Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Iranian Parliament: Death to Non-Muslim Converts

Iran's parliament has passed the death penalty for apostasy, which is viewed in that country as converting to any other faith than Islam.

Thousands of Iranians have been converting to Christianity, and the underground church is thriving, according to reports. But other Iranians are returning to Zoroastrianism, which was the dominant religion in Iran at one time. Jonathan Rocho, with International Christian Concern (ICC), explains.

"We, as a Christian organization, are very much concerned about this because this means many Christians who converted from Islam are going to face death, simply because of their decision to follow Jesus Christ," Rocho laments.

He says Iranians are questioning the Muslim faith after living under the regime, which has been dominated by the religion since the revolution in the 1970s. "They have not seen any change in their lives," Rocho adds. "There is even more repression, more problems going on in the country, so they are very much confused about the Islamic faith."

Already, two Christian converts accused of apostasy have been given the death penalty. Since Iran does not easily succumb to international pressure, Rocho urges people to pray.

[Source: One NewsNow.com]

Cliffnotes For Busy Pastors

Are you busy? I don't know too many pastors and ministry leaders who have tons of bandwidth in their schedule- most are busy and time is a premium commodity.

And yet, in our busyness, you know how important it is to digest tons and tons of reading material. It is important that we are well read and informed.

Christian Book Summaries are FREE and may be the solution you need.

Christian Book Summaries (CBS) is a FREE service that provides several page abstracts of both current releases as well as classic Christian writings. All of the summaries are available for download in PDF format.

CBS can be used as a substitute to reading the book or as a companion as you read the book in full.

CBS is a great tool, check it out!

[from Ministry Best Practices by Bill Reichart]

Church Humor


Monday, September 29, 2008

Calculating Your Return on Ministry

Here’s the link to a brand new Fellowship Technologies tool called Retun on Ministry.

As always, Fellowship Tech turns out valuable and beautiful products to help your church facilitate ministry. How can you improve what you can’t measure?

More on measuring ministry over the next 10 days but for now type in the name of any church - and check out what happens next on your whiteboard!

[Curtis Simmons]

Free Worship Study Series

Have you heard about Dwayne Moore's generous offer currently available on his personal blog?

For a limited time only, you can download one FREE complete copy of all nine weeks of Moore's soon-to-be-published Pure Praise: A Heart-focused Bible Study on Worship!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

American Idol Clay Aiken Comes Out of The Closet

American Idol Clay Aiken has finally announced that he is gay. The Southern Baptist, who also has a son out of wedlock, says he is still a born-again Christian.


There is a strong push by the American gay rights movement, supported by heavy funding and the ACLU, to not only gain acceptance by calling all opposition homophobes, but their agenda includes being accepted as Christians. They are funding new church plants that support the gay agenda, and pushing the publicity of famous "Christian" gays.

The Internet has recently been flooded with web sites generated by gay rights activists advocating gay Christian rights. They argue that the Bible is also against adultery and for tolerance.

Gay books are being published as quickly as the printing can be done. A gay study Bible has also been published. Also, a Michigan gay "Christian" is suing two Bible publishers over verses labeling homosexuality a sin and causing him emotional pain and estrangement from his family.

Is there such a thing as a gay Christian? Can someone be a Christian who practices homosexuality? What does the Bible say about it? Is it sin? Does it separate one from God?

I'm sorry, but Clay Aiken, Ray Boltz, "Pastor" Jeff Minor, Marsha Stevens, Kirk Talley, and all other singers and entertainers can practice homosexuality and say that it is OK, but that does not make it so.

The first reference to homosexuality in Scripture is in the infamous account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. The wickedness of the men of that city is obvious and is of such a severe nature that it brought divine destruction upon the entire city. Both Peter and Jude make reference to it and describe the sin of homosexuality as " ungodly, lawless, unnatural and extreme immorality" (see 2 Peter 2:6, 8; Jude 7).

In Leviticus 18:22 and 24 homosexuality is described as an "abomination" and "defiling." It is reprehensible and unclean.

In Leviticus 20:13 it is again described as an "abomination" but here as one worthy of the death penalty!

Deuteronomy 23:17 forbade the presence of a "sodomite" in the land of Israel.

An incident similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah is seen again in Judges 19. Again the sin of homosexuality is described as "wickedness."

In 1 Kings 14, 15, and 22 the removal of male prostitutes from the land of Israel is viewed as a sign of much-needed spiritual reformation.

The prohibition in Deuteronomy 22:5 of women wearing men's clothing appears to be a specific condemnation of transvestism.

In Romans 1:18-32 the apostle Paul condemns the practice in the severest terms. Homosexuality is "unclean," "impure," "dishonoring to the body," "vile," "degrading / disgraceful," "contrary to nature," "unseemly/ obscene," "improper activity of a depraved mind," "unrighteous," "wicked," etc. Of particular importance to the apostle in this passage is the fact that homosexuality is "unnatural"--contrary to nature. In other words, nature itself teaches that the practice is wrong; we all know it intuitively. Homosexuality is, then, a particularly rebellious sin.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 the apostle Paul speaks of homosexuals as "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind" who "shall not inherit the kingdom of God." The terms he uses here seem to be specific references to both active and the passive participants in a homosexual relationship. Such people are "unrighteous," he says, and if they remain in that practice they will be condemned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Church Dropouts Stopped Attending Church

1. Simply wanted a break from church.
2. Church members seemed judgmental or hypocritical.
3. Moved to college and stopped attending church.
4. Work responsibilities prevented me from attending.
5. Moved too far away from the church to continue attending.
6. Became too busy though still wanted to attend.
7. Didn’t feel connected to the people in my church.
8. Disagreed with the church’s stance on political or social
9. Chose to spend more time with friends outside the church.
10. Was only going to church to please others.

