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EDITORIAL BY SIMEON YOUNG SR.

The Way of the Wind ohn’s close-up of Jesus and Nicodemus allows us to see the lines in their faces and to listen in on their whispered conversation. With a furtive glance over his shoulder Nicodemus offers Jesus faint praise: “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2). Jesus brushes aside the patronizing words of this spiritually dull religious teacher and says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” To which Nicodemus responds, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:3-4). Jesus answers, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Nicodemus has assured himself that because he is an Israelite he is in the kingdom of God by right of birth. What a shock to hear Jesus say that he must be born again to enter God’s kingdom! But there’s more. Jesus says to Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Nicodemus, with a frown of consternation, raises his hand and asks, “How can these things be?” The Teacher of the teacher says, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? … If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:10, 12). One of the “earthly things” Jesus talked about that night was the metaphor of the wind. There are several emblems of the Spirit in Scripture, including oil, fire, the dove, and water. But here the wind is an emblem of the Spirit-filled believer. Every translation of verse 8 I have read supports the idea that it is the Spirit-filled believer

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). himself or herself who is like the wind. A person born of the Spirit is free. If we apply the metaphor of the wind to the words, “the wind bloweth where it listeth,” then Jesus is saying that everyone who is born of the Spirit of God is free like the wind. In another place, Jesus says, “If the Son … shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Paul says that we have been “made free from sin” (Romans 6:22) and “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17) and “Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1). A person born of the Spirit is audible. Jesus says of the wind, “Thou hearest the sound thereof.” We do not stretch the metaphor beyond reason if we say the words “so is every one that is born of the Spirit” also mean that Spirit-filled people are audible. Peter says, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these

which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:1-8). Later in the Book of Acts, the Jews who are present when the first Gentiles receive the Holy Ghost are astonished “because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:45-46). Every person born of the Spirit is audible because every person born of the Spirit speaks in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. A person born of the Spirit is an enigma. Jesus says we are unable to tell where the wind comes from or where it goes. Indeed, the wind is a great mystery. Even those who study the wind are awed and baffled by this phenomenon of nature. Some primitive cultures believed the wind originated in a cave that was shrouded in mystery. The person born of the Spirit is a mystery. On the Day of Pentecost people where confounded and amazed and doubtful. But some who were confounded, amazed, and doubtful asked one another, “What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12). Shouldn’t people be asking that same question today about people who are born of the Spirit, people who are like the wind— free, audible, and enigmatic? Simeon Young Sr. is the editor of the Pentecostal Herald.

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PENTECOSTAL HERALD | FEBRUARY 2013 Fundamental Doctrine

EDITOR

Simeon Young Sr.

The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organization shall be the Bible standard of full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. We shall endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit until we all come into the unity of the faith, at the same time admonishing all brethren that they shall not contend for their different views to the disunity of the body.

The One True God

PRODUCTION MANAGER Larry Craig PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Jina Crain CREATIVE DIRECTOR Abraham LaVoi DESIGN SUPERVISOR Tim Cummings GRAPHIC DESIGNER Laura Merchant EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Rebecca Miller PROOFREADER Patrica Bollmann The Pentecostal Herald (USPS-427-240) is published monthly by the United Pentecostal Church International, 8855 Dunn Road., Hazelwood, Missouri 63042-2299. It is the official publication of the United Pentecostal Church International. Periodicals postage paid at Hazelwood, Missouri, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Pentecostal Herald, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, Missouri 63042-2299. ©2013 by United Pentecostal Church International. Web address: www.pentecostalherald.com Single Subscriptions (USA) $25.00 Single Subscriptions (Canada) $35.00 Single Subscriptions (Foreign) $44.00 Bundle Subscriptions (USA) $ 1.75 for 6 or more copies; $2.25 each for 2-5 copies Bundle Subscriptions (Canada) $ 2.50 for 6 or more copies; $3.00 each for 2-5 copies Bundle Subscriptions (Foreign) $ 3.50 for 6 or more copies; $4.00 each for 2-5 copies

We believe in the one ever-living, eternal God: infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This one true God has revealed Himself as Father; through His Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation (I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; II Corinthians 5:19; Joel 2:28).

An international publication published monthly. VOL. 89, NO. 2. Periodicals postage paid at Hazelwood, Missouri, and additional offices. Official publication of the UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH INTERNATIONAL

Our Vision:

The Pentecostal Herald in every Pentecostal home

Our Mission:

To publish a Pentecostal magazine that strengthens the hands of Pentecostal pastors, encourages and challenges Pentecostal believers, and reaches beyond the doors of Pentecostal churches

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The Pentecostal Herald (or UPCI) assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of claims of advertisers or for the quality of their service or products.

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HOW TO REACH US: Pentecostal Herald, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, Missouri 63042-2299, Telephone: 1.314.837.7300 Extension 411 Email: bmiller@upci.org, main@upci.org. Web address: www.pentecostalherald.com

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Letters to the Editor

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Send letters for possible publication to: syoung@upci.org, bmiller@upci.org, or to: Pentecostal Herald 8855 Dunn Road Hazelwood, MO 63042-2299.

