Friday, September 25, 2009

Student-Led Prayer Movement Marks 20th Year

Continuing on the prayer tradition that began 19 years ago with a small student-led group in Texas, hundreds of thousands of students around the nation gathered at the flagpoles of their local schools Wednesday morning to pray for a spiritual awakening across campuses and countries.

While most of the local “See You At The Pole” rallies drew just a few dozen students, some drew many more, such as the one held Tuesday evening at Liberty University, where nearly 3,000 students gathered.

In total, around two million students in all 50 states participate in the prayer rally each year. Last year, SYATP reported around three million participants across the United States, joined by students in more 20 nations, including Canada, Korea, Japan, and Turkey.

“The hope for this campus and the hope for this country and world is God,” commented Pastor Dwayne Carson, who also serves as Liberty’s vice president of Spiritual Development, according to the school’s newspaper. “We need Him to come through for us.”

This year’s theme, “Engage: Go and Pray,” was inspired by the first sentence that appears in 2 Kings 22:13, which records the words of King Josiah upon hearing from the Book of Law.

“Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found,” Josiah had ordered.

With this in mind, SYATP participants prayed to intercede for their leaders, their countries, their schools, their friends, and their families.

“For 20 years, we have seen this day serve as a springboard for unity for teenagers on their secondary and college campuses,” commented Paul Fleischmann, president of the National Network of Youth Ministries, which coordinates SYATP promotion.

“Challenging youth to take leadership on their campus is always a good idea. It’s important to remember that though it has a 20-year history, it’s fresh to today’s students,” he added.

The first SYATP was held in the Ft. Worth suburb of Burleson, Texas, in 1990, when more than 45,000 teenagers met at school flagpoles in four different states to pray before the start of school.

Since then, news of the prayer movement has spread and reached out to more students across more campuses.

It has also drawn support from churches nationwide with many holding “Campus Challenge Sunday” commissioning services the weekend before the annual event.

Each year, SYATP is held on the fourth Wednesday of September.

In Australia, where the new school year official began in late January/early February, SYATP was observed this year on May 21.

Next year's U.S. rallies will be held on Sept. 22, 2010.

[from The Christian Post RSS Feed by Lawrence D. Jones]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top-Down Controlling Leadership is Fading

In Gary Collins' recent newsletter, he submits that casting vision isn't what it used to be:

Recent years have seen a seismic shift in our perspectives on vision, especially as it relates to leadership. A new book by Jimmy Long calls this The Leadership Jump. Top-down, controlling leadership is fading. No longer can people with titles and power set the agenda and expect everyone else to follow. A new form of leadership has emerged where the leader stimulates ideas and plans but where teams combine their creative ideas to set vision and shape directions together.

It is all about collaboration and coroperation. Is it no wonder that we get this kind of response from those we lead particularly since we now live in a world of "social media", such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Social Media empowers people to particapate not only in the medium, but also crafting the conversation and message. People want to be empowered to participate.

Gary goes on to say:

In an issue of Leadership Journal (Summer 2009) devoted to "iGens" (the contemporary "isolated generation"), one writer urges ministry leaders to "forget about implementing the church's vision." Instead, leaders need to release control and share influence with others, including those who are younger. This can be one of the most difficult changes for a traditional leader to make.

Visions and vision casting are still relevant and motivating. Leaders, coaches, mentors, and teachers will continue to instill and stimulate visions. What's changing is the shift of control, creativity and ownership from an influential individual to teams. This change in vision and visionary leadership is too far along to reverse. Maybe that's not so bad.

[from Ministry Best Practices by Bill Reichart]

Today's Quote

"Growing churches require growing leaders. The moment you stop growing, so does the church." - Pastor Rick Warren

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

See You At The Pole

See You at the Pole™ is a student-initiated, student organized, and student-led event. That means this is all about students meeting at their school flagpole to pray — for their school, friends teachers, government, and their nation.

See You at the Pole™ is not a demonstration, political rally, nor a stand for or against anything.
See You at the Pole™ is scheduled annually on the fourth Wednesday in September, which is September 23 in 2009. The suggested starting time is 7 a.m. If that doesn't work for your school, choose a time that will work for your school, but let everyone at your school know!

