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December 2009 Vol. 6 Iss. 12

DEC issue focus -

What does Christmas mean to you?

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Is the word Christmas being replaced by Season’s Greetings, or Happy Holidays?

What does Christmas mean to you?

Many people perceive that there is a concerted effort to eliminate the word “Christmas” from public discourse—sort of a “war on Christmas.” The stories seem to be coming more frequently: a grade-school choir sings “We Wish You a Happy Holiday” instead of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for their “Winter Concert.” A library invites “holiday displays” from the community provided the displays have no religious connotation—the stable may have animals in it, but no people. It is possible to do all one’s Christmas shopping and never see or hear the word “Christmas” in the

Miko Garcia – We have a big family get together. Christmas is when we celebrate God sending Jesus to us.

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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Cont. on page 3

Pastor Jerry Hanoum Page 3

Mountain View Christian Center presents...

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety

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Psalm 91 (New Living Translation) 1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the LORD: See full Psalm page 3

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God’s Protection Psalm 91

performed by ‘Sounds of Worship Praise Choir’ Friday, December 11, 2009 at 7:00pm Doors open at 6:00pm.

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ome join us for a night of Uplifting worship and praise unto the Lord. Featuring ‘Sounds of Worship Praise Choir” under the direction of Pastor Kim Moreno. The choir, soloists and ensembles will all be ministering during this amazing night of worship! The concert is FREE - no ticket required. For more information please contact Pastor Kim Moreno at 925-625-9003 extension 103. We look forward to seeing you there!

Pr. Anthony Vasquez Page 10 From Gangster to Gospel From life on the streets to a new creation in Christ. I grew up in Antioch as a child and my mother worked for a grocery store while my dad enjoyed being around the race track often. He used to always help the other drivers with their cars because he was a good mechanic. See full story on page 10

Don Huntington Page 7 Use life as a learning center

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.” ~ CS Lewis

Holiday on Ice ........................ 2A Pulpit of the Publisher ........ ......... 3A World News ............... ........ 6A Don Huntington ......................... 7A

See full story on page 7 School of Theology ......................... 8A Woman to Woman .......................9A Men of Vision & Purpose................12A Events Calendar ...........................16A


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America’s Good News

The word Christmas being replaced. Cont. from front cover story stores. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” But if someone says “Happy Holidays” for the sole purpose of not saying “Merry Christmas,” then we are right to question what’s going on. “Why is the word Christmas censored?” we wonder as we wander through the malls. One reason put forward by those seeking to avoid the word Christmas is that it would offend non-Christians. But, according to a recent Gallup poll, only 3 percent of adults in America say it bothers them when a store makes

specific reference to Christmas. The exclusion of Christmas, then, is not really a way to “adapt” to a more diverse culture, but a way to engineer a more secular culture. Many times, the arguments against Christmas programs and displays are couched in political terms, but the bias against Christmas goes much deeper than that. This is primarily a spiritual battle, not a political one. How should Christians respond to the ubiquitous use of “Happy Holidays” and the exclusion of Christmas? Here are some suggestions:

1) Celebrate Christmas! Let the joy of the season show in your life. Teach your family the significance of Jesus’ birth and make the Christmas traditions meaningful in your home. 2) Wish others a Merry Christmas. When confronted with a “Happy Holidays,” get specific, and wish the greeter a “Merry Christmas!” You may be surprised at how many respond in kind. Even if you’re met with resistance, don’t let it dampen your cheer. Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew was rebuffed year after year, but it never stopped him from wishing his humbug

IT’S BACK AGAIN IN BRENTWOOD! DON’T MISS

Holiday on Ice!

of an uncle a Merry Christmas and inviting him to Christmas dinner. 3) Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). The Christmas season is a wonderful opportunity to share Christ’s love and the gospel message. He is the reason for the season! 4) Pray for those in positions of power (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Pray for wisdom. Pray for revival so that Christmas, instead of being “offensive,” would be honored by all. Courtesy of Got Questions dotorg

The beautiful couple pictured below is Dirk Davis and Lynn Roberts. They are a blessing to the community both on and off the ice with their hearts bringing joy to all those who would come to know them. Lynn’s passion and experience is truly of the figure skating world. Having competed for the LA Figure Skating Club for 10 years of her younger life, she later taught for Ice Capades Challet in Orange County. Lynn has also skated as Cinderella at the Disney Park in Anaheim, while in her Junior/Senior years attending college at CSU Fullerton. Dirk Davis grew up in Concord and is a 28 year resident of Brentwood. He owned a cement business until about 10 years ago. But through all of the changes Dirk is still in the concrete/asphalt business which has been his trade for 30 years or more. His construction expertise and fortitude has made this seasonal ice rink a reality in East Contra Costa County.

Bless you both for bringing great family entertainment to the Delta region!

Dirk and Lynn STREETS OF BRENTWOOD PRESENTS

Open November 14th - January 10th Come and ice skate on a magnificient, twinkling light-filled ice rink protected from the elements by a gigantic outdoor tent! Truly a spectacular winter wonderland experience! Families and friends will meet at Brentwood Holiday on Ice! This is the “Coolest” place to be at The Streets!

Hours of Operation: Mon, Tues, Thurs 2:00pm - 9:00pm Weds & Sun 12:30pm - 10:00pm Friday & Saturday 12:30pm - 10:30pm

Holiday Hours Daily 12:30pm - 10:30pm Thanksgiving Day 12:30pm - 5:30pm Christmas Eve 10:30am - 5:30pm Christmas Day 12:30pm - 5:30pm Newe Years Eve 12:30pm - 9:30pm LEARN TO SKATE CLINICS Youth... Ages 5 - 15 Saturdays 10:30am - 12:00 noon Adult... Sundays 10:30am - 12:00 noon Clinic Cost $20 per student

Price of Admisssion $10 Skate Rental $5 Skate Pass Pricing (w/Skate Rental) 3 Session Skate Pass $40 10 Session Skate Pass $125 Skate Pass Pricing (No Skate Rental) 3 Session Skate Pass $25 10 Session Skate Pass $80 Private Ice Parties $500 Per Hour Before and after normal business hours Includes a 50 Skater group party.

Additional Skaters $10 each.

Sponsorship Opportunities Available NOW!

www.BrentwoodHolidayOnIce.com Ice Rink Phone Line 925.513.1702

Mayor Bob Taylor at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Photos courtesy: Tim Vaughn & Sal Castaneda


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America’s Good News WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU? Kenzie - I like to get presents and toy dolls. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and we eat a big breakfast with mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. Oh, I also want to go ice skating. Brock - We buy a Christmas tree and get a bunch of presents and go to the snow. We celebrate Jesus on that day.

Jaden - Opening presents, having fun, celbrating Jesus.

Isabella – God made Christmas a fun day for everyone because we all get toys. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

Kyle – It’s Jesus’ birthday and when we open presents we thank God for the presents.

FROM THE PULPIT OF THE PUBLISHER

God’s Protection Psalm 91:2 (NLT) He alone is my refuge, my place of safety

Psalm 91 (New Living Translation) 1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.

Pastor Jerry Hanoum

Publisher of America’s Good News

8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. 9 If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 14 The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Merry Christmas - May this gift from God be your greatest blessing! ~ Pastor Jerry Hanoum


America’s Good News

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WHO IS CHRIST? WHY DID HE COME TO EARTH?

BY WILL BYRNS From the Editor’s Desk

W

hen I ponder the question of what Christmas means to me, initially my mind goes into the default mode conjuring up images of Christmas trees past surrounded by presents and thinking of how beautiful it is when family comes together and enjoys plenty of food, laughter and joy. Ahhh, the warm feeling in your tummy sipping a cup of hot chocolate. The smell of the turkey baking in the oven and the Christmas lights and decorations along the city streets and homes. What a glorious time of year. It’s Christmas!! But after thinking beyond all of the festivities and the traditions you really search yourself as a believer to truly understand the depth of why Christ came to this earth. So why did Christ come into this world? And what do we know that can be easily digested for someone who may not know Christ? Sometimes getting back to basics can be the best thing for us, because on a regular basis we tend to make things way too complicated. With

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

John 4:42

These are ‘Happy Holidays’, but you can never take Christ out of Christmas. 1 Timothy 1:15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners

these scriptures I pray for illumination and understanding to those who may be searching for truth. In 1 Timothy 1:15 – the Apostle Paul exclaimed, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” In 1 John 3:8 the Bible states: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” I would not hesitate to say that these scriptures are very straightforward and leave nothing to the imagination. Christ came to save us from our sins and Christ came to destroy the works of Satan. What about those who say that Christ was just a prophet, or that he wasn’t the Son of God with a divine nature? Here is one of my favorite passages in the Bible that address this head on. Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” It says it all

1 John 4:14

doesn’t it? A child is born! A son is given! He will be called Mighty God, Everlasting Father! Christ is one with the Father. When you celebrate Christmas this year; share the love, share the gifts, share the good cheer, but most of all… share who CHRIST IS! God bless you and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Are you going through hardships in your life now and are in need of some help? Is the Christmas season a hard time of year for you? Christ can give you the power to overcome any obstacle in your life. He can be your Prince of Peace and your Wonderful Counselor. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you want to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ please call me at 925.625.9570 ext. 105. Or email to: wbyrns@americasgoodnews.com.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Luke 2:11

