Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obit - Bishop Larry Dotson

Larry J. Dotson, 66, Leesburg, FL passed away Monday, July 27, 2009 at Leesburg Regional Medical Center. He was born June 21, 1943 in Coeburn, Virginia son of the late William E. and Opal Dotson.

A local resident since 2000 from Alexandria, Virginia, he was the Presiding Bishop of Florida for the Church of God of Prophecy and was a member of Ocoee Church of God of Prophecy. He also served as Chairman of the Finance & Stewardship Committee of the International Assembly of the Church.

His brother Robert Dotson preceded him in death.

Surviving is his wife Frankie Dotson; son Larry J. Dotson, Jr., and his wife Heather and their daughter Skyler all of Minneola; siblings Phillip Lane, Billy Horton & Bonna Keeley all of Virginia and Jerry Dotson, Land O’ Lakes.

The funeral service for Bishop Dotson will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday August 1, 2009 in the Wesley Center in Clermont. Interment will follow in Oak Hill Cemetery.

BECKER FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, Clermont, FL. Telephone 352-394-7121.

Bishop Dotson had accomplished the following:

BA in Business Administration, Antioch University, 1976
Masters in Ministry, International Bible Institute and Seminary, 1982
Doctorate in Theology, Christian Bible College, 1987
Graduate Work, Liberty University, 1998

Air Force, Strategic Air Command, 1961 - 1965
Universal Communications Systems, 1970 –1981
Director of Field Operations for Eastern United States, 1977

Church of God of Prophecy:
Youth Pastor, Southeast, Virginia Church of God of Prophecy, 1969
Licensed As Minister, 1977
Finance and Appropriations Committee, Virginia and Ohio, 1979 – 2000
District Overseer, Roanoke, Virginia, 1979 – 1981
Alexandria, Virginia, 1995 – 2000
Ordained As Bishop, 1982
Pastor, Roanoke, Virginia, 1981 - 1984
Altavista, Virginia, 1987 - 1989
Brecksville, Ohio, 1990 - 1994
Alexandria, Virginia, 1989 – 1990, 1995 - 2000
Editor and Publisher, Wings Of Truth, State of Virginia, 1984 - 1987
New Field Director, Virginia, 1984 - 1987
State Treasurer, Virginia, 1984 – 1987
Missionary Evangelist, Holland, 1987
Cypress, 1990
West Africa, 1999
International Finance and Stewardship Committee, 1999 – 2006
Chairman, International Finance and Stewardship Committee 2006 – Present
State Overseer, Florida, 2000 – Present
President, Church of God of Prophecy State of Florida, Inc., 2000 – Present
President, Church of God of Prophecy, State Campground, Inc., 2000 - Present

Area Ministerial Association, 1987 – 2000
Civil Air Patrol, Chaplain, First Lieutenant, 1990 - 1996
FAA Licensed Pilot
AOPA Member

Certified Instructor of Hermeneutics, LDI, 1992 – 2004

Profile Of The Church Of God In Virginia

Executive Committee Employee of The Year, Universal Communications Systems, 1980
Oxford’s Who’s Who; Elite Registry of Extraordinary Professionals, 1992, 1993

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Funeral Arrangements for Bishop L. J. Dotson

Becker Funeral Home (in charge of arrangements)
806 W. Minneola Avenue
Clermont, FL 34712


The service will be Saturday, August 1 at 1:00 P.M.
The Wesley Center
950 8th Street
Clermont, FL (directly behind the First United Methodist Church of Clermont on Hwy 50)

There is not visitation prior to the service.

There is not a specific memorial fund being set up. Sister Dotson has expressed just whatever people want to do.

So You're a Leader - Inspire Others

As leaders, we have two options: we can inspire others or injure others.

When we inspire, we cause others to strive to be their best.

When we injure, we cause others to never be their best.

When we inspire, we listen to what others have to say.

When we injure, we force others to listen to us.

When we inspire, we do whatever we can to serve others.

When we injure, we see others only as people that can serve us.

So you are a leader? Which are you doing? Inspiring or injuring?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obit - Ruby Smith

Ruby Smith, mother of Dr. Sylvester Smith, Senior Pastor of the Praise and Worship Center in Anniston, AL, went to be with the Lord yesterday.

