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june/july 2011

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One Region, One Church, One Mission

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BENJI & JENNA:LETTERS TO THE CHURCH @ BUFFALO FEATURES: LOVING GOD WITH ALL OUR HEARTS pg. 10 / KINGDOM BOUND 2011 pg. 11

FINAL THOUGHT Lou Perez on Post-Modernism page 18


EDITOR’S NOTE CONTENTS ―If you want to change the world, pick up your pen,‖ is a quote by the great reformer Martin Luther and something I enjoy thinking upon when contemplating why we do what we do. It is one of those loaded statements that has the ability to encourage me even when things are tough, when it takes everything in me, including late nights, tired days and extra stress, to get the issue out, knowing that the work matters—that is enough to keep me going. Not only did Martin Luther believe in the power of the written word, but consistently throughout Scripture God commanded his people to record and make record of the things that were happening and thus we have documentation and proof of the work of God throughout history something still edifying readers to this day. Take a look: Isaiah 30:8 (NIV) ―Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.‖

Cover photo by Becky Enser

4 Partners 5 Events Kingdom Bound 11

7 News Running Water, Neil Boron, London Fletcher, Donna Russo, more…. Loving God

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Luke 1:3 (NIV) ―With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.‖ So with this in mind, my prayer is that you will be blessed by this issue, encouraged and strengthened knowing that you are not alone, God is alive and well in Western New York and is working all things together for the purpose of his will. Be blessed and as always feel free to contact me at any time.

JUNE/JULY 2011

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june/july 2011 www.unitemagazine.us PUBLISHER Kyle Patterson kyle@thrivebuffalo.org Editor in Chief……...…………………….Kyle Patterson kyle@thrivebuffalo.org Operations Director…………………..Julianna Patterson Contributors…………………………………. Lou Perez Tunya Griffin Robert Stearns Nathan Salter Photographers… …………….....Matt and Angela Brown Troy Teague Daniel F. Hutchens Amy Lynn Thomson

Benji and Jenna…….Kyle Patterson

14 Columns Postmodernism 18

unite is published bi-monthly, December/January, February/March, April/May, June/July, August/ Our Purpose is Worship...Robert Stearns September, October/November. The entire contents of True Worship....Nathan Salter unite is copyrighted by THRiVE! Media Group and may not be reproduced in any manner, either whole or part without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.

17 Resource Review

...Bender’s Parable Christian Stores Photos

Kyle R. Patterson

unite

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Display advertising and rates may be obtained by emailing info@thrivebuffalo.org or calling (716)771-1632.The publisher does not take responsibility for the accuracy or legitimacy of the advertising message or any aspect of the business operation or conduct of the advertisers in the paper. Advertisements placed in unite do not constitute an endorsement by the publisher.


PARTNERS CLARENCE CENTER UMC Pastors Chuck and Kim Smith 716-741-2410 www.thewayonline.net

PENTECOSTAL TEMPLE Pastor Matthew L. Brown 716-852-5502 www.pentecostaltemplechurch.com

ZION DOMINION GLOBAL MINISTRIES Pastor Roderick L. Hennings 716-250-7040 www.ziondominion.org

BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH Rev. Kevin L. Wright 716-688-8668 www.bethel-nab.org

THE CHAPEL AT CROSSPOINT Pastor Jerry Gillis 716-631-2636 www.thechapel.com

MY FATHER’S HOUSE Pastor Randall Smith 716-655-1389 www.myfathershouseministry.net

ELIM CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP Bishop Troy Bronner 716-832-7698 www.elim-world.org

EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRY Dr. Robert Stearns 716-759-1058 www.eagleswings.to

GRACE FELLOWSHIP Pastor Richard Giano 716-681-2059 www.gracefic.org

NEW BETHEL COMMUNITY CHURCH Pastors William and Toni Clark 716-835-8300 www.newbethelonline.com

LOVE JOY GOSPEL CHURCH Pastor Ron and Judy Burgio 716-651-0400 www.lovejoy.org WESLEYAN CHURCH OF HAMBURG Pastor Greg McClain 716-649-6335 www.wchamburg.org

Become a partner with UNITE. If you are a business, ministry, church or individual who wants to be involved email kyle@thrivebuffalo.org for more info.

Invitation to partner Partner with UNITE and help us expand our distribution across New York!


EVENTS JUNE 2011 Friday June 3 and Saturday June 4 Burn 24x7 hosts a 20 hour prayer watch at 908 North Goodman in Rochester, NY. Hosted by Brandon and Crystal Jackal of Bound4Life and Burn Rochester along with Jamie Dickson US Northeast Burn Oversight. A time of regional prayer and worship.

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Running Water charitable event hosted by Let Them LOL takes place at the Northtown Center in Amherst, NY. The 5k/1 mile run is seeking to raise awareness and funding for clean water wells in Sierra Leone Africa. $20 to race.

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Cappella singing group COMMITTED along with support by Erin Sydney Welsh will be playing at the Tralf Music Hall located at 622 Main Street, Buffalo, NY on Monday – June 20th, at 7pm Doors | 8pm Show. Ticket are $10 Presale or $14.50 the day of the show.

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Pastors & Laymen‘s Conference at LeTourneau Christian Center. June 2022. Main Speaker – Joe Burress, Pastor of Victory Baptist Church. For more information and to register call 585-554-3400 or by e-mail at lccmail@letourneau.org. Registration deadline is June 6.

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Anne Puscheck Miller Walk for Life – Saturday, June 11 – Registration at 8:30am – Prayer & Worship at 9:00am – Walk to follow – Meet at the Niawanda Park Band Shelter – Prayer tent – Light Lunch after walking – many prizes! Call Dyanne at 716-695-9494 for a pledge sheet & advanced registration. The band Immanuel performs live at the event.

Heritage Christian Services will host its annual Golf Classic Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at Glen Oak Golf Course located at 711 Smith Road in E. Amherst Proceeds from the Golf Classic benefit Heritage Christian Services Foundation, which promises to carry out the work that started more than two decades ago in the living room of one of the founders.

