Church & Ministry

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Posted 10/23/14 at 2:58 PM | Mark Ellis

Prayer warrior in Liberia healed of Ebola after touch from God

Dorothy Sawer

By Mark Ellis

This woman of faith lives in a one-room tin house with holes in the walls in a crowded section of the capital of Liberia. Her most-prized possession is a well-worn Bible, a sword she wields – along with fervent prayer – as Ebola ravages her church and her neighborhood.

“Only God knows where we are heading to now,” Dorothy Sawer, 48, told the Los Angeles Times. Sawer is an abandoned wife caring for six children in impoverished circumstances – but she has her faith.

That faith – in the midst of the devastating epidemic – is often ridiculed by her neighbors. “Sometimes I pray loud; sometimes I pray louder,” she told The Times. “My neighbors get vexed. They get angry. People laugh at me and mock me. They say, ‘Every day, it’s God, God, God business.’ These neighbors say that’s all they hear.”

When Sawer was 10-years-old, she had her first personal encounter with God. She saw a flash of light and a white man with long hair appeared out of nowhere, his back turned. Then he disappeared as quickly as he had arrived. FULL POST

Posted 10/23/14 at 12:32 PM | Vince Hokkanen

Retaining Our Resilience in Suffering

I have recently been asked about how to remain resilient when we are facing setbacks and grief. There are no easy answers that we can box into everyones circumstances. What I do suggest is to look at the lives of Job, Joseph, King David, The Apostle Paul. How did they manage handle the adversity that stuck them? This excerpt is take from my book Shadows in the Mountains: Walking Through Grief. It is a short read, but I think you will find it helpful.

Leave- your past Grief: I thought about this word for a very long time. We are to remember our past, to learn from it, but also leave it. We must press on in our lives, and reach for the future. In Philippians 3:13, the Apostle said that we must forget what lies behind, and reach forward to what lies ahead. Bear in mind that he wrote this from a prison cell. Our past, if we allow it can cripple us. It can prevent us from having peace in our present circumstances and relationships.

I think of certain relationships that I have had in which past hurts, emotions, strains, and betrayals have caused enough pain that I wrestle with trusting or forgiving others. The feelings of injustice I felt from being the receiver of harsh words, unfair criticisms, and betrayal were unbearable. Some of the deepest and penetrating grief comes from family members. Those who are closest to you can hurt you the most. I believe this because in most cases we love them, and it doesn’t seem right to deliberately hurt the ones we love. FULL POST

Posted 10/23/14 at 11:40 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Defending Churches: ADF Challenges Government Assaults on Religious Freedom

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

I recently wrote to invite you to enlist your pastor to participate in our seventh annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday, October 5, and your response has been phenomenal. More than 1,800 pastors from all 50 states plus Puerto Rico have participated so far. (Registration and participation are open through Election Day, November 4 – so if your pastor has not yet joined in, please encourage him to do so.)

The event gives pastors the opportunity to exercise their constitutionally protected freedom to engage in religious expression from the pulpit despite an Internal Revenue Service rule known as the Johnson Amendment, which anti-religious groups often use to silence churches by threatening their tax-exempt status.

The great majority of those participating preached sermons relating biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates. They also signed a statement agreeing that the IRS should not control the content of a pastor’s sermon. Hundreds more who didn’t speak from the pulpit on these issues still opted to sign the statement – bringing the total number of pastors in support of pulpit freedom to more than 3,800 since 2008. FULL POST

Posted 10/23/14 at 11:05 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Evangelism vs. Discipleship - Round 2

My previous post generated some great discussion, ranging from "Can't we all just get along" comments to sentiments of "If we just practiced discipleship, evangelism would take care of itself." Others seemed surprised that anyone in their right (renewed) mind would ever try to separate the two because they clearly go together.

Allow me to introduce a perspective into the ongoing conversation (or in some tribes and cultures, the battle!) between those who favor one over the other.

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

If you and I were having coffee and I wanted to see where you stood on this issue, I would ask you the following questions... FULL POST

Posted 10/23/14 at 11:02 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Evangelism Vs. Discipleship- Round 1

It seems to me that there is a constant discussion, or you could call it a debate (or you could even call it a family fight) among us evangelicals over whether we should be focusing all our attention and efforts on evangelism or discipleship. Trust me...this is a big deal in the church right now. If you could hear just a small fraction of the conversations I have as I travel and preach...

