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Local Pastor Emory B. James Honored for 25 Years of Service

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On March 6, 2010 at 6 p.m. the Ephesians New Testament Church will host a banquet to honor Pastor Emory and Venice James for 25 years of Pastoral service to the Community of Fontana.

Pastor James and his wife have pastored the Ephesians New Testament Church for 25 years; they officially organized the church in 1985. Throughout the years Pastor James has feed the hungry through the praise kitchen, clothing the needy through their mission department; and have stood up for the rights of their parishioners on issues that were unfair.

Pastor James was appointed to the police council whose role was to help insure that enough officers were on the street to keep the community safe. He has been a champion for keeping the Dr. King legacy before the community, which has resulted in the Children’s Wing of the Lewis Technology Center Library being named after Dr. King also a statue called the “Column of Knowledge.”

The gala event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Fontana, 10543 Sierra Ave. in Fontana.

There will be a special guest appearance by the former Grammy nominated artist Minister Keith Pringle. The speaker for the evening will be the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., Pastor Emeritus of the Riverside Church New York, New York and a retired Professor of Homiletics, Union Theological Seminary, listed in Ebony Magazine as one of the top 10 African American Preachers in the country. Tickets, reservations, and more information are available at the church office at (909) 823-2310. Banquet donation $50.

Dr. Roberts, Member of Little Rock Nine, Featured at Black History Program

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In 1957, a 15-year-old teenager left the comfort of his home and community in Little Rock, Arkansas and walked onto the pages of history.

At that time, Terrence Roberts and eight other youths made the courageous decision to become the first African American students to desegregate Central High School. What they wanted was a better education. What they received was a backlash of opposition. On a daily basis, Roberts and the other members of the “Little Rock Nine” faced violence, harassment, and hatred, not only from their white classmates, but from adults and community organizations as well.

The horrific experiences that Roberts and the other eight students faced could have deterred them from their dream of earning a quality education. However, the Little Rock Nine were resilient, and today, they are lauded for being trailblazers, and for becoming successful despite many odds. Roberts, for example, went on to earn a Ph.D., is the CEO of a management consultant firm, a college professor, recipient of a Spingarn Medal and a Congressional Gold Medal, a popular speaker throughout the U.S., and the author of two books: Lessons from Little Rock and Simple, Not Easy: Reflections on Community, Social Responsibility, and Tolerance.

On February 28, 2010, from 4-7p.m. Dr. Roberts will be the featured speaker at the Mt. Sinai Church of God in Christ Black History Month Program. In addition to describing his experiences as a member of the Little Rock Nine, and the lessons that he learned, Dr. Roberts will also explain the relevance today of this shameful period in America’s history.

The program is free and open to the public. The church is located at 936 West 9th Street in Pomona, CA 91766-2864.

Moment in the Word

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"Let nothing be done through strife..."
(Philippians 2:3 KJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

Strife is defined as 'conflict. struggle. rivalry,' and God's Word says to avoid it at all cost. 'Let nothing be done through strife. but in lowliness of mind let each esteem [the] other better than themselves.' Strife is customdesigned to play havoc in marriages, churches, businesses and relationships. It stems from our self-centered ego and leads to comparing, competing and condemning.

The Word of God says: 'Where envying and strife is, there is every evil work' (James 3:16).

Keeping strife out of your life means recognizing and uprooting it before it grows; 'See no root of bitterness springing up, causes trouble, and. many be defiled' (Hebrews 12:15 NAS). And Paul adds, ' Complete my joy by living in harmony, being of the same mind, having the same love. '

(Philippians 2:2 AMP). Enjoying God's blessings requires doing all we can to live in harmony with one another. Is that easy to do? No, but the sooner you learn it, the better things will be.

Pastor Campbell can reached at larrycampbell14@ca.rr.com

10th Annual Pastors Breakfast Set

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Decently & In Order Ministry invites the public to their 10th annual Inland Empire Pastor's Breakfast themed "Unity Within the Body of Christ" featuring keynote speaker Dr. Joshua Beckley, Senior Pastor Ecclesia Christian Fellowship on Saturday, March 27, 2010 beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the National Orange Show Events Center.

Six months after becoming a Christian at the age of 16, Joshua Beckley began preaching. He accepted his call to preach at 18 years of age, he later became licensed in 1976, and began to follow God’s will for his life.

Leaving home in October 1977 for California, he left by faith, not knowing where he would stay or whom he would meet. He left because God had called him. Pastor Beckley was ordained in 1980. His education extends to a Doctorate in Ministry from The Centre for the Study of Biblical Research, a Masters in Divinity from the International School of Theology and a B.A. in Music Education. Before attending Golden Gate Theological Seminary, Pastor Beckley spent many years and many hours in self-education, learning the Greek and Hebrew languages, the discipl ines of Hermeneutics, Homiletics and Exegeses. Through his dedication he has developed an extensive library of Biblical resources.

