(Austin, Texas) Texas is a very large powerful state so at least the broad strokes of what is going on here should be of interest all over the country. The new Texas Freedom Caucus formed by a dozen members of the Texas Legislature definitely fit in the category of things worth watching nationally.
The Texas Freedom Caucus’ mission is to amplify the voice of liberty-minded grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the bill of rights, restrain government and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in Texas.
The Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) will be focused on first principles that are the hallmark of liberty-minded Texans. The policies supported by the TFC will be developed thru collaboration with grassroots leaders to identify priorities that are often dismissed in Austin.
“Go five blocks in any direction from the Texas Capitol, and you will see what interests are hard wired into the Austin establishment,” Caucus Chairman Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) said. “The mission of the Texas Freedom Caucus will be to hard wire liberty-minded grassroots into policy making in Austin.”
The TFC will engage grassroots Texans on matters before session, during session, and long after session when policies are implemented at the agency level. The caucus is committed to restoring first principles – the right to life, liberty and property that are at the core of the freedom of America and the exceptionalism of Texas. The caucus will outline a set of legislative priorities after it holds a series of discussions with grassroots representatives from all across Texas. Thereafter, the TFC will support or oppose legislation in accordance with those principles.
“We don’t want our priorities to be determined from Austin down, but from the grassroots up. That includes taking things like the Texas Republican Party platform seriously,” said Schaefer. “There are thousands of people too busy working and raising their families to embed themselves in the legislative process. Their voices matter too, and we want to make sure they are heard, and their efforts are multiplied.”
The Texas Freedom Caucus will share many policy goals with other existing conservative organizations and caucuses, and it will buttress and complement rather than compete with those groups. The TFC will distinguish itself by providing a specific focal point for grassroots Texans interested in conservative policy-making in Austin.
The Vice Chair of the Caucus will be Rep. Bill Zedler (Arlington). The Policy Director will be Rep. Jeff Leach (Plano), the caucus Grassroots Liaison will be Rep. Matt Shaheen (Plano) and the Secretary-Treasurer will be Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington). Other members include representatives Kyle Biedermann (New Braunfels), Briscoe Cain (Houston), Matt Krause (Fort Worth), Mike Lang (Granbury), Rep. Matt Rinaldi (Irving), Jonathan Stickland (Bedford) and Valoree Swanson (Spring).
James Bernsen will serve as Executive Director for the Texas Freedom Caucus.
Any list of how ever many timeless/best is sure to be heavily dependent on the opinions of one or more people. Susan Granger the author of this book has the background to give strong foundation to her opinions. Granger grew up as the daughter of acclaimed director S. Sylvan Simon ( From Here to Eternity.) Susan herself even held minor parts in several movies during her childhood. Acting legend Jane Powell had this to say about Susan, “I have known Susan since she was four years old. She was bright then-she’s even brighter now-in every way. And she knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff.”
The book itself is an encyclopedic collection of easy reading, but detailed, informative reviews of a wide range of films. Some of the films reviewed include, Avatar, Saving Private Ryan, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, All the King’s Men. True film buffs will want to read this book from cover to cover, Susan’s insights are that good. At the same time it makes a great addition to the reference shelf of anyone who needs a go to source on popular movies. In fact Gary Cooper’s daughter Maria Cooper Janis said “ Susan Granger has given us this guide, 150 Timeless Movies, which should be an important addition to the library of anyone who love4s film.” I myself found Granger’s reviews helped me learn new things, even about movies I had seen before. As Christians it is important that we make deliberate informed choices, especially when it comes to movies and other elements of “Pop culture.” Granger’s book makes that task much easier.
If you can’t find this book on the shelf of your local library, it would be a good one to recommend to them. If you prefer your own copy it is available in hardback, trade paperback and e-book versions. It can be found at Amazon.com, Booksamillion.com and most other online and bricks and mortar booksellers. You can also order directly from the publisher Hannacroix Creek Books at www.hannacroixcreekbooks.com.
This review was based on a copy of the book provided by the publisher.