Al Fine Music is presenting The Freeway Live, an evening of music, food, drinks and more hosted at Zion Dominion Global Ministries in Amherst, NY. Featuring musicians including Walter Barr, Ajae, Darcel Blue, Misty Rayne, and Dite Nate, tickets are $7 at the door or $5 with flyer. Event starts at 9:30pm sharp. Zion Dominion Global Ministries is located at 895 North Forest Road in Amherst, NY. The event takes place in their Vision Center.

Friday, June 24th, from 69pm is Youth Night at The Buffalo Christian Center featuring a variety of youth friendly activities leading up to their Street Carnival on Saturday.

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Christian Jams at the Lions Club Pavilion at Krull Park on the lake in Olcott, NY. It is an all day summer Christian concert event featuring local Christian music talents from all over Western New York. There will be food and live music all day, great for friends and family. Bands include Romans Road, Christian Brothers Band , Hymns for the Hungry, Plan-B, Solomon‘s Porch along with speakers Rob Robinson and John and Carol Ralicki.

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B & W AD Space Available 1/2 ($350), 1/4 ($175) or 1/8 ($75)

Saturday, June 25 from 10am-2pm, the Buffalo Christian Center will host a Street Carnival, followed by a Music Concert from 6-9pm in the Center‘s beautiful Forbes Theatre. The festivities will include the chance for people to give toward improving the Center‘s mini-golf game room, and toward Carlos Spencer becoming a full -time staffer for ―DaMerge,‖ a Friday evening teen group helping young people escape Buffalo‘s rough streets and learn about having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Don‘t see your event? email kyle@thrivebuffalo.org to get listed. Space is limited. Advertisers receive priority listings.

February/March 2011

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EVENTS JULY 2011 Fireworks Family Weekend at Camp Hickory Hill, July 1-4: Campfires, archery, rest, canoeing, hikes, great food, time with your family, the climbing wall and… a great FIREWORKS display! Contact us at 716-631-5028 or www.CampHickoryHill.org.

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Father & Son Shootin‘ Camp at Camp Hickory Hill, July 6-9 or July 7-9: Nerf Guns, Airsoft Guns (ages 12 & up), Archery, Riflery, Water Balloon Launchers, etc.! More information at 716-631-5028 or www.CampHickoryHill.org.

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Celebrating 50 Years! Camping and activities continue all summer at Branches of Niagara Campground and Resort in Grand Island. Featuring log cabin, RV, and tent camping plus boating, zip lines, fishing and swimming the campground is brand new and offers a great family fun experience. July 9th special activities include: Sky Hunters Birds of Prey Show @ 6:30 pm . For more information see: www.branchesofniagara.com

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Breakout 2011 & Love Buffalo are teaming up to make an impact on Buffalo‘s West Side this summer July 10-15. Join them for evening worship, morning teaching, afternoon service projects, street ministry, block parties, cultural diversity and active sharing of their faith. Breakout is a movement of many churches in Western New York partnering together to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their purpose is to become the hands and feet of Christ while serving the west side community in Buffalo and cities throughout the world. Love Buffalo is an initiative of the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg and their continued work on the West Side.

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Heritage Christian Services Golf Classic Tuesday, July 12, 2011 Webster Golf Club, 440 Salt Road, Webster, NY. Proceeds from the Golf Classic benefit Heritage Christian Services.

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Tee Up for Clean Water Annual Chapel Golf Tournament takes place Sunday July 17, 2011 at Arrowhead Golf Club. The golf tournament is to benefit the Sierra Leone Alliance of WNY and is sponsored by Iron Men Ministries at The Chapel. The Sierra Leone Alliance has facilitated nearly 30 clean water wells for schools, villages and a hospital, as well as presenting the gospel in ways to meet other physical and spiritual needs.

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Camp Duffield‘s First Timer Camp starts July 17-20 A way to start getting camp 'into your summer'! If this is your first time or you are too young for the other camps this will be a shorter camp time to still experience all that camp is about.

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Hunter‘s Hope The Every Step Family Symposium Walk is in honor of all Krabbe & Leukodystrophy families. It will take place Saturday, July 23, 2011 at the Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java, NY. All ages and abilities are welcome to participate in Every Step! Online registration and fundraising is preferred and encouraged. Walkers who register the day of the event will fill out a registration form and may experience delays. Find out more at huntershope.org.

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Join The Salvation Army on the beautiful greens of Fox Valley Country Club on Monday, July 25 for an 8:00am tee. "Be The Shield" for our neighbors as we support the programs of The Salvation Army in Buffalo. Your company's foursome or individual golfers are welcome and will be among some of Buffalo's best people. Shoot for the chance to win $25,000 in gas and groceries from TOPS Friendly Markets, AirTran Airline tickets, a set of Callaway Diablo Irons and many other great prizes. Help the Salvation Army continue its mission of ―Doing the Most Good‖. Call AnnMarie Taft for registration and more information: (716)8886214 annmarie.taft@use.salvationarmy.org

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NEWS Popular radio host and former pastor Neil Boron resigned from his position as Program Manager of WDCX 99.5FM effective May 2 citing family and personal reasons for the sudden resignation that has left listeners wondering. WDCX released a statement updating their followers on Facebook saying, ―Neil Boron has resigned from WDCX for personal reasons. We are not trying to be elusive with information, but unfortunately, this is all we are able to tell you. We are hard at work as we determine what God wants for the future of our 3-6pm day-part.‖ Fans and followers since have posted nearly daily seeking more information and offering their prayers and condolences to the family. According to WDCX, replacement programming is in the works with qualified candidates already being considered for the premium time slot Neil Boron Live filled in WDCX's programming from 3-6pm Monday through Friday. One listener wrote on Facebook, "Shocked. Saddened. I will miss Neil and NBL. Neil led me to Christ about 15 years ago just by listening to him on the air! I will be praying for Neil and his family at this difficult time. Also, for WDCX as they decided what to do from 3-6.‖ Over 250 Western New Yorkers participated June 4 in Running Water, a charitable 5k/1 mile walk by local organization Let Them LOL to provide clean water in Sierra Leone, Africa. The event was able to raise over $14,320.87 enough to build almost three wells and provide hundreds with clean water, a community here gave selflessly to help a community over there. With many people running, it caused the surrounding community to ask questions and to spark their interest about the non-profit. What made this stand out from past events was the diversity in terms of who came. It was an ―all round‖ type of event. Families, college students, high school students, singles, all came to share in raising awareness for those in need.