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

John 1:14

The Word became fl esh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

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America’s Good News

A Christmas Classic Feature By Rev. Austin Miles (Editor’s Note: This story was first published on December 20, 2001. It has been picked up and re-published all over the world every year since, becoming a Holiday Tradition. In 2004, it caught the attention of producers of Hallmark Films and the writer was cast in the movie, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus, playing The Mall Santa who magically receives the gift of sign language. The film is re-aired annually.) He is loveable, congenial, giving and jolly. What’s more he knows everything, as any child will readily testify. He is a colorful old man, whose visits are eagerly awaited by millions of children each year and who, for a little while, makes the world a much happier place. Is Santa Claus a good infl uence on children, or a bad infl uence whose image merely commercializes Christmas and who takes the reason out of the season, as some charge? Where did Santa come from? It will surprise many to learn that Santa Claus (as we know him today) came out of the church itself through the charity of a very devout and caring priest. Now bear in mind that this is a true, historically documented account. Approximately 200 years after the birth of Christ, a meeting of the elders of a little church in Myra, Turkey had just been called to order. They needed to appoint a bishop but no fi tting candidate could be found. So great was the need that they decided to pray. Out at sea, a ship battled a raging storm. The crew valiantly fought to keep it afl oat. Trunks were being thrown overboard to lighten the load as frightened passengers held onto whatever they could to keep from being swept overboard while others huddled in their cabins. The ravaging waves tore some wood from the sides of the ship. “Nicholas...NICHOLAS!” someone yelled frantically. It had been noised about that a man named Nicholas, who was known to be a man of God, was on board. Out of a cabin, in response to the call, came a man with a long white beard. Holding on to the rail of the tossing ship, he began to pray for the storm to cease. As he prayed he lifted his hands heavenward. Miraculously, the storm calmed. The crippled ship drifted into the harbor of Myra. The elders of the little church in Myra suddenly stopped in the midst of their intense prayer, opened their eyes and looked around at each other, startled at a message from God that had come to each of them in the form of a vision; they were to appoint as their bishop, the fi rst man named Nicholas who would, within the hour, enter the church to pray. As the leaning ship hobbled into the port and was docked, Nicholas disembarked and made his way into the village to seek a church. He wanted to give thanks to God for His intervention during the storm that could have killed everyone on board. Finding the church, he eagerly approached it. The heads of the elders turned toward the door as it slowly opened. The stately man with the snow-white beard entered, and, focused on the altar, made his way down to the front and knelt in a prayer

MILESTONES

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SANTA’S SURPRISING ORIGINS

of thanksgiving. As he rose to leave the elders approached him. “What is your name?” asked one. “Nicholas.” was the reply. “God has sent you to us to be our new bishop,” said another. The group joyfully fi tted the surprised Nicholas with a long red priestly robe and miter. Nicholas quickly became known as, “The Bishop of Miracles,” because of so many spectacular answers to his prayers. Unlike most priests, Bishop Nicholas was wealthy through family inheritance. In his mind, wealth came from God and belonged to God. The very reason for his existence was to serve God. And that is how he lived his life. Nicholas became increasingly concerned about a custom in Turkey. If little girls did not have a dowry so that they could marry, they would be sold into slavery, which included prostitution. Bishop Nicholas had given away most of his own fortune so he went about and managed to collect gold from admirers. On December 6th, under cover of darkness, he wrapped the gold coins in several little bags and visited each home that had a daughter without a dowry, dropping a bag of gold through the windows of each, which landed on the hearth where the little girl’s clothes would be drying. When the gold was discovered the next morning, the family rejoiced. Their little daughters were saved from slavery. Nicholas continued what was to become an annual tradition. Nobody knew the identity of the mysterious benefactor who would slip around the village on that date each year. On one such night, as Nicholas put his arm through the window to drop the bag of gold, instead of it landing on the hearth, the bag fell into a stocking that was hanging in front of the fi replace to dry. It was found the next morning, to the delight of the family. Which, by the way, is how the custom of hanging up Christmas stockings came to be. Shortly before Nicholas’s death, which occurred on December 6th, the date of his annual visit, it was learned that he was the individual who brought so much joy to so many families. Five hundred years later, in the 9th Century, Nicholas was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, hence the name, Saint Nicholas. And since the celebration of Christmas came after the life of St. Nicholas, he actually preceded Christmas, as we know it today. As the story of St. Nicholas spread, French nuns in the 12th Century began making annual night-time visits to poor families with children, leaving fruit and nuts, which these families could not afford. The nuns made their gift-giving rounds on what became known as, “St. Nicholas Eve,” December 5th. The tradition spread throughout the Old World and across the ocean to the New. Many people to this day celebrate Christmas on December 6th. St. Nicholas became the Patron Saint of many countries including Russia, becoming a major ingredient in the Russian Christmas

Isaiah 40:11 He tends his fl ock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

BY REV. AUSTIN MILES celebration. England made St. Nicholas, “Father Christmas.” Germany picked up on that title, and in France he became known as “Papa Noel.” As the various forms of Nicholas began to emerge in the secular world over the years, some unanticipated problems arose: protests which came out of...the church! Martin Luther pounded his pulpit proclaiming that the true Christmas message was being lost by the Saint Nicholas connection. The Dutch came to the rescue and adopted what they believed to be a more religious view of Nicholas that would satisfy the critics. The Dutch-German Protestant Reform Movement brought with it the idea that the Christ child should be the standard bearer for Christmas. The German word for Christ child, “Christkindl,” evolved to, “Kris Kringle,” yet another version and another irritant for Luther. In 1822, on the night before Christmas, which the world began to celebrate on December 24th, Clement Moore wrote a poem about the gift-giver for his six children. That poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” was published the following year in the Sentinel of Troy, New York. Up to that time, Nicholas had taken various forms. He was portrayed with a black beard, then a white beard. He was shown dressed in everything including buckskin. Mr. Moore defi ned Nicholas once and for all and renamed him, Santa Claus. He had, no doubt, been infl uenced by the Dutch who named him, “Sinter (Saint) Klass (short for Nicholas) and that had become, “Sinterklass.” Others who spoke broken English, knowing that gold had been found on the hearth by the fi replace, started a new legend. The gift-giver came down the chimney and would land in the cinders of burning embers, so they called him, “Cinder Klaussen,” which would in Moore’s hands become, Santa Claus. Clement Moore’s poem made Santa famous. He even named the reindeer. Not only did he name them, he made them fl y. He might have taken that idea from the poet, Washington Irving, who wrote a book in 1809 about a Dutch Colonist’s dream in which St. Nick came riding over the tops of trees in a wagon wherein he brings yearly presents to the children. An artist named Thomas Nast, who was a Harper’s Weekly cartoonist, began to show what Santa looked like. He dressed him in red, which had been the offi cial color of the priestly robes worn by St. Nicholas and went further by making Santa plump and jolly. To show how much of a church connec-

tion to Santa there is, Clement Moore’s father was the Episcopal Bishop of New York, and, Clement Moore himself was Professor of Theology at Union Theological Seminary. In 1897, a little girl named, Virginia Hanlon, had been told that there really was no Santa Claus. She was so disturbed about it that she wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Sun, whose name, by the way, was Francis P. Church...can’t get away from that connection. He responded with a story titled, “Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.” And the world breathed a sigh of relief. It is interesting to note that the clearest image of Santa came not from the church, or from a poet, but by, of all things, a soft drink company advertisement! That drawing, known as ‘the Coca Cola Santa,’ created and drawn by Haddon Sundblom, made him totally defi nable. And the elves? Well, they were fi rst seen in Ireland as Leprechauns. St. Nicholas has been replaced by the created, Santa, who does indeed delight millions of children. But maybe through the hustle and bustle we have lost the very core of what Christmas is and should be; a time of love and sharing with people in need (whether we know them or not), rather than an orgy of gift giving, receiving, and thinking of one’s personal wants. I would like to see the original idea of giving and charity, as set forth by the real St. Nick, with nothing expected in return, brought back. As for the commercialization of Christmas, there still is a bright side. It is the one time in the year where we can hear songs proclaiming the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with others heralding the birth of The Holy Child, Jesus Christ our Savior coming through the loud speakers of the malls and shopping centers of the secular world (even though that is changing as the secular world is trying to strip all mention of Jesus Christ out of Christmas). Homes are still decorated with lights to proclaim Him. And people are a little nicer to one another at least once a year. So maybe this commercialized version is better than having no celebration at all. Rev. Austin Miles is a Northern California chaplain, author, award-winning writer and historian. He was a writerresearcher and technical consultant for the multi award-winning TV series, “Ancient Secrets of The Bible,” for CBS TV, which is currently in constant re-runs. He portrayed Alexander Graham Bell in the Houghton Mifflin interactive CD-Rom titled, InventorLabs, which won two Gold Awards for “Best Educational Software for Adolescents.” Rev. Miles is listed in the International Historic Who’s Who Encyclopedia. Visit his website by going to: www.revaustinmiles.com

What does Christmas mean to you? Dylan – Hang out with the family and open presents and pray to God that His birthday is good.

Noah– It’s Jesus’ birthday. I want everybody in the whole world to get toys. God made Christmas for all of us to get presents and have fun.


America’s Good News

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World News Briefs Courtesy: Onenewsnow.com

National Christmas tree will display religious ornaments Charle Butts The National Forest Service has reversed its policy banning religious oriented decorations on the White House Christmas tree. The original decision came down after Arizona school children -- chosen this year to design their own ornaments for the tree -- designed ornaments with religious themes.Allliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Jonathan Scruggs says some of the “controversial” ornaments displayed manger scenes and the words “Merry Christmas.” ADF immediately sent a demand letter outlining why the ornament ban was unconstitutional -- and received a speedy response.   “We received a letter from the National Forest Service saying essentially that they agreed and therefore our client would be allowed to submit his religious ornaments,” says the attorney.   Although officials originally used the First Amendment to support the ban, ADF used the same amendment to argue against it. An excerpt from the letter reads: “It is well established that expression of religious beliefs is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Religious expression is speech and is entitled to the same level of protection as other kinds of speech...even expression that comes through symbols, such as ornaments....”   Students will now be allowed to construct 4,000 ornaments for the 65-foot tree without further harassment over religious content.

Permissible for town to celebrate Christmas Charlie Butts An Ohio village is bowing to pressure by cancelling its annual Christmas parade -- but a Christian attorney says there’s no reason to. Amelia Mayor Leroy Ellington is quoted as saying that the village solicitor informed council members that the town could be sued for using public money to sponsor a parade honoring the birth of Jesus Christ. But Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel tells OneNewsNow the decision is just a matter of misinformation. “The business association in the past had sponsored the village’s Christmas parade, and clearly the city can sponsor it as well,” Staver argues. He further contends there is nothing unconstitutional about the city’s sponsorship. Christmas, he points out, is a national holiday.  “I imagine if they would check their calendar, the city employees are off [on Christmas Day], along with all of the state employees as well, and it’s certainly permissible to celebrate Christmas as a holiday,” he states. “You don’t have to water down the name. You don’t have to change it to ‘winter holiday.’ You don’t have to pretend that it doesn’t exist. It is clearly constitutional.” Staver says Liberty Counsel this Christmas season will be friend to those standing up for Christmas, and foe to those who want to silence it.

