Church & Ministry

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Posted 7/28/16 at 4:03 PM | Mark Ellis

After 8 mo. in prison, Chinese pastor says he is ‘closer to God’

Pastor Yang Hua

By Mark Ellis

A pastor imprisoned in China on a contrived “divulging state secrets” charge sent a letter to his wife June 30, thanking God for his time in prison, according to a report by China Aid.

“This is a good place to rest, where I am cut off from the rest of the world and brought closer to God,” Yang Hua, a pastor at Living Stone house church in Guizhou province wrote from his jail cell.

“I can no longer hear the clamorous noise, but can better listen to the Lord’s voice.”

Living Stone is the largest house church in the area and has come under increased government pressure, with a number of its pastors and parishioners arrested. It started with 20 members in a single apartment in 2009 and grew rapidly to 400 by 2013. The church rented 7,000 square feet in an office building the next year to accommodate their growth, according to China Change.

Pastor Yang is a third-generation pastor. Born Li Guozh, he later changed his name to Yang Hua, which in Chinese means “looking up to Jehovah.” FULL POST

Posted 7/27/16 at 7:50 PM | Mark Ellis

Pokeman Go outreach party at seminary leads six gamers to Christ

Visitors drawn to seminary campus

By Mark Ellis

With the Pokeman Go craze in full swing, a Texas seminary recognized a unique outreach opportunity to host a “lure party,” which drew several hundred from the community – and six people prayed to receive Christ as a result.

Realizing the unusual occasion for outreach, students and faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a “lure party” at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus on July 19th, according to Baptist Press.

The seminary campus became home to three Pokémon “gyms,” or virtual meeting places, and nearly three dozen “Pokéstops,” or landmarks.

Then many Pokeman aficionados who wouldn’t otherwise set foot on a seminary campus made their way to the campus to play the game.

Amazingly, about 200 people from the community showed up over a two-hour period.

“Unlike any other time that we have done outreach in either the community or any type of mission trip, this was the rare opportunity where we didn’t have to go find people, but they were coming to us,” Joshua Clayton, a master of divinity student told Baptist Press. FULL POST

Posted 7/26/16 at 11:41 PM | Tony Mator

Dear Churches, Pokemon Go won't make you cool

By Gieson Cacho - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gcacho/27593601665/ (Cropped from the original), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50195748

My house is a former parsonage. The lease comes with the curious perk of having a dining room door that leads directly to the office of the local Presbyterian church. As such, the lease also comes with the expectation that simple household repairs can take weeks or months to materialize, thanks to the slow-moving wheels of that ancient biomechanical device known as a church board. (If the church board is reading this, please accept my apologies for making jokes at your expense. I'm sure you will find it in your heart to forgive. Besides, by the time the full board agrees to kick me out, my lease will have already expired.) Another value-added benefit is that during recent weeks, my location has provided a strategic vantage point to observe Pokemon Go players converging on the Lord’s house. FULL POST

Posted 7/26/16 at 8:02 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Prince of Who’s Church?

For some time now I been seeing and hearing the term “Prince Of The Lords Church” in reference to the Office of the Bishop. Now that term sounds real good but I always wondered where it came from and most importantly if ts biblical.

Please do understand that I’m not saying the Bishop isn’t Biblical because it is. I am wondering where is term came from and why it’s become so popular over night.

I did my research to find out that the term isn’t Biblical at all. It’s actually a term founded in the Catholic church but yet so many black Churches use it so freely.

This is what I found the meaning to be ….The term Prince of the Church is nowadays used nearly exclusively for Catholic Cardinals. However the term is historically more important as a generic term for clergymen whose offices hold the secular rank and privilege of a prince (in the widest sense) or are considered its equivalent. In the case of Cardinals, they are always treated in protocol as equivalents of royal prince. FULL POST

Posted 7/25/16 at 5:05 AM | Sophia Mixon

6 Christian Truths That Make the World a Better Place

The world is kind of a scary place right now. Though most of us find joy in everyday living, our perspective of the world includes senseless violence and murders, rebellion, prejudice, and a lot of hate.

It can be hard to go on social media and perpetually encounter the tangible negativity that fills your endless scroll. But amidst that hate and sadness is the every-shining hope of Christianity.

Even though much of the negativity of the world is directed at Christians, those who believe can find light in the darkness by feeding off some of the most powerful truths known to man. Do you recognize these?

1. Families Should Provide for Themselves

There are countless stories and parables in the Bible that preach about being self-sufficient and providing for yourself and your family. Welfare is a wonderful institution for people who can’t help themselves, but for those who can but choose not to, it’s a crutch that’s tearing the fabric of society.

