Friday, January 30, 2009

Six Habits of Highly Defective People

They have a losing attitude: People generally get whatever they expect out of life. Expect the worst, and that’s what you’ll get.

They quit growing. People are what they are, and they are where they are because of what has gone into their minds.

They have no game plan for life. As William Feather, author of The Business of Life says, “There are two kinds of failures: Those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.”

They are unwilling to change. Some people would rather cling to what they have rather than embrace what might be better because they are afraid of getting something worse.

They fail in relationships with others. People who cannot get along with others will never get ahead in life.

They are not willing to pay the price for success. The road to success is uphill all the way. Anyone who wants to accomplish much must sacrifice much.

[From Success One Day At a Time, by John Maxwell - as posted on Eagle Flight: Reach ~ Restore ~ Relate by Pastor Milton Gordon]

Pastor Stacey Prewett Honored at Chamber Banquet

The Willow Springs (MO) Chamber of Commerce annual banquet was held Saturday evening at Frank D. Hicks’ multipurpose room at Willow Springs Elementary School.

Howell County Presiding Commissioner Larry Spence served as the emcee for the evening, and the invocation was given by Scott Williamson, pastor of Willow Springs First General Baptist Church.

Howell County News publisher Kim Wehmer was named the Adult Citizen of the Year, with the award presented by chamber of commerce board member Loretta Jones.

Business of the Year went to Stacey Prewett, owner Prewett’s Collision Repair, whose business location was damaged heavily by fire last year.

In the award presentation by First National Bank president and chamber board member Jon White, White said Prewett was in Branson at the time of the fire.

"Within a matter of days, he summoned help to relocate his business to the other end of town,” locating at a former Missouri Department of Transportation building near the north junction of U.S. Highway 60-63 and its business route.

In May 2008, repairs to his buildings were complete, and Prewett’s returned to its original location, on Main Street across from ALCO Discount Store and First National Bank.

White said Prewett is the pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy, and has suffered tremendous family loss – with five family funerals in recent months, including his father and grandfather. White said Prewett’s wife used three words to describe him – loving, compassionate and caring. “You can’t have one without all three,” said White.

The President’s Award and Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to former Bears’ coach Brent Colley, with the award presented by Larry Spence.

The 2009 chamber board will include Andrew Gilmore, Jon White, Derene Kissee, Mike Wake, Jackie Williamson, John Bailey, Phillip Chaffin, Loretta Jones, Mitch Harris and Vicki Sigman.

The Get Motivated Seminar Was Awesome

Pastor Robert Schuller


Zig Ziglar


Rudy Giuliani


Synergy was pleased to be a part of the Get Motivated seminar in Huntsville Wednesday. It was not only an inspiring experience, it was a new way to have church. The venue was packed.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 29, 2009

President Obama to Appoint a Pastor to the Faith-Based Office

President Barack Obama will reportedly name a religious outreach director to head the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

According to The New York Times, Obama has tapped Joshua DuBois, 26, the Pentecostal pastor who spearheaded arguably the most aggressive faith outreach for a Democratic presidential campaign in U.S. history when he served as Obama’s religious affairs director.

During the Obama campaign, DuBois helped organize meetings with some of the most prominent Christian leaders in the nation, including those with markedly different views on culture war issues.

Exit polls after the November election showed that Obama had made significant gains among religious voters compared to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

Prior to working for Obama, DuBois had studied political science at Boston University where he graduated cum laude. He then went to Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and National Affairs where he earned a master’s degree in public affairs in 2005.

He was studying law at Georgetown University when he left to work for Obama.

Religious leaders, who have been informed of DuBois’ selection, say that he will not only be directing the office created by former President George W. Bush, but be in charge of expanding it to help groups more effectively address social problems, according to The New York Times.

The religious leaders requested anonymity because the appointment has not yet been formally announced.

Under Obama, the office will be renamed the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and will continue to facilitate the distribution of grants to religious and community groups.

Among the most pressing issues that await DuBois when he assumes the position is the debate over whether faith-based organizations will be forced to hire people whose faith differs from theirs if they receive government money.

Bush had allowed religious groups that accepted funding to hire employees that share the same religion.

But Obama, during a campaign speech last year, said that if a group receives a federal grant then it “can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them – or against the people you hire – on the basis of their religion.”

It is unclear if Obama still plans to rescind Bush’s memorandum on the issue.

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) was created in 2001 by executive order to “level [the] playing field” for faith-based organizations seeking federal funding. It was also created to lead a “determined attack” on poverty, disease, and other social problems combining the strengths of the government and faith-based and other community organizations. Bush had called these organizations the “armies of compassion,” praising them for being able to work more effectively with the local communities and those in need than government programs alone.

As of 2008, the concept of FBCI has been replicated by 36 governors (19 Democrats, 17 Republicans). More than 100 mayors have also created an FBCI office or liaison.

[By Jennifer Riley - Christian Post Reporter]

Oral Roberts University Board Elects New President

Oral Roberts University has elected its next president, ending a 14-month search that began after the resignation of former president Richard Roberts amid allegations of misspending.

Yesterday, the ORU Board of Trustees and Board Chair Mart Green announced the election of Dr. Mark Rutland as the school’s next president following a board meeting that day on the school's campus in Tulsa, Okla.

“We are excited about the future under the leadership of Dr. Rutland,” stated Green. “He has been selected as the result of a careful process and we are confident that he will take the university to new heights while continuing to uphold the mission and vision of Oral Roberts University.”

It’s been over a year since Richard Roberts, ORU’s last president and the son of ORU founder Oral Roberts, resigned after he and his wife were accused of using university money for shopping sprees, home improvements and a stable of horses for their daughters at a time when ORU was more than $50 million in debt.

Three former ORU professors had filed suit early October 2007, claiming that they were forced out after uncovering financial and ethical wrongdoing by the school's former president and family. The suit was finally settled late October 2008 after a court-ordered mediation session, bringing to a close the scandal that engulfed the charismatic school.