Pastor Beckley has served in full-time Christian work since 1977. He has worked with Dr. E. V. Hill at the World Christian Training Center as the Assistant Director of Activities in charge of High School Ministries. In less than one year he had Bible studies at eight of the inner city high school campuses which included Dorsey, Locke, Manual Arts, Los Angeles High, Crenshaw and Morningside.

Tickets are $30 per person and available at Immanuel Bapt ist Church, (909) 425-1777, Ecclesia Christian Fellowship, (909) 881- 5551, and Decently & In Order Ministry, (909) 425-2053.

Moment in the Word

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"The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income." But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Luke 18:11-13 NRSV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
"There's nothing wrong with me," the man says.

"But sir, you've just been in a terrible car accident. You're bleeding and have some deep bruises. There may be internal damage!"

"There's nothing wrong with me!" "At least have a doctor check you out, sir. We have an ambulance right here - it wouldn't take very long."

"I told you, there's nothing wrong with me!"

"But sir!" Then the man walks away from the car accident. His wife picks him up and drives him home. Later he dies from internal bleeding.

"There's nothing wrong with me" can be a dangerous thing to say.

Spiritually, it is probably the worst thing a person could possibly say. For a person to stand before God and say, "There's nothing wrong with me" - that's incompatible with Christianity, and unacceptable to God. What is the opposite of "there's nothing wrong with me"?

Wouldn't it be "there's everything wrong with me"? According to the Bible, a Christian is someone who stands before God and says "there's everything wrong with me." A Christian is also someone who says, "But Jesus Christ has overcome my sin.

He has taken away all the things that are wrong with me."

In today's parable, Jesus tells about two opposite people - one who said "there's nothing wrong with me" and one who said "there's everything wrong with me." Jesus told this story to people who were confident in their own righteousness, and looked down on everybody else. "Two men" Jesus said "went up to the temple to pray - a Pharisee and a tax collector." Remember, the Pharisees were the people who lived good, clean lives. The tax collectors were people who swindled and intimidated others out of their money. Both of them came to church - went to the temple to pray. "The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get."

Maybe you can sum up his prayer this way: "I thank you, God, that there's nothing wrong with me."

Then Jesus focuses on the tax collector in his story - the opposite of the Pharisee. He had been stealing money from people his whole life - ruining the lives of others so that he could live it up.

He knew that his whole life had been a disaster, and that he deserved to go to hell when he died. Jesus says that "the tax collector stood at a distance" - he wouldn't even walk up to the front of the temple - "He would not even look up to heaven" - he was so ashamed of his sin - "but beat his breast and said, 'God have mercy on me, a sinner.'" His prayer was the opposite of the Pharisee's, wasn't it - maybe you can sum it up this way, "God, there's everything wrong with me. Help me."

Jesus goes on to say that the sinful tax collector was the one that was forgiven by God, and not the perfect Pharisee. Why? Jesus tells us: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The Pharisee was proud, looking down on others, exalting himself. The tax collector was humble, sorry for his sins.

What is Jesus saying there? Is Jesus saying that you earn the forgiveness of sins by being humble? "Look at how humble that tax collector is," says God. "That tax collector deserves to be forgiven, because he is so humble!" Is that how it works?

That's what a lot of people think, but that's not how it works. If that's why God forgives you, then your salvation would be completely dependent on you, and your level of humility. Then, you could never be sure if you're forgiven by God or not, because you will never know if you have been humble enough for God to forgive you.

The truth of the matter is neither the Pharisee nor the tax collector deserved God's forgiveness. The Pharisee didn't because he was conceited and self-righteous - thought he was better than everybody else, thought he was perfect. The tax collector didn't deserve God's forgiveness because of the terrible life he had led. Neither one deserved to be forgiven by God.

God forgives people purely out of his mercy. As a result of his undeserved love, God forgives people. God forgives people because Jesus Christ has taken away the sins of the world. Because of that sacrifice Jesus made on the cross - cleansing the world of all of its sin, he offers forgiveness to all. In this story, God offered forgiveness to both the Pharisee and the tax collector. But only the tax collector received God's forgiveness. Why? Because, in his mercy, God chooses to forgive only those who humble themselves before him. Those who stand before God and say, "There's everything wrong with me. Lord have mercy on me. I am a sinner" - those humble people who recognize their sin, recognize their need for God's help - those are the people that receive God's forgiveness. Not because they're earning it, but because God shows undeserved love to all who are humble and sorry for their sins.

Pastor Campbell can reached at larrycampbell14@ca.rr.com

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