Sunday, August 31, 2008
Israel Antiquities Authority, the keeper of the scrolls, said it has begun the two-year process to digitally photograph every fragment of the more than 2,000-year-old ancient text.
High-tech digital technology will not only help preserve the manuscripts and make it available to a wider audience, but will also help reveal text that is not visible to the naked eye.
"Just by applying the latest infrared technologies and shooting at very high detail, lots of resolution, we are already opening up new characters from the scrolls that are either extremely indistinct or you just couldn't see them before," said Simon Tanner, director of King's Digital Consultancy Services, according to CNN.
Tanner is on the team in charge of the digital project, which includes Greg Bearman – a retired scientist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Bearman pioneered archaeological digital imaging.
"To switch over to digital is really the way to go, and people were resistant to it initially, because it was a new way of doing stuff," Bearman said. "They want their light table and their magnifying glass."
But with digital imaging, he said, "You can see where the ink has broken away and you can see the texture of the animal skin, so you can see more detail than you can see with the naked eye."
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest written record of the Bible’s Old Testament found to date, and include texts that reveal the life of early Christians in the Holy land.
Some were initially discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd in a cave in the Judean Desert while searching for a lost sheep or goat. The scrolls were found wrapped in linen inside earthenware jars. More scrolls were then found in 11 caves.
"They show the connection between Christianity, Judaism and how everything evolved from the God - the God is one God," said Shor, head of treatment and conservation at the Antiquities Authority. "The scrolls are meant to bring us all together."
The scrolls have only once been photographed in the 1950s, but some of the images have disintegrated, the Antiquity Authority informed.
In the past, people complained that only a handful of scholars could examine the scrolls. Now, Shor says that the digitalized scrolls can be available in its entirety online to everyone.
“The Bible is sacred to us and to you and to all the monotheistic religions, and therefore [the scrolls] are national treasures and world treasures, and therefore it is our duty to preserve them at least for 2,000 years more,” she said.
[By Ethan Cole - Christian Post Reporter]
1. Have an agenda:
The worst thing you can do is set up a meeting with the intention of just getting people together to talk. I know whenever I’m in a meeting and the facilitator (or person who set up the meeting) begins with “I set this up so we could all get in the same room and talk about XYZ,” that I should take Mrs. Gump’s advice and run like the wind.
Before inviting people to any meeting, make sure you have a list of goals or outcomes that you expect from the meeting (which may or may not choose to share with the group). Have a list of topics to cover and estimate how much time you should spend on each topic.
2. If you can accomplish your goals with an email or memo, then don’t have the meeting:
Some people like to have meetings for the sake of having meetings - I personally think they feel some sort of power by being able to drag people together. Avoid this temptation because the meeting itself, along with all the preparation work, takes valuable time away from more productive tasks for both you and the meeting invitees.
3. Only invite people that need to be there:
Sometimes we feel the need to bring everyone remotely related to the topic of discussion to a meeting which results in most of the people in the room twiddling their thumbs while they await the 5% of the discussion that pertains to them. If someone only needs to be part of 25% of the discussion or less, either speak with them before the meeting so they don’t have to take time out of their busy day to attend or go over their part during the beginning of the meeting. If you find that there are several people that have just a little to contribute to the meeting, you may be better off having a quick conversation and sending out an email with what you’ve learned from your conversation as opposed to having the meeting.
Also, if someone has nothing to contribute to what will be discussed in the meeting (or no interest in what’s being discussed), then don’t invite them. Many people invite their bosses or upper management just for the sake of keeping them in the loop. Bringing in people with nothing to contribute may cause them to ask questions for the sake of looking like they’re participating.
4. Limit the meeting to 30 minutes:
You tend to lose people’s attention after 30 minutes so your most productive time will be the first half hour. If you find that you need more than thirty minutes to cover everything on your agenda, then consider having more than one meeting. There are always exceptions, but keep in mind that agendas tend to stretch to fit the time allotted to them. So having a shorter meeting will encourage everyone to stay focused and discourage non-topic related discussions.
5. Take discussions that are of interest to only a few participants offline:
The telltale sign of this is when only two or three participants are involved in the discussion and everyone else is zoning out. If it’s not of interest to the majority of attendees, then take it offline.
6. Don’t allow tangents to last more than a minute:
Tangents happen at practically all meetings - we’re social creatures and need that bonding.
Instead of cutting off all tangents immediately (which may negatively affect the mood of the meeting), interject your thoughts about the tangent and then say something like “but, anyway” and bring the focus back to the topic.
7. Start and finish on-time:
When you invite people to the meeting, explain that you have a limited amount of time so you’ll be starting promptly at whatever time you specified. People will still come in late but will eventually learn that you start and finish on time.
And a bonus tip: don’t divert from your agenda just to catch people up as that will encourage the behavior - tell them you’d be glad to do so after the meeting.
Also, allot time to each item on your agenda and stick with it. It’s especially effective if you have a printed agenda with the allotted time for each item on it.
8. Bring a few extra copies of printed materials:
It’s not uncommon for uninvited guests to show up, especially in a corporate setting where managers may bring people from their teams that they feel could benefit from attending. So instead of having to run out to the copier (or making attendees share), bring a few extra copies which you can always recycle if no one needs them.
9. Get to the meeting location early:
Depending on your situation, your setup time will vary. You’ll want at least 30 minutes if you need to set up a projector or rearrange the room’s set up. You’ll need at least five minutes to organize handouts, makes notes on a white board or put the place back together if another meeting was scheduled in the room before yours.
10. Anticipate questions and discussions as part of your meeting prep:
Preparing well for a meeting (which is a topic in itself) can make things go smoothly. It’s vital that you anticipate questions and discussion points so you can prepare your responses. You can also bring any notes or supporting materials so you can show attendees instead of having to describe it.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is "straight out of veep central casting," said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religion Liberties Commission. Land said he urged the McCain camp to consider the political unknown.
Gary Bauer, one of McCain's most enthusiastic evangelical supporters, called it a "grand slam home run" that is "guaranteed to energize values voters."
The 44-year-old mother of five, who led her high school chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was baptized as a teenager at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church, where she and her family were very active, according to her then-pastor, Paul Riley.
Now, she sometimes worships at the Juneau Christian Center, which is also part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, said Brad Kesler, business administrator of the denomination's Alaska District. But her home church is The Church on the Rock, an independent congregation, Riley said.
