)
Contrary the nursery rhyme—Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me—we all know that words do hurt! Dr. Michael Sedler addresses this topic in a unique way in Stopping Words That Hurt.
Reading that title you would think that this is a book about controlling your tongue, but we already know we’re supposed to do that, right? So Dr. Sedler takes a different angle and challenges us to control our thoughts and our environment. He shows us how being receptive to the negative words that others are speaking starts a downward cycle in our hearts and minds that leads to us not only receiving but perpetuating negative reports about others.
This book is not “pop psychology,” but is solidly grounded on biblical principles for heading-off negative reports at their source. Stopping Words That Hurt is filled with practical strategies for confronting gossipers, analyzing our own attitudes, and turning negative environments (where gossip flourishes) into positive environments where people are affirmed and built up.
I plan to use the strategies in this book to help the students that attend the youth center I direct to become catalysts for changing the environment in their schools and homes. Although adults can use this information too, I see a very receptive audience in pre-teens and teenagers. Parents, you need to read this book to be able to help your children as well.
I am a Chosen Books book reviewer.
This week we celebrated Earth Day, where I think Christians should be at the forefront in taking care of God’s creation.
It is a shame that so many evangelical Christians not only have little concern for the environment, but are sometimes known as anti-environmental. How can this be when our Creator God has asked us to care for His creation? Not only is our pollution of the earth totally unacceptable, but this is an issue that our young people care about; and if we don’t connect with them on valid issues such as preservation of the environment, how can we expect them to listen to us at all? —George Verwer (emphasis added)
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Verwer! So here are some places that Calvary Assembly of God is getting involved, and I encourage you to join us (if you live near Cedar Springs), or do something similar in your own community.
Cedar Creek Cleanup—Saturday, April 27, from 10am-noon. We’ll be cleaning up along the banks of the Cedar Creek, and even in the creek itself. We’ll also help clean up trash and debris along the White Pine Trail where it passes through the city and intersects with Cedar Creek. We will have some waders to use, but please make sure you wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.
Service Sunday—Sunday, May 5, from 11am-2pm. This is a collaboration with several other churches in Cedar Springs. We’re shortening up our gatherings in our church buildings, so we can head out into the community to put our worship in action. There’s a long list of activities including: providing full-service to motorists at local gas stations, painting and sprucing up Elmwood Cemetery, planting flowers, singing for the residents of Metron Nursing Home, trash pick, window washing for businesses along Main Street, and many, many more. And we’ll wrap up our work time with a potluck lunch in Morley Park.
Community Cleanup Days—Saturday, May 11, from 10am-noon. Similar to the cleanup efforts in Cedar Springs, we’ll be tackling some spring cleaning projects around Solon Township.
One of the first commands that God gave to Adam and Eve was to work in the Garden of Eden and take care of it (Genesis 2:15). The earth is God’s, but He put mankind here to be stewards of His creation.
That’s why I am pleased that Calvary Assembly of God is going to participate in the Earth Day 2012 cleanup in Cedar Springs. This is a great way for us to show, in a tangible way, that we love our community, and that we want to take care of the environment where we live, work and worship.
If you live in Cedar Springs, please join with us on Saturday, April 28, at 10am. If you live in another community, please consider partnering with a similar cleanup effort in your hometown, or start one of your own.
I believe those who call themselves Christians should be the most environmentally-aware people in the community.
God told Adam & Eve that they needed to take care of the environment in which He placed them. And that directive is still in place for us today: We are to be caretakers of this amazing planet.
And as Christians, we should be excellent caretakers.
The City of Cedar Springs recently received a grant to help with some waterway cleanup. So I am very excited that a group from Calvary Assembly of God is going to be involved in the Cedar Creek Cleanup project on August 30.
This is another way for us to show our love for our community, and to live out our biblical values. I’m always so appreciative of the way this group wants to jump into any of these community projects. If I haven’t said it lately, let me repeat it loud and clear —
Have you ever heard how a TV news producer decides what the lead story will be? Or how a managing editor decides which stories get the front page of the newspaper? It comes down to this: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Sad, but too often true. With all of this negative news leading, Dr. Bradley R.E. Wright’s book Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World is indeed surprisingly good news!
Dr. Wright notes that sociologist Joel Best “classifies the different types of bad statistics as follows: some numbers are bad to begin with; some numbers get bad as they are passed along; and some numbers are chosen because they are bad.” In other words, there’s just a lot of bad news out there!
But despite all of this negative press, people around the world are surprisingly upbeat. That’s because when a sociologist like Dr. Wright gets a hold of all of these statistics, he can put them into the proper perspective. He looks at the data on a variety of topics:
“The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying ‘the trouble with this country is….’” — Sinclair Lewis
Do bad things happen? Yes. Are there some issues that still need to be addressed? Absolutely. Is the world ready to collapse all around us? It doesn’t appear so. Christians should have the clearest and keenest worldview because it’s a biblical worldview. Dr. Wright does an excellent job of helping the reader find the perspective that is realistic, yet balanced.
Economist professor Julian Simons summarized it this way —
Almost every economic and social change or trend points in the positive direction, as long as we view the matter over a reasonably long period of time. That is, all aspects of material human welfare are improving in the aggregate.
I am a Bethany House book reviewer.