Pastor Roderick L., Lady Pamela Hennings and Zion Dominion Global Ministries continue their annual Legacy Conference this year with a conference for women featuring speakers including Bernice King, Wilma Hughes, Pamela Hennings along with Vicki Yohe and many others. The conference takes place August 3-7 at 7:00PM nightly and also includes a Fitness Business Institute exercise and business luncheon on Saturday morning. All events and activities take place at the Zion Dominion Global Ministries campus in Amherst, NY. The conference theme this year is W.H.O.L.E. or Women Helping Others Live Extraordinarily.

London Fletcher accepted The Call to Courage award this past April in downtown Buffalo. The award, started by former Buffalo Fletcher Bill Frank Reich, honors those whose on and off field performance honors Christ and impacts lives for him. This year was the 10th annual award ceremony. The Maranatha Christian International Film Festival will take place September 2nd & 3rd at the Cultural Life Center at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester. Founded by Bryan M. Little and organized exclusively for charitable purposes as a not for profit 501(c)(3) MCIFF was created to be a vital way to empower Christian Filmmakers & Artists. They encourage and support Christian filmmakers to change the culture of media in our world.

The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle in Orchard Park announced plans for expansion as part of their ―Grand Narrative‖ building campaign.

Branches of Niagara Campground and Resort kicked off another season of camping in Grand Island, NY. The camp, owned and operated by Christians is a state of the art camp and resort center reaching out to the 13 million people who cross the Grand Island bridge each year headed to Niagara Falls. Featuring zip lines, boating, crafts, lodging and more, the camp is a must see.

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INTERVIEW

QUESTIONS WITH >> Donna Russo Executive Director Kingdom Bound Ministries www.kingdombound.org

What has been the most rewarding part of running Kingdom Bound and seeing God's faithfulness to the ministry and vision? To hear how someone‘s life has been impacted or changed by a message they heard or a concert they attended during the festival is the most rewarding experience. Ministries have been launched as a result of a vision being cast by one of the speakers. We know that there are many stories we will only hear in heaven but every time a person takes time to write us and share what God did for them at a festival, it reaffirms why we do this event. Presenting the Gospel through the Arts with the purpose of seeing people come to Christ as well as encouraging believers continues to be the focus and mission of Kingdom Bound Ministries. Starting out did you think it could grow into one of the premier festivals in the country? Probably not – I can remember each year on the second to last day of the festival the board members, staff and Fred Caserta (our President and Founder) would meet with the Darien Lake staff and announce that we would go forward for another year. It was always an exciting time. Now, of course, we plan the next year much earlier but it does not change our excitement and gratitude for God‘s consistent provision for the festival. It truly is only by His grace that we take this walk of faith that results in the Kingdom Bound festival every summer. We are very blessed to enjoy a wonderful partnership with the staff at Darien Lake Theme Park who allow us to fulfill this mission. Do you have a favorite testimony of how God touched someone at the festival? Several years ago a family attended the festival as a last vacation together – the couple was heading for divorce. They attended a seminar and had an opportunity to receive prayer and left the festival with a renewed sense of family and resolve to stay together. What would you say to an aspiring musician trying to make it in Christian music? Pray a lot, be sure of your motivation, pray some more, be open to wise counsel and pray some more. What is one exhibit/show/event you will make sure to see this year? Exhibit – the Kingdom Bound Justice Experience presented by Let Them LOL. It WILL change your life. Concert – this is a tough call. If you are a veteran Kingdom Bounder, you will not want to miss Classic Petra, Rebecca St. James or the Kingdom Bound rewind Band featuring Rick Cua (our current President), Will McFarlane, Margaret Becker, Phil Keaggy, Morgan Cryar, Michael Peace and more. If you are newer to Kingdom Bound, you definitely want to take in Casting Crowns, Skillet and Chris Tomlin. Event – Enemy Opposition presenting extreme sports demos and testimonies is not to be missed. For 2011 we are bringing back the Sports Experience featuring Soccer, Basketball and Flag Football – also not to be missed. For more information please visit www.kingdombound.org or call 800.461.4485.Tickets and campsites are still available for the festival.

Read more news at www.unitemagazine.us Have news to share? Email info@thrivebuffalo.org (space is limited)

June/July 2011

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PICTURES By Matt Brown & Troy Teague

Frank Reich, founder of The Call to Courage award stands with his wife at the award ceremony.Photo by Troy Teague

Kari Jobe leads out in worship before a filled sanctuary at The Chapel at Crosspoint during CMS @ The Chapel.

The 2011 Call to Courage Award was presented to Washington Redskins two-time All Pro Linebacker and former Buffalo Bill, London Fletcher April 9 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, NY. Photo by Troy Teague

Hundreds gathered to improve their talent and fulfill their call to minister as worshippers before the Lord at CMS.

Intercessors joined together across Niagara Square for this year‘s National Day of Prayer event in Buffalo. Prayers and petitions were offered on behalf of our nation and region for a divine breakthrough in aspects of society. Photo by Kyle Patterson 8 www.unitemagazine.us

June/July 2011

At Going Beyond Charity conference hosted by the Buffalo Christian Center, men and women sought the Lord on behalf of their city.

