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connection Independent Assemblies

uniting ministries worldwide

momentum

killer Mar/Apr 2012 | Volume 3 Issue 6


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calendar March

Interstate Fellowship Meeting March 12, 2012 Life Community Church Ada, OK Rev. Mickey Keith (580) 272-8447 ROAR Youth Conference March 22-23, 2012 Evangelistic Center Church Shawnee, OK Rev. Thomas Buckley (405) 637-7817 Midwest Regional Meeting March 26, 2012 Calvary Life Church Granite City, IL Rev. Mark Maynard (618) 931-4106 First Ladies Conference March 29-31, 2012 Tanglewood Resort - Lake Texoma Brenda Mullins (405) 204-7788

April

Interstate Fellowship Meeting April 9, 2012 Lifechanger Church Claremore, OK Rev. Ted Estes (918) 341-8344 Southeastern Texas Meeting April 21, 2012 Rev. Herb Hawthorne (281) 723-2278

May

Interstate Fellowship Meeting May 14, 2012 Calvary Temple Edmond, OK Rev. Dale Drain (405) 348-2334 2 • connection


connection Mar/Apr 2012

moving? If you are planning on moving or just recently moved, please contact the offices of the Independent Assemblies so that we may update your contact information. Also, keep us up to date with your current email and phone number.

Contents 2

Calendar

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Attitude Determines Altitude!

5

A Whole Army

6

Momentum Killer

8

Detours to Destiny

10

Passion for Pastors

11

Board Members

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by: Mickey Keith

Attitude Determines Altitude! What’s in your heart will determine your outlook in life. Attitude affects every decision we make: where we work, who we build relationships with, and dictates our future’s success or failure. Trials and struggles tend to get us down when we respond negatively but God’s Word tells us to do just the opposite. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” James 1:2 NKJV That doesn’t make sense to our natural minds, to rejoice over trouble. Why does the Bible say I am to be joyful in the middle of tough times? Because if you lose your joy, you lose your strength! “The joy of the Lord is my strength” Neh 8:10 NLT Whether you are dealing with a rebellious child, a broken relationship, or an illness, you need His strength. Go through challenges bitter, negative and discouraged, and you won’t have the vitality to stand strong and fight the good fight of faith! I will grow bitter or better! The choice is mine! The cares of this life will either make you bitter or better, and your attitude determines which one it will be. The story is told of a wise, old Native American who once told his son, “Inside your mind, a good wolf is battling a bad wolf for control.” The boy asked, “Which one will win?” The old man replied, “Which ever one you feed.” Keep your joy by knowing that on the other side of the test is a promotion. Any student in school will tell you that when you pass the test, you receive promotion. There can be no testimony without a test! No promised land without a wilderness experience. So be positive; don’t lose your joy. Keep your head up and your confession full of faith and you will see victory!

This trial is not a Set-Back; But a Set- Up! Know that this struggle is not setting you back, but rather setting you up. God will bring you through to the other side in an even better position. Your difficulties are not there to defeat you, but to increase you! If you complain, you will remain. Negative people who are sour on life don’t pass the test which leads to promotion. The opportunity for new growth is there, but if you don’t count it all joy, you’ll miss out. Good News- It’s never too late to win with the God of second chances! The next time someone offends us, our attitude should be, “I won’t be upset. I’ll count it all joy! This is simply a test, and on the other side of this challenge I’ll be promoted!” Don’t curse the vineyard God has planted you in to provide for your future. Instead, bless the ground you are sowing into! “This ground is blessed because I have a covenant with God almighty. He will never leave me nor forsake me! He is Jehovah Jireh and He provides for my needs!” A spirit of heaviness tries to overtake us in tough times but scriptures says that God gives us a “garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness!” Don’t believe the liar’s evil report, believe God’s! Isa. 53:1-5 KJV “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and by his stripes we are healed! Don’t believe the enemy’s lies! You don’t have to let your emotions guide you; they’re not in charge- you’re in charge! When you wake up, and the negative thoughts come into your mind—put a stop and let “joy come in the morning!” Follow King David’s example when his enemy stole everything, took his family prisoner, and his own men wanted to kill him. The Bible says, “He encouraged himself in the Lord”! It was perhaps the worst day of his life but within seven days, God had restored everything and he was crowned as king! Disappointment will bring negative emotions that seem to overwhelm us. If we don’t deal with them, they will control us. But, when they come, encourage yourself. Get up; be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! You are more than a conqueror, a champion on the inside!