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT David K. Bernard* ASSISTANT GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT Stan O. Gleason* ASSISTANT GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT Paul D. Mooney* GENERAL SECRETARY-TREASURER Jerry Jones* DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL MISSIONS Bruce A. Howell* DIRECTOR OF NORTH AMERICAN MISSIONS Carlton L. Coon Sr.* EDITOR IN CHIEF Robin Johnston GENERAL SUNDAY SCHOOL DIRECTOR Steve L. Cannon GENERAL YOUTH DIRECTOR Shay Mann SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION Dan Batchelor

GENERAL PRESBYTERS

Customer Care Send subscription and renewal requests and inquiries to pentecostalherald.com or email Becky Miller at bmiller@upci.org.

Dennis L. Anderson, Elvin Anthony, G. Terry Brewer, Ronald L. Brown, Steven Carnahan, Steve D. Carrington, Brent Coltharp, Mike Conn, Carlton L. Coon Sr., Floyd E. Covill, Kevin Cox, Jack Cunningham, Steven D. D’Amico, J. Stanley Davidson, Devon Dawson, Dean M. Dickinson, Andrew Dillon, Alonzo Dummitt, David Elms, Daniel Fleming, Percel T. Graves, Ken Gurley, Billy Hale, John W. Hanson, Arthur E. Hodges III, Gary Hogan, Jerry T. Holt, David Hudson, J. Mark Jordan, Daniel McCallister, Richard McGriffin, Scott D. Marshall, Matthew Martin, Ronnie Mullings, Arthur Naylor, Gordon Parrish, John E. Putnam, David A. Robinson, D.R. Russo, William J. Singleton, Jesse Starr, Jay Stirneman, Rick Stoops, Robert Stroup, Melvin Thacker, David Tipton Jr., Jerry Tipton, David Trammell, H.E. Wheatly, Steve Willeford, C. Patton Williams, Richard A. Wittmeier, Raymond Woodson Sr., Chester Wright

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HONORARY PRESBYTERS

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J.R. Blackshear, Ernest Breithaupt, W.L. Clayton, B.S. Cole, Daniel Garlitz, Arless Glass, John Grant, Tommy Hudson, James Kelley, Carrol D. Kennedy, Carl Lagow, Roger Lewis, R.J. McIntyre, John D. Mean, James Merrick, Paul Price, Paul Reynolds, J.M. Russell, Harry Scism, Scotty Teets, T.F. Tenney, B.J. Thomas, Wayne Trout, G.L. Vittitow, Ted Wagner, David O. Walters, R.D. Whalen, Jesse Williams, Jack Yonts * Member of the Executive Board

EDITOR IN CHIEF Robin Johnston

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ASSISTANT EDITOR

Lee Ann Alexander

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Columns

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3 | Editorial

Simeon Young Sr.

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Travis Miller

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David K. Bernard

24 Tiffini Countaway

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15 | Launch Your Ministry

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23 | Faith & Culture

Kevin Payne

Lee Ann Alexander

Building God’s Community Sylvia Clemons

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Mark Johnson

Being Away

A Community of Care

11 | My Hope Radio

Michael D. Ensey

Why Should I Follow God?

7 | The General Superintendent Speaks

Identity Crisis

Allies in the Home Mitchell Bland

The Beauty of Community P. Daniel Buford

Eugene Wilson

29 | Worldline

Bruce A. Howell

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Baptized in Jesus Name T. Harris

33 | New Start

Flo Shaw

39 | Multicultural Ministries

Alonzo Dummitt

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51 | Sunday School

“God Setteth the Solitary in Families” Linda Krog

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Steve Cannon

42 Pentecostal Life 21 | After This... L. Chancy Gore

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The Sanctity of Life Debbie Velie

End-of-Life Decisions Lisa G. Kinderman, MD

Love the Creator, Love His Creation Aaron Soto

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Abortion or Adoption? Chrissie Velasquez

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In conjunction with the UPCI’s Center for the Study of Oneness Pentecostalism, Pentecostal Publishing House is excited to offer these resources that tell the story of Pentecost in North America. Celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Jesus Name movement with these hallmark studies of our founders and our message.

Their Story: 20th Century Pentecostals Fred Foster

A complete and straightforward presentation of the modern Oneness Pentecostal movement. Rev. James Kilgore writes, “This book is beyond the ordinary, inasmuch as it is a book of our church history, a reference book, and certainly one to give us a challenge to be Pentecostal at any cost.”

Howard A. Goss: A Pentecostal Life Robin Johnston

Howard Goss’s passion for the restoration of the church to its apostolic roots illustrates the hunger in early Pentecostals to return to Pentecost. This book tells the story of what it means to live a Pentecostal life. 23255 Hardback $19.99

8010 Paperback $12.99

The Early Pentecostal Revival James Tyson

This history of twentieth-century Pentecostals and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World is a must for every library. 8083 Paperback $13.99 23796 E-Book $9.99

The Phenomenon of Pentecost Frank Ewart

Frank Ewart follows the flame of evangelism as it weaves its way from Topeka to Houston to Azusa Street into Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. 7018 Paperback $12.99

United We Stand Charles Clanton

Eighty years of history of the Oneness Pentecostal movement is portrayed in this Jubilee Edition. This is a must read for every Pentecostal and those interested in modern church history. 22578 Hardback $13.99

A History of Christian Doctrine

Volume 3: The Twentieth Century A.D. 1900-2000 David K. Bernard This volume includes significant movements, theologians, and events of the twentieth century. It gives particular attention to the Pentecostal movement but also describes others. 8611 Paperback $13.99

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THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT SPEAKS BY DAVID K. BERNARD

