Church & Ministry

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Posted 11/25/15 at 10:22 AM | Ron Edmondson

When You're the Pastor But Not the Leader

I was talking with a 25 year old pastor recently. He is frustrated with the church where he serves. He was brought to the church because they wanted him to help the church grow again — or so the search committee convinced him — but they see him as too young to make decisions on his own.

They won’t take his suggestions, voting them down at business meetings.

They consistently undermine his attempts to lead.

They expect him to speak each week and visit the sick, but they won’t let him make any changes he feels need to be made.

It has made for a very miserable situation and he feels helpless to do anything about it. He’s ready to quit and the situation is negatively impacting every other area of his life.

It isn’t the first time I have heard a story such as this. I hear it frequently from young leaders in churches and the business world. I didn’t want to be the one to tell him, but I didn’t want to mislead him either. The bottom line in this young pastor’s situation: FULL POST

Posted 11/25/15 at 10:17 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

You're a Pastor, You're Not Like Us

It was some forty years ago, and I was flying home from somewhere, the last leg of the trip being from Memphis to Columbus MS where I pastored.

It was a dark and stormy night.

And the planes assigned to our Golden Triangle Airport by Southern Airways were the ancient Martin 404s. Prop jets, maybe they are called.

We bounced all over the sky that night. Lightning flashed around us, rain pelted our little plane, and thunder crashed.

You’ve heard of white-knucklers; this was the mother of them all.

The next day in the supermarket, a woman whom I did not know introduced herself. “My husband was on that awful flight from Memphis last night.”

Oh yes. That was unforgettable, I said.

“But he told me every time he began to panic, he looked up and saw the pastor a few rows ahead of him, and you seemed to be fine. And that gave him confidence.”

I told her I was glad, but I was frightened out of my wits.

Why is it, we wonder, that some people think if a preacher or a nun or priest is on board, God is somehow going to take extra care of an endangered flight? As though He loved them more than the others. “God is no respect of persons,” Scripture says somewhere. FULL POST

Posted 11/12/15 at 12:05 PM | Yvonne Perkins

Preservation of Life: Fear Not

Up rest is everywhere. In our cities, schools, homes and nations. Death and destruction wherever you turn. The Blood is running in the streets and death have come up to the windows. Men's hearts failing them for fear, Churches are being burned down, Christians student are being killed on campus for their beliefs.

The following events took place in Chicago from November 2nd thru November 7th these young people lost their lives. Kaylyn Nicole Pryor 20 year old promising model killed Nov. 2nd,,Marlon Spivey and Jerald Strong Nov 3rd,Jamar Jackson Nov 5th, 14-year-old J’Quantae Riles Nov. 7th. On Nov. 2nd a 9 year old is lured to his death and executed. Tyshawn was shot several times in the upper body, including in the face, head and back in an alleyway in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood around 4:15 p.m. The nine-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. Can you imagine this child lying dead in this alley with his basketball beside him? Police suspect a family member has gang ties.

FEAR of retaliation is high. Police are on high alert. A warning has been issued to schools and churches in the area that Tyshawn was executed in there may be gang wars in the next few days. It has been suggested that churches in that community should CANCEL THEIR SERVICES FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS. THE DEVIL IS A LIAR. FULL POST

Posted 11/11/15 at 3:43 PM | George Sarris

Does the “Greatest Story” Have a Happy Ending?

I like happy endings. Most people do.

That’s why great stories usually end with the guy getting the girl . . . the hero defeating his foe . . . the adventurer succeeding in his quest.

Sure, there are tragic elements along the way. The guy loses the girl . . . for a while. The usurping foe overpowers the hero . . . for a time. The adventurer gets thwarted in his quest . . . until he overcomes all odds and achieves his goal. In the end, good triumphs over evil and all is well.

Will that happen in the greatest story ever told -- the story of the Creation, Fall and Redemption of mankind?

When the last page is read and the book is closed, will the Hero in this story ultimately succeed or fail in His quest to “seek and save what was lost?”

Does this story have a happy ending . . . or is the greatest story actually a tragedy?

It Wasn’t Always a Tragedy

For the first 500 years of the Christian Church, most Christians believed that God would ultimately redeem all of His creation. The story had a happy ending. FULL POST

Posted 11/9/15 at 3:17 PM | Liz Kujawa

Church Refinance Reduces Interest Rate by Nearly Half

Griffin Capital Funding prides itself on being able to come alongside churches to put them in a better financial position. For the past few months, we have seen an increasing trend with churches who took on mortgages with high-interest rates seeking a refinance with today’s low-interest rates. The common thread between these churches is impending balloon payments coming due and the need for renovations for their aging buildings.

We just helped a church in Lanham, MD whose situation was no different. The church was founded in 1983 and at its current location since 1987. They built a sanctuary on their property in the late nineties which is in need of some minor renovations. Their current mortgage was taken out in 2009 with an interest rate of 6.75% and a balloon payment quickly approaching. We were able to approve and close their loan at 3.95% giving the church the money they needed to make the renovations and also reduce their monthly payment.