"The church was kind of a foundation for her," said Riley, who said he gave the invocation at Palin's inauguration and had her address students at the church last month.
Palin and her family have gone the way of so many Christians in North America, moving from the denominational church to the independent Pentecostal congregation.
However, Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign, said "Palin attends different churches and does not consider herself Pentecostal."
Is the campaign trying to avoid liberal anti-pentecostal attacks?
As a politician, Palin has sided with the majority evangelical view in opposing gay marriage and expressing a desire to see creationism discussed alongside evolution in schools.
"It's an absolutely brilliant choice," said Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. "This will absolutely energize McCain's campaign and energize conservatives."
[AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll contributed to this report.]
Friday, August 29, 2008
Who is Amy? Amy Sondova is a writer specializing in media writing, including interviews and reviews, as well as blogging. Having interviewed over 30 of the top musicians, writers, and speakers in the Christian media, Amy has also written countless columns, reviews, and articles on various topics including mental illness, self-injury, working with teenagers, and Christianity. As well as holding a B.A. in communications, Amy holds a M.A. in biblical counseling, and has worked as a professional therapist. You can visit Amy’s blog at amysondova.com or check out her online e-zine, BackseatWriter.com, a faith-based site focusing on God, culture, music, mental health, and photography.
She’s a cutter — one of the many in a growing community of self-mutilators who wear their pain, anger, and frustration by cutting various parts of their bodies with sharp objects. You would not know she’s a cutter to look at her; she smiles broadly, perhaps a little too broadly at times. She seems normal if not a little melancholy. But look in her eyes and then you will see her torment. You can always tell a cutter by the lack of luster in her eyes.
Cutting is a form of self-injury – the act of purposely injuring oneself using a sharp object such as a razor, scissors, knife, etc. In addition to cutting, self-injury also includes carving, scratching, branding, marking, picking and pulling skin and hair, burns or abrasions, biting, and head banging. Most self-mutilators are between the ages of 11 to 30 and 97% are female.
Not only is cutting a stress relieving coping mechanism, but the physical pain creates a sense of livelihood, and most times physical pain is dull compared to the piercing pain in her soul. No one can see her inner turmoil, so she has transformed her emotions onto her flesh to make you and everyone else understand that she is hurting.
Cutting is not usually an act of suicide. One cutter wrote on her website, “I don’t want to die. I self-injure to stay alive, to deal with the unbearable. If I wanted to die, then I wouldn’t be here now” (Secret Shame, 2004.)
Along with sexual and other types of abuse, there are several mental disorders associated with self-injurious behavior, which include borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and multiple personality disorder. Remember, even if an individual suffers from a mental illness along with her cutting, she is more than her diagnosis. She is human being created in the image of God.
The only hope for a cutter lies in God because no one can ever understand the pain except for Him. He sees the inner torments and can provide relief. There is no hope attached to the end of the razor blade … only the manifestation of a tortured soul. Self-mutilation is still taboo in many churches today, but as their forms fill our pristine halls, the church cannot cover its eyes any longer. We must be prepared to minister to what many are calling “the new anorexia” before a generation mutilates itself beyond recognition.
[Dr. Phil Monroe]
What do telling our stories of being hurt, wronged, misunderstood, misrepresented, oppressed, rejected, etc. do for us? What does it do to our listeners? These are important questions. Here are some bullet responses by me:
1. Telling the truth to another and being heard and understood on top of that provides healing. When the body of Christ attends to the wounds of its members, there are wonderful opportunities for healing, forgiveness, repentance, justice, reconciliation.
2. But why am I telling THIS person. Am I looking for a healing response or for someone to validate my bitterness, to encourage my sinful anger and my unwillingness to confront the wounder? Is it gossip? What do I want/desire/expect from this person who has just heard my story?
3. Do I tell the story in a way that colors all those who might think similarly to the person who has wounded me. Example, not all of those who value postmodern challenges to modernity are on a slippery slope to relativism. Not all of those who believe that women should not be in pastoral ministry are wife beaters. But do we tell stories that castigate all?
4. How do I respond to these stories from others? Do I undermine by minimizing the pain? Do I counter it with my own story that shows that my own wounds are worse? Do I say nothing? Do I see overgeneralizations and ignore the parts that are true about me or at least gives the impression of truth? Can I own what I need to own without being overly concerned about being misunderstood myself? Or do I get defensive?
Stories of being victimized help others to understand our experiences and to enter our world. But stories also can function like agent orange and burn everything in sight. How do we know what to do for our own best health and the consideration of those around us?
What about the offender? What’s the difference between a prophet and a slanderer? In the mind of the offender, he/she is a prophet, God's representative espousing God's words.
A prophet names things and people (especially opponents) in a way that they would agree or approve. A slanderer uses names to disparage and to smear opponents, even those who might barely be related to the issues at hand. (Scot McKnight, in a recent presentation at Westminster Seminary, offers some good advice in this area when talking about emerging/missional church authors and their critics. When you describe your opponents, you ought to do so in a way that the opponents says, “that’s me.”). A prophet does not stoop to build straw men.
A prophet highlights viewpoints in order to point out their possible logical conclusions while a slanderer takes another’s position to an extreme and paints the person as intending the outcome or so foolish not to see the result.
While pointing out possible outcomes, a prophet is still able to describe these outcomes with complexity and shading while the slanderer merely paints everything in black and white.
A prophet points to a better way, creative solutions, risky but realistic options while a slanderer wastes no effort trying to provide solutions, but is satisfied with producing only criticisms and tired stereotypes.
1. I’ll Meet You in Your Office
When you need to do a quick face to face meeting with another staff member, tell them you’ll swing by their office. When you’ve covered everything important, you can politely leave — the meeting is over.
If someone is in your office, the person may not know when the meeting is over. A quick, few-minute meeting can linger and bleed over into longer and less important conversations. When you’re in someone else’s office, you can politely exit much easier than you can ask someone to leave your office.
2. Let’s Have Lunch in My Office
Eating out can be a huge time waster. (I’m not saying that having a nice, long lunch isn’t occasionally important, necessary, or enjoyable.) Travel time to many restaurants takes 15 to 30 minutes (or more). Many restaurant meals can take 45 minutes to an hour. A simple lunch can easily eat an hour and a half of your day.