Funeral Services will be at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at Collier-Butler Chapel.

Mrs. Ruby C. Smith, age 85 of Gadsden went to be with her Lord and Savior on Monday-July 27, 2009. Revs. Dennis Johnson and Frank Tucker will officiate with burial at Wynnville Cemetery, Snead, AL. Collier-Butler Funeral and Cremation Services Directing.

Mrs. Smith was born to Clarence S. Mathews and Mamie E. Herrington Mathews on September 19, 1923 in Blount County, She was a longtime resident of Etowah County, a member of Triune Baptist Church, and was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Aubrey L. Smith, daughter, Nadine Justice and son-in-law, Bert M. Stephens.

Survivors include her children: Gean Stephens, Cullman, Rev. Sylvester (Bobbie) Smith, Anniston and Loretta (Tom) Harper, Alabaster. Grandchildren: Jeanelle Mathis, Jeff Roden, James Justice, April Smith, Jonathan Smith and Holly Harper. Six Great Grandchildren and Two Great Great Grandchildren. Sister, Lois Hopson, Oneonta and brother, James W. Mathews, Blountsville. Numerous Nieces and Nephews. Pallbearers will be grandsons. Honorary Pallbearers will be nephews.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to the nurses and staff at Northside Health Care Center and the Nurses and Staff of 7th Floor at Gadsden Regional Medical Center. The family received friends from 6-8 p.m. this evening at the funeral home.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bishop Larry Dotson Passes

"We are all so sorry to share that Bishop Larry Dotson, Overseer of Florida for the COGOP passed away this evening. I know that we all join Sister Frankie Dotson, their son Joe and family in prayers for comfort and strength. We are all grieved and shocked at this loss of a wonderful friend, partner in ministry, and leader for this family of ministry."

Bishop Randall E. Howard
General Overseer
Church of God of Prophecy

As details become available we will be sharing them online at

Death Announcement

Pastor Sylvester Smith's mother went to be with the Lord this morning following a long illness.

The family will be receiving friends at Collier-Butler Funeral Home in Gadsden, Alabama, Tuesday evening, July 28, 2009, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

The funeral will be Wednesday, July 29, 2009, at Collier-Butler Funeral Home in Gadsden, Alabama at 11:00 AM.

Sylvester Smith is the Senior Pastor at the Praise and Worship Center in Anniston, Alabama. Please be in prayer for this precious family.

Today's Quote

"More would love Jesus if we who believe the doctrines of grace were gracious! Our lives must 'adorn' doctrine." (Titus 2:10) - Pastor Rick Warren

Indigenous Leadership

When building a team, you have two basic choices:
  • Raise up from within
  • Bring in from outside

Let’s consider the benefits of using people from within:

  1. You develop a culture of leadership development. When people see others excelling and growing, it naturally produces a leadership culture. Instead of bringing in the “professionals” from outside, it promotes equipping and promoting from within.
  2. People already understand your culture. When you bring someone in, it is always questionable whether or not they can catch the spirit and fit into the culture of your ministry.
  3. Local people are generally more loyal to the vision. Those who come from within are generally more loyal to the vision. Rather than being another rung on their ministry ladder, most who come from within see your ministry as a life calling.
  4. They can bring huge life experience. Those who have been successful in non-ministry roles can bring a wealth of wisdom from their life’s learning into a local church.

There are plenty more benefits. What are your thoughts?

[based on an article from : swerve by Craig Groeschel]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Today's Quote

"Acceptance isn't approval. Jesus publicly defended a woman’s dignity without approving her sin. He corrected privately. Copy him!" - Pastor Rick Warren

Church Leader, Learn This Lesson

"Learn this lesson – if you are to do the work of a prophet, what you need is not a scepter but a towel and basin.” - Bernard of Clairvaux

[from Larry Duncan]

Friday, July 24, 2009

Perfect Pastor?

In my imagination, I sometimes think I could create the perfect minister. I'd take the eloquence of ______, the knowledge of ______, the zeal of ______, and the pastoral meekness, tenderness, and piety of ______. Then, putting them all together into one man, I'd say to myself, "This is the perfect pastor."