Two months later, the committee behind ORU‘s search for a new president selected Rutland as a candidate to recommend to the school’s Board of Trustees. Rutland, who is serving as the president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., was among the more than 130 presidential prospects submitted for consideration by Bruce Dingman of Dingman Company, Inc., the executive search and selection firm that helped with the search process.

According to Southeastern, Rutland will remain Southeastern’s president until spring commencement on May 2 while Southeastern's Board of Regents will appoint a search committee to begin identifying presidential candidates. Rutland will assume the presidency at ORU in July 2009.

[from The Christian Post by Eric Young]

Today's Quote

"You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity." O. A. Battista

[from Eagle Flight: Reach ~ Restore ~ Relate by Pastor Milton Gordon]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Christian Leaders Denounce Approval of Overseas Abortion Funding

Christian leaders and pro-life activists strongly denounced President Barack Obama’s repeal of the U.S. policy banning the federal funding of international organizations that provide or promote abortions.

"President Barack Obama promised that he would govern from the center if elected President, but his signing of an Executive Order overturning the Mexico City policy shows that he is committed to spreading abortion around the world,” criticized Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition. “This is hardly governing from the center on the sanctity of human life,” she said.

Instituted by former President Ronald Reagan in 1984 at the U.N. International Conference on Population in Mexico City, the Mexico City policy requires that all international groups receiving U.S. funds agree to “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”

Since Reagan’s administration, the policy has been twice repealed, first by former President Bill Clinton and by Obama last Friday. The policy had been immediately reinstated when former President George W. Bush came into office in 2001.

Last week’s move by Obama drew fire from a number of conservative groups, including Family Research Council, the Susan B. Anthony List, Wisconsin Right for Life, Concerned Women for America, and Priests for Life.

“Thanks to his (President Obama’s) actions today, U.S. taxpayers will be forced to take part in exporting a culture of death,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, in a statement.

“We have a responsibility to respect the policies and traditions of the other countries, which have laws recognizing the right to life of the unborn, and it is an insult to fund organizations that are intent on overturning those laws by promoting an elite ideology of abortion on demand,” he added.

Despite the strong statements, most were not surprised by Obama’s rescinding of the Mexico City Policy, including Father Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International. "We are disgusted, but we are not surprised," he said. “President Obama knows that this is shameful, but he needs to placate those who got him into office,” Euteneuer added.
Obama was also criticized for signing the executive order one day after more than 200,000 pro-life activists filled the nation's capital in protest of Roe v. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

[from The Christian Post by Ethan Cole]

Today's Quote

"Nobody’s perfect, so everyone’s welcome, because anything’s possible."

Boeing Leadership Expectations

When Ginger Barnes spoke to employees at a leadership development program at the Boeing Leadership Center, she said, “Leadership is all about leaders teaching leaders and about relationships. We can execute the daylights out of anything, so ‘finds a way’ and ‘delivers results’ have always been strong traits. Where we need to improve is in the areas of ‘charts the course,’ ‘sets high expectations’ and ‘inspires others.’”

That is probably true just about anywhere you go. To strengthen the culture of leadership and accountability within the company, Boeing defined its expectations for leaders as:

A Boeing Leader:
- Charts the course
- Sets high expectations
- Inspires others
- Finds a way
- Lives the Boeing values
- Delivers results

[from Leading Blog: http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/by Michael McKinney]

Do you want to fail?

Here are 10 guaranteed ways you can fail as a leader. (Just like the character George Costanza from the show Seinfeld, read this list and then make sure to do exactly the opposite.)

1. Control. Remember exercise control, you are the team leader, what you says goes!

2. Don't affirm or praise. You don't want your team members to get soft, therefore it is important to motivate with fear and intimidation.

3. Delegate and then do it yourself. This will drive your team crazy, but at least you will be able to sleep well at night knowing that the work got done right.

4. Make sure the team members are there to make you look good. Because isn't that what building and working with a team is all about?

5. Take the credit and pass on the blame to others.

6. Fill your team with people less talented than you. You don't want people to outshine you. Besides, who are you really going to find more intelligent and with more experience than you?

7. Fill your team with people just like you. Could there be a more ideal team than one comprised of multiple versions of the same you?

8. Make sure you micro-manage people's work. Get in their business and second guess all their decisions. Don't give them the freedom to be creative or innovate.

9. Don't welcome honest feedback.

10. Make sure the team is just there to implement your own ideas. Don't let the team come up with any original ideas. You are the one where all ideas, especially the good ones, are to originate.

I have known leaders guilty of many of these mistakes without lossing their job. But, their days are numbered.

[from Ministry Best Practices by Bill Reichart]

Monday, January 26, 2009

103 Years Celebrated





I (along with Pastor Ron Martin and others) attended the 103rd anniversary of the first Assembly of the Church of God with A.J. Tomlinson moderating near Murphy, North Carolina. The commerative service today was attended by Dr. David Roebuck (Church of God), conducted by Paul Holt (Heritage Ministries, Church of God of Prophecy), with the address given by General Overseer Randall Howard (Church of God of Prophecy).
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reba Sues Dottie Rambo's Bus Driver

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The daughter of late gospel singer-songwriter Joyce "Dottie" Rambo, who was killed in a bus crash in May, has sued the driver of the bus and the company that leased it to the entertainer.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in circuit court in Nashville on behalf of Reba Rambo-McGuire. It asks for a jury trial and compensatory damages as determined by the jury, but in excess of $25,000.

The lawsuit names the bus driver, James Meadows; Nashville-based Pyramid Coach Inc., which the suit says was dissolved about a month after the accident; and DC Investments Leasing, a Vicksburg, Miss. - based subsidiary of Pyramid Coach.

No phone number was listed for DC Investments Leasing, and the number for Pyramid Coach Inc. was disconnected. Meadow's phone number wasn't immediately available.

Dottie Rambo died May 11 when the bus she was in ran off a road in southwest Missouri and struck an embankment. She was 74.

Seven other people were injured in the accident, which happened about 2:20 a.m. while Rambo was on her way to a Mother's Day performance in Texas.

The lawsuit contends that Meadows was speeding and negligent and that Pyramid/DC Investments Leasing are liable for his negligence.

