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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1996
Lesson Scripture: Ruth 2-4
In last week's lesson we were told
of a Hebrew family from Bethlehem
in Judah who moved to the country
of Moab to escape a severe famine.
While they were there the husband
and father, Elimelech, died. The
widow, Naomi, was left with her two
sons. The two sons married Moabite
wives, but later both sons died also.
The widow Naomi decided to
return to her home in Bethlehem,
and her two widowed daughiers-in-
law determined to return with her.
Naomi urged both to return to their
families in Moab. One did so, but the
other, Huth, would not. So the two
women came to Bethlehem: Naomi,
bereft, of husband and sons, embit
tered; Ruth, a young widow, a
stranger in a foreign land, perhaps
fearful of her reception by the citi
zens of Bethlehem.
The two women were in financial
straits, when they arrived in
Bethlehem, but industry was no
stranger to them. Barley harvest was
just beginning, so Ruth set about to
find food for their table.
"You get what you pay for" is a
common expression among con
sumers. It is generally expected that
higher priced goods and services will
be superior in quality. When we pay
"top dollar," we expect the best in
products and labor. And though it
doesn't always work out that way,
the principle generally holds true.
Such a reciprocal dynamic is defi
nitely at work in spiritual matter.
Solomon suggested it: "Cast thy
bread upon the water: For thou shalt
find it after many days" (Ecclesiates
11:1). Jesus was more explicit. He
said, "Blessed are the merciful: for
they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew
5:7). Whatever you give, you
receive in kind; and the more you
give, the more you receive.
That's the way it worked for Ruth.
She selflessly ministered to Naomi,
then received generous and merciful
treatment from Boaz.
Of course, receiving mercy must
not be the primary motivation for
giving mercy. Ruth struck no bar
gain with God when she chose to be
a blessing to her mother-in-law. She
pledged her loyalty on the "regard
less" level. Likewise, whatever we
do for God should not be done to
earn personal reward, but to honor
Him and to help others. Then rich
rewards and personal happiness will
be ours. "What goes around domes
Great-grandmothers have little way
of knowing how great their descen
dants might become. They may
have dreamed of it, but they could
not predict it.
Naomi did not suspect that many
generations later Jesus, the Christ,
would be born to the wife of her
descendant, Joseph (Matthew 1).
Mary gave birth to Immanuel, God
incarnate. Little Obed was truly a
temporal blessing to his grandmoth
er, but beyond that he became prog
enitor of One who brought eternal
blessing for all mankind.
Who knows what your great
grandchildren will achieve and con
tribute to mankind? Perhaps through
you, too, generations to come will
fmd salvation in Christ. Pray that
you and yours will remain faithful.
Many persons believe that the
events that occur are strictly the
result of natural or human causes.
Believing that brute force controls
what happens in life, these persons
become uncertain, perhaps even ter
rified, of what the future holds.
The book of Ruth shows, however,
that there is another power at work
in our world. It is the power of God,
and although that power itself is
invisible, its results may be seen.
Those who see with the eyes of faith
know that these words of the apostle
Paul are true: "And we know that ail
things work together to the good of
them that love God, to them who are
called according to his purpose"
(Romans 8:28). The power of God
works in the lives of godly people.
We have seen that in our lessons
from Ruth. Naomi's godly daughter-
in-law Ruth, the . Ruth loved Naomi
and she came to love Naomi’s God.
It is obvious that Boaz loved God.
Although Naomi ai;d Ruth had
experienced great tragedy and sad
ness, God worked through their kins
man-redeemer, Boaz. to accomplish
.His will, to replace their sadness
with joy, and to secure a happy
future for them all. The kindness of
Boaz has a powerful message for
our skeptical age. Who hold the
future? God does.
From darkness into the light
The Rev. Steve Carlton, pastor of Second Calvary Baptist Church, believes God’s most striking
victories rise out of the graves of apparent defeat.
Reformed drug abuser
spreads God's word
By Andrea R. Richards
THE CHARLOTTE POST
A S a teenager, the Rev. Steve L. Carlton wanted to be
Instead of being good, Carlton did the opposite. He
did all sorts of mischievous activities to be in the spot
Carlton, 41, admits he had a don't-care attitude.
"I didn't wtmt anybody to tell me anything," said the pastor of
Second Calvary Baptist Church, 114 Nelson Ave. "I was a trou
blemaker. I was a clown and didn't take school seriously."
The Lenoir native continued to stray from his Christian
upbringing and make poor decisions.
"I made a good living in high school," he said. "I sold drugs. I
think it was a thing of attention. I was just trying to prove my
point that I could be who I wanted to be. I wanted to be The
But selling drugs soon got the
best of The Man. Carlton became
addicted at 19.
"Uppers, downers, cocaine. I've
done just about every drug, except
heroin," he said.
"The worst thing you can do is sell
drugs and then become an abuser."
In retrospect, Carlton realized the .
death of his grandfather, being sep
arated from his mother (His father
was killed when he was 3.) and
being isolated from his nine sib
lings caused him to develop a (}rug
habit. The habit increased as his
Then, in 1974, Carlton reached a
turning point when a local pastor
invited him to church.