Now there is One, who, if he chose to, could actually do this; but he never did it. He has seen fit to do otherwise, and to divide these gifts to every man severally as he will. (Richard Cecil, Memoirs of the Rev. John Newton, p. 107.)

[by John Piper, from Desiring God Blog]

Pastor, God Loves You Immensely

Luke 12:6-7; "Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows" (NKJV).

Pastor, you need to hear what you so often share with others. You tell people on many occasions that God is truly interested in their life and the circumstances that they are facing. Be reminded today that there are times in which we need to reflect on those spiritual truths that we have deposited in the lives of others. Is it possible that the enemy seeks for us to forget those truths when we are facing our own personal adversity? It is at those moments that we need to remember the promise of Christ found in Luke; God watches the sparrows but people are more valuable than the sparrows.

Be reminded today that Biblical truth. God has not forgotten you. God has not forsaken you. You are significant to God and the service that you offer to Him is important. God is near to you during your adversity and He is aware of the fears that you are facing. But rest assured that God is for you and that He is not against you. Trust in Him with all of your heart and lean on the promises of God and He will see you through the struggles that you are facing.

Take time today to remember the promises that God has declared to you and over you.

Blessings on your walk with God.

[by Michael Willingham]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Growing Leaders

Leaders grow other leaders when they are focused on three things:
  1. Growing themselves daily with the Lord through prayer and Bible study
  2. Growing others through discipleship (one-on-one or one-on-few)
  3. Growing the gifts of those around them by helping them to discover and focus those gifts on their personal passions

Review the list above - are you doing all three? If not, how will you change the way you lead to incorporate all three of these aspects of leadership growth into your weekly life?

[from Agile Ministry by James Higginbotham]

Today's Quote

“When I preach I teach; when I teach I preach.” - Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Love Your Leader

If you serve under a good leader, count your blessings and love your leader.

Leadership is often a solitary role. While leaders are often responsible for those they lead, they often go under appreciated. They spend long hours making sure things are taken care of, with little thanks in return. We all hope this isn’t the case, but unfortunately it happens more than we like.

How can you love your leaders? Try giving back to them. Here are some ideas:
  • Give them a sincere “thank you," perhaps with a short story on how they have positively impacted you or others
  • Send a thank you card and enclose a gift certificate to their favorite store (something non-churchy can make it more personal)
  • Give them a weekend off by covering for them
  • Babysit (or hire babysitters) to care for their children and give them a date night with their spouse
  • Give them a nice meal by cooking or providing a gift card to a nice restaurant (no fast food)

Take some time to love the leaders you report to and the leaders you serve alongside.

[from Agile Ministry by James Higginbotham]

Public School Students Still Have Religious Rights

A newly launched campaign is reaching out to public school students, teachers and parents across the nation to promote greater awareness about the fundamental right that students have to express themselves – even when it comes to religion.

“Students have the liberty to express their faith at school,” clarifies Eric Buehrer, president of Gateways to Better Education, which has teamed up with the Alliance Defense Fund for the National Free to Speak Campaign.

“One of the most important civics lessons all students should learn is that freedom of religious expression is a fundamental right of all Americans, and, as the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, this freedom does not end at the schoolhouse gate,” he adds.

Over the past 15 years, the U.S. Department of Education has thrice issued guidelines on freedom of religious expression in public schools – two times (1995 and 1998) during the Clinton administration and once (2003) under the Bush administration.

Included in the guidelines are statements clarifying a number of important religious freedoms on public school campuses including a student’s right to share their beliefs, pray, evangelize, read scripture, and invite students to participate in such activities so long as they are voluntary, student-initiated, and not disruptive or coercive.

Under the guidelines, students are also free to express their religious views in a class discussion or as part of an assignment, so long as the expression is relevant to the subject under consideration and meets the requirements of the assignment.

“Faith is an important part of millions of teens’ lives,” notes Buehrer. “The classroom should be a safe place for students of all ages to express their faith in class discussions and homework assignments, just as the U.S. Department of Education has affirmed.”

