Developing Next Generation Leaders In Mentoring Relationships page 14
Vision 2020 A Call to Prayer page 20
Church of God of Prophecy, I welcome you to join in this marvelous opportunity to start the New Year in a focused Season of Seeking in unity with thousands of your brothers and sisters. Each week we will have general prayer directives that we can all unite around and lift up to heaven together. And as we pray through these 21 days, I know God will hear us from heaven. I know God will honor His great promise, â€œCall unto me, and I will answer you, and will show you great and mighty things that you do not know.â€? I invite you to join in this Season of Seeking this January.
Bishop Randall E. Howard General Overseer
Resources and prayer guides are available by visiting www.cogop.org 2
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January 2013 • Volume 89, Number 7
Bringing honor to the WORD by the printed word, the White Wing Messenger strives to inspire Christian thought and practice as it imparts the “good news” of the Gospel while serving the connectivity needs of our church community.
8 Avenues of Healing Tom Renfro
He doesn’t want us to be afraid to stand on His promises
11 Testimonies of Healing
From our readers
Listen for Your Song
He’s the giver of the song
Developing Next Generation Leaders Tim Harper
How will we respond?
Empowered, 17 Equipped, and Engaged Keith Burch
22 Christian Education 23 CBL: Virgin Islands 24 Global Missions: Niagara Retreat 25 Global Missions: One Child Fund
SEVEN (For Young Readers)
Vision 2020 Marsha Robinson
You can be a mentor
Facing Forward: Prayer and Healing Randall E. Howard, General Overseer
Messages: We Will Overcome DeWayne Hamby, Managing Editor
Worldview Culture–Giving–Church Life Evangelism–Event–Myanmar Benin–Finland
19 Create Conference 30 New Churches Visit us online—www.whitewingmessenger.org WWM
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2013 Calendar of Events Randall E. Howard General Overseer
Prayer and Healing I entered the Upper Room this morning to join others in our normal time for individual and voluntary prayer at the International Office. As I paused to read some of the requests on the table at the door, a precious little lady got up from her prayers and passed me to leave. I thanked her for coming to support our efforts in prayer at the International Office and she replied, “I just love the presence of the Lord.” In her short sentence, given fresh from her moments of prayer, she hit the nail on the head as to why prayer is a core value in the Church of God of Prophecy. Like no other activity, prayer ushers the saints into the presence of the Lord of all creation. I believe this position in His presence is the most critical key to all of Christian life and certainly all of Christian ministry. Everything rises and falls on our continuing position in the presence of God. We know Jesus constantly made room to position Himself in the presence of the Father. We know the early church followed this pattern of entering into the presence of their Lord. We know the Christian church through history has repeatedly been energized when it found its position in the presence of God. I believe we can say the church in the presence of God is transformed into the glorious Body of Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. Obviously, many things could be written about a church that knows how to consistently enter into the presence of the Lord. I would like to mention only one byproduct here: healing. I realize that would not be the first priority for prayer in His
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presence or even possibly the fifth highest priority. Still, the leadership team in the Church of God of Prophecy senses that healing is a significant ministry for the people of God as we go forward. We feel this ministry will be greatly empowered as we enjoy repeated seasons of prayer in His presence. Some possibly heard me say in the International Assembly that healing has been a leading edge ministry for evangelization all the way through the Bible, for the New Testament church, through Christian history, and certainly today in the new surge of evangelization moving across the planet. Naturally, a strong corollary to this ministry of evangelistic healing has always been the church deeply devoted to prayer, spending time in the presence of the One who heals. Since healing has been such a distinct ministry in our own heritage, I want to continue to call for this ministry to take its place once more on the leading edge of evangelization in our churches and communities. Consistent with Christian history and our own heritage, this evangelistic ministry of healing will flourish best when it is supported by the ministry of prayer in the presence of God. With the world around us broken and wounded, may the church once more receive power in the presence of her King and minister deliverance to the lost. Motivations like these cause us to once more this year call for the entire Church of God of Prophecy family to enter into a Season of Seeking during the first 21 days of the New Year. We are reminded that “in His presence there is fullness . . .”
January 17–20 School of Practical & Advanced Studies II Tennessee January 24–26 CREATE Conference, Cleveland, Tennessee www.createcon.org January 31–February 2 School of Practical & Advanced Studies I & II Macon, Georgia February 7–9 School of Practical & Advanced Studies III Peru February 11–13 School of Practical & Advanced Studies I Guyana February 18–20 School of Practical & Advanced Studies I Nepal February 25–27 School of Practical & Advanced Studies I North India February 25–27 School of Practical & Advanced Studies I Central India February 8–March 3 School of Practical & Advanced Studies III Belize March 22–24 Northeast Regional Ladies Retreat Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada September 13–15 Youth Harvest Training, Virginia www.operationomega.org
Executive Editor/Publisher: R. E. Howard, Managing Editor: DeWayne Hamby, Copy Editor: Marsha Robinson, Editorial Assistant: Pamela Praniuk, Graphic Artist: Perry Horner, International Offices (423)559-5100, Subscriptions (423) 559-5114 Please submit all material to the White Wing Messenger; Managing Editor; P. O. Box 2910; Cleveland, TN 37320-2910; phone (423) 559-5128; e-mail us at Editorial@cogop.org.
White Wing Messenger Editorial Board: Londa Richardson, Chair; H. E. Cardin; Daniel Chatham; Hanny Vidal; Cervin McKinnon; Perry Horner; Tapio Sätilä; Brian Sutton; Shaun McKinley; and Adrian Varlack White Wing Messenger (ISSN 0043-5007) (USPS 683-020) is published monthly as the official publication of the Church of God of Prophecy, 3750 Keith St. NW, Cleveland, TN. Send all materials for publication to Editorial Department; PO Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910; e-mail: email@example.com, fax: (423) 559-5121. For subscription rates, visit wwm.cogop.org; call (423) 559-5114; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscription rate: $18.00 per year, payable to White Wing Messenger by check, draft, or money order. Periodical postage paid at Cleveland, TN 37311 and at additional mail office. Donations for the White Wing Messenger may be sent to the above address. All Scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated. POSTMASTER: Send address change to White Wing Messenger, PO Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910.
Growth of the Religiously Unaffiliated
The segment of society identifying itself as “religiously unaffiliated” is on the rise. The Pew Research Center found that in the last five years alone, the group has risen from 15 percent of the US population in 2007 to nearly 20 percent in 2012. The group includes more than 13 million atheists (nearly 6 percent of the population) and 33 million who say they have no religious affiliation (14 percent). Also of note is that of the religiously affiliated, while many claim to have a connection with God, the majority are not looking for a religion that would be “right for them,” citing love of money, power, and politics as reasons they stay away. —“Nones on the Rise,” October 8, 2012, Pew Research Center
Hurricane Sandy Brings Destruction
In October, a hurricane swept through the northeast, killing more than a hundred residents, displacing millions from their homes, and causing billions of dollars in damage. Bishop Cervin McKinnon, regional overseer for the Northeast Region, reported that although relief efforts and rebuilding were necessary, none of his members’ lives or church buildings had been lost. “The aftermath of Sandy is devastating,” he told the White Wing Messenger. “The greatest immediate needs are water, food, clothing (coats) and gasoline (stations are closed because there is no power, also those that are open can have long lines, up to a mile long and wait times of 4–6 hours).” Short-term needs included power and water, but Bishop McKinnon said the long-term needs would be clean up and restoration. Anyone wishing more information on relief efforts or wanting to donate can visit the regional website nercogop.org. Donations are also being accepted through the Global Mission Ministries department: PO Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910. Be sure to mark your donations as “Hurricane Sandy Relief.”
Does Having Children Affect Church Involvement? Will new children make a person more or less likely to attend church? According to a 2010 Barna Research Group survey, most (50 percent) said having children did not affect their church involvement, however a large part (37 percent) said that it either reconnected them or made them more involved in church. Smaller segments said that it made them less active (four percent) or resulted in them getting connected to a church for the first time (five percent). “Parenthood might help to clarify and enhance people’s pursuit of spirituality, but usually it does not fundamentally alter a parent’s spiritual trajectory,” remarked David Kinnamon, president of Barna Research. “Getting people to transition from church involvement based upon religious inertia to activity driven by a sense of engagement is exceedingly difficult—and relatively rare. Compounding the challenge, the age of parenthood is being pushed back as more young women delay having children into their late twenties and beyond. If the objective is to incorporate young parents into congregational life, it is important to help shape young people’s beliefs, attitudes, habits, and aspirations long before they become parents.” —Barna Research Group WWM
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Continued on page 28
Community Pastors Unite Against Addictions In the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, a group of local pastors are coming together in agreement to win back their community from the addictions of drugs and alcohol. Richard Morrow, pastor of the Fields of the Wood COGOP near Murphy, North Carolina, is one of the leaders who regularly meet to pray. “The community unity that we are sensing and the coming together of the body of Christ is just outstanding,” he
said. “I feel like the Lord showed me that every church is having church with their own people and we were neglecting these children who don’t go to church. It was so common that we’d get a call that some kid was found dead. For me, in a small community to hear as much as I heard, this was what prompted our commitment to come together and break this curse.” After meeting together for prayer with three other community pastors, Morrow and the group coordinated a revival for young people that took place at four different churches. Every night,
the meetings reached anywhere from 40 to over a hundred and an estimated cumulative total of more than 200, he said. “The common denominator of sin, drugs, and alcohol is rampant,” he said. “We’re trying to break the stronghold of Satan. Some of these people on drugs come to the church and are being set free. It has flowed through this thing.” Bishop Morrow said that the future will bring spring youth jams, mission efforts, and worship teams. “Kids will come to that when they won’t come to something else,” he said.