Rambo was inducted to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007.

She has had more than 2,500 published songs, including gospel classics such as "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need" and the 1982 Gospel Music Association Song of the Year, "We Shall Behold Him." Her songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Crystal Gale and the Oak Ridge Boys.

[Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.]

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama's Nonbeliever Nod Unsettles Some

Not everyone was happy with President Barack Obama's nod to nonbelievers and non-Christians in his inaugural address. And some of the stiff criticism about Obama’s religious inclusiveness is coming from African-American Christians who maintain that no, all faiths were actually not created equal.

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness," the new president said. "We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth," he also said. Nothing too controversial, proclaiming that America's strength lies in its diversity.
But between those two statements, the new president got specific: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers."

By mentioning, for the first time in an inaugural address, the 16.1 percent of Americans who check "no"’ when asked about religion, Obama turned it into the most controversial line in his speech -- praised by The New York Times editorial board and cited by some Christians as evidence that he is a heretic, and in his well-spoken way, a serious threat.

With that one line, the president "seems to be trying to redefine American culture, which is distinctively Christian," said’ Bishop E.W. Jackson of the Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Va. "The overwhelming majority of Americans identify as Christians, and what disturbs me is that he seems to be trying to redefine who we are.’"

Earlier this week, Jackson was a guest on the popular conservative Christian radio show "Janet Parshall's America," where a succession of callers, many of whom identified themselves as African-American, said they shared the concern, and were perplexed and put off by the president’s shout-out to nonbelievers.

Parshall noted that atheists were celebrating the unexpected mention, and indeed they were: "In his inaugural address … President Barack Obama did what many before him should have done, rightly citing the great diversity of America as part of the nation's great strength, and including 'nonbelievers'’ in that mix,’" said Ed Buckner of American Atheists.

"His mother would have been proud," Buckner said, referring to the fact that Obama’s mother was not a church-goer. "And so are we."

Jackson said he and others have no problem acknowledging that "this country is one in which everybody has the freedom to think what they want." Yet Obama crossed the line, in his view, in suggesting that all faiths (and none) were different roads to the same destination: "He made similar remarks in the campaign, and said, 'We are no longer a Christian nation, if we ever were. We are a Jewish, Hindu and non-believing nation.'"

Not so, Jackson says: "Obviously, Jewish heritage is very much a part of Christianity; the Jewish Bible is part of our Bible. But Hindu, Muslim, and nonbelievers? I don't think so. We are not a Muslim nation or a nonbelieving nation."

With all the focus on Obama as the first African-American president, the succession of black callers to Janet Parshall's show was a reminder that the "community" is not a monolith, and that many socially conservative black Americans are at odds with Obama's views, particularly on abortion and gay rights. Nor do they all define civil rights in the same way.

The Rev. Cecil Blye, pastor of More Grace Ministries Church in Louisville, Ky., said the president's reference to nonbelievers also set off major alarm bells for him. "It's important to understand the heritage of our country, and it's a Judeo-Christian tradition," period.

[By MELINDA HENNENBERGER, AOL News]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Choosing Advisors Carefully

Every governmental leader, corporate leader, and church leader needs to be surrounded by good advisors.

In 1976, Stephen Hess wrote in Organizing the Presidency that in choosing Cabinet members, while the notion of a Cabinet “type” can be overdrawn, there are qualities that the President should look for in public executives. May I suggest that every pastor and church leader will benefit by using similar caution in selecting close advisors.

Persuasiveness. “This is necessary in large, hierarchical organizations where leaders have limited control over personnel and where the tug of inertia may be considerable.”

Personal stability. “This calls for a sturdy internal gyroscope, stamina, and the ability to work under pressure."

Broad-gauged intelligence. “…ability to conceptualize, to see the policy implications and consequences of their actions.”

Flexibility. “They must do so without losing site of the leader's ultimate goals.”

A sense of duty. “Unlike the President and members of Congress, they are not elected. This means, paradoxically, that they must have an even sharper sense of responsibility than an elected official.”

A thick skin. They “should be lightning rods for public unhappiness and, if they are doing their jobs properly, they will deflect from the leader as much criticism as possible.”

Patience and impatience. They must be able to “deal with endless procedures,” hearings and meetings and yet at the same time they “must prod their subordinates to do better and must use their impatience with the status quo as a constructive tool of management.”

These qualities might well be considered when looking for any team of advisors.

[by Michael McKinney]

Church Super Bowl Parties Now Legal

Can churches host Super Bowl parties and escape the wrath of the NFL?

In 2005, the National Football League (NFL) threatened churches with legal action for holding Super Bowl parties and charging admission. According to a Rutherford Institute press release, the League said churches who viewed Super Bowl broadcasts on big-screen televisions at church-sponsored gatherings was a copyright infringement.

However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently stated churches can now watch the Super Bowl live as long as they do not charge an attendance fee. John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute is thankful for the change.

"Well, churches can now have football parties and show the Super Bowl on a screen larger than 55 inches," he explains. "It's taken two years, basically, of the Rutherford Institute harassing them."

Whitehead notes the conditions. "As long as the viewings are free and they're on the premises of the church," he points out. "So it's legal now and you can do it. The NFL will not harass you."

However, as non-profit organizations, churches can accept donations to offset the cost of the event. "Well, you can ask for donations, in my opinion, for any event in a church," Whitehead concludes. "I wouldn't charge at the door, but sure you can ask for donations. It's a church, it's a non-profit organization, and that's just fine."

Whitehead believes the NFL's decision is a good public relations gesture to the church.

[OneNewsNow.com]

Research on the State of Church Planting in America

Leadership Network commissioned Lifeway Research to research the state of church planting in North America. The findings are encouraging, while pointing out we still have a long way to go.

The State of Church Planting in North America is a four-part report:
- Church Planting Overview,
- Who Starts New Churches,
- Improving the Health and Survivability of New Churches, and
- Funding New Churches.

You can download the study in its entirety here via the American Society of Church Growth Journal.

You can also download a podcast related to the study.

[by Patrick]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

True Forgiveness

As a pastor, I am often asked about forgiveness - how it is accomplished, when is it required, what does it look like, what does it feel like, how does it act, etc.