The problem, says ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman, is that the guidelines had been sent to every school district but didn’t make it into the hands of school administrators, teachers, parents, and students.

“As a result, some schools have practices that are in direct violation of the guidelines and the U.S. Constitution,” adds Cortman, whose Christian legal group often intervenes in religious liberty cases.

As part of the National Free to Speak Campaign, Gateways to Better Education will be distributing pocket-sized pamphlets that it has produced to the churches, communities, and schools of those who order them.

Additionally, ADF has donated its time to the National Free to Speak Campaign by offering to send a personalized six-page letter to school officials clarifying the freedom of religious expression students and educators have on campus.

The goal of the two organizations is to distribute 500,000 pamphlets and reach 5,000 schools by the end of the year.

“This campaign will help schools improve their practices,” says Cortman.

[By Lawrence D. Jones, Christian Post Reporter]

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Like Jesus

"When I surrendered to Jesus, I found not a tyrant, but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend." - Pastor Rick Warren

Wouldn't it be nice if Christian leaders could be more like Jesus?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today's Quote

"Those who waste time attacking perceived faults of others never grow up. Envy and bitterness shrink their hearts. (Jn 8:15)" - Pastor Rick Warren

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite Dies at 92

Walter Cronkite, the long-time CBS News anchorman once called "The Most Trusted Man in America," has died, according to reports published late Friday. He was 92.

At every turn, he acted as if he had a responsibility to his audience. He didn't do the right thing because he thought it would help him get ahead and then one day he'd get his share. Instead, he always did the right thing because that's who he was. No sellouts, no political consulting, no false transparency.

And, that's the way it is.

One bad apple spoils the whole barrel / bushel / lot / bunch.

Did you ever have a bad apple in your church or on your team? Do you have the right people in the right seat on the bus?

Bad apples are staff-members who cause problems, reduce productivity, or have a negative impact on morale. These types of people come with a variety of traits, personalities and problems. Most leaders are well-equipped to handle problems, but almost universally, leaders feel inadequate when it comes to solving personality problems or person-to-person conflicts. And these often have the biggest influence on reaching goals.

Identifying Bad Apples - Some easy to recognize signs of a troublesome people include tardiness, leaving early, failing to follow instructions, argumentativeness, and inability to take direction well. The best test for a bad apple is to ask if he.she negatively affects the accomplishment of the vision. Whatever he/she is doing (or not doing) can make it harder for other people, or for him/her to complete theirs. Some types of bad apples include backstabbers, passive-aggressives, liars, bullies, whiners, career climbers, gossips, laziness and more. The ultimate outcome of that person’s attitude or behavior is that the church/ministry does not succeed as well as it could have.

Evaluate Productivity - When it comes down to it, people are primarily valuable to the team because of the work they accomplish which helps bring the vision into reality. There may be people on your team who work for you that you don’t like, find annoying, or whom other people dislike, but the ultimate test of whether they are bad apples is how they impact productivity.

You need to look not only at that person’s own productivity, but at how he/she influences productivity for the entire team. A person who does not do his job well is an obvious problem, but one that drains the resources from others is not as easy to spot sometimes.

Understanding Bad Apple Behavior - Just as there are lots of behavior that qualifies as problematic, there are many reasons that can explain bad apple behavior. If you can pinpoint and understand the reasons behind their actions (or inaction's), you’ll be in a better position to be able to solve the problem.

Some common reasons for below par activity include:
- he doesn't like his job
- he doesn't like the work environment
- she doesn't like her co-workers
- she feels dissatisfied with the church
- he has skill set deficiencies he is trying to manage or cover up
- he really has no idea he’s not measuring up
- she is experiencing a personal, health, or family problem outside of work
- he has a basic clash with leadership
- she has basic personality traits that are just incompatible with the job or ministry