Create Conference Convenes January 24 Designed for those wishing to refine their artistic, musical, and writing skills, the first-ever Create conference will take place this month January 24–26, 2013. The conference will feature three key workshop tracks—Art/Media, Music, and Writing—under the direction of the Communications team of the Church of God of Prophecy International Offices. “As we have served in support roles for local churches and the International Offices, our heart is to help equip others to serve their own areas,” said Shaun McKinley, Director of Communications. “This is going to be an incredible gathering of creatives networking and learning from other creatives.” For two days (with an additional, optional day of interactive training), attendees will choose from dozens of workshops on a variety of subjects taught by McKinley and other Communications team members—Kirk Rising, Marsha Robinson, and DeWayne Hamby—as well as special guests, including singer-songwriter Babbie Mason, author Richie Hughes, worship leader Kris Dockery, pastor Paul Valo, guitarist Glen Chaddock, and many more. Workshops will include:
For the latest information or to register for Create, visit www. createcon.org
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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
A Journey of Writing—Wanda Griffith Public Relations and Media Writing for Churches—Shaun McKinley Writing for Publication—DeWayne Hamby Turning Sermons into Books—Richie Hughes Worship Leaders—Kris Dockery Open Source Tools—Kirk Rising Guitar—Glen Chaddock Creating A Buzz: Giving the People of Your Community Something to Talk About—Shaun McKinley Speechwriting 101—Paul Valo Great Grammar Tips and Tricks—Marsha Robinson Make A Scene: The Basics of Scriptwriting—Marsha Robinson Blogging—Darren Schalk & DeWayne Hamby Fearless Editing—DeWayne Hamby Drums—Nestor Praniuk Piano / Keys—Ying Chang Studio Software / Beat Creation—Emanuel Mitchell Conducting an Effective Interview—DeWayne Hamby More workshops to be announced.
Is the Bible Story True? If the Bible wasn’t true and Jesus’ story was false, why would so many of disciples suffer violent deaths for their beliefs? That’s one question tackled in the new graphic novel, 101 Questions About the Bible and Christianity Vol. 3 by Art Arys, CEO of Kingstone Media Group. Kingstone has released other titles based on biblical stories such as Jonah, The Revelation, Samson, The Book of God, King David and Babylon, all produced in full color with dynamic artwork. For more samples from 101 Questions and information about Kingstone Media, visit the White Wing Messenger Facebook page—www.facebook.com/ whitewingmessenger.
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Dr. Tom Renfro Coeburn, Virginia
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of Virginia and saw Dr. Hess, the guru “And, behold, there comes one of of lymphoma, a great physician who the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by looked at me and said, “I remember name; and when he saw him, he fell at you Tom, you were one of my medical his feet, And sought him greatly, saying, students.” I said, “Yes, sir.” I used to My little daughter lies at the point of follow him around in his long white coat, death: I pray you, come and lay your just as the disciples of Jesus did, trying hands on her, that she may be healed; to glean information because I knew I’d and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and need it down the road. thronged him” He looked at me and, this time, I was on the table. He looked at me and (Mark 5:22–24) said, “I’m sorry there’s nothing we can do for you Tom. We tried bone marrow I had mantle cell lymphoma back transplants; they failed. We tried in 1997, an incurable, fatal disease. chemotherapy. We can give it to you When I was diagnosed, I’d never even and it can help knock it back a little but heard of it. I looked it up and they say it won’t cure you and you’re probably you may get three years but if you’re going to die with it in your veins.” He in stage 4, you won’t make it three said, “Go home and live.” I said, “I’ll take months. When I was diagnosed, you up on that.” And so I went home there were tumors in my neck, and I lived in the Word of God and the there were tumors under my arms, there were tumors Word of God says that I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord. in my stomach. It was Sometimes we feel like we’re chasing infiltrating my bone marrow. At the time and giving over to death, but God is not giving us over to death. of diagnosis, I You see, I had a word inside of me. I was stage 4. I had a promise for my healing and I was went to the University determined not to let it go and my wife wouldn’t let me let it go. And when I would get low, she would come by and speak the Word of God into my life. Praise God, my church wouldn’t let it go; they would hold a prayer meeting for 80 days. I’m talking about 12 hours a day, someone at the altar lifting my name up—for 80 days they did that. Sometimes, they’d stay all night long. I’m talking about a community where 700 people joined hands around a football field in the middle of October
on a rainy Sunday afternoon and said, “Enough. Enough! ‘Let God arise and the enemy be scattered’.” We had a Word of God that we can pull out and in the midst of crisis we could hold on and we could speak the Word of God, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Praise God, in the midnight hour, we could pull that Word out and find strength and find hope and find the presence of God moving in the situation. What’s God going to do when His child is laying there with bed sores, and multi-organ failure, and respiratory failure, bone marrow failure, malnourished, tumors all over his body, but he’s holding on to a promise? God will eventually come in and say, just like Job, “That’s it. Enough is enough.” And that’s what the Lord did for me. It is so important to hold on to the Word of God because faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. In Mark, Jesus looked at Jairus and the first thing He said was, “Don’t be afraid.” Why didn’t He just kind of slip his arm around him and say “Buddy, it’s gonna be alright.” No, Jesus grabbed him, spun him around and said, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” Strange words, but see, that’s what the Bible’s theme throughout the Bible is, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee.” And you will find in a great move of God, before God can move in your life, in your community, or in your nation, you have to shake off the spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” So if God didn’t give us fear, I wonder where it came from. Not from God and I don’t want anything unless it’s from God. You know, fear—it’s an interesting spirit. And fear is powerful when it comes to faith because they’re on the same seesaw, just on opposite ends. When your fear goes down, your faith goes up. When your faith goes down, your fear goes up. Fear tries to compromise faith. That’s why the Bible continually says, “Fear not”. Before John the Baptist could be proclaimed to Zacharias’s father, the WWM
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angel of the Lord standing on the altar of incense as John’s father was there ministering to the Lord, he looked up and there’s an angel, and the first thing the angel had to say was “Fear not”. The first thing the angel said to Mary was, “Fear not”. The first thing the angel said to the shepherds was, “Fear not”. Is somebody getting the message? Don’t be afraid of cancer, don’t be afraid of financial problems, don’t be afraid of situations, don’t be afraid for your children, stand on the Word of God and fear will leave.
He doesn’t want us to be afraid. He doesn’t want us to be afraid to lift Him up. He doesn’t want us to be afraid to stand on His promises. Before God can move, fear has to be dealt with. You see, God doesn’t know anything about fear. He knows of it but let me ask you—has God ever been afraid? Has He ever experienced the emotion of fear? Has He ever created anything that He is afraid of? Was Jesus afraid of the naked man running on the beach? That didn’t even move Him did it? And He doesn’t want us to be afraid. He doesn’t want us to be afraid to testify. He doesn’t want us to be afraid to lift Him up. He doesn’t want us to be afraid to stand on His promises. Even when the report after report, after report, after report is so bad, He does not want us to be afraid but have the confidence in Him that He is more than able. That’s why He looked at Jairus, spun him around and said, “Don’t’ be afraid, only believe.” Get rid of fear and let your faith arise. You know the story. He told him that. And so here’s the woman healed. And I could talk about the hem of His garment but you all know that. You know about the tassels and about the tzitzit. And you all know about the 613 commandments, and you all know that Jesus would wear that talit over His head and it’d be like wings with healing in them, and 10
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the woman literally reached out and touched the tzitzit, the Word of God, the 613 commandments, but you know all that. That’s how precious the Word of God is in us. “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.” (Mark 5:36–43). Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, went to the house, ran all the mourners out, ran all the scoffers out, all the scorners out. When I was sick and lying in bed in a home up there, way back in the middle of the mountains, my wife guarded me. She took the scorner and scoffers and the unbelievers and when they would come to want to see what was going on she would send them packing, “He is not taking visitors, he only wants people who will speak the Word of God into his life.” She surrounded and created an atmosphere of healing. Even family would come, but they didn’t believe God and she didn’t let them in. Jesus took Peter, James, and John to Jairus’ house, He ran the mourners out and kept the mother and the father. You know what He took with Him? He took five. Five is the number of grace. Jesus walked into that room with grace. “Where did you get that from, Doc?”
