Church & Ministry

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Posted 3/5/15 at 3:11 PM | Ron Edmondson

5 Gifts You Can Give Your Pastor

In this post, I want to share some gifts you can give your pastor.

How’s that for a self-serving post?

Those from the church where I serve as pastor should read this post knowing I minister to hundreds of pastors every month. In my latest blog survey, over 50% of my readers are in vocational ministry. But, even more important, only about 10% of my readers actually know me personally. So, this is not a personal plea. It’s written for the hopeful benefit of others. Thanks for being the kind of church that — for the most part — protects the pastor.

Most churches love to bless their pastor. I get asked frequently how the church can help me. But, that don’t know how.

To be a pastor of a local church is a privilege and a high honor. But, it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.

Here are 5 gifts you can give your pastor:

Your understanding of time

Acts 6:1-2, Ephesians 5:31 (applies to the pastor’s marriage too.) FULL POST

Posted 3/4/15 at 9:04 PM | Alex Murashko

Conference Ends But #TogetherLA is an 'Ongoing Dialogue'

Yes, the conversation about loving on Los Angeles continues.

Together L.A., a three day conference featuring close to 50 speakers primarily discussing how churches and ministries can effectively collaborate to show the love of Christ to the city, concluded with best-selling author and pastor Tim Keller speaking about individual identity before 2,000 people in attendance last Saturday (Feb. 28, 2015).

"Christianity doesn't just give you a new identity it gives you a radical way of forming an identity," said Keller, pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York. "It gives you a unique, liberating and infinitely better identity than the one the culture is imposing on you right now." READ FULL STORY FULL POST

Posted 3/4/15 at 9:51 AM | Bethany Christian Services

How Shall We Pave the Way?

As the leader of a child welfare and social services agency, I would be remiss to not recognize this March as National Social Work Awareness month—its theme “Paving the Way” for change.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts social work as one of the fastest growing careers in the United States with more than 650,000 professionals holding social work degrees. The very word social,in all its forms, seems to drive our society like never before. We are “social”when we belong to a group or community. And of course, we constantly engage or interact with others on various social media platforms. Social can also describe our unique personalities, according to the degree we interact with others. FULL POST

Posted 3/2/15 at 7:59 PM | Emilio Ramos

Gospel Transformation

The new “gay-Christian” movement is redefining the gospel in the name of God’s love. This year’s Truth & Love Conference will be a time for us to encourage one another with the real gospel of truth and love for God’s glory. We can’t wait to fellowship with you. Schedule and more info to follow, stay updated on social media and on

The overwhelming reality in the Bible is that Scripture is very clear and specific about what is sin and that sin is keeping a person in condemnation and ultimately leads to the wrath of God in hell. Equally clear in Scripture is the issue of transformation. The gospel has the power to transform:

Romans 6:17–18 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. FULL POST

Posted 3/2/15 at 6:18 PM | Mark Ellis

My descent into the ‘inferno’ of Bangkok’s red light district

Bar name describes the spiritual bondage

By Mark Ellis

There should be a warning sign at the entrance to Bangkok’s red light district: any resemblance between this street and Dante’s second circle of hell are purely coincidental. Proceed at your own risk – few escape without burns to their soul.

But inferno is an apt description of Bangkok’s sex trade capital, and the squalid streets bear an eerie resemblance to Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem describing his journey through Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil.

On the last night of our mission trip to Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma, we decided to venture into the heart of darkness. Our church has begun to support the mission of Annie Dieselberg, who has lived in the red light district in Bangkok with her husband Jeff for almost 20 years, offering hope, healing, and rescue through Jesus to young women trapped in the sex trade.

We knew she operated a coffee shop in the midst of the squalor, but weren’t sure how to find it. As God led us, our taxi driver dropped us very close to her storefront location near Nana Plaza. FULL POST

Posted 3/2/15 at 9:30 AM | Mark Ellis

Missionary unknowingly adopts baby with HIV; God brings miraculous healing

Rolyn Cadiz

By Mark Ellis

When Rolyn Cadiz, a single Filipina missionary to Burma, got a call about some parents who wanted to give up their baby, she was wary.

“I said I didn’t want it,” she recalls. Rolyn was 32 at the time, unmarried, and very focused on her work along the Thai-Burma border with refugee children.

She went to meet the parents. “Why are you giving up this baby?” she asked.