Dr. John Perkins was the keynote speaker at Going Beyond Charity. His message: city transformation by the Gospel. Submit your pictures by emailing info@thrivebuffalo.org


CHUCK SWINDOLL


PEOPLE

Benji & Jenna: Church@Buffalo By Kyle Patterson

Benji and Jenna Cowart may not be Western New York natives but they are convinced God is doing something special in their new hometown of Buffalo. Moving to Buffalo after helping to plant a church in Las Vegas, the Cowarts serve as Worship Leaders in their local congregation encouraging unity and passion for Jesus in our region. Their latest CD release titled, ―Letters to the Church at Buffalo‖ came out of a desire to minister to and encourage believers in their own congregation (The Chapel at Crosspoint). Their message? God sees your effort to serve and love Him even when others don‘t. It‘s a message they believe God is speaking to not just their church but to the Church at Buffalo. Benji explained, ―It has been really exciting to see churches of various denominations coming together and partnering to plant new churches and partnering to carry out Kingdom endeavors. I lived in a lot of different places throughout the country and I have never seen churches partnering together under 10 www.unitemagazine.us

June/July 2011

the same mission like I have witnessed here in Buffalo.‖ The Cowarts drew inspiration for their new CD from the little things people in their own congregation did to express love for God. In one of their already popular tracks on the CD ―They Will See God‖ the Cowarts sing, ―Blessed are you who have chosen to choose the right way no matter the cost, you do what you say when you say what you do, not counting the gain or the loss. Blessed are they who hold on to faith when everything is coming undone, day after day they stand in the face of the wind and the rain and the storm, they will see God, they will see God.‖ The lyrics point to the conflict believers often ―IT HAS BEEN REALLY and yet remain faithful to Christ and EXCITING TO SEE CHURCH- face finish strong even when no one is looking. ES OF VARIOUS DENOMINA- Benji explained, ―In the beginning of this project Jenna and I wanted to do a recordTIONS COMING TOGETHER ing with just she and I as a married couple AND PARTNERING TO ministering together but this project grew PLANT NEW CHURCHES into something more beautiful. When I AND PARTNERING TO went down to Nashville to write songs, I realized that I just wanted to write songs CARRY OUT KINGDOM that would work in my church and the ENDEAVORS.‖ churches in the WNY/Buffalo region. As I sat in the writer‘s rooms with the songwriters, I would just begin to tell Buffalo church stories…stories about people in our church and how they lived out the Gospel doing things like recycling water bottles so that they could send others on missions trips….or the three brothers (two have since passed away) who drive an hour, one way, to show up at our church and work on our grounds keeping team every Thursday morning simply because they just want to use their gifts out of gratitude for what God has done for them. All of the songs that we wrote on that trip just came out reminding me of Buffalo and the people that comprise the Church at Buffalo (in the same way that Jesus referred to the church of a city in the book of Revelation).‖ In terms of the CD being a letter to the Church at Buffalo, the Cowarts explain it has been a process of wrestling with two questions in the context of their own church and the greater Body of Christ in our region, something they have been working through collectively with other churches for some time. ―Our church along with many other churches in this region has been walking through a process where we have been wrestling with two questions. What does God want for Western New York? And what would it look like if God got what He wanted? We have landed on this as an answer— that every man, woman, and child would have multiple opportunities to see and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Western New York area. With that being said, it becomes very obvious that no single church can possibly accomplish such a huge undertaking. We all have to be a part of this process and start treating other churches‘ wins as our wins and other churches‘ losses as our loss. It is too important a task and the times are too urgent to be competing with other church- Benji and Jenna Cowart perform, They Will See God, live at CMS this past es. It has been really exciting May. Their new CD is now available on iTunes. Photo by Matt Brown. to see churches of various denominations coming together and partnering to plant new churches and partnering to carry out Kingdom endeavors. I lived in a lot of different places throughout the country and I have never seen churches partnering together under the same mission like I have witnessed here in Buffalo. It‘s not perfect and we certainly have not ‗arrived‘ in the whole area of working together but it has come a long way over the past five years,‖ explained Benji. The seven song album, ―Letters to the Church at Buffalo‖ is presently available for download on iTunes and the physical CD should be available by the last week of June to purchase at The Chapel and other Christian music vendors in the area. At this point, the Cowarts are not doing any public concerts but are content leading their local congregation in worship each week. However, the Cowarts also lead the Vintage Band (college and college age ministry) and will be playing at Kingdom Bound on the Park Stage on Tuesday morning August 2 at 10:00 a.m.. As Benji explained, ―We are worship leaders first and our calling presently is to the local body. The irony is that I was that guy who said I would do anything for God ….except, be a vocational minister… and here I am, and I can‘t imagine doing anything else with my life. That‘s just how God does it I guess.‖


FEATURES

Music:

7 Must See Events at Kingdom Bound 2011 By Kyle Patterson

2011 marks Kingdom Bound‘s 25 year anniversary and for this year‘s festival they are holding nothing back. Bringing in the top musical talent

July 31–Aug. 3 Darien Lake

nationally and locally including Chris Tomlin, Rebecca St. James, Paul Baloche and Brothers McClurg. In addition they have a great speaker lineup including Jim and Jill Kelly, Kevin Leman, Carol McLeod and Tommy Reid. Here are seven recommendations for events not to be missed.

Monday – Wednesday 12-4pm The Sports Experience is back for the 25th anniversary of Kingdom Bound. Basketball, Football and Soccer games and clinics for ages 13 and older are taking place Monday – Wednesday from 12:00pm – 4:00pm. The Sports Experience will feature 3 on 3 basketball, 11 on 11 football and soccer, with games and clinics from some of the regions top coaches and players. Sign up ahead of time will guarantee you a spot, so sign up soon. Please note that a KB wristband is required for participation. Groups or individuals welcome.

Monday – Wednesday Various Spots Brothers McClurg formerly Relevant Worship will be performing throughout the week at various stages and times. Surely to be a great show and experience with the Lord, Brothers McClurg are a local group with growing talent. The group was recently signed by Integrity Music and will be releasing their new album in time for K.B.