Finances and Staff Issues Worry Pastors More Than Evangelism and Outreach, a New Survey Reveals

What do megachurch pastors think about late at night when they can't sleep? Not evangelism, outreach or impacting the community, at least not much, according to a report released in July by the Leadership Network.

In a survey of 232 pastors of large churches — congregations running more than 2,000 on a typical weekend — when asked what work-related issues caused them to lie awake at night, 19 percent said "finances," and an additional 19 percent said "staff issues." Only five percent said they ever lose sleep thinking about evangelism, outreach or ways to impact the community.

Also interesting in the report, which included input from pastors in 38 states and several countries, and also derived additional responses from 208 pastors of smaller churches, was the breakdown of how work hours are spent. In what is a typical 53-hour week, five hours are spent providing pastoral care; five hours are spent in prayer and meditation; and two hours are devoted to personal evangelism. A full 19 hours each week are spent in preaching, teaching and worship. Administration and meetings eat up another nine hours.

So how do senior pastors of large churches see their role? More than 80 percent described themselves as a "preacher/teacher." Fifty percent chose the term "directional leader," and 33 percent said their key role is "visionary."

Of note in the survey was the influence of one of Foursquare's own megachurch pastors — Wayne Cordeiro, senior pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu. When megachurch leaders were asked to list their most recommended books, Wayne's Leading on Empty (Bethany House) landed in the overall listing's top five most recommended volumes.

To download the entire survey, titled "Teacher First: Leadership Network's 2009 Large-Church Senior Pastor Survey," visit http://www.leadnet.org/.

[from www.foursquare.org - From the President]

Today's Quote

"Money problems are really vision problems. People give to vision, not to need. And, God supports HIS vision, not ours." Pastor Rick Warren

Financial Stewardship Tips

1. Keep Good Records - The great scientist Albert Einstein once said, "It takes a genius to see the obvious." What he meant by that is that sometimes the simplest things in life are the most powerful ... but because they are so simple, we tend to ignore them, and not let them work for us.

One of the simplest but most powerful money making ideas is this: keep a daily log of everything you spend. Go to the dollar store and buy a little notebook and carry it with you wherever you go. Write down every penny - every single penny - you spend. It's as simple as that.

If you do this, you will find something magic happening in your financial life in just a few weeks: you'll see what you spend, where, and how much can really be looked at as "necessary." It makes the flow of money through your life more real and exact. It shows you simply and clearly just where you are spending your money, on what and why. Once you know that, it becomes much easier to control your spending. Very powerful, indeed, and quite eye-opening.

For example, a person could realized through examining their notebook that they actually spent nearly $2,000 throughout the year on diet soft drinks, snacks and candy bars! Since their job only brings in $25,000 per year, they realized that 8% of their entire income was being frittered away on something entirely frivolous. The person gave up the snacks and drinks, and found they had enough money to take a vacation the following year! If you had the choice between snacks or a much needed vacation, which would you choose? Clarity that comes with this insight can help you gain much needed control of your finances.

2. Stop Credit Card Spending - otherwise known as deficit spending! We all know how much trouble Uncle Sam has been creating spending more money than our country takes in. It's called deficit spending. Well, don't fool yourself. The same rules apply to you. Using those evil little plastic cards may be the "American Way," but it's a poor way.

Today, the average credit card holder is carrying $8,000 in plastic debt!

Spending yourself into debt with a credit card is unbelievably easy, as many of you already know. The reason is psychological. When you give that clerk a credit card, it's just not the same as handing over a stack of green dollar bills. Would you as readily hand over a fistful of ten dollar bills as flip a credit card across a counter? Probably not.

Credit cards put you in the hole and keep you there. Even for people with good incomes, paying your credit card debt down to zero is amazingly difficult. And make no bones about it, credit card debt will sap your financial strength just as readily as an open vein will deplete your physical body of its very life force. Using a credit card by choice can quickly turn to using it for need. Once you get to that point, you are already in trouble.

There is no secret to freeing yourself from the credit card game. You must take out a pair of scissors today, cut your cards in half, and begin paying them back, slowly butsurely. Be careful: closing the account could affect your credit score negatively, so you may want to keep the card open - just stop using it! Be sure to always pay more than the minimum amount due, even if it is just $10 more. Once you stop adding to the debt, even small payments will eventually add up. You can get out of debt if you are patient and disciplined. Once your card debt is history, you must adopt a strict pay-as-you-go policy. Instead of buying now and paying later, save now and buy when you have the full amount.