Well, the five books of the Bible, the first five books, the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Leviticus. What about the five-fold ministry? What about the number of stones that David took when he went down to Goliath? What about the five porches of Bethesda? What about the five elements of crucifixion, three nails and two pieces of wood? Suddenly, he walked in there with grace and grace was in Jairus’ room and the little girl was brought back to life because of grace. And He looked at her and said, “Give her something to eat.” Well, that’s weird. Here I go again, why did He say that? Why didn’t He say, “Honey you’re alright, now go out and play.” But He said, “Give her something to eat.” You know why? That was the confirmation of the healing. As a doctor, I can see this. When somebody is so sick, when they are resurrected from sickness, the first thing they want to do is eat. When somebody is resurrected from sin from an altar, the first thing they want to do is eat the Word of God and do you know what we do? We dismiss church and send them out. We are so hungry to get the Golden Corral. We’re so interested in getting out the door to feed our natural bodies that we have starving babies at the altar who need a word spoken into them and it’s a pretty good sign that they’re saved when they come back that night and start eating. What’s the first thing we’re going to do when the saints of God come out of that grave and we are transformed in the twinkling of an eye and we’re taken from here to there? We’re going to sit down to the supper of the Lamb ‘cause I’m going to be mighty hungry. An appetite is a sign of a resurrection; resurrected to eat. Resurrected from sickness, eating is a good sign. Resurrection from being spiritually dead is a hunger for the Word of God that can’t be satisfied. Ephesians 2:4 says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).” —Adapted from “Avenues of Healing,” Ladies Retreat 2009 WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
Testimonies of HEALING We asked readers to submit their testimonies of healing for this issue. Here are a few that we received. It was the early morning of May 23, 2003, that I flipped my Chevy Cavalier down I-20 in Texas. Another traveler was able to hold me down until medical personal showed up. To this day, I do not know who that individual was. The police officer on the scene called for Life Flight from Fort Worth. It was reported to the hospital from the paramedics to have surgery ready and that I was completely “degloved,” a term meaning no skin on my hand. My dad was called in Pennsylvania to be on the next flight out and to bring his funeral clothes. During surgery, my family members were told two things—I was going to need a blood transfusion because of the amount of blood lost and I was going to have skin graphs from my hip to replace the skin on my hand. My family asked them not to give me blood knowing it was a personal wish of mine. Due to the fact that I was over 18 at the time and had nothing in writing expressing my wishes, the medical personnel said they would have to go ahead and give me a transfusion. My family was told, “We will give you a certain amount of time to pray and if his level comes to a certain number by then, we will not have to give blood.” After surgery, the surgeon reported to my family in amazement. He said the blood levels were the exact number they needed to be, so no blood transfusions were given. Secondly, as they were performing surgery on my badly injured hand, he couldn’t believe what was happening. As they were repairing the hand, it was like skin just kept appearing and unrolling like carpet. They did not have to do any skin graphs, just repaired some tendons in the hand. In 1992, I was diagnosed with a bulging disc in my lower back. The doctors said I would have to live with it. I did until late 2006. While at church one Sunday, my back popped and I was in terrible pain. I sat through song service and the message. I was in tears the whole time. The pastor came and said he felt the need to pray for my back. The whole church prayed and, praise God, my back hasn’t hurt in over six years. God still heals and loves to bless and heal His children. I give God the praise and glory! —Michael Payne, Grant, Alabama
During recovery, at one of my appointments, the doctor was still amazed. He said, “Not only did we do no skin graphs, I did not think you would ever have full use of the hand.” Yet today I have full function of my hand. The only evidence that I have had any issues is the scars. Lastly, I was given a seatbelt violation because I was ejected from the vehicle. I fought that ticket because I know I was wearing a seat belt, even though I do not remember. While sitting in the courtroom, a police officer obtained permission to speak with me off the record. He looked at me and said, “Mr. Jeremiah Barker?” “Yes, sir,” I replied. “I cannot believe you are sitting here today as a fully functioning individual,” he said. “I was expecting you to pass away before Life Flight ever arrived. It was the bloodiest accident scene I have seen in my career. Once Life Flight made it and you were loaded, I thought for sure you would not make it to the hospital. I came today because I wanted to see you for myself and see how you were.” The Lord amazed doctors, police officers, family members, and others through this accident. I am still thankful today for His grace and mercies. He has continued to amaze me in the years since.
—Jeremiah Barker Abingdon, Illinois
In 2003, I was crippled and couldn’t do anything to help myself. I went to every doctor I knew but they couldn’t tell what was wrong with me. I attend the Church of God of Prophecy in Jamaica. My brethren prayed for me and I am totally healed. I remember my mother said to me, “I don’t know when you are going to walk again” and I said to her, “I will walk because I serve God.” Right now I am walking, running, and doing everything for myself. I love the Lord. He is good to me. —Shermaine Moore, Kingston, Jamaica
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Growing up, I was energized by the lyrics of gospel songs and hymns. The Scripture that I chose as a child to live by is Luke 19:37–40 NIV, “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the
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Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ He replied, ‘If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out’.” Can you put yourself in that crowd? They witnessed Jesus’ power! They were the friends, neighbors, and family to those who had been changed by the Master’s hand. I have experienced
the Master’s hand and no rock will cry out in place of my praise! I have lived to praise Him; to sing His praise, to lift Him up. I love the Word of God and have great appreciation for those who can teach or preach and make it alive and current for me. But I have to tell you that God has always lead me, comforted me, encouraged and motivated my life with song.
When my oldest son, Micah, was five months old, I was diagnosed with lupus. The pain was horrendous and the fatigue was an hourly battle. I had to let Micah enjoy Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street while I was praying for God’s grace to help me accomplish dinner and the laundry. For months, I battled the pain, fatigue, and the depression of a young woman being told by doctors that there is no cure. After many tests, I knew I was about to the end of what I could do and that my only hope was in God. I remember the Sunday morning that I was sitting in the choir in so much pain and desperate for help. I went down for prayer and collapsed to the floor. I was too weak to get up. My legs would not let me. I surrendered my present and future to God. I surrendered lupus to God. Then, God whispered to me a song, “Leave it there, leave it there, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out . . . If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain. And your soul is almost sinking in despair. Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal; take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” I left the burden of it, the worry of it, and the fear of it there. I can still go to that spot of the altar and feel His strength, His promise, His faithfulness and to be lifted up again. That was 25 years ago! I am constantly aware of God’s strength when I have none. I was not instantly healed. He took me through a season of study and research. He continually sent someone with new information. I can honestly say I had countless hours of reading that was more like conversation with God. He knew me and every pain or thought He understood and cared about. The preciousness of His presence, His holding me on His lap and talking to me and reading with me is cherished and priceless. Almost 11 years ago, I went with my husband Bruce for a routine colonoscopy. Our insurance had changed and we were changing doctors. Bruce was advised to have this test. I went to drive him home. Dr. Clark came in before Bruce had come-to from the anesthesia. I had
never met the man. He started saying, “Mr. McDonald, I found cancer in three different places and removed multiple polyps from your colon. I have taken several biopsies to send to the cancer lab. Even if they come back negative, I won’t believe the report. We’re going to send you to the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, to meet with Dr. Remzi to have your colon removed.” I was reeling. I knew I had to focus on what he was saying. Bruce always says that I’m no good in a crisis. I was fighting to do this right. Our boys were leaving that week for youth camp. We couldn’t tell them something so overwhelming and send them off. We had prayed so much for their “spirit walk” with that camp. So we sent them and started all the prep tests—MRI, blood tests, etc. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I could barely make my legs hold me up. Physically, I was in shock. Spiritually, I knew who God is to us. I knew He was bigger. I knew He knew what was going on—I just wanted to know! For days, I tried to hear from God. I prayed for a word, for a sign, I prayed for a song. There was something playing over and over in the back of my mind, but I couldn’t get it to surface through the race and rush of everything to take care of. We needed insurance approval from every direction. School was starting and my oldest was starting in a new school. For the first time, I didn’t know any of the teachers. We were told we might need to be gone for up to seven weeks and we had no family in town. We had to take care of our finances, Bruce’s job, and travel arrangements. To drastically shorten this testimony— God provided! The morning we were scheduled to meet the surgeon, I was desperate to hear from God. I felt like a tape recorder trapped in a cycle of fast forward and rewind. A rhythm kept playing over and over in my head and on my lips. But I was in such a state that I couldn’t grasp it. One more day being in a hurry and trying make it through the next step, we walked to the clinic and were sent from department to department for this procedure and that paperwork.
The entire time this tune was hanging over me, in actuality, walking with me. God was trying to talk to me. Finally, we were sitting in the office waiting for the doctor. I told Bruce, “I need help. I can’t figure it out, and started humming. What are the words; what is this song?” I can still see his smile as he leaned against the wall. His eyes teared up and he started to softly sing to me (my favorite singer), “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God.” I cannot begin to express all from God that was poured over me and into me. Then, as I held Bruce’s hand and wept, he continued to sing, “I am the Lord that healeth thee. I am the Lord that healeth thee. I am the Lord that healeth thee.” God had given us both a song, the same song. I confess, my practice was to fix things or worry over everything. God was speaking to me that He could do what I could not; “Be still, Honey.” Bruce was dealing with life, his faith, his witness, and testimony. God was speaking to him that He was in control; to seek rest and find peace. It was our valley together, but God was our song in the night and joy comes in the morning. He is the Song and the Giver of Song. May you be blessed to hear Him; to hear a new song! The Amplified translation of Psalms 40:1–4 reads most descriptively, “I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord, and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up out of a horrible pit, a pit of tumult and of destruction, out of the miry clay (froth and slime) and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord.” Sounds like a new song to me! A song of praise—hallelujah!
