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Tim Muehlhoff

Christian author Tim Muehlhoff says believers need to “yield to God’s power from outside” themselves in order to communicate in a civil, Christlike manner.

Christianity Today has published a Q&A with Muehlhoff regarding his book, I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love (InterVarsity Press, 2014).

Muehlhoff says that “in the heat of the moment” of a conversation a Christian should remember the advice of A.W. Tozer. ”You shall receive power, a potent force from another world invading your life by your consent, getting to the roots of your life and transforming you into someone like Christ.” Muehlhoff says the discipline to yield to God’s power from outside “needs to be in place before the conflict actually happens,” and that comes through practice.

In addition to seeking God’s help, Muehlhoff offered some pointers. For a conversation to “make progress, you need to acknowledge the other person’s emotions. It doesn’t mean you agree with what they’re saying, but you need to acknowledge that he or she is upset or passionate. If you don’t, there will be a roadblock in the conversation.”

Also, a good strategy is to ”emphasize points of agreement” or state a “willingness to consider a different point of view.” The result will be that the other person will “begin to mirror that attitude back.”

Somalia drought and famine

Bread for the World has announced its 2014 Offering of Letters to United States senators and representatives. Bread does not send these letters; Bread encourages and empowers individual Christians to conduct this annual letter-writing campaign, and this often occurs through churches. Full Story »

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Ethics in Action, Beginning of life

Anica’s story, and how you can be involved in Beginning of Life, Moldova.

My name is Anica.  At age 33, married and mother of two, our family’s financial situation became critical. Desperate for money to pay outstanding loans, I left Moldova and went to Moscow where I found a job selling fruit in a market.  After several months, the market owner encouraged me and several other women to move to southern Russia to work on plantations harvesting our own fruit and making more money in the sale to markets.

We agreed.  We were taken from Moscow on a bus that stopped multiple times along the way for more women to join us.  Two days into the journey we started to travel only at night.  At one stop, we were drugged and woke up later in Chechnya, a city in the fundamentalist Muslim region of Russia where war was raging.

We lived in a brothel in the mountains, forced into prostitution to serve the terrorists in the region.  Older women served as cooks and house cleaners, younger women were prostitutes, and young boys and girls had to work hard on the farm.  It was like a small colony from the Middle Ages.

I spent three years as a sex slave.  I got pregnant twice.  They sold my youngest daughter but she found a way to escape and called the authorities.  When the police came, we were sent back to our home countries.

After being so delighted to be free, my husband kicked me out of the house with all four of my children because he did not want to live with a prostitute.  We were given one small room in my parents’ home, but I could not find a job.  My alcoholic mother would beat the children and call them degenerates.

I was blessed to find Beginning of Life.  Women like me desperately need the kind of help that the center offers, restoring lives from slavery, psychological trauma and rejection.   After coming to Beginning of Life center, our lives have been forever changed.

Join Global Women on a trip to Beginning of Life, in Chisinau, Moldova

August 8-18…estimated cost: $2,500…application deadline: June 15

Members of this team will work alongside Yulia Ubeivolc and her Christian social ministry team from Beginning of Life to conduct a five-day camp outside the city of Chisinau for women who have been trafficked, prostituted and/or abused. Our team will assist with Bible study, games, crafts, and music, while sharing love and encouragement to the women and their children attending camp.

For more information/application, contact Cindy Dawson, Executive Director, Global Women, cdawson@globalwomengo.org, or phone 205-663-0505.

Skilled ESL teachers also needed. Same contact information.

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Reducing the Electricity Bills for Your Congregation

Churches across Texas are experiencing increases in their electricity bills, not just because the price of electricity is rising, but also because the way electricity bills are calculated can often be at a disadvantage to churches. Churches have unique usage patterns, and they tend to use a lot of energy at one time, but often only once or twice a week. Many utilities base a great deal of their non-residential customers bills on demand, the greatest amount of energy used at one time during the month (for some customers, during a longer period, such as 11 months). This makes it difficult for churches to reduce their electric bills dramatically without learning how their specific equipment works and making efficiency changes geared towards lowering demand.