Once again, this is not rocket science, but stopping credit-oriented consuming is one of the most powerful financial tools available to anyone today. Why not pick up this tool and use it?

3. Sell Your Junk - That's right, it's high past time for a major yard sale. Search through your house or apartment for every single item you don't need, and could sell at a flea market or yard sale.

Take an inventory. The truth is, most people are astounded by what they own - and how much money they have tied up in useless stuff. Why let it collect dust in your attic while it could collect interest in a savings account? Good question, huh?

You could easily be $500, $1,000 ... even $3,000 richer by the end of the week. As an added bonus, you'd have your place cleaned up, and you will have a fresh feeling of starting over. A garage sale is an excellent way to not only clean out your house, but it often gives a psychological boost that helps people get control of their life and money.

(by John Tesh)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today's Quote

"If you have to strong-arm people to get your way, you are not a leader. You are a bully. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)" - Pastor Rick Warren

Monday, September 14, 2009

Improving Your Church Calendar

Here are some great ideas from the book Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal:

The church calendar usually starts with, “What do we want to do this year?” or, “What did we do last year?” In order to create a missional mindset and community focus, your calendar should start with the community’s calendar.

- Look first for community events, festivals, and rhythms (county fair, back-to-school, art festival, etc…)
- Make sure there are links within your calendar, and perhaps elsewhere on your website, to those events
- Then put in church events
- Reduce the number of church-centric events on the calendar, making sure your people aren’t too busy in church programs to be involved as missionaries in the community

If members feel that the church calendar is somehow different from the calendar of their community life, they will always feel that the community comes in second. By making sure that community events are calendared and not just church year stuff, you support your external focus.

[from Planting Space by Bradley]

Simple Goals

Vision will never be realized without measurable goals. Could it be as simple as follows?

1. Praying the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers.

This one is interesting because continually we see God answering this prayer request. I could share scores of examples, but will give you a recent one: Upon joining with other believers for a day of prayer for our city, a pastor came up to me and shared that he wanted to sit down and talk with me about small groups. On the spot I invited him and his wife to join us for lunch the following week. After the meal we began to share our hearts. One thing led to another and before they left the house we set up a time to begin training in his church.

After only a few weeks they now have opened 3-4 new house churches (their goal is five by year's end!) If Jesus himself commanded us to pray the Lord of the Harvest for laborers, it is because it is a prayer he wants to answer!

2. Every church plant a church every year.

Can you imagine what would happen if every one of our churches simply reproduced itself once per year? How hard can this be, and yet year after year our churches get involved in all kinds of programs and another year goes by without planting new works. We need to use all our influence, every opportunity given us to get across to our pastors, churches, leaders to start new works. We aren't talking about planting hundreds of churches; just start ONE this year. Multiplication will take care of itself if we will do our part of working towards one new church plant each.

3. Every believer winning/discipling four others to Christ in a year's time.

Part of the difficulty we encounter is fierce competition from many good and noble emphasis going on all the time. There is a continuous stream of programs, conferences, concerts, etc. All these are good, but they have a way of terribly distracting us from the "main thing." What we shpuld be saying to our people is FOCUS ON ONE THING and that is winning four people to the Lord this year and discipling them so that they become reproducing disciples themselves.

4. Repeat the above.

Concentrate on a few things and do a few things well. Try not to be reactionary to what comes along, but be pro-active in a few things. Focus on the above three goals, repeat them over and over, and leave the results up to God.

[from The M Blog by GuyMuse]

How much is retained from various learning methods?

