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If you enjoy this email service, I encourage you to spread the word to family and friends that we may bring inspiration to the lives of many! If you are not on the list and this has been passed along to you, join the thousands of world-wide readers by visiting: http://www.HeartTouchers.com

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This month is Clergy Appreciation Month and we wanted to share one of the best articles we have ever come across on how you can show that appreciation in tangible ways. 

From My Family to Yours,

Author Michael T. Powers



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Eight Ways to Encourage Your Pastor


by Victor Parachin


Sometimes pastors are the loneliest people in the church. Often their hours are long, the pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Feelings of disappointment, discouragement, and defeat may begin to plague the best of them.

Paul's admonition to "serve one another in love" (Gal. 5:13 ) should encourage us to remember our shepherds. Here are eight ways to make their lives better.

1. Cut the criticism

Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of television's "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," recently gave an address describing the time he was a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a different church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.

One Sunday he was treated to "the most poorly crafted sermon (he) had ever heard." But when he turned to the friend who had accompanied him, he found her in tears.
"It was exactly what I needed to hear," she told Rogers.

"That's when I realized," he told his audience, "that the space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her--and as it turned out, for me too."

Unlike most workers who are evaluated once or twice a year, clergy are often critiqued weekly after each worship service. It's not unusual to hear people say "the music was poor," "the hymn selection was awful," or "the sermon was boring." We would do well to remember that most spiritual leaders work
hard to make worship a unique celebration each week.

2. Pray regularly

Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love, hope, joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom, and courage. Pray for your spiritual leader's maturity and growth in the faith. As you pray keep in mind this wisdom from German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "If you treat a person as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be."

3. Express appreciation in writing

A spoken compliment is always welcome, but a written one can be read over and over again for years. So, when you hear or see something you like from your minister, write an appreciative note.

4. Use your skills to bless

Are you proficient with computers? Help your pastor master the church's new computer. Are you a mechanic? Offer to service the car free of charge or at a reduced fee.

One pastor I know recalls: "I was pastoring my first church -- a small congregation with limited resources. While there, I developed a series of dental problems and could not afford treatment. What a joy it was when a dentist in the church offered to treat me for free. Correcting my dental problem involved nearly a dozen visits. He treated me carefully and cheerfully each time. I have thought of that dentist many times since then and the memories of his kindness continue to bless my life."

5. Squelch gossip

If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive one. If misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk away. Remember the Bible soundly condemns gossip and careless speech. James 1:26 says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." And Psalm 34:13 reads, "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."

6. Offer to meet a need

Some people make their spiritual leaders defensive and angry by saying, "You need to _" That approach is seldom welcome and almost always counterproductive. If you see a need, approach your spiritual leader by saying, "I'd like to help by _" If you see an area that can be improved, take responsibility for working on it.

Be an active participant in your church. Get involved by teaching a class, leading a workshop, singing in the choir, feeding the hungry. Ask your spiritual leader where and how you can employ your gifts.

7. Be openly responsive

Nothing so animates and excites a spiritual leader as seeing people respond to the preaching and teaching. Imagine the surprise and delight of a pastor in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who, when greeting a visitor to his church, found she came because of the kindness of a church member who was her neighbor.

"I'm recently divorced, a single parent and new to this community," she told the pastor. "To keep up with rent and provide for my three children, I must work two jobs. That leaves me very little time for yard work. I was relieved when the weeds didn't overrun my yard as I had feared they might. However, when I made an unscheduled trip home in the middle  of my workday, I discovered the reason why the weeds had not taken over my yard.

"My 86-year-old neighbor -- a member of your church -- was on his hands and knees pulling my weeds. I barely knew this man and he was embarrassed to be caught in this anonymous act of kindness. He explained that he heard you preach a sermon on the importance of living a life of compassion and kindness and decided to put that sermon into practice by weeding my lawn."

One pastor's heart filled with joy when a group of women in Washington, D.C., responded to a sermon preached from the words of Jesus--"Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (Matt. 7:1). After hearing the sermon, the women decided to give a baby shower for the young woman who provided childcare while they met for Bible study. She was unmarried, close to going on welfare, and without support from her family or the father-to-be. The young woman was moved to tears by the surprise baby shower.

Later, the women explained to the pastor, "Your sermon taught us that it's possible to reach out to someone in need -- in this case, an unwed mother -- without judging or condoning the situation." 

8. Throw away the measuring stick

Don't expect that your present spiritual leaders will do things the same way their predecessors did. Lay aside personal agendas and preferences. Instead, focus on how your leader is being used by God to do effective ministry now. By serving your shepherds, you will ensure that they will not only be encouraged but will feel appreciated and continue to minister with enthusiasm and energy.

Copyright 1999 by Victor Parchin and
Christianity Today.  Used by Permission


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Creation Q & A
 

The Bible's Accuracy and Authority

by Don Landis

Ever since the serpent said to Eve, “Indeed, has God said?” the Word of God has been questioned and attacked.

The serpent’s words focused on two important elements—the Bible’s accuracy and its authority.