[From Essential Church by Thom S. Rainer and Tom S. Rainer, III]

Today's Quote

"If you can't feed 1,000 people, then feed one."

~ Mother Teresa

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top Ten Qualities of Great Commission Leadership

1. Surrendered Life—The pastor is a slave of Christ.

2. Scriptural Life—The pastor lives both his private and public life according to the Word of God.

3. Spirit-filled Life—The pastor walks daily in the power of the Holy Spirit.

4. Soul Winning Life—The pastor involves himself weekly in personal soul winning.

5. Serving Life—The pastor serves his family like Christ died for the Church.

6. Sanctified Life—The pastor lives a holy life.

7. Selfless Life—The pastor leaves his ego and logo behind in order to partner with other ministers in his community.

8. Sacrificial Life—The pastor sacrifices the niceties in life in order to give more financially for evangelism efforts.

9. Stewardship Life—The pastor measures everything he does in life as to whether or not it helps him to fulfill the great commission. If an activity does not help him to fulfill the great commission, he simply does not do it.

10. Successful Life—The pastor has a fruitful ministry where his congregation is becoming more like Christ and souls are being added to the Kingdom of God.

[Jerry Davis]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Should Some Churches Be Allowed To Die?

As I ponder this thought, it resonates within me that some churches should be allowed to die. I’ve been involved in times past with trying to revive a church which had no life left in it. However, deep emotional ties and a sense of loyalty to those who have given their lives to a church often prevents leadership from making the final decision to “turn off the respirator!”

Here’s what I’m wondering…

- If a church has failed to win converts for a period of years, is the church really alive?
- If a church has turned inward with the use of resources and personnel and sees no value in outreach, should it be allowed to continue as a church?
- If a church rejects those who visit and refuses to welcome new people, is it a church and should it be allowed it remain?
- If the excitement is gone and all that is left is duty … then do we lead or serve well by allowing such churches to remain open?
- If the finances are so low that it requires outside intervention to keep the bills paid (I’m not speaking of temporary, emergency experiences), then when do you just let it die?

There can be a sense of failure and guilt in letting churches close or die, but I cannot honestly understand why we struggle with this, spend so much money keeping anemic situations alive when the funds could be used to start new churches.

If Ecceliastes is true … to everything there is a season … does the same hold true for churches?

What do you think? (Click on "Comments" below.)

[from forwardleadership.org by billisaacs]

People Pleasing Pastors

Here are four characteristics of people pleasers:

1. People pleasing pastors take most criticism personally. Any suggestion feels like a personal attack. We become overly defensive and resentful of even mild corrections.

2. People pleasing pastors have an extraordinary fear of rejection. If someone questions our motives, doesn’t like a sermon, or leaves our ministry, it can throw us into a depressed tailspin.

3. People pleasing pastors find it hard to express their feelings. Because we have to “please people,” we don’t feel safe expressing our true feelings and needs.

4. People pleasing pastors have a hard time saying “no.” Because we want to make people happy. We often over-commit. Although we are outwardly agreeable, we are often inwardly resentful.

[from LifeChurch.tv : swerve by Craig Groeschel]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Church Humor

Lee University Announces Record Enrollment

Lee University welcomed the largest freshman class in its history to campus this fall. Registration closed earlier this month, officially fixing the number of freshman at 848, compared to 788 in 2007.

This is the fourth consecutive year the freshman class has grown, according to Gary Ray, vice president for administration. Ray also announced an official total enrollment of 4,147 students, also a new record over the previous enrollment record of 4,086 in 2007.

"Naturally we are very pleased with a record freshman class, and I wish to acknowledge the work of the entire admissions team directed by Phil Cook," said Ray. Cook is assistant vice president for enrollment.

"Michael Ellis and the financial aid office staff also played a major role in the conversion of our new students," Ray added. 86% of all Lee students receive some type financial aid through the institution.

The 4,147 total registration figure does not include hundreds of additional students who take online and correspondence courses at various external locations through Lee's Center for Adult and Professional Studies.

Final enrollment statistics reveal that Lee's student body is 57 percent female and 43 percent male with students from all 50 states and 49 countries. In-state enrollment reached 1,577, followed by Georgia with 517 students. North Carolina moved up to third this year with 290 registrants, followed by Ohio with 261 students. Virginia, which brought in 157 students, rounded out the top five.

[Source: Lee University Public Information]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Catholics Speak Out

In Times of Crisis

Last week, President Bush spoke to the nation in an effort to ease the fears of the American people who seem anxious about the financial crisis our country is facing. He really didn't say very much that could be deemed as comforting.

The newspapers across America all have headlines detailing accounts of a staggering economy. Reports verify seven hundred billion dollars of investor money has been wiped out in just one week.

You add to all of that the impact of the recent Hurricane Ike that hit the gulf coast and the train wreck in California. Unless you have endured one of these natural events, or had opportunity to visit the site of one of these devastated areas, it is nearly impossible to know what the folks who have been affected are going through.

If you are a Pastor, this weekend you will stand before your people who have been exposed to these very things. What do you say to them? How do you help them cope with their fears? I'm sure you have thought about this, but one of the major responsibilities is to comfort and guide your people.