The best way to find out the reason behind their behavior is simply to talk to them. Find out what her concerns are, how she feels, and what’s going on in her life. It’s impossible to properly correct something if you can’t identify the cause and sometimes we tend to over think things when there really is a simple explanation. If you have someone who is not turning in projects on time, you could extrapolate all sorts of complicated reasons for this – she can’t work with the new version of the software, she’s trying to make you look bad, and so on, when the explanation might be as simple as the fact that someone else is giving her work that is more urgent. Find the root of the problem and you can then fix it. Unless you understand the core cause of the problem, you might end up just solving a symptom, but not resolving the underlying issue. A solution that deals only with the symptoms is going to be an incomplete solution. If you Spackle over a cracked wall in your house you can mask the problem, but it will simply crack again if you have a shifting foundation that needs to be repaired. Your team member is in the same situation. You can temporarily change some behaviors, but if the root cause of the problem remains untouched, you’re likely to experience problems with this employee over and over again. You won’t always be able to completely fix the problem, but understanding the cause can help you be a more effective leader.

Rehabilitating Bad Apples - To change a bad apple, first talk to the team. Find out what is going on. Take some time to observe and create your own conclusions. Next, think about what might be creating the situation. You might have a situation where two people are incompatible or has been placed in a situation that is outside her area of skill or confidence. If you can identify and isolate a situation or problem that is contributing to the behavior, you have a much better chance of creating a solution for it.

If the problem is inherent to the person’s attitude or personality, first demonstrate the benefits of being a good member by rewarding other members. Demonstrate the consequences of bad apple behavior – follow protocol for write-ups and discipline. Talk to him about what the problem is, but do so in a way that shows you want to work together to solve the problem. Be prepared to really listen to their explanations and feedback. Create a goal for the person. Don’t step back and expect him to get there himself – help him reach the goal. Doing so ensures success and shows you are on his side. Provide real suggestions and tips and always give positive feedback as you move along.

[from Great Leadership by Dan McCarthy]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today's Quote

“The farther I run away from the place where God dwells, the less I am able to hear the voice that calls me the Beloved, and the less I hear that voice, the more entangled I become in the manipulations and the power games of the world.” - Henri Nouwen in Return of the Prodigal

[From Larry Duncan]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today's Quote

"Your church’s foundation will determine both its size and strength. You can never build larger than your foundation can handle." - Rick Warren

Church Humor

(Click on image to enlarge it.)

Today's Quote

"Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Another religious-themed attraction for Gatlinburg

Officials in Gatlinburg, Tennessee have announced plans to open a religious-themed attraction at the site of the old Christus Gardens, which closed in January 2008 after nearly 50 years.

Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens, backed by local businessmen, is to open next spring.

Christus Gardens portrayed the life and death of Christ. Millions of people had visited it, just off the main parkway through the Smoky Mountain resort town.

In a news release Monday, officials said the developers have been acquiring items from around the country for the new exhibition.

The site was to have been developed for condominiums, but those plans fell through.
Renovations at the site are already under way.

[The Associated Press.]

Faith & Risks

Taking a huge risk without patiently gathering the facts, seeking wise counsel, keeping in alignment with our life’s purpose, and lots of prayer is simply unwise. Faith is not an excuse to be lazy and irresponsible.

After patiently gathering as many facts as you can, seeking wise counsel, striving to keep in alignment with your life’s purpose, and lots of prayer, big risks still require faith. There remains that "stepping into the unknown," "jumping off the ledge," "entering the point of no return," that requires faith.

There are times when we may need to stand down and not take that risk in the name of faith. There are times when we may need to step out and take that risk because God has prepared us and the time has come.

Where are you? Is it time to "stand down" or "step out?"

[from : swerve by Guest Blogger]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Paula White Goes Back to Pastor

Charismatic preacher Paula White is stepping in as senior pastor of the Florida megachurch that she and her now ex-husband founded nearly two decades ago.

On Sunday, White was expected to officially mark the start of a new chapter in the history of Without Walls International Church, which once attracted 23,000 worshippers and was heralded as one of the nation’s fastest-growing congregations.

“It will be my first Sunday to officially preach and to minister to you as the mandate and the mantle that I’ve received for the great assignment for this city, for this ministry, and for our lives collectively as your new senior pastor,” White reported in an eBlast to the Tampa-based congregation.

Since her divorce from Bishop Randy White in 2007, White has been ministering in New York, Texas, and abroad, making only periodic visits to Without Walls.