The Ministry of Young Men and Women et no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12, NKJV). God calls and uses people at every stage of life. Our culture glorifies and celebrates youth, but it also characterizes teenagers and young adults as impulsive, irresponsible, and pleasure oriented. Consequently, the church sometimes underestimates how God can use them. As our local churches and districts grow, it is easy for us to overlook the involvement of people who are young, new to church, or new to ministry. When better known and more experienced workers are available, younger people may not always have sufficient opportunities to exercise their gifts and talents. Sometimes they are neglected, disparaged, or even distrusted. While it is important for workers to be qualified, trained, and approved, it is also important to give new people responsibilities, challenges, hands-on experience, and on-the-job training, even though doing so involves some risks. Jeremiah tried to avoid the call of God by saying, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” God did not accept this excuse but put him to work: “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.” (See Jeremiah 1:6-7, NIV.) The Bible is full of men and women in their teenage years, twenties, and thirties who accomplished great things for God. Examples are David, Naaman’s servant girl, Daniel and his three friends, Mary, John the Baptist, Timothy, John Mark, Philip’s four daughters, and Paul’s nephew. Jesus began His ministry at thirty and completed it at thirty-three. Most of Christ’s disciples were probably His age or younger when they began their ministries. Paul was a young man at his conversion. The New Testament church was founded primarily by young adults. History provides many examples of great accomplishment at a relatively young age: • Alexander the Great became king of Macedon at twenty, conquered Persia at

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twenty-four, and established an empire before he died at thirty-three. Joan of Arc led the French army to significant victories and inspired French national identity from seventeen to her capture and execution at nineteen. Mozart composed his first musical piece that is still widely played today at seventeen and his first symphony at twenty-two. Michelangelo sculpted the Pietà at twenty-four, sculpted David at twenty-nine, and completed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at thirty-seven. Thomas Jefferson drafted the US Declaration of Independence at thirty-three. Theodore Roosevelt became president of the US at forty-two. Albert Einstein wrote his groundbreaking paper on the theory of relativity at twenty-six. John Kennedy was elected congressman at thirty, senator at thirty-five, and president at forty-three. Martin Luther King Jr. led the Montgomery bus boycott at twenty-six and gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech before 200,000 people in Washington, DC, at thirty-four.

Many leaders in church history also achieved great things when they were relatively young: • Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation at thirty-three. • John Calvin wrote his systematic theology, Institutes of the Christian Religion, at twenty-six. • Michael Servetus wrote On the Errors of the Trinity, which critiqued the leading Reformers by advocating a Oneness view of God, at twenty. • At the beginning of the modern Pentecostal revival, Charles Parham led his Bible school students in receiving the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of tongues when he was twenty-seven. • William Seymour began the Azusa Street Revival, which spread the Pentecostal message around the world, at thirty-five. We also have notable examples in the

history of the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI): • Frank Ewart became a pioneer of the restored message of Acts 2:38 salvation and the Oneness of God at thirty-eight. • G.T. Haywood accepted the Jesus Name message and became an Apostolic leader at thirty-four. • Howard Goss was one of two organizers of the Assemblies of God at thirty-one and accepted the Oneness message at thirty-three. • Nathaniel Urshan became pastor of Calvary Tabernacle in Indianapolis at twenty-eight and Harvestime international radio speaker at forty. • S.W. Chambers became the first general secretary of the UPCI at thirty. • C.M. Becton became general secretary of the UPCI at thirty-nine. • T.F. Tenney became Foreign Missions director of the UPCI at thirty-six. • Janet Trout was appointed missionary to Jamaica at eighteen and preached a General Conference evening youth service at twenty. Of course, with opportunity comes responsibility. Paul admonished Timothy not to let others look down on his ministry because of his youth but at the same time to be a good example in every way. When young men and women have been called, gifted, and trained, we can and should entrust them with opportunities for service, ministry, and leadership. Most of the time they will meet the challenge and rise to the level of our confidence in them—or even exceed our expectations. At the same time, they must be accountable in doctrine, conduct, and spiritual life. If God is calling you to service, it is time to attempt great things for Him, whether you are young or not. If you are seasoned and experienced, look for someone to develop, mentor, and empower. We need every available worker in the end-time harvest! David K. Bernard is the general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International.

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[BUILDING COMMUNITY]

Identity Crisis MICHAEL D. ENSEY

he search for identity and purpose begins with a child’s first breath. Joy, sadness, trust, fear, love, anger, surprise, and shame: these expressions become the framework for an individual’s identity. Every individual has a very real need for significance that is never completely satisfied and continues to shape our character throughout adulthood. During the adolescent years we start asking ourselves questions like “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” As we get older and enter our young adult years the pressure intensifies if we continue to ask these questions, because at some point we are supposed to come up with an answer for who we really are and what our real purpose is. Sociologists are blaming “extended adolescence” as the cause for young adults who are dealing with an “identity crisis” because of the inability to properly answer these questions (www.theyouthcartel.com). Hyphen Young Adult Ministry Churches and organizations are recognizing the need for structured and intentional ministry to this overlooked demographic called “twentysomethings.” They are eighteen-to-thirty-year-old young adults who are faced with the very real pressure of discovering themselves—creating a personal identity and discovering their purpose in life—their calling. The General Youth Division of the UPCI is helping to meet this need through its newest ministry, Hyphen (www.hyphenonline. org). Hyphen seeks to connect young adults to service, with purpose, through resources, for a mission. This single-word description, hyphen, defines both the reality (identity) and the purpose of young adults. The Reality of a Hyphen The reality of young adults is that they are in an uncomfortable state 8