[from The M Blog by GuyMuse]

16 Signs That A Leader Has Lost His Mind

1 – He refuses to admit his mistakes.
2 – He begins to blame the problems on people or circumstances rather than actually seeking out what the problem might be.
3 – He refuses to listen to the team assembled around him.
4 – He fights every idea that isn’t his own, thinking his originality is what must keep the church afloat.
5 – He refuses to face reality.
6 – He is unwilling to make the necessary changes because it would be highly unpopular.
7 – He tries to listen to what everyone has to say about every situation.
8 – He begins to believe that God’s favor on his life is because of how good he is rather than because of how good God is!
9 – He believes that he can’t learn anything from churches that are smaller than his. (This would be arrogance!)
10 – He abuses his staff to accomplish his agenda rather than leading them to accomplish God’s.
11 – He fears asking for commitment because of how people may perceive him.
12 – He becomes obsessed with the way things are rather than how they should be.
13 – He views himself as an expert.
14 – He tries to motivate with fear rather than vision.
15 – He doesn’t seek fresh revelation from God and often goes back to what has been done instead of seeking direction for what has never been done.
16 – He stops taking risks and becomes obsessed with playing it safe.
[from Perry Noble dot com by perry]

Vision

What is the vision of the Church? That was the sermon topic one Sunday a dozen years ago or so when I visited a friend’s church. But as I listened, I found my mind wandering. I had just signed a contract to write a book on Christian worldview, and I was experiencing writer’s remorse. Did this book really need to be written?

Suddenly the pastor’s words caught my attention. The mission of the Church, he said, is to prepare for Christ’s return in five ways: prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and evangelism. In that instant, all doubts about writing the book vanished. Of course, these five spiritual exercises are central to the Church’s life, but we can never overlook our responsibility to redeem all of culture as well. Though well-intentioned, the pastor’s words were a prescription for the continued marginalization of the Church.

Just like this pastor, many evangelicals define faith strictly in terms of personal salvation. Yet soul-winning is not an end in itself. We are not only saved from sin, we are also saved to something -- to the task of cultivating God’s creation. Genesis teaches that on the first five days, God did the work of creating. But on the sixth day, He made human beings in His image to carry on His work-to develop the raw materials of the world He had created.

This is called the “cultural commission,” just as binding as the “Great Commission.” It means our faith is intended to encompass every part of life, every sphere of work, every aspect of the world.

In short, our faith must be a complete worldview, the basic set of beliefs that function as a set of glasses helping us to see all of reality through God’s eyes. If God is creator and sovereign over everything, as we confess He is, then everything finds its identity and meaning in relationship to Him -- not only our spiritual life but also our work, politics, science, education, the arts, etc.

Developing a Christian worldview is not some ivory-tower exercise. It is crucial for every believer -- affecting every choice we make. The doctrine of creation tells us that God made the world with a moral and physical order -- that there are God-given norms for every aspect of creation.

If we don’t know the norms God as ordained for every area of life, then we will drift with the tide of this postmodern age, and, instead of transforming the culture, as we’re supposed to, we will transformed by it.

The mission of the Church is indeed prayer and evangelism, just as that pastor said that Sunday. But to be effective, we must also develop a comprehensive worldview. And that, too, is the urgent mission of the Church in a post-Christian world.

[By Chuck Colson]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Which of the Following Can Be Said About Your Church?

- Our sermons run an hour plus and our pews aren't padded: You do the math.
- We work our volunteers to death. Then grumble when they want a break.
- Drums are evil.
- Our Sunday morning service is a major production. Sit back and enjoy the show.
- Our people probably won't talk to you until you volunteer for something and even then don't hold your breath.
- We pay lip service to social justice.
- We stand up and sit down a lot, so try to keep up, OK?
- Our sermons have more movie clips than Bible quotes.
- You're going to get lost in our sprawling campus. Bring a map or hire a guide.
- We believe homosexuality is...
- The only diversity you'll find here is in our stock photography.
- We're so heavenly minded that we're no earthly good.
- We plan more social events than Bible studies.
- Nothing ever starts on time at our church.
- Our pastor is a minor celebrity with an ego to match.
- We think the role of women in leadership is...
- We're really old.
- Churchese spoken here. Translators are not available.
- We're good people but we're going to judge you.
- Our children's ministry is an after thought.
- We hug.
- On Sunday morning you'll never/always see an altar call.
- Our people talk more gossip than gospel.
- We lift up our hands and get a little crazy when we worship. It's going to freak you out.
- That's how we've always done it is how we'll always do it.
[from Church Marketing by Kevin D. Hendricks]

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today's Quote

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” – Spencer Johnson

Christians Pray for Spiritual Awakening on 9/11 Anniversary

Thousands of Christians were expected to gather today at county courthouses nationwide to declare that America needs God's help now.