Shoeboxes filled with gifts, filled with love Allie Martin Communities across the United States are collecting millions of gift-filled shoeboxes for an annual project. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, the international Christian relief organization. Churches, families, and organizations fill shoeboxes with school supplies, toys, necessities, candy and encouraging letters each year. The shoe boxes are then hand-delivered to needy children worldwide. Franklin Graham, president of

Samaritan’s Purse, says one “These kids, most believe, it.” Graham shoebox can make a big of them have never feels that giving difference in the life of a had a gift. Not only tangible gifts is child. have they not had important; how “When you give a gift a gift, but they’ve ever the message to a kid [who’s] never had never had love.” of love that the anything in their life, they gifts send is far are so overwhelmed. They better. “These are wowed...[by] just a kids, most of them have never had simple gift. They will sometimes a gift. Not only have they not had take out one item and put the lid a gift, but they’ve never had love,” back on and hand it back to you explains the Samaritan’s Purse thinking that they are only to take president. one item, and you say, ‘No, the Volunteers are hoping to collect whole box is yours.’ They can’t

more than eight-million shoebox gifts to be distributed worldwide before Christmas, and the organization is urging people to help in any way they can.

Great Pick Up Lines. In a day and age when all you ever get are sensational headlines and celebrities with their trashy bad behavior, it’s nice to know there is a magazine that covers inspiring stories about real people and real issues in our communities.

“The One site for your News right Now” Your Latest News From A Christian Perspective

Whether it’s a story about prayer in public schools, workplace restrictions on Christians or battles for biblical truth within our denominations, the American Family News Network (AFN) is here to tell you what the newsmakers are saying. AFN is a Christian news service - with more than 1200 broadcast, print and online affiliates in 45 states and 11 foreign countries - that exists to present the day’s stories from a biblical perspective. We not only feature the latest breaking stories from across the United States and around the world, but also news of the challenges facing Christians in today’s society. At OneNewsNow.com, you will get your news from reporters you can trust to give the latest news without the liberal bias that characterizes so much of the “mainstream” media. For a refreshing and informative change in where you get your news, log on to OneNewsNow.com.

Pick up a copy today, and smile.

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America’s Good News

THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

BY PRISCILLA STANLEY

Unlike any other baby, the one born that night in Bethlehem was unique in all of history. He was not crated by a human father and mother. He had a heavenly pre-existence. The Word Became Flesh. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning; John 1:1-3. He is God, the Son, Creator of the universe. This is why Christmas is called the incarnation, a word which means “in the fl esh.” In the birth of Jesus Christ, the eternal, all-powerful and all-knowing Creator came to earth in the fl esh. Why would God do such a thing? Why would he come as a baby, instead of appearing in power and majesty? Why make himself a true man and live among us, when he knew full well how terribly he would be treated? God became one of us in order to die for us and save us from sin, death and to defeat the power of Satan. Many say they celebrate Christmas with gifts for family and friends around a Christmas tree. I enjoy this tradition with family and friends. I believe God likes this tradition also since his greatest gift to us His children was Jesus Christ. Christmas trees, Santa Claus, decorations, exchanging gifts, and the many other seasonal traditions that most of us observe are wonderful ways for family and friends to mark this time of year. What we must all take care to remember is that these customs, enjoyable as they are, ultimately have nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas – the “Reason for the Season” – is found only in the message of the gospel. Here it is so beautifully described in John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Do many of us look at Christmas for the gifts and festivities? I believe many do. There are many who have no knowledge of the birth of Jesus and/or the signifi cance of it. How do we reach out to these precious children of God? By getting the true story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus out to the masses through whatever means it takes. It surprises me when I talk to seniors my age and fi nd that the birth of Jesus has no meaning to them. They go on day to day living their lives, many with severe issues and never think of building a relationship with the Lord. I pray the day will come soon in their lives when they see the importance of Jesus Christ’s birth. I know for me when I fi nally got the big picture that God chose to come to earth in the human form for my salvation I was overwhelmed. God’s love is like no other. Our father will listen to our every word and be beside us at all times. After all he suffered and died for us. Christmas should be a time to celebrate God’s greatest gift to us, the birth of Jesus Christ. It was LOVE! It is necessary, if you are to be saved. Let’s celebrate with family and friends the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Let us make the birthday of our Lord what it was meant to be. Share the gospel with those you love.

A NEW SERIES THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE BY PRISCILLA The Book of EPHESIANS For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:4-6) Ephesians was written around 60AD, by Paul from prison in Rome as a letter of encouragement to the church. Ephesians is a beautiful letter full of profound and meaningful thoughts. If you are one of those people who keeps a pen with your Bible to underline the verses that really jump out at you, you will underline a lot of this book. The fi rst part of the book is a lesson in encouragement. It is a wonderful reminder of God’s love and grace. It’s diffi cult to read Ephesians without feeling loved and blessed to be part of God’s family. Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own children through what Christ would do for us. He decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault. Because of this today we stand before him covered with his love. God’s unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. He did this because he wanted to. There is no greater love than our father’s love for us. It’s enough to realize that God offers us an opportunity to know Him and to be loved by Him. It’s much more to realize that God really had our adoption planned from the beginning of the world. His intentions toward us have never changed, By Paul telling the church this, he was sending them the greatest form of love, letting them know that God doesn’t love sparingly. God lavished them with love as He does us today. Who doesn’t need to read that? As a senior living alone with two daughters and their families living in another state and my son and his family forty miles away, I sometimes feel lost and alone. After reading and studying the Book of Ephesians I felt so loved and being alone was comforting for the fi rst time in a long time.

7-A

Put Your Whole Self In -

USE LIFE AS A LEARNING CENTER BY DON HUNTINGTON

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.” ~ CS Lewis

The quote by CS Lewis points to one of the best possible attitudes for people who intend to put their whole selves into their lives. We could re-write “Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream” to capture the thought, perhaps: All the world’s a Learning Center; And all the men and women merely students. They have their graduations and their kindergartens; And one man in his time passes through many classrooms. According to this vision, I can live life as though the hours of the day constitute a playground or a workshop in which I play or work as I choose. However, in my more serious times of refl ection I realize that the hours of this day in reality constitute a lecture hall or a lab in which Heaven is trying to teach me lessons about grace, and is preparing me for eternity. It is to my advantage to apply myself diligently to the learning; to strive to prepare for the fi nal exam awaiting me on whatever Judgment Day lies at the end of my path. If I go into the world tomorrow morning with the idea that in some fashion I’m being trained and tested for some unimaginably wonderful future, that attitude is bound to transform the quality of my experiences during the entire day. Since the scents of heaven and the smokes of hell both enter my life through the doorway of my mind, I will set before myself a life-long goal of endeavoring to keep that doorway open to the one and closed to the other. The popular culture around us doesn’t help us with that struggle. In some homes the television is never turned off. Day and night the family life (such as it is) is conducted against the backdrop of a continual blare of noise. The TV continues to fi ll the house with gunfi re, canned laughter, full-color carnage, hemorrhoid cures, groping sexual encounters, political sound bites, etcetera. For years, I had a television set of my own between my ears. My mind was constantly occupied with empty daydreams, snatches of meaningless dialog, unworthy fl ights of imagination.... Day and night there was never much mental silence but only a continual blurring and buzzing confusion that kept me from ever embracing the challenge of service for God or love for neighbors, friends, and others. I’m making real progress, I think. I’m certainly not perfect in this or in anything else, but I try daily to concentrate upon following a wise biblical admonition: …whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

“In my more serious times of reflection I realize that the hours of this day in reality constitute a lecture hall or a lab in which Heaven is trying to teach me lessons about grace, and is preparing me for eternity.”

The skies of my internal weather are usually clear. My relationships with other people are most often orderly and loving. The realities of my life usually contain nothing that I have to avoid or feel like hiding from others. I admit that I’m a slow student, but I’m fi nally learning the lessons from life that the Head Master is trying to inculcate in my head and gently seal to my heart. Try This 1) Start a journal; record each signifi cant experience, whether good or bad, to see what you can learn. 2) Make a list of the lessons learned. 3) Eliminate some experiences that have no important learning. Don Huntington 925-864-3263 www.don.huntington@gmail.com www.donwriteforyou.com


America’s Good News

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Do you want to know the secret to an amazing Christmas season? Diana Dobbie

By Diana Dobbie The secret to a great Christmas season is not expensive presents or fancy wrapping paper with three dollar bows, and it’s not a perfectly matched table setting with a succulent prime rib set on the table. The secret to Christmas is when you decide to let the spirit of the season overtake you and your number one goal is to get everyone you know to smile, laugh and hug. With this positive energy flowing through the Christmas season how could we not start off the New Year with hope and inspiration? So who initiates all this cheery goodwill? Collectively, all of us have the capacity to create this special spirit of goodwill. It’s time to shed all the difficult and unforeseen challenges that were thrown at us during the past year. Although many of us have tightened our financial belts, together we can accomplish anything. We need to focus not on how much money we have but what we can give of ourselves. The following things should make you smile and hopefully that little bubble of laughter will be lurking close behind. Attend a lighted street parade or a lighted boat parade. Bundle up and grab your family and friends, a chair and some hot chocolate. My challenge to you is to find someone who isn’t smiling. Start a potluck, Christmas is the season for sharing. If everyone does just a little bit a feast can appear out of nowhere. The smell of your neighbor’s favorite dish mingled with hugs and good conversation can brighten the mood of even the most downcast person you may know. Contribute to a toy drive. Check with your church to see if they have a gift giving tree. Several people in our local communities are coordinating toy drives that help support the Brentwood Regional Community Chest and the Delta Community Services Agency. Gifts that you donate are given to families within our own community. There is something special about picking out an anonymous gift with your children and not knowing the impact of how that gift will affect the recipient. Take lots of pictures. With digital cameras everyone can create lots of memories. If you start soon you might discover that you can turn a great moment into a holiday card. Not too many people frown when they get their picture taken. Finally, let us not forget the true reason for the season. It’s the one time of the year we celebrate that Christ our Savior was born. Who cannot smile at the sight of a newborn baby especially one as special as Jesus Christ?