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of transition. They are “in between,” moving from adolescent teenager to responsible adult. During this time of transition they will make some critical decisions related to God, education, career, and marriage that will help shape their identity. These decisions must be made with the future—not instant gratification—in mind. Prayer and godly counsel must be the foundation upon which every decision is made. Consultation with parents, pastor, trusted leaders, and the Word of God must take place well before the decision has been made and not just for approval after having already made commitments either verbally or emotionally. Following are some guidelines for young adults related to these four areas: GOD: For the first time in your life you are solely responsible for the decisions that will determine whether or not you have a relationship with God and how you will live out your faith. You must determine what you believe— what you really believe, not just what you say you believe, or what you act like you believe. Settle it now. Make up your mind today that you will live for God no matter what. Scripture, unfiltered and unedited, without cultural and personal justifications for certain lifestyles and behaviors, must be the foundation of your relationship with God and provide the framework for your worldview. EDUCATION: It is imperative that you are well educated in today’s quickly changing, highly specialized work and ministry environment, and there are many options: Bible college, Christian college, secular college, graduate school, technical school, community college, online classes, specialized training institutions, and more. While your education is very important, your salvation is critical. Make sure the decision you make in this area is not detrimental to your continued spiritual growth. If you cannot live for God while living on campus in a secular college environment, then don’t. It may be beneficial to

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go to Bible college for a year or two to solidify your faith, or to attend community college while living at home and attending your home church before you deal with the pressures of the college campus scene alone. CAREER: Position yourself early on in life to hear the voice of God directing you concerning this major decision. Choose a career that will not hinder your relationship with God or cause you to violate biblical principles, but rather will enable you to maintain consistent church attendance and remain available to meaningfully serve the kingdom of God. If God is calling you to be a career minister—pastor, evangelist, missionary, music or evangelism director—answer that call.

MARRIAGE: The importance of this decision cannot be overstated. Don’t date someone you wouldn’t marry. Only marry someone who shares the same values and belief system. Make the most of this special time in your life as a single young adult, and don’t allow a consuming desire to be married rob you of effectiveness in other areas. Paul said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). You do not have to be married before you can discover significance and make a difference in your world. In fact, you will be able to do things during this time you may not be able to do if you are married. It is much less complicated to make major decisions when you are single, like going on a missions trip, moving to another city, or changing FEBRUARY 2013

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Know Jesus Christ, and He will reveal your true identity and purpose in Him. The slogan of the UPCI is, “The whole gospel, to the whole world, by the whole church,” and twentysomethings are a crucial part of the whole church. your career path. There are some things that are worse than being lonely, like being in a relationship with the wrong person. You can recover from wrong decisions related to education and career, but it is very difficult to recover from wrong decisions related to your relationship with God and marriage. Get these relationships right the first time, and it will save you from having to travel a long journey of healing and recovery. The Purpose of a Hyphen The purpose of young adults is also defined by this term, Hyphen. It is really very simple. We were created to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to help others have a relationship with Him. This is our purpose and everything else—education, career, and relationships—must work within the framework of that purpose. Following are some ways young adults can fulfill their purpose: ROLE MODEL: Every generation is a bridge to the next and stands in a critical position in relation to who we are as the church today, and what the church will be for future generations. You serve as a role model of what it means to be an Apostolic in the twenty-first century in worship, lifestyle, giving, and service. It has always been the plan and purpose of God for truth to be passed down, like a baton, from one generation to the next. Peter said, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off” (Acts 2:39). In his book Leading without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community, Max DePree said, “If we fail our children, the relevancy of all other strategies evaporates.” We absolutely cannot fail to fulfill our mission in this area. CONNECTOR: A hyphen is used to join words. It is a connector. As a hyphen, you are a connect point to truth and to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. You will probably never have a greater opportunity for meeting new people and introducing them to the truth than you have during the young adult stage in your life. You are making many new friends on the college campus or on a new job. Take advantage of this opportunity to be a hyphen. Connect someone to Jesus.

means to serve. Be a servant and you will always find ways to fulfill your calling. In his book Equipped to Lead, Galen Walters said, “Can we strike a balance between work and personal life in this pervasive chaos, and, if so, how do we do it? The answer is: as long as we lack a higher purpose, we cannot. Period. The truth is that we have many occupations, but there is really only one profession, one calling, and that is to serve God by serving others.” Where to Find True Identity and Purpose In this persistent quest among young adults to discover self—significance, identity, and purpose—perhaps some are looking in the wrong place. Our secular society wants us to believe there is a hero within, but I beg to differ. Scripture is abundantly clear that we are just flesh. When you look to yourself for answers and fail, frustration, resentment, and bitterness eventually set in. Significance and fulfillment will be found only when we look to Jesus Christ and understand our value is not based upon our own knowledge and abilities, but upon who our Creator is. In Matthew 16:13-19, Jesus had a conversation with the disciples concerning His true identity. When Simon Bar-jona got a revelation of who Jesus was— “Thou art the Christ”—Jesus gave Simon a revelation of who he was—“Thou art Peter”—and what his purpose was—“I will build my church, and I will give unto thee the keys to the kingdom.” We don’t need more self-esteem. We need more God-esteem. Get to know Jesus Christ, and He will reveal your true identity and purpose in Him. The slogan of the UPCI is “the whole gospel to the whole world, by the whole church,” and twentysomethings are a crucial part of the whole church.

