Church & Ministry

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Posted 9/23/16 at 6:31 PM | Mark Ellis

Remembering the Country Church of Hollywood, where fictional radio drama blended with real life

Country Church of Hollywood from the air

By Mark Ellis

It was compared to a ‘Garden of Gethsemane,’ improbably set in the midst of Hollywood near the Capitol Records building. Built in 1934 on the venerable A.G. Bartlett estate known for its gardens, it had 150 mature trees surrounding its gleaming white facade. The clapboard sides resembled a Southern mountain church, with a steeple that soared high above the front entrance.

The man who built the church, Dr. William Hogg, had a nervous breakdown after World War I, but soon followed a calling from God as a Tennessee circuit preacher with a pioneering vision for Christian radio ministry. Indeed, the leafy site he chose on Argyle Avenue became the first radio church built on the West Coast, and the second or third in the nation.

It’s knotty pine interior and 100-year old oak pews were graced by speakers such as Billy Graham, Roy and Dale Evans, and Bill Bright. Dr. Hogg created a radio show, “The Country Church of Hollywood,” that was heard coast to coast on CBS radio from 1934 until 1966. FULL POST

Posted 9/23/16 at 2:51 PM | Marvin Thompson

Trump Evangelicals’ False Prophesy?

We are used to hyperbolic language within the Christian community, especially by those who fancy themselves to harness the power of God, and who believe in the power of their own words to perform miracles and conquer the spiritual realms. Unfortunately, much of what passes for spiritual and divine is nothing of the sort - much less a demonstration of God working through such individuals.

Take, for example, the headline of a September 22, 2016 report on Christian Post by Leonardo Blair that reads: Pastors Pray Against 'Concentrated Satanic Attack' Being Waged Against 'God's Choice' Donald Trump. Those were the words of the pastor of New Spirit Revival Center. The pastor spoke of a prophetic warning by a nationally known preacher of such an attack, "that if you choose to run for president, there's going to be a concentrated Satanic attack against you…there's going to be a demon, principalities and powers, that are going to war against you on a level that you've never seen before and I'm watching it every day,"

The ensuing report does not disappoint either as a group of pastors express their thankfulness to God for raising up Trump as His choice to lead the nation. "We thank you God that as a room full of clergy, a room full of leaders, a room full of business owners, mothers, fathers, wives, we ask for help and we ask you God to let that help be in the form of the next president Mr. Donald J. Trump.” FULL POST

Posted 9/21/16 at 7:15 PM | Mark Ellis

David Platt recounts story of man raised from dead in Southeast Asia

David Platt

By Mark Ellis

In a remote Southeast Asian village, a leader’s death and apparent resurrection from the dead fueled revival among a previously unreached group.

Pastor David Platt shared the story with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee Sept. 19 in Nashville, according to Baptist Press. Platt currently serves as president of the Southern Baptist’s mission board. The report came to Platt from an IMB missionary.

A Southeast Asian believer trained by Southern Baptist missionaries took some friends with him and began sharing the Gospel in a village “that was totally unreached with the Gospel until they got there.”

The villagers responded attentively, began to study the Bible like the noble Bereans, and many in the village began to believe.

As they came to Christ, a number brought idols, necklaces and amulets connected with pagan worship to the center of the village to be burned, Platt recounted. FULL POST

Posted 9/20/16 at 1:56 PM | Marvin Thompson

Trump Evangelicals: A bad Choice Getting Worse

This blog does not endorse political candidates, and, for that matter, does not believe in political party identification - especially as a Christian. The focus is on Christians and the way we apply biblical principles as we live out our lives in an ungodly world. The blog is concerned with Christian consistency where our words and deeds align with the scriptures as godly, reliable witnesses to the world. This concern is highlighted even more during the 2016 presidential campaign as Christians must choose between two major candidates that are prima facie morally flawed.

It is ironic that Trump evangelicals and many millennials say they support him and cannot vote for Hillary Clinton because she is corrupt and a liar. However, on both counts they seem to have made a terrible miscalculation. There is now overwhelming evidence that Trump is consistently corrupted, and a liar such has never been seen in this country’s political history. In fact, he seems to lie even about trivial things - a default response which is a pathological tendency typical of a person who does not consider lying a vice. He lies about his lying. He lies about his charitable giving.