A Celebration of Christ’s Birth By Lindasue Sizuela Christmas

The Random House Webster’s dictionary defines Christmas as: 1. the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus celebrated on December 25 and generally observed as a legal holiday and an occasion for exchanging gifts . . . (A Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus!) Christmas means Mass of Christ: His name is Jesus; His title is Christ.  Mass means “Celebration of the Eucharist.”  Eucharist means, The Sacrament of Holy Communion: “The Lord’s Supper.”  These are basic facts understandable to the mature Christian. A Christian is a follower of Jesus the Messiah “Christ”—(Acts 11:26).  In spite of these monumental facts, Christmas has become more adverse today than its everchanging story according to men.  Today there is a mixture of customs, religions, and traditions brought to the melting pot of Christmas so it’s no wonder that Christmas is the number one subject of growing arguments in this country. Nevertheless, what is the primary fact about Christmas? It is a Christian Holiday. The mix up started when early societies throughout the continent chose the darkest of winter days for celebrations seeking warmth and friendship. They celebrated life and birth; thus, traditions began by honoring pagan gods during mid-winter-holidays.  The Europeans were no exception; Saturnalia was a holiday to worship Saturn for a full month of orgies, food, and drink.  Mithras the sun god’s birthday honored on December 25 and considered the holiest day of the year by pagans was imposed on all local inhabitants. As Christianity grew among the people, the pagan holidays were challenged and the church found a way to participate without honoring false gods. There is no record of Christ’s exact day of birth. However, the birth of Christ can be traced back to Bethlehem at approximately 32-36 B.C. The early church agreed to allow Christians to enjoy the December 25 celebration as long as they praised God and were thankful for the Christ Child’s birth.  The day was named, “Feast Day of the Nativity.” St. Frances Assisi created the first manger scene in 1224 A.D. to help explain the birth of Jesus to his followers and it’s been a cherished visual since then among the Christians. The nativity scene has become a primary decoration for the Christmas advent as it represents the birth of Christ and that, of course, is our focus.   There are many, beautiful and wonderful

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WINTER SEMESTER CLASSES

T

School of Theology President Pastor Tyrone Holmes

SCHOOL OF

HEOLOGY

Sunday: (01/10/10) 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Class Description: Old Testament Survey Biblical Management Principles Spiritual Warfare

Thursday: (01/14/10) 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Class Description: Stewardship: Management by Objectives Creative Bible Study Methods Biblical World View

2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

traditions associated with Christmas Day. All of them meant to enhance the appreciation and joy of the festivity.  Traditions like Santa Clause, tree decorating, gift exchanges, lights on and around the home and tree, dinner with turkey,  ham, or roast beef with all the trimmings, special Christmas cakes, pies, cookies, homemade candies and breads, dressing up in our finest clothes, and what about the shopping that starts the day after Thanksgiving? All of this is acceptable to the Christians and fun for every one of us . . . all of it a part of the festive mood set by the people for Christ’s birthday. No matter what has been misrepresented to the world, are we not still a Christian Nation—one nation under God?  We should not accept having Christ removed from Christmas (Christ’s Mass).  We will not remove our nativity scenes, or give up our Christmas trees from public places. And we will still call it the Christmas season and not the holiday season. People are not condemned for what they do not know, but for what they do with what they know. Romans 1:19 & 20 “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  The infinite, unlimited God took on the limitations of humanity so He could live and die for the salvation of all who believe in Him, (Jesus means the Lord saves).  His birth is at the very heart of what we accept as truth.  It is knowing that the strength of what we believe is measured by how much we are willing to suffer for those beliefs.  We must do what is right and we do it to please Christ, not man.  We must not fear the public.  Luke 12:5 “I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has the power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you to fear Him.” Stand firm and choose today whom you will serve this Christmas. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  May you be blessed with joy and courage in sharing the message of Christ’s birth this Christmas Season. Merry Christmas to you and all those you love. Put your hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10).

The School of Theology is a comprehensive 22 course program that enables students to start and pursue a Biblical education based on a foundation of Biblical studies. Students will have the opportunity to graduate from the School of Theology and then continue their education towards a Bachelor of Biblical Studies Degree. The goal of the School of Theology is to equip men and women of God to develop and use their spiritual gifts for the work of the ministry in the Body of Christ.


America’s Good News

Woman to Woman Pastor Susan Holmes

“What Can Jesus Do For You?”

By Susan Holmes As I pondered the direction of this Christmas article I kept thinking about our Lord Jesus and the celebration of His birth. I kept thinking about the fact that it is the celebration of His birthday and that He is the only one I know who on His birthday doesn’t receive the presents but everyone else receives gifts instead of the birthday boy! What a perfect reflection of His sacrificial love for each and every one of us! He always gives so that we can receive! That is a demonstration of His unconditional love. I also thought about the candy cane that has been associated with Christmas and joyfully remembered teaching my children the history of this wonderful witnessing tool. This delicious candy is shaped like our Good Shepherd’s Rod, but also as a “J” for Jesus when turned the other way. We have always hung our candy canes on our Christmas tree both ways so that when our guests would ask us why they were upside down we would have an opportunity to share with them that our sugar canes represented “J” for Jesus! I have heard it said that they were first made white for the purity of Christ and hard for the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Later the three red stripes were added to represent the Holy Trinity and the thick red strip represented the blood of Jesus that was shed to forgive our sins. For me what is important is that this simple Christmas candy is a way to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with my loved one’s and everyone else who comes into my home. Among my many fond memories of Christmas is the year that Jesus Himself came to our house for Christmas. I was the mother of 3 young boys and in the process of teaching them the true meaning of Christmas. “Jesus is the true reason for the season!” We had no money for a Christmas tree or gifts, but I kept telling the boys that Jesus supplies all of our needs according to His riches in Glory! One day the boys and I came home from an outing and someone had come into our home, set up a Christmas tree, decorated it and put wrapped presents under it with each of my sons names on them signed, “Love Jesus”. To this day, I do not know how or who put them in my home, but I do know that after that my sons went around telling everyone, “well maybe Santa comes to your house, but Jesus came to our house and gave us gifts!” I recently attended an awesome healing service where I watched Holy Spirit move through one of His sons to touch and heal His children. I couldn’t help but chuckle within myself as I watched people wait patiently in the long line for their turn to be prayed over and heard the minister ask each one who came up for prayer, “What do you want Jesus to do for you?” I was reminded of the many long lines I have seen throughout my life time of children waiting to sit on “Santa’s” lap and have him ask them “What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?” It amazes me that the multitudes flock to pretend Santa’s with their personal requests, but the few come to the real Jesus Christ the Messiah with their requests that can truly be heard and answered. Why is it so easy to believe in a fantasy character like Santa and so hard for many to believe in the true living Son of God whose birth we celebrate during this Christmas Season? Those who don’t believe that Jesus is the reason for our Christmas Season has tried to take Him out of this celebration by saying “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”. Many say “Winter Holiday” instead of “Christmas Holiday”. Why are they so threatened to include “Christ” which means “the anointed one”? Unbelief does not change the fact that Christmas is the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came into the world to forgive the sins of fallen mankind. So from my heart to yours, have a very blessed celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! I pray that every time you see a candy cane from this day forward that you will be reminded that “J” is for Jesus who loves you so much that He would be willing to come to earth as a baby in the manger, grow up and die on the cross to forgive our sins so that we could spent eternity in Heaven with Him. Jesus is the true, eternal gift from God that is being offered to you. So the question is “What do you want Jesus to do for you?” How about giving you the gift of eternal life through faith in Him! Merry Christmas my Friend!

We had no money for a Christmas tree or gifts, but I kept telling the boys that Jesus supplies all of our needs according to His riches in Glory!

9-A

Women of Worth

Author Gina Dacus

A Closer Look at Sarah and Hagar Is there anything too hard for God?

Chaunna Layton brought a timely message to the Women of Worth. Pastor Kim Moreno The anointed driving force behind Women of Worth

By Gina Dacus An appropriate prelude to October’s Wow service was a savory assortment of homemade soups from a variety of volunteer cooks. Our soul was also warmed by the timely and encouraging word delivered by Sister Chaunna Layton. In her message, she used the story of Sarah and Hagar to compare the emotional, spiritual and physical barrenness that many women feel today. As you may know, God promised Sarah that she would have a child, but she failed to wait until that promise was fulfilled. Instead, she intervened by soliciting Hagar to have a child in her place. Similarly, some of us have taken on the mindset of Sarah. God has promised us beyond what we can comprehend, but we find ourselves intervening in his divine plan because we are not faithful in our waiting. Our wavering faith is not holding up to the tests divinely designed to propel us to our destiny. Every time Satan comes our way with a test, we cancel the faith process and intervene with our limited strength. Sister Chaunna reminded the women that faith is like a muscle that has to be exercised. Just like those who get out of the habit of going to the gym, we find ourselves making excuses about not trusting and believing God while we watch our spiritual bodies get out of shape. Not skipping a beat, the word delivered by Sister Chaunna verbally challenged the women to stand attention in the spirit as the realization of personal faith responsibility set in. I even had to take a step back as I considered my own battles? How faithful had I truly been in the midst of my trials and tribulations? How much had I really relied on God in comparison to the number of times I inserted frivolous strength? How much had I focused on the number of issues I was experiencing instead of the promises of God? As Sister Chaunna stated, “Counting trials is a deliberate action. We magnify our problems and make them bigger than what they are”. It’s similar to collecting coins and then periodically placing them in wrappers when enough has been accumulated to cash in. There is no need to accumulate trials when we have a second by second opportunity to give our concerns to the Lord. Still, we wait until they are compiled into a magnified burden. Yet, there were most likely opportunities during our counting and collating where we could have surrendered the issues simply by exercising our faith. You may be in a place of Sarah and Hagar. You may have intervened to help God with your situation or you may have helped someone without asking God. In either case, there is still hope for you right in that place. As Sister Chaunna shared, Hagar found herself in the wilderness crying out to God. In that wilderness place, God provided Hagar a well and confirmed that He had been there all along. Sister Chaunna also shared that Sarah’s lack of faith caused delay, but not denial. Sarah eventually had a son as God had promised. Just like Sarah and Hagar, your breakthrough is closer than you think. As Sister Chaunna instructed, “Cry, praise, and worship God in the midst of your breakthrough”. Go ahead exercise your faith. Take a moment right now and just give God the glory. Give him the praise for your triumph before your storm is over. Exercise your faith even during the toughest of times. The very next time that you are struggling in your situation and find yourself tempted to help God out, ask the question. “Is there anything too hard for God?” You will be blessed by His response. To contact WOW 925.625.9570 or http://www.bayareawomenofworth.com/ To contact author Gina Dacus visit her website at: www.ginadacus.com

Just like those who get out of the habit of going to the gym, we find ourselves making excuses about not trusting and believing God while we watch our spiritual bodies get out of shape.