Christianity teaches that families have a responsibility to work and earn money for themselves, whether by taking an average-pay, nine-to-five job or making millions on penny stocks, like the renowned Timothy Sykes. When families take care of themselves, they find blessings in self-reliance that help them through some of the most difficult times. FULL POST

Posted 7/21/16 at 11:27 AM | Marvin Thompson

Religious Freedom and the Christian Conundrum

According to yourdictionary.com, the definition of conundrum is a situation where there is no clear right answer or no good solution. That is a very useful definition for understanding the problem(s) facing the American Christian when it comes to our alleged struggle for religious freedom in a religiously pluralistic society. An American society that is growing more ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse is challenging the conventional interpretation of the original intent of the Framers of our most sacred and revered national document, the Constitution of the United States of America.

What many Christians mean and understand by religious freedom in America is that the laws governing the nation must affirm Judeo-Christian ideals and morality, and that the Church must have a say, even a veto, in how the nation is governed, and how the culture evolves. This, they seem to believe, is the just and free exercise of their religion. And they are convinced that this is constitutionally guaranteed.

The U.S. Constitution is not a Christianity affirming document

The first clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There is no dispute that the United States of America was founded in part on the idea that people ought to be free to practice their religion without coercion or interference from the government. The challenge is how to interpret that part of the amendment. FULL POST

Posted 7/19/16 at 3:39 PM | Mark Ellis

Does God still heal miraculously today?

Peter approaches the lifeless body of Dorcas

By Mark Ellis

Jesus demonstrated He is the Son of God (and He is God) by performing powerful miracles throughout His ministry. I don’t know of any other religious figure who could walk on water, command the wind and the waves, heal people born blind, feed 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes, and raise the dead.

In Luke 7, some men sent by John the Baptist came and asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for, and He said:

“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.”

The miracles testified to Jesus’ authority, that he was the promised Messiah. The miracles fulfilled the prophecies about him in the Old Testament. He also healed because of his compassion and he healed in response to faith.

But what would happen after he left? What if there were no more miracles after Jesus ascended to heaven? But that’s not what happened. The miracles didn’t stop. They continued through his disciples – and they continue to this day! FULL POST

Posted 7/19/16 at 2:22 PM | George Sarris

Thank A Cop

In light of yesterday’s events in Dallas, I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to be a policeman and protect me and my family.

I said those words, with tears actually beginning to well up in my eyes, as my wife, daughter and I walked toward the Minor League baseball stadium in Bridgeport, CT to watch the Bridgeport Bluefish play the Sugar Land, TX “Skeeters” (yes, their official logo is a tough, angry looking mosquito!).

The officer looked at me . . . somewhat surprised . . . and said with a grateful smile,

Thank you. I really appreciate it!

I said something similar to another police officer at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Fairfield on Sunday afternoon after the murders of three policemen in Baton Rouge. He, too, was surprised and encouraged.

I really appreciate you saying that,” he said. “We don’t often get encouragement like that. FULL POST

Posted 7/19/16 at 8:20 AM | Yvonne Perkins

Studing the 8 Prayer Watches (Part Two)

This is the second part of the series on the 8 prayer watches of the Bible. There are four watches of the night and four watches of the day First Watch also known as the Evening Watch from 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Second Watch from 9:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M. Third Watch also known as the Breaking of Day Watch from 12:00 A.M. to 3:00 A.M. and the Fourth Watch or The Morning Watch from 3:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. The four watches of the day are: Fifth Watch aka the Early Morning Watch from 6:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. Sixth Watch 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. The Seventh Watch 12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. and Eighth Watch 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.

We discussed that each watch has a different set of duties, purpose or function. The watchman during the first watch per Lamentations 2:19 cries out to our heavenly father on behalf of the children. Mark 1:32-34, Luke 4:40 talks about this watch being a time when Jesus healed many. The focus of this watch is A time to repent on behalf of yourself, families, ministries, and government.A time to pray for government, finances, welfare and justice, stewardship, and education. Pray for transformation of the hearts of men everywhere. FULL POST

Posted 7/18/16 at 8:02 PM | Mark Ellis

God hides 18 Muslim converts under His wing, protects them from attack

Pastor Paul baptizes former Muslim

By Mark Ellis

In the warm clear waters of the Arabian Sea, 18 former Muslims were baptized recently at an early morning service conducted by Bibles for Mideast.

The new believers had personally approached the ministry leaders and requested baptism. “They wanted to be purified in the Spirit and the Water to get ready to meet Jesus Christ – the Bridegroom, who is coming in the clouds soon to take His Bride,” says Pastor Paul. “Our Lord’s return is imminent, they all believe.”

After the baptism service the group worshiped together and celebrated the Lord’s Supper.

“During the worship service two women and a man from among the believers together prophesied in the Spirit to vacate the present shelter soon and move away to another place,” Pastor Paul reports.

Not knowing where the Holy Spirit was leading them, they obeyed the Lord and left the house where they stayed on July 17th and reached a new location a significant distance away from there. FULL POST

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