Michael D. Ensey is the general youth secretary of the UPCI and has oversight of the Hyphen young adult ministry. He is the blessed husband of Rebecca and the proud father of Lincoln, Grant, and Avery. They live in Florissant, Missouri.

MINISTRY: God has a specific place of purpose for you in His kingdom. You are called to be a minister. Ministry does not just mean standing on a platform or in a pulpit. The Greek word diakonos, which is often translated “minister” in the New Testament, also means “servant.” To minister

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MY HOPE RADIO BY TIFFINI COUNTAWAY

Three Minutes with Shannon Roberts

ell us about your family. I have two wonderful parents, an older brother, and a sister-in-law. They are all amazing! I love my family. We are very close and are all involved in church and ministry.

What is the best advice you have ever been given? To seek God’s heart first. If I have a relationship with Him and if He’s the most important thing to me, then my life will follow the path He desires for me. That’s all that matters.

Describe your spiritual journey. When I was eleven years old I felt God’s call on my life. For the first time, I began seeking Him and longing for what He had for me. He gave me big dreams and I knew I was meant for something special. In the years since then I have discovered the only thing worth living for is Jesus Christ. Take the whole world, take all my dreams, consume all my future, take away everything I have, but give me Jesus. He is my everything!

— Fun Stuff —

What is your musical background? I’ve been singing since I was four or five years old. I started out doing Christmas musicals at my church and eventually grew into the church choir and praise team. It wasn’t until I was eighteen years old that I started playing the guitar, which really started my songwriting. When I was about nineteen or twenty I started playing the piano. I attended Christian Life College in Stockton, California, for four years and started leading worship and going on ten-week summer tours, traveling and doing music all over. That changed me and has been a huge part of my growth as a singer and musician. Do you write your own songs? I do write my own songs. Like I mentioned before, it really started after I learned the guitar when I was eighteen. I have always been a writer, but I had never had the musical knowledge to write songs. But once I started playing I just started singing what was in my heart. “Release” was one of the first songs I ever wrote. Through time and experience my song development has changed. I sing what God places inside of me. It is in prayer when I’m playing the piano and all alone with Him

What would you do with a million dollars? Well, after paying my tithe and offering I’d use a chunk of it to make another album. that a lot of it comes out. Even if they are songs I sing only once or will never show to anyone because they are so personal between God and me, they are special because they are pieces of our relationship. What is your favorite song to sing? Why is it your favorite? There are so many songs I love to sing, songs that really mean a lot to me. But if there was one song that I could sing over and over again and never tire of, it is “How Great Is Our God.” That song says it all! It’s so powerful in its meaning, and though I have sung it thousands of times, I’ll never tire of it because the words remind me that no matter what season of life I’m in, God is great and I’m blessed to belong to Him. What is your favorite part of the albummaking process? When I hear for the first time the music tracks my producer has created. I send him my rough versions (basically me singing with guitar or piano) and he creates something amazing. I love it! What is the most rewarding part of your ministry? When I hear the stories of how the music has had a positive effect in people’s lives. It’s so incredibly humbling and inspiring and amazing that God can use anyone, even me. As long as we are willing, He can use us for His glory.

What time in history would you like to visit for a week? It would be in the 1700s during the time of the Revolutionary War. I have always been fascinated with that era and I would love to know what it was like. What is your favorite breakfast cereal? Frosted Mini Wheats. I could seriously eat this every day of my life and be happy. What is your dream vacation? Paris. I have made up my mind that it is going to happen one day. It will definitely be a dream come true. Who would you like to send a shout out to? There are so many. But definitely my parents. They have believed in me, encouraged me, prayed for me, and taught me about a relationship with God. None of this would be possible without them. I’m thankful God saw fit to bless me with such amazing parents. Where can we listen, purchase, and connect with you? Through my website: www.ShannRoberts.com. You can also purchase my music at pentecostalpublishing.com, and on iTunes, Amazon, or any other major music website. Or listen to MyHopeRadio.com. Tiffini Countaway is the producer of MyHopeRadio.com. FEBRUARY 2013

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[BUILDING COMMUNITY]

Why Should I Follow God? TRAVIS MILLER

hey hadn’t seen the sun or stars for days. They had thrown overboard most everything that wasn’t tied down. In fact, they had given up hope of being rescued. Then Paul called the shipmates together for a small group meeting. He opened the session by reminding everyone that this situation wouldn’t have happened had they listened to him: an oldfashioned “I-told-you-so.” Human nature even got the best of Paul on occasion. But then, putting his flesh behind him, he went on to declare that they would lose the ship and be shipwrecked on an island for a while, but in the end, no one would lose their lives. And how did he know this? Paul had experienced an angelic visitation. In fact, he said that “it was an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve.” He then went on to declare his conviction that “it will be just as it was told me” (Acts 27:23-25, NKJV). I belong to God.

Though it is interesting that Paul possessed such faith in God in the middle of dire circumstances, isn’t it more intriguing to know how he possessed this faith? What brought him to this place of faith in the face of extraordinary circumstances? How could he be so confident when he’d seen nothing but storm clouds for days on end? The answer rests in the few words Paul used to describe his angelic visit. He said it was an angel of “the 12

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God to whom I belong.” In fact, it could very well be that these words signify the foundation for his later comment: “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” Paul seems to have placed great faith in the words of his God that stemmed from this understanding of belonging. Indeed Paul’s assurance in the Lord proved legitimate. Following more than fourteen days at sea, the crew was shipwrecked. Yet, no lives were lost. They spent months on the island of Malta, but in time they continued their trip. And all of this happened just as was foretold by the angel of the Lord. Of course, Paul was not surprised in the least by this outcome. He knew God would perform as promised because Paul belonged to Him. I’m God’s possession.

