Saturday, January 25, 2014

Guest: Use Your Own Dirt by Ada Brownell (An Excerpt from Imagine the Future You)


FREE JANUARY 25 AND 26



CHRISTIAN FAITH IN THE SECULAR COLLEGE CLASSROOM:

 USE YOUR OWN DIRT

By Ada Brownell

An excerpt from Ada Brownell's motivational Bible study for youth

Imagine the Future You

     A psychology professor openly ridiculed Christians in one of my university classes. As the instructor made sarcastic remarks about Christians in the news and preached his atheistic ideas, I wondered why no one challenged him. One day I raised my hand.
     “You said this textbook will be outdated in ten years,” I began. “So what you're teaching might not be true in ten years?”
     The questions flowed.
     “Can you prove evolution? Isn’t it true you accept it by faith? Are you aware many scientists threw out missing links because in the more than 100 years since Darwin they can’t find them? Did you know scientists are even putting forth the idea that man might have fallen from outer space?
     “How did creation turn out so perfectly without a Designer? Why aren’t monkeys turning into humans now?”
     He admitted that, yes, the textbooks and the theories and knowledge in them would soon be outdated; that he didn’t have all the answers; and, “Yes, we do accept some things by faith. But when something is universally accepted, we treat it as fact.”
     I should have asked, “Then because the God of creation and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ are universally accepted, that should be treated as fact?”
     Although I accept that many Christians believe the theory with God starting the process, a few weeks later, I asked a science professor if the laws of thermodynamics violate evolution. The teacher had opened the class on the environment stating everything would be based on evolution.
     No more than thirty-five pages into the text, Living in the Environment, by G. Tyler Miller Jr., the class was studying the law of energy degradation, also known as the second law of thermodynamics. The law states that matter, if left to itself and undergoing physical or chemical changes, will always change in the direction of decreased order and decreased energy content. The entire universe obeys this law, and this includes every chemical reaction.
     In words plain and simple, the law means anything left to itself will slowly fall apart. Every old barn with the roof sagging and the walls falling in demonstrates this law. Despite galaxies thought to be expanding (are they expanding, or are we increasing our knowledge?), scientists will tell you the entire universe is slowing down, growing old, and, as the saying goes, is running out of steam.
     The second energy law also tells us energy tends to flow or change spontaneously from a compact and ordered form to a dispersed and random, or disordered, form.
     “No one has ever found a violation of this law,” Miller states.[1]
     When the teacher read that, I put up my hand. “Isn’t evolution a violation of this law?”
     In order for evolution to occur, many complex chemical changes must take place, and they must all be in the direction of increased order and energy to move from the simple to the com­plex.
     The teacher paused a moment, cleared his throat, and said, “Well, evolution is the only violation.”
     The theory of evolution also violates the first law of thermodynamics, which simply says energy (or matter) neither can be created nor destroyed.
     A story goes that God and Satan were having a discussion.
     “I can do anything you can,” Satan said, stretching his puny body so he looked taller.
     God smiled. “OK. Make a man.”
     Satan bent over and began scraping up dirt.
     God grabbed his shoulder. “Use your own dirt.”


[1] G. Tyler Miller Jr., Living in the Environment (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co.), 34–43.

About the Book:

IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU: A motivational Bible study by Ada Brownell

The intriguing thing about our dreams is we’re always the “Star.”  Comedy, romance, murder mystery, drama, documentary of a heroine—there we are in the middle of everything.
When we’re awake we also star in our dreams. Dream big and work toward your goals and you’ll write a story with your life that might amaze you.
Whether your story is a tragedy or a cherished classic depends on who you want to become and if you pursue your dreams.
If you continue to do or not do what you practice now, what kind of future do you imagine for yourself?
The decisions we make ourselves affect our future more than those made for us. We have control of our attitudes, our work ethic, our sense of wonder, our faith to believe in God and for great things. It is up to us where we end up in life and eternity.
This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating,  love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.


FREE JANUARY 25-26




About the Author: 

Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and write books with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. She is critique group leader of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Among her books: Imagine the Future You, a youth Bible study (November 2013). Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, (Jan. 15, 2013); Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, (Dec. 6, 2011); and Confessions of a Pentecostal, out of print but released in 2012 for Kindle; All the books are available in paper or for Kindle.
     Twitter: @adellerella   
     Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement
     Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
     BarnesandNoble.com   http://ow.ly/rFSW3


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Show, Don't Tell

© Janakadharmasena

As a writer, I see those words all the time…usually in bright red letters all over my work-in-progress. My crit partners don’t pull any punches, but then again, I like it that way. Actions speak louder than words. At least that’s what my grandmother always said. No one ever had the guts to look that woman in the eye and call her a liar when she was alive. I’m not about to call her one now.
But have you ever wondered why? Think about it for a second. Telling is so easy.
In writing, you tell the whole story in a matter of fact, quick way. Dot your ‘i’s, cross your ‘t’s, and you’re done. And if someone needs something? You offer the platitudes and advice needed, and don’t get involved. Stay in your own little world and take no chances, no risks. In reality, why would anyone want to do more?
After all, God said to spread His gospel right? What does actions have to do with telling people about Jesus?