( Katy, Texas) FaithInspires.Org the internationally known Christian news and information blog, has expanded its ministry by launching its first online mini-course. The course Faith and Fighting Peer Pressure is the first of what is hoped to be many by the ministry. Faith and Fighting Peer Pressure is built around a video derived from FaithInspires Founder Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield’s award winning article What Compass Guides Your Thinking. The video is done in “white board “ style complete with background music and a computer generated voice-over. Completing the course are study questions written by Crutchfield, and additional readings selected by him. The whole mini-course can be finished in less than half an hour. It is hosted by TED.com, a well respected source of short online courses. It can be accessed online at http://tinyurl.com/FIPeerPressure.
Speaking about the course, and FaithInspires’ new initiative to create online courses Crutchfield said,
“The Christian Church has never been just about Sunday, or just about buildings. It has always been about bringing the Good News of the Cross to people in as many ways as possible. For our ministry to grow, we need to reach those to whom tablets and smart phones are the primary way of communicating and gathering information. These new e-courses are an important part of our strategy to do just that !.”
Thinking of the challenges involved in the new effort Crutchfield continued, “ This effort is our ministry stepping out in faith. We do not currently have the money, facilities or volunteers to do this. We are relying on God through his people to provide what is necessary to do this.”
Those who feel moved to contribute to this effort can do so by going to their website, www.FaithInspires.Org and clicking on the Donate to FaithInspires link at the top of the right hand column. Rev. Crutchfield can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.)—And then there were four.
Just a quartet of teams remain for two exciting matchups this weekend that will dictate who goes to Super Bowl LI in Houston on Feb. 5. This Sunday, the Green Bay Packers take on the Atlanta Falcons and the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New England Patriots in the Conference Championships.
Players from each of these teams have talked to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) about their faith and how God guides them both on and off the field.
L.J. Fort | Pittsburgh
Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort grew in his faith—and found love—in the FCA Huddle at the University of Northern Iowa. Today, Fort is a part of the rich history of football in the Steel City, and his wife, Stephanie, is set to begin as an FCA staff member for college women’s ministry in Pittsburgh.
In a story published just this month on FCA.org, the Forts share about their walk with Christ and their journey together.
L.J. accepted Christ during his sophomore year in college and fueled his faith by attending ministry events several evenings a week. He helped Stephanie’s faith take off while they were still friends after meeting through FCA; the two married this past summer and are settling into Pittsburgh. There, L.J. is part of a team Bible study, while Stephanie is steeped in a women’s study with players’ wives, and both attend a couples’ study.
As the Forts continue to feed themselves with scripture and fellowship, they work to extend the same care and cultivation they have received to others. The influence FCA has had on their lives deeply reverberates within them, and their identity in Christ is the glue that holds them together.
“Relationship with Christ is my key,” L.J. said. “It’s about perspective, to bring Him in at the center of everything for His glory. God’s still allowing me my dream, but it’s His [dream] too.”
In a feature story for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fort also said that God, first and foremost, is his motivation.
“He’s my total inspiration,” Fort said. “The only reason I’m out here is to glorify him. I look at this game of football and he blessed me with these abilities to be above-average in football so I want to use them to worship him.”
Jordy Nelson | Green Bay
Although questionable to play on Sunday after breaking ribs against the New York Giants, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson has been a presence in Green Bay since he was drafted in 2008, with nearly a hundred receptions for more than 1,200 yards this season alone.
Nelson told his story to FCA Magazine in 2011 and recounted growing up in small-town family that was heavily involved in sports.
“When it came to matters of faith, I grew up going to church with my family on Sundays, but that’s about as deep as my faith went,” Nelson said. “I was a member of our high school’s FCA Huddle, and, while I may not have embraced it at the time, FCA did help me begin to see how faith and sports could be intermixed.”
Nelson added that he turned to God when an injury at Kansas State sidelined him, and that his faith grew through his relationship with his girlfriend, Emily, who is now his wife.