I suggest some other options:
- If you don’t have a lunch appointment, consider bringing lunch from home. Not only can you save money but also time. You can eat in a few minutes in your office and continue working.
- If you don’t have a lunch appointment and didn’t bring your lunch, you might ask another team member to bring you a sandwich if he or she is going out.
- If someone invites you to lunch, you might suggest they join you in your office. If you have an assistant, he or she can grab lunch for you; or you can order-in for delivery. You can spend 45 minutes or an hour of quality time with someone without leaving your office. (If you invite someone to lunch, you’ll probably prefer to honor them and travel to a place that is convenient for them.)
3. Plan for Shorter Appointments
For some reason, when someone schedules an appointment with a pastor, they generally assume it will be a one hour appointment.
Most one hour appointments could be handled in much less time.
Years ago, I shortened my appointments to 45 minutes. We’d explain ahead of time that I have 45 minutes allotted for the meeting. No one complained. We got to the important stuff a lot faster.
After some time, I shortened most meetings to 30 minutes and some to 10 or 15. It is amazing how much important ground you can cover when both parties understand how much time you have to work with and you get right to the important issues.
It also helps to back appointments up to each other. If you have a 1:00 p.m. appointment, you might schedule your next one at 1:45 instead of 2:00. When some people want to go past their time, someone else can politely interrupt and explain that your next appointment is waiting.
4. Do Fewer Meetings
Most people in ministry do way too many meetings.
Instead of scheduling a typical 1 or 2 hour meeting, you might try a 15 minute touch-base meeting. You may cover even more in that brief time.
Or better yet, cut the frequency of your meetings in half. Instead of meeting weekly, try meeting every other week. If that is not possible, you might cancel 1 of 4 meetings a month.
Doing fewer meeting forces you to think further ahead and encourages better planning and intentional communication.
5. Don’t Take Incoming Calls
On very busy days, you might choose not to immediately receive incoming calls.
When I’m crunched for time, I’ll give my cell phone to my assistant. She’ll screen calls for me all day. Generally she can find out what a person needs. When I come out of the office, she might ask me a few quick questions and she can respond to my calls for me.
Instead of handling calls as they come in, you can return them all at once. I like to return calls when I’m traveling in the car making that time more productive.
What suggestions do you have on this subject? (Click "comments" below.)
[by Craig Groeschel - http://swerve.lifechurch.tv/]
#1 - Passion
I’m not talking about false excitement over an event that you would not attend if you were not on the payroll at the church!
But rather raw, unfiltered, emotional and unapologetic passion … a white hot fire inside that consumes, controls and configures us into who Jesus has called us to be and what He’s called us to do!
Be warned–passionate people make for easy targets because no one has to guess what they stand for! However, passion, if handled correctly, can be one of the best friends a leader can have.
#2 - A Desire To Please God
One of the first verses I ever memorized was Galatians 1:10. I remember reading it and feeling like it literally jumped off the page … and something inside of me kept screaming, “You are going to need this verse for yourself if you are going to be truly successful in ministry.”
A true leader in church understands that God is our Leader … and in a passionate pursuit to please Him you and I will often disappoint people.
We can’t please committee’s and Christ – a choice must be made.
#3 - Wisdom
James 1:5 has been a verse that I have also had to cling onto as a leader! What a promise!
God has called us to wisdom … so … as leaders I feel that we need to be doing as much as possible to learn … that means going to conferences, reading books … and not being afraid to meet with and learn from people who “aren’t like us!”
What are you personally doing right now to grow and develop yourself as a leader? To add to your wisdom?
I am in the process of connecting with other church leaders … in the past several weeks I’ve been involved in numerous learning environments with people who know SO MUCH MORE than me … and God has used each experience to shape me in an awesome way.
If all we tell our people is what we know, and we lead out of our limited knowledge, never seeking wisdom from others or God, then we will raise up some very shallow people.
#4 - Courage
I don’t think the tag “leader” should be put on anyone who hasn’t had to make tough decisions on a consistent basis.
I once heard Andy Stanley say that a leader isn’t necessarily the first person to see an opportunity, but rather the first person to act on what they see.
So true! There are lots and lots of people who see what is wrong with the world, church, etc … however, very few are actually willing to do anything about it.
Leaders step up and make the hard calls … even when it’s unpopular.
On a side note – courage is NOT the absence of fear!
However, courage is KNOWING what God has called you to … and then DOING it … not knowing the outcome … but KNOWING who is in control of the outcome!
#5 - Humility
This is a tough one because … well … one cannot actually brag that they are humble!
Too many times in the past I know that this was a quality that was NOT in me! I wanted the credit for all of “my ideas!” If something went right and I was involved – I wanted people to know about it. If an element of service programming went well and it was my idea … I took the credit.
And then one day I had a conversation with John Maxwell that ROCKED MY WORLD … he said to me, “You are where you are for two reasons. The first is the favor of God. The second is the giftedness of God. And, please understand that God didn’t owe you either of these. You are where you are because of Him!”
When it comes right down to it … I don’t have good ideas – God gives them to me. I don’t have the ability to think or act … OR LEAD … unless HE leads me!
John 15:5 is SO true … and I have no right to boast in anything that I feel like I accomplish!
If a leader doesn’t care who gets the credit … but is obsessed with God getting the glory – awesome things can happen!
#6 - Honesty
One of the things the corporate world has seen lately is a lack of integrity … and the lie that “this is my life and how I live it doesn’t really impact anyone else” has been exposed over and over and over again!
As leaders – we’ve got to be honest with …
- OURSELVES - how are you doing? Really? Can you keep up the pace you have right now? What changes need to be made?
- OTHERS - is everyone around you doing a good job? Is there a tough conversation that needs to be had–but you won’t because you are afraid of the outcome?
- GOD - Is life and ministry REALLY “all about Him?”
#7 - Simplicity
I once heard Ed Young say, “If you want to impress me as a leader – don’t tell me what you’re doing, tell me what you’re NOT doing!”
I think a leader who is worth his (or her) salt will admit that they are not good at everything … and as a result they will stop trying to be.
Reality is that everyone of us only do a few things well … and our leadership will be maximized when we focus on what God has gifted us and called us to be rather than what everyone else in the church expects us to be!I can’t do everything … but I can do something … and the something that I can do … I will do!