America’s Good News

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FROM GANGSTER TO GOSPEL Oakley, CA by Pastor Anthony Vasquez

The Wonder Years

FROM LIFE ON THE STREETS TO A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST.

THE LIFE STORY OF PASTOR ANTHONY VASQUEZ, AKA VALIANT- THE ‘GOSPEL RAP ARTIST’

I grew up in Antioch as a child and my mother worked for a grocery store while my dad enjoyed being around the race track often. He used to always help the other drivers with their cars because he was a good mechanic. My parents weren’t around much because of their long hours away at work and other interests so I started hanging out with kids that were a bad infl uence on me. I remember my grandmother always being there though and at 12 or 13 my cousin invited me and my grandma to church one day. We started going regularly and I got involved with the youth group for about the next three years being active with the choir and drama. At 15 my mom got a call that my cousin had committed suicide. He was someone that I had really looked up to. When that happened it really shook everything that I understood about God. A year after that, my grandma had cancer in her throat. I loved my grandmother dearly and I had been praying for her every night that God would heal her from the cancer but He ended up taking her home. When He did that it was basically the last straw for me. I saw others being healed in the church, but when my grandmother didn’t get healed I couldn’t understand it. I just completely walked away from God and felt like everything that I was taught in church wasn’t being displayed in my life. When I look back on it I really didn’t have an understanding of what the church was for. I just went for social activities to keep me off the streets. But with these tragedies that happened I turned back to the streets.

The Beginning of the End

I started drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking cigarettes and pot. Then a few years later I started getting involved with gangs and heavier drugs, even carrying guns at times. With all this stuff that was going on in my life somehow I knew that God was always there. It’s crazy that when you’re deep in sin, some of the things that you try and hold a reverence to, for instance I would drive by a church and put the forty ounce down, not wanting

DO YOU REALLY WANT A REVIVAL?

God to see me drinking. I thought that was being respectful. It was a twisted form of reverence towards a God that I had no understanding of. But still in the back of my mind I always knew that Christ was the Son of God. I knew it was true, but I just didn’t know how. I think it was a direct result of my youth pastor when I was younger. His name was Pastor Hughes. He never judged me because I was rough on the edges or looked like a kid from the streets. He always treated me with the love of Christ. Pastor Anthony holding his Bible outside the As my drug addiction grew, I dove “Camo Car”. He is truly a soldier for Christ. deeper into the selling of drugs with my friends. Eventually, one of the deals went bad and this led to me getting shot in of my life in them. When I was saved I Gospel Rap the arm. I was wounded badly and when thought… wow! Look what God has done I had been a rapper all my life, but I was in the in me! I have to go when I got saved I quit. I told God I can’t ambulance the tell people about do this anymore, so for eight straight paramedic was this. I changed how months I didn’t touch a microphone or telling me that I I talked and everykeyboard. Then the Lord told me, ‘I didn’t had a punctured thing about my life teach you all of these things and put you lung and that I that didn’t honor through those trials that you’ve been might not make God. through for you not to use it.’ Shortly it. I then started People saw that thereafter I met Matt (AKA LOA) and we praying to the I was sold out for put together the group ‘Not By Sight.’ We Lord not to take Jesus and with my started performing for youth groups and me and leave my new commitment it just took off. We now perform regularly children without to the Lord I was at venues throughout California. My heart ~ Pastor Anthony Vasquez a father. I prayed invited by Pastor is to bring the gospel and an opportunity for more time to Jerry into the Intern for salvation to every show and every city. make up for all Pastor class at It could be someone’s last night here on of the wrong things I did. Mountain View Christian Center. I started earth and eternity is at stake, so I never having visions of grandeur, but once I The New Creation want to miss an opportunity to share Jesus starting attending it was a big wake up I started going to church on a regular with a lost soul. I don’t take it for granted call for me. It was nothing like I thought it that there are people hurting everywhere; basis and began speaking to God again was going to be. I was reading the book of even some of our closest family members. for help. I told Him that I needed change and could no longer do things on my own. Timothy and Titus and as I was continuing That’s why it’s the responsibility of every to grow at the Intern class I realized what Then I called by brother, Chris, who is believer to not just change the ministry an incredible responsibility I had and the very strong in the Lord and asked if he that you are in, but to change everything seriousness of it all. It wasn’t all about would come over and tell me more about around you so that people can see the reme giving people deep historical teachJesus. We ended up talking about Jesus fl ection of Christ in you, otherwise you’re ings and feeding them Greek and Hebrew that night until 3am. It was then that I just a Christian in a church and you’re not meanings; it was about me tapping into gave my heart to the Lord, but that very a Christian for the most high God who set next Sunday my Pastor gave an altar call I God and letting the Holy Spirit speak you free. through me reaching people right where came running again to surrender to Jesus For information on ‘Not By Sight’ visit they’re at in their life. I learned that I have their website at: www.myspace.com/ to show my family that I was for real. to be a good listener and also to be transAs I began to study the word of God threenotbysight parent about my mistakes so that other and reading through the books of the people can learn from them. Gospel I was looking at the refl ection

“No matter how many times you think that someone is not doing the right thing. just remember that God is not through with them yet.”

by Amber Colbert Do you want a revival in your Nation, your community, your church, your home? Then it starts with us. We continue to look to everyone else and even continue to pray that God would do what is necessary to bring revival. If we want this then it rests upon the condition to be able to look at ourselves and have a change of heart mind and attitude. Are you willing to put others first in your life? Do you consider your neighbors better than yourself? If you are a business owner or manager do you give your employees the best you can? Do you encourage, exhort, and provide for others even at your own expense? Or do we have the mentality of the World- to get all we can, as quickly as we can with out any loss to ourselves but looking for material gain? Do we use people, and seek out those who we feel can further our cause? Or do we seek out those we can bless, do we look for those we can encourage and lift up and show Jesus to- or do we belittle others, think more highly of ourselves than we should, and seek out those who can help elevate us. We need to blanket ourselves in humility so that Jesus can shine through. There is no good thing that we can do or give to the World on our own. If we boast in anything let us boast in Jesus. “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” Proverbs 29:22-24 I plead with you that if you are walking this Christian life and are praying for revival, that you examine every area of your life and stop looking to others. Ask yourself in what way you can make a change to make a difference in someone else’s life, and stop worrying about your own. You’ve given your life to Jesus, so He has you in the palm of His hand and there’s no better place to be. Let’s usher in a revival that will touch not just our Nationbut our homes, our schools, and our children.


America’s Good News

Looking back on Harvest Party Joy!

11-A

Pictured below - Ring Master, Rev. Austin Miles with Lisandra Zaste

John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Church Circus Features Bear

John 4:25

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Photos by Lisandra Zaste by Rev. Austin Miles As an alternative to Halloween, Mountain View Christian Center in Oakley, decorated up classrooms of the Trinity Christian School where trick or treaters in costume could visit and then were treated to a “Big Top Circus” performed in the auditorium. And what a circus it was! It opened up with a troop of colorfully costumed daredevils from Lisandra Zaste’s Pre-K class, billed as The Great Balloondinis. They bounded into the ring and astonished the audience with their amazing feats of tumbling and walking the tight wire. It was performed so well, that nobody questioned the tight-wire, which was a plank on the fl oor of the ring. The tots were charming. The delightful show spotlighted singers, dancers and a magician who has become an audience favorite. Pastor Will Byrns, whose whimsical character seems as astonished at the magic tricks that ‘happen,’ as much as the audience. The big attraction was a Bear.....Bear Carrillo that is, who heads the Twin Tigers Academy of Self Defense in Brentwood. His troop of young people, trained in defensive martial arts, were choreographed like ballet dancers, with each of the fl owing moves putting them in a position to stop an attacker (and beat the daylights out of them if necessary). The performance ended with The Supreme Team of Power, headed by Tim O’Hai, who broke a stack of concrete blocks with his forehead and Pastors Ken (who bent a steel bar with his bare hands) and Joe Seeley who tore a thick phone book in half. The crowd gasped at their strong-man On the right - Snow skills. White with cotton A top-hatted “Ringmaster” introduced the acts to the huge crowd that candy consumer, attended. The auditorium was jam packed with a couple hundred people Joe Lopez, and an outside trying to get a glimpse through a back door. The show was so well unknown 3D man. received that it may become a Halloween tradition.

GOT-A-PARTY

Acts 13:23

Pictured above - Erma White with Homey the Clown,(AKA) Pastor Tyrone Holmes. Left - Snow White helps a little one walk the tight wire.

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

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America’s Good News

Men of Vision and Purpose don’t retreat… they ADVANCE!

Pictured below - The two co-founders of MVCC, left, Pastor Jerry Hanoum and on the right, Pastor Jerry Dellinger.