“With her support,” he said, “I began to go deeper in my faith and eventually recommitted my life to Christ. I realized that I was called to be the spiritual leader in our relationship, which would require more of me than just talking the talk.”
Once Jordy and Emily moved to Wisconsin after he was drafted, they found many opportunities to help people in the community and still try to do as much as they can to spread God’s truth through their words and actions.
“On the team, I’m blessed to have a great support system of Christian men who are open about their faith,” Nelson said. “There are all kinds of stumbling blocks at this level, but I’ve surrounded myself with guys who are grounded in Christ. Being able to lean on them and talk openly about our faith has helped strengthen us as individuals and as teammates.”
FCA also asked Nelson why the ministry is important to athletes, especially in high school.
“In high school, it’s tough because there’s so many cliques,” he said, “but I think with FCA, it’s just a way for everyone to get together and do a Bible study—a way to get outside of school and see different sides of different people. (FCA is) a way to expand it and involve other people, and it was just great because friends would invite friends who would invite friends and it just kept growing and maybe opened the door for other people.”
Matthew Slater | New England
Special teams star Matthew Slater is an integral part of the Patriots’ success, and has been a significant part of New England’s dominance in the NFL over the past nine seasons.
Earlier this month, the six-time Pro Bowler thought he was headed to a Monday night Bible study, but found out in front of teammates and coaches that he was voted by his NFL peers to receive the prestigious Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award, according to ESPN. The award honors the NFL player who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.” Slater’s father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater who spent two decades with the Rams, received the same honor in 1996. They are the first father-son team to be recognized with the award.
In last winter’s FCA Magazine, Slater talked about growing up in a family of believers in Orange, Calif., with parents who supported him and his brother in all things daily.
“My love and passion for Christ and the game of football came from my dad, so for me to be able to follow in his footsteps in both of those areas has been the biggest thrill of my personal journey,” Slater told FCA. “My dad first shared Christ with me when I was 7. It was with him that I prayed to accept Jesus into my life. My parents poured the Word of God into my life daily, and that was reinforced through Calvary Church of Santa Ana, where my family has attended for more than 30 years. I’m so thankful for the children’s ministry there, because they had—and continue to have—great youth pastors and Sunday School teachers who display the love of Christ.”
Slater attended Christian school and was active in church, but wasn’t forced to make tough decisions about his faith until he enrolled at UCLA.
“At a big school with a lot of kids from different walks of life,” he said, “I was inspired to personalize my faith and dig deeper in the Word, seeking truth so I could stand for what I believed. It wasn’t an easy time, but looking back I thank God for His grace and for providing friends who continued to pour into my life. I was able to grow as a man, learn more about myself and the Lord, and really make my faith my own.”
Even though he never started a game at UCLA and dealt with many injuries as a Bruin, New England saw his potential and drafted him in 2008.
“For my family and me, being drafted was much like the miracle of Lazarus coming out of the tomb,” he said. “You just don’t see kids who never started a game in college get drafted. Getting the call from the Patriots was a very emotional moment. It was hard evidence for us that God is real. He is alive and active and working. The eight years since then have been an unbelievable journey, no question.
“My faith has been very, very vital in me sticking around the NFL for this long,” Slater continued. “In this sport, there’s so much uncertainty, so many unknowns. Through it all, I’ve had to put my whole trust in the Lord and know that He is in control. My purpose in the NFL is to bring Him glory and make His name more famous. It’s really been fun to see how He’s opened doors and allowed certain conversations of faith to come up over the years—in ways I never could have imagined.”
FCA also asked Slater why sports ministries like FCA are important for athletes today.
“In this sports world, athletes and student-athletes are faced with a lot of different challenges,” Slater said. “There’s a lot of demands that are placed on us as athletes. I think that when you’re able to come together with other people that are experiencing and going through the same things you’re experiencing, put that in perspective as a relation to the Gospel and as it relates to what Christ is doing in our lives, it really helps you navigate through some of those stressful times and being an athlete.”
Watch Matthew Slater in an FCA video from the Super Bowl XLIX Media Day in 2015.