Karen McDonald Cleveland, Tennessee
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Next Generation Leaders in Mentoring Relationships
Dr. Timothy A. Harper Overseer, Great Lakes Region
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Clichés can become so overused that, at times, they seem to lose their initial pizzazz in communicating an important truth. For some, the term “leadership crisis” may seem to be such an aphorism. However, a crisis in leadership looms as a reality all around us. It seems that no matter the type of organization, whether it is business, schools, governments, the local PTO, or, yes, even in the church, there is a shortage of willing, effective, qualified leaders. Recently, I read a striking statement. The author contends that “Ninety-seven percent of organizations report significant shortages of leadership. Forty percent of organizations view this gap as acute. Close to 75 percent of companies report this leadership gap as having a modest to significant negative impact on the company’s productivity.”1 The result? A crisis of leadership. And yet, I am convinced there is a time proven and effective approach to stemming the tide of the crisis. In his second letter to his young protégé Timothy, the apostle Paul articulates one of the most fundamental directives related to leadership development in the Pastoral Epistles, in fact in the entire New Testament! The apostle exhorted his apprentice “the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2, NKJV). The apostle mentions four distinct generations of leaders. They are: Paul, Timothy, faithful men/women, and others. However, there are really five generations because after his conversion, when others shunned Paul, he was befriended by and mentored by Barnabas. There is no denying that the apostle is clearly reminding Timothy that just as he had been mentored by the apostle, it was incumbent upon him to engage in leadership developing activities with others in order to perpetuate the cycle of developing next generation leaders. This sentiment is captured well by Dave Kraft who maintains that “only when current leaders become leader-makers will our organizations, churches, and groups begin to develop the numbers and kinds of leaders needed to make a significant impact for Jesus. The single greatest way to impact an organization
is to focus on leadership development.”2 Indeed, it is the responsibility of existing leaders to identify and mentor emerging leaders! The question arises, however, if one of the fundamental responsibilities of present leaders is to identify and equip potential leaders, why is this relationship of mentoring so lacking among us? I certainly do not pretend to have all the answers; however, I believe these are worthy of consideration: • Feelings of insecurity: I read somewhere that a memo was sent out by a company president which stated: “Search the organization for an alert, aggressive, gifted young man who could someday step into my shoes. And when you find him, fire him.” If we could only realize that mentoring future leaders strengthens our leadership impact, not diminishes it. The legacy of leadership is not in how many followers you lead, but in how many leaders you develop! • No one mentored them: Many present leaders in the church were simply thrust into an appointed role without being afforded the opportunity of being mentored. Consequently, they struggle with how to go about implementing a mentoring relationship. There are many great resources available on how to begin mentoring an emerging leader. Avail yourself of these resources. As well, identify a gifted leader and ask him/her to become your mentor, your Barnabas. As you engage in the mentoring relationship, identify a Timothy, whom you can mentor. • Feelings of inadequacy: Inadequate feelings are different than feelings of insecurity. Many leaders feel they are lacking leadership skills themselves, and consequently, have very little to offer others. It is not that they feel threatened. They simply feel overwhelmed. My recommendation is that every leader must take responsibility to create what I call a “PDP.” A PDP is a personal development plan. Over
the course of the next year, read great books (one per month); listen to great podcasts (one a week); attend great events, i.e., conferences, seminars (two per year); talk with great people/ leaders (as often as possible); practice the great spiritual disciplines (daily); visit great places (once a year).
Many present leaders in the church were simply thrust into an appointed role without being afforded the opportunity of being mentored. Consequently, they struggle with implementing a mentoring relationship. • Lack of relational skills: Because mentoring is relational more than anything else, some may feel incapable due to poor relational skills. However, relational skills can be honed and developed. Start with educating yourself and identifying your personality temperament, spiritual gift, and conflict resolution style. Relationships take work. You can do it! • Low Priority: The demands of pastoral/church leadership can be so time-consuming that mentoring others gets placed on the proverbial “back burner.” I passionately contend that if you want to leave a legacy, make sure you leave it in a person, not a building! Buildings are temporal. People are eternal. WWM
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Some of the best advice I ever received in mentoring others is “Never do ministry alone.” John Maxwell identifies this four process model of a mentoring relationship:
1. I do it, you watch. 2. I do it, you help. 3. You do it, I help. 4. You do it, I watch.3
I would add a fifth dimension: Both of us find someone else to mentor and continue the cycle of leadership development. Both the art and the importance of mentoring next generation leaders are modeled repeatedly in the Scriptures. They provide an exemplary design for mentoring relationships. • Moses and Joshua (Joshua 1:1-9); Without a successor, there is no success • Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2: 9); Transference of anointing • Modecai and Esther (Esther 4:14); Commitment to a cause greater than oneself • Jesus and the Twelve (Mark 3:14); “With Him” dynamic • Barnabas and Paul (Acts 9:27); I believe in you • Paul and Timothy--as well as Titus, Epaphras, Silas—(2 Timothy 2:2); A leader-maker leaving a legacy The reality is—the leadership crisis is here. The question is—How will we respond? Thinking that others will train, equip, develop, and mentor our future leaders and then return them to us ready to lead is naïve. This approach to outsourcing our future will not meet the growing need for leaders. We must train our next generation leaders! When seasoned pastors and leaders connect with emerging leaders in mentoring relationships, protégés learn how to minister, how to engage in creative thinking, how to connect, how to lead, and how to serve. In frontier America, during the Great Awakening of the 1700s, William Tennett, a pastor in New York and Pennsylvania, developed a mentoring program for educating his sons. As others heard, they requested the mentoring of Pastor Tennett. Before 16
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long, Tennett was meeting with several young protégés in a log cabin connected to his home. From what is now referred to as the “Log Cabin College” several ministers were trained and sent to pastor local churches because of one man’s vision to develop next generation leaders.4
The question is: How will we respond? Thinking that others will train, equip, develop, and mentor our future leaders and then return them to us ready to lead is naïve. This approach to outsourcing our future will not meet the growing need for leaders. We must train our next generation leaders! Brian D. McClaren and Tony Campolo point out that the Log Cabin College approach to developing next generation leaders is effective. They contend that they could personally “name a halfdozen pastors who have made their churches into ministry training centers, especially for pastoral candidates within their own congregations . . . Add practical experience and mentoring by a seasoned pastor, and home training of this sort could be the best option for the education of many ministers.”5 It is this type of intentional leadership development, mentoring next generation leaders that will avert the crisis and stem the tide of a lack of leaders within our church. Intentional mentoring
creates what noted leadership experts call a “leadership pipeline.”6 Businesses like Pepsi, GE, and Intel “have learned the importance of constantly grooming, training, and equipping future leaders within the organization. Leadership development is an ongoing core value.”7 Yet, we have this ancient book, called the Bible, with this time proven method of leadership development through mentoring identified to the church over two millennia ago! Indeed, we must be intentional about developing next generation leaders. I will leave you with the following questions to ponder. “Why not train leaders in the midst of ministry [all italics in original] as we pursue fulfilling the great mission given to us by the Son of God? Why not develop church leaders with a focus on godly character in the context of community as we build close relationship with each other? Why not reflect with emerging leaders on their ministry experiences as we develop them over a long time, being concerned with faithfulness and obedience while developing biblical knowledge and ministry skills?”8 Indeed! Why not? ––––––––––––– 1 Jimmy Long, The Leadership Jump: Building
Partnerships Between Existing and Emerging Christian Leaders (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 13. 2 Dave Kraft, Leaders Who Last (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 104. 3 John Maxwell, Mentoring 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2008), 17. 4 James T. Flynn and Wie L. Tjiong, “Fanning the flames: how the renewal movement has shaped American theological education” in Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, 28:89-103. 5 Brian D. McClaren and Tony Campolo, Adventures in Missing the Point, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 179. 6 Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis, Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, (New York: Penguin Group, 2007), 31. 7 Timothy A. Harper, “An Instructional Manual for Equipping Ministerial Candidates in the Church of God of Prophecy” (DMin dissertation, Ashland Theological Seminary, 2012), 91. 8 Rowland Forman, Jeff Jones and Bruce Miller, The Leadership Baton: An Intentional Strategy for Developing Leaders in your Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 52. WWW.WHITEWINGMESSENGER.ORG
Empowered, Equipped, and Engaged:
Pouring Into the Next Generation
by Keith Burch
Somewhere in this world there is a young man or young woman who is praying for a mentor. You can be that mentor. The “next generation” leaders need mentoring leaders in their lives. In many churches today across the world there are few mentors who are willing to take the challenge to impact the next generation leader. The church must rise to the occasion at this moment. This is a clarion call from heaven, in my opinion, that the church must reach and pursue young leaders to mentor. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and proclaim they are “the church of tomorrow.” It is our mandate to mentor them now.
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I often wonder where the church would be if my generation would have had all of the mentors we needed. That is one reason this topic is so dear to my heart and I do my best to practice what I preach on mentoring. We cannot afford to lose this moment or this generation. It is critical that the leaders of today’s church do three things for the next generation leader. This generation must be empowered, equipped, and engaged. Without utilizing all three, we will do a disservice to the next generation.
Empowered The mentor must show that the power of the Holy Spirit is real. Those who we are mentoring must see that God is still a powerful God and that power lies within them through the Holy Spirit. Joshua was constantly at the feet of Moses watching what God was doing. Joshua would not leave Moses’ side and he became a powerful leader, empowered by the Holy Spirit. This only happened because Moses was used by God to demonstrate His power and Joshua watched and learned. Moses recognized Joshua’s leadership and empowered him to lead the next generation. In Numbers 27:17–19 (NIV) it says, “To go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd. So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence’.” Joshua watched Moses, used of God by the power of His Spirit, part the Red Sea. Likewise, Joshua under the same power of God would obey the Lord and see the Jordan River part. God help us to empower this next generation.