The Bible’s Accuracy

There are those who say that the Bible we have today cannot be trusted. They say that it was written by men and, therefore, contains errors. They also suggest that during the centuries of copying, men introduced many errors.

The supreme argument for the accuracy of Scripture is simply that God Himself tells us it can be trusted. Do you know why?

However, one important goal of anyone who defends the Bible is to give evidence that we have in our hands exactly what God said and exactly what He wants us to have.

One such evidence that the Bible has been copied accurately in the past is shown in the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls, found by a shepherd boy in 1947, are dated from 250 to 150 BC. This discovery pushed back our available oldest Scripture text almost 1,000 years. And when the content of the scrolls was compared to later copies, no significant differences were found. That means scribes had been copying with great precision for almost ten centuries. This amazing discovery moved us one millennium closer to the originals.

We can also make sound arguments for the trustworthiness of Scripture based on lower criticism, grammar, and contextual evidence. We can show that the scribes were meticulous in their copying of the text of Scripture. We can evidence the life-changing qualities of the Bible in the lives of millions of believers. We can evidence the historical accuracy of the text of the Bible.

But there is another, internal argument for the accuracy of Scripture, based on the character and attributes of God, and this argument is supreme.

The Scriptures claim that God Himself breathed out Scripture (using human instruments, 2 Peter 1:21) and that it can be trusted to be His Word. His wisdom is infinite, and He is all-powerful and holy, so everything He says is trustworthy, accurate, and without error. Since God’s work will image His own nature, the accuracy of Scripture is guaranteed.

But this argument goes even further, including the faithfulness of God to preserve the record of His work through Christ. God sent His own Son, the second person of the trinity, to take human form for the purpose of redemption. What was the cost of God’s incredible gift of salvation offered to man? His own Son’s life!

The Bible is the record of Christ’s coming, His payment for our sin, and all the truths we need to know about Him.

The nature, character, and attributes of God demand that the Scriptures be accurate

So here is a question. If God sent His Son, paid the highest price imaginable for the redemption of human beings, and made a record so all future generations could know, would He allow the text to be adulterated and the message ruined by error? Impossible!

If God allowed the text to be lost and the message to be muddled, He would then be unfaithful to His own purpose and to His own Son and His sacrifice on the Cross. Logically, theoretically, practically, that is impossible.

The nature, character, and attributes of God demand a faithful witness of His decrees, promise, plan, and purpose, climaxed in the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son.

The Bible’s Authority

The Scripture has authority because God has all authority. And because God is the author of all Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), Scripture is authoritative. God is the basis for the Bible’s authority. Since God has ensured the transmission of the message of His Son and since He reinforces this message by His own authority, mankind has only two choices: to obey Him or reject Him. The fact that God gave us the Scripture is the reason we know that it is accurate and that it is exactly what He wants us to have. And because God has spoken it, we can be confident in the Scripture’s authority. It is true and represents faithfully His offer and promise of forgiveness and eternal life to those who meet His criteria of belief in His Son.

Source: AnswersinGenesis.org

 

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Creation News

Click on the Bible above or visit the web site listed below!

http://www.HeartTouchers.com/Creation_News

This new addition to our web site will give you an article on the leading news in the
Creation/Evolution controversy each day. This section also includes a rotating
Question and Answer feature and a weekly Creation Comic strip from the people
at AnswersInGenesis.org. Be sure to come back and visit each day for an informative
article that will help you keep up to date on the latest news in this controversial area!

 


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Thought For The Day

"Every tomorrow has two handles.  You can
take hold of the handle of anxiety or the handle
of enthusiasm.  Upon your choice so will
be the day."


Verse for the Day

"In morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the
morning I lay my requests before you and
wait in expectation." - Psalm 5:3


Kid's Thought For The Day

"There is no good reason why clothes have
to match." one


Parent's Thought For The Day

"In an effort to insure my children's tomorrows,
I have lost their todays." --Danny Thomas


Coach's Thought For The Day

And success is peace of mind, a direct result
of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your
best to become the best that you are capable
of becoming, and not just in a physical way:
'Seek ye first the kingdom and His
righteousness and all these things will be
yours as well." - John Wooden


Deep Thought For The Day

People who fly look down on people who don't fly.

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Over 450,000 people have listened to popular Chicken Soup Author Michael T. Powers' free inspirational message entitled: "Breathing Life into Others". If you aren't one of them just visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com and click on the link to listen to the free streaming audio message.

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 Inspired Audio -- Inspirational Audio Message of the Week!
                               

Inspired Audio is a brand new offshoot of HeartTouchers.com. Every week we will offer a different audio message that you can listen to right on your computer as you are surfing the net or just getting things done around the house. Be sure to come back and visit each week!

This Week: "Strengthening Your Relationships" by Jeff Williams
http://faithcommunity.sermon.net/Recent_Sermons/recentsermons/20516041

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Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

http:www.VideoImagery.net

Dear Michael,

"I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!"

Love,
Trisha
Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos! Check out my video production business by visiting:

http://www.VideoImagery.net

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Do you feel as if life has no meaning for you?
                               

http://www.HeartTouchers.com/Life_Purpose

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