Billy Wilson, co-organizer of Cry Out America, sponsor of the noontime prayer gatherings, said more and more Christians believe the nation is in a spiritual crisis that is escalating. He said participation this year doubled over the 2008 events, with more than 700 gatherings planned nationwide, including in all 38 of the nation's most populous counties.

"Every day's news is saying to us that we are in a deep spiritual battle," Wilson told Charisma. "And what we're finding is there is a very faithful, hungry remnant in the American church who is stepping to the public square to say, ‘We need God's help now, and the church needs to be reformed, and America needs to find Jesus.'"

Cry Out kicked off Thursday night with a Sacred Assembly in New York City at Crenshaw Christian Center East. Speakers included 9/11 survivor and evangelist Sujo John, New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, Luis Cort├ęs Jr., president of the Hispanic evangelical network Esperanza; Teen Mania founder Ron Luce, Eagles' Wings Robert Stearns and Charisma editor J. Lee Grady.

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE

[By Adrienne S. Gaines]

Monday, September 7, 2009

Georgia Pastor Shot by Drug Agents

The brother-in-law of a young Baptist pastor who was fatally shot this past week during a drug sting believes that the plain-clothes officers who approached him had “scared him” when they pulled up in a black Cadillac Escalade and came out with guns drawn.

“I’ve rerun it in my mind,” Matt Carpenter said following the death of his sister’s husband, Jonathan Ayers.

“He had used an ATM inside, got into his car and then a black Escalade pulled up and [they] jumped out ... If they ID’d themselves, he couldn’t hear them because his windows were up,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Carpenter also said it was possible that Ayers didn’t know the woman who he dropped off at the gas station, noting that Ayers was the type to help out strangers in need.

"He is one of the Godliest men I've ever known," the Gainesville, Ga., resident told The Associated Press. "We (family members)'re all shocked and absolutely do not believe he was involved in anything illicit or illegal there."

Though Ayers was not the initial target of Wednesday's sting, officers confronted the 28-year-old minister after they saw him drop off a woman who they say had twice been seen selling drugs in the small town of Toccoa, Ga.

The officers said they approached Ayers’ vehicle and yelled “Police. Stop” as he was pulling his car out of the spot he was parked in. Despite the shouts, Ayers stepped on the gas, hitting one officer, who then fired into the car, believing his life was in danger, according to Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) spokesman John Bankhead.

A second shot was fired when Ayers put his car into drive and maneuvered it toward the officer in a “threatening manner,” added Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley.

Ayers drove for only a short distance before crashing into a utility pole, wounded from a shot to the liver.

The pastor would later die at a local hospital about an hour after going into surgery. Carpenter claims that Ayers’ last words to the paramedics were “who shot me?” - a statement that could imply that the minister was oblivious to the identity of the two men who confronted him.

The GBI is currently investigating the incident while the two plain-clothes officers are on administrative leave.

Ayers, who leaves behind his 16-weeks-pregnant wife, was pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia.

The woman who was in the car with Ayers was taken into custody and faces drug charges. Her name has not yet been released because she is still being questioned about Wednesday's incident.

[By Lawrence D. Jones - Christian Post Reporter]

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Being a Person of Honor

Honor is a concept of life (a value if you will) that we are losing in today's value-free society. Very few seem to have any idea of honor either in their daily lives, their relationships or their work. Webster's Dictionary defines honor as: "... official dignity, repute, esteem - a keen sense of right and wrong - adherence to actions or principles considered right - integrity - to bring respect .... to show regard ..."

In the Old Testament, the Bible uses several different Hebrew words that are translated "honor." These carry the idea of magnificence or splendor. In the New Testament, the main Greek word translated "honor" means "to praise or to revere." It has its origin in a Greek word meaning "valuable." In fact the Greek word for "without honor" literally means "no value."

Honor, used in the sense of how one lives their life means "BEING TRUE TO WHAT IS RIGHT." Since many today have no concept of what is right or what is wrong (including many of our country's leaders unfortunately, both the spiritual and the legislative ones) it should be of little surprise that people today have no honor. From what is coming out of our educational institutions it makes one wonder if many of our teachers or professors have any honor.