The church, meanwhile, has shrunk drastically and found itself having faced foreclosure, with their bank demanding immediate repayment of a $12 million loan on the property last November.

Though the church and its lender, the Calif.-based Evangelical Christian Credit Union, later agreed to a modified loan agreement this past March, Bishop White, as recently as last month, reported that the church was in great need for a “financial blessing.”

“We’re at a very critical juncture in our life right now with the church where we must have financial blessing,” he said on June 23 in urging his congregation to donate.

“God is faithful, and He spoke to me at the beginning of this year and said that 2009 would be our greatest year. And isn’t it like the devil ... to cause confusion, to bring a discouragement just before our biggest breakthrough?” the 51-year-old preacher added.

In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times on Friday, White said he was stepping aside as senior pastor because of health concerns and that he has been in and out of the hospital for much of the last seven months.

"I have some serious health issues right now," the bishop said. "I've had six different doctors say that I had to take the stress, the pressure out of my life."

As a result, Bishop White called up his ex-wife about two months ago to inform her of his health situation and to ask her to consider returning to lead the congregation they once pastored together.

After much prayer and counsel, Paula White decided accept the mandate and mantle of senior pastor of Without Walls International Church and the entire ministry organization, according to Paula White Ministries.

“Pastor Paula is very excited about this wonderful assignment and opportunity from the Lord,” her ministry reported. “We know this is the divine plan of God and that great things are in store!”

As for Bishop White, the ailing minister said he is staying town and will still be connected to Without Walls – just in a different position.

“It’s not something that we’re losing. You’re actually gaining,” he told his congregation last week. “And we’re going to gain momentum as we go forward to build the Kingdom of God.”

On Sunday, Without Walls was expected to honor Bishop White “for the leadership and the legacy and richness that he has brought to Without Walls.”

“And we look forward to our future as God has big things for all of us,” Paula White added. “God has big things for us.”

[By Eric Young, Christian Post Reporter]

Today's Quote

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia

Friday, July 10, 2009

One Nation, Under God

Will America hold to the idea of Christianity? Or, is God being removed from the public square (secularization)? President Obama seems to be a secular leader and that message has been well received in Washington.

For example, for more than 40 years the Air Force has flown over the "God and Country Festival" in Idaho. But not this year! The Pentagon says it cannot supply planes because the festival endorses religion. To diminish spirituality by denying the people of Idaho a flyover is another example of secularists being disrespectful to people of faith. It's not a religious event, it's a "God and Country Festival." "God" is on our money. There's no reason on earth that the Air Force shouldn't fly over the festival.

Also, the president didn't attend any events at the National Day of Prayer.

And, when Mr. Obama spoke at Georgetown University, a religious symbol behind him was covered.

But the truth is, the USA has become the strongest, most prosperous country on this earth largely because of its Judeo-Christian traditions. Will we now abandon them, or stand up for our faith?

Pastor Brad Braxton Resigns

The Rev. Brad Braxton, pastor of New York City's Riverside Church, resigned last week after being installed only a few months earlier.

He has been criticized for his $600,000-plus salary package which included a $250,000 annual salary and $11,500 living allowance (see earlier post of this Blog). The package was approved by church members. Dissidents unsuccessfully tried to block his installation by going to court charging that the package strained the church's budget.

After considerable prayer, Braxton concluded that because of consistent discord, it was impossible to establish a fruitful covenant between him and the congregation. Therefore, his resignation would be the right thing to do for the congregation, his family and for himself.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

When the Leader is Attacked Unjustly ...

Leaders MUST be willing to make unpopular decisions at times …and when that happens you can bet on the fact that arrows are going to fly in your direction. So … when the arrows fly … what are your options?

1. You Can Cry - the problem is – people can’t stand to hear other people cry! Seriously … no one has ever been inspired to do anything great from the whining of another person. Trust me, I’ve done my share of crying. And while it may bring some brief apathy and sympathy, it never accomplishes anything significant for the Kingdom!

2. You Can Die - I know people who have allowed the attacks of others to literally kill the joy inside of them. If you are a leader, then you are mistaken if you actually think that everyone is always going to embrace you and/or your ideas. Do not allow the voice of those who know you the least to shape you the most – to do so means certain death to the fire inside of your soul!