Jacob Tamme | Atlanta
Tight end Jacob Tamme is on the injured/reserve list for the Falcons after being hurt in November, but has been a staunch supporter of his teammates and football brothers during Atlanta’s playoff run.
In nine years in the NFL, Tamme has also played with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, and was a standout with the University of Kentucky, when he was honored by FCA with the 2007 Bobby Bowden Student Athlete of the Year Award.
In 2013, while playing with the Broncos, Tamme shared more about faith and football in FCA Magazine’s “6 Questions” feature:
One of my favorite Bible verses is: “Romans 8:28. It is an incredible promise and healthy to refer to and meditate on during times when we don’t feel like things are going our way.”
The people who have had the greatest impact on me spiritually are: “My parents, my wife and Indianapolis Colts’ chaplain Eric Simpson. God has put them and many other folks in my life who have been great influences on me and my walk.”
I intentionally bring Jesus into my game by: “Praying that I would play in the fullness of His Spirit and with the goal of bringing Him glory.”
Something most people do not know about playing in the NFL is: “It’s very hard to get involved with a local church because we work every Sunday. Teams I’ve played for have been great about finding ways for guys to worship.”
One piece of athletic advice I’d share with kids is: “Perseverance and hard work are musts. You won’t make it without both. If you do everything in your power to be the best player you can be and to help your team win, that is all that matters.”
One piece of spiritual advice I’d share with kids is: “Get to know Jesus, our Savior. He loves us so much He died for us and now desires to have a relationship with us.”
“This is the untold story of the Matthew Bible, which formed the basis of the King James Version, though unacknowledged,” — Author Ruth Magnusson Davis.
The Matthew Bible was the work of three men. William Tyndale translated the New Testament and the first half of the Old before he was killed. His friend Myles Coverdale gave us the rest of the scriptures. Then a third man, John Rogers, compiled their work, added Reformation commentaries, and published it all as the Matthew Bible. But then he was burned at the stake by Bloody Queen Mary.
But the Matthew Bible lived on. It formed the basis of King Henry’s Great Bible, and from there went into the King James Version. Computer studies have shown that the KJV New Testament is 83% from the Matthew Bible.
“It has been said that new histories are only justified if the subject matter has been neglected or if it has been misrepresented. Both these things are true of the story of the Matthew Bible,” Ruth said. And she ought to know. She is a retired lawyer, and a scholar of Reformation history and early modern English language and grammar. She founded the New Matthew Bible Project, and worked for seven years to update the New Testament, which was published in early 2016 as The October Testament. It has been well received and the hardcover has already gone to a second printing.
The Story of the Matthew Bible will be in two editions. One will be a short, popular edition. The other will be longer and more scholarly. The scholarly edition will include in-depth comparisons of the Matthew Bible with later versions. At last, a book about this important bible version!
Ruth answers such questions as:
- What is the Matthew Bible?
- Who translated the Matthew Bible?
- Why should we care? Why is this important?
- You have finished the New Testament and published it under the name The October Testament. Can you tell us about it?
(Katy, Texas) Christian writer and blogger Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield learned yesterday that he has won Article of the Month for December in Scriggler.com’s international writing competition. It was barely two months ago that he won Article of the Month, and Author of the Month in the same competition. This latest victory gives him three international writing awards in as many months.
Crutchfield won in December with his article, What Compass Guides Your Thinking ? In it he discusses the conflict that people often face between popular culture, peer pressure etc. and spiritual teachings. In the article he makes the point that just as with computers, if you don’t like your output ( life direction etc.,) You must change your input. ( Cultural influences, Spiritual influences etc.) His article came in first out of 217 other entrants. Commenting on his latest win he said “ Its always nice to see your efforts recognized. This is a reader’s choice type of reward so I am very grateful to the readers at Scriggler.com for it. At the same time its true value to me lies in using it as an opportunity to bring our ministry to the attention of a constantly widening audience.” The article drew so much support that Crutchfield came in fourth out of 336 total entrants for December’s Author of the Month title. By contrast when he won Author of the Month in October he had three articles entered. All three finished in the top ten that month, two of them in the top five.
