Author Archives: Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
Texas Attorney General Releases Statement Supporting Justice of the Peace in Dispute with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
March 23, 2017) Montgomery County, Texas includes many of the suburbs north of the City of Houston in the Southeast part of the state. A Justice of the Peace there, Wayne Mack has a guest chaplain program. These volunteers offer support and counsel at the scene of death investigations. These volunteers are also called upon to lead a brief prayer at the beginning of Judge Mack’s court proceedings.
Last year Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick asked the Attorney General for a legal opinion on Judge Mack’s practices. It is worth noting that Lt. Governor Patrick has always enjoyed a large amount of support from Texas’ Pro Family/Christian Conservative movement. So it is likely that he requested the opinion to grant Judge Mack a degree of legal cover, not to stop the practices. In August of last year AG Paxton released opinion KP-0109. In this six page opinion AG Paxton held that Judge Mack’s actions were in line with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Town of Greece V. Galloway, and other precedents, and therefore were not in violation of the state of federal constitutions.
On this past Tuesday March 21st. The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against Judge Mack seeking to end his use of chaplains. Paxton responded the following day with an official statement saying
“Judge Mack is fully complying with the Constitution by adhering to the model for opening prayers the Supreme Court endorsed just a few years ago,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s quest to expunge any vestige of religion from public life flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s holdings. I am confident our courts will follow years of precedents and not indulge a litigious group’s plea to rewrite the Constitution.”
Statement by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), Following President Trump’s Address to Congress
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “The nation watched with anticipation tonight as President Donald J. Trump gave his first address to Congress. Americans are hoping for a change of direction, for real solutions to the many issues plaguing our country and for a better, stronger and more prosperous future. President Trump’s speech reflected that hope, and now we wait to see what can be accomplished by both the White House and Congress toward these commonly shared goals.
“For Latinos living in the United States, the issue of immigration reform is of obvious concern and is being carefully watched and monitored. Further, it was not only a part of President Trump’s speech but was evident by the guests invited on both sides of the aisle and by one of the individuals chosen to give the Democrat response. It is evident that immigration reform continues to be a divisive issue that needs to be addressed in a comprehensive way.
“Our hope is that Congress will make it their utmost priority to immediately pass comprehensive immigration reform. The legislative process is the best way to respect the people living within our borders and better protect the sanctity and security of our country’s founding ideals.
“While immigration reform is important, it is not paramount to the Latino community as evidenced by recent polling and through our daily conversations with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s (NHCLC) member churches. Tonight we heard the president address strengthening education, boosting the economy to create jobs and building a better America for ALL Americans. These are areas in which we have common ground with the president’s vision and in which we are hopeful that real progress can be made through his administration.
This speech set the stage, not only, for this session of Congress, but for the next four years. During this time, the NHCLC will continue to work with the administration to make progress on the priorities of Latino Evangelicals including the issues of life, religious liberty, education equality, immigration reform and racial unity.”
The NHCLC serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and hundreds of thousands of additional congregations spread worldwide throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. Seeking to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham’s message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march of prophetic activism, the NHCLC emphasizes “7 Directives” of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,100 affiliated pregnancy help locations–including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies–Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion. For more information, see www.HeartbeatInternational.org.
(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?