3. You Can Fry - I remember once several years ago having an incredibly difficult time with some things that others were saying about me, and it was stealing my joy. I would read the blog site around 10 times a day and steaming over the comments … until a mentor told me, “I call what you are doing 'verbal pornography!' Reading that site is not helping you. It is only damaging you!" BAM! I was allowing to voice of the enemy to focus all of my attention in the wrong place … thus ignoring my wife, my daughter and my church. Yes, we will get angry when attacked unjustly. But, to dwell in and feed that anger does nothing but give the enemy a foothold into our lives. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

4. You Can Lie - We can say things don’t hurt us and try to laugh it off … but reality is when we do that we are lying! Attacks by the people in the cheap seats always sting. So, the best thing you can do is honestly admit to a group of people you trust how you honestly feel! The sooner you admit the truth the more people will be able to help you walk through this. (And trust me, God doesn’t intend for you to be on the battlefield alone!)

5. You Can Try - (BEST option!) When knocked down we can get back up! When attacked we can stay focused and keep doing what God has called us to do. We are NOT called to quit, but rather KEEP trying! If you are a leader, then you cannot afford to waste time defending yourself and making sure the opinion polls are always in your favor. We’ve GOT to be passionately obsessed with listening to God and then doing EXACTLY as He says … EVERY SINGLE DAY. We can never allow the voice of the enemy take the calling that the MOST HIGH GOD put into our lives! Don't give up. What we do is SO worth it! Keep trying your best to desperately run after Jesus and the vision HE gives … and don’t allow the snakes to scare you … Jesus CRUSHED the head of the serpent … and in HIM we can do the same! WALK IN VICTORY!

[from Perry Noble dot com by perry]

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Today's Quote

"Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong." - James Bryce

Friday, July 3, 2009

United Methodist Members Dying Faster than Americans

Offering a new perspective on the reality of aging denominations, The United Methodist Church studied the death rates of Methodists and the general American population and found that the church is dying faster.

The death rates for members of the nearly 8 million-member denomination are about a third higher than the national average, according to the "Pockets of 'Youthfulness' in an Aging Denomination" report.

In 2005, the United Methodist death rate was 134 percent of the U.S. death rate among those 15 years and older.

Among UMC's 62 annual conferences, or regional bodies, in the United States, 34 of them (representing 41 percent of UMC membership) reported death rates 20 percent or higher than their general population.

"There is no future for The United Methodist Church in the United States unless we can learn to reach more people, younger people and more diverse people,” said the Rev. Lovett Weems, director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, which compiled the report, as reported by the United Methodist News Service.

The graying and declining membership has led to numerous multi-million dollar ad campaigns in an effort to reach more people, particularly young ones.

"Rethink Church" is the United Methodist Church's newest campaign targeting 19- to 34-year-olds who may not be familiar with the church or who are seeking to make their lives more meaningful.

More than $20 million in ads are being launched over the next four years.

"Reaching new populations – which tend to be younger and more diverse than traditional United Methodist constituents – needs to be a high priority," Weems told UMNS.

According to the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, members in mainline denominations were younger than the general U.S. population in the 1960s. But over the last several decades, membership has continuously grown older.

While death rates may not be exact indicators of age, the Center – which set out to examine age trends in the United Methodist Church – pointed out that they do help show patterns that should correspond generally to age, considering that 75 percent of deaths in recent years occurred among people aged 65 and older.

The Lewis Center recommends that United Methodist churches not only reach new populations, but also begin new congregations as they tend to reach younger people at a higher rate than existing churches.

[By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter]

Obit - Betty Ann Stockdale Hayes Sexton

Funeral services for Betty Ann Stockdale Hayes Sexton, of Mount Olive, Ala., formerly of Camden, age 64, were held Tuesday, June 9 at 10 a.m. in the chapel of Currie-Jefferson Funeral Home with Gene Weakley, Wayne Hall and Bro. Bryant officiating.