The first thing you should counsel is not to panic. Our faith is in God, not in money. We have all been in these tight spots before and we will survive this challenge. Be patient.

The second thing we must do is encourage one another. Do not despair. We, as believers in Christ, have a marvelous opportunity in this time of crisis to show where our foundations are strongest.

Be wise. Make the best decisions you can to minimize your losses. Keep your credit card debt low. Save instead of spend and turn to trusted counsel.

Increase your faith practices. Don't miss church. Sing, worship, pray, read, and assemble. Be in places where you will feel protected, not threatened. "Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thess. 5:18).

Remember that God knows your situation. He cares. Do not fret. Jesus says, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?" (Matt. 6:27). Paul writes, "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way" (2 Thess. 3:16).

[H. B. London, Jr.]

Do You Feel Taken For Granted?

People have short memories. It doesn’t take long in ministry to realize this. One day you’re leading someone to Christ, the next day they’ve left for the new church down the street. One day someone says they loved the sermon, the next day they can’t remember what it was about. Short memories are nothing new.

The Israelites had a short memory when it came to Moses. Just three days after the Red Sea miracle – at the very first sign of trouble – they started doubting his leadership. We think we’ve got it rough? God used Moses to split a sea, and the Israelites forgot him. If that happened to Moses, it can happen to us.

But it doesn’t just happen in ministry, does it? We live in a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" world. Children forget what their parents have done for them. Bosses forget what their employees have done for them. Spouses take each other for granted.

I read an article one time about a chief accountant for a millionaire. He was paid very well, but he committed suicide. His suicide note said: “I’m committing suicide because in 30 years I’ve never had one word of encouragement. I’m fed up.”

What do you do when you feel taken for granted? Moses gives us a great example to follow.

1. Don’t curse it. When Moses heard the Israelites grumble, it would have been natural to respond back in anger. Most of us would have done that. But Moses didn’t. Revenge just wasn’t an option. When people don’t appreciate you, choose not to strike back. Leave your frustration in God’s hands. When you let God settle the score, you are well represented. Romans 12:14 says, “Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse” (NASB). Instead of cursing those who forget you, speak positively about them.

2. Don’t rehearse it. Every time you review the hurt you feel when you’ve been taken for granted, it gets bigger. If somebody you’ve served selflessly criticizes you, it hurts. No doubt about it. But if you’re not careful, it’ll blow out of proportion in no time.

Notice that Moses never went back over the pain. He focused on the future. Rehearsing pain is a dangerous habit in ministry because soon you’re addicted to it. I’ve met some very bitter pastors who allowed experiences of their past to color their perception until they thought everybody was against them. You can’t allow that to happen.

3. Don’t nurse it. Don’t allow yourself to have a pity party. It’s OK to be angry. Anger is a legitimate response to hurt. But holding on to anger becomes sin. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry, and don’t give the devil a chance” (CEV). If you are a leader, you can expect to be misunderstood. It’s a fact of leadership. If you choose not to take the disappointment personally, you’ll avoid becoming cynical.

So, what should you do when you feel forgotten and taken for granted?

First, share your pain with God. Often we go to the wrong people with our pain. We go to the people who’ve mistreated us and remind them of their oversight. Instead of doing that, take your pain to God. He can take whatever you dish out to him.

Second, expect God to reverse your disappointment. God is the master of reversing hurts. Remember the story of Joseph in the Old Testament? Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Then in Genesis 50, 20 years later, he said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph had every reason to be cynical. His own family had sold him out. But he wasn’t cynical.

Moses had a similar experience. The people had been whining and complaining because they didn’t have water – and when they did get water, it was bitter. But where did God lead them after that? He led them to a land of abundant water. He reversed the situation.

Friend, I don’t know how you’ve been taken for granted in ministry. But I do know one thing. God has not forgotten you. He’s seen every act of service. He’s watched every time you’ve faithfully prepared a message. He has walked into the room of the dying person with you. He’s listened as you’ve prayed for the direction of your church. He’s seen your acts of service. Others may take you for granted. But God doesn’t.

Never forget that.

[Rick Warren]

News & Views

Video - "Pastor's Edition" by Pastor Rick Warren.

Today's Prayer

Dear Father,

I come to you today in the name of Jesus, asking for your mercy and help for parents of adolescents today. This is always a trying time. I pray that these parents will have all the patience, love, wisdom, knowledge, and love that is needed to properly parent children at this stage of life.

The children are going through so many changes, emotionally and physically, that they need understanding and guidance, family time and worship time, and spiritual growth to ground them as they begin to mature into young adults. Please provide what is needed for these parents and their children to love and support one another through the days at hand. Bless them, Lord, as they seek your will for their lives. And anoint these parents to be all that you would have them be in nurturing your children.

Thank you, so much.

In the Savior's name I pray, amen.

Today Is The First Day of Fall

The National Weather Service said the autumnal equinox or autumn officially arrives today at 10:44 a.m. (CDT).

Baptist Bookstores Pull Magazine Featuring Female Pastors

Over 100 Christian bookstores run by the Southern Baptist Convention have pulled from their shelves this month's issue of Gospel Today Magazine, which features a cover story about female pastors.

The Sept./Oct. issue of Gospel Today Magazine, an urban publication with a circulation of nearly a quarter of a million, was pulled this from Lifeway Christian Bookstores for featuring a cover story about female pastors.

Customers to Lifeway Christian Bookstores, located mostly in the Bible Belt with a handful of locations along the West Coast, will now have to request to buy the Sept./Oct. issue of Gospel Today Magazine, which have been placed behind the stores' counters.