Crutchfield is founder of FaithInspires.Org a Christian news and information blog read all over the world. FaithInspires.Org was recently ranked 33rd out of 971 member blogs by the Fellowship of Christian Bloggers. He is also a Christian growth and healing expert at Self-Growth.com the world’s leading self-help website. In addition he is Pastor at Compassion Church of Katy in Katy, Texas outside Houston. Crutchfield founded that small congregation and preaches locally almost every week. He previously served as chaplain of the Katy Fire and EMS Department.
Malteser International Americas Announces Thomas A. Wessels as Succeeding President of Disaster Relief Organization
MIAMI, Dec. 28, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Malteser International Americas, the Miami-based global humanitarian organization and relief agency of the Order of Malta, has elected MG (Ret) Thomas A. Wessels, KMOb, of Atlanta, Georgia as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Mr. Wessels, former First Vice President at Merrill Lynch and retired Major General of the United States Army Reserves, currently sits as a Director on the Board of Directors, and he is a Knight of Malta in Obedience for the Order of Malta, U.S. Federal Association.
His financial acumen combined with his strategic military experience are tremendous assets, which will drive the organization effectively forward in a fiscally responsible manner, while being a dutiful champion of the organization’s mission to serve vulnerable and marginalized people, and ensure they live a healthy life with dignity.
“I live by my faith and have taken a vow to care for the poor and the sick, and in my new role as President of Malteser International Americas, I pledge to live by the organizations’ faithful values of caring, accountability, teamwork, and excellence,” said Thomas A. Wessels, President-Elect, Malteser International Americas. “I am honored to use my lifetime of experience to help build greater awareness of the fine work Malteser International does for those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster,” he continued.
The President-Elect will assume his new role on January 1, 2017, when he takes over for retiring President, James F. O’Connor, who – for the last six years in his leadership role – has exhibited a great commitment of coming to the aid of the world’s most vulnerable.
“Jim is a fearless leader who also possesses a heart filled with compassion for his fellow man, especially those who are suffering. He has played an integral role in the success and growth of the organization since its inception. The excellent work that he accomplished during his tenure has brought Malteser International Americas into the hearts and minds of our supporters in the Western Hemisphere,” said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director, Malteser International Americas.
“In the six years I have presided over the Board of Directors, I have seen families ripped apart by devastation. Natural and manmade disasters in the Americas, and across the globe, have left so many with despair. Fortunately, our emergency relief efforts at Malteser International Americas, give these survivors hope. That is why I have worked diligently to make sure that vulnerable and marginalized people in forgotten regions in this world get the help they need when they need it,” said James F. O’Connor, President, Malteser International Americas. “Tom, a fellow Knight of the Order, brings a wealth of experience to this position, and I wish him continued success in the years to come.”
This year alone, Malteser International Americas has been at the forefront of tackling some of the greatest challenges facing the Americas:
Implemented immediate relief measures in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew to provide survivors with critical hygiene materials to reduce the risk of another deadly cholera epidemic, and dispensed clean-up kits and aid to restore livelihood
Took action in Colombia to educate and protect pregnant women and their unborn babies from the Zika virus by providing prevention kits to often neglected populations where stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos
Launched a fresh water program in the southwest of Haiti where the worst drought in 35 years has put those already experiencing profound poverty and extreme vulnerability in further jeopardy
Created a new program aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality in remote areas of Colombia by providing those who are at-risk, and have been discriminated against, access to rehabilitated, better-equipped health centers with trained female health care workers
Also newly elected is Edward J. Delaney, KM, of Winchester, Massachusetts. He currently sits as a Director on the Board and he was appointed to Vice President. Mr. Delaney brings to the position entrepreneurial expertise and substantial business experience. He is a Knight of Malta for the Order of Malta, U.S. American Association.
The Malteser International Americas’ Board of Directors is composed of 10 volunteer members representing a variety of personal and professional backgrounds. The board is currently comprised of a team of experienced leaders with combined experience in fundraising, finance, law, corporate governance, education, strategic planning, and senior management.
