Summer of Worship and Praise Dr. Ane Mercer

Summer of Worship and Praise Pastor Tonya Hall

Just talk to Him
Prayer is as simple as talking to God. It’s like having a conversation with your very best friend!  He desires to hear from you in every way.  He desires to hear from you on your best day.  When your world seems like its falling apart; he wants to hear from you.  No matter the time or circumstance, He’s available and wants to share with you.  Start inviting Him into your day.  There is nothing better than talking to the Creator of ALL things in the midst of your day.  Allow God to brighten your day and restore your smile with His sweet whispers. There is no better friend than Christ and He is waiting to hear from you!
“Don’t Let The Heat Exhaust You”
For approximately eight days in June, the temperature in Las Vegas sweltered in the 110-117 degree range.  The weather station issued “heat advisory warnings,” asking  people to stay indoors. Being outdoors in the heat can lead to the body overheating, causing heat exhaustion.
Heat Exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.
Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Heat exhaustion symptoms may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion begin to appear when your body becomes unable to regulate its heat loss. Hot weather, strenuous activity, alcohol consumption, and overdressing can all promote overheating.
According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of heat exhaustion can appear suddenly or over a period of time. Faintness, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue are common symptoms, as are headaches, low blood pressure upon standing and heavy sweating. If your skin is cool, moist and has goosebumps even though you are in the heat, you may be experiencing heat exhaustion.
Pay attention to your symptoms of heat exhaustion and stop your activity to rest, find a cooler location, and rehydrate. If the symptoms worsen, contact your doctor. If your body temperature is 104 F or higher, seek immediate medical attention.
Information provided by Mayo Clinic
Last month, we learned about the ‘Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009’ promulgated by former President Barack Obama.   Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of what you need to know.
CARD Act highlights:
1. Limited interest rate hikes: Interest rate hikes on existing balances are allowed only under limited conditions, such as when a promotional rate ends, there is a variable rate or if the cardholder makes a late payment. Interest rates on new transactions can increase only after the first year. Significant changes in terms on accounts cannot occur without 45 days’ advance notice of the change.
2. The right to opt out: Consumers have the right to opt-out of — or reject — certain significant changes in terms on their accounts. Opting out means cardholders agree to close their accounts and pay off the balance under the old terms. They have at least five years to pay the balance.
3. Limited credit to young adults Credit card issuers are banned from issuing credit cards to anyone under 21 unless they have adult co-signers on the accounts or can show proof they have enough income to repay the card debt. Credit card companies must stay at least 1,000 feet from college campuses if they are offering free pizza or other gifts to entice students to apply for credit cards.
4. Clearer due dates, times: Issuers have to give card account holders “a reasonable amount of time” to pay on monthly bills. That means payments are due at least 21 days after they are mailed or delivered. Credit card issuers are no longer able to set early morning or other arbitrary deadlines for payments. Cutoff times set before 5 p.m. on the payment due dates are illegal. Payments due at those times or on weekends, holidays or when the card issuer is closed for business are not subject to late fees. Due dates must be the same each month.
5. Limits on over-limit fees: Consumers must “opt-in” to over-limit fees. Those who opt out will have their transactions rejected if they exceed their credit limits, thus avoiding over-limit fees. Fees cannot exceed the amount of overspending. For example, going $20 over the limit cannot have a fee of more than $20.
6. Minimum payments disclosure: Credit card issuers must disclose to cardholders the consequences of making only minimum payments each month, namely how long it would take to pay off the entire balance if users only made the minimum monthly payment. Issuers must also provide information on how much users must pay each month if they want to pay off their balances in 36 months, including the amount of interest.
7. Late fee restrictions: Late fees are capped at $25 for occasional late payments; however, the fees can be higher if cardholders are late more than once in a six-month period.
8. Gift cards expiration rules: Gift cards cannot expire sooner than five years after they are issued. Dormancy fees can only be charged if the card is unused for 12 months or more. Issuers can charge only one fee per month, but there is no limit on the amount of the fee.
“The most vulnerable consumers, those who carry a balance, have been protected by the protections of the CARD Act,” says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center, a Boston-based consumer advocacy group. “Some of the worst abuses were addressed, including retroactive rate increases. It put the brakes on some of the fees. They are still kind of high, but it kept them from going up.”
Poorly Educated Part I (The Value of A College Education)
I don’t think anyone would argue that times have changed.  In generations that have passed, all you had to do is graduate from high school and you were going to get a job that could take you all the way to retirement while earning a pension and allowing you to retire respectably.  But as advancement has taught us, the proverbial bar has been raised.  In this day and age, pension plans are few and far between and even having a college degree doesn’t guarantee anything!  If you want to make your mark in a given field, you almost need an advanced degree.  Having these advanced degrees definitely open up opportunities that would be closed without the extra knowledge and training, but it comes at a price.