The front cover of the latest issue of Gospel Today, an urban publication with a circulation of nearly a quarter of a million, features five smiling female pastors and was titled "Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Female Pastors." In the cover story, the five preachers talk about their roles and responsibilities, struggles and successes.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's second largest Christian denomination, officially opposes females serving as pastors. In 2000, the denomination overwhelmingly adopted a revised statement of faith that said the pastoral role should be restricted to men.

"We have removed the September/October issue of Gospel Today from our shelves because the cover story, featuring female pastors, clearly advocates a position contrary to our denomination's statement of faith, the Baptist Faith & Message," Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, told The Christian Post.

The Baptist Faith and Message declares that “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

Teresa Hairston, the magazine's publisher, could not be reached for comment. But according to reports by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Associated Press, Hairston said she was just reporting on an emerging trend in churches, and not trying to promote women pastors.

"They basically treated it like pornography and put it behind the counter," said Hairston, according to AP. "Unless a person goes into the store and asks for it, they won't see it displayed."

Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also weighed in the topic of women serving in leadership roles in his recent commentary on women and the election. He rejected misunderstandings that the denomination wants women to be "subservient" to men, citing the SBC's confession of faith that states woman and man are "equal worth before God." But he drew from teachings in the New Testament to support the Southern Baptist position on women pastors. In 1 Timothy 2:12, "the Apostle Paul instructs that 'a woman is not to usurp authority over the man,'" explained Land.

"Most Southern Baptists have understood this to mean that women are not to be pastors of local churches, since the pastoral office is a position of authority," he said.

Although the denomination doesn't agree with women serving as pastors, said Land, it does not oppose women serving in leadership roles in public service, such as the vice presidency.

"For Baptists, who make a strict distinction between the local church congregation and other denominational or parachurch ministries, such a statement would not preclude women 'gifted for service' from serving in leadership positions in the denomination as opposed to the local church."

On the Web: The Sept./Oct. issue of Gospel Today Magazine at gospeltoday.com.

[By Katherine T. Phan - Christian Post Reporter]

Palin-God Cartoon "Despicable," Says Pentecostal Leader

The leader of the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination denounced a cartoon that mocks Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Pentecostalism, and Christianity as “despicable.”

“The cartoon is despicable,” decried Assemblies of God’s chief executive officer, George O. Wood, in a statement Friday. “Millions of Christians today follow the example of first century Christians who prayed in other tongues.

“The Washington Post would not think of printing a cartoon that mocked members of the Muslim or Jewish faiths,” he charged. “It should be ashamed.”

In the cartoon, posted online Sept. 9, Palin is illustrated talking on the phone at a podium in an incomprehensible language. Republican vice presidential nominee John McCain stands near Palin and says with a grin, “She’s a Pentecostal and speaks in tongues, and only God can understand what she’s saying. But it gives my campaign a direct line to the Almighty.”

The next drawing shows “God” in heaven holding a phone saying to an angel, “Peter. What’s wrong with this phone? All I can hear is some dam’ right wing politician spouting gibberish!”

AG superintendent Wood criticized the political cartoon for not only revealing the cartoonist’s lack of understanding of Pentecostal beliefs, but of God.

The cartoonist portrayed God as cranky, befuddled, a user of profanity and not omniscient.
“Since God is multi-lingual, I'm sure He doesn't have problems understanding any prayers – whether they are articulated in a known or unknown language,” Wood said. “He looks for prayers that come from the heart."

Furthermore, the Pentecostal leader noted that Palin, to his knowledge, has never said she prays in tongues.

Palin was raised in a Pentecostal church and attended one until six years ago, when she and her family switched to a non-denominational evangelical church. She now identifies herself only as Christian, and a spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign says Palin does not consider herself Pentecostal.

Still, the Republican vice presidential candidate and her ties with Pentecostalism have been subjected to scrutiny and commentary by secular reporters, who mainly portray the religious body as peculiar and unconventional.

According to http://www.washingtonpost.com/ representative Deborah Howell, Washingtonpost.com received some 350 complaints from readers about the cartoon by Pat Oliphant, which they said lampooned their faith.

"Readers were right to complain," she said, according to AG News, the news service of the 5 million-member Assemblies of God. "I will deal with political cartooning in another column."

She also noted that Oliphant’s cartoons are automatically posted on the washingtonpost.com site without anyone editing or reviewing the material prior to its posting.

[By Michelle A. Vu - Christian Post Reporter]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Launch" Conference

One Day Launch Conference
(Church Planting Seminar)
Tuesday, September 30
Avalon Church
McDonough, GA (Atlanta area)
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

This is the only Launch Conference Nelson Searcy is teaching this fall. This is a powerful conference that has helped hundreds of new churches Launch Large!

This conference is only two weeks away.

Here's a link to all the details:

Right now, the per person investment is only $89 (early bird rate). Group rates are also available; just call Cristina at 212.730.8300 x212.

This Cartoon Crosses The Line

[Click on image to enlarge it.]