Let’s start with what forgiveness is not:

- Forgiveness is not forgetting. Generally, our attempts to forget amount to denial. Whatever the offense was: betrayal of a trusted friend; abandonment of a parent or spouse; abuse from a relative; embezzlement of funds – whatever the offence, it did happen. It was damaging. It hurt. It is forever a memory. It will not be forgotten. God has the ability to forget. Generally, we do not have that same ability.

- Forgiveness does not always lead to reconciliation. Often our offender has already died. Sometimes they don’t want to reconcile. In many cases the offender claims a desire to reconcile, but isn’t willing to honestly own their responsibility, allowing for authentic reconciliation and relationship. A genuine relationship must be built on truth between two people. It simply takes two to reconcile.

- Forgiveness is not a one-time event. There’s simply not a blanket approach to forgiving someone. Because we remember, because there are triggers that take us back to the offense, forgiveness is cyclical. Actually, as I’m typing this very point, I’m remembering an offense that made me so angry. And, I have a choice. I can allow myself to relive it, mull over it, justify my anger and their stupidity … or I can choose to forgive, again.

Forgiveness says, “I will not hold you responsible for my choices in dealing with the pain. I will not allow you and the hurt you caused to control my life. I choose to not be held hostage to anger, bitterness, and vengeful thoughts.”

Forgiveness opens a door to new levels of relational connection with God – who demonstrates His grace and forgiveness through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.

(Recommended resource: Getting Rid of the Gorilla: Confessions on the Struggle to Forgive).

[by Mark Waltz]

Our world is changing. Did you know ...

Yesterday's Inaugural Prayer

Almighty God, our Father:

Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of You alone. It all comes from You, it all belongs to Y0u, it all exists for Your glory. History is Your story.

The Scripture tells us, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one." And You are the compassionate and merciful One. And You are loving to everyone You have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans -- united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget You -- forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone -- forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve -- forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes — even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day, all nations -- and all people -- will stand accountable before You.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into Your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life — Yeshua, 'Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus — who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

[Pastor Rick Warren]

Day 21 of a 21-Day Fast

Congratulations! Our 21-Day Fast will soon be over. For me, it has been a spiritual journey. I have learned more about myself, more about God, and more about my relationship with God.

Please do not come off your Fast too suddenly. If you end your Fast, begin tomorrow eating gradually the things you have been fasting.

If you have been on the Daniel Fast, you might consider continuing to live a healthy lifestyle. There is the issue of Health Stewardship.

Thank you for the dedication and sacrifice to join me in this Fast.

Today's Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for this 21-day journey. As I continue to listen to Your voice, help me to continue adjust my life to you. I pray for wisdom and boldness to do what is right. Show me the way, whether I need to change, make new friends, break bad habits, or whatever the case. Make me aware of how I need to change and adjust, so that I will be pleasing to you and will receive the blessings you have in store for me.

May you be glorified in all I do.

With thanksgiving and praise, amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20 of a 21-Day Fast

His Will, Not Yours

"'And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)

On your twentieth day of fasting, remember:
- Continue to speak regularly with an accountability partner from your group – you will need this more than ever these last two days
- Continue to drink water
- Pray for guidance and strength
- Worship God through music and praise
- Document your thoughts in your prayer journal

Physical Effects:
- Weight loss continues
- You become mentally aware of the Lord’s presence all around you
- Cravings are still apparent, but you’ve lasted this long!

Today’s Quote: “The proof that we haave the vision is that we are reaching out for more than we have grasped. Our reach must exceed our grasp. If we have only what we have experienced, we have nothing; if we have the inspiration of the vision of God, we have more than we can experience. Beware of the danger of relazation spiritually.” (Oswald Chambers - My Utmost for His Highest)

Thoughts for your Journal:
- Take some time today and go back to read your journal entries from the start of the fast to this 20th day.
- What do your journal entries tell you about your own personal journey these last three weeks?
- Take a moment and journal about the breakthroughs you have experienced or key things the Lord has shown you during the fast. Spend time in prayer and thanksgiving.

Today's Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for always being with me.

Please help me, and remind me, not to react to situations in a fleshly manner. When I am faced with vicious gossip or wrongdoing against me or something I strongly disagree with, please help me to remain silent when I should and to speak with calm wisdom when called for, but to never lose my temper or just "react."

I want to act like a Christian should act regardless of what others might choose to do. I want to be a testimony for my Lord and Savior. I want to remain faithful in whatever circumstance. May You be glorified.

Thank You so much for Your guidance, patience, and love.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19 of a 21-Day Fast

Rewarded Openly

“Now, therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is mine.” (Exodus 19:5)

On your nineteenth day of fasting, remember:
- Continue to speak regularly with an accountability partner from your group – you will need this more than ever these last few days
- Continue to drink water
- Pray for guidance and strength
- Worship God through music and praise
- Document your thoughts in your prayer journal

Physical Effects:
- Weight loss continues
- You become mentally aware of the Lord’s presence all around you
- Cravings are still apparent, but you’ve lasted this long!

Today’s Quote: “Purpose today to make fasting a regular part of your Christian walk and to watch as the Lord reveals himself to you in wonderful and miraculous ways.” (Jentezen Franklin)

Thoughts for your Journal:
- Consider what you would be willing to share with others today, and how you will articulate your experience and what it has meant to you in terms of your relationship with God.

Today's Prayer

"And the heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork."

Dear God, I praise you, Creator of the universe, father of mankind, sustainer of all. May you be glorified through your creation and through my life.

Please minister through me to the people around me. Help me to be a witness to the truth of your Word and your work.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Millions of Christians Pray to Become One

[By Anne Thomas - Christian Today]

Millions of Christians worldwide will unite over the next eight days in praying for reconciliation within the broken body of Christ.

The resources and guides for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been developed by representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea. The production of the material is being supported jointly by the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission and the Roman Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Reflecting the division of their own nation into north and south, the Korean team has based this year’s prayer material on the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel that depicts two pieces of wood, symbolizing the two kingdoms into which Israel had been divided.