Environmental stewardship goes hand in hand with financial management when managing the energy use of your church facilities. When you use less electricity, not only are you being conscious of the environment and the necessary externalities of the electricity industry that you can lessen, such as water use and public health, but you can save money and direct those funds to community ministries. One of the best starter tools a congregation can invest in is a programmable thermostat that allows the heating and air conditioning system to ramp up and down slowly rather than causing a shock to the system when run only periodically.

Some of the best partners we have are actually the utility companies themselves. Here in Texas we have state mandated energy efficiency programs that are administered by the utilities.  Information about these programs can be found at Texas Efficiency.

In the Oncor service territory specifically they have a matching grant program for houses of worship to complete energy efficiency projects.  Information about that program can be found at Take a Load Off Texas.

Energy Star also has great resources about how to reduce your energy costs by investing in energy efficient equipment, building upgrades and maintenance.  Energy Star provides congregations with free information and technical support.

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A Child Shall Lead Them

This is Danielle Choi who lives in Carrollton, Texas.  One day she emptied her piggy banks and told her mother to please send it to feed hungry children.  This is the letter we received accompanied by $13.53 for the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger.

Danielle Choi and her donation

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Food Security Updates

According to the USDA, 17.4% of our state’s households are hungry or food insecure. In other words, a staggering number of families in our communities do not have appropriate access to nutritious foods that allow them to lead an active and healthy life. Though the problem may seem overwhelming, we have the tools to fix it. We produce enough food in America to feed everyone – the problem is getting food to the right people, at the right time, and at the right price. This is a logistical problem, not a resource issue, and so is solvable.

Texas leaders, organizations and communities are responding to food insecurity in Texas. Hunger has become a priority among our elected and appointed leaders for the first time in recent history, and the result of these efforts is the beginning stage of a paradigm shift on how we view hunger in Texas – including the steps we take to become food secure.

Now, alongside the great work happening in local communities, the 82nd Legislature has begun to consider food-related bills on the state level. We will be monitoring these bills as this legislative session continues and will send updated e-mail alerts on their status. Now is also a great time to begin contacting legislators and their staff at the capitol about food policy! If you are interested in visiting legislative offices, please contact Anne Olson, Public Policy Specialist at the Christian Life Commission, or call 512-473-2288.

Bills of Interest:
You can also view the bills in more detail at Texas Legislature Online…

House Bills

HB 75 (Flynn):   Relating to the regulation of raw milk and raw milk products
Committee Referral: House Public Health
Identical Companion:   SB 237 (Deuell)

HB 127 (Alvarado):   Relating to the types of beverages that can be sold to students on public school campuses.

HB 642 (Rodriguez):   Relating to free breakfast for certain public school students.
Identical Companion:   SB 88

HB 643 (Rodriguez): Relating to summer nutrition programs provided for by school districts.
Identical companion: SB 89

HB 710 (Walle):   Relating to electronic imaging used in the financial assistance and supplemental nutritional assistance programs.

HB 1139 (Rodriguez):   Relating to the regulation of cottage food products and cottage food production operations.

HB 1151 (Raymond):   Relating to the prohibiting the purchase of certain food items under the supplemental nutritional assistance program.

Senate Bills

SB 39 (Zaffirini):   Relating to improving application and eligibility determination processes and efficiencies for certain benefits programs.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services

SB 77 (Nelson):     Relating to certain requirements for sponsoring organizations and other institutions participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services

SB 81 (Nelson):     Relating to food manufacturers, food wholesalers, and warehouse operators required to hold a license.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services
Hearing Date:   2/15/2011 11:00AM 2E.20

SB 88 (Lucio):     Relating to free breakfast for certain public school students.
Committee Referral:    Senate Education

SB 89 (Lucio):     Relating to summer nutrition programs provided for by school districts.
Committee Referral:    Senate Education

SB 171 (Hinojosa):     Relating to disclosure of calorie content and nutrition information by certain food establishments; providing an administrative penalty.
Committee Referral:    Senate Business and Commerce

SB 184 (Nelson):     Relating to the use of certain state property for community food gardens.
Committee Referral:    Senate Natural Resources

SB 199 (West):     Relating to the eligibility of nonprofit organizations that partner with certain schools to receive grants for agricultural projects.
Committee Referral:    Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs

SB 237 (Deuell):     Relating to the regulation of raw milk and raw milk products.
Committee Referral:    Senate Health and Human Services
Identical Companion:   HB 75 (Flynn)

SCR 9 (Lucio):    Urging the United States Congress to amend the list of allowable foods under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to eliminate sweetened drinks and snack foods of minimal nutritional value.