What is on your plate that you KNOW you aren’t good at? You hate it? Go ahead and admit it because everyone around you already knows it and are probably praying that you will stop it anyway!
That’s about it … oh yeah ... if you haven’t read this book by Andy Stanley on point #7–PLEASE–DO IT! Seriously! It will set you free!
Noon at your County Courthouse.
September 11, 2008
FAST YOUR LUNCH -- Unite with other Christians at your county courthouse -- Pray publicly for a new Christ Awakening in our generation -- Be a part of Cry Out America!
OUR NATION is at a defining moment. Once in a generation a people arrives at a crossroads of decision, a fork demanding a choice. Sometimes the nature of that choice determines the future for their children; but at other times nothing less than the very life of that people is at stake. We are at just such a crossroads of the second kind. For the last 40 plus years our nation has increasingly drifted lazily toward the falls of godless postmodern values, rejecting God's standards in favor of a reinterpreted subjective morality. Soon we will reach the precipice of no return unless we act quickly. On one level the events of 9/11/01 awakened us to the threat of radical Islamic fundamentalism, but the greater threat confronting us is our departure from God. Therefore on 9/11/08 the American church is issuing a new spiritual wake up call to our nation. Cry Out America is a response to Joel’s 2600 year old prescription for revival. On Thursday, September 11, 2008 we will return to the Lord as we: "Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly ... and cry out to the Lord." Joel 1:14.
Get involved now and join us in your county!
PARTICIPATION IN ALL 50 STATES NOW CONFIRMED!
Awakening America Alliance brings Christians Together in United Prayer Across
All 50 States on Historic Day in America.
The Alliance is mobilizing Christians to participate in CRY OUT AMERICA in all 3,141 counties in the nation and endeavors to have a COA county coordinator in place at each courthouse to facilitate this time of prayer for their community, friends and family, and for the spiritual condition of our nation.
Read More from our latest press release.
Go Online to find out information on your County's Coordinator and join in the prayer gathering.
ON SEPTEMBER 10th, GOD TV WILL AIR SACRED ASSEMBLY AT 9 PM EASTERN
It will re-air on September 11th! Look for times soon!
CRY OUT AMERICA will host a special evening service in New York City on the eve of September 11th. This evening program will include a line-up of extraordinary Christian leaders and 9/11 first responders and will be aired on God TV to over 400 million people internationally. It will also have elements of worship from top Christian artists and concentrated prayer for the heart condition of the nation, repentance and revival.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The Catalytic Pastor: The catalytic pastor is wired to stir things up. They’re gifted in the prophetic and tend to be charismatic leaders. These pastors have lots of energy and are focused on the mission of the church … that is, reaching the community for Jesus Christ. In the “right” church, they’ll grow it without a doubt. In the “wrong” church, they’ll create conflict, they’ll be frustrated, and they’ll either burn out or they’ll move on … assuming they’re not fired first. Catalytic pastors are ideal church planters but often lack the finesse and patience for church transformations (except in those VERY rare churches that are truly willing to do anything to reach the community for Jesus).
The Cultivating Pastor: The cultivating pastor is wired to break up hard ground, plant seeds, nurture the fields, and are both willing and able to bring in a harvest. They’re gifted in big-picture understanding, systems analysis, and systems manipulation (in a good way). Because of their systems understanding and their patience, they are able to cultivate change and transformation over time. However, they’re tenacious and are used to getting their way in the long run … because they know how to deal with obstacles that get in their way. Cultivating pastors are well suited for church transformations in churches that can afford to effect gentle change that takes significant time … as many as seven to ten years.
The Conflict-Quelling Pastor: The Conflict-Quelling pastor is exactly the type that the name implies … they’re the guys and gals who are natural or skilled peacemakers, mediators, and/or conflict managers. These pastors are wired differently than any of the other pastoral types. They’re not catalytic and they’re distinctive from chaplains. Instead, these folks can walk into a congregation and in short order assess the situation and instinctively seem to know who the major players are. They are affable and able to build bridges. They tend to be quiet and reflective … when they speak, they do so with conviction, wisdom, and certainty. Conflict-Quelling pastors make excellent interim pastors and/or troubled-church pastors.
The Chaplain Pastor: The Chaplain pastor is wired for peace, harmony, and pastoral care. This is the type of pastor that has been produced by seminaries for several decades, though a few … a very few … seminaries are retooling. Chaplain pastors eschew change and value status quo. They don’t want to stir the waters; rather, they want to bring healing to hurting souls.
They are excellent listeners and tend to be good networkers within the community, primarily so they can extend their ministry, but also so they can refer those in need to oasis’ of help. Chaplain pastors don’t grow churches. In fact, a Chaplain pastor will hasten a congregation’s demise because they tend to focus on those within the congregation rather than in bringing new converts to Jesus Christ. Churches that have very little hope of transformation and church growth do well with Chaplain pastors who serve as hospice care.
The Catatonic Pastor: This type of pastor is, frankly, either lazy or sick. There are far too many of these pastors. They take refuge in their offices ostensibly to do sermon preparation, create brochures, sum up numbers, and so on, but ultimately they’re spinning their wheels and accomplishing very little.
They may or may not do the hospital visitation, but they seldom miss an opportunity to have a meal with one of the inside buddies. Catatonic pastors tend to be well liked by the power holders in the church, because the Catatonic pastor is easily manipulated and seldom, if ever, makes waves … except when they need to accomplish something and fail to meet even the lowest of expectations. Indeed, Catatonic pastors may remain as the senior pastor of a church for many years because they know how to schmooze their way into grace.
Churches that hate change often end up with excellent examples of Catatonic pastors. Catatonic pastors may spend a lot of time “at work” but any congregation that sets performance goals for their Catatonic pastor will quickly discover that time in the office does not guarantee results. Of course, Catatonic pastors do not grow churches, are poor chaplains - even poor hospice chaplains, and they pretty much destroy wherever they root … and they’re more like crabgrass or bamboo that, once established, is almost impossible to eradicate.
Pastor Bertrand Crabbe of the True North Community Church in Port Jefferson says the donor, who asked to remain anonymous, donated the "Ba Da Bling" scratch-off ticket immediately after realizing he won.
Pastor Crabbe says the donor said "This was why God put the ticket in his hands."