The prayer for the week draws specifically from Ezekiel 37.15 – 28 when God spoke to Ezekiel and said "they shall be one in my hand...They will be my people and I shall be their God."

The annual week of prayer is a highlight of the ecumenical calendar and is traditionally celebrated between January 18 and 25 in the northern hemisphere or at Pentecost in the southern hemisphere.

Among the ecumenical events taking place during the week is a service marking the retirement of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor as one of the four presidents of the ecumenical body Churches Together in England.

The service on Thursday will be attended by co-presidents Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Commissioner Elizabeth Matear, Free Churches Moderator, and Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Great Britain. The sermon will be delivered by Williams.

The prayer for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity states:

We pray to you for the unity of all Christians, According to your will. According to your means. May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division. To see our sin and to hope beyond all hope.God, you alone are our hope.
You alone are our hope.

Day 18 of a 21-Day Fast

God Is Your Rock

God doesn’t want you to worry. He wants to be in control of your life and guide you through your daily challenges. As you are fasting, and giving God your body, give Him your spirit, too.

On your eighteenth day of fasting, remember:
- Lean on your group and your partner for support
- Keep water and juice with you
- Use your prayer time and prayer place
- Worship and find strength with music
- Journal your experience
- Meditate on what this experience means to you
- Keep sugar free mints or gum on hand

Physical Effects:
- Continued weight loss
- Bad breath is apparent
- Your awareness of God’s power is heightened
- Cravings are evident, but avoid temptation

Today’s Quote: “This frightening hour calls aloud for men with the gift of prophetic insight. I am talking about His coming and possessing the full body and mind and life and heart, taking the whole personality over, gently but directly and bluntly, making it His, so that we may become a habitation of God through the Spirit.” (A.W. Tozer -- Gems from Tozer)

Thoughts for your Journal:
- Examine any areas of un-forgiveness and bitterness that the Lord is asking you to surrender to Him.

Today's Prayer

Dear God,

I praise you and thank you for who you are.

Please guide me and help me when I face conflict and disagreement with others. Help me to follow biblical principles. Sometimes I'm just "hard-headed" and do not want to give in to compromise, even when either view, decision, desire is biblical. Help me to carefully consider the other person's perspective and situation.

And if someone has wronged me, give me courage to confront them in a spirit of love and reconciliation. If they will not hear me, show me who should go with me to talk with the person. When necessary, help me to continue on and take steps based on Your Word. I want to do what is right, and as much as possible, to live peaceably with all people.

Please forgive me where I have failed, and give me the grace and wisdom to do better; to do what is right.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

U.S. Military Bows to ACLU Demands

Americans entering the military often receive Bibles, courtesy of the Gideons International. But the Gideons have been told that while they can leave complimentary Bibles at most military induction stations, they cannot stay there to proselytize or preach to the recruits.

Daniel Trew, public information officer for the Military Entrance Processing Command, says the policy was recently established after concerns were raised by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Our legal person went with a representative from the ACLU to one of our stations, and we actually found where the Gideons' individual at that station was getting up and talking to applicants who had just enlisted," he explains. "We could not allow that to go on because the applicants could perceive that this talk was given under the auspices of the Department of Defense." Trew says the Gideons have agreed to abide by the policy.

[Associated Press]

Pastor, I Am Praying For You

I bleed for pastors, and I pray for pastors all the time. I understand the frustrations, share your hurt, and rejoice in your victories.

Praying for other co-laborers in ministry is far more important than many of the things I do, because your ministry of pastoring - the calling to care for a local Body of Christ - is the greatest responsibility one can be given on earth. If you understand what life, the Cross, the Church, and the future are all about, you know that nothing else compares in significance. Period.

Today, our culture idolizes entertainment, sports, business success, political power, and prosperity. While these have their place, Jesus did not die for any of these things. He died for the people that you care for, feed, and lead.

Nothing matters more than the Church. We forget that the reason God created the entire universe is because he wanted a family, and that family is the only thing that will last forever with Him. Everything else on this planet is temporary, no matter how much attention it gets.

Never give up! Love God, and everyone else! Fear nothing on earth. Overcome evil with good!

Stand up. Stand with other pastors. Stand side by side. No one understands like pastors. Be strong. Stand for right. God is on your side.

[Rick Warren & Don Brock]

Fish Bowl Mentality?

Few people will deny the theory that a local church stops growing as the size of the church building reaches 80% capacity. The reason for this is purely human and not so spiritual. Most people simply will not tolerate feeling crowded in the pews. Using chairs instead of pews helps this problem somewhat, but eventually the congregants feel like their space is being invaded and soon become uncomfortable.

However, this is not the biggest reason for a churches lack of growth or the reaching of certain size and then growth stopping.
We use the analogy that a fish will only grow to a certain size in a small fish bowl but in a larger pond for instance, the fish can grow much larger. I'm not so sure however that God's church should so easily be compared to a fish. I suggest that the building is not necessarily the problem in most cases. In fact, we have all seen churches who were literally bursting out at the seams. In many parts of the world today, revival is happening at an unprecedented rate. Pews are packed and chairs are in the aisles. Some churches are utilizing 2-3 services per day to accommodate the crowds.

While it is true that most people don't like to be in a crowded atmosphere, it is also true that people will come when they are being fed. Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me Peter?" Peter responded in the affirmative and when he did, our Lord told him to "Feed my sheep." He did not tell Peter to house them or get them plenty of exercise. He told him to "Feed Them".

People who are starving in the natural will walk for days to get even the smallest amount of food or water. Something within them drives them on as they struggle to find something to fill their belly. It is very sad that much of our world's population goes to bed hungry and starving every day.

We are also living in a day when people are starving spiritually. People are eating almost anything that comes along spiritually speaking. Truth is often ignored in the famished rush to simply fill the starving spiritual belly. People don't care what you are preaching, just so it answers some of the gnawing that is in their heart and soul. An alcoholic will receive the five (or is it six) step program and ignore the friend who is telling him about the delivering power of the Holy Ghost. Why is that? He's hungry. He wants what ever is going to fill his spiritual belly right now. Mentally he makes the decision to do what is simplest and easiest to fix his spiritual problem. That couple in the divorce court often doesn't care if you say God is 3 or God is 1. They are looking for the thing that is going to keep their family together.