Equipped The second thing to do when mentoring a young leader is to equip them. Give them the resources they need to be all they can be. We live in an internet generation. Resources are at the tip of our fingers. I am grateful for people like Dr. H. E. Cardin who trained me to use multiple resources. We must do this for the next generation. The next generation not only needs to have the resources, but we need to teach them how to use them. You cannot just give them a book and hope they learn something. We must teach it to them, ask them questions, guide them intentionally, and make sure they are equipped. There is a danger here. We live in a different time and place than what most of us grew up in, so we must be aware that what worked for our generation may not work now. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it is the truth. Saul wanted David to use his armor, but David said “I have not proven this armor.” (1 Samuel 17:38, 39). While equipping the next generation leader we must allow them room to do what works for their generation. We are an emerging church with emerging leaders 18
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who need to be equipped—not with traditions but with the powerful truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must recognize the young leaders in our church and equip them for the work ahead.
Engaged The next generation leader must be engaged in ministry. Once they are empowered and equipped, they must be engaged. We cannot tell them they must wait their turn. It is our duty to get them involved. Paul told Timothy, in the often quoted Scripture verse, to stir up his gifts (2 Timothy 1:6). What Paul was saying to Timothy is “get out and get engaged in ministry.” Do not leave the next generation waiting, use them now. Once they are empowered and equipped, it will serve your church and area well to release them to be engaged in ministry. Every minister has made mistakes in ministry. That’s okay! We learn from our mistakes. If they make a mistake while being engaged, do not cast them to the side. Pull them close and encourage. Do not be afraid of this next generation. You may wonder if you can mentor them or if you can even find common ground. Joshua Harris wrote, “But what if you can’t relate to the younger generation? Again, this is where the Gospel comes into play. The Gospel strips away the facade of ‘generation gaps’ and reminds us that, regardless of our age, we all have something in common—we’re all sinners in need of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Gospel smoothes out the bumps of cross-generational friendships. It reminds us that, regardless of our age, we have a lot in common.” In my local church and throughout the ministry with which God has entrusted me, I have wanted to intentionally empower, equip, and engage young men and women in ministry. Right now, I have an anointed young lady who is 15 years old who is my first lay minister at Sonrise Chapel. Zach Kelly, Eric Stancil, Jonathan Hartley, Hannah Partain, Betsey Crane, and multiple others have been young men and women I have had the privilege of pouring into. All of the above named are in ministry as youth pastors, evangelists, teachers, lay ministers and more. It has been a great privilege of mine to be part of what God is doing in their lives. Don’t be afraid to mentor the next generation. Run to the challenge and pursue it with the Spirit of God. The next generation’s survival and the survival of the church depends on us mentoring. Psalms 145:4 declares, “One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.” I want to teach this next generation about the God I serve so that they can tell the generation after them how mighty HE is. Join me on this journey to IMPACT the life of next generation by mentoring them.
Keith Burch Tifton, Georgia
Sponsored by Church of God of Prophecy Communications
January 24â€“25, 2013
(Optional) Interactive Intensive January 26, 2013
is an inspirational training event aimed at equipping those who minister through public speaking, writing, worship/music, media, and the arts.
For more information, see page 30 or visit www.createcon.org
Shaun McKinley Director of Communications
Todd Bagley World Language Coordinator
DeWayne Hamby Managing Editor, White Wing Messenger
Kirk Rising Media Coordinator
Kris Dockery Music Track Coordinator
Marsha Robinson, Copy Editor/Staff Writer, White Wing Messenger
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“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” Oswald Chambers
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; it shall yet come to pass that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also” (Zechariah 8:20, 21). “Your mission, if you choose to accept it . . .” was a pivotal line in every episode of the 60’s television show, Mission Impossible. Jim Phelps was given the specifics of that week’s top secret undertaking and the recorded voice gave him an implied choice in the matter. The Church of God of Prophecy has a stated mission. Do you know what it is? “Empowered by the Holy Spirit, through prayer, we will plant churches and equip leaders to carry out the biblical mandate to make genuine disciples of all the people of the world, to the glory of Christ our Lord, head of the church.” We each have a part to play in carrying out this mission. Some are planting churches and making disciples, but all are called to prayer. During the 2012 International Assembly, the Church was presented a challenge. Strategic goals were offered outlining practical ways to see our Holy Spirit-inspired core values fully realized. One of those strategic goals was to make prayer the priority and core value in each local church.
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Jesus said, “Men ought to keep on praying and not give up” (Luke 18:1). We ought to pray, Jesus said so. But too often we don’t. F. B Meyer said, “The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” And those who do pray often give up too soon. Jesus knows that we are prone to discouragement when the answers to our prayers are not immediate, so he followed His “don’t give up” instruction with this story: “In a certain city lived a judge who didn’t respect God or worry about what men thought. There was a widow in that city who repeatedly came to him, saying, ‘I have been treated unfairly by someone and I want you to make it right.’ He did nothing for a while; but later on he said to himself, ‘I don’t care what God or anybody else thinks, but this widow keeps on bothering me so I will punish the guy who mistreated her. Otherwise, she will nag and nag me until it wears me out.’” Then the Lord said, “Did you hear what that crooked judge said? Don’t you think a good and loving God will intervene for His own children when they are crying out day and night to Him? You think He takes too long? I assure you, He will help them quickly.” Charles Spurgeon had something to say about that kind of prayer: “Faith uses pleas. Those who merely say a prayer, do not to pray at all, for they forget to argue with God; but those who prevail bring forth their reasons and their strong arguments.” We must keep on praying and not give up. How important is it that we pray? Think about this: Jesus said, “My house is the house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13; Luke 19:46). Nowhere else in Scripture does Jesus tell us what His house should look like. In the Old Testament, verse after verse, chapter after chapter outlines what the old covenant “house of God” must look like. But in this new covenant Jesus made with us, the only description of the house of God is
this: “My house is the house of prayer.” More than purple drapes and gold cords, pillars and candlesticks, God’s house must be adorned with the beauty and splendor of fervent prayer. Prayer is important to God. Prayer must be important to us. “Teach us to pray, Lord,” the disciples requested. Oh, that we would passionately desire to effectively pray for the rule of God in our lives and in the world! Let us provoke each other to the good work of prayer—as the prophecy in Zechariah 8 says. “Come on! Let’s all go now to pray. I’m going!” Let us all commit ourselves to a lifestyle of unceasing, fervent, militant intercession; praying in agreement with Jesus. “To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray in his spirit, in his compassion, in his love, in his outrage, in his concern. In other words, it means to pray a prayer that Jesus Himself might pray” (Kenneth L. Wilson). Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” Nineteenth century clergyman and poet, Richard C. Trench said, “Prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth. It is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s willingness.” And so, we commit ourselves to a revival of prayer. We must avail ourselves of as much instruction as possible and find many opportunities to pray, until our churches are known as houses of prayer and all of us, people of prayer. We will pray until the work of the Holy Spirit is evident in the working of salvations, miracles, healings, and deliverances; where supernatural ministry is manifested so that it spills over into the community. We will pray until the signs follow us (Mark 16:17, 18). Miracles happen when God’s people pray. Jeremiah Barker of Abingdon, Illinois, was in a terrible car wreck and near death. His family prayed and he survived to tell of the miracle working power of God. Michael Payne from Grant, Alabama, was diagnosed with a back condition and in excruciating pain. His pastor prayed for him to be healed and God did it. A family in Florida found themselves in a new city where they had relocated to find work. Soon, there was no food in the house and it would be days before the husband would receive a paycheck
from his new job. The young mother looked into the faces of her two small children and did the only thing she knew to do. She prayed. “These babies need milk, Lord. We’re depending on You.” Before she could get up from her knees, there was a knock at the door. Standing there was a woman from her church. “I don’t even know if you need these, but the Lord told me to bring these groceries and this gallon of milk to you.” We must pray for individual needs and we must pray for revival in the nations. Throughout history, when God was up to something, He preceded it with a call to prayer. D.L. Moody said, “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” The
We must cultivate a culture of prayer in this movement for the sovereign rule of God. Welsh Revival, the campaigns of Jonathan Edwards, Azusa Street, the Shearer Schoolhouse revival and many other momentous revivals interspersed through the centuries came about because earnest people gathered for concerts of prayer. A world-wide prayer movement is, once again, saturating Christianity. We must move where God is moving. We must communicate a sense of urgency and charge into this end-time prayer movement. Bible prophecy has already told us that a great harvest is to come. We will only be ready if we are praying. James 5:16 tells us, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs, “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Timothy 2:8 is clear. “Everyone everywhere should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” We have a mission. We must choose to accept it. Marsha Robinson Cleveland, Tennessee