In today's society those who would live honorably are often looked upon as being weirdo's or fanatics.

Honor is a many-sided virtue and includes:
- Self-Discipline--disciplining or training oneself.
- Responsibility--being accountable to ourselves and to others.
- Courage--standing our ground in the face of impossible odds.
- Perseverance--keeping on keeping on when it would be much easier just to quit.
- Honesty-being genuine, real, in everything we do.
- Loyalty--being faithful to others.
- Duty - doing what's right whether or not it's popular and whether or not we win.
- Faith--reaching beyond ourselves and our own abilities.

Each of these, by the way, is a sermon in itself.

Honor involves being true to our word. This is found among all races of man. Of the Sioux Indian it has been written by those who lived with them "... honesty was an absolute, and lying was sure to bring the direst consequences. The straight stem of the pipe a man smoked represented the need to speak straightly ... so that it might never be said of him that he spoke with two tongues ..." (The Mystic Warriors of the Plains, pg. 69)

In the early days of the West a person was judged by how true they were to their word. Many a cattle contract worth thousands of dollars were concluded simply on a handshake. If a man gave his word he was expected to keep it.

This concept has its roots in the Judeo-Christian ethic, though it can be found among many other cultures. Psalm 15 in the Old Testament describes the solid, unmovable man who will enjoy God's blessing as one who "... keeps a promise even if it ruins him ..." (Ps 15:4, The Living Bible)

To live honorably means to remain true to what is right in spite of pressure to do otherwise. Even if no one is watching! The life thus lived is of great value. To die with honor means that we must first live honorably. To live honorably, and to die honorably. The life so lived counts for something. It has purpose. It is valuable.

This to me is a mark of a real Christian. A man or woman of honor. To a person of honor you can entrust your property, your possessions, your family your marriage, or your life and know they are looked after. You would not have to worry about them.

Live honorably. It will attract those who have a similar honor and you will stand out from among the ordinary. Who knows what life you may influence? In the end, if someone says of me, "He was an honorable man." I will count it as the highest compliment.

[by Jim Taylor]

Friday, September 4, 2009

Is Adultery Ever Justified?

Much has been written in the media recently about men cheating on their wives. We have the tale of two Jo(h)ns: John Edwards, whose wife, Elizabeth Edwards, appeared on "Oprah" recently to promote her new book, "Resilience," in which she addresses her husband's much publicized affair, and Jon Gosselin, costar of the hit TLC reality show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," whose rumored affair has become tabloid fodder.

The former is a tale as old as journalism itself: a man in power cheats on a wife who, from the outside, seemed a supporting and loving spouse undeserving of her husband's unfaithfulness.

The latter is another familiar tale: a man under an enormous amount of pressure is regularly and publicly emasculated and treated like dirt by his wife and seemingly seeks solace with another woman. In both cases, the men are vilified -- but is it possible that maybe, just maybe, at least one of the women had it coming?

Over at Slate's lady blog, XX Factor, Susannah Breslin wrote a provocative piece about what she calls "bad wives," explaining that Jon Gosselin's wife Kate fits the bill to a T.

"Anyone who has spent any time watching [their] show knows its subplot is their marriage," she writes, "and the majority of that relationship seems to consist of Kate treating her husband like something that got stuck on the bottom of her shoe, the property of which she cannot quite identify, eliciting a nonstop look of thinly-veiled disgust and disappointment."

"In fact, it's hard to think of moments in which this housewife is not humiliating, degrading, and emasculating her husband. On camera, no less. In one episode, she actually chastised him for breathing too loudly. There she is in the supermarket ripping him a new one for being a lousy spouse. There she is at the pumpkin patch shouting at him for being a substandard father. There she is telling him to stop mumbling like a fool. There she is explaining to the camera that she doesn't care what anyone else thinks."

Where was all the outrage when that was going on? Isn't that kind of behavior as damaging to a marriage as cheating is? If people vow when they marry to stay faithful to and respect one another, shouldn't the vows be of equal importance? Why isn't Kate's face on the cover of tabloids for breaking her vows? Her indiscretions happen regularly, in front of her children, and on camera.

