Tag Archives: Prayer

Product Review: Following Jesus

Rose Publishing has issued a pamphlet entitled, “Following Jesus.” This pamphlet is a welcome basket to the New Believer. It covers the fundamentals of Christian Conduct after accepting the Gift of Salvation. The pamphlet contains 11 pages of actual content briefly covering topics regarding Spiritual Gifts/Disciplines, Christian Living, and the Reliability of the Christian Faith.

This pamphlet reminds the New Believe to strive for “progress and not perfection” because becoming a true disciple does not occur immediately. Forgiveness, repentance, and the assurance of Salvation with scriptural references are briefly addressed to help reassure New Believers can be forgiven when they sin after repenting from a sincere heart. The four “P”s (Praise, Provide, Pardon, and Protect) structure as it relates to The Lord’s Prayer to aid New Believers to stay connected to God.

Additionally, suggestive scriptural readings are prescribed with a recommended criteria to follow while reading these scriptures to obtain the most out of a biblical study. The importance of fellowship, tithing, and evangelism are emphasized. It also addresses the concerns that most New Believer have regarding the authority/reliability of the Bible, evidence of the Resurrection, and answering the question if Jesus is the only way for salvation.

I believe this pamphlet would work well in New Membership Classes or as a tool to utilize when evangelizing. I believe the pamphlet could explore certain topics deeper for clarity. Overall, I would recommend this to teachers or spiritual leaders who interact with those who seek to learn more about following Jesus.

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Product Review: Pursuing Jesus

The “Pursuing Jesus” pamphlet is very similar to the “Following Jesus” pamphlet. “Pursing Jesus” is a revised, more contemporary version of “Following Jesus” geared towards appealing to the youth. The layout, format, and overall design is edgier and more colorful. The length is the same. While still scripturally based, there are less scriptures while maintaining scriptural references and has more of a questions and answers layout.

While I do appreciate that this has been designed with teens in mind, the graphic design and fonts used would not give you the impression of Christian pamphlet at first glance, but something that you would see to advertisement a secular Halloween flyer. The font used for headers appear as scratches in blood red color. The cover display a female face that is pale with wide horizontal stripe of red across the eyes and a wide vertical stripe that comes down the middle.

The same questions used in “Following Jesus” are used and sometimes re-worded in “Pursing Jesus.” As in the previous pamphlet, there are suggested scriptural references provided for memorization. As I have been seeking content for my Teen Sunday School class, I wanted to review both products. Initially, I believed “Pursing Jesus” was a continuous of “Following Jesus.” This is not the case they are virtually the same product. Overall, I prefer “Following Jesus” over the “Pursing Jesus” pamphlet because I like the layout, format, and overall design better for teaching. Both products are good for introducing New Believers to Christ. I would recommend it be used in small group settings to facilitate discussions about what it means to be a Christian.

The Job Series: What Type of Encourager are You?

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17, KJV) Unlike “fair weather” friends, our true friends support us during good and bad times. At the end of Chapter Two, Job’s three friends – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, heard of Job’s hardships and went visit Job to provide comfort. For seven days they sat with Job in silence empathizing with Job’s pain.

In Chapter Three, Job breaks the silence by cursing the day he was born. It was evident that Job was depressed. He suffered great losses. He had an estranged wife, deceased children, and lost his source of income. Now, his health is failing. When most of Job’s friends and family had forsaken him Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar where there to give him support. (Job 19:14) Another one of Job’s friends, Elihu, is also present during the time of these discussions. After Job’s speech in Chapter Three, Job and friends have three rounds of discussions. During the discussions we learn that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are horrible encouragers.

When we are being tested by trials, who are members of our support system and what type of support do they offer? Do they offer you godly advice, pray with you, and help keep you grounded? Or do they offer poor guidance, encourage bad behavior, and make empty promises of support? In the case of Job, all of his friends had great intentions but their ignorance regarding his plight led them to rebuke Job at a time where he needed to be uplift.

The Apostle Paul offers an “Encourager’s Checklist” in I Thessalonians 5:11-23. When we set out to encourage, we should be respectful and not judgmental. We should promote harmony, not discord, as well as avoid every kind of evil, and resist retaliation. We need to remind the injured party that God is in control. We need to pray continually, be prepared to listen, and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, during this time of conversation and connection with God, we need to remember to be patient and reassuring during this process.

In Colossians Chapter One, the Apostle Paul offers four points regarding prayer for one another. One, we should be thankful for their faith and changed lives. Two, we should ask God to provide them with clarity and deep spiritual understanding. Three, we pray for God to help our Brother or Sister in Christ to live their lives for Him. Four, we should seek God and ask to continually be filled with joy, strength, peace, and thankfulness.

Are we good encouragers that offer godly counsel, compassion, and prayer? Or do we encourage bad behaviors? Do we offer someone a shot a whiskey, revenge tactics, or other advice that will not address their problem but satisfy the desires of their carnal nature? What type of encouragers are we?

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Massacre

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4, KJV)

My prayers and condolences go out to the congregation, families, and friends impacted by the shooting which took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people including the pastor lost their lives as a result of this shooting. Although the suspect in the killings, Dylann Roof, has been apprehended, the pain of this shooting is felt throughout the Universal Church.

I would encourage all to pray not only for the victims love ones and congregation but to pray for the suspect. We, being the Church, must forgive his actions. Though we grieve, we must also forgive. This is not to say that he should not suffer the consequences for his actions. Regardless to his motives for performing this slaying, redemption is still available to him. Before becoming an Apostle Saul murdered hundreds of Christians until he reached the road of Damascus. He was given a new name, Paul, and would be the writer of fourteen out of twenty-seven books in the Bible.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is historical for their work in civil rights and being active in their community. The “Charleston Nine” are now martyrs of the faith. They spent their final hour studying the Scriptures, praying, and worshipping God not knowing that this would be their last opportunity to do so. For them, death has no sting and the grave has no victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54-56) They have ran their race and kept the faith. The names and ages of the “Charleston Nine” are listed below.

Cynthia Herd (54)

Suzy Jackson (87)

Ethel Lee Lance (70)

Reverend Doctor Depayne Middleton (49)

Pastor Clementa Pinckney(41)

Tywanza Sanders (26)

Reverend Doctor Daniel L. Simmons, Senior (74)

Reverend. Sharonda Singleton (45)

Myra Thompson (59)

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, KJV)