A “Whole” Army Va s s a r F u l l G o s p e l C h u r c h by: Mindy Wood

Out in the cattle country of Oklahoma’s plains, Ralph Yost and his wife Lenora loved life on the ranch. He was a Sunday school teacher at their church and worked closely with home Bible studies as they built a life with God at the center. When the Lord called Ralph to take over a small country church that boasted five members, however, it came as quite a shock. “I wasn’t a preacher and hadn’t planned on it,” said Ralph, laughing. “When I told my wife she just said, ‘I can’t see myself as a preacher’s wife. I don’t know how to play the piano.’” Reluctant and undecided, he tried a different approach to God’s orders. “I argued with God for a year but that didn’t work. I even sent a preacher up there so they could have a pastor but that didn’t work out either. Finally when a bull hit me and ruptured three disks in my back I decided, ‘okay, Lord. I’m willing now.’” The antiquated building had no running water or bathrooms so they put in a portable toilet and waited to see what God would do with such humble beginnings. “There was a building on Interstate 35 and the Lord told me if I was obedient that He would give it us. Miracle after miracle, He did and we remodeled it, adding five thousand square feet.” The vision of Vassar Full Gospel Church soon emerged as a refuge for the hurting. Based on Isaiah 61:3, to proclaim the Good News, release the captives and heal the heart broken. “Salvation is important but I felt like God told me that if we could just heal the body, then they would bring the people in. I tell people we’re a church of misfits because we’ve all had our baggage that we needed to

get off of us. A lot of abuse has come through our doors, even people as old as forty or fifty and they didn’t realize that was their problem. It was dictating their lives. We’ve taken them through deliverance and healing and shown them that God loves them, that they have worth; basically the Good News. Our ministry is to set the captives free and heal the Body of Christ.” With a strong passion for the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, deliverance and healing naturally flow from that and establishes individual ministry within their church. “I tell them the most powerful ministry they have is what they’ve been delivered from because they have the understanding of what that person is going through. Most importantly, we’re a church that loves each other and prays for each other. We believe in the gifts of the Spirit and that God is raising up an army of people willing to be witness for Him. We can’t be true witnesses for Christ with all the baggage.” It’s no wonder that his favorite verse, Philippians 3:10 is also a reflection of the ministry. “That I may know Him, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His suffering. If we could just get connected to those three things, we would see a move of God. There’s so much to learn about the resurrection that I think the church doesn’t know the half of it. Christ has done it, we just have to learn to walk in it.” Like many church pastors across America, the Yosts hope to see a move of God among the eighteen to thirties demographic. In the meantime, they rejoice over the work that the Lord has blessed and those who are now whole, free, and a powerful force for the enemy to reckon with.


by: Steven Furtick

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I have a crucial piece of advice for any ministry leader who is seeing God bless them with a current wave of momentum:

Make sure your private devotion keeps pace with your ministry momentum. As your ministry gains speed, the demands on you are just going to become greater. You might think that once you gain the momentum you’ve been working towards, it will finally free up space in your life. But it won’t. In fact, your time will be even more constrained. The temptation you’ll face will be to ride your own spiritual coattails. -The great prayer time you had. Last week. -The eye-opening moment you had in your private Bible study. Two months ago. -The game-changing time of fasting you engaged in. Last year. But it doesn’t work like that. Your relationship with God is only as strong as your most recent encounter with Him. You must never get to the point where you’re too

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busy ministering for God that you’re too busy to meet with God. Or you can consider yourself on the clock. For burnout. For a lack of fresh vision. For a moral failure. And then because of those things, for losing your momentum. No matter how great your ministry is going… -You’re never going to outgrow your need for prayer. -You’re never going to outgrow your need for study of God’s Word. -You’re never going to outgrow your need for God. He’s what gave you your momentum. He’s what’s going to maintain it. And He’s what’s going to sustain you through it as the demands on your life become greater. Even Jesus felt the need to go off by Himself and spend time in prayer as people began flocking to Him. Personally, I’m not going to be the one who says I need less private time with God than Jesus. Make the decision now. Wake up earlier. Stay up later. Clear out your schedule during the day. Whatever you do, do whatever you have to do to prioritize the presence of God in your life.

churchleaders.com

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it’s coming.