A state Lottery official said Wednesday that the independent Christian church will get a little over $100,000 a year through 2028. The amount could be higher if withheld taxes are refunded because of the church's nonprofit status.
Pastor Crabbe says the 650-member church will give the first year's proceeds to other charities.
[The Associated Press]
Would you accept lottery proceeds at your church?
[Click "comments" below.]
I pray that in the days I have on this earth, you would give me the strength to stand firm. Let nothing move me from the tasks and purpose you have for me. Give me the desire to always give myself fully to your work, and remind me that my labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
And I pray for peace, comfort, and direction for those whose lives are changed by the frailty of life. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
For the last two consecutive years, Jack Myers' Emotional Connections Study ranks Gospel Music Channel as the #1 Network in overall Emotional Connection ahead of key competitive networks including Lifetime Movie Network. Building on the strength of GMC's emotional connection, FrontGate Media has debuted exclusive TV & Web "E-motion" promotions limited to a maximum of one or two artists, authors or organizations per month. These promotions combine the reach of TV & the Internet into a powerful multi-platform connection for any brand, product or service, building results through GMC.
The exclusive E-motion promotions feature extensive online and email exposure as well as affordable on- air opportunities for TV and VOD exposure over the course of two to four weeks. The promotions reach the full spectrum of the Gospel Music Channel audience: 40 million US homes, up to 1,000,000 web site views, and more than 100,000 email subscribers.
Philip Manwaring, GMC's VP digital media, commented, "FrontGate Media's creativity, connections, and credibility make them the ideal partner for us in this space. Together we've created promotional opportunities that combine extensive online coverage with affordable on-air exposure, creating a unique value proposition for those seeking to reach the faith-based entertainment audience."
GMC promotions have proven to positively impact album and tickets sales, online traffic and awareness. For the Music Builds Tour featuring Switchfoot, Third Day, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and Jars of Clay, the promotional partnership resulted in ticket sales increases of between 20% and 50% following exposure through the Gospel Music Channel. Additionally several leading artists across all music styles have observed week-on-week sales increases according to SoundScan from 20% to 57% following coverage on GMC, including Natalie Grant, Karen Peck and New River, David Crowder Band, Marvin Sapp, Trin-i-tee 5:7, and Casting Crowns just to name a few.
"The Gospel Music Channel played an integral part in the tremendous success we've experienced on iTunes with Hillsong Live: This Is Our God," states Chris Estes, director of digital marketing for Integrity Music (Provident-Integrity Distribution). "In the first week of release, we've seen the album rise to No. 4 on iTunes' All Genre, Full Album download charts ahead of major mainstream acts like Lil Wayne and Rihanna. Without a doubt, we know that the digital support and marketing initiatives through the Gospel Music Channel helped us hit this mark."
Gospel Music Channel is the most recent faith-branded leader to join the exclusive FrontGate Media group, home to the largest and most loyal faith-based consumer entertainment brands available including http://www.hearitfirst.com/, http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/, http://www.itickets.com/, http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/, http://www.videorocket.com/, and the largest events in the country including the Biola Media Conference, the Boarders For Christ tour, Creation Festival, Creation Festival: The Tour, and Spirit West Coast just to mention a few. FrontGate Media also serves as the exclusive syndicator of Faith content across the Vidshadow Online Video Network, one of the Web's fastest growing online video networks.
"Gospel Music Channel delivers the most emotionally connected consumer audience available," says Scott A. Shuford, founder and CEO of FrontGate Media. "Their addition to our media group reinforces FrontGate Media as the must-have, first call for strategy and promotion for any entertainment marketer."
The commission is made up of eight chief academic officers from the 101 schools in the CCCU. As the chair, Dirksen will help plan the upcoming conference and the Forum which takes place every four years involving teams from all the CCCU schools.
"I believe in the work of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, so I am very pleased to be involved in their work at this level. They are a strong support for Christ-centered higher education and have been an important reference group for Lee," said Dirksen.
Carolyn Dirksen is a veteran of the Lee University faculty. She has been teaching at Lee since 1968, and has long been a well-loved colleague and respected advisor and mentor.
She received the Lee Excellence in Teaching Award in 1972 and the Excellence in Scholarship Award in 1992. She also served for twelve years as chair of the Department of Language Arts and for three years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Since 1999, she has served as vice president for Academic Affairs.
Dirksen's teaching career has included being a supervisor of Lee's Semester in Europe at Cambridge, a one-year visiting professorship at Henan University in China, and two summers at the Russian-American Christian University in Moscow.
Founded in 1976, the CCCU has spread out across the nation and reached affiliate schools in 24 other countries. Working as a non-profit organization out of Washington, D.C., they've made their goals to focus onn the advancement of Christ-centered higher education and relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. They provide over 100 programs to help serve the association's mission and support the needs of Christian colleges and universities.
At the moment, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore is ranked #259 in Books at Amazon and #4 in Religious & Spirituality Fiction (placing behind three editions of The Shack).
So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore is a story about a man named Jake (the book is meant to be fictitiously autobiographical where the author, Jake Colsen, writes about his own experiences). Jake is an associate pastor at a fast-growing mega-church. In the book’s early pages he encounters a man named John whom he comes to believe may just be the Apostle John (though this question is never actually resolved). While he does not have much of an opportunity to interact with John at first, he hears words which set his heart and mind reeling. He realizes quickly that his Christian faith is almost hopelessly rote and anemic.
“Although I had been a Christian for more than two decades, I had no concept of who Jesus was as a person and no idea how I could change that.” This book covers a span of months or years which sees him grow from a pastor of immature faith to a man of wisdom and mature faith.
The predominant theme of the book is issues surrounding the local church. The overall teaching is that the church as most Christians understand it is a human institution and one designed primarily to gain and to protect power. The Bible, according to the authors, does not teach that Christians should be part of any kind of institutional church. This is not to say that we should leave mega-churches to join smaller house churches; rather, we should abandon this kind of church model altogether. While the authors do not clearly or precisely share what Christians should or can do in its place, it seems that it would look something like this: “Instead of trying to build a house church, learn to love one another and share one another’s journey. Who is he asking you to walk alongside right now and how can you encourage them? I love it when brothers and sisters choose to be intentional in sharing God’s life together in a particular season. So, yes, experiment with community together. You’ll learn a lot. Just avoid the desire to make it contrived, exclusive, or permanent. Relationships don’t work that way.”