What's the greatest church growth program you could have this year? Feed His sheep. People won't mind sitting closer to one another when your ministry is holding their family together. When the Holy Spirit is the element that is behind every song and every sermon, people will crowd in to see and hear what is going on.

Professionalism and perfection is not what feeds people. Choirs singing on key will impress some people but if you want to feed the hungry soul, get anointed. Now don't get so anointed that you have a Holy Ghost break down every time you get up to speak or sing, but allow the Holy Spirit to operate through your person and your emotions.

Preach not to impress. Preach to feed. Sing not to delight the audience. Sing to heal the wounded soul. When church leaders get together early this year to put the church calendar together, the question should be asked of every event planned, "Is this really feeding people?" or are we doing this out of tradition?

One of the reasons Small Group and Care Group ministries thrive in many churches is because they are all about feeding the individual. In the larger setting of the church the individual's needs often go unmet. Yet in the smaller setting, their needs are often paramount to the concern of the small group. In this setting the individual is often fed much more than in the congregational setting. This causes the congregation to grow as the congregation is made up of individuals.

Which churches will grow and prosper in this new year? Is it the churches with the largest or most beautiful buildings? Is it the churches with the most talent and charisma? Not in this generation. This generation is longing for the thing that will fill their hungry soul. They are willing to buy into whatever will keep their kids from overdosing or committing suicide. They're looking for the church that can show them the God who truly loves them in spite of their shortcomings and mistakes. They're hungry. Feed them!

[By James Smith]

Day 17 of a 21-Day Fast

The Lord is so good. I am so proud of all of you who are participating in this fast. The Lord loves His people. The Lord loves you.

Let me share briefly about a way God manifests His love in our lives that we often overlook. In the book of Hebrews we read, "My son, do not despise the chastening (disciplining) of the Lord, nor be discourage when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." (Hebrews 12:5-6)

"Now no chastening (discipline) seems to be joyful for the present, but rather feels painful. Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11).

When God disciplines us, it is a manifestation of His love for us. In fact, if we are never disciplined by God then we are not His son. (See Hebrews 12:8) We must learn to see discipline in a positive light rather than a negative one. Discipline comes because God is training us to walk in our potential, in Christ. Discipline also comes for God to mature us so that we are able to handle His blessings correctly.

Some of you in the fasting community are asking and believing God for some awesome things. There are many of you who need to be trained and developed in order to be able to handle the blessing God wants to give you. If someone receives a brand new car but has never been trained how to drive it, then they are unable to actually enjoy the blessing. If they do drive it on the road before they are trained, great tragedy might take place in their life.

Some of you are standing in faith and believing God for such great things that He has to train and prepare you for before he can bless you with them. This discipline or training is a manifestation of the love of God in your life. He loves you so much that He is preparing you for the great things that He has for you.

During this time of fasting, when God deals with us like this, we must not be discouraged but rather understand that it is a necessary process in order for the "peaceable fruit of righteousness" to be reaped in your life.

- When it seems so painful "– HOLD ON!!
- When it hurts "– INVISION THE END RESULT!!!!!

Jesus endured the cross because of the "joy that was set before Him." (Hebrews 12:2) He can help you endure also!

Three principles that you need to have active in your life during this time of fasting are;
- confession,
- repentance, and
- faith.

These are elementary principles for Christians. (See Hebrews 6:12) All three of these principles were involved when we received Christ as our Lord and Savior and are to have a continual place in our walk with Him. Confession is simply acknowledging the truth before God. When we confess our sin before God, we are acknowledging that what we did was wrong. Confession is like the opposite of justifying what we have done. We are acknowledging it was wrong and that it was sin. Many people forget that repentance is a step further than just confessing and acknowledging what we did wrong. Repentance is the willingness, in our mind, to forsake sin and have godly sorrow for our sin. We don't want to live or act in a manner that displeases God, again. We are willing to give it up! We are willing to turn from it! Lastly, faith is placing trust and confidence in Christ that He will do what only He can do. Faith is looking toward Christ and His promises and that He will forgive us! He will cleanse us! He will deliver us! He will save us! He will set us free! He will live through us! He will be our victory over whatever we may face! He will change us! He will keep us from sin! He will protect us!

Let this process be in your life during the fast. Acknowledge that when God disciplines you that it is ultimately for your own good and that it is a manifestation of His love for you! Be encouraged! Be encouraged! Be encouraged! One day soon, you will be eating the peaceable fruit of righteousness that this discipline brings! Share some stories on the blog of what kind of blessings came into your life after you allowed God to discipline you! Encourage others during this time. Remember when you were in that same place. Comfort them with the comfort you now have!

Continue to run to Him!

[by Pastor Chad Craig]

Today's Prayer

God,

When I remember the story of Joseph's life, I realize how you want so much more for me than I could ever dream of. I also see how you can turn what man means for evil into what you mean for good.

Please bring this to my mind whenever I'm feeling doubt and confusion; whenever I'm feeling oppressed and alone; whenever I'm feeling unjustly treated; whenever I think that I don't have something I need. I know that you are in control. I pray that I will always allow you to do your work and that I will not interfere in your plans for me. Please give me strength and fill me with your desires for me.

Thank you, loving Father.

In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Miracle on the Hudson

Posted by Picasa

Pastor's Kid (PK) Syndrome

Ministry can be very hard on pastor’s children:
- Your kids will hear you criticized.
- Your kids will watch you hurt.
- Your kids may see you wrongly strike back.
- Your kids might see your hypocrisy up close.
- Your kids might reject the church because you’re always there.
- Your kids may enjoy the extra attention when they are young and despise it when they mature.