Monday-Wednesday on The Blvd. 1-4pm

Enemy Opposition (EO) is a Christian action sports organization made up of a talented group of inline skaters, bmx'ers, flatland bmx'ers, and skateboarders. As a group EO puts on incredible action sports demonstrations of all sizes that people of all ages can enjoy. Enemy Opposition is a ministry first and will be performing extreme sports demos daily on the Blvd. from 1-4pm. Their gravity defying tricks display their talent and they are sure to share the gospel with their viewers. A great way to introduce Christ to those who may not receive the message in the typical church setting.

Sunday-Wednesday Behind the Marketplace in the Meadow The Justice Experience made its debut at Kingdom Bound last year and it was, needless to say, a huge success. A walk through experience examining issues of human suffering and calling believers to do something about it, the exhibit is a must see. The Justice Experience this year is highlighting issues related to refugees, modern day slavery, malnutrition and lack of clean water. The event will be happening all four days of Kingdom Bound. Last year as a result of the awareness raised at Kingdom Bound enough money was raised to build water wells in Sierra Leone providing clean water to hundreds, $3000 went to a safe house in Cambodia and over $400 to a local organization combating illiteracy. While Jim and Jill Kelly need no introduction, their story told in New York Times Bestselling book, Without a Word by Jill Kelly has stirred and encouraged the hearts of thousands. Though their son Hunter, born with Krabbe disease sufMonday 3pm Worship Tent fered and later died, Jim and Jill were able to see God‘s divine sovereignty through it all and came to believe in Christ through the pain. Sure to be a great event for those going through pain or who just need reassurance of God‘s faithfulness even in the midst of the hardest of situations. At last year‘s event Jim publicly made confession of his faith and confessed his years of straying from the Lord. Now back for the second year in a row, a sure attraction for men and women alike and a great chance to hear a hall of fame quarterback talk about Christ.

Monday-Wednesday This year's kids ministry is brought to you by B.O.O.T Camp = Biblical Outlook & Outreach Training. Boot Camp trains little ones to focus on God, our Commander-in-Chief, and to wear and use His armor and weapons. But more than that, BOOT Camp trains children in evangelism equipping them to march out and capture territory for God's Kingdom! Enlist your children ages 4-8 in BOOT Camp happening Monday—Wednesday.

Wednesday 9:30 PAC Chris Tomlin, writer of numerous hit worship songs will be performing live at this year‘s event. If you want a passionate worship experience ushering you into a God encounter, then don‘t miss this. Tomlin recently released new hits, And If Our God is For Us and I Will Follow along with classics like How Great is Our God, Indescribable (co-written with Laura Story) and many others. Tomlin will be performing to a likely packed audience for the grand finale concert on Wednesday night at 9:30pm at the PAC stage.

June/July 2011

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FEATURE ARTICLE

With All Your Heart, Mind, Soul & Strength. Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is the highest calling of our lives—the truth is we were created with a longing to be wholehearted and abandoned, and thus to know the joy of love. There is nothing more satisfying than having the power to give the deepest affection of our heart to God and to be loyal in love. We live life at the fullest in the joy of holy love for God giving ourselves fully to him and receiving all he has for us. We long to possess the power to be abandoned instead of being stuck in boredom, passivity, disloyalty, and compromise which leave us broken and discontent. When God told Abram in the book of Genesis that God himself was his exceeding great reward, God had also promised to make him great, bless him, increase him and make him the father of a great nation and in fact established his covenant with all people through Abram (later Abraham). Despite the incredible earthly honor God would give to Abraham on this earth, God established that he himself was his ―exceeding great reward.‖ Embracing the Romance of the Gospel To embrace Christ as our exceeding great reward and love him in return we must understand that the Gospel is a story of romance, passion and desire—believe it or not. The greatest stories on earth are just a glimmer of what we have in Christ. The lengths at which Christ was willing to go for us and the suffering he endured for love is nothing short of extravagant. That fact that God eternal, immortal and invisible would set aside his divinity and humble himself as a Man to suffer, die and embrace us for eternity is beyond my understanding. Throughout Scripture we see glimpses into the heart of God—what he is thinking, what he is feeling and what he is really like. We get a glimpse in the book of Hosea where God shows his faithful steadfast love, as pictured in Hosea and the prostitute, for a people who are unfaithful to him. As a picture God spoke to Hosea the prophet to marry an unfaithful prostitute as a prophetic picture and declaration of the love of God to a people who continually go astray. Throughout Scripture God compares his love for us to a bride and bridegroom—Isaiah also catches a glimpse into the love of God‘s heart in chapter 62 when he writes and compares God‘s affection to a bridegroom rejoicing on his wedding day over his bride. He then says in that same way God will express his love toward us—he, God, will rejoice over us. Jeremiah also echoed God‘s heart in chapter 2 when he says, ―I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness.‖ John the Baptist goes so far as to actually introduce Jesus to the nation of Israel as the bridegroom who has a bride when he stated, ―The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom‘s voice.‖ Going further, Jesus himself spoke of himself as a bridegroom when he stated in Matthew 9:15, ―Jesus answered, ‗How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.‘‖ Paul taking it further stated, ―I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him,‖ and again in Ephesians, ―‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.‘ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.‖ By weaving the beauty of his love for us in Scripture and comparing it to that of a bride and bridegroom, God is calling us to embrace his affection and love him in return. The Lord throughout Scripture is revealing and calling for those who would love him with all their hearts as a bride her husband in abandon, following him where he goes, giving of ourselves, our time, talent, treasure, affections and obedience at all costs.