The book’s appendix is a pamphlet written by Jacobsen which addresses his view of church life. Here he says, “Fellowship happens where people share the journey of knowing Jesus together. It consists of open, honest sharing, genuine concern about one another’s spiritual well being and encouragement for people to follow Jesus however he leads them.” By the book’s closing pages, Jake has left the church and now meets irregularly with an irregular group of people from his community. This is presented as being a form of authentic spirituality that is closer to the biblical model than that which is practiced by the vast majority of Christians today. It is the better alternative to church as most Christians know and experience it.
Beware that this book is fiction and you may not agree with all its conclusions if you belive that the organized church in America is not in trouble or in need of change.
[Dr. Albert Mohler]
“The entire Methodist family is much larger than the United Methodist Church, by a factor of seven or eight times,” said the Rev. William B. Lawrence, dean of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.
Among the millions who call themselves “Methodists” are members of the United Methodist Church, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the AME Zion Church, and independent Methodist churches in other nations, such as the Korean Methodist Church or the Methodist Church of Mexico.
The tent gets even bigger when you add denominations without “Methodist” in their names but with historical ties to Methodism and John Wesley, including the Wesleyan Church, Church of God, Churh of God of Prophecy and the Pentecostal Holiness Church.
“Most United Methodists may know about the AME or the AME Zion churches, but they don’t have any clue that denominations like the Church of the Nazarene or the Salvation Army are direct descendents of the Methodism movement,” said Dr. Doug Strong, a church historian and dean of the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. “The term ‘Wesleyan’ is much, much larger than the United Methodist Church.”
You can read more here...
Monday, August 25, 2008
If people see leadership acting in a self-serving, self-centered, dictatoral manner where qustions are not allowed, it is usually because it is in their short-term interest to do so, or they are covering up unethical behavior.
To promote ethical begaviour from the bottom to the top of an organization or movement, practice the following:
Don’t invite transgressions. Combining impossible goals with tantalizing rewards invites cheating, since there is likely to be no return for playing fairly and achieving. Avoid this bad mix of negative incentives.
Establish a culture of trust. There is a fine line between judicious oversight and spying. It is important to have good monitoring systems in place so that people act responsibly with the organization’s assets and recognize the proper management of those assets as a corporate value. Too loose oversight invites the wasting of assets, or worse. Under too strict oversight, people will fail to see stewardship as a privilege entrusted to them.
Underscore the how in addition to the what. What is fun is trying to figure out how to best satisfy people's true needs, knowing that if this is done properly, the “what” will follow. Concentrating solely on the “what” may not only encourage aberrant behaviors to meet objectives, but also result in self-defeating behaviors as well.
Model appropriate behaviors. Ultimately, the measure of anyone — and especially anyone called to lead — is in what he or she does. Remember: People are watching and how you conduct yourself in public will have immeasurable effects on others. Leading with kindness includes acting with integrity — consistently adhering to ethical standards of conduct and the organization’s core values.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Hilary of Tours diagnosed our pastoral busyness as irreligiosa sollicitudo pro Deo, a blasphemous anxiety to do God's work for him.
I (and most pastors, I believe) become busy for two reasons; both are ignoble.
I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself- and to all who will notice- that I am important ...
I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself. I let people who do not understand the work of pastor write the agenda for my day's work because I am too slipshod to write it myself ...
... we find ourselves frantically, at the last minute, trying to satisfy a half dozen different demands on our time, none of which is essential to our vocation, to stave off the disaster of disappointing someone.
But if I vainly crowd my day with conspicuous activity or let others fill my day with imperious demands, I don't have time to do my proper work, the work to which I have been called. How can I lead people into the quiet place beside still waters if I am in perpetual motion? How can I persuade a person to live by faith and not works if I have to juggle my schedule constantly to make everything fit into place?"
Thursday, August 21, 2008
According to the author, none of the usual reasons for planting a church is sufficient in itself: obedience to the Great Commission; conducting evangelism more effectively; communicating more relevantly; conducting research and development in new church styles; establishing bases to reach more people; reaching future generations; and impacting existing churches. The only real reason worth starting a church is to achieve transformation in the lives of people and communities. So the dreaming should start not with the church, but with the people outside the church.
Chapter 8 encourages us to start with the society, not the church, and to think like a community developer. We need to know what is going on in the society in the domains of economics, agriculture, education, medicine/science/technology, communication, arts/entertainment, governance/justice and family. Churches emerge when the gospel intersects these domains and people begin to follow Christ.
National evangelist Michael Willingham is continuing to receive more attention as his ministry reaches internationally. Evangelist Willingham is a revivalist of many years. He left a long and successful pastoral and translocal ministry to follow his passion for an evangelistic ministry that spans denominations, and now continents.
In late 2005 and early 2006 God began to deal with his heart with a Missionary/Evangelism call for the churches in America. He sincerely felt that God was desiring to send a revival of awakening, refreshing and encouragement to the church in America. He felt that God desired to use our gifts/calling to further this call to awakening.
In March of 2006 he resigned the church he was serving in Louisville, Kentucky and began this walk of faith. God has rewarded in many ways with wonderful outpourings of the Holy Spirit. People are being healed, both physically and emotionally; saved, delivered, encouraged and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Evangelist Willingham desires to be an instrument in the hand of God as He reaches out to the people of our world. He recently stated, "God is releasing His love, grace and mercy in some awesome ways and we want to share His Good News everywhere we go."
8013 Adams Run Road
Louisville, Kentucky 40228
Home Phone: 502-962-8964
Cell Phone: 502-797-1130
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I know that You sometimes allow pressures in my life to bring attention to an issue You want me to take care of too. I pray today, that You as my Loving Father will make known anything that stands in the way of fellowship between You and I. I want to turn from any wrongdoing, and "step up to the plate" to do the right thing, no matter how great or how simple it may seem.
I praise You for Who You are, for all You do, and for the fellowship we share through prayer.
In Jesus' name, amen.
Passion for Place - I hear from church planters all the time about how they just knew that they knew this was the place. You gotta love it where God plants you or you’ll be moving on soon.