Because I am an evangelist (see Ephesians 4) by call and trade, I get bombarded by the discipleship camp with questions like, "What happens after all those people respond to the gospel when you preach?"

Because I am a pastor, I also get comments from soul winners like, "If all you ever do is teach the Bible to Christians, how will the lost ever hear the gospel and be saved?" FULL POST

Posted 10/23/14 at 10:35 AM | Bill Blacquiere

. . . To Show Love

Today's post is contributed by Alison Adema, International Services Coordinator for Bethany Global Services. 

How does an independent, non-profit community organization less than 30 years old have 450 volunteers and hundreds more waiting for an opening to volunteer? Perhaps it is the single mission such as this:

to show love.

What started out as a humble beginning 1987 has now become an extensive ministry in Hong Kong with four key services and affiliate programs in mainland China, India and Cambodia. Two couples, expatriates of North America, co-founded Mother’s Choice in response to rising crisis pregnancies in Hong Kong. Their desire was to provide a safe and loving place for young girls facing crisis pregnancy, by providing much-need counseling services and a hostel. Along with their Child Care Home for babies and special needs children awaiting a forever family, they also provide counseling to young girls facing crisis pregnancy, foster care services to children who require a temporary home, and local and inter-country adoption services. FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 8:03 PM | Brittney Moses

Church Hurt: What Happens When Christians Aren't Behaving Like Christians?

When my heart was prompted to write about a touchy subject like Church hurt, I honestly didnt know where to start. What happens when Christians arent behaving like Christians? What happens when the church aka “Gods House” doesnt feel safe- safe to be who you are truly. Let me start off by saying that this is in no means meant to be one of those negative, bashing articles about how Christians have got it wrong. Thats not my heart. So bare with me.

But before I venture forward I think its important to understand a key thing about the Church. The Church is made up of imperfect people (much like the rest of the world and all of humanity). It would be dangerous to spin off of the idea that the source of the Christian faith, Jesus, is a reflection of His followers. Or to sum up the whole of Christianity only on your encounter or experience with self proclaiming Christians. In fact that would be backwards. It is Christians who strive to obtain the spirit and attitude of Christ and the love of God but in imperfect human nature tends to fall short of that. We can’t verify who God is based on the flawed actions of His people. We can only verify who God is by who He says He is in His word. The sad reality is that many people walk away from the church because they’ve defined Christianity by the shortcomings of its followers. FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 6:14 PM | Mike Stickler

Your First Meeting with a Philanthropist: What He Wants to Know

Philanthropist Peter Strople

When a leading philanthropist meets with an organization seeking his support, what does he most want to know about them? Peter Strople has been called “One of the World's Great Rainmakers,” “The Most Connected Man in America,” and “One of the Most Connected People in the World.” He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Zero2 Ventures, and he advises investors and executives involved in start-ups to Fortune 25 global companies.

He's also my good friend.

I asked Peter to share the top things he would want to learn in the first 30 minutes of meeting with an organization that is seeking his support. FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 10:34 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

20 Questions a Pastoral Candidate Should Ask a Search Committee

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

By Joe McKeever

After the committee has grilled the pastoral candidate and the tables are turned, what information should he want from them?

Pastors toss me this issue regularly. Somewhere in the archives of our website, I’m sure we’ve dealt with this subject. However, with over 2,000 articles and no index of these things, I suggest that they google “McKeever + (subject),” and see what comes up. Usually, if I’ve written on the subject, it’ll show up in the results.

That said, perhaps it’s time to say a few more things about this.

Here’s the situation. You, the pastoral candidate, are sitting in a room with a committee of anywhere from 6 to 20 people. They have spent the evening tossing questions, real and theoretical, at you. You are drained and everyone is ready for the evening to end.

But not yet. Finally, the chair says, “And pastor, is there anything you would like to ask us?” FULL POST

Posted 10/22/14 at 9:23 AM | Phil Cooke

It's Time to Point With the Sword of Truth Instead of Chopping

Photo: Flickr/I_Believe_ - Creative Commons

One of my favorite quotes is from writer Anne Lamott: “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth, you can point with it too.” In the age of the internet, most of us do a lot of chopping and not enough pointing. In the best instances, we’re upset and trying to right a wrong, and in the worst instances, Internet anonymity has created vicious critics and quite a few crazy loons. Either way, I think Anne is right. As a result, I’m changing the tone of this blog. Whether I’ve been right or wrong, I’ve sometimes been too critical in the past, and honestly, there’s no point to criticism if it can’t be delivered in a way that makes people want to change. FULL POST

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