The MVP enjoyed a grand time and a grand slam at the Alliance Redwoods campgrounds. by Will Byrns The Men of Vision and Purpose (MVP) don’t call it a retreat. They call it an advance. Why? The Kingdom of God is advancing daily, just as it says in Matthew 11:12. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. The 2009 advance was held at the Alliance Redwoods Conference Center in Occidental, CA which boasted all of the accommodations that any man could ask for. The center had zip lines, the leap of faith, basketball courts, paint ball, dinner buffets, pool, ping-pong and even an upper room for worshipping the Lord. Men were there from many churches and of every age group. Some of the men brought their sons along to show them how powerful a men’s advance can be by helping them grow in the Lord and bond with one another. Pastor Keoni Clifford opened up the conference and asked the men, “Why are we here? Does anyone know? We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to seek God’s face.” He then started reading scripture from Nehemiah 1 telling of Nehemiah’s pure heart when he prayed to the Lord for forgiveness over all his people. “Nehemiah finished what he started, because the Lord had given him favor. He knew that God gave him wisdom to act only when he knew that God’s hand was on him did he say let’s build,” said Pastor Keoni. “The Lord wants us to get back to basics, when we run from Him and do things on our own it’s in vain. We must get on our faces and come to Him in prayer before we make any major decisions in our life.” As Pastor Keoni delivered this message he had all of the men get on their faces and commune with the Lord. It was an awesome time in prayer as the presence of God filled the upper room. Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast Pastor Jerry Dellinger spoke to the men about their daily walk and being consistent. “You must continue to remain hungry for God every day. You want to know the answer to your daily walk being pure? Your heart must beat for God first before anything else. Your heart is the vital center of one’s being,” said Pastor Jerry D. He then shared words of wisdom that many throughout the world can relate to… “Some people think they cannot be used by God because they’re not a pastor. Some may think that they are just no good, or not worthy to be used at all. But I tell you this; one simple act for someone from the heart can touch thousands of lives.” Pastor Jerry D. closed with this profound statement, “The Apostle Paul said the big secret is that Christ is in you. Now what are you going to do with it?” After a day filled with fellowship and recreation Pastor Jerry Hanoum stepped up in a very humble manner being very transparent with the men gathered. His message of love was based upon 1 Corinthians 13 as he spoke openly to the men on some of his real life experiences growing up. The words he brought forth were moving and touched the toughest of men in an emotional way. Pastor Jerry shared that it was his mother that brought him to the Lord at the age of sixteen. He also told of the painful struggles when he was young that he went through with his father. He spoke with conviction on the deep love that he had for his father but said there were times when his father was very demanding on him and was somewhat hard hearted when it came to accepting the Lord in his life. Men were weeping probably recalling a similar situation they had been through with their father. “One particular day in my father’s latter years, he had to check into a hospital after an accident where he had lost site in one eye. I remember coming in and sitting next to him along his bedside. Not sure of what to say, I began reading out of the book of Psalms. As I read to him I noticed tears coming down his face. It was then that I asked my father if he wanted to accept Jesus as Lord, and he said yes! I’ll never forget that moment when my dad looked at me with sincerity and told me that he loved me. Something I can’t recall hearing even when I was a child. That meant the world to me and ever since that day my dad and I had a loving relationship until he recently passed,” said Pastor Jerry. He sealed the message with… “And now these three remain: faith, hope & love. But the greatest of these is love.” Pastor Scott Dellinger came in batting clean-up and bringing a close to the men’s advance on Saturday clearing all the bases. His opening… “What is your name worth to God? Every day you go to work and you all make so much per hour, right? Your name has a price on it. So what I want to ask each one of you today is, ‘what is your name worth to God.’” Pastor Scott took the men to Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. He then asked a second question: “Who are you when no one is watching? Are you the same person the whole week that you are on Sunday? I’m asking you this because there are so many Christians today that are getting real good at playing church,” he exclaimed boldly. “We are all going to make mistakes and we can never become too judgmental. But I just want to encourage you today to learn from your mistakes and know when to be quiet and listen to the Lord. I get excited about going through trials and I welcome God’s correction in my life. That’s because I know that His word says… He will bring us from glory to glory,” said Pastor Scott. He then brought the message back around profoundly, “God has a purpose for each one of you and loves you dearly. Can you show that you love Him with all your heart? What is your name worth to God?” Lives were changed that weekend and many men came to know Christ as their Savior. Because of that they are better men; a new creation. They are better husbands, better fathers and closer to becoming the man that God created them to be. Philippians 4:13 Men of Vision and Purpose meet every third Monday at Mountain View Christian Center, located at 5000 Amaryllis Street in Oakley, CA. Call 925.625.9570 for more information.

Photos by JP Cosentino & Will Byrns


America’s Good News

ARE YOU CONSCIENCE OR UNCONSCIENCE? BY JOHNNY JONES

Webster’s dictionary defi ned conscience as the sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action. The complex of ethical and moral principle that control, or inhabits the actions or thoughts of an individual. Being conscious is defi ned as aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, conscious of one’s own faults guilt, self conscious inwardly sensible of wrongdoing. Being unconscious is defi ned as unaware, loss of consciousness, not realized by ones-self mental life that does not ordinarily enter the individual’s awareness yet may infl uence behavior and perception, like a slip of the tongue, or day dreaming. When conscience is stricken it is greatly troubled or disturbed by the knowledge of having acted wrongfully. What is conscience? The word conscience in our English language comes from two Latin words. Con means “with or together”, and Scio means “I know”, meaning “to know with” or “to know together”. To know with what? To know with ourselves, and to know within ourselves. Conscience is the inner knowledge that helps me to know myself. The Greeks use to say, it meant “the pain you feel when you do wrong”. A Native American Christian said, “In my heart there is an arrowhead with three points to it. If I do wrong it cuts me. If I do wrong too much, I wear out the points and it doesn’t hurt me quite so much! But, when the pain is gone watch out! The word “conscience” is found 32 times in the New Testament, especially in the writings of the apostle Paul. Conscience, in Paul’s writings, is regarded as passing judgment not only on conduct that has already taken place but also on what ought to be done in the future. The behavior of people who are without God’s law shows that the law’s requirement is “written on their hearts” (Rom 2:14–15). Paul’s statement that every person should “be subject to the higher authorities” to avoid God’s judgment and “for the sake of conscience” presupposes that conscience can establish obedience as a moral requirement (Rom 13:5). To approve, or pronounce “not guilty,” is a function of conscience just as important as self-condemnation. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he linked a good conscience with sincere faith (1 Tm 1:5); when people depart from the faith, their consciences can become “seared” or rendered insensitive by their persistence in evil (4:2). The bible gives four types or states of a man’s conscience: the strong, the evil, the good and the weak. 1. A Strong Conscience: Has a mature knowledge and a spiritual discernment, enjoys freedom of right choices, tolerance of the differences in others. The peace maker who does not argue. 2. An Evil Conscience: loves to do wrong, hates doing right, enjoys leading others in wrong doing, believes doing wrong is the right thing to do. They are masters at arguing, the light of conscience is completely turned off in this soul. 3. A Weak Conscience: lacks knowledge and is easily offended, causes disruptions, unstable emotionally, critical of others, legalistic about life, always confused about priorities. 4. A Good Conscience: effective in life, keeps on the right course of life, avoids foolish and feeble arguments, is victorious in the battles of life, aids in having honest and beauty of life, helps to respond and not react to false accusation. The Bible also gives fi ve progressive stages to an evil conscience, a conscience that is dark without a natural affection, one that is cold hearted and without feeling. This is the perverse soul that has rewritten its internal law of reason. This is the state of being when lust and desire take complete control of ones soul, where impulse is the way of choice, rather than conscious thought, proper desire and right choice. These are those who have violated normal conscience functions to point of total shipwreck. The book of Proverbs list fi ve types of foolish living that lead to conscience dysfunction and total ruin. They are called fools because they lack the information in their souls (mind emotion and will), the knowledge of God, and the acknowledgement of Him as their CREATOR DESIGNER/ SAVIOR (Proverbs 1:22). 1. THE SIMPLE FOOL: easily mislead, looks for a leader, naïve, ignorant of cause and affects. 2. THE SILLY FOOL: loves breaking rules, corrupted by wrong associations, has guilt for wrong doing, has angry response to correction. 3. THE SENSUAL FOOL: skilled in deception, self centered, taker not a giver, only concerned about self desire, defrauds others for self gain. 4. THE SCORNING FOOL: uses the simple to do their wrong, despises rules and authorities, creates unrest and contention with others, very proud of evil exploits. 5. THE SEARED FOOL: conscience is seared like the skin burned with a hot iron, believes evil is good and good is evil, skilled in argumentation, seeks followers for self gain only, has very few if any friends. When our simplicity of conscience is corrupted by wrong decisions and associations, we develop a self focus where we then manipulate others to get what we strongly desire. When desire completely consumes the soul, desire is then out of control. What is now out of control cannot be unfulfi lled. When the appetite of desire increases, it produces gluttony of the soul, resulting in a seared conscience, with internal and external confl icts. When desire gets pregnant by the lure of temptation, it gives birth to a child called SIN, sin then grows to adulthood and becomes a real murderer; thief; child molester; wife beater; parent abuser; drug addict; alcoholic; adultery ; crooked politician, dishonest business man. People fi ght for what they strongly desire, they go to war when desire if forbidden, they, murder, when desire completely consumes. Take the test, where are you on the scale of conscience and desire? Are you conscious or unconscious in your soul? Has sin consumed your soul to the point of rendering you unconscious to God? Does strong desire drive the car of your soul? Is your whole thought life consumed and controlled by what is forbidden, or cannot be fulfi lled? If unbelief and sins slavery has you knocked unconscious, there is hope. It takes a lifetime to shipwreck a life, but only a moment to restore one. God’s word says, confession is good for the soul, it actually restores the soul. Listen to theses verses, if we confess (confession means to agree with God & our conscience) our sins, He God if faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness (a guilty conscience). If we say we have no sin, then we deceive ourselves (denying the law of conscience) and the truth is not in us. If we say we have not sinned against God’s universal law and our internal law of conscience, then we’re calling God a liar (1John 1:8-9). HOPE is only 18 inches away, from your mouth to your heart. If you will confess with your MOUTH Jesus as LORD and believe in your HEART that God raised Jesus from the dead, God’s word promises you will be saved- AWAKEN FROM UNCONSCIOUSNESS. With the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:9-10). By God’s amazing grace He will purge your conscience from dead works (an unconscious soul that is dead in trespasses and sin Eph 2:1) to serve the LIVING GOD. Are you Conscious or Unconscious?