Passion for Planting - Church Planting grows out of a Pastor’s heart and vision. It will not come from laypeople, it will not come from other staff members. It will come when a Pastor is so fired up for a people and a place that God won’t let him rest until he does all he can to reach the area where God has planted him.
- Truly believe in the power of the gospel to change lives.
- Recognize that not everyone is saved (including some people who have been members of your church for years).
- Hate sin. Explain repentance. Preach Christ.
- Don’t promise a better life. Promise a better eternity and the Holy Spirit to lead you through this life.
- Preach as if this is someone’s only chance to hear about Christ. It might be.
- Present the gospel in every message.
- Call for a decision.
- Trust that the Holy Spirit has already been at work in someone’s life.
- Believe people will be saved.
- Worship God when they are.
#1 - Get alone with God and let Him set you on fire.
John Wesley once said, “I just set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn.” We NEED that in our speakers today.
I’m afraid too many of us are dominated by the thought, “what is so and so going to think if I say this.” And we become WAY more obsessed with not offending people … and in doing so we are perfectly willing to offend Jesus.
Get ALONE with God and let Him absolutely put a message inside of you that absolutely burns your very soul … and you feel like you will explode if you don’t get what He’s put in you out of you!
One more thing before I move on … FIRE BURNS! If you preach what God has burned into your heart, God will use it to purify some … and burn others! You should never be so concerned with people’s comfort that you neglect God’s command.
#2 - Know That People Will Sometimes Misunderstand What You Say … And Even Get Angry!
It will not be intentional, but you will offend people. Someone will take just a small piece of what you say and blow it COMPLETELY out of context.
People will tell you AFTER you speak what you should and should not have said. Anyone can be an “arm chair quarterback” and “call the plays” from the comfort of their living room. But, once again, allow God to get you on fire, to put HIS WORDS in YOUR HEART, don’t feel like you need to throw out a disclaimer for every other statement.
#3 - Keep The “One Day” Principle In Mind.
Hebrews 13:17 is a verse that every pastor SHOULD memorize.
One day we will stand before God and be held accountable for how we lead and communicate.
Every message I prepare and deliver I have to say, “Would I be willing to stand in front of the Almighty right now with a clear conscience in regards to this message?”
You see, when we preach – HE is the ONE we are called to honor … not the deacons, church board or the largest giver!
One day we will stand in front of God … and if you are settled in your heart in regards to that – then step out and speak with confidence and conviction, knowing that you cannot always please God and man.
By the way … before I close let me say that I am FULLY CONVINCED that it is a great idea for pastors to bounce their messages off of a group of people for the purpose of clarity and getting new ideas and thoughts … but, they will not stand beside you one day when you go before God … it will be you and Him … so always make sure that you are doing what you do for His honor … HIS ALONE!
According to Pastor Warren, 95% of the seats were actually given away to Saddleback members. According to an email to the Saddleback congregation, Pastor Rick Warren explained it this way ... "The moment McCain and Obama were announced as this month's Civil Forum guests, we were overwhelmed with thousands of requests from partisans who wanted to fill our auditorium with their troops. To prevent them from taking all the seats we did two things: First, we reserved 95% of the 5000+ tickets as FREE to our Saddleback volunteers who faithfully serve our family. We then sold 5% - less than 250 seats - to other members and outsiders in order to defray the expenses of this (now) national event. I didn't want our tithes and offerings paying for this event ... "
Pastor Rick said that one untold story is that "We invited the principals of schools in the Santa Ana district to select some worthy students to attend for free in order to experience the American election system. 22 students and 2 chaperones had been awarded seats."
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Compensation packages, including benefits such as retirement, life insurance, health insurance and continuing education allowances, have increased to $81,113 per year for the average senior pastor. And pastors who hold a higher academic degree are paid up to $30,000 more per year than pastors without any post-secondary education.
The statistics come from the 2009 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, an annual analysis of compensation packages at churches across the country, and at a time when churches begin planning their budget for the next year. This year, 4,800 U.S. churches, representing about 11,000 employees, were surveyed between January and March by the Your Church Media Group at Christianity Today International.
According to the survey, churches that draw 101 to 300 people each week pay senior pastors $72,664 per year, including benefits. The pay increases to $88,502 for pastors at churches that average a weekly attendance of 301 to 500 people, and then to $102,623 when attendance averages 501 to 750 people.
Compensation also increased among executive and administrative pastors who now earn an average of about $60,777 at churches of 101 to 300 people and $76,671 at churches of 501 to 750 people.
Pastors who lead music, choir or worship earn an average of about $51,954 at the smaller churches and $64,781 at the bigger ones.
Senior pastors, full-time secretaries and administrative assistants in the New England states have higher compensation compared to those in other regions, the survey also found.
Compensation is highest in suburban churches with suburban senior pastors making an average of 50 percent more than their rural counterparts. The pay is lower with churches in metropolitan areas, small towns and then in rural communities, respectively.
Meanwhile, executive or administrative pastors, bookkeepers and accountants earn the most in the Pacific region and administrators fare best in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Pay also differed among denominations. Pastors leading in Presbyterian and Lutheran churches earn the most with over $100,000 in compensation while executive and administrative pastors make more on average with independent and nondenominational churches ($80,469) than any other denomination.
The 2009 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff provides a complete analysis of 13 church positions and includes breakdowns for part-time, full-time, church size, income budget, and geographical setting.
[By Audrey Barrick - Christian Post Reporter]
- Attend more than once a week (11%)
- Attend once a week (22%)
- Attend two to three times a month (14%)
- Attend once a month (5%)
- Attend occasionally, not on a regular basis (9%)
- Attend only on religious holidays (10%)
- Do not attend at all (29%)
The study also showed that if an adult attended worship services regularly at some point before the age of 18, there is a 55 percent chance that person is currently attending once a month or more. If the person never attended prior to age 18, there is only a 21 percent chance that individual is currently attending worship services on a regular basis.
On my way to the gym this morning, I was thinking about some of the "wounds" in my own soul -- and how my life has been influenced by these "things" or "scars" or whatever else one could call them. And sitting here today, I've been thinking about how most people have "wounds" in their lives ... and the real issue becomes not the "woundedness" but what one does once they are in "recovery."
Think about Michael Phelps.
This marvelous athlete didn't grow up in the "lap of luxury" from all indications. He grew up in a single parent home (which is better than a NO parent home), and was diagnosed early on with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Many folks thought he would be mediocre at best.