The larger issue is one of equality. If we're going to point fingers at men behaving badly, we have to take a look at the women's behavior that may provoke it. Most issues -- especially those within a relationship -- are rarely ever black and white with a clear-cut victim and oppressor. People cheat for a variety of reasons, very few of which are strictly because they're horrible human beings.

Cheating isn't right, but neither is emotional abuse and neglect. Psychologically, if you push someone enough, it shouldn't be any surprise when you push him into the arms of someone else.

Be that as it may, adultery is wrong under all circumstances. Adultery is the voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not that person's spouse. It is illegal, immoral, and destroys relationships. Adultery is wrong because it breaks one of the first covenants established in the bible. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Ge. 2:24 NKJV) Marriage is a covenant or a commitment. If the integrity (virginity) of the wife was in tact at the time of the marriage then a blood covenant was established on the wedding night (note that lack of sexual purity on either parties part does not weaken the level of commitment each is expected to adhere to). Adultery is a violation or breaking of that covenant. Man and woman were made to come together and stay together.

It is important to understand that adultery is more than just cheating on your spouse. Sex is more than just a physical act, it is spiritual as well. It is not two bodies lying together for a short time it is two spirits coming together in the most intimate way in which two human beings can encounter one another. They are not meant to separate at this point. When this happens a tearing occurs and that is what causes pain. This is one of the reasons that divorce is so painful for both the man and woman. As a matter of fact, the only biblical excuse for divorce is adultery. “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual impurity causes her to commit adultery…” (Mt. 5:32 NKJV)

It does not matter how society accepts it, nor how Hollywood exploits it, it is wrong, it is sin, and it results in great consequences. Sooner or later adultery causes divorce, and divorce has painful effects on the couple and all children involved. The consequences are enormous.

Purity is a choice. (1 Cor 6:9 NIV) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders(1 Cor 6:10 NIV) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.(1 Cor 6:11 NIV) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Donations Pour in for Georgia Slaying Victim's Family According to COGOP Pastor

While grieving a family slain in a Georgia mobile home, relatives of the victims have been grappling with another problem — how to pay for so many funerals at once.

But help including donations and service discounts has been pouring in to the extended family of 44-year-old Rusty Toler Sr., his four children and two siblings. The seven died along with the boyfriend of one of the daughters in a cramped mobile home where they lived together while weathering unemployment and economic hardships on the Georgia coast.

A pastor in a neighboring town said residents have been donating money to help cover funeral costs to a fund he set up with a local bank. A funeral home and a company that pours concrete burial vaults are offering their services at a discount.

"I'm sure they need quite a bit of help," Carl Rowe, an uncle to Toler's children, said Thursday. "You're talking about a family that averages a $10,000-a-year in salary, and most are maintenance workers and low-income workers. You're not looking at big-time money people here. You're looking at down-to-earth folks."

A graveside funeral for seven of the eight victims was scheduled for Saturday, a week after a relative reported discovering the bodies at the New Hope Plantation mobile home park a few miles north of the port city of Brunswick.

Along with Toler Sr., the dead included his brother, Guy Heinze Sr., 45, and sister, Brenda Gail Falagan, 49. Also slain were Toler Sr.'s four children — Chrissy Toler, 22; Russell D. Toler Jr., 20; Michael Toler, 19; and Michelle Toler, 15.

Chrissy Toler's boyfriend, Joseph L. West, 30, was also killed. Funeral arrangements for him were still pending.

"It's just overwhelming — seven at one time. Eight, really," said the Rev. Danny Stilwell of the Church of God of Prophecy in Eulonia, who declined to say how much had been donated to the fund he set up. "It's nowhere near what's needed, but people are responding. Whatever's given is truly appreciated."

Danny Nobles of Howard-Jones-Nobles Funeral Home in Jesup said they were giving the family discounted services to help them deal with the cost, but said he did not want to go into specifics.
The Bailey Monument and Vault Company in Waycross was providing the Toler family with a discount for concrete burial vaults, which the family otherwise could not have afforded, said Keith Hawthorne, the company's president.

"I'm just trying to get all of them through this as easily as I can," Hawthorne said. "I've never met them and doubt that I ever will, but I don't need to. This is a particular hardship on them."
The sole survivor of the attack remains hospitalized in Savannah. Rowe said the victim, a young boy, was showing signs of improvement after surviving critical injuries.