Most Texans, regardless of politics or party, agree that in a state as great as Texas hunger is simply unacceptable. Just like social problems of the past, we can end hunger through cooperation and creative problem-solving. There are people like you across Texas taking steps to end hunger in Texas each and every day, and together we have the power to end it for good!

Here’s how YOU and YOUR CHURCH can help:

Call or write your legislator. Let yourself be heard! As a constituent, you have an influence on what issues our state legislators pursue. Let your legislator know that ending hunger is a priority by calling, writing, or visiting your representative or senator. Not sure who your legislators are? Find out who represents you…

Become a Summer Food Site. Our colleagues at Texas Impact have created a wonderful toolkit for folks interested in helping with the summer feeding program. “Feeding Texas Kids with the Summer Food Service Program” gives you step-by-step information on the many different ways you can get involved with SFSP as a faith community.

We value your input and suggestions.
Your comments and recommended resources are welcome in the comments box below.

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COME TO THE TABLE …and meet Charlie and Jo Ann Whiteside.

What motivates a successful businessman, in his golden years, preparing for retirement and the good life, to care so much about hungry people he will never meet?

Charles Whiteside…Charlie to friends and family…graduated from Texas A&M with great curiosity.  Ever the scientist, he aspired to have his own business someday but knew there were steps he must first take to get there.  After marrying his sweetheart, Jo Ann Youngblood, and bringing her back to Texas to teach Chemistry at Kilgore College, he began testing feed and forage in a make-shift building in his back yard on nights and weekends.

Ana-Lab, Charlie’s environmental testing laboratory, was born.  Gradually, the demand to test water, soil, waste, and even air grew to the point that Charlie built a thriving business, now 45 years strong, where samples arrive from all over the world to be tested because of Ana-Lab’s impeccable reputation for quality.

About ten years ago while serving on the BGCT Executive Board, Charlie picked up a copy of the Baptist Standard to read the front-page article about the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger and its $700,000 budget for that year.
“At first”, Charlie thought, “that sounded like a lot of money…until I did the math. When I divided that number by the number of Texas Baptists, it figured to be about .30 per Baptist.  Pretty pitiful!”

“I had heard somewhere that 40,000 children were starving to death every day in places all over the world, and I thought ‘surely Baptists can feed hungry children a lot cheaper than the government can’!  We need to do more for hungry kids!”

Then and there, Charlie became an outspoken advocate for hungry children…talking about the subject wherever he went.  He formed a group called “Hunger Hounds”…with the tag line, “Dogging the Demons of Dietary Deprivation”!  He made it clear that the recipient of his donations and hard work would be the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger because “they tell me where my money is going”.

“I was the first of what is now a growing grassroots group of Texas Baptists, hunger advocates they’re called, who are raising awareness about hunger in their area of Texas as well as around the world.  The Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger is feeding many people but also helping them learn to feed themselves.  As a result, many are coming to know Christ and learning of His love for them.”

“God has blessed me and my business.  I began several years ago selling portions of it, allocating certain amounts of the sale to World Hunger.”

Jo Ann has been in total agreement with Charlie’s decision to entrust the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger with generous portions of their hard-earned resources.  “We know it is going where the Christian Life Commission says it is going,” she has said.

Charlie has taken his message all around East Texas…the message that if East Texas Baptist churches will raise at least $4,000 for the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, he will match it dollar for dollar with no cap.  He is saying that he wants the money he gives to work harder, to be an encouragement for others to experience the blessings he has received by giving in abundance.

“Empty stomachs have no ears to hear, “Charlie has said many times.  “We must feed them first, then we have the opportunity to tell them about Jesus.”

Texas Baptist World Hunger Offering
Donate now!