Independent Assemblies National Ministers Conference

july 9-11

Embassy Suites • Norman, OK connection • 7 Register online at www.independentassemblies.org


Detours to Destiny by: Mindy Wood

Patricia Smith

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ocalist, songwriter, teacher and evangelist, Patricia Smith has led an interesting life but one that she says hasn’t been without detours. The same way GPS systems re-navigate around road blocks, Patricia is thankful that the Lord always made sure she’s reached God’s destinations. She was raised by staunch Jehovah’s Witnesses but got saved in a little west Texas pentecostal church just after she married. “From that point on my family had nothing to do with me, comparable to the Quaker shunning. I did get to see my dad twenty eight years later when he was dying and that was

8 • connection

amazing but when your father and mother forsake you the Lord takes care of you and sets ‘the solitary in families.’ I have sisters closer than blood and mothers and fathers in the faith.” At twenty three, her conversion was nurtured by the pastor of the church, her husband’s grandmother. “She wasn’t one to put you forward in ministry and believed if you were called to preach you’d find somewhere to do it. So I started preaching in rest homes.” From there she, her husband and four children packed their bags for evangelism and hosted revivals with powerful miracles. Churches sprouted from the meetings and finally the Lord led her to record songs in Nashville.


Then a terrible blow. “I found myself at the end of a thirty year marriage and it was very traumatic. I felt, ‘well I’m done. No one wants people who’ve been divorced.’ But the Lord blessed me and I wrote songs. I wasn’t doing anything bad but I wasn’t doing anything right. I was just so wounded. I came to Elgin to stay with my oldest daughter and her husband.” The detour would thrust her again into an inescapable calling. Working for the chamber of commerce, she met and dated E.C. Smith. “He’d been all over the world and made and lost a fortune. One night over dinner he said, ‘I’ve done more things than most people ever dream about but something is missing,’ and I thought, ‘Oh boy here we go.’ I’d kept my former ministry a big secret. He said, ‘I think we ought to go to church.’” The Holy Spirit was about to let the proverbial cat out of the bag. She and E.C. started attending Family Worship Center where Dr. Irvin McCorkle and Jerry Edmon would see the ministry within her. Before she knew it they had her singing and preaching. When Edmon put together teaching material in pamphlets he asked her to take a look at it. It would be the beginning of Covenant Treasure Institute, a school of ministry now in IA churches and even prisons. “Another pastor saw it and devised a plan to do a day long Saturday school once a month for two years and it would cover the the curriculum. Brother Johnson credited twenty hours towards anyone pursing a degree and recently Phoenix University credited fifteen elective hours.” The course covers everything from the authority of the Scriptures to theology, spiritual authority, church government and practical applications of public speaking and teaching.

“All we are called to do is reveal Christ and Him crucified. If it’s not centered on Christ and if it’s not in the early church or in the Word then turn the other way. We’re living in the last of the last days, not only do we see that in wickedness and political upheaval but the proliferation of false doctrines in the charismatic and pentecostal church.” E.C. and Patricia teach the curriculum and do evangelism. The curriculum circulates to over three-hundred prisoners in Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona. “A pastor handed me a letter from a prisoner looking for curriculum and he said, ‘I’ve had this for three months and now I know I’m supposed to give it to you.’ That’s how it started. It’s expensive because they don’t have access to computers, no CD players and so it all has to be snail mailed. Just when we think we’re going under, the Lord sends us an offering.” Through it all, she’s thankful. “When I was kid we had a garden and a compost heap made of scraps and newspaper. My grandfather would take those putrid, dirty things in the spring, and put the compost into the soil. It produced the healthiest, most beautiful vegetables you’ve ever seen. Even the things in our lives that seem so dark, rotten and wounding, it’s like He says, ‘Oh that’s just what I needed,’ and He puts that on the compost heap of our lives. When the fallow part of your heart, like soil, is broken up, all those things are sown back into your life and it produces a fruit that’s going to help other people.” It seems nothing in the lives of believers, no matter how difficult or painful, is ever lost on God’s road map. Detours are just another route to His plans. For more information about CTI, visit covetreasure.com connection • 9