“If we buy milk for her we won’t have money for ourselves to live,” they told her.

“Won’t you miss your baby? Won’t you cry when she leaves?”

“No, no,” they insisted.

Rolyn adopted the baby and gave her a new name, Zoe Elise, which means ‘life consecrated to God.’

Shortly after the adoption, she discovered the dark-haired infant had an eye infection. She decided she would take her in for treatment.

The night before they went in, Rolyn couldn’t sleep. “God made me intercede for Zoe for the entire night. I couldn’t stop praying for her,” she recalls. FULL POST

Posted 3/1/15 at 8:55 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Family: Saving Children in Zambia

Bethany Christian Services and our partners in Zambia are taking another step forward for family-based care. We are ramping up our efforts to establish foster-to-adopt homes over the next four years for 200 children who are currently on the streets or institutionalized.

Our ministry in Zambia is a prime example of Bethany’s commitment to family-based care. Our Milk and Medicine program, which provides for orphaned babies and babies whose mothers have HIV/AIDS, is, and will continue to be, an important part of the social services Bethany provides in Zambia through our One Family support. The Christian Alliance for Children (CACZ), part of Alliance for Children Everywhere (ACE), has been our partner in Zambia since 2008. Working together with CACZ, we hope to place 50 children in foster homes this calendar year. FULL POST

Posted 2/26/15 at 11:08 AM | Ron Edmondson

10 Leadership Statements That Comes From A Heart Of Pride

“Pride goes before destruction…” Proverbs 16:18

We are all capable of pride. Some of us more than others.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years — mostly from my own personal growth and experience —

Many times what may appear to us — or we may label as — a leadership style or personality is actually a leader’s personal battle — and sin — of pride.

And, pride is very dangerous.

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12

Here are 10 leadership statements that often come from a heart of pride:

“I need to know everything that is happening around here.”

“If I don’t do it — it won’t be done right.”

“Look what I’ve accomplished.”

“I know all there is to know about this.”

“They’ll do what I say or else.” FULL POST

Posted 2/25/15 at 11:55 AM | Ron Edmondson

Tortoise and Hare Principle in Organizational Leadership

A few years ago I was running in Philadelphia. It is one of my favorite cities in which to run. I love the Fairmount Park System, because I can run for miles in new territory.

On this particular day, I set out to explore a several mile loop around a portion of the park. Shortly into my run, I entered the park in front of a young college-aged girl running at the same pace with me. (I assumed her identity based on the college sweatshirt she was wearing — and the proximity to a local college.)

We had been running at the same pace for about a half-mile when she apparently became impatient with my pace and decided to run faster. She gave me a look that seemed to speak “get out of my way old man” and quickly disappeared from my sight. I continued my steady pace through the park and encountered her again a couple miles later. She had looped around the park and was heading back, still continuing at her faster pace. We smiled at one another as we passed.

And, then the story took a change in my favor.

After 3 or 4 miles I returned to the place we had originally met and who did I see? My college “friend” was walking, out of breath, holding her stomach and in obvious pain. She couldn’t finish the track. FULL POST

Posted 2/24/15 at 5:53 PM | Thomas Rowley

Stewardship Includes Cultivation

Last week’s look at the problems of a strict utilitarian approach to protecting creation (seeing nature merely as a resource base for humans) prompted this insightful response from my friend, Pastor Pete Santucci, which clarifies and furthers what I wrote.

“I think it’s interesting that you can’t find the word “value” in the Bible. It’s a monetary term. Simply by using it, we end up talking dollars and cents…Having said that, I think that the Bible does in fact encourage humans to bend creation to our will. I know, I know. That’s what got us into this whole mess. But excluding the utilitarian from our relationship with creation isn’t realistic. What we need is for the utilitarian to jive with the theological and the aesthetic reasons to care for creation (including the human part of creation).

I think Gen. 2’s “there was not yet a man to till the earth” leads toward a sense that tilling the earth isn’t a value-neutral activity. It’s actually a positive activity. The fact that Eden was a garden points to the fact that it wasn’t wilderness. It was well-watered, meaning irrigated. All of its trees were fruit trees. It had a center with two uniquely highlighted trees. There is something good and admirable about this garden planted by God. And we as humans know who we are and what we’re to do by watching God as he works and copying him. Since God plants gardens, we plant gardens. And as Gen. 3 suggests, thorns and weeds in the garden are bad.” FULL POST

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