Photos by Matt Brown. ―The Gospel is a story of romance, passion and desire—believe it or not. The greatest stories on earth are just a glimmer of what we have in Christ. The lengths at which Christ was willing to go for us and the suffering he endured for love is nothing short of extravagant.‖ 12 www.unitemagazine.us

June/July 2011

By Kyle Patterson


Continued from page 12 Loving God Is Our Response According to the Scripture, it takes God to love God. By that statement I mean that it is only by the power that God gives the human heart, by his grace and the revelation he imparts to us that we can grow in love and heartfelt affection for God. To love and know an invisible God takes supernatural ability, according to Romans 5:5, ―The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,‖ and in Ephesians 3, Paul prays that God would give s the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God. The truth is, our ability to love God is directly related to his love for us in that we love because he first loved us as we see in 1 John. AW Tozer writes of the importance of Godward love when he said, ―Not only are we all in process of becoming; WE ARE BECOMING WHAT WE LOVE. We are to a large degree the sum of our loves and we will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most. Our loves changes, molds and transforms us. What we love is therefore not a small matter to be lightly shrugged off; rather it is of present, critical and everlasting importance. It is prophetic of our future. It tells us what we shall be, and so predicts accurately our eternal destiny.

Loving the wrong objects twists and deforms the life and makes it impossible for that life to image the Lord Jesus Christ. This furnishes in part a rational explanation for the first and greatest commandment: ―Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.‖ To become like God is and must be the supreme goal of all moral creatures. This is the reason for their existence, and apart from this reason there can be no excuse found for existence. (Thus the hopelessness of our day.)‖ Loving God for His Beauty When King David described in the book of Psalms the supreme passion of his life, it wasn‘t power, military victory, earthly success or wealth, it was his undying love and passion to look upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. David‘s longing heart to see and know the heart of God inspires us today. What does it mean to see the beauty or glory of the Lord? David both gazed on God, and He inquired of God according to Psalm 27:4. We gaze on God by the meditation of the Word specifically related to the beauty of his emotions and the beauty of his throne. We inquire of God by prayer, petition and the communion of

the Spirit. We do this best when we have a paradigm of a God who is a beautiful. Revelation Chapters 4-5 give us a glimpse into the beauty of God‘s throne—by meditating in the Word we begin to fall in love and our hearts become fascinated with him as he grants us revelation into his heart. The revelation of God‘s beauty is essential in our quest to live holy before God. We resist sin far better when God fascinates our hearts. When the Holy Spirit reveals the Father and the Son to our hearts, our hearts become fascinated and exhilarated with God. There is no greater pleasure in the human experience than when God reveals God to the human spirit. Moses prayed to see God‘s glory and God answered Moses and promised to proclaim His name to Moses. When God proclaimed His name, He was proclaiming His character and His personality, in other words, God promised to manifest His personality to Moses. The way in which God reveals His glory or beauty to us is by revealing His heart and His personality. Loving God with All Our Heart Loving God with all our heart means to love him with all our affections and our emotions. We ―set‖ our affections Continued on page 16


COLUMNS

Our Purpose is to Worship There‘s been a lot of talk in the Body of Christ during recent years about purpose. Maybe you yourself have questioned what your purpose is as a Believer on this planet. Having a sense of purpose in life is a noble thing. However, before we are called to anything – before we are called to preach, prophesy, raise the dead or win the lost, we are called to worship. The purpose of your life is to know and worship God.

BY ROBERT STEARNS

When we engage in worship not as an activity, but as a lifestyle, we begin to touch the heart of God. From this place, signs and wonders happen. Individuals are set free. Nations get transformed. But God makes it very clear that His call to the people of Israel – and to those of us grafted in to the family of God – is a call to worship. What does it mean to worship? Is it singing? Music? Acts of service? Worship can be all of these things, and much more. Acceptable worship unto God is an issue of motivation – of why we‘re doing what we‘re doing. It is also a matter of obedience – of doing God‘s will God‘s way. Once this formula is in place, really anything could be considered worship unto God… Painting a mural; baking a cake; singing in the car; volunteering. Worship is the key that unlock doors of purpose. When we worship God, something happens. Throughout all of Scripture, the catalyst for any Divine act involved God‘s people worshipping Him acceptably. Abraham received Isaac back through his obedience and trust. The woman who sacrificially anointed Jesus days before His death earned herself a place in Scripture through her giving. Joshua and the Israelite army toppled the walls of Jericho through their prophetic praise. As the early Church worshipped and prayed, God sent an angel to set Peter free from prison. If you‘ll notice a common thread throughout all these accounts, it is that these worshippers based their actions on what God wanted, and not on what the situation seemed to dictate. Because they, in faith, chose to honor God in the circumstances they faced, they were able to move the heart and hand of God. And what about us? Are we, above all else, worshippers of our Almighty God? Do we seek to obey, exalt and serve Him at all times? Too often, we relegate ―worship‖ to 90 minutes on a Sunday morning. Friends, worship should be our very identity. Meditate with me on this verse of Scripture that has been much on my heart lately: ―Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship,‖ (Romans 12:1). Do we take New Testament Scriptural exhortations like this literally enough? Do we take them seriously enough? Have we fallen into the trap of thinking that worshipping is God is optional? That it requires any less of us than everything? Have we forgotten that God‘s power is linked to our praise? Can you imagine what would happen if Christians exhibited as much passion, enthusiasm and energy in their Sunday morning worship services as they did at their Sunday afternoon football games? Do we think that God was being metaphorical when He urged us to shout, clap, dance and raise our hands in His Presence? Could the reason for our lack of physicality in worship be that our hearts aren‘t in it either? The unlimited and irrepressible power of God is at your fingertips – quite literally – when you lift your hands and heart in worship. Could it be that the answers we‘re seeking – for provision, joy, transformation and healing – are ready to be poured out over our lives as we worship? Ask God to give you a burning passion to know and worship Him. And then, start intentionally worshipping God throughout each and every one of your ordinary days. As you worship, you will find your purpose, because our purpose is to worship.

Robert Stearns is the founder and executive director of Eagles' Wings, an international relational network of believers, churches, and ministries committed to the lifestyle of biblical spirituality, the unity of the Body of Christ, and God’s enduring covenant with Israel. Robert also serves as co-chairman of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, and is the Publisher of KAIROS Magazine.