Just what does belonging to God mean? For many, belonging most obviously speaks of possession: to be the property of a person or thing. In a later writing Paul explained to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19 -20, NKJV). Having entered into the kingdom of God we are not our own, we belong to God. Though it may be something that we have heard a number of times and in various settings, it is still good to be reminded that we were bought with a price. (See also Hebrews 9:12 -15.) I’m an heir to God’s kingdom.

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Probably the most wonderful understanding of belonging is that of a close relationship. This speaks of the unique and blessed belonging that is found in family. The belonging expressed between parents and children, between grandparents and their grandchildren. It is the wondrous sense of belonging that exists between husband and wife. FEBRUARY 2013

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We belong to the Lord. In Him we are Christians, believers, children of the King, the redeemed, and saints of the Most High. Belonging fittingly refers to possession, yet it is not limited to that concept. When we belong to God, there are other implications. Belonging speaks of participation: to be attached or bound by birth, allegiance, or dependency. In belonging to God, we are bound to Him by birth. We are not His simply through friendship or acquaintance, but we have been born into His family. Paul taught the church at Rome, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:14 -15, NKJV). Christians are not strangers, not outcasts, nor outsiders. But by the infilling of the Holy Ghost, we are sons. We belong to Him because we were born into His kingdom by the Holy Ghost. Additionally, this belonging goes beyond birth and proceeds toward allegiance. Obviously, every child can point to the existence of a father, one who gave them life. Yet, it is another thing to offer one’s allegiance. “The God to whom I belong” refers to the One to whom I am loyal. Christians recognize the blessing He has given us; therefore we are devoted to Him. Thus, belonging to Him is more than mere acknowledgement of His existence, but we have become faithful to Him. Whether feast or famine, good times or bad, blessing or cursing, we belong to Him. Our allegiance is with Him. I enjoy a relationship with God.

Probably the most wonderful understanding of belonging is that of a close relationship. This speaks of the unique and blessed belonging that is found in family. The belonging expressed between parents and children, between grandparents and their grandchildren. It is the wondrous sense of belonging that exists between husband and wife. This dimension of belonging is based on relationship. Not simply the blood relationship, but relationship founded on an understanding of the other. In such relationships, we belong because we are loved. We belong because we are accepted. We are supported and comforted. As a result of many times of sharing and conversation we sense that belonging. Since we have stood by one another in difficult times, we are certain that we belong. So it is with our God—the God to whom we belong.

Isaiah: “One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel” (Isaiah 44:5, NIV). We belong to the Lord. In Him we are Christians, believers, children of the King, the redeemed, and saints of the Most High. Saints ought to rightly recognize that belonging to Him is proper recognition. It’s a name to carry proudly. It’s an association with which to be incredibly comfortable. This is where we fit in. We have found our place. So I believe God.

A final benefit of belonging to God is a matter of faith. As you’ll recall, when Paul spoke to the men in that storm-ravaged ship, he ended his discourse by noting, “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (Acts 27:25, NKJV). When we are possessed by a heartfelt understanding of our belonging to God, then we have the awesome benefit of genuine confidence in Him. While in the midst of turmoil or difficulty, we are not swayed or dismayed, but rather we can stand strong on the promises we have received of our Lord. We can speak with the confidence of Paul and declare, “I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” Why? Because I belong to God. This article is an excerpt from the book and small group resource, In Case You Were Wandering. Travis Miller travels extensively in the United States and abroad, preaching and teaching seminars. He enjoys spending time with his family, cycling, and exploring.

I am in the right place.

In belonging to God, we have an understanding that we are properly classified, that we are in a proper situation. We have the right label. We have been given the correct name. We are as those referenced in the Book of Acts who belonged to the Way (Acts 9:2, NIV). Or possibly we might better relate to the words recorded in 14

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In Case You Were Wandering Small Group Resource available at www.pentecostalpublishing.com

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LAUNCH YOUR MINISTRY BY MARK JOHNSON

Moving Timothy into Ministry A Modern Day Parable of Ministry

hen Timothy got up from the altar, he knew he was a changed man. The evangelist had preached about the harvest field and the miracles being seen both in his church and in many other churches. He knew Jesus had said, “Greater works shall ye do!” But he hadn’t been sure if that was available today, and if so, if it was available to him. He had wanted to run to an altar because of the burden he felt to be part of helping his church impact the community. With tears still drying on his face, he looked for the pastor to tell him, “I am going to help you reach the lost.” He came to Pastor Frank Carmichael and told him of his heartbeat and longing to be used by God. His pastor, a bi-vocational pastor with too many things on his plate already, said, “You can join us every other Monday night for a training class for everyone who wants to help First Church impact our community.” Timothy could hardly contain himself as he drove home that night. He knew people around him might not clearly see the difference in him, but he knew things had changed forever. He was a little intimidated as he walked into the pastor’s office that first Monday night and sat down with the youth pastor and a couple of others who were gathered there, not sure what to expect. Pastor Frank Carmichael walked in and opened with a simple prayer for God’s direction and anointing. Sometimes Pastor Carmichael used a book as his starting point for training or an article on a particular topic he felt was important. He had even invited outside pastors or evangelists to talk to the young men and women at that church about God moving through them. On Timothy’s first night, Pastor Carmichael started a Launchyourministry.com video from David Bernard on an aspect of ministry that Timothy had never really thought about. He focused intently on the summary of the topic presented. When the video was over, Pastor Carmichael started with a few comments about his own ex-