"I was at wit’s end," he said.
"There was a new minister in town
who gave me and my friend encour-
agement to come to church. He
took us under his wings and made us feel like somebody. He
gave us clothes to wear to church.
"Once I came to church one Sunday and heard him speak. The
message was There is no secret in what God can do.' It just
struck a chord, and those words have always stuck with me."
One year later, Carlton preached his trial sermon, and he has
been spreading God's word since.
As leader of Second Calvary's congregation (about 500 active
members) for the last 18 months, Carlton exudes a warm
Christian demeanor that welcomes all. He advises young people
who are selling and/or using drugs to seek Christ.
"You're not only destroying yourself, but you're destroying a
whole race of people," he said. "You're committing genocide.
You're just as much of a murderer as a man with a gun in his
Carlton's goal is to show others that God's most striking victo
ries rise out of the graves of apparent defeat.
"I want Second Calvary, and all churches, to find people where
they are and take them to where God wants them to be," he said.
See PASTOR page 12A
"Once I came to
church one Sunday
and heard him speak.
The message i
'There is no secret in
what God can do. ’ It
just struck a chord,
and those words
have always stuck
-Steve L. Carlton
Eye on Gospel
Sweet inspiration: Carlton
Pearson's newfound success
on the gospel scene is just as
surprising to him as it is to
the Warner Alliance. After
just 15 weeks on Billboard's
Top Gospel Albums Charts his
sophomore release titled "Live
At Azuza" has earned Pearson
the status of being the label's
top-selling artist. "I don't
understand the industry to
the degree that I would have a
deep appreciation for what's
happening but I was hoping
that it would bless a lot of peo
ple," notes Pearson, better
known as one of the nation's
most renowned African
Driving sales way up is a 22-
minute "Old Songs Melody"
which label execs say has
touched a chord with tradi
tional gospel audiences.
"We were expecting to do
better than the first album,"
reports Warner Alliance vice
Alexander, "but we expected it
to build up slowly. Instead it
blew up and kind of caught us
To catch up, Warner
Alhance is fanning the flames
with an all-out marketing
plan and a contest for radio
listeners in his three best-sell
ing markets to win trips to
Pearson's annual Azuza
Conference, held April 14-20
in Tulsa, Okla. (On April 15,
Pearson will record his third
project for the label, which is
not expected to release until
early ’97.) Thus far, his
releases have centered on wor
ship and praise, but Pearson
also has hopes of doing a solo
"People like BeBe (Wihans)
have said they want to write
for me and do some creative
things. So I would like to
have one or two studio songs
on the next album where I
really minister on songs I like
perhaps even some songs writ
ten by me." But the 43-year-
old evangelist who is more
comfortable in a pulpit than
on stage sees his role in gospel
as much bigger than record
"There's been a great chasm
between the recording indus
try, the artist and the local
church," Petirson said. "Most
of the artists have priced
themselves out of the realm of
the church. There's no real
connect, and there's an atti
tude among a lot of the pas
tors about the artists - a sus
picious distrust. I'd like to
resolve that by bringing the
artist back into local churches
and having operate more by
creativity...That 22 minute
medley is not a very creative
thing but it's strongly-inspired
and that what people are are
buying into. Not a lot of bells
and whistles, just people
singing and worshipping
Treading new ground:
Look for a taste of hip-hop
with Ruby Terry's newly-
released project form Malaco
“It was time to make a little
change," notes the Louisiana-
based evangelist, who treads
on contemporary ground with
her fourth release for the
label. Recorded live in Lake
Charles, La. with the Lake
Charles Community Choir,
the album titled "(Jod Can Do
It," also features Dorothy
Norwood and Rev. James
Moore and the anointing she's
Credit the new direction to a
targeted effort to reach a
broader-based and youthful-
oriented audience. She's
already set a date for next
recording. It's May 3 at
Briefly: CeCe Winans is set
to star in "Bom To Sing,"
(part three of the stage musi
cal "Mama I Want To Sing"),
and is set to premiere at the
Paramont Theatre at New
York's Madison Square
Garden March 1-10.
This week's scripture:
"Wherefore receive ye one
another, as Christ also
received us to the glory of
God," Romans 15:7.
Gospel musical play hits the local scene
THE CHARLOTTE POST
If you enjoy being in a
Christian environment and
being pleasantly entertained
at the same time, then you'll
enjoy the gospel musical
The play can be seen at Ovens
Auditorium, 2700 E.
Independence Blvd., March 1-
3. Tickets range from $17.50-
and it's based
at all times,"
Proverbs 18:24 "A man that
hath friends must show him-
The theme is
based on true
they are rare,
Michael Matthews is the
"I write about
them to do
Matthews unto other as
have them do unto you."
Matthews has written six
other musicals: "Momma
Don't," "Wicked Ways," "Come
Out of the Rain," "No Place to
Lay My Head," "I Need A
Mam," and "Momma, I'm