This cartoon is from the Washington Post. It is a cartoon of Sarah Palin speaking in tounges at a podium and God's basic response is a curse word and him saying that He can't understand.
This is disturbing to many Christians. Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals need to speak up.
Washington Post
Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20071
The Washington Post
Main Number: 703.469.2500
Main Fax: 703.469.2995
P.O. Box 17370
Arlington, VA 22216
Caroline Little - CEO & Publisher
Jim Brady - Executive Editor
Steve Stup - VP, Sales & Advertising
Goli Sheikholeslami - VP, Classifieds & Local Products

Today's Report From Missionary John Doroshuk in the Country of Georgia - 9-19-08

Today we went to the outdoor market and bought several boxes of fresh tomatoes and grapes. These were then packaged and we distributed them to 28 families. These people have not tasted a fresh tomato for over one month. They received the tomatoes and grapes as though we were giving them some gold.

The Georgian people are a very meek people. After being in contact with several hundred of them throughout the week, I am amazed that I have not heard one of them rant and rage against the invasion or the Russians.

However, their stories are heart breaking. Most of those in the refugee camps do not have a home to return to. Entire villages of up to one thousand people has been laid totally wasted without one home intact. Some of them will never be able to return to their homes. They will have to start over in some other place.

Thank you so much for your love and prayers. Yes, we need to keep the situation in Georgia covered with prayers as only God knows how things will end up.

Thanks again for your love and prayers. This truly is the time to have part in, "I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was naked and you clothed me, Sick and in prison and you visited, me ..."

Thank God for you and the saints who are literally fulfilling the words of Jesus. Be blessed with love and grace.

Brother John
mailto: mincoordinator@attglobal.net

Today's Photos From Missionary John Doroshuk in the Country of Georgia - 9-19-08

Missionary John Doroshuk Reports From the Country of Georgia

Yesterday was a very full day. We were at one refugee camp and two refugee centers. I fought back tears most of the day as we listened to the tragic stories.
One young mother with three children still does not know where her husband is. Another young mother with four children last saw her husband as he went to work in the morning on the 7th of August.
One elderly couple fled for 8 days on a small farm tractor through forest, mountain paths and fields to get away from the Russian front. They have received word that their house, barn and fields have been completely destroyed.
A little boy slept with a coat as a covering. We bought him his own blanket.
We were able to help 37 families with fruit and vegetables as well as some daily necessities.
Some or most of these people have not even seen an apple since the war. One little boy, before he ate his apple, put some apples on a small plate and wanted to share them with us.
These people are worried about what is going to happen when winter comes. Those in the tent city are already cold at night as it is located close to the mountains. They are all begging for warmer bedding and of course for winter clothing and footwear.
Then there is the great concern of what will it be like when and if they can return to their homes. They will need funds to restore their homes, at least walls, roof, windows and doors.
There are so many young mothers with babies with only a little water and a small wash basin to do all of the laundry. Pampers would be a God send to them.
If there is any way you can help, or if you have questions, contact missionary John Doroshuk at mincoordinator@attglobal.net.

"Leading While Bleeding" Conference

[We highly recommend this conference.]

Conference: Leading While Bleeding
Date: September 27, 2008
Location: T.L. Lowery Conference Center, Cleveland, TN


Cost: $50 per person and $35 for your spouse. This conference is for hurting ministers and we all know that ministry is a team effort.

We are also offering a discount for all students. We would like to invite you for $10 (you must show a current student ID at the registration table when you arrive).

[Brian Cutshall]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Going Public With the Problem

When you determine a problem can’t be resolved privately, you’ll likely need to make preparations to take it public. When you stand before your church, or women’s group, or small group, or student group, here are five things you’ll want to do:

  • Acknowledge the problem
  • Own your mistakes
  • Present the plan
  • Answer questions
  • Recap with vision

Each of these thoughts seems basic–and they are. But they are all very important. Let’s talk about acknowledging the problem.

Too many leaders avoid “owning” or “acknowledging” the problem. Some ministers attempt to turn difficult seasons of ministry into a spiritual pep rally explaining what great things God is going to do. In many ways, this lacks integrity.

When something is not right and we don’t acknowledge it, many will lose confidence in our leadership. They’ll assume that either we don’t know about it (which doesn’t reflect well on us) or that we don’t have the courage to address it.

People would rather have you “tell it like it is” than ignore or hide the problem. A truthful acknowledgment is almost always better than pretending there is not a problem.

Telling the truth takes integrity. People follow leaders with integrity.

[From LifeChurch.tv : swerve by Craig Groeschel]

Starting Additional Services at Your Church

Many things should be considered before starting additional/multiple worship services at your church. Here are some things pastors have learned in so doing:

  • Never add a service to an existing schedule. Change the entire schedule or people won’t adopt the new schedule like you need them to do.
  • Get people to commit in writing to making the move to the most likely least attended service. Be creative, challenging, but not pushy.
  • Bring the heat (lots of intensity) in your first service. Don’t allow crowd size to diminish your intensity or the intensity of your service. Don’t make people miss the service they just left.
  • NEVER refer to a service as “the early service.” Refer to them by their time slot. Don’t create a stigma for that service that may not exist.
  • Do identical services if at all possible.
  • Meet with your critical players to work out bugs in between services. Correct on the fly.
    Ask your people to serve in one service and attend another.
  • Leave sufficient transition times. If parking is limited, consider that in your planning.
  • If you are at 70% capacity, you need to be launching a 2nd service. The only people that like big crowds are preachers.
  • If you are at 80% capacity, you are losing people. At 80%, people cannot sit together OR they are forced to sit in places they don’t want to sit.
  • When you launch a 2nd or 3rd service, you can manage the crowd size with pipe and drape. If at all possible, never let your crowd fall under 40% capacity. Pipe and Drape or the creative arrangement of chairs can keep you in that sweet spot of critical mass.
  • Strategically reward your key, high-output volunteers (gift cards, hand-written notes, sincere pats on the back).
  • Never ask, “What is the least number of people we need to pull this off?” View additional services as a recruitment opportunity. God fills vacuums. So, don’t limit what He wants to do.
  • On low days (Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend), combine services and roll with a packed crowd to build and maintain momentum and to rest your key leaders.

