Church & Ministry

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Posted 2/4/16 at 7:27 PM | Mark Ellis

When tribes beg for missionaries to come

By Mark Ellis

At New Tribes Mission (NTM), they collect many letters from indigenous people groups in Papua New Guinea pleading for missionaries to come and tell them about God, people earnestly seeking truth amidst the uncertainty of death and the afterlife.

The following letter was sent by Aiben Awanhi of Isahu Village and received by NTM a few years ago:

“Yes, I am writing because I have some thing with you ones. I have a big worry that I am not sure what will happen when death comes. I have heard from the other tribe that has the mission that they know now, I am sorry for myself that I do not know. I worry for my life, so I am asking that you will send the mission to my village.

“The men and women of Isahu village we are very hungry for this talk that it will be in our bellies. Please have pity on us. In all other places of the ground we have heard that they have the talk of God but us ones of Isahu are still standing without, we have nothing. I have heard of others hearing this talk in other villages but this talk is not in Isahu yet. So please send some to learn our language and teach us this talk so we can know it too. FULL POST

Posted 2/4/16 at 12:46 PM | João Mordomo

Twelve Steps for Studying, Teaching and Applying the Bible

You need to study your Bible more! We all do! And I want to show you the best way I know to do it.

As the Bible came into existence, God’s people – first Israel, then the Church – sought not only to understand the individual components of God’s story and their own existence, but also the overarching theme. Jesus himself established the precedent, demonstrating the importance and validity of seeking to understand God’s “big story,” when He concisely explained the metanarrative (a micro-metanarrative, if you will) of Scripture to his disciples in Luke 24. Verses 27 and 44-47 are revealing:

“27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself... 44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” FULL POST

Posted 2/2/16 at 8:12 PM | Mark Ellis

‘Stoner Jesus Bible Study’ uses marijuana in their gatherings

Deb Button (right) and Mia Williams

By Mark Ellis

Deb Button is a conservative, forty-something soccer mom with two teenage sons who voted against pot legalization in Colorado before she tried marijuana herself.

But after pot was approved by voters in the mile-high state, she began to use the drug to treat her migraine headaches. Then something unusual happened during one of her medicinal treatments.

“One night I got high and had the most incredible spiritual experience of my life,” she said. “I’m sitting in my living room and the cannabis was kicking in at a higher dose, and I could literally feel God. I was filled with love, an indwelling of love,” Button told the L.A. Times.

In her inebriated state, Button hopped on her bicycle and pedaled around her Centennial, Colorado neighborhood.

“I loved everyone I saw. I said, ‘Thank you, God. That was the feeling I always wanted in church!'” she told the L.A. Times. FULL POST

Posted 2/2/16 at 3:42 PM | Mark Ellis

Jesus appears to Muslim family, tells them He is sending a man to tell them more

By Mark Ellis

Tyler Connell with the Ekballo Project has been touring college campuses around the U.S., sharing stories and video from his most recent trip to Middle East, where he documented a dramatic move of God among Muslims, particularly with refugees.

In the last few months, he and his team visited Harvard, MIT, Iowa State, Clemson, and the University of Georgia, among other campuses. “In every stop we saw the presence of Jesus break in to these college campuses and touch students, with bodies healed, people saved, and people giving their lives to serve in the mission field,” Connell exclaims.

College students are amazed to learn what God is doing in Iraq and the surrounding region. “Jesus is moving in these Middle East nations,” he says. “Many there are disillusioned and broken and just want to know the truth. Now more than ever there is a harvest among Muslims that has not been seen in history.”

His first film chronicles a young missionary named Daniel, 24, originally from Vermont. Two years ago Daniel moved to Jordan to work with Syrian refugees. FULL POST

Posted 2/1/16 at 5:52 PM | Mark Ellis

On anniversary of Azusa Street revival, Lou Engle hopes to fill L.A. Coliseum, see another great awakening

By Mark Ellis and Robin Tench

The Azusa Call set for April 9th at the LA Coliseum will be the culmination of dreams, visions, and prophecies that inspired Christian leader Lou Engle to take a giant leap of faith in his hunger for revival to sweep the world.

He hopes 120,000 of all ages will join together for a day of worship and pray at the enormous venue. At a pastors brunch January 20th, over 500 Southern California pastors joined outside the Coliseum’s entry to pray and hear about Engle’s vision.

“In the midst of the worldwide upheaval of Islamic terror, political confusion, racial tension, and the great moral slide in America we believe that the color line can be washed away in the blood of Jesus and the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit could be unleashed as it was at Azusa Street in 1906,” he states on their website.

For the past 16 years, Engle has led a youth movement seeking spiritual awakening called The Call, best known for its prayer rallies. Engle sees the upcoming event as the pinnacle of that movement. FULL POST

Posted 1/27/16 at 3:06 PM | Kristi Porter

ReThink Leadership, An Exclusive Gathering for Senior Leaders, Debuts April 27–29 in Atlanta

All senior, campus and lead pastors are invited to attend the very first ReThink Leadership, an exclusive gathering for senior leaders. It will be held in Atlanta, April 27–29, 2016. Attendees will experience content, conversations and connections they can’t get anywhere else.

