Friday, March 28, 2008

National Doctor's Day

[By Ed Thomas]

Dr. David Stevens and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations say recognition of National Doctor's Day on Sunday is a chance for churches to acknowledge that Christian physicians have one of the biggest mission fields on earth.

CEO of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), Dr. Stevens says physicians sacrifice years of costly study followed by the hard work and stress of their profession, and he thinks communities should acknowledge those sacrifices. Stevens also hopes churches in those communities will help doctors recognize their key placement for the Christian gospel's sake. "I see every Christian doctor as a medical missionary. Our members -- over 17,000 -- may not serve in a foreign country, but each day they have dozens of intimate conversations with patients who do not have a relationship with God," Stevens contends. According to Stevens, doctors can influence patients or even lead them to Christ through their medical skills and Christian attitude. He says churches should encourage doctors for this reason. "Make this a special day for them, and then help them to see that they're [an] extension of God into the community from that church, to introduce people to Christ and move them on their journey towards God," Stevens says. Stevens also notes churches can refresh the vocational desire and the spiritual service of physicians by recognizing them with notes, prayer, and other special means suggested at the CMDA website.

Day of Prayer for Students

The month of March is “Students First” at First Priority. God’s design is that all children have adults in their life to encourage, mentor and pray for them. In other words, our children come first. It is their needs and battles that must concern us before we consider our wants and desires.

Because of this need, First Priority has secured from the Governor a proclamation naming March 30th as the Day of Prayer for Students Across Alabama. When teachers and principals were required by court decisions to stop leading students in prayer, we lost a powerful weapon in the battle for the souls of our kids and our nation. Its time for adults to reclaim that weapon by stepping up to the challenge and praying for and with students across Alabama! Our children don’t just need our prayers, they deserve them!

Today's Prayer

Dear God, You have instructed me to not be anxious, worrisome, overly concerned for any thing ... but instead to bring everything to you in prayer and thanksgiving. If I do this, you have promised me that your peace, which passes all understanding, shall keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). I come to you now for myself and on behalf of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and for those who suffer so much due to anxiety and depression. I pray that you will fill us with your peace; that you will touch our minds and remind us that we do not need to worry. You are our God and maker. You will handle it for us. Worrying does no good. May we lean into you, talk with you, spend time in your Word and before the throne of grace.

May we fellowship with other Christians, those who will encourage us, even more so as the day approaches. Right now, this day, we give you our concerns and ask that you will work out all to our good and your glory. Thank you, Father, for loving us and carrying our burdens. Thank you, Father, for providing our needs. Thank you, Father, for Jesus Christ our Savior and the hope He has given. For it is in His name I pray, amen.

Strom Selected as President of Trinity Bible College

[By Steve Tvedt]

On February 29, 2008, the Trinity Bible College Board of Regents took action to form an Executive Team for the college by selecting G.L. (Jack) Strom, Samuel H. Johnson and Samuel Farina, to assume executive leadership of the college. Strom was selected to be the president of the college. Strom, along with his wife Barb, will be relocating from Florida to Ellendale, North Dakota, to fill the President's office immediately.

"As the president of Trinity Bible College, along with the newly elected Executive Team members, Rev. Sam Johnson and Rev. Sam Farina," Strom says, "I plan to capitalize on the strengths of TBC and focus on communicating a progressive but relevant vision for the future."

Ministry is an inseparable part of Strom's life, whether as the son of a minister, a Bible college student, pastor, church college administrator, missionary evangelist or strategic initiative planner. After serving as a pastor, in 1972, Strom joined the administrative team of North Central Bible College (now North Central University) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he served as vice president of Development. In 1982, he left the college to start his own strategic planning service, Strom Ministry Concepts. Strom has led churches and para-church organizations to dramatic growth in giving, both as a pastor and as a capital fund initiative planner. Under his consulting leadership, churches, colleges and other church related ministries have experienced increases in giving, totaling millions of dollars.

Church Participates With ABC's Extreme Home Makeover - Pastor Joey Turman

In early February, Pathway Temple Church of God of Mobile, Alabama, was asked by ABC Television and Heritage Homes to help with the popular television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. As many as 150 members from Pathway volunteered, says Andric Daugherty, administrative pastor at Pathway. They served meals, worked in the house for the Gaudet family, whose home was damaged by Katrina, and acted as tour guides for guests and VIPs.

Several Pathway businessmen contributed their skills with such things as cabinet installation and trim carpentry. Others helped raise trusses, clean the house, and move furniture. Many Pathway members were on hand at the end of the week to shout those famous words "Move That Bus!"

The Gaudet family, recipients of the home improvement, was chosen in part because of their volunteer work in the community. "They have given so much to the Mobile area, and now the Mobile area is able to give something back," remarked Pathway's Pastor Joey Turman.