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Come and celebrate Christmas Eve with us at a special ‘Candlelight’ service, Dec. 24th, from 6 - 7pm ~Beautiful Worship ~A Christmas message from Pastor Jerry. ~ Candy for the kids. Mountain View Christian Center 5000 Amaryllis Street Oakley, CA 925.625.9570


America’s Good News

14-A

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5000 Amaryllis Street Oakley, CA 94561

Picture Packages 1- 8 x 10 $30 (same as 2- 5x7 or 4- 4x5) 1 - 8 x 10 + 2 - 5 x 7 $50 1 - 8 x 10 + 2 - 5 x 7 + 4 - 4 x 5 $70 1 - 11 x 14 Enlargement $50 (mounting $8) 25 - 3 x 8 Christmas cards $30 CD of 3 images $60

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America’s Good News

15-A

Worship Services If you are interested in having your church listed on the Worship services page, call Ron or Pat Reagan at 925-240-1242 Bread of Life Community Church

Pastor Edward L. Riley 18 O’Neill Court Oakley 925-625-9081 - www.bolcc.net email: edwardriley@sbcglobal.net

Church on the Rock

Pastor Craig Dale 9:30am Traditional 11:00am Contemporary 50 Walton Lane (off Lone Tree) Antioch, CA 94509 925-706-2842

The Light Ministries

Pastor Larry Roper 405 West 6th Street Antioch, CA 94509 925-778-1639

Agape Bible Fellowship

Pastor: Dr. John Ojewole 605 West Madill St. Antioch Tel. 925-709-4424 Email: info@agapebfm.org Website: www.agapebfm.org Sunday Worship: 10:30am Group Bible Study: 9:30am Prayer fellowship: Tuesdays 7pm Youth fellowship: Fridays 7pm Prayer Vigil: last Friday of month 9pm

Our Father’s House

Apostle Larry Johnson 2980 Railroad Ave, 2nd floor Pittsburg, CA 925-457-3358 Fridays 7 pm, Sundays @ 10 am & 5 pm

New Lifeline Ministries 4246 Empire Ave. Oakley Sunday service 10am Wed. Bible Study 7:30pm 925-625-1982

Destiny Christian Center

Bishop Gregory Bell Sunday 10:30am Service Wed Worship & Study 7:30pm 132 O’Hara Av. Oakley 925-679-1361

Mariner’s Church

Byron Middle School Gym 9 am Children/Teen Sun Sch. & Nursery 9:15am Adult Sunday School  ~ 10:30 am High School “Hang Time” ~ 6:30 pm Tue. Bible Study ~ 10 am Wednesdays  Pastor Jim Kraft ~ 634-0800 Office: 5545 Drakes Ct., Discovery Bay

Live Oak Community Christian Center

5471 Live Oak Av. Oakley 925-625-2556 Worship Services Sunday 10am Marriage Bible Study Mon 7:30pm Kingdom Men Tuesday 7:30pm Ladies Bible Study Tue 7:30pm Youth Group Wed 7:00pm Home Cell Groups Fri 7:30pm Saturday Morning prayer 8am

His Presence

Christian Worship Center Location: Holiday Inn Concord 1050 Burnett Ave 94520 Sunday’s 10:00am starting Tuesday bible study 7:30 pm Mail to: 1145 2nd St. Ste A #161 Brentwood, CA 94513 ph# 925-405-9620

Grace Bible Fellowship Pastor Kirkland Smith Sunday 8am & 11:15am Tues 7pm Prayer Wed 6am 913 Sunset Dr. Antioch, CA 94509 925-522-2017

The Carpenter’s Shop Int’l Prs. Jerry and Penny Slavens P.O. Box 2083 Antioch, CA 94531 925-778-0800 925-778-0804 fax carpenters.shop@sbcglobal.net www.thecarpentershop.org Saturday Service 11am - 1pm

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Catholic Church 500 Fairview Ave Brentwood Saturday Vigil 5:00, 6:30[sp] Sunday Masses 7:30, 9:00 and 12:30 Spanish 10:45 and 2:00 pm Daily 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM 925-634-4156 email: ihmchurch@sbcglobal.net

Unity on the Delta

Pastor Robert Waldon Sunday Service - 10:00am 50 Sand Creek Road, Ste. 140 Brentwood, CA 94513 Ph - 925-754-5343

Lighthouse Christian Center 1210 Stoneman Ave Pittsburg, Ca 94565 (925) 432-3808 Pastors Jason & Peggy Younger Sundays 9:30 & 11:15am Wednesday: Prayer & Healing Service 7:00pm

Fountain of Life Church  

Pastor: Ronald Mixon 111 W. 10th St. Antioch, CA 94509 Next to Antioch City Park on A St. (925) 755-8779 E-mail: ronmixon@sbcglobal.net www.thefountainoflifechurch.org Sunday Worship:10:00AM Wednesday: Intercessory Prayer: 7-7:30PM  Bible Study:7:30-8:30PM

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Faith Worship Center

Pr. Anthony E. Blackman 2170 Harbor St. Pittsburg, CA 94565 Service - Sundays 8:00am &10:00am Wednesdays 7:00pm 925-427-0976

Christ Temple

Full Faith Ministry Inc. Pastor Damon Pierson Worship service 1pm 101 West 9th St.Antioch CA 925-978-6273

Crossroads Christian Center Heritage High-Multipurpose Rm. 101 American Ave. Brentwood 925-516-7795 Sunday Service 10:30am Tuesday Bible Study 7pm Pastor Andrew G. Miley

Calvary Chapel Crossroads

Pr. John Snoderly 1771 Vineyard Dr., Antioch Phone 925-778-2011 Services: Sundays at 10 AM Bible Study: Wednesdays at 7 PM www.cccrossroads.org email: church@cccrossroads.org

Calvary Fellowship

Pastor Dave Perata Discovery Bay Elementary School SundayService10:00AM 1700 Willow Lake Road 925.626.3525 Mid week Bible Study Thursday 7PM 1555 River Lake Road in Discovery Bay

Delta Oaks Presbyterian Church

3195 Contra Loma Blvd. Antioch (925) 516-2735 Sunday’s 9:30AM Sunday School all ages 11AM Sunday evening Pioneer Club for kids, JH and SH Youth Groups, and an Adult Study. Home Bible and Prayer meeting during the week. deltaoaks.org.

The East Bay Pentecostals

605 Harvest Park Drive Brentwood, CA 94513 (925) 634-2012 Pastor Joel R. Bryant Sunday Services 10am & 5pm Wednesday Bible Study 7:30pm Friday Youth 7pm

International Christian Ministry

Grace Lutheran Church 195 Alvarado Ave Pittsburg, CA 94565 Rev Tuma Johnson 550-5573

Mountain View Christian Center

Pr. Jerry Hanoum 5000 Amaryllis Oakley Ca 94561 925-625-9570 Sundays 9am & 10:45am Sundays 5:00pm Spanish Wednesdays 7pm Soldiers in Christ - Jr. High Wed 7pm Souled Out - High sch. Wed 7pm

Kings Chapel

Pr. Phillip Marocco 320 Worrell Rd. Antioch, CA 925-756-7315 Sun. 10:00am and 6:00pm Tue. 7:00pm Youth and Adult Bible study www kingscathedral.com

Rejoyce Christian Center

Pr. Kenny Ogunfunmi Sunday Service 10:30 AM 90 Village Dr. Brentwood 94513 925-240-0380 admin@rcconline.net - email

Gateway Church

Pastor Joe & Danille Hernandez Sundays 10AM Youth and Kids Ministry 847 Arnold Dr. Martinez, CA 94553 925.335.9519 www.gatewaychurch.us

The Orchard Church

Heritage High School Theater 101 American Ave Brentwood Service at 10am Sundays Pastor Steve (925) 325-5020 theorchardchurch.com

Outreach Ministries Birthright of Brentwood

Helping pregnant women facing personal crisis. Call 925-634-1275

Royal Family Kids Camp

4725 Evora Rd.Concord, CA www.rfkcconcord.com Rick Fuller, Director 925.207.7240

Family Life Center of Brentwood 605 Harvest Park Drive Brentwood, CA 94513 (925) 634-2016  Ministering to families in need: Homework Help, Social Services (Food Stamps, Healthy Families) Food Pantry, Clothing & More Thursdays at 7pm   School of Theology Echo of Christ Ministries For

5000 Amaryllis St. Oakley more info on the conflict in the Middle Enroll Now and start studying the East - Call 866-317-3626 Word of Godwww.echoofchrist.org Contact Pastor Tyrone Helping Hands @ 925-625-9570 Food & Clothing to those in need Minister Travis Mozeke Every Wednesday 5:30 - 6:30pm Grace Bible Fellowship 5000 Amaryllis St. in Oakley Overcomers 925.727.8788 925.625.9570


America’s Good News

16-A

If you are having a community outreach event or ministry event that would bless our community send calendar information to wbyrns@americasgoodnews.com

CALENDAR Freedom Recovery Counseling and Edification - Overcoming Strongholds: 1)anger issues 2)compulsive addictions 3)renewing of the mind. Men/Women support groups biblical instruction for living & walking triumphantly in christ Every Friday at 6:30 pm - MVCC 5000 Amaryllis St. Oakley More info contact: Pastor Tyrone Holmes 925 625-9570 ext 108

Christian Foster Families Aldea Children and Family Services Desperate need for Christian Foster Families Training at Golden Hills Community Church 2401 Shady Willow Lane (925) 516-0653 Brentwood, CA 94513 Lisa Phillips Cell # 925-848-6032 Aldea Children and Family Services http://www.aldeainc.com/

Free Freedom Food and Recovery Clothing Helping Hands Food & Clothing to those in need Every Wednesday 5:30-6:30pm Rm 14 5000 Amaryllis St. in Oakley (925) 625-9570

Proverbs 31:10 Monday -Dec . 7th 7pm-8:15pm Doors open at 6:30pm Mountain View Christian Center 5000 Amaryllis Street Oakley 925-625-9570

The Promise Singers - A robust 36 member youth choir from the Discovery Bay and Byron communities, will perform their original annual Christmas Concert titled, "Finding Christmas." Concert to be held on Sunday, December 13, 2009. Performances are at 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm at Delta Community Presbyterian Church, 1900 Willow Lake Rd, Discovery Bay. Come with a canned food donation for the local food bank and leave with a joyous heart! Call 925.634.0184 for more info.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples.