[From Missional Church of God by travjohnson]

Which Presidential Candidate Do I Vote For?

In America, we are more than heavily influenced by a two-party system. All candidates talk about "change" and "shaking up Washington." But, can any one person effect significant change?

The first thing a new congressman or senator is told when they get to Washington is to follow party lines. Each party actually has a "whip" to keep Representatives in line with the party.

So, what is really important is the Party Platform. Read each party's official platform. Skip the biased news networks and commentators. Go right to each Party's official website and their platform. It will tell you what they really believe and what agendas they will have for the next four years.

Determine which platform more closely represents your personal beliefs and values. Then vote your conscience, hopefully your Christian conscience. Which platform has the most violations to God's Word?

Republican Platform; http://www.gop.com/2008Platform/

Democrat Platform; http://www.democrats.org/a/party/platform.html

Missionary John Doroshuk Is In The Country of Georgia Right Now

[Click on photo to enlarge it.]

Missionary John Doroshuk is in the country of Georgia ministering to refugees now. He reported today that yesterday evening he went to one of the refugee centers in Tbilisi to distribute some rice, sugar and toiletries. He was able to help 28 families plus some single men. All of these people do not have a home to return to; the war completely destroyed their homes.

So many of the people had a nice garden and orchard before the invasion by Russia. They are unable to go back to these to take in whatever is left. Some places have a land mine every three or four feet apart. One of the reasons the Russian forces stayed back in Georgia so long was to spread a complete blanket of land mines so that even if the people could return, they would not for fear of be killed by one of the land mines.

Today he will be going to the tent city refugee camps on the outskirts of Tbilisi. These people have been dealt such a horrible blow.There still seems to be a shortage of bedding, mattresses, blankets, sheets and pillows. So, winter clothing and bedding are desperately needed.

Many of the people in the tent cities will be able to return and restore their home, some even before winter. Others who have no home to return to have been placed into buildings that will house them for a longer period of time. The authorities have commandeered all daycare centers for a minimum of twelve months to be used as refugee centers.

If you can help in any way, please contact John Doroshuk. Thanks for caring and sharing the needs of our brothers in Georgia.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bill McCartney is Back at Promise Keepers

Promise Keepers is expected to undergo major changes after co-founder Bill McCartney was brought out of retirement to once again head the nearly 20-year-old organization – arguably the most prominent among men's ministries.

McCartney, 68, returned to the helm of the organization, assuming his new role as CEO and Chairman on Monday, five years after having resigned. He also brought back with him former Promise Keepers executive Raleigh Washington to serve as president.

The leadership change comes as attendance has been declining at Promise Keepers events for years. The organization was going through a period of refocus and recalibration in recent years, scaling down the number of stadium-size events it holds annually and adding smaller local church events such as PKAdventure.

Former president and CEO Dr. Tom Fortson, who resigned last weekend, had told The Christian Post earlier that they were "looking for ways to have more impact at a lower cost."

"We will continue to offer a number of our larger arena events; but by offering new programs such as PK Adventure, PK Edge and pastors' workshops, and by incorporating satellite and internet technology, we provide a more robust PK experience that can impact men beyond the arenas," Fortson had said last month.

He noted that few men attend church on Sundays and that churches also struggle to maintain a vibrant men's ministry. Thus, Promise Keepers began placing more emphasis on equipping local pastors to better reach men and "to harness today's technology to reach more men with less," as Fortson stated.

Promise Keepers partnered with Church Communication Network to broadcast the local PKAdventure events this year to other host sites.

"Look at it this way: PK is growing with the marketplace of ideas and today's technology.

Although the conference is important, it's just one of the many ways PK will now be reaching and equipping men worldwide," Fortson further commented to The Christian Post at the time.

Promise Keepers is best known for its large-scale conferences held each year across the country. At its peak in 1996, the organization held 22 stadium conferences and drew 1.1 million men.

While the organization continued to hold almost as many stadium conferences thereafter, attendance dropped. In 2006, some 132,000 participated in the organization's 18 conferences.

The action to bring back McCartney, who had retired in 2003 to care for his ailing wife, was generated by former board chairman Sam Winder, who was retiring.

"It came to the position where he (Winder) felt like what he needed to do is put the ministry in the hands of the founder," Washington explained to The Christian Post. "As he was retiring, he wanted it and the board agreed."

"The coach (McCartney) basically said 'if this is a unanimous decision by the Promise Keepers board of directors, I will follow,'" Washington continued. "In light of that, Tom Fortson did resign."

General counsel Ed O'Brien said Fortson's resignation was voluntary, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Under its new leadership, Promise Keepers will be rolling out with a fresh new vision and plans over the next several weeks, Washington said.

This year's Promise Keepers events will continue as scheduled.


[By Lillian Kwon - Christian Post Reporter]

Ray Boltz Is Gay And Out Of The Closet

Ray Boltz is gay and tells his coming out story to the Washington Blade.