No matter how healthy your church is, a pastor’s kid will likely feel a different sort of pressure. Here are a few things we do to help our kids grow up in the fishbowl:
- Put the kids’ activities ahead of the church calendar.
- Rarely work evenings. The evenings should be family time. Try not to compromise your day off with church needs.
- Don’t talk about your kids in a sermon without their permission.
- Try not to talk negatively about the church.
- Give the kids a break from church. Every now and then, let them stay home or do something else so going to church doesn’t become a legalistic chore.
- Live your private life with personal devotion to Christ. Pray and talk about spiritual things with our children regularly.

What would you add? (Click "comments" below.)

[from LifeChurch.tv : swerve by Craig Groeschel]

ORU Proposes New President

The committee behind Oral Roberts University‘s search for a new president has selected a candidate to recommend to the institution’s Board of Trustees.

Dr. Mark Rutland, the candidate being considered for the top post at the university, is currently the president of Southeastern University in Florida and will attend board meetings the last week of January, according to an announcement Wednesday by ORU.

Southeastern University, which has been under the guidance of Rutland for ten years, also made an announcement Wednesday of the new position “God is leading him (Rutland) to.”

"Southeastern University has experienced unprecedented growth over the past ten years with Dr. Rutland as the catalyst," said Southeastern University Chairman of the Board Charles Kelly in a statement. "We will be forever indebted to Dr. Rutland and appreciate all he has accomplished for the university far more than words can express. He will be greatly missed. However, the call of God is leading him to ORU, and we trust the same God to bring us the leader that will take Southeastern into the future."

For more than a year now, ORU has been looking for a new leader following the resignation of Richard Roberts, who served as president for over 14 years.

In October 2007, Roberts, the son of ORU founder Oral Roberts, and his wife were accused of using university money for shopping sprees, home improvements and a stable of horses for their daughters at a time when ORU was more than $50 million in debt. Both Roberts repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and Mr. Roberts said the lawsuit filed by three former ORU professors amounted to “intimidation, blackmail and extortion.”

The lawsuit, which claimed the professors were forced out after uncovering financial and ethical wrongdoing by the school's former president and family, was finally settled late last October after a court-ordered mediation session.

The school's interim president, Ralph Fagin, said the school was pleased to have the matter behind it.

As for the next leader, the ORU Presidential Search Committee said it was looking for a man or woman who has had a "significant leadership position in a fairly large, complex organization" and who is a good speaker, "devoted Christian," planner, visionary, team-builder and good fundraiser, among many more qualifications.

The job description also calls for a president who would serve as a role model, "living a Spirit-filled life, practicing the prayer language."

Though ORU has in recent years attempted to rebrand itself as an interdenominational Christian liberal arts university, the spiritual practice of speaking in tongues is common and encouraged at the self-described charismatic university that is alma mater to respected Christian leaders including Ron Luce and Don Moen as well as embattled ministers such as Kenneth Copeland and Ted Haggard.

In the past, ORU has been criticized for endorsing unorthodox doctrines of faith, including the “Word of Faith” doctrine, which critics say has been used for self promotion and justification of economic materialism.

[By Eric Young - Christian Post Reporter]

Sexual Misconduct Church Policy

Protect your church or ministry from sexual misconduct by implementing a solid policy protecting both the children who attend your church as well as the staff.

While some may consider a formal policy overkill or puritanical, we know that even the hint or accusation of sexual misconduct can ruin a church’s reputation and ability to minister in a community.

A free website called "Protect My Ministry" offers some great free resources including a sample sexual misconduct policy.

They also provide background checks for staff and volunteers.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

For a free sample Sexual Misconduct Policy in PDF, request one by writing us at DGBrock@aol.com.

[from Planting Space by Patrick]

Pathway Bookstore Closes

Cleveland, TN - For the last several years Pathway Bookstore has served the Cleveland and Bradley County community at its current location. Pathway Press has struggled with the economic issues that affect everyone at this time. Due to the uncertainty of the economy, and after much deliberation, the leadership of Pathway Press, its Board of Directors and leadership of Church of God have made the difficult decision to close Pathway Bookstore, effective immediately.

Current plans are to sell the existing bookstore property on 25th Street. Decisions regarding possible reopening of the bookstore at another location are under consideration, but as of this date no firm plans are in place. We will continue to be available to serve the community via the internet at www.pathwaybookstore.com. If you hold a gift card or have layaways, they will be honored through the internet or at Pathway Press, located at 1080 Montgomery Avenue, Cleveland, TN 37311 (423) 479-9601. Pathway Press has enjoyed the opportunity of serving the city of Cleveland and Bradley County, and appreciates the support of everyone in our area.

[COG Press Release]

Day 16 of a 21-Day Fast

Day by day we are getting closer to the end of our fasting journey. Be encouraged that you serve the God "Who Sees."

Worshiping and fellowshipping with believers in your local congregation is so important during this time of fasting. As we gather to lift up the name of Jesus and listen to the preaching of the word of God, our inner man is strengthened.

For many of you this has been your first experience seeking God through fasting. It is time to grow in your walk with God by making fasting, prayer, and giving apart of your lifestyle this year. As Matthew chapter six states, these disciplines of fasting, prayer, and giving are to be in the life of followers of Christ. Allow what you have learned, and put in practice during the first 3 weeks of 2009, become a part of your walk with Christ throughout this year. This entire year, continue to put God first and then stand back and see His provisions flood your life.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 states, "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." God promised to lead the nation of Israel into the promise land; to a land of abundance, blessed by God Himself. However, on the way to the place of abundance God led them into the wilderness to humble them and to see what was in their heart.

I'm sure each of you who have made a choice to humble yourself through fasting during this season, has seen that your heart has become much more sensitive to the ways and will of God for your life. Also, you've become aware of any areas of disobedience that have been in our life. We have each been brought to a place where, through our hunger, we have learned and acknowledged daily that we truly cannot live by bread alone; we deeply need "every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord" Many of you may wonder, "When will my breakthrough come?" I tell you that just as God prepared the nation of Israel, He has been preparing you. Fear not, God has a place of abundant living in your future. God desires for you to experience His kingdom in your life! "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Rejoice during this time of preparation! God has great things in store for you this year as you walk with Him!

Continue to press on! Humility is the necessary position in order to receive great blessings. Continue to share with each other how you are believing God to be "Lord" in every area of your life!