Exo 9:16 (NJKV) But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.

God uses every Christian to be a beacon of light in this dying world. But for many people today, words have become an easy answer. When someone asks for help, we offer prayer.
When a person’s sick or near death, we offer prayer. When financial difficulties knock at the door, we offer prayer. When relationships falter, we offer prayer.
Words. To so many, this sacred and beautiful communion is reduced to simple words. Telling the Lord what He already knows when, as Christians, we can be doing so much more on our knees as intercessors or on our feet through the brethren in Christ.
I love the Lord. I love His people. I’m a prayer warrior. My heart’s burdened with showing the love Jesus has for this world before it’s too late. We can’t offer it empty words instead of reinforced action.
Show, don’t (just) tell.



Psalm 119:112 (NKJV) I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, to the very end.


In Christ,

Renee

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Review: The Sheep Walker's Daughter by Sydney Avey




The Book:

A Korean War widow’s difficult mother dies before revealing the identity of her daughter’s father and his cultural heritage. As Dee sorts through what little her mother left, she unearths puzzling clues that raise more questions: Why did Leora send money every month to the Basque Relief Agency? Why is her own daughter so secretive about her soon-to-be published book? And what does an Anglican priest know that he isn’t telling? All this head-spinning breaks a long, dry period in Dee’s life. She might just as well lose her job and see where the counsel of her new spiritual advisor and the attentions of an enigmatic ex-coworker lead her.
.
The Sheep Walker’s Daughter pairs a colorful immigrant history of loss, survival, and tough choices with one woman’s search for spiritual identity and personal fulfillment.

Dee’s journey will take her through the Northern and Central California valleys of the 1950s and reach across the world to the obscure Basque region of Spain. She will begin to discover who she is and why family history matters.


The Review:

Culture, history, and drama sprinkled with a touch of romance. Sydney Avey spins a tale of secrets and mystery, transporting the reader from California to Spain. Two women search for answers about their past and discover their future.

Reluctantly drawn into her mother’s past, Dee finds a family she never knew she had. With each piece of the puzzle, a slice of the Basque life is lay bare. A life of exile and return; people who’ve struggled to live in this world, sometimes welcome, sometimes not.

The Sheep Walker’s Daughter isn’t an elegant story. Lives ripped apart, a family destroyed, and culture devastated? No, it’s not easy to read about. But life usually isn’t, and Avey inserted life into her story. Real life.

Although the actual writing is a little hard to follow at times (it’s written in first-person and swings back and forth from character to character), the plot surpasses any weaknesses in this regard. I give this historical novel four stars. Good job.


The Author:



Sydney Avey earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and did postgraduate work in mass communications at San Jose State University. She lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and has a lifetime of experience writing news for non-profits and corporations. She speaks on spiritual maturity at Christian Women’s Conferences and on the writer’s life at seminars in the Gold Country in California.  Sydney has work featured or forthcoming in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and American Athenauem. She blogs at sydneyavey.com about the themes she explores in her writing–relationships, legacy, faith and wanderlust.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Faith: The Final Frontier

The Horsehead Nebula

2 Cor 8:7 (NKJV) But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.


A new year is upon us…2014. Many things have changed over the last year but not everything. Our world is still in chaos. People still search for answers even when they don’t know the questions. Innocence is fading away before our very eyes.
Is there hope for mankind? I look into the past and find myself wondering.
1969 – Neil Armstrong and that dusty landing on the lunar landscape. Do you remember it? I don’t, but then again I wasn’t born yet. But I can feel the excitement every time I watch the old television footage. The whole world took a trip to a brand new frontier that day. Do you remember Walter Cronkite? Oh, the awe on his face!
2005 – Hurricane Katrina and facing our worst fears. From her first landfall across the tip of Florida to when she crashed into New Orleans, the experts and government warned and tried to prepare this nation for her wrath. Unfortunately, for so many, it was in vain. One of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history, Katrina reshaped the coastline in five states, wiped out towns, and redefined the modern response to a catastrophe. A swamped Big Easy will remain etched in the memory of Americans and the world for a lifetime—maybe much longer.
2013 – A year of crises, sprinkled with mixed blessing and pain. North Korea and Iran spend the entire year flexing diplomatic muscle while secretly pursuing their own deadly arms. The world watched as a pope retired and accepted a new one in Pope Francis. The United Nations stretched its boundaries further in a new Arms Trade Treaty while countries like Canada became the first to balk at their leash. Uprisings in Mali, South Sudan, and Egypt, and calamities such as earthquakes, floods, and typhoons became the norm. Scientific strides in cloning took the backseat to other news, and the very name of Christ fell under vicious attack.
How do we as Christians live in this crazy new world of 2014?
I think back to 1969 and when the astronauts landed on the moon. Below their lunar module lay a barren landscape, devoid of life. Back home, they had a world watching, waiting to share in their success. All they had to do was open the door.
Right now, outside, society is rapidly becoming a barren wasteland, devoid of Christ. Like before, the world’s waiting. Are you ready for the final frontier? All you have to do is open the door.
Open the door.


Rom 1:8(NKJV) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.


In Christ,

Renee


photo credit: Skiwalker79 via photopin cc