Boltz, with about 4.5 million LPs, cassettes and CDs sold, never made a splash outside of Christian circles but he never really tried. With a handful of RIAA Gold-certified albums, three Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and a string of 12 No. 1 hits on Christian radio, Boltz is a household name in evangelical circles. “Thank You,” a sentimental song about a dream in which a Christian thanks the Sunday school teacher who led him to embrace Christ, is his signature song. It was the GMA song of the year in 1990 and has become a staple of Christian funerals. Other Boltz trademarks are “Watch the Lamb,” “The Anchor Holds” and “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.”

“I’ve kind of had two identities since I moved to Florida where I kind of had this other life and I’d never merged the two lives. This was the first time I was taking my old life as Ray Boltz, the gospel singer, and merging it with my new life. Emotionally it was kind of a big deal to think about that.” Ray Boltz was tired of living a lie.

He’d gotten to a point nearly three years before where he couldn’t continue down the road his life had gone. His 33-year marriage to ex-wife Carol was, he says, largely a happy one. It produced four children — three daughters and a son who are now between 22 and 32 — but family life and going through the motions of being straight had grown so wearying to Boltz, he was in a serious depression, had been in therapy for years, was on Prozac and other anti-depressants and had been, for a time, suicidal.

Boltz admits to some nervousness, but says ultimately, he isn’t worried. He doesn’t want to get into debates about scripture and has no plans to “go into First Baptist or an Assembly of God church and run in there and say, ‘I’m gay and you need to love me anyway.’” For him, the decision to come out is much more personal. “This is what it really comes down to,” he says. “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”



Friday, September 12, 2008

Pastor, What Do You Do When People Leave Church?

Every few years, it seems like a small wave of our faithful people leave the church. They often say things like:

- We just don’t get time with you anymore.
- The church has gotten too big.
- Things have changed.

I wish I could lovingly express:

- I hoped your involvement in the ministry was based on much more than your time with me.
- Aren’t you excited God is using our church to reach people? Would you rather we don’t reach people and stay small?
- Isn’t it great things have changed? Would you rather freeze in time?

Some faithful believers simply find it tough to be a part of a changing church. Many pastors fight to keep them in church. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it is a mistake.

While I try to express my genuine love, if the people are always going to be disappointed with the direction of the church, I’ve found it is better to let them move on.

I try to always speak well of them. I try not to take it personally. I try to always show them the love of Christ with each encounter. And I try to continue to move the church forward.

[from LifeChurch.tv : swerve by Craig Groeschel]

Christanity Expands in Belarus

[Click on photo to enlarge it.]

The church of Jesus Christ is making headway in Belarus in spite of government oppression.
In Minsk, the capital, secret Christian concerts are held as college students come into town for a new school year. One missionary reported:
The summer is over, but it is still a hot time for the church. As you know we have many students, and we use this special time when freshmen come to Minsk to get to know them and to get them for Christ.

Yesterday we had an evangelization concert where three different Christian music bands and dance team participated. About 150 students attended and many of them had never been to any kind of church before. It was a great time to get to know them. I didn't preach there for long. I just shared with them how much I love my children and how much more our Father God loves all of us. And also, I told them that I wanted to pray for them, to be their pastor and to take care of them. Now we pray that they will come to church this Sunday. We are planning to have a fellowship with tea just after our church service.

We are making plans to have evangelization meetings for the youth every month. Please, keep this in your prayers.
[Missionary's name withheld for his safety. Sponsored by the Church of God of Prophecy.]

Messenger Magazine Goes OnLine

As a remembrance of the International Assembly, the Editorial Department of the Church of God of Prophecy is making the October issue of the White Wing Messenger available online for your viewing pleasure.

In the past, they have made only certain pages available as a “Sneak Peek” into what was to come in the next issue. This month, they have decided to venture out and try something new and innovative.

Click wwm.cogop.org and view the October issue in its entirety. Follow these instructions carefully. The “Sneak Peek” is located under the “Messenger Sample” tab. Once you click on there, then click on the picture of the cover for the “Sneak Peak.”

While at the website, you can subscribe to the White Wing Messenger in your home. The subscription rate is $18.00 for 12 issues. If you are able to get a group of five together to subscribe, you will save more than 40 percent off the single subscription rate. This brings the price down to less than $1.00 an issue.

Send your comments to Editorial@cogop.org.

Todd Bagley
Editorial Assistant & Marketing Coordinator
Editorial Department of the Church of God of Prophecy

Sarah Palin Biography by Zondervan

Christian publishing giant Zondervan, the company behind Rick Warren’s megahit The Purpose Driven Life, announced last week that it will release the biography of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin next month.

The former little known Alaskan governor raised much curiosity after her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week where she showcased her no-nonsense attitude, passion and moral convictions.
Now that the entire country is familiar with the name Sarah Palin, people want to know more about the woman that could be second in line to the presidency.

The new biography Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader by Joe Hilley seeks to address some of the questions and allay curiosity by exploring how she became the leader she is today. The book looks back at Palin’s political career, life as a hockey mom, and her strong Christian faith.

"We live in an age that values relationship over authority and instant information over accuracy, so breadth of knowledge and depth of conviction are the most prized commodities for our leaders," author Hilley said in a statement. "Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin brings both of these qualities and more to her new role as John McCain's running mate and I'm eager for readers to have the opportunity to know her and her brand of leadership more thoroughly."

Palin is the first woman governor of Alaska and the first woman to be on the Republican presidential ticket. She is known for her anti-corruption campaigns and likes to portray herself as a political outsider.

She was raised in a Pentecostal church and belonged to the Wasilla Assembly of God church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, from her teenage years to 2002. Since then she has attended a nondenominational church in Wasilla.