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Christian Education Written words aren’t what they used to be. I had a conversation with a friend recently that led me to an epiphany (no clue what that word means, but I like the way it rolls off the tongue). The power of the written word has taken on a completely new meaning over the past few years and we had better take notice. For hundreds—even thousands—of years, the written word has been a source of education. From the earliest inception of hieroglyphs and alphabets, writing has been used to record history, thoughts, ideas, and facts. Because of this, literacy has always offered power. During the Dark Ages, the Catholic church became powerful because only the priests could read the Latin Vulgate. This variance in biblical literacy caused a great divide between priests and the masses. When the masses gained access to the written Word in their common language, revolution ensued. The value of words, particularly the written word, can in no way be overstated in the scope of history. But now, words have changed. With each passing day, a metamorphosis of sorts is taking place on colorful screens around the world. Words are being typed. Messages are being exchanged. Relationships are being formed. And with each tap of the QWERTY, words and the way we read are forever changing. Why? Because now there’s a person on the other side of the page. Written words used to be inked for purposes of recording, because there was no one on the other side of the rock or the papyrus. That’s why you don’t see any emoticons on the Dead Sea Scrolls or comment sections at the end of the heiroglyphs. And I highly doubt God carved any smileys at the bottom of the Ten Commandments. But now, there is someone on the other side of the page, waiting for me to write my line and press send. Then, I wait for them to do the same. In so doing, the written word has become a dialogue rather than a monologue. And this metamorphosis has changed the way we view the written word altogether. People are not reading for merely informational and educational purposes; we are now reading for relational purposes. And with this metamorphosis, the power of the written word is forever changing. Access to words now means not only educational power, but relational power. The written word now creates friendships, as one word responds to another word. The written word creates love, as words on a screen ignite passions that were once only ignited by face-to-face contact and interaction. The written word is more important to young people than driving or learning to ride a bike, as today’s youth are more inclined to want a smartphone than a driver’s license. Why? Because the relationships that were once forged by driving to a friend’s house, party, or gathering, are now formed in text messages, forums, and social sites. The information highway has replaced the concrete highway as a means to friendships, relationships, human interaction, and face-to-face bonds. Is it scary? Absolutely, because it’s powerful. So powerful, in fact, that these instantaneous, written-word relationships can cause entire nations to be overthrown in a matter of hours by men and women who have never seen one another outside of online profiles and typed interactions. But, in the educational-to-relational shifting of words, I see a great opportunity, particularly with the Bible, because if we are now using words for relational purposes, then there are no better words to read than the biblical words. In fact, the Bible was way ahead of this cultural metamorphosis. It has been using words to create relationships for thousands of years now, long before Twitter, Facebook, and eHarmony. The Bible is filled with words written specifically for that purpose—the purpose of creating a relationship. Maybe we’ve been looking at it wrong for years. Maybe we’ve been reading for information when we should have been reading for a relationship. Maybe now we can see these words for what they are truly meant to be—a means to God—a means to THE God. They give us Darren Schalk, Director of access to His ways, His history, His commands, and His love. They allow us to see who God Christian Education is, who we are, and who we ought to be. They allow us the opportunity to create a true, deep, lasting relationship with The Author. Maybe, just maybe, we can begin reading the Bible the same way we read Facebook—to connect with the person on the other side of the page.
Facebook, the Bible, and the Metamorphosis of Reading
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Ambassadors on a Mission for Christ CBL Graduates It was a royal and inspirational celebration for nine members of the Church of God of Prophecy in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, who received their Center for Biblical Leadership (CBL) certificates in a graduation ceremony held at the regional headquarters on Friday, October 12, 2012. Smiles highlighted the faces of the members of the class as they entered the tabernacle stepping fervently to “The Promise” by Y’Anna. It was a dynamic two-and-a half hour ceremony which celebrated the achievements of the “Ambassadors on a Mission for Christ,” who successfully completed Introduction to Bible, Spiritual Formation, Fitly Joined, History of Christianity, and the Ministry Policy Manual. Bishop Kenneth M. Benjamin, Sr., the district overseer, pronounced the invocation. The Mistress of Ceremonies and instructor, Minister Edelta Webbe, beamed with pride as she expressed appreciation in her welcoming and congratulatory remarks. Distinguished guests, Bishop Whitbourne E. Hutchinson, national and regional overseer and his wife, Ingrid Hutchinson, Bishop Kenneth M. Benjamin, Sr., Bishop E. Glaston Fahie and Assistant Pastor Michael Chinnery, along with friends, family, and members of the local churches of C-5 Estate Hoffman and #20 Gamle Gade were present. The keynote speaker, Evangelist Ira Webbe, Sr., CBL district director and instructor, stated that “This event was the first of its kind for this region.” In his address, he gave the ministry charge to the new breed of lay ministers reminding them to live by 2 Timothy 4:1–5: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at this appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” With much vigor, he said “This is the beginning of your journey! Study the Word and do the work God has called you to do, in season and out of season. Do the work of an evangelist.” The comforting presence of the Holy Spirit and sounds of joy radiated the atmosphere as voices praised and rejoiced. Certificates were distributed to Carolie Blake, Richard
Blake, Anne Bramble-Johnson, Clement Carty, Claudia Chinnery, Jacklyn Francis, Tara Gumbs, Hubert Johnson and David Keith Merrifield.
Tara Gumbs, class president, made a special tribute to the former and present ministers and evangelist. After the names of the former and past “Trailblazers” were announced, a moment of silence was held in honor of those who were deceased. Michael Chinnery, assistant pastor, led a special time of dedicated prayer under the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit. Members of the class made a special presentation to instructors Evangelist Ira Webbe, Sr., and Minister Edelta Webbe for their dedication and commitment. The class sang a mixed medley of verses from “We’ve Come This Far By Faith,” “Through It All,” and “Can’t Give Up Now,” which was led by Tara Gumbs. Bishop Whitbourne E. Hutchinson led the prayer for the direction and blessings on the new generation of ministers and evangelists. At the end of the ceremony, Bishop E. Glaston Fahie gave the final pronouncement with jubilant praises. Following the benediction, “The Best Is Yet To Come” by Donald Lawrence was played as the class proceeded through the aisles with great excitement. Anne E. Bramble-Johnson St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
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Regional Ladies Retreat Niagara (Canada)
March 22–24, 2013 Canadian Niagara Hotels • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Please Note: You must have a passport to gain entry back into the United States. Total cost (Canadian Currency) per person: 3 or 4 in a room $285.00 CAD • 2 in a room $310.00 CAD Applications must be postmarked before February 8, 2013 Please Note: All payments are Canadian Currency. Online applicants will be charged in US Dollars. For current exchange rates or further details call 423-559-5203 between the hours of 8 to 5 p.m. EST. Contact Information: Ladies Retreat, P.O. Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910 Phone: 423.559.5203, Email: email@example.com, Website: www.cogop.org REGISTER EARLY . . . Notice the extra fee for late registration and walk-in fees, also be sure to explain this to those you invite. RETREAT PAYMENT . . . The entire cost of the retreat tuition must accompany your application. PLEASE NOTE . . . No postdated checks will be accepted. Bank processing fees apply to returned (NSF) checks. MONEY . . . Work together in advance as a group to raise funds so that every woman can attend and have her money in on time.
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Over the past forty years, the fall and spring seasons have served as a signal for women to make preparations to participate in Regional Ladies Retreats within the Church of God of Prophecy. Those preparations included a journey to the Gulf Coast, MidAmerica, the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Southwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Atlantic Northeast, and many other beautiful destinations. This year we are concluding this particular ministry sponsored from the International Offices with retreats scheduled for the Southeast, Lake Barkley, and Niagara Falls. In October, the Southeast retreat once again led us into the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. As women began to gather for the weekend of ministry, the brisk autumn air began a process for each of us to an awakening of celebration; a celebration unto our God, a celebration for the privilege of ministry designed for women, and a celebration for the blessing of ministry opportunities through women who are anointed of the Lord. Once again, November welcomed us to the Lake Barkley Kentucky State Park. The
The celebration began in a wonderful family dining room that quickly became one of the central gathering places for food, fellowship, and developing new friendships. This location invites you to literally retreat in fellowship with the presence of our God and this year was no exception for the outpouring of ministry. Remembering the years of the faithfulness of our God through this generation of ministry, we are blessed to enjoy His presence and His fellowship. Make plans to join us in March for the Niagara Ladies Retreat. The information is listed below and registration is on line at cogop.org/ministries/ladiesretreat. You may also call the office at (423) 559-5203. Come join the celebration!
Make God’s Love a Living Reality
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27 NIV). Recent studies indicate that over 200 million children in developing countries under the age of five suffer from hunger, disease, and malnutrition. At least one-third of the world’s children are touched by poverty. Every day, nearly 35,000 of them die. Imagine how difficult it must be for a little child to live constantly in hunger and under threat of disease. The One Child Fund ministry is designed to reach these children in the name of Jesus. As one of the ministries supported by Global Missions Ministries, OCF links sponsors to children in one of our orphanage works around the world. The One Child Fund is not just an outreach concerned with the feeding and clothing of orphaned and needy children, although these are necessary in places where food and clothes are so scarce. It is also about expressing the love of Christ to those in desperate need of the Savior and raising-up new leaders for the harvest. These children are experiencing real hope for the future because of the Christ-like compassion of donors like you. Thank you. Your giving and support are making a difference! —Cathy Payne, Global Mission Ministries
Making a difference
In the life of One Child Keep Hope Alive—donate today!