He goes back on his word to pay his workers. He premeditatedly and deliberately defaults on his loans. He is someone who seems to think that corrupt business dealing is a virtue, and possibly a personal sacrifice equal to those who sacrifice their lives for this country; who admires despots, dictators and mass murderers as strong leaders; who thinks that it is okay to bomb the families of terrorists, and perhaps use nuclear weapons on those he disagrees with; who thinks that insulting gestures justifies blowing Iranian boats out of the water. FULL POST

Posted 9/12/16 at 7:09 PM | Mark Ellis

Prayers asked for boy hurt by Islamist bomb blast


By Mark Ellis

In northeast Nigeria, where the Islamist terror group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls and has led an unrelenting wave of violence, a six-year-old victim needs prayers after surviving a horrible bomb blast that disfigured his face.

Jibrin and his father were on their way to the hospital in Maiduguri on July 1, 2014 because of rashes covering the boy’s body.

As they passed a central market in the city, a bomb placed by insurgents in a parked vehicle exploded. Jibrin’s father died instantly; one of the 35 innocents killed that day, according to a report by International Christian Concern.

The boy was rushed to a local hospital but the damages he suffered left his face permanently disfigured.

The Lovatt Foundation, which runs three homes for children orphaned by Boko Haram violence, invited Jibrin to live with them.

“I heard about his situation and we asked our children if they could be kind to a child who had lost a lot of his face and fingers,” Fiona Lovatt told FULL POST

Posted 9/9/16 at 3:48 PM | Larry Dozier

Keys to the Elisha Double Anointing

It all starts by solving the mystery of The Great Omission!

Is that a typo? Don’t you mean the Great Commission? You remember, don’t you? The Great Commission as spoken by Jesus Christ? It’s traditionally defined as the most important mission of the New Testament Church. As you may know, it has been widely taught that every believer in Christ should be involved in “sharing the plan of salvation” (also called the Gospel of Jesus Christ) with as many as possible. And as enough people accept Christ as their personal Savior a new church would be started and lives would be changed.

As a young teenage Christian, I can remember when I was taught to share the plan of salvation with someone and lead them in the prayer of salvation, thinking that my God-given responsibilities were completed; but were they? Have you ever done that or felt that way? Is that really what the Great Commission says in Matthew 28? I’ve discovered that some things have been forgotten and therefore omitted. That’s why I called this article “The Great Omission”, rather than the Great Commission.
As a result, over the past 100 years some American evangelical churches have grown in great number. But have their lives been changed? And have they changed their culture? Have they been preaching repentance? Or perhaps many have been teaching an easy-believe-ism and sloppy-agape gospel? Many religious surveys have shown that divorce and other social maladies are just as bad in American evangelical churches as in the secular world. For example, in the USA, recent surveys have shown that around 75% of Americans call themselves “Christian”, yet our public schools and federal government seem to be running from anything that honors the God of the Bible or the Bible of the Christian God. Why? FULL POST

Posted 9/6/16 at 7:01 AM | Yvonne Perkins

Prayers For Our Children

Children of this generation face challenges that we never dreamt of today. In our generation we were allowed to play outside until the streets light came on. There was the sound of laughter in the streets. There was a sense of community safety. We dare not talk back to an adult. Teachers was expected to be person with high standards and morals. Being a “bad” child consisted of sneaking a cigarette or drink from the family stash, or ditching school for a day. It was not hard to distinguish right from wrong. Your parents taught you that at home, the preacher taught it at church, teachers taught it at school and society back it up as well. The village invested in raising their children.

Today’s generation children, young children are being shot as they play on their front porch, or on the basketball court or even just going to the candy store. Children are taught how to fall on the floor at the sound of gunshots. Parents never thought that their child may not return home from school because someone beat them to death in the girl’s bathroom, or on the streets as they came home from school. Parents never consider the possibility that a pedophile would kidnap their child, rapist rape them or someone would rob little children walking home from school. Parents never thought their children would be taught about “different” families that included two moms or two dads. Who knew there would come a time when “homosexual/lesbian lifestyle would be celebrated and it would be politically incorrect to criticize or speak against it. Your child’s teacher could come to school sporting a man’s suit one week and a fancy dress the next. You teach your child that using drugs is wrong but society legalize marijuana and promote the use of it. FULL POST

Posted 8/19/16 at 5:05 AM | Moray McGuffie

Does my body language matter when I share the Gospel?

The way that we communicate and interact on a one to one basis is very important. Recent discoveries in communication tell us that the words that we use are very important. Even more than that, the tonality that we use when we speak and the way that we utilise our body language can have a dramatic effect on the people we are speaking with.