True Worship As one who leads others into God‘s presence, I have realized how important it is to have a correct perspective of what worship is. Being a musician, I always felt that if I can just focus on God when I am playing my instrument, it means I worshipped and when I finish playing my music I can focus on other things. One day God revealed to me a higher view of worship. He said to me as I was writing a worship song, ―Many of my people are only intense and passionate about Me when they are singing and playing. Why do I have to wait for the music to receive intense attention?‖ Then the revelation fell into my heart. I need to be intense about God all the time.—which gave me the understanding that worship is not a song, not a thirtyminute period in our service to God, it‘s not even lifting our hands, and closing our eyes. Worship is a lifestyle, this is why God seeks such (John 4:23), who would worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

BY NATHAN SALTER

The Lord has shown me that a song, lifting my hands, and closing my eyes and playing my instruments are outward manifestations of what has been going on in my heart all week. If you are married, how would you feel if your spouse only showed interest in you when you are intimate, but after that it‘s back to business as usual? In a similar way this is what we do to God when we only show passion for him when we sing and play at worship services and not in our everyday life. Every spouse wants someone who they have a great relationship with all the time, and then out of that great relationship you can express it emotionally, sexually and physically. Ultimately, I believe God is looking for what I call lifestyle worshippers. Those who naturally come into His presence in their daily lives—like fish in the sea—the only time the fish suffers and dies is when it‘s out of its natural environment. Likewise, our very life depends on us coming to God and living in his Spirit daily. Today do not box your expression to God in a song or a service, be free and worship Him in and with your life. Here are a few ways to get started. 1. Meditate on his Word daily. Joshua 1:8 says, ―Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.‖ 2. Sacrifice your will for his will. Mark 8:24, ―Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ―Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.‖ 3. Make personal time each day for just you and him to talk. 2 Corinthians 13:14, ―May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.‖ 4. Be transparent and talk to him about everything that concerns you. Psalm 139:1 says, ―You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.‖ 5. Acknowledge him in all your daily decisions. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, ―Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.‖ 6. Keep a thankful attitude all day for everything he‘s done for you. Hebrews 13:15 says, ―Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.‖

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Now you can take these steps and then express them in a song, with instruments, and any other forms of expression. These have been some things that have made my worship unto God more amazing and life changing. Make up your mind today that you will be one who the Father seeks for. Make God the center of your very being, and you will begin to see His peace, love and joy overshadow you from day to day. Nathan Salter is a man who has a passion to share the Love and Heart of God through Music and Teaching. His music ministry began in 1992, as a drummer. Through his many exposures he began to develop as an accomplished drummer, playing for several groups and artist. He then began to have a heart felt desire to express the songs God had impregnated in his heart, which led him to the piano. He began writing his own music and shortly after, began to produce albums. Nathan has been serving as the Minister of Music since 2000, at The Greater Refuge Temple of Christ Church in Buffalo, NY.

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Continued from page 13 on anything we choose. We can determine some of our emotions by the setting of the heart—we change our mind and God changes our heart. Our emotions will follow whatever we set ourselves to pursue—we can set our heart to be filled with zeal for God. The Psalmist wrote, ―Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him.‖ (Psalm 91:14) Another way to intentionally set our affections to love Jesus is to remove everything that diminishes our affections for him like bitterness, lust and being over stimulated by entertainment. This requires that we focus on pursuing love for Jesus more than gaining things and influence. David declared that he would love God and therefore set the intention of his heart to love God. In Psalm 18:1 he said, ―I will love You, O Lord, my strength.‖ John the Apostle leaned on Jesus‘ heart or set his heart to love and be as near to Him as possible. Likewise, we can set our heart to love Him by committing to walk in obedience even when it is costly. We also set our heart on loving God by regularly asking for supernatural help to love Jesus. Ask God to pour his love for Jesus into your heart and to direct the reigns of your heart into His love—‖May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God. (2 Thessalonians. 3:5) Loving God With Our Souls To love God with all our soul means to love him with our personality which is expressed mostly through our speech. When we determine to express our personality by speaking and acting in a way that enhances not diminishes love we express love for God in doing so. It actually moves God‘s heart when we control ourselves from cutting down someone and instead choose to lift them up and encourage them. That is the difference between life and death—which as Proverbs tells us is in the tongue. The most common way to use our soul to quench love

is by grieving the Spirit by our words which in turns diminishes our ability to receive from God in the same measure. We walk in love by purifying our speech (Eph. 5:1-6) rather than diminishing love by wrong speech that affects our inner man. For example, when we speak in dishonoring ways about the saints the Scripture tells us we are acting worldly and immature. We are to renounce grumbling and evil speaking against one another and rather encourage one another, singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord. The important thing however is that when we do fail in this our confession is not that we are a hopeless hypocrite nor are we despised by God. Rather we confess that we are loved by God and we are a lover of God, therefore this defines us and makes us successful. We are not defined by failure or by our accomplishments. By choosing to live in our spiritual identity of being loved and loving God in return our lives become secure in God rather than wrapped up in our appearance or performance before people. This is the principle of living before an audience of One. Not that we are not accountable and connected to people—that is absolutely vital to a vibrant Christian life. But we are also not devastated or puffed up by the rejection or the approval of people. Rather than needing affirmation from people, we receive it directly from God and affirm our agreement with him by our confession even when we don‘t feel it—our emotions will catch up with the confession. A great way to start is by saying to God, ―Jesus, I am Your beloved, Your favorite one, a disciple You love.‖ In a similar way John the Apostle described himself in his Gospel— ―Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‗It is the Lord!‘‖ John 21:7. Loving God With All Our Minds To love God with all our mind we must actively fill our minds with long and loving meditation on God‘s Word and resist putting anything in our minds that diminishes love