This proves there is a certain value to education we cannot ignore.  It pays to be educated!  And just like everything that has value, getting an education cost!  And it cost more than it ever did before.  As tuition, books, room, board, and fees continue to rise, I can only see it getting more and more expensive in the future.  But what value do we place on education?
The cost of an education depends on few things.  Some of which are the schools where the degree is being earned (as some schools are just more expensive than others), the degree, itself, and the job market related to the degree.   But before we deal with those topics, which we discuss in subsequent articles, I want to take the time to contemplate the most prevalent method of paying for an education (the use of student loans) and how it affects the wealth of graduates.  See the following:
  • Americans owe over $1.3 trillion dollars in student loan debt.  Student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt behind only mortgages. (Forbes, 2017)
  • The average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt and 59% of millennial graduates say they have no idea when their student loans will be paid off. (US News, 2016)
  • The average monthly student loan payment (for borrowers aged 20 to 30 years old) is $351. (Student Loan Hero, 2017)
The income of graduates is being used to pay off debt rather than build their future.  Our graduates are gaining an education,  at a much greater cost than anticipated because it is mortgaged against their future earnings (i.e. their wealth building tools).  “How so?”, you might ask.  Let’s assume an average 23-year-old graduate is paying $351/ month for student loans for 10 years, which is the average to repay their debt.  If there was no debt, instead, that money every month is being put into a mutual fund investment.  Now let’s say after 10 years when the graduate is 33, they decide NOT to add anything else to the investment and is content with it doing nothing but gaining interest over the years.  When the graduate reaches the age of 65, with just average returns, they will have over $750,000 in that account!  Again, that is assuming they did not put a dime into the account from age 33 to 65!  If the graduate never stopped adding to the account, they easily could be a millionaire!  But instead of building wealth and securing a financial future, that money is paid to money lenders and banking institutions and they are making billions on top of billions from servicing debt!


Education is important.  I believe in education and I encourage everyone to seek it.   But we have to be wise in our pursuits.  We can’t get so enamored with the thought of getting an education that we just do what everybody else is doing.  Isn’t that the definition of average?  Didn’t God create us to be better than average?  Of course He did!  Remember, you are wonderfully and fearfully made (Ps. 139:14).  It’s time we start taking the road less traveled so we can reach our full potential.  There are alternates to loans such as scholarships, grants, work studies, internships, apprenticeships, and the most overlooked alternative of all, work.  All of these options might not be applicable; but they should, at least, be vetted.  Remember, Jesus warns us to count the cost before we make a commitment (Luke 11:28-31).  Now we see how expensive an education can be when it is paid for with student loans.  So let’s really try to avoid student loans if possible so we can get the most out of our money and build wealth for ourselves and not for the financial institutions.
[1] Friedman, Z. (2017, February 21). Student Loan Debt in 2017: A $1.3 Trillion Crisis. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from
[2] Powell, F. (2016, May 9). 10 Student Loan Facts College Grads Need to Know. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from
[3] A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2017. (2017, May 17). Retrieved June 18, 2017, from
I believe that Friendship is the foundation of any healthy marriage. Before anything romantic occurs, friendship needs to be present. The art and blessing of Friendship will create lasting moments in your marriage when you and your spouse are trying to maintain determination to fight for your marriage. Even in the best of times, be sure to keep your marriage covered in prayer, as challenges and troubling times are inevitable. God must be the center of your relationship, and even in that, you have a responsibility to maintain what God has given to you.
I pray these nuggets will bless your marriage:
1. Be faithful. During hard times, a friendship can either be lost altogether or become stronger. There may be times during the darkest days of your marriage when you and your spouse may question whether you made the right decision. There may be moments when you may want to walk away, but you MUST remain faithful. Marriage has many stages of development, be sure to maintain a desire and willingness to grow with your spouse; maintaining faithfulness to the commitment you made to your spouse, and most importantly to the vow you made before God.
2. Believe in each other. One of the reasons God created marriage is to bring husbands and wives to their full potential. You’ll never be close friends with someone who doesn’t believe in you. As spouses, we have to build an environment where our husband or wife can thrive. God created your spouse for something special, and your job is to help cultivate whatever that is. There will be days when the two of you will not agree, but being respectful and learning to agree to disagree will teach the both of you how to respect each other’s opinions. Everyone’s perception is their own truth. You cannot push what you do not respect. Learn to embrace the beauty of your differences. Your spouse needs you to believe in his or her dreams, goals, and aspirations, even in times of perceived failure. Wives, listen. Husbands, hold your wife and ensure her that everything will be fine.
3. Encourage honesty and intimacy. Honesty is crucial in every relationship. Does your spouse know your heart? Does he or she know what you’re thinking, what you love, what you believe? If not, it’s time to let your spouse into your world. Isolating yourself from your spouse makes intimacy impossible. Intimacy offers the opportunity for your spouse to get to know you. Intimacy transcends any physical contact. It enables a couple to send a message to each other in a room of 500 people while being 100 feet apart.
4. Be a safe place. Who do you call when something great happens? Who do you go to first when something terrible happens? You go to the person you trust the most. As a married couple, you need to be each other’s refuge-the place each of you go to celebrate good news or find strength to face bad news. No one else should be the first responder to your spouse other than you.
5. Be fun and creative. The strongest marriages are the ones where a husband and wife still have fun together. If this ever stops, if you no longer enjoy each other’s company, then hard times are going to be very overwhelming. If one of you enjoys golf, then play golf together. If it’s fishing or hunting, then do that together. If one spouse likes shopping, go shopping together. Whatever it is, do it together! Come out of your comfort zone once or twice and go into your spouse’s world and have fun. Do something that the both of you have never done before and take that adventure together, make your marriage an adventure, always put a new twist in your marriage.
6. Bear each other’s burdens. If you’ve ever tried to carry three pieces of luggage by yourself, while you are taking a trip, you know how important it is to have someone to help you with lifting the load. Galatians 6:2 says “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” That is what friends do. Offer to help. Be a support. Never sit back while your spouse deals with hardship. What one bears, you both bear.
I am praying for the success of your marriage.
Pastor Clinton House