"Regardless of your political persuasion, it is clear that Sarah Palin has quickly electrified the 2008 election and sparked a nationwide dialogue and debate," said Moe Girkins, president and CEO of Zondervan – the world’s leading Christian publisher. "We are honored to publish this book that will provide readers with a comprehensive look into the life and rising political career of Sarah Palin."

The book is scheduled for release nationwide on Oct. 10.

[By Jennifer Riley - Christian Post Reporter]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pictures of Destruction in the Country of Georgia from John Doroshuk

Georgia Ministry Coordinator: mincoordinator@attglobal.net.
[Click on photo to enlarge it.]

Georgia Needs Our Prayers And Support

The country of Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Moscow on Friday to protest the presence of Russian troops on its territory. Russia said the move would only make things worse.

With European Union leaders set to discuss on Monday in Brussels how to deal with an increasingly assertive Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin angrily warned Europe not to do America's bidding and said Moscow does not fear Western sanctions.

Russia has faced isolation over its offensive in Georgia and stands alone in its recognition of breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The U.S. and Europe have closed ranks in condemning Russia's actions but are struggling to find an effective response.

John Doroshuk, Goderdzi Todadze, and Rusudan Todadze report that the EU leaders are not expected to impose sanctions on Russia at their summit but may name a special envoy to Georgia to ensure that a cease-fire is observed.

The diplomatic break will require Georgia and Russia to negotiate through third countries if they negotiate at all — a sticky situation because Russia sees Western nations as biased in Georgia's favor. Georgia, which had pushed for a greater role for international organizations, could see it as an advantage.

Meanwhile, ministries to refugees like the Church of God of Prophecy continually work in different ways. John Doroshuk, Georgia Ministry Coordinator (Church of God of Prophecy) said, "We have been serving about 35 families camped in a kindergarten. They are refugees from different villages and most of them are children. We investigated their needs and supported them with hygienic staff, medicines, clothes and etc. But, most important for them, we provide spiritual support because almost all of them are experiencing a great deal of stress."

Because of the large number of refugees, ministries like the Church of God of Prophecy have had to increase their support. Dr. Gerald S. Flint, Director of Volunteer Medics Worldwide said, "We visited refugees in the 'City of tents.' Doctors examined as many patients as possible and gave away medicines. We saw a large number of eye infections. Some of the children had critical levels of sickness."

August 23, John Doroshuk, Rusudan Todadze, and Dr. Gerald visited Gory city that was attacked by the Russian air force. Russian troops left this city on August 22, so this ministry was able to enter. They report terrible conditions. They saw burned houses, damaged hospitals, closed schools and people experiencing clinical depression. People have lost relatives and close friends. Some people are living under the ruins left by war.

In visiting bombed places, they saw ruins where large bombs were dropped. The ministry team helped people who took peaces of bombs far away from children. Some of the adults clearing rubble burned their hands (apparently from chemicals).

Please pray for the people of Georgia. They need all kinds of help.

If you feel led to assist in any way, contact John Doroshuk at mincoordinator@attglobal.net.

Let Us Never Forget 9/11

Haiti Hit Hard by Hurricane Ike

Once again, our hearts go out to our precious families in Haiti as Ike has unleashed its fury on this nation. It has been reported that four major storms in three weeks have killed more than 600 people and left hundreds of thousands in desperate need of food, clean water, and shelter. More stormy weather hampered relief efforts Sunday [September 7th]. And, the heavy rains brought down a key bridge which severed the only viable land route to the hardest hit city, Gonaives, forcing trucks loaded with emergency supplies to turn back from assisting this area.

The Church of God of Prophecy in Haiti is reporting that much of the country is separated now due to the bridges that went down. As a result of the hurricanes;

  1. Part of the [sea] wall at the orphanage has fallen down. This is one of the major projects that we must correct very soon unless we risk losing the entire orphanage property to the sea. We have had an engineer recently visit Haiti to review this project, and the best possible answer to remedy this need according to the engineer is for us to build a new sea wall on the inside of the old wall. It will require about $25-30,000 to fulfill this major need. Currently, over 80 orphans are housed on the very property that is at risk, and may intake more orphans as a result of these recent storms.
  2. In the South East area of Haiti, 8 churches are damamged with roofs gone and 3 churches completely destroyed. 800 families are flooded.
  3. Nearby, 2 church members are dead, 9 churches damaged, either walls fallen down or roofs lifted, 1000 members flooded, 100 houses crashed.
  4. Mapou, Font Verrettes and Bodarie: 2 church members dead with their houses fallen over them, 5 churches damaged and 4 churches completely destroyed, about 1000 members flooded.
  5. Gonaives: one church there is completely flooded including our 300 peopled attending that church.
  6. Petite Riviere de l'Artibonite: 2 churches completely destroyed, 1500 persons affected and their houses damaged as well.
  7. Miragoane: part of church roof is gone.
  8. Mariani, near Port-au-Prince: Roof lifted completedly and thrown into the sea by strong winds.
  9. South and Grand-Anse: Jeremie city is completely flooded including 2000 families flooded.
  10. Pilate: This church is new and was under construction; all the walls falled down.
  11. La Coma: part of the church falled down.
  12. Boucan Patrio: part of church roof is gone.
  13. Jean Rabel: Roof of the church is gone.

(This is a partial report.)

How to Send Help

Send donations to:

Church of God of Prophecy

Haiti Relief Efforts

P.O. Box 2910

Cleveland, TN 37320-2910

[By David Bryan from Cliff Haven News by Pastor Brian Sutton]