Photo by Matt Brown: ―When King David described in the book of Psalms the supreme passion of his life, it wasn’t power, military victory, earthly success or wealth, it was his undying love and passion to look upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.‖

for Jesus and quenches the Holy Spirit. To love God with all of our mind is our decision to take time to fill our mind with God‘s word and to agree with biblical paradigms of God. We gain revelation of God‘s love by meditating on it from God‘s Word. We position ourselves to receive by sitting long hours before God in his Word. Loving God With Our Strength Loving God with all our strength and with our resources includes time, money, talents, reputation and influence. Loving God With Our Time Does anything really speak more loudly to someone regarding your love for them and the way you feel about them than the time you spend with that person? When we slow our lives down just a bit and give God our time, which isn‘t always easy but is necessary, we honor God and he is able to work in and through us. As his partners here on earth and his ambassadors, we must daily come to him and be filled with the Spirit and filled with faith and love to represent him truly. As with the nature of any love relationship, time is essential to developing it. Spending time getting to know Christ is the essence of eternal life— to know him. It is the ―good part‖ that Mary of Bethany choose and Jesus declared would not be taken from her. Give God an offering today of time, sacrifice that TV show, that Facebook update and even that meal to come away with the Lord, receive his love and give him your love in worship and prayer. Quiet yourself before him and allow him to touch your heart through meditation on his Word. Loving God With Our Treasure You can‘t serve both God and money is how Jesus described the relationship with earthly riches. As the saying goes money makes a poor master, but a good servant. When we love God and honor him with our finances by making him our treasure and pursuit of life, not more stuff, it moves the heart of God. According to Scripture when we make him our great Treasure rather than earthly pursuits he responds and blesses us for it. The Scripture explains that when we seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness he will add everything else to us. If God who owns all silver and gold and all things on the earth makes a promise like that, should we not trust him? So seek him first and expect his blessing. As Hebrews states, God rewards of those who diligently seek him. As C.S. Lewis said, ―We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.‖ Loving God With Our Talent

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For from him and to him and through him are all things. When the very breathe we breath is from him, we present our very being to him to use as he pleases. Paul explained to the Roman church that they were to present their very bodies and all its members to the Lord as a living sacrifice, for this is reasonable and it is your very act of worship. He gave his all for us and we give our all for him. How could we offer him half hearted love when he spared no expense for us? As the elders and living creatures around his throne never stop saying—he is holy and he is worthy. Our lives are meant to be one with his, this is the invitation to the divine romance.


RESOURCE REVIEW

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FINAL THOUGHT

Mission:

Let‘s be sure that we are fighting for the right thing. We don‘t want to contend for the ―good old days‖ of modernism where people swooned at our insights. One of the faults of modernism is the arrogance and condescension that came from knowledge.

Reaching a Post-Modern Generation With the Gospel. By Lou Perez For better or worse, today‘s Church lives in the postmodern era. When I first began hearing about postmodernism many years ago, I would always walk away with a foggy understanding of what it was. Then I looked at the term ―Postmodernism‖. ―Post‖ speaks of what comes after. In this case, modernism, was the era we have been transitioning out of for the past 60 years. What helped me to understand postmodernism is when I started to notice the things it reacts to. Postmodernism is a reaction to the age of Modernism that began during the Renaissance and focused on science and reason as the way to find truth. In modernism, Sunday morning Church was based on many hours of Bible study, apologetics, and exegesis, which although is important, does not always connect with postmodern seekers. Postmodernism is characterized in general by a rejection of objective truth. You might hear post modern‘s say things like, “There is no such thing as one way to God”. They tend to reject a single definition of truth. In fact, for postmoderns, truth is based on each person‘s own experience. Postmoderns take a wrecking ball to the last era of modernism and rebuild it with materials borrowed from every religion and philosophy the world has to offer. Postmodernism has not been without impact on the Church. Here are some ways this has occurred. Challenge of authority: Postmodernism challenges the authority of the Church and the revelation it stands on. This is all done in an attempt to discover truth for oneself - a personal ―journey of spirituality.‖ No Objective Truth. Since postmoderns don‘t believe in ―one truth fits all,‖ Christianity is seen as just another buffet line where you pick and choose what you like and then go to other religions and philosophies for the rest. The image has replaced the truth. Postmoderns tend towards a shallow understanding of truth. Because we live in a media saturated ―copy and paste‖ society where ideas can be remixed and photo-shopped, there is a tendency for postmoderns to create their own image of the ―truth‖. To put it simply, an image has replaced what is real. This is no different that Aaron‘s golden calf in Exodus 32:1. 18 www.unitemagazine.us

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The problem with postmodernism is that Christ taught a specific set of non-negotiable truths that are relevant for every age. ―I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.‖ John 14:6 ESV So how do we as the Church thrive in a post modern world? How do we reach postmoderns? Here are six suggestions: We can continue to do what we have always done and see what the next age brings. It may be a while however. Or we can go to where the postmodern lives. Paul did this by ―becoming all things to all men‖. “To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20–23 ESV)

Let‘s change our methods without changing the message. In an honest effort to reach people, some postmodern seeker-sensitive churches have reworked certain Bible passages to soften their blow. It is a dangerous thing to amend what one did not write, especially when it involves a saving truth. Experience and encounter. Provide opportunities for people to encounter God. This brings them beyond just head knowledge and into intimacy with God. Use stories and metaphors to illustrate Biblical truth. One final thing we can do to reach postmoderns is to tell a story to illustrate a deeper truth. Postmoderns love stories and will respond to the truth easier when it is embedded in a story. This isn‘t just postmodern, this is Jesus. Jesus used parables as a delivery system for eternal truths. The Church has a sacred responsibility to engage the postmodern world, and with the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit, to bring people to the unchanging Gos-

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We can engage the postmodern person. We can do this by affirming what is right and challenging what is wrong. If there is one area where postmoderns are correct it is that intellect and reason is not enough to find truth. At the same time, we can lovingly challenge the postmodern‘s notion that ―there is no absolute truth‖. The problem postmoderns cannot account for is that it‘s impossible to make absolute statements when you don‘t believe in absolutes.

pel truths that are relevant in every generation.

Lou and Louisa Perez both grew up in New York City, and met in the first Church Lou pastored in Schenectady, NY. In 1999 they started Destiny Christian Church in Niagara Falls with the vision of taking Church outside the four walls. Find out more at www.destinychristianniagara.com.


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UNITE June/July 2011