On Timothy’s first night, Pastor Carmichael started a Launchyourministry.com video from David Bernard on an aspect of ministry that Timothy had never really thought about. periences with the issue addressed in the video and opened it up for comments from all the ministers. Timothy was amazed everyone felt so comfortable talking about what could have been a difficult topic, but the pastor guided the conversation and sprinkled it with anecdotes from his own experience. The time seemed to fly by and before he knew it over an hour had passed. He regretted having to end the training session with his pastor. The thing he came away with most was that his pastor had taken the time to meet with him and talk to him as if he believed God had called him and could use him in ministry someday, whatever that might look like. Over the next few years there were many other such opportunities for Timothy to get with his pastor and meet in similar small group settings, and occasionally one on one for direction, information, and encouragement. Eventually he felt a call into ministry and with his pastor’s direction and encouragement, he applied for local license with the United Pentecostal Church International and was approved. That recognition, along with his success at reaching and teaching people about Jesus Christ, caused doors to open for him to minister in other local churches and events. As his ministry began to grow, he acknowledged that his time spent training with the pastor had made the pastor his biggest supporter and friend. He continued to rely upon him for advice, instruction, and direction. He trusted him to continue guiding him. Eventually Timothy developed a home friendship group that grew to over twenty people. The pastor encouraged him to set up a daughter work in the next town over to be closer to where his people were coming from. Pastor Carmichael provided helpers

and encouragement as Timothy learned how to lead people on his own. His pastor’s friendship never waned and Timothy’s congregation grew and flourished until they were strong enough to build an auditorium with the help of four hundred folks from all over his state who came together to build a church in a day. He could now seat about one hundred people, have Sunday school classes, and even a small pastor’s office. It wasn’t long until he began adding on to that original structure and his expanding congregation began matching the size of the dream God had placed in his heart. He was most thankful for the ten young men and women who had begun meeting with him on a regular basis because they felt God could use them to reach their city for Christ. Pastor Timothy will never forget that his pastor believed in him enough to tell him that he could do anything with Christ’s help, and then sat down with him to show him how to make it happen. Pastor Carmichael is thankful his ministry influence has been expanded many times over by the men who have come from his church and have either started churches or are pastoring and evangelizing around the country. They all appreciate Pastor Carmichael’s willingness to take the time to train and develop them. The pastor is thankful that other leaders provided input by recording classes he could use to help him prepare his men and women for future ministry. He is still busy training another generation of Apostolic leaders with help from online training from Launchyourministry.com. Mark Johnson is the pastor of Life Tabernacle in Elkhart, Indiana

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Thank you

NE W !

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!

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

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[BUILDING COMMUNITY]

KEVIN PAYNE

Being Away ost every married couple stood at the altar and boldly declared the phrase, “Till death do us part.” With this declaration came the anticipation of facing adventures together and holding hands through the tough times. Yet for some marriages these dreams are altered by life choices. The times of being apart become a regular part of their journey. In today’s culture, military families will likely experience an overseas deployment. For other families, a career may necessitate travel for a period of time, especially in this current economy with the scarcity of jobs. Ministry couples may find themselves being separated while one spouse is traveling doing Kingdom work. These choices are not inherently bad, but still they have the potential for danger if we are not careful to build in safeguards. How does a marriage stay strong when spouses are apart? As members of the body of Christ, how do we nurture healthy marriages when advising those who must deal with these necessary separations? First, let us look at periods of extended separation. Some couples face separation that may last months or even more than one year. Missionary wives with small children often stay in one location for 18

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schooling, while husbands travel on deputation. Many of our military personnel likewise experience this when they are deployed overseas. Preparation for Departure Preparation for an extended departure is critical because it sets the tone for the actual time away. No one can be totally prepared, but every little bit helps. Before departure there are some questions to be answered: 1.

 ho handles the finances in the home? If it is not the perW son staying home, some cross-training may be in order. Regular financial discussions are a key to any family’s success whether together or away. 2. Where are important documents stored? Are there plans for emergencies? Are any repairs necessary to the home or vehicles? 3. Are the children prepared and do they know their parent’s destination? Some adults hide information from children or assume the kids understand the big plan. Children need open and honest dialogue with parents about transitions. This helps alleviate fear and diminish anxiety. A common error is to tell the eldest, especially a boy, that he has the responsibility to be the “man of the house” while Daddy is away. This can be an over-

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925-1000 word article INCLUDING THE BIO.

A photo caption could go here, if needed. Can be changed to white and placed over a dark image. Just depesnds on the design.

whelming and unrealistic task, especially for a younger child. This scenario is far too common in families that experience extended separation. In the last few weeks before leaving, it is common for mixed emotions to surface. Don’t be surprised. Fear, anger, denial, resentment, excitement, and guilt may appear. Highs and lows are common during this time. This preparation phase can be draining both physically and emotionally. Some spouses even report the guilty desire for departure time to arrive soon, so they can move into the new routine. Being Away Leaving may actually trigger feelings of relief or enthusiasm, followed by anxiety or abandonment. For families with children, maintaining normalcy as much as possible is important. Routine is key for children. Having a father or a mother away is already a huge change so keeping other areas the same can relieve some stress and anxiety. Communication is the adhesive that keeps a couple separated by distance connected in their hearts. It is often easy for the spouse who is away to mentally “check out” from the routines back home. But with today’s technology it is much easier to stay connected. Skype, FaceTime, email, and other social networks can help bridge the gap.