PassionforPastors by: Mindy Wood

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ost people who work nine to five take for granted that their pastor’s job doesn’t fit neatly into the same box. There is no time sheet for the full time minister who carries his work in his heart twenty four hours a day. While a noble calling, statistics show that the pulpit has become a mission field fraught with difficult trials. According to studies by the Alban Institute and Fuller Seminary, 50% of ministers drop out of the pulpit in the first five years and a Duke University study showed 90% of all pastors will not stay until retirement. The reasons are obvious to Jeff and Shauna Laird and her mother, Jana White of Passion for Pastors Ministry, a retreat center in Colorado for full time ministers. “We all know that spiritual warfare is very real and it’s everyday,” said Laird. “Pastors need to get away and no matter what they’re going through, just to have time with the Lord and away from the constant demands and burdens. They’re the ones who take a lot of the brunt from the enemy day after day. Whether it’s moral failure, spiritual warfare or they just need to pray, fast and seek the Lord, we’re here to help.” This family knows firsthand what full time ministry is really like. In 2000 after his conversion in California he moved to Borger Texas where he met and married Shauna White. Her parents, Don and Jana, pastored New Beginnings church for nineteen years as IA pastors. In 2010 Jeff became the senior pastor. “Dad [Don] was dying with cancer and we had an Elijah-Elisha moment. He was supposed to go with me when I was ordained but he couldn’t be there. Close friends Doc and Betty Schumann stepped in and signed my papers for the ordination with IA.” After Don’s passing, the vision for a pastoral retreat resurfaced again. “Mom [Jana] fasted for forty days and she said it was time to do what God had put on their hearts.” They donated the church to a local Baptist ministry who helps rehabilitate

Jana and Don Shauna and Jeff Laird

substance abuse addicts and moved to Colorado last October. “An investor purchased a house for us to live in and we’re using a resort for the ministry. He’s a personal friend to the family and always believed in their vision.” The stunning property truly offers a resort experience with a spa, indoor pool, fishing and boating on an eight acre lake, snow sledding and even nearby access to river rafting, horseback riding, and golf. “We want ministers and their families to enjoy this retreat. It can be the worship pastor, Sunday school teacher, whoever on the staff who helps the ministry.” The ministry team offers counseling, deliverance ministry, and even fasts in prayer along side those who come to them. “We feel honored with the task. We’re so excited to be part of God’s plan to help them fight the good fight of faith, be rejuvenated in every possible way and so on fire for the Lord again that it helps them and their families.” They plan to offer conferences for men, women and youth but in the meantime continue to focus on the urgent need for pastoral care ministry. “I can see the handing down of the mantle of pastoring a lot of times comes from children who come up under the guidance and leadership of the family in ministry. If the devil can get to the pastors and their families, then we’ve lost that next generation of pastors coming up. America needs more spirit-filled pastors, not less.” For more information visit www. passionforpastors.com or reach them by phone 719.285.5147 connection • 10


Executive Board Mickey Keith

President PO Box 1546 Ada, OK 74821 (580) 310-0222 mickey.keith@gmail.com www.life623.com

Dr. Ted Estes

Vice President PO Box 2248 Claremore, OK 74018 (918) 341-8344 pastorted@lifechangerchurch.com www.lifechangerchurch.com

Ken Anderson

Secretary/Treasurer PO Box 1120 Lexington, OK 73051 (405) 527-6030 kda@valornet.com www.libertygospelok.org

Robert Johnson

Director of World Missions PO Box 978 Blackwell, OK 74631 (580) 363-2734 roj@clarionmissions.org www.clarionmissions.org

Jerry Edmon

Board Member PO Box 862 Elgin, TX 78621 (512) 281-5316 Jedmon1234@aol.com www.fwcelgin.com

Regional Representatives Southeast Oklahoma District Rev. Billy Hunter Antlers, OK (580) 298-2740 Southwest Oklahoma District Rev. Donnie Miller Cyril, OK (580) 464-2224 (580) 512-3657 Northeast Oklahoma District Rev. Mac Blackwell Locust Grove, OK (918) 479-6057 North Texas District Rev. Marc Jones Denton, TX 75751 (903) 675-6011 Southeast Texas District Rev. Herb Hawthorne Baytown, TX (281) 723-2278 South Central Texas District Rev. Jerry Edmon Elgin, TX (512) 281-5316 Midwest Regional District Rev. Mark Maynard Granite City, IL (618) 931-4106 Arkansas District Rev. Charles Kendrick Alexander, AR (501) 303-0831

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