I will give a special, one-time love offering of $_______________. I will become a monthly sponsor of $ _______________ a month. Send donations to: One Child Fund PO Box 2910 Cleveland, TN 37320-2910 or donate online at globalcogop.org
Blessing Children in Bulgaria Our church in Bulgaria is continuing to minister to orphaned children. Brother Georgiev shared that on recent orphanage visits the children listened to Bible stories, learned songs with motions, memorized verses from the Bible, and enjoyed seeing puppets and clowns. They also had a time with fun games. At the end of the services, they received small gifts. One little girl from Dvemogily didn’t smile for a few years after the death of her mother. When she received a doll, she smiled and wanted to know more about Jesus—starting with a children’s Bible course. A little boy from Straklevo village received the New Testament and started to read it every day, even very late during the evening, and said: “This was my best gift during my life.” Please remember these children in prayer as they seek to know more about our Lord. WWM
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IRS Temporarily Suspends Church Audits? Editor’s note: Welcome to our new section, Ministry Helps, specifically for leaders. Every month, we’ll include articles and information of use to churches as well as sermon outlines submitted by other pastors and leaders. Feel free to share your outlines and ideas for the section by sending to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“People really hate to use the term marketing, but the truth is every church is presenting itself. The question is whether they’re doing it well. A lot of churches are empty because they’ve successfully presented to the community that there’s nothing here for you. And everybody believes it!” —Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor NorthPoint Community Church
A Simple Church Planting Strategy
Acts gives us a lot of great examples of church planting. Here’s a simple church planting strategy from Acts 17:1-9: 1. Move into the city (v. 1): Thessalonica was capital of Macedonia, the most populated city of the region. Paul’s whole strategy was to go to cities. There are at least 25 examples of ministry to the city in the Bible. Every place with people is important, but we need city churches. That is where the majority of the people are, and where people are moving all the time. 2. Connect with people on their turf (v. 2): Paul began in the synagogue. He went to where the people are. Although Acts mentions three Sabbaths, we know from 1 Thessalonians that he spent longer there after his synagogue ministry was over. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go to where they already are. 3. Focus on Jesus (v. 3): Paul reasoned, explained, proved, persuaded. He focused on the Scriptures. His great subject was Christ. We have nothing of value to offer except for Him. 4. Build a church with those who believe (v. 4): Those who were persuaded became the nucleus 26
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During the 2012 US presidential election, the topic of politics in the pulpit was a hot one, with some local church leaders endorsing candidates in pulpits. This was said to violate the conditions of having tax-exempt status. Christianity Today investigated the possibility of church audits and found that, at least for now, they’ve been put on hold. “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has officially halted tax audits of churches until it can adopt rules that clarify which high-level employee has the authority to initiate them,” wrote Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra in an Oct. 26 article. The article quoted Russell Renwicks of the IRS’s Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division, who said, “We are holding any potential church audits in abeyance.” Erick Stanley, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund), said that the IRS hasn’t been auditing churches since 2009. The article traced the suspension to a restructuring within the organization. A recent LifeWay poll found that a majority of pastors, 90 percent, believe there should not be political endorsements in the pulpit. At the same time, a 2011 LifeWay poll found that 79 percent of pastors do not want the government revoking a church’s tax-exempt status for critiques of political candidates.
of the church. Church planting is not just gathering existing believers; it’s building a church through evangelism. 5. Partner with other churches (Phil. 4:16): Paul received financial support from other churches. He writes, “Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again” (Philippians 4:16). Paul even argues that his reception of their gifts is for their benefit (Philippians 4:17). Financial partnership in the planting of churches benefits both the giver and the church plant. 6. The result (vv. 5-9): Persecution, but also a church that is part of turning the world upsidedown. The kingship of Jesus has a worldchanging effect. Church planting is about more than starting a new church. It’s about taking a world that’s been turned upside-down by sin, and setting it right again. May God raise up people who follow Paul’s church planting strategy, and are part of turning the world upside-down. —Darryl Dash, www.dashhouse.com Used with permission
Sermon Outline Submitted by Benjamin Duncan Pastor, High Point, North Carolina
Title: “Preparing the Way for Christ”
Topic: Empowered by the Spirit
(Sermon 1 of 7).
Truth: John the Baptizer, empowered by the Spirit of God (within his mother’s womb) to be the forerunner of Christ, prepared the way of the Lord for Him later to be received by those in his audience. John lived in a world filled with evil rulers and compromising religious leaders. His message of repentance and requirement of water baptism ran counterintuitive to his audience, who included the selfrighteous and the pagans. Yet, the Spirit of God had chosen Him to be the one to go before the Lord and prepare His way to come into their lives. Thesis: Similarly today, believers are the spiritual forerunners who empowered by the Holy Ghost now prepare the way for Christ to come into the hearts of all those in their spheres of influence. We too live in a wicked world full of secular views and religious compromise that resist the message of repentance and water baptism. Yet, God uses believers as His ambassadors to go in His place with the ministry of reconciliation. We are empowered and commissioned to go, to witness, and to remove the obstacles that hinder people from coming to faith in Christ.
Text: Luke 3:1-6
Thought 1: The Mention of the People (3:1-2) A. The Wicked Rulers (3:1) B. The Wayward Religious (3:2a) C. The Wilderness Recluse (3:1-2b)
Thought 2: The Ministry of the Prophet (3:2b-3) A. The Unique Man (his attire of camel skins and leather belt reminiscent of Elijah the prophet; his diet of locusts and wild honey) B. The Unprecedented Method (baptism was typically only required for converts to Judaism; not for the Jewish people or religious leaders) C. The Universal Message (i.e., repentance)
Thought 3: The Meaning of the Prophecy (4-6) A. A Compassionate Representative to Humanity Sent (3:4a) (i.e., the forerunner John the Baptist; then the Savior Jesus Christ; ultimately all believers as His ambassadors) B. A Complete Removal of Hindrances Sure (3:4b-5) C. A Collective Revelation of His (i.e., God’s) Salvation (3:6)
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Max Lucado on “Grace”
The newest book by popular author Max Lucado is simply titled Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine (Thomas Nelson Publishers). In this short question-and-answer, the author discusses the concepts of grace, mercy, and restfulness. What is your definition of grace? To put it very simply, grace is God’s best idea—it’s His decision to ravage a people by love, to rescue passionately, and to restore justly. This isn’t the first time you’ve written about grace. What makes this book different from all that’s already been printed? Most books on the topic—including ones I’ve written—focus on what grace is. While this book covers that, its focus is what grace does. How grace changes us. And I’m not just talking
about what it means for us in terms of being forgiven and going to heaven, but also what it means for the changes in our hearts and attitudes. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off. Most books on grace miss the “power to pull it off” part. And that’s the heart of this book. How does the concept of grace make Christianity different from other world religions? When grace happens, we receive not a nice compliment from God, but a new heart. Give your heart to Christ, and He returns the favor. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). For many years I missed this truth.
Empowered21 Announces New Leaders, Releases Manifesto
A prominent group of Christian leaders and scholars convened in Dallas, Texas, to review the Converge21 Congress that took place at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in February. The meeting was held in conjunction and cooperation with the annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, the largest, most influential organization of its kind in the nation. The Empowered21 USA meeting also concentrated on a discipleship commission, which was commissioned by Empowered21 and 2014 Pentecost Sunday. Dr. Billy Wilson, executive director for the International Center for Spiritual Renewal and Empowered21, began the meeting with introductions of the new leadership team for the E21 USA cabinet: Alton Garrison, Empowered21 USA Chair and Assistant General Superintendent, Assemblies of God and Greg Surratt, Empowered21 USA co-chair, President, Association of Related Churches (ARC) and pastor of Seacoast Church, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
A few months ago, we held a Youth Camp-2012 during the Myanmar Water Festival at Hmawbi Gethsemane COGOP church. The Spirit of God was working through the teaching and preaching of the Gospel. More than 100 believers received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and 24 new believers took Water Baptism. Assistant Pastor Tuang Pau wrote, “Greetings in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord! God was at work tremendously during the meeting. Many received Christ and more than 50 people received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit during the Revival meeting. Thank you for your prayer support, your fathering love, and gifts for the ministry in Myanmar. You truly are making a great difference. —Bishop Chin Kang Mon National Overseer
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I believed all the other prepositions: Christ for me, with me, ahead of me. And I knew I was working beside Christ, under Christ, with Christ. But I never imagined that Christ was in me. No other religion or philosophy makes such a claim. No other movement implies the living presence of its founder in his followers. Muhammad does not indwell Muslims. Buddha does not inhabit Buddhists. The Christian is a person in whom Christ is happening. You describe grace as God aggressively moving toward us. Yes. Rather than tell us to change, He creates the change. Do we clean up so He can accept us? No, He accepts us and begins cleaning us up. Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart—poisoned as it is with pride and pain—and replacing it with His own. His dream isn’t just to get you into heaven but to get heaven into you. You say grace brings rest. Why is this not the case for many believers? We find it easier to trust the miracle of resurrection than the miracle of grace. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection, lest heaven be even more disappointed in us
than we are. The result? The weariest people on earth. Attempts at self-salvation guarantee nothing but exhaustion. We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments. Call us the church of hounddog faces and slumped shoulders. God’s promise has no hidden language. Let grace happen, for heaven’s sake. No more performance for God, no more clamoring after God. Of all the things you must earn in life, God’s unending affection is not one of them. You have it. Stretch yourself out in the hammock of grace. You can rest now. What’s the difference between grace and mercy? Grace goes beyond mercy. Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace threw him a party. Mercy prompted the Samaritan to bandage the wounds of the victim. Grace prompted him to leave his credit card as payment for the victim’s care. Mercy forgave the thief on the cross. Grace escorted him into paradise. Mercy pardons us. Grace woos and weds us.
