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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 23, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas Page 8A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, June 23, 2001Religion Contact Features Editor Betty Taylor at 625-9144 ext. 222. Tim JUDKINS Mars and Venus do not need Jesus Have you ever considered yourself privileged? Did you know that you hold the privileged position of being a sinful human soul? Now there is something that probably failed to cross your mind. I believe in life on other planets. Whether my belief is grounded in truth remains to be seen. My theology allows, however, for vast possibilities of life in undiscovered sectors of our immense universe. I believe this because I believe in God. I think we, as earthlings, are pretty arrogant to think we are the sole proprietors of life in the cosmos and therefore, its most important feature. Galileo found himself in deep trouble when he suggested that the Earth revolved around the sun instead of being that around which all else, including God, revolved. I figure God must have a lot on his mind. The creative source I worship each day must have oodles to keep him occupied. Why wouldn’t he create life on other planets with features and lifestyles that are as unique as ours? The God I worship is able to not only do this, but also to show interest in all of his creations without slighting any of them of his attention. While God might have plenty to occupy his interest, my belief is that Earth’s occupants have a special place in his heart. The truth of Scripture leads me to conclude that only the terrestrial souls of men and women have been scarred by sin since the tempter of evil has limited access in the universe and God has limited it to earth. This is both bad and good. The bad part is that we fell victim to Satan’s temptations and opted for selfish choices (a.k.a. sin) instead of the beautiful possibilities created in us by God for his glory and our eternal welfare. The good part is that God chose to do something special with us that he did not have to do with any aliens on any other planets. God created a plan that would buy back to himself the fallen human race. He never needed to become one of his other life forms, but he did choose to become one of us in Jesus Christ and offered us a way back to our original possibilities. This makes us incredibly privileged. Neither aliens that Eve on other planets nor angels who live in the direct presence of God can identify with or relate to the experience of man’s redemption. We as humans are the only creations of God who know the depths of depravity caused by our own sin and the joys of salvation provided by God alone. You would think that our privileged position would inspire greater love for God. (Tim Judkins discusses “Snowballs in Summer” this Sunday at the contemporary service of First Protestant Church.) Vacation Bible school keeps up with the times By KELLI LEVEY Bryan-College Station Eagle BRYAN (AP) — Vacation Bible school, that old standby of summer, is changing just enough to keep up with the times. Churches still open their doors for one- and two-week sessions and still welcome youngsters from all denominations to play games and do crafts as they learn Bible verses and stories. But more and more of the programs are shifting from daylong sessions to a few hours in the evening to accommodate working parents and Bible school teachers. “We have to do it during the evening because some of the parents work and have to come after they finish,” said Barbara Williams, vacation Bible school coordinator at Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ in Bryan. “And we do something different: We like to offer classes for the adults at the same time. That gives the parents a chance Photo submitted Participants in this past year’s vacation Bible school at First Protestant Church enjoy the activities. The church offers evening hours for its vacation Bible school and at least two adult classes during the vacation Bible school time frame. Communications Director Jerald Schroeder said, “Vacation Bible school is an outreach, a mission, to touch kids lives who may not have even heard of Jesus, who may not go to church or who are looking for a new church.” to come and relax and be taught while their kids are in class.” The shorter evening hours have caused the teachers to plan more precisely and somewhat pare their offerings, said Clinton Getting your prayers answered By Chere’ Pinkston Special to the Herald-Zeitung Let me tell you about a little book called ‘The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life” by Bruce Wilkinson. I picked it up because a friend told me about it, and I am always looking for a better way to pray in hopes of getting my prayers answered. Don’t you want your prayers answered? This little book will tell you how. But first, who is Jabez? He is barely mentioned in I Chronicles 4:9-10. Two verses say it all. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. Why? Because of his prayer. He called upon God and asked for the following four requests: 1. “God, bless me indeed!” Was this a selfish prayer? No. It was a spiritual act and exactly what God wants to hear us say. God has unlimited goodness to give us. Jabez didn’t ask for any specific things; he left it up to God to decide what blessings to give and when, where and how. He wanted only what God wanted for him. God’s bounty is unlimited. How many blessings you receive really depends on you — how many can you receive? God’s very nature is to bestow goodness. 2. “Enlarge my territory.” This doesn’t necessarily mean more land, buildings and money. It means you ask God to take and enlarge everything you now have in your care. It is an opportunity to have more influence at your job, in your community and at home. Tt is a request to have more responsibility and opportunities to make your mark for God. Give your willingness to do God’s work plus your weaknesses, which limit you, to God. Accept God’s will for you plus his supernatural power, and your “territory” will be expanded. You’re asking for a miracle. Do you believe in miracles? I do. When you ask for miracles, God sends angels, resources, strength and the people you need to accomplish what you are asking for. 3. “Your (God’s) hand be upon me.” So you get your miracles. Can you handle them? Of course not. It’s too much. You become frightened that you will fail. And you probably will unless you depend on God’s help and guidance. When you ask for God’s guidance, you release God’s power to accomplish what you cannot. With God’s hand on you, “the touch of greatness,” you don’t become great, he becomes great through you. Ask every day for greatness. 4. “Keep me from evil.” With success comes greater opportunity for failure. As you succeed, you will be tempted more and more to think you have done it all by yourself. Pray God keeps you from self-deception. You will be tempted to think you are so powerful, you can get away with “stuff’ because you know so much more than others do. Pray God keeps you from pride and carelessness. You’ll be tempted to think you deserve all you’re getting or that you have a right to enjoy life because you earned it. Pray God to keep you away from what feels right but is wrong. “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” God favors those who ask. He holds nothing back from those who want and earnestly long for what he wants. Honorable men have left behind mediocre expectations and comfortable assumptions. They are people who have faith in God and step out to act on that faith. They think of others. They say, “How can I help you?” God will bring you the people at exactly the right time and place for you to help them. When you help others, you open up Gods storehouses of blessings, which will pour upon you. Let God work in your life in his own way. Surrender to his power and love, and you will be surprised at what you are doing for yourself and for him. Keep away from sin because sin breaks the cycle of abundant living and the flow of God’s power to you. (Chere’Pinkston is with Pastoral Care Ministries at Unity Church of Practical Christianity.) Everitt, pastor of Beacon Baptist Church in Bryan. “If I had it during the day I’d have to staff it by myself because most of our parents and volunteers have fulltime jobs,” he said. “This way, more people can be involved.” Everitt said he hopes a more aggressive promotional campaign this year, which included radio advertisements, and the purchase of a specific curriculum will triple the usual 30 or 40 children at Beacon Baptist’s summer program. Beacon Baptist was one of at least two Brazos County churches that bought the “Veggie Tales” curriculum, which uses animated vegetables to teach lessons on virtue. Lily of the Valley Church personnel put up fliers throughout the surrounding North Bryan neighborhood and sent a church van to pick up children from around the community for its June program. Other than the hours and the availability of more structured programs, Everitt said, not much about vacation Bible school has changed. “Back when I was going, I went to the Church of Christ one for a week and the Presbyterian one for a week and the Methodist one for a week, it pretty much filled up my summer,” he said. “Looking back, I think it was a way for Mom to keep me busy. It helped me to learn and have fun, but it helped her, too.” Trinity Baptist Church in Bryan, near Jane Long Middle School on North Harvey Mitchell Parkway, attracts about 90 youngsters each summer from around the community. Longtime church member Carol Loehr said the church has an open-door policy year-round, but she said vacation Bible school is a specific activity in which visitors can become involved for a designated period of time. “We accept anyone into our church at any time,” she said. “It does not matter what religion you are, or if you even have a religion. 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