And he's ANYTHING but mediocre. He can now claim the title of being the BEST OLYMPIAN of all time! He has exhibited that attitude of humility, confidence, gratitude, and great poise ... all at the same time. And he's one INCREDIBLE swimmer on top of all that!
But we don't have to look to the field of "star athletes" to find "wounded" folks. I can start by simply looking in the mirror (which reminds me of another story, but then again MOST things remind me of a story). The "wounded" man I see in the mirror can overcome the worst obstacles that are placed in his path. But he must want to overcome them. Simply wishing it were so -- or even wishing it were different, accomplishes nothing. The Lord helps us overcome ... because HE has overcome death, hell, and the grave. We can overcome the "wounds" because He was WOUNDED for us.
Starting today, I plan to "overcome" all the wounds I find in my life.
Monday, August 18, 2008
There are many problems with this sort of pleasing behavior. One problem is that acquiescent behavior seems to invite others to take advantage of you. Some might perceive you as “weak.” Because “people pleasers” may be sending off a “vibe” that may be perceived by some as “weak” or easy to control, it is not uncommon to attract individuals who tend to be pushy, dominant or bossy. Did you ever notice that “people pleasers” often times find themselves in relationships paired with these types of individuals? “People pleasers” tend to attract people who will take advantage of them. It’s no coincidence.
The second problem with the yielding nature of “people pleasers” is that they adopt the ideas and opinions of others. This means that your thoughts and ideas are not your own; instead they are comprised of what everyone else wants and thinks. In this way, you are not living as authentically “you” but you risk becoming a compilation of others around you. It would be difficult to be truly happy living as somebody you are not.
Fundamentally, “people pleasers” may feel that they are inferior and that others around them are superior. This may be why they’re unwilling to be themselves around others or to show their true selves. Unfortunately, this means that “people pleasers” end up living an unsatisfactory life that includes regularly bending to the will of others, forsaking themselves of who they truly are in the process.
It is also possible that individuals engage in “people pleasing” behavior because it is easier for them to yield to others than to stand up for themselves. Being a “people pleaser” also means that it may not be necessary to form your own ideas, thoughts, opinions, and so forth. If you were assertive and had ideas of your own and you made them known to others, then you would have to deal with whatever consequences were associated with standing your ground. The risk is that there might be negative consequences associated with having an opinion (i.e. someone may disagree with you) and for the “people pleaser”, the thought of someone not liking them may be unbearable. Let me try to explain using a hypothetical situation.
For instance, if you wanted to go the museum but your friend wanted to go to the movies and you told her “for once, can we please do what I wanted to do,” she might get angry with you for not doing what she wanted (because she’s probably used to getting her way with you). If you stood up for yourself and insisted on the movies and this angered her, this would mean that you would have to deal with her becoming angry with you and perhaps you’re not sure how to handle that. As a way to resolve this, you decide “who cares, even though I do not want to go to another movie and we always do what she wants I can go the museum by myself another day” and you tell her, “hey, let’s go to the movies, I can go another day to the museum.” And when you give in, she’s no longer angry with you. In this situation, giving in to her was easier than saying no to her.
The reason why you decided to go to movies and not the museum in this hypothetical situation matters. If you gave into her because you did not want her to be angry with you and you did not want to seem “difficult” this would have been incorrect. The reason is because your motivation to give in to her would have been due to your fear of her disliking you or becoming upset with you. If you said yes to her idea about the movies because you truly wanted to go and the last several times that the two of you were out, you had done what you wanted and you thought it was only fair that you did what she wanted, then going to the movies over the museum would have been appropriate. Again, what matters here is why you would have decided the movies over the museum. If I were your therapist I would be discussing matters like this with you.
Ask yourself these questions: Should your opinion matter less than another person’s opinion? Is what you want to do less important than what someone else wants to do? Aren’t you tired of doing what everyone else wants to do or agreeing with what others say to be true? Where did you learn or when did you come to the conclusion that you are inferior to others?
It is important to recognize that if you have a strong desire to please others as a way to get them to like you, then you are engaging in this behavior at the expense of yourself. This is damaging to you and it is extremely unhealthy. You are not inferior to others; you are their equal. You need to find a way to see yourself as an equal and a person deserving of respect. If you have difficultly realizing these aspects of yourself, then it would be helpful to see a therapist about this matter and learn a more appropriate way to think about yourself and a different way of interacting with others.
[Kristina Randle, LCSW]
Salaries for teachers and auxiliary fees for schools are expected to be the two major issues to be discussed at the 44th annual conference of the Jamaica Teachers' Association's Annual Conference which gets under way in Ocho Rios, St Ann this morning.
Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association in the United States, will deliver the keynote address at the conference, which is being held under the theme, "Building a Learning Culture in Schools: Enabling Independent, Enthusiastic and Successful Learners".
During a function that starts at 8 o'clock tonight, Doran Dixon, president-elect of the JTA, will be proclaimed as president of the 22,000-member teachers' union. Barclay is to deliver her final address to delegates and observers.
But the church and Pastor David Tarkington politely declined and told Powell they will not accept the lottery winnings. Pastor David Tarkington would not say exactly why the church refused the money, saying only he "didn't want to talk about members' gifts."
What would you do? (Click "comments" below.)
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
The lawsuit by Pastor Otto Arango seeks damages for lost earnings and "past and future mental anguish." Arango's lawsuit also named the Baptist Standard, a Dallas-based newspaper that covers Texas Baptist life.
The Baptist group's executive director, Randel Everett, said the suit was "totally without merit," in Thursday's online edition of The Dallas Morning News.
Arango said he was defamed during an independent investigation requested by the state's largest Baptist group. The investigation sought to confirm whether three pastors actually started 258 new Rio Grande Valley churches, which received about $1.3 million from the denomination. Of those, the investigation concluded that only five to 10 churches exist.
The report cited lax oversight on the part of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. No charges were filed.
Arango's attorney said the Baptist organization spread rumors about the pastor that have made it hard for him to continue working with churches in Texas and across Latin America.
"Our position is those are false, malicious allegations that have hurt him in his trade, especially being a man of the cloth," attorney Carlos Hernandez said.
Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard, said he would not comment on the suit, based on advice from the newspaper's attorney.