Bob and Ronnie Stockdale delivered the eulogy. Burial followed at Jefferson Memorial Gardens, South, in Hoover, Ala. Currie- Jefferson Funeral Home of Hoover. was in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Sexton passed away Saturday, June 6. She was born Nov. 2, 1944 in Old Hickory to the late R. W. and Anna Stockdale. She was the former owner of Betty’s Sweet Shop, in Paris, formerly worked in dietary at Henry Co. Medical Center, and was a member of the Church of God of Prophecy, also in Paris.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by husbands, Richard Hayes and Eldon Sexton. She is survived by a daughter, Anna Lorene “Lori” (Tim) Naramore, and a granddaughter, Anna Elizabeth Naramore, all of Birmingham, Ala.; a sister, Jean Wheeler, of White Bluff; and three brothers, Buddy (Pat) Stockdale, of Somerville, James M. “Bob” (Virginia) Stockdale, of Big Sandy, and Ronnie (Debby) Stockdale, of Bartlett.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dr. Mark Rutland Takes The Helm at ORU

The former president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., officially stepped in Wednesday to take charge of Oral Roberts University, marking another new start for the historically charismatic institution.

Dr. Mark Rutland, who was elected in January following a 14-month search, marked his first official day Wednesday as ORU’s third president and the first without the Roberts name.

And unlike the previous president, Richard Roberts, Rutland will not be leading an institution more than $50 million in debt.

Following a highly-active clean-up campaign spurred by the resignation of its second president, ORU today finds itself with less than $700,000 in debt.

"I am incredibly excited about the debt being reduced by such a significant amount," said Mart Green, chair of the ORU Board of Trustees. "Debt is one of the dragons that ORU needed to slay to ensure economic sustainability, and we are almost there."

According to Green, the reduction of the school’s debt has been strengthening the new ORU and paving a “clear path” for it as the new president.

For the past nearly two years, the Tulsa, Okla.-based school has been working to recover from the financial scandal that stemmed from a lawsuit filed in October 2007 by former ORU professors who claimed they were forced out after uncovering financial and ethical wrongdoing by the school's former president and family.

Roberts, son of the school’s namesake founder, televangelist Oral Roberts, and his wife were accused of using university money for shopping sprees, home improvements and a stable of horses for their daughters at a time when ORU was more than $50 million in debt.

The suit was finally settled late October 2008 after a court-ordered mediation session, bringing to a close the scandal that engulfed the charismatic school.

Regarding the selection of ORU's new president, Green said he was excited and expressed confidence in Rutland’s ability to lead the school. “He brings great wisdom and experience to this role and will strengthen the university’s mission to provide an excellent, whole person education to our students," Green said.

At Southeastern University, Rutland is credited with engineering a turnaround after he became president in 1999. He also founded Global Servants, which has a church-planting ministry in West Africa and a large girls’ home in Thailand.

"Much prayer, time, and thought was put into the presidential search process and I am excited that Dr. Rutland was chosen as ORU’s third president,” commented Green.

According to ORU, Rutland will begin his service to ORU with many tasks on his agenda. With a new school year to begin in August, Rutland will be busy developing short-term and long-range plans for the university.

[By Eric Young, Christian Post Reporter]

Do People Still Respond to Door to Door Visitation?

Now more than ever, we need to look toward new methods to get the unchurched into our churches. Some people will be reached through door-to-door methods. Others will not.

While more than half of Americans would listen cordially as a stranger at their door invited them to church, more than 60 percent of the unchurched might tune us out before the invitation left our mouths. Now, the cross is always a stumbling block, but we also want to be sure that our methods are less so.

The message of the gospel is too important to be spread through just one strategy—and if God leads you and your church to a certain strategy, you should use it. Door-to-door methods can be and are used to reach people. This method can still be an important part of our evangelism strategies, but our study shows that not everyone is open to such an approach. Let us ask God to show us additional ways to reach the unchurched—through relationships, service, ministry, and invitations to visit.

Remember, God wants to see the unchurched connected to a family of faith even more than we do.

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Today's Quote

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Today's Quote

“Life is tough. Every weekend at church I look into the faces of thousands of people who have been beaten up by the world all week. They arrive with their spiritual and emotional batteries depleted. My job is to reconnect them with spiritual jumper cables to the restorative power of Christ." - Rick Warren