Money Management Conference for Churches

Church Executive magazine is sponsoring an event to help churches being affected by the recent economic downturn. The two-day workshop, designed to help churches anticipate and prepare money strategies for possible lean times, will take place this spring.

On May 19-20, Church Executive magazine will sponsor "Managing the Money: Transactions and Transparency" in Grapevine, Texas. Spokesman Ron Keener says the sessions on money management could be vital to the financial solvency of churches whose members are facing their own cash crises during the current tough economic climate -- including salary freezes, layoffs, and foreclosures.

Monetary conditions in the lives of church members, according to Keener, impact "congregations ... and what's put in the offering plate." He contends churches may soon "deal with a cash flow that might be going downward."

Keener believes churches should also investigate the need to set aside proper cash reserves or even acquire a line of credit. He says the seminars will be chock-full of ways for church pastors, business administrators, and finance committee members to learn how to analyze expenses, work on financial targets, and adjust operational plans for a more secure future. "It's a matter of controlling costs and understanding how they can take care of financial matters better," Keener notes.

Church Executive magazine is published for larger churches and megachurches needing guidance in administration and management. Registration for the workshop is available at the magazine's website.

Parents Choose Faith Over Doctors - Girl Dies

Police are investigating an 11-year-old girl's death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor.

An autopsy showed Madeline Neumann died last Sunday from diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body.

"She had probably been ill for about a month, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness," the chief said Wednesday, noting that he expects to complete the investigation by Friday and forward the results to the district attorney.
The girl's mother, Leilani Neumann, said the family believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but she said they do not belong to an organized religion or faith, are not fanatics and have nothing against doctors.

She insisted her youngest child, a wiry girl known to wear her straight brown hair in a ponytail, was in good health until recently.

"We just noticed a tiredness within the past two weeks," she said Wednesday. "And then just the day before and that day (she died), it suddenly just went to a more serious situation. We stayed fast in prayer then. We believed that she would recover. We saw signs that to us, it looked like she was recovering."

Her daughter — who hadn't seen a doctor since she got some shots as a 3-year-old, according to Vergin — had no fever and there was warmth in her body, she said.

The girl's father, Dale Neumann, a former police officer, said he started CPR "as soon as the breath of life left" his daughter's body.

Family members elsewhere called authorities to seek help for the girl.

"My sister-in-law, she's very religious, she believes in faith instead of doctors ...," the girl's aunt told a sheriff's dispatcher Sunday afternoon in a call from California. "And she called my mother-in-law today ... and she explained to us that she believes her daughter's in a coma now and she's relying on faith."

The dispatcher got more information from the caller and asked if an ambulance should be sent.
"Please," the woman replied. "I mean, she's refusing. She's going to fight it. ... We've been trying to get her to take her to the hospital for a week, a few days now."

The aunt called back with more information on the family's location, emergency logs show. Police and paramedics arrived within minutes and immediately called for an ambulance that took her to a hospital.

But less than an hour after authorities reached the home, Madeline — a bright student who left public school for home schooling this semester — was declared dead.

She is survived by her parents and three older siblings.

"We are remaining strong for our children," Leilani Neumann said. "Only our faith in God is giving us strength at this time."

The Neumanns said they moved from California to a modern, middle-class home in woodsy Weston, just outside Wassau in central Wisconsin, about two years ago to open a coffee shop and be closer to other relatives. A basketball hoop is set up in the driveway.

Leilani Neumann said she and her husband are not worried about the investigation because "our lives are in God's hands. We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do."

[What do you think? Are the parents guilty of crime of faith? Does all faith take a risk?]

Today's Quote

“Sometimes, a leader emerges from among equals, a man whose natural charisma, stability, and sense of purpose make everyone turn to him, just as the office plants turn toward the window. There’s something special there, and everybody recognizes it, even if no one can put a finger on it. Leadership isn’t a job or a title, it’s a calling.”

(David Zinczenko-Men’s Health Magazine editor)

What If The Church Closed For Retraining?

[By Dave Ferguson]

My high school age daughter Amy is a barista at Starbucks. A few weeks ago all the Starbucks across North America closed shop for three and half hours in the evening. Why? To hear from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz via video about the companies need to get back to it's original vision. Next, the store manager talked about several strategic changes that the store would make to give the customer better and more personalized service. And the evening ended by re-training everyone at that Starbucks store. When my daughter got home here is what she said to me, "Dad, you would have loved it! ... It's really weird, I know that I really work at a fast food chain, but they made me believe that it really matters."

So here is my question: If we were to close all the churches across North America for three and half hours and we had the chance to vision-cast and re-train every Christ Follower, what would need to be said and what would you do?

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