For more information on Grace, visit www.thomasnelson.com/grace.
BENIN Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. We have been able to enter into some of our region in Benin where Islam is strong. And, by the Grace of God, on April 8, 2012, we have established the Church of God of Prophecy in this Islamic region of Bassila, Benin, with 20 members, including six Muslims who were converted. To God be the glory. We have built a temple to make everything good for worship. Now we need your prayers. This region is very far from where I live and is about 900 Kilometers to go there and back. As we entered into the building, we began praying God’s intervention for the miraculous to take place in this Islamic region. In this photo, are the two key leaders of this congregation along with the national overseer. These people were ready to worship freely, and Holy Spirit met with us during this time of dedication and consecration. Back in April, we began making progress on the Itouhoue church building when our partners led by Sisters Ruth Robinette and Mary Rash, rallied together with contributions from their area of $2,500 to begin the construction of this project. To the right are some pictures in the beginning stages. As we depended upon our Lord’s help, He provided us with more funds to help buy wood, sheet metal and other items to help us continue working on the Itouhoue building. In May, we received another $3,000 in assistance from the Breezewood, North Carolina, congregation with Pastor Bill Vines, so we could begin to go up with the metal roof. After the roof was installed, people in Itouhoue could actually start to worship in their very own building. It is estimated that another $2,500–4,000 will help us to completely finish this project with a floor, doors, windows, electrical needs, chairs, etc. for our people to enjoy this place of worship fully. Presently, the membership of this church is around 100 but we anticipate great things from God as He continues to help us build in this area of Itouhoue. We certainly appreciate those who have come alongside us to assist and desire that God pours blessings upon each of you as well. Thank you for your continued prayers and support for the harvest in Benin. We truly appreciate your partnership. —Richard Kadato, Benin National Overseer
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WORLDVIEW (continued) FINLAND We had kingdom intensive in August for youngsters. God changed us. He brought us closer to Him. We had around 20 who attended the whole time and on Saturday evening around 50 of us. Bo and Ramona Robinson were our guests and we are so thankful that they came to minister to us. On Sunday we had a worship service. Pastor Bo asked us how much we appreciate God; how this can be seen in our actions. Things we value are given time—what about God? This was a good challenge to start 60-60 experience, where we are learning to realize God’s presence during the day in everyday situations. That has been a good experience so far. We have had and still have a 24/7 prayer week together with other Christians. We are around 60 altogether who make it possible to have an ongoing prayer chain for a week. We are specially praying for the city of Hämeenlinna. And we have been seeing some changes—it is easier to tell about Jesus now than some time ago.
—Tapio Satila, National Overseer
HOLY SPIRIT Empowered21 Announces New Leaders, Releases Manifesto continued from page 28
Dr. Alton Garrison said, “I have never been more excited about the potential of the Spirit-empowered church. The anointing and energy in the recent E21 USA Cabinet meeting demonstrates how God is bringing us together to pray, partner, and strategize about how to more effectively reach this generation. As Pentecostal denominations and ministries collaborate, a single voice is emerging, declaring the power of the Holy Spirit.” Previous to this E21 USA meeting, Empowered21 leaders decided that critical to the growth of the Spirit- empowered movement would be to provide church leaders with a template for making disciples. This template will include outcomes, resources, and suggested practices as a guide for their work. Dr. Jackie Johns, Professor of Discipleship and Christian Formation at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, said, “A discipleship commission was formed with a commitment to be broadly representative of the Spirit-empowered movement. We recruited members from the various branches of classical Pentecostalism within America as well as Charismatic groups. We also sought for gender and ethnic diversity, diversity in ministry callings (academics, pastors, and youth leaders), and diversity in age representation. The Commission decided it had two foundational tasks--to hammer out a definition of Spirit-empowered discipleship and to issue a call to Spiritempowered believers to reclaim those core practices of our faith. These two tasks have been merged into the Manifesto. In brief, it is a call for our people to be truly Spirit-filled in personal and corporate life so that they might nurture others into a Spirit-empowered life.”
“We developed this Manifesto with a keen awareness that, in regard to passing on the faith, Christians can no longer afford a ‘business as usual’ attitude. Christianity faces what has been called ‘the cultural subversion of the biblical faith.’ We, therefore, are calling upon Spirit-empowered believers to take seriously the command to make disciples, knowing that the twenty-first century will demand a Christianity that is rooted in authentic, missional discipleship,” said, Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns, Professor of Discipleship and Christian Formation at Pentecostal Theological Seminary. The next E21 USA meeting will be April 12, 13, 2013. Empowered21 USA is an initiative of Empowered21 (www. empowered21.com) which is helping shape the future of the global Spirit-empowered movement throughout the world by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation. Among those attending the E21 USA meeting in Dallas were Alton Garrison, chair, Doug Beacham, Sterling Brackett, Carlos Campo, Craig Dunnagan, Mark Entzminger, Jeff Farmer, David Ferguson, Ossie Mills, David Roebuck, David Shibley, Joe Skiles, Vinson Synan, and Billy Wilson. Eleven Empowered21 global leadership teams have formed to pursue initiatives and events in their region of the world. Each regional cabinet—Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, United States, USA Hispanic, Oceania, and the Caribbean—operate under the same global vision for Empowered21 in their regions.
New Churches Durham, North Carolina organized on July 7, 2012; Pastor Jose Armando Bersian 30
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Capitol Heights, Maryland organized on September 30, 2012; Pastor Nathaniel Robinson
Laval, Quebec organized on September 30, 2012; Pastor Jean-Sauveur Michael
We Will Overcome It will probably never happen. No one will be able to make it happen. All of the efforts we’ve put into it will go to waste, because it was doomed to failure from the beginning. Why did we even try? We thought we were on to something. It was going to be big—epic even. We felt like God was blessing it and maybe He was, but somewhere along the way, it derailed. We came down from the clouds and started considering the huge consequences of what it takes for us to pull it off. And either it buckled or we did. Now we’re back to square one, with our pockets emptied of faith and stuffed with skepticism. It may have been better to never try. But you know what? We did try. We did hear from heaven and we proceeded with much more faith than a mustard seed only moments before we hit the first snag and scurried back to our places. From then on, it seemed our earnest cries went unanswered. Do these words sound familiar? Are you discouraged yet? Well, let me let you in on a little secret—I’m not. I’m simply recognizing and calling out the thoughts and struggles that attack our faith in God and what He can do. The Word says in
2 Corinthians 10:5 that “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” These thoughts and discouragements are only amplified by the amount of attention and fear we place into them. God is still doing miracles and He is more powerful than ever. Jesus said greater things will be done in His name by His followers even after He ascended to heaven (John 14:12). In Romans 5:20, Paul writes that, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” So if you look at the world and think of how much worse it is getting, how immorality and postChristian thought is becoming much more rampant, God’s grace is getting bigger! As the world grows darker, the light that shines through us becomes stronger. Like the relentless love of God, nothing can stand in its way. We may lose our hope in ourselves, each other, organizations, and institutions, but our full confidence should remain firm in God. We are commanded to encourage each other, because things tend to turn around when He gets involved. He steps into impossible situations and totally blows the doors off of the hinges. Can you think of a time when you lost faith only to be overcome with the glory of God’s plan coming into action? I grew up in an era of “testimony services” at my local church, youth camps,
and retreats. Most likely because of longwinded, give-you-every-detail stories and telling things that shouldn’t be shared in public, the practice has decreased significantly. Instead of installing timed trapdoors under the pulpits (my idea), we have simply turned the microphones off. But we still need to praise His works to the younger and older generations (Psalm 145:4). If God has done something for you (and He has), you need to share it with someone who needs that extra bit of hope today. Every day, we have an opportunity to be an encourager or a discourager. We can share the goodness of God, fulfilling the promise that we are all made overcomers by the “word of our testimony” (Revelation 12:11). Or we can be the counsel of “mockers” that those full of faith are encouraged to stay away from (Psalm 1:1). I’m an overcomer—what about you? “I am more than a conqueror. I can do all things through Christ. Devils cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather can’t weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me, and hell cannot handle me” (“I Am a Christian Soldier”).
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White Wing Publishing House 20 Classic Songs from your favorite Hymnal!
1. Meeting in the Air/Looking for a City 2. We’ll Understand It Better By and By 3. Blood Medley—There is a Fountain/At the Cross, Nothing but the Blood 4. Medley—Oh I Want to See Him/He Set Me Free/I Never Shall Forget the Day 5. When We All Get to Heaven 6. Blessed Assurance 7. The Old Rugged Cross 8. Victory in Jesus 9. Heaven Medley—The Unclouded Day, Everybody Will Be Happy Over There, Heaven’s Jubilee, I’ll Fly Away 10. I Must Tell Jesus 11. Haven of Rest
Available in both a standard CD and Soundtrack version Call 1-800-221-5027 to order or go online at www.whitewingbookstore.com
The January 2013 issue of the White Wing Messenger, the official publication of the Church of God of Prophecy