Here are just a few locations that you can find a copy

AMERICA’S GOOD NEWS

QUAIL LODGE RETIREMENT RESIDENCE 4850 Deer Valley Rd. ANTIOCH COMMONS AT DALLAS RANCH 4751 Dallas Ranch Rd. ANTIOCH PITTSBURG WASH N DRY 208 Atlantic Ave. PITTSBURG REAGAN MANAGEMENT 60 Eagle Rock Way Ste. C BRENTWOOD

Dove Aviation Is looking for volunteers to help with their ministry on local and international levels. Dove is involved in Mission Trips (925)584-7079

"Finding Christmas"

Matthew 9:10

WINNER’S CIRCLE WESTERN WEAR 505 W. 2nd St. ANTIOCH

Christian Help Ctr 2166 Sacramento Street, Vallejo, CA 94590 (707) 553-8192 Food, Clothing, Shelter - Transitional Living

The Promise Singers

Annual Toy Drive "Light Up the Bay Light up a Life!" Having a Christmas Party? Ask your guests to bring an unwrapped toy. Call us to schedule a pick-up. Gifts picked up Sunday, December 13th. Anyone can participate. All the toys donated go to the Brentwood Regional Community Chest and Delta Community Services Agency (Serving Discovery Bay, Byron and Brentwood) To schedule a pickup, call Lynda Myers 925.891.5119 or 415.602.9961 lyndamyers10@gmail.com Steve Walde 925.634.8483 dltkid@yahoo.com

LEBRERIA FUENTE DE VIDA 3009 Delta Fair Blvd. ANTIOCH

Cornerstone 925-779-2000

Every 3rd Monday Doors open 6:30-teaching at 7pm Sponsored by Mountain View Christian Center 5000 Amaryllis Street Oakley 20/10 Vision 925-625-9570

Discovery Bay Community Presbyterian Church 2009 Holiday Home Tour When: Sunday, December 6th 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets $20- contact: Alice Cramer at 925/634-8470, Bev Lyman at 925/513-1939 or call the church at 925/634-0184. Tickets also available at the door. Where: 1900 Willow Lake Road Discovery Bay CA Time: 12:30 p.m. Home tour, musical entertainment, refreshments & door prizes. Proceeds from this event will be used by the church for community projects.

LAUNDERLAND Railroad Ave. PITTSBURG

Hope Eternal Recovery group for women. Tuesdays @ 7:00 p.m. 1745 E.18th St. Rm 25 Antioch, 94509 Facilitator: Julie McGee 925-584-5282

MVP - Men of Vision & Purpose

Annual Toy Drive

SERENDIPITY BIBLE HOUSE 760 Madison St. FAIRFIELD

RESOURCES

Women of Worth

Holiday Home Tour

of

Call us at 925-625-9570

GRACELAND CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORE 4261 Century Blvd. PITTSBURG BAGEL STREET CAFE’ 4815 Lone Tree Suite C ANTIOCH EL RAY TAQUERIA 4621 Golf Course Road ANTIOCH LAUNDER LAND 1657 A ST. ANTOCH HAZEL’S DRIVE-IN ANTIOCH HWY DELTA BREEZE LAUNDERLAND 1092 Sycamore Dr. ANTIOCH FIESTA FILIPINA/ORIENTAL FOODS & GIFT MART 155 Atlantic Ave. PITTSBURG LOS REYES TAQUERIA 526 Bailey Road PITTSBURG UNITY HALL 711 Empire Street FAIRFIELD

Mission Solano 740 Travis Blvd. Fairfield CA (707) 422-1011 Daily Meals, Transitional Living Daily Shower, Shelter New Life Programs

Shepherd’s Gate Christ Centered services for Battered/homeless Women & Children 605 Sycamore Brentwood CA (925) 308-7507 Love -a-Child Missions Homeless Recovery Shelter Rehabilitative services for homeless women and children. (925) 458-5663 info@love-a-child.org Victory Outreach-Pittsburg 2328 Willow Pass Rd (925) 432-0937 Christian Recovery Program Drug & Alcohol Iron Shop Men’s Recovery Group Christian Twelve Step 925-525-9957 1745 East 18th Street Antioch Unity Hall: A Recovery Community Center 711 Empire St. Fairfield CA 707-421-2792 Drug and Alcohol prevention

Aaron Tanner Heart Foundation Dance/Banquet “A Night To Remember” A Fundraising Dance Event Dedicated to Aaron Tanner Target Date: December 19th, 2009 Venue: Shadow Lakes Golf Club/ Ballroom Hall 401 W. Country Club Drive, Brentwood Time: Dinner Buffet: 5:30 ~7:00 p.m Dance Event starts at 7:15 p.m Open dance floor starts at 9:00 p.m Event ends at 11:00 p.m. Buffet Dinner: $25.00/person Includes: BBQ Pork Ribs/ Smokehouse Chicken/ Roasted Red Potatoes/ Chef’s Choice Seasonal Vegetables/ Mixed Green Salad - Sheet cakes include; Orange Mist, Lemon Ice and Chocolate cakes /Complimentary Ice Tea, Lemonade and Coffee Kid’s Menu: $10.50 (age 9years and under) Includes: Spaghetti and Meatballs or Chicken Tenders with French Fries, Lemonade Fruits & Cheesecake Deadline for buffet reservation: December 11, 2009 Contact Numbers: 925-522-1014 or 925-684-4915 Elizabeth Poole or Steve Kiyan/ F&B Director: 925-516-6600 ext. 238 Visa/Master card acceptable

Donations:

send to The Aaron Tanner Heart Foundation - The Bank of Agriculture and Commerce Oakley Ca. or on-line at www.saveabrokenheart.com

Good News Publishing USA Publisher - Pastors Hanoum / Dellinger Editor-In-Chief - Will Byrns Copy Editor - Cathy Huffman Marketing Director - Carleton Booker Reporters/Columnists Susan Holmes, Austin Miles, Johnny Jones, Saed & Linda Awwad, Priscilla Stanley, Felix Golden, Lindasue Sizuela Andrew Pate, Juan Prieto, Diana Dobbie, Gina Dacus and Don Kwong Distribution Manager - Jerry Gebrosky Solano County Distribution - Jeanne B. Graphics - Will Byrns & Jake Carter

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America’s Good News covers Local, National and World news headlines and stories. The views and opinions expressed in this literature does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of America’s Good News.


America’s Good News

Special Remembrance Service Dec.19th Many who have recently lost loved ones face The Christmas Holiday Season with a heavy heart. That heaviness will lighten on December 19th when Rev. Austin Miles conducts a Service of Remembrance to celebrate those we love, whom we spent many happy Christmases with in the past, and focus on the love they are now receiving in God's presence. Pastor Miles who actually did cross over during a stroke in 2003, knows exactly what our loved ones are experiencing. The Remembrance Service will be held on Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 3:00 P.M. in Room # 4 on the Trinity Christian School Campus at Mountain View Christian Center in Oakley. For further information, call Pastor Miles at: 925/625-9570-ext.102.

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Children of incarcerated parents at risk Allie Martin - OneNewsNow The nation's largest faith-based prison ministry is lauding a report that urges policymakers to act quickly and revise unreasonable practices that harm children whose parents are behind bars. The report by the Council of State Governments titled "Children of Incarcerated Parents; An Action Plan for Federal Policymakers" points out what it calls "many fl aws in the current system." Included is the fact that 60 percent of incarcerated parents are housed more than 100 miles away from their previous residences. Also, and in many prisons, 15 minute long distance calls cost more than one dollar per minute. Pat Nolan, president of Prison Fellowship, says the report points out ways the current system puts many kids at risk. "Just because the father or mother did something wrong, the sins of the father should not be visited on the sons," he contends. "That's something the Bible told us that's stopped. We don't do that anymore. And in a way, by treating these kids so poorly, we are visiting the sins of the fathers on the sons, and this report is meant to say, 'let's break that cycle. Let's turn the tide on that.'" Nolan, who himself was incarcerated, remembers the impact Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree ministry had on his family. "Our eldest daughter had never said a word, but when that lovely couple from the Baptist church left, after praying with them while I was in prison... my wife closed the door, and my eldest daughter, who was fi ve then, said, 'I knew daddy wouldn't forget,'" he remembers. "And that question had been on her little heart that whole time." Nolan says Prison Fellowship will work with the Council of State Governments to help state and federal offi cials implement the recommendations of the study.

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Sherwood Pictures announces fourth film Rebecca Grace Davis - Special to OneNewsNow 11/19/2009 Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, announced the title and storyline of its next film in a special worship service Sunday night. From the creators of Flywheel, Facing the Giants and Fireproof comes Courageous, a soul-stirring, heartchallenging film about fatherhood that embraces God's promise to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers." Courageous tells the story of four men who share the same calling: to serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle comes a decision that changes all their lives. The decision to create a film with a father-focused theme was made by a four-person team from the church staff: Pastor Michael Catt, Executive Pastor Jim McBride, and brothers Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick. After praying for over a year, the men had clear direction from the Lord that they were to make a film that speaks to the harmful trend of fatherlessness. (See earlier story) "The statistics on fatherless children are devastating," McBride said. "And because the family is the building block of society, one important place to rebuild families is through fathers who stay and lead and love." "We believe God is calling men to rise up with strength and with leadership in their homes, with their families and with their children," Stephen Kendrick added. At the time of the announcement, the Kendrick brothers had about 80 percent of the plot completed, and they plan to have a finished script by the end of the year. Casting is projected to begin in early 2010 with filming to follow in the spring of 2010, leaving the remainder of the year for postproduction and scoring. If all goes well according to these tentative plans, Courageous could be released as early as the first part of 2011.

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CHRIST IS MY VICTORY A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO OUR TROOPS A Serviceperson’s Best Defense Start out each day, having your body clothed with the true word, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Be ready with the good news of peace as shoes on your feet. And most of all, using faith as a cover to keep off all the fl aming arrows of the Evil One. And take salvation for your head-dress and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Eph 6:14

An Out-of Sight Warrior

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior. I want to serve you always.” Message to our readers: if you know of active duty personnel, please enclose this card in your next letter or just send along this newspaper.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MOUNTAIN VIEW CHRISTIAN CENTER, TRINITY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL AND AMERICA’S GOOD NEWS

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DECEMBER 2009 AMERICA'S GOOD NEWS  

MERRY CHRISTMAS