We recognize that senior leaders in the local church struggle with much more than what to say on Sunday. Sometimes it’s what is needed to tackle Monday through Friday that’s got them up at night. And sometimes they just need to hear from people who have been there and are doing that.

That’s what ReThink Leadership is all about. There will be new content from world-class leaders, connection to peers who are wrestling with the same things, and hosts who will make the entire experience personal. It’s a unique gathering of church leaders who are committed to solving the biggest challenges facing not only the local church, but the Church. FULL POST

Posted 1/26/16 at 7:48 AM | Yvonne Perkins

INTENTIONAL FOCUS GOAL OF TRANSFORMATION

As the New Year unfolds most people take this time of the season to review the choices, successes, failures and lessons of the last year. They begin to evaluate and make decisions about changes for the New Year and set new expectations. Most of us start out with good intentions but somehow seem unable to stay with the new goals. The reason behind this inability to carry out the plan we have established for ourselves can be attributed to several different things. One of those critical areas is the lack of focus.

FOCUS is defined as the center of activity, attraction or attention. It is to concentrate on something in particular, to bring into view. In order to accomplish any task you must give it your full attention. Your actions must be geared towards fulfilling that goal. It requires a certain amount of discipline.

INTENTIONAL is defined as doing something in a way that is planned or intended. Intended defined as something you have established in your mind as a purpose or goal.

TRANFORMATION a complete or major change in someone's or something's appearance, form, etc.

I have one goal this year to intentionally focus on transformation by hearing the voice of God. I will deliberately set my mind and heart to seek God to make him the center of attraction. I will give God my attention and center my activity on him in order to bring his purpose, will and plan into my view. As I pursue him I know that my heart, mind, will, and spirit will undergo a transformation. I understand that change is not easy. I understand that I must declutter my life, take somethings off the table and eliminate “busyness”. I will humble myself and be broken before him and embrace the transformation he is working in my life. FULL POST

Posted 1/19/16 at 2:06 PM | Mike Stickler

4 ways your ministry’s fuzzy vision is costing you By Mike Stickler

If you grew up in the United States in the 1960s, you’ll remember a cartoon character named Mr. Magoo. He was a lovable old tycoon with one distinguishing feature: He was extremely nearsighted, but he refused to admit it. So he constantly bumbled into danger because he couldn’t see where he was going. The humor came from how things always turned out well for him anyway.

Too many ministry leaders suffer from a Magoo-like combination of fuzzy vision and a denial of the problem. And unlike the cartoon world, things don’t always end well.

A lack of Vision creates real costs for an organization.

  1. Lack of Vision costs money. Without a central clarifying focus, programs get added randomly. Does your organization have departments that don’t really help fulfill its central purpose? What are you spending on them?
  2. Lack of Vision costs your ministry its best people. High-quality staff and volunteers will not stay long in an organization that has no clear direction. They want to go where they can give their lives for something meaningful.
  3. Lack of Vision wastes energy. Your people and leaders have a limited amount of energy to give to ministry. If your organization lacks a clear purpose, a lot of energy is wasted on things that don’t fulfill its purpose, however good or enjoyable those activities may be.
  4. Lack of Vision drains motivation. A singular, compelling vision energizes leaders and people alike. But without that ministry clarity, people get discouraged. They lose their motivation to row if they don’t know where the boat is headed.

Can you think of other costs that ministries pay when they lack a clear purpose and direction? FULL POST

Posted 1/18/16 at 5:07 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Things They Never Taught Me in Seminary

A pastor friend wrote a book by the title “What They Never Taught Me in Seminary.” I even drew the cover and inside cartoons for him, which suggests he didn’t learn as much about discernment in school as he might have.

Preachers are always going on about what they didn’t learn in school, and what they should have. Some of the courses divinity schools now offer resulted from those very graduates mentioning subjects they felt they needed. One required of all masters level grads of my seminary, the direct result of alums’ wishes, is called “Interpersonal Relationships.” I’ve taught it a few times myself.

Now, let’s point out up front that it is impossible for seminaries to teach their students everything they need to know for future ministry. What they are trying to do is prepare them with enough basic skills that they’ll be ready to face whatever comes. After all, the Holy Spirit is alongside each one to teach and instruct and guide. FULL POST

Posted 1/15/16 at 12:37 PM | João Mordomo

Getting Out, Getting In, Staying In, Sinking In: Church Planting and Business Today

In Part 1 (which you can read here) I looked at Paul’s exploits as a maker of tents and concluded that business and church planting were made for each other! Properly configured, church planting teams and business startup teams can be one and the same. There are many good reasons that we ought to consider seriously the benefits of this model in missions today. Here are just four of them.

Getting Out

Many conventional church planting missionaries simply cannot get out of the starting blocks and to the field due to a lack of financial resources. This is especially true right now in Brazil, where I am based. “Difficult” is often an understatement when it comes to raising and maintaining a donor base. The overall economic situation in many countries is characterized by some combination of various ills such as poverty, corruption, inflation and weak currencies. But should potential missionaries be disqualified from serving the Lord cross-culturally simply because their churches either donʼt have, or don’t think they have, the resources to send them? The obvious answer is no. BAM is a model that can creatively access and utilize the numerous resources that can be found – and not just money, but talent and people, especially the so-called and often undervalued “laypeople” – for Godʼs global glory. FULL POST

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