Whether we like it or not, people make assumptions about us according to the way that we behave. Our body language is simply a range of signals that we give off that relate to how we think or feel about something. It is nonverbal communication, where our thoughts, intentions, or feelings are communicated and expressed by physical behaviours such as our facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space or proximity. We all give off body language signs without realising it most of the time. Very often we are also unaware that below conscious levels we are constantly reading the signals that people give while we are communicating with them. FULL POST

Posted 8/16/16 at 12:20 PM | Emilio Ramos

​AHA (Abolish Human Abortion) And The Sufficiency Of The Gospel

For those who are unfamiliar with AHA (Abolish Human Abortion), it is a ministry that stands for the abolition of human abortion. The name itself speaks about something we should all be supportive of, which is the complete eradication of human abortions in our land and throughout the world. The Bible indeed calls us to speak against and expose the darkness in our world (Eph. 5.11). However, a recent set of encounters with this group has caused me great consternation concerning my assessment of the entire identity of the group itself. Although slated as a Christ-centered ministry, their seeming incessant and impenitent practice of protesting outside of churches has relegated this ministry to the fringe groups that leech onto the church of God and often cause great harm in the process. They claim to want to work with other churches, and yet their approach is to break down the doors of your church, overturn the tables, and call the entire church to repent of not being involved in abortion ministry to their satisfaction. If your ministry or your church does not have an overt effort to stop abortion, you are a target for AHA. They will show up outside of your church to protest with their signs, and may even go inside to try to speak to leadership to not only persuade the pastors but also to call them to repentance. Some of their advocates even believe they have a prophetic ministry and thus a prophetic voice for every church until each one complies with their demands. This is probably why I could not find a single reputable, respected, Reformed pastor that supports them; especially after become aware of their disorderly ways. In fact, since my initial encounter with AHA, I have had numerous pastors reach out to me and warn me of similar grievances they have had with the group.

Because of these elements, AHA is shot through with controversy, divisiveness, and unbiblical anti-institutional and anti-church practices; some of their adherents do not even attend or submit to the authority of any church. In fact, many of their adherents would rather pledge their allegiance to AHA rather than their local church. They determine whether or not they will even attend a church or become members based on where the church stands in regards to the movement. You can’t make this stuff up. As far as I can tell, and based on the testimony of many of the former adherents of AHA themselves, the problems of this movement are systemic, not irregular. There is a consistent pattern of speaking against the local church, undermining the authority of the local church, and failure to identify with a local church, which is a path to apostasy (Heb. 10.25-26). Of course, the Christian life is to be lived out in the context of the local church, its auspices, and its execution of proper Church polity including church membership, the sacraments, the proclamation of the Gospel, and Church discipline. My brief exposure to this movement has already yielded so many troubling facts that I cannot keep up. Churches are divided, friendships are broken, individuals are isolated from friends and family, and even controlled by others in the movement being told that they need to be doing more. For example, one individual explained how he was pressured by the movement to put abortion mill ministry above his employment and providing for his family (such characteristics are in keeping with cult-like groupthink, and mind control groups and environments that are sub-biblical). They make a person feel as if a move away from AHA is a move away from the gospel. The problem with the AHA movement is that these types of testimonies abound, and the deeper you investigate, the worse it gets. Even those who have attempted to reason with AHA “leadership” have expressed concern about their low view of the authority of the local church. Furthermore, AHA has no control over those who associate with it only compounding the toxicity of this group. For these reasons and more, AHA is simply not a ministry that I can endorse in any form or fashion and in fact would strongly warn believers to reject completely. FULL POST

Posted 8/12/16 at 6:04 PM | Mark Ellis

Pastor’s wayward son born-again in North Carolina revival

D.R. Harrison

By Mark Ellis

He grew up in a pastor’s home, and spent endless hours in church. His father traveled frequently, preaching revival in evangelistic crusades. But the son never responded to the message and after he left his father’s house, spent 11 years pursuing worldly pleasures, until God drew him home during the recent revival in Burlington, North Carolina.

“I’ve been a preacher’s kid my entire life,” says D.R. Harrison, 34. “I traveled across the country with my dad as he preached crusades and revivals, but I never had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

He describes his father as an independent, fundamental, King James Bible preacher. “I grew up under the best preaching you could hear,” he says. “I taught a Sunday School class and led a youth choir, knocked on doors on Saturday, read my Bible and prayed, but there was always something missing on the inside.” FULL POST

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