About Malteser International Americas:
Malteser International Americas is a global humanitarian organization with a mission of supporting the vulnerable and marginalized so that they may live a healthy life with dignity. Through our U.S. headquarters, Malteser International Americas provides immediate disaster response and preparedness as well as vital healthcare and nutrition to vulnerable people in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. Visit www.orderofmaltarelief.org to learn more.
Junior linebacker was second in the nation with 12.3 tackles per game.
HOUSTON – HBU junior linebacker Garrett Dolan was voted to the Associated Press (AP) 2016 FCS All-America Team Thursday, becoming the first Husky to earn All-America status.
“In the third year of our program, to have an AP All-America player is really significant and it is a real credit to Garrett,” HBU head coach Vic Shealy said. “Guys like him are easy to coach, because you can’t challenge them enough – you put them in difficult situations and they don’t see any task as impossible. Garrett continues to buy into the fact that hard work pays off and never takes a short cut, with a lot of that starting in the weight room.”
Dolan, a third-team selection, led the Southland Conference and ranked second nationally with 12.3 tackles per game. The Mont Belvieu, Texas, native totaled 135 tackles, while adding two sacks, two forced fumbles and two recoveries. He started off the season by tying his career high with 18 tackles against Central Arkansas. In the Huskies’ first-ever conference road win at Lamar, Dolan recorded 14 tackles and also forced and recovered a fumble, which set up HBU’s opening touchdown to earn Southland Defensive Player of the Week Honors. He was a finalist for the FCS STATS Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, which honors the top defensive player in the FCS, and has been an all-conference pick all three years, including first-team honors this season.
“Our team has amazing respect for Garrett, because they know he is going to work and is committed to making himself better everyday,” Shealy said. “To achieve what he has, you have to play well, it’s not just about stats. This season, he moved better in space and did not miss very many tackles. (Co-Defensive Coordinator) Charlie Camp has done a great job with him, with Charlie’s experience playing the position really helping Garrett improve.”
In their third official season, the Huskies set several program records, including all-conference selections (8), wins (4), conference wins (3) and scored the first conference road victory with a 24-17 win at Lamar on Oct. 29.
Dolan was one of four All-America selections from the Southland, joined by Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe and defensive end P.J. Hall, who were first-team picks, and Southeastern Louisiana offensive lineman Taylor Gadbois, who was also on the third team.
Katy,Texas)- The “Matriarch” of New Life Christian Church in New Hartford outside of Utica, New York has been jailed following the beatings of two boys aged 17 & 19. The beatings included 9 people in total and lasted all night. The boys were reportedly beaten for wanting to leave the church. One of the boys have died from the injuries sustained that night.
On hearing of the incident Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, founder of FaithInspires.Org and Scriggler.Com Author of the Month for October 2016 released the following statement,
“ I have no independent knowledge of this incident. However what has been alleged is disturbing to me. And it should be disturbing to anyone in church leadership ! I want to be as clear as possible, beating someone is not acceptable as a means of membership retention. Beating someone is not acceptable as a means of church discipline. Beating someone is not acceptable as a method of persuasion in any part of ministry practice. The church is not some sort of street gang where once you have been “jumped in” you must be “jumped out.” What these 9 church leaders in New York are accused of reminds me more of the “Sharia Law” kind of discipline most of us Christians find abhorrent, than anything found in the teachings of our beloved savior Jesus Christ. My prayers remain with the families of the teens involved and the members of the church where this happened.”
Crutchfield’s blog FaithInspires.Org is read in nearly every nation of the world. It is currently ranked 33rd out of 965 member blogs by the Fellowship of Christian Bloggers. He also serves as a Christian Growth and Healing Expert at SelfGrowth.Com, one of the world’s leading self-help websites. He won both Article of the Month and Author of the Month Awards in Scriggler.com’s monthly competition in October 2016. He has been seen in ChristianHeadlines. Com, Google News and other sites & publications.