Guy Heinze Jr., the 22-year-old man who reported the deaths of his father and relatives to police, remained jailed Thursday on $20,000 bond. He was charged with lying to police, tampering with evidence and drug possession hours after making a frantic 911 call to report the slayings.

Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering has said investigators aren't calling Heinze Jr. a suspect in the killings, but they aren't ruling him out either.

Ron Harrison, Heinze Jr.'s attorney, has said his client is cooperating with police and believes the killer remains at large.

[Associated Press]

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Donor Saves Alabama Youth Camp

A $727,000 check from a donor who wants to remain anonymous paid the debt of the Methodist Church's financially troubled Camp Sumatanga in St. Clair County Alabama, the Gadsden Times reports.

The North Alabama Methodist Conference was told in June the camp had to have $300,000 by Sept. 1 to stay open. A "Save Sumatanga" campaign reached $400,000 which bought the camp more time.

Now the latest gift was used to pay off the mortgage and other debt on Friday, according to the newspaper.

Many denominational youth camps are finding it more difficult to sponsor year-round, church-owned facilities.

[from Breaking News from The Birmingham News - al.com by jmacdonald@bhamnews.com]

15 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started in Ministry

1. Everyone Will Not Understand You … SO Stop Trying To Explain Yourself. Cast Vision … And MOVE Forward!
2. Everyone Will Not Like You … So STOP Trying To Be Popular.
3. You Don’t Have To Be The Person Who Actually Solves Every Problem … Admit You Are Not The Smartest Person and Let Your Experts Be Your Experts.
4. Spend WAY More Time Talking About Who You Are Rather Than Who You Are Not.
5. A Leader Is Always An East Target Because They Are … A Leader. So, Get Over Yourself And Get On With What God Called You To Do!
6. When The Holy Spirit Presses Something Into Your Heart … Don’t Ignore Him.
7. Do NOT Expect God’s Next Step To Make Sense.
8. You Can’t Plan A Move Of God … But You Must Be Prepared For One!
9. Do Not Resist Something Just Because You Do Not Understand It!
10. People Who Claim You “Are Not Deep Enough” Are Obsessed With Information But Have No Desire To Live Out Transformation.
11. You Don’t Need To Listen To Everybody … But You Had Better Be Listening To Somebody Because God Didn’t Ask You To Take This Journey Alone.
12. Never Apologize For Asking People To Commit To Something … Jesus Didn’t!
13. The Church Has Been Underachieving For Way Too Long … So Dream BIG And Don’t Apologize For It.
14. There Will Be Days When You Want To Quit … Don’t … Jesus Didn’t!
15. The Gospel Changes Lives … PREACH Every Sermon Like It’s Your Last!

[from Perry Noble dot com by perry]

Church Security - More Incidents

Three men burst into two seperate churches this past Sunday yelling, "God is dead!" The incident caused a disruption and they were escorted out by church members. It was a situation that caused fear for church members.

Shreveport (LA) Police say the man first ran into the Heritage Baptist Church at Kirby Street and Creswell Avenue, yelling "God is dead," and a few other things, before getting escorted out.

"I thought it was humorous in the sense that if there's no God why spend so much of your time trying to disprove that which doesn't exist," said Heritage Baptist Church Pastor Earl Blackburn.

The suspects repeated the offense again just a mile away at First Baptist Church of Shreveport. "It was right in the middle of service. He just came in and started screaming about God isn't real and it's all fake, it's all a lie," said church member Michael Morales. "It was just very disturbing," said Morales wife, Elizabeth. Morales says he and several other men watched the man go outside and get into a pick-up truck with two others passengers.

"A couple of guys called the cops as soon as he walked out and we gave them a great description of the guys and of their truck and we got their license plate number," said Morales.

This is a church security incident that could have escalated very quickly. Notice the church members were able to keep their wits, and reportd a great description, which led to the suspects being apprehended.

Due to the descriptions, police quickly found the truck and charged the driver with DWI. They believe he had just dropped off the other two men at Highland Park, where the men were eventually arrested.

A police spokesman stated, "I just checked with detectives in major crimes and we're going to try to book them in under a hate crime. This could have gotten out of hand quick."

What is your church doing about security?

[from Church Security Member by Church Security and Safety Today]