[by Pastor Chad Craig]

Today's Prayer

Dear God,

Your Word me to cast my cares upon you. Oh how I want to do that, to bring all my cares to you and leave them at your feet. I do not want to be a worrier, but one whose faith is strong to trust you. I want to bring those burdens and concerns to you, and not keep picking them up and worrying about them.

Through this 21 days of prayer and fasting, may this year be one of spiritual breakthrough in my life and in the lives of those I love. May our lives be filled with joy and peace through your Spirit. May you be the center and the heart of our homes. May we be more Christlike and less like the world in our everyday lives.

Help us and have mercy upon us, dear God. Please guide our steps.

In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Denominational Loyalty

A new study released this week by Ellison Research has found that, among people who attend church once a month or more, only 30 percent are completely loyal to the denomination they are currently attending (meaning they would only consider attending church within that specific denomination). Another 44 percent prefer their current denomination, but would be willing to consider others.

Eleven percent have a small number of denominations they would consider, with no particular favorite among them. Six percent don't have any particular denomination they prefer, but they do have certain ones that they would not attend. Finally, nine percent say that denomination does not factor into their decision of what church to attend.

There are relatively few demographic differences within the findings. Denominational loyalty does not vary significantly by gender, household income, age or type of community (rural/small town, suburban or urban). It does, however, vary by race/ethnicity and by region of the country.

The survey sample included those who regularly attend worship services at a church broadly considered to be within the Christian tradition. The survey also asked Americans about their loyalty to specific brands of products, services, stores, automobiles, hotels, pain relievers and airlines to see if there were any correlations in the loyalty shown to these and the loyalty shown to denominations. To see these and other additional results, visit the Ellison research ... CLICK HERE.

Day 15 of a 21-Day Fast

Praise God! We have reached day 15 of this 21 day journey. Be encouraged! You are on your final week. You have completed two out of the three weeks. Don't let up this final week, but rather set aside as much time as possible to spend with the Lord.

Regardless of what you are believing God for, you can have confidence that God is moving on your behalf. During this time of fasting and prayer, find within the scriptures God's promises concerning your need. The word of God provides us with a secure foundation for our requests by informing us of God's will.

As you get into the word of God and find His promises regarding your situation, any remaining hindrances to your faith can be erased. I am reminded of the story of the leper. This man who had leprosy approached Jesus, who is the Living Word, to find out God's provision for his dilemma. "Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, 'if you are willing, you can make me clean.' Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed." (Mark 1:40-42).

This leper through approaching Jesus, the Living Word of God, found out God's provision for his need. Jesus informed the man that He was willing and then healed him. Some of you need to reach that level of confidence concerning your situation. You need to know that God is willing. So do what the leper did and go to the word of God. Spend time in the written word of God and find out what God says concerning your need. Time spent in the Word will give you great confidence that God can and will move on behalf of your prayers and requests. "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5: 14-15).

Let the word of God be your confidence. Ask according to what you find in the Word. You will then have assurance that God will hear and if God hears, know that He is moving on your behalf. Also know that in His timing you will receive what you ask of Him. That is a reason for a shout! Come on and praise Him! Let confidence be yours today and in the days to come! Share on the blog the promises you have found that speak to your needs!

[by Pastor Chad Craig]

Today's Prayer

Dear God, Today I want to ask for Your protection and blessing upon Christian leaders around the world. Please give wisdom and guidance, and surround them with guardian angels.

I pray for pastors, missionaries, and other church leaders; for Christian heads of governments; for teachers and parents; for social and relief workers; for every kind of leader that is out there doing Your work, Your will, Your ministry. I lift them up to You, for their tasks are difficult. Block Satan's attempts to harm them or sidetrack them. Help them stay focused on the tasks and the missions to which You have called them.

Thank you, Lord.

In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just how much is a trillion dollars?

What's a trillion dollars?

A trillion dollars = $1,000,000,000,000.

That's 12 zeroes to the left of the decimal point. A trillion is a million million dollars.

The U.S. government spends more than the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Australia, China and Spain combined. If you laid one dollar bills end to end, you could make a chain that stretches from earth to the moon and back again 200 times before you ran out of dollar bills! One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, 14 years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills.

What is frightening is that government will continue to grow in America unless citizens prevent it. If government stays on the course it's been on for the past forty years without a radical change, the federal government will have a $10 TRILLION BUDGET by the year 2010.

Foolish politicians make pronouncements about the strength of the economy. The total debt obligation of the United States now exceeds 46 TRILLION DOLLARS.

American workers now net almost 30 percent less in real wages than they did in 1973. After taxes, two paychecks in a family barely equal the purchasing power one had thirty years ago.

The population of the U.S. is 303,824,640 (2008). Of that population, 16.5% are gainfully employed in civilian employment = 50,131,065. If we gave each gainfully employed person a million dollars, it would cost us $50,131,065,600,000. That's $50 trillion. Our national debt of $46 trillion is almost there.

If you had started spending one million dollars per day when Jesus was born, and continued every day until now, you are still short of one trillion dollars.

Now, some are talking about a $2 trillion stimulus package. If we just gave the $2 trillion to the working Americans, each would receive approximately $40,000. That would fix most mortgages, and maybe even allow most families to trade cars as well. Everybody gets fixed.

That isn't going to happen. Which raises the question, where will most of the $2 trillion end up?

How Do You Treat People?

I try to treat everyone I meet like a V.I.P. I don’t always do it perfectly, but it really is my intention. It’s part of a commitment I made to God to avoid showing favoritism in accordance with James 2:1.

And maybe part of my reason for doing it is knowing what it feels like to be on the receiving end of an encounter with a person who doesn’t think you’re very important. I have a lot of memories of talking to people at, say, church growth conferences, and the whole time I was trying to get to know them their eyes were darting everywhere looking for someone more important to interact with. I found that demeaning, and I never want anyone to experience that because of me.

How much value could you add to the people in your life if you starting trying to treat each of them like the most important person in the world as you interacted with them?

[from "Pastor Steven Furtick" by Steven Furtick]