Churches that find themselves in this position are prime candidates to refinance through Griffin Capital Funding. Our clients can cut their interest rates by as much as half, pull cash out for renovations, and end up with a much lower monthly payment. FULL POST

Posted 11/5/15 at 8:08 AM | Yvonne Perkins

The Home-going Send Off Apostle Richard D. Henton

What a homegoing celebration to be remember. Some may wonder what is the difference between a funeral and a home-going service? Wikipedia explains it this way. A funeral is a ceremony for honoring, respecting, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. A homegoing (or home-going) service is an African-American Christian funeral tradition marking the going home of the deceased to the Lord or to heaven. Let’s make it real plain. In the religious setting a funeral is for one who died without Christ. A home-going is for those who knew Christ and lived their life in a manner that secured them a home In heaven. Again I say “What a home-going celebration for Apostle Richard D. Henton”.

If I can I will try to capture the highlight of the two day celebration for the Apostle, the Godfather, the General of Prayer, General of Spiritual Warfare, father, husband, brother, Pastor, Shepherd, teacher,prophet,evangelist,friend, mentor and spiritual father to many.

On Friday 10-30th there was a musical salute celebration. This was called the local service. This was a service for the Monument Family. The people came from the north, south, east, west, across town, out of town and across the sea as far as London. The seating including main sanctuary, dining room and chapel totals about 2,150. The place was filled to capacity with standing room only available. People parked their cars 2-3 blocks away. My God we knew that he was not only our pastor and that we shared him with the world but the demonstration of love was overwhelming. The atmosphere was charged with mixed emotions, some tears for the man we will miss, joy that he made it in, some still in shock trying to wrap their minds around the fact that he really is gone. FULL POST

Posted 11/2/15 at 8:08 PM | Mark Ellis

Islamic school requests Bibles for comparative religion class, Muslim students find Jesus

Students at Madrasa

By Mark Ellis

As battles continued in Syria and Iraq between flesh and blood, Christian workers watched in awe as the gospel advanced “nearly unopposed” on the spiritual front lines of the same region.

Christian workers in northern Iraq could barely keep up with people’s desire to learn more about Jesus and the Bible, according to a report by Christian Aid Mission. Residents in northern Iraq’s largely Muslim, autonomous region of Kurdistan have been more open to Christianity than other Iraqis and have shown heightened interest in response to the advance of ISIS.

“They’re just sick of Islam,” one ministry director told Christian Aid Mission. “People are very hungry to know about Christ, especially when they hear about miracles, healing, mercy and love.”

The ministry leader said that administrators at a sharia (Islamic law) college recently made contact with him after they learned he was giving away Bibles. They requested 21 Bibles for a comparative religion class so they could equip Muslims with ammunition to defeat the Bible and proselytize Christians. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/15 at 6:30 PM | Mark Ellis

Lead Iraqi cleric calls for fighting Christians, abducting Christian women, destroying Christian churches

Grand Ayatollah of Iraq

By Mark Ellis and Petrina Gratton

The Grand Ayatollah of Iraq said that if non-Muslims don’t convert, “we fight them, abduct their women, and we destroy their churches” in a recent televised interview.

“If a person is a Christian, he has three choices. Either convert to Islam, or if he refuses and wishes to remain Christian, then pay the jizya” tax to Muslims, said Ahmad al-Baghdadi, the leading Shia cleric of Iraq. “But if they still refuse, then we fight them, and we abduct their women, and we destroy their churches. This is Islam!”

As the maximum religious leader in his country, the ayatollah holds great sway over Muslims both inside and outside of Iraq. His comments appeared to urge Muslims to carry out a war to impose Islam on the whole world, a declaration that even the T.V. host found alarming.

“This cannot be Islam,” the host said, interrupting his guest, apparently coaxing a more tolerant posture. FULL POST

Posted 10/28/15 at 5:58 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Podcast: Dan Bremnes, Christian Musician

Dan Bremnes began writing music at 16 with ambitions to become a rock star. But a mission trip with Youth With a Mission changed the course of his life, and Dan began to see how God could use music—and perhaps also Dan’s talent to write music—to be a light in the dark and to draw others to Himself. Today, Dan is a recording artist in Nashville. He has performed with Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North, and others.

Like all of us, Dan has experienced life’s beauty and its sorrows, including a season of life when he experienced both the sudden loss of his mother and the birth of his son. His song “In His Hands” explores the way God longs to walk with us and hold us in His arms “through the heartache and in the joy.”

“I pray that the music I write brings people closer to God,” he said, “and that perhaps my song can become their song that can bring them through their own season.”

Brian DeVos, Bethany’s senior vice president of child and family services, spoke with Dan Bremnes about his music and ministry. Listen here. FULL POST

Posted 10/28/15 at 5:38 PM | Mark Ellis

Catholic priest felt ‘born again’ during ISIS captivity

Father Murad

By Mark Ellis

He was one of 250 Christians captured by ISIS militants in Syria. Miraculously, with the help of a Muslim friend he managed to escape their clutches and regain his freedom October 11th. Recently, he described his captivity and the remarkable resolve of his fellow Christian captives.

“Even while being deported, with my hands tied behind my back, I surprisingly found myself repeating again and again: I am going towards freedom,” Father Jacques Murad told Arab Christian broadcaster Noursat TV.

Before his abduction on May 21st, Fr Jacques belonged to a monastic community on the outskirts of Al Qaryatayn. His community was founded by the Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio, from Rome, who disappeared in 2013 from Raqqa, Syria, which became a stronghold of ‘Islamic State’ jihadists, according to Agenzia Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

After his capture, ISIS militants took Fr Jacques to the city of Palmyra, where he was placed in a dorm that included 250 other Christians, also captured from the same area. FULL POST

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