While communication should be, at times, fun, light-hearted, or even sentimental, you cannot neglect the more practical conversations about finances, housekeeping, and decision making. These conversations especially help women feel safe and nurtured. The communication skills a couple develops during times away can strengthen the marriage as a whole. Coming Home Homecoming often brings a buzz of excitement. For others, it brings a sense of apprehension. And for some, a little bit of both. Some are excited to see their mate and yet have concern about how he or she is going to fit back into the established routine. We would be naïve to assume that godly couples are immune to these contrasting emotions. It would seem reuniting with your loved one would be the happiest phase of this cycle. However, it is often the area I see families struggle with the most. Moms feel the need to enforce their household expectations. Dads struggle to reestablish their authority. Children feel anxious and confused having two disciplinarians back in the home. Couples wrestle with the tough conversations they couldn’t have from a distance. It is not uncommon to have to reestablish intimacy and redefine roles in the home. Resentment and frustration will grow if a plan of action is not agreed upon between spouses and communicated to the children. FEBRUARY 2013

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Maintaining Ethics While Away Not every time apart is a long one. Both business and ministry can require intermittent trips away from home. But even with a short time apart, potential pitfalls exist for the traveling spouse. The most devastating pitfall is the one of moral failure. When a minister or respected church member falls, there is potential for many to become disillusioned with their faith. The enemy and the world then have one more negative example of Christian hypocrisy to highlight. This is why moral purity must be safeguarded when a spouse travels. Consider the following guidelines for maintaining personal ethics when away from home: 1.

2.

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 otels can be fraught with dangerous secrecy, whether H from poor media choices or, even worse, facilitating an affair. I recommend that men and women who regularly stay in hotels for business or ministry have an accountability partner. This person should have permission to ask the tough questions. Godly men and women always should be aware of their behavior in social settings without their spouse. Beware if you find a member of the opposite gender laughing a little too long at your jokes, paying too much attention to your schedule, or even taking too much interest in your family. Furthermore, don’t fall into the trap of diminishing the importance of your loved ones back home. Honor them with your words. Let everyone around you know that you value your spouse.

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3.

 isiting ministers typically receive unquestioned status or V position in the eyes of the congregation. People are naturally drawn to leaders. Leaders, if not cautious, can be deceived by flattery and even well-intentioned adulation. Business leaders are similarly susceptible. Even if one’s morals are strong, this overabundance of flattery can create an inflated sense of self. This can strain a marriage when, at home, the accolades are not quite as big.

The bottom line is that godly men and women must live lives of self-discipline, integrity, and humility whether in or out of the spotlight. Few marriages can survive the strain of a partner who doesn’t maintain their personal morals or integrity. Finally, the most powerful bond connecting two people in marriage is a distinct sense of spiritual purpose. When a married couple understands the God-intended role they are fulfilling, they will successfully navigate all seasons with joy, even when circumstances keep them apart. Understanding God’s plan is a sure cure for resentment and anger. When a spouse travels, the partner who stays home should celebrate what God is doing in and through their marriage. It is my prayer that couples facing the unique challenges of being separated from one another find ways to continue being “one” while being apart. Kevin Payne is a marriage and family therapist and a children’s pastor in Nashville, Tennessee. He and his wife, Laura, are raising three fantastic boys.

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[PENTECOSTAL LIFE]

After This... L. CHANCY GORE After this storm my rainbow is coming into full view. After these clouds and darkness roll away, my sunshine is coming and the skies will again be blue. After this pain, I will learn to keep dancing in the rain. After this, I’m not going to allow myself to be the same. After this trial, I’m going to be better, not bitter. After this prayer, I’m going to live in great grace and power. After this disappointment, I will make yet another appointment. After this disease, I will live in a new ease. After this discomfort, I will walk in my new comfort. After this hopelessness, I will be empowered with new hope. After this heartbreak, I will have a new heart. After this nightmare, I will awake to live in my new dreams. After this defeat, I will live in victory. After this bed of thorns, I will appreciate all the more the bed of roses. After these tears, I will see more clearly. After this weakness, I will have new grace and strength. After my barrenness, I will see new fruitfulness. After my brokenness, I will walk in God’s completeness. After this hurting, I will arise anew to live in God’s healing. After my crucifixion, I will live in the power of His resurrection. After this step, I will continue on my homeward journey. It’s a new day! The sun is gently shining on my face, God’s wind is blowing at my back. Hello, Healing. It’s been a long time. Hello, Victory. I knew you would be mine. Hello, Forgiveness. I knew you would finally come. Hello, Hope. I’m so glad to see you again. Hello, Prayer. You’ve given me new wings to fly. Hello, Faith. You’ve given me new eyes to see. Hello, Love. You’ve been right here all the time. After all of this, all Hell cannot stop me now. What will you choose to do after this?

“The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning … After this Job lived a hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, up to four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days” (Job 42:12, 16-17). L. Chancy Gore serves as the pastor of The Refuge Church in Lake Cities (Dallas area), Texas.

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FAITH & CULTURE BY EUGENE WILSON

Cultural Sensitivity If we are sensitive to people we will by definition be sensitive to their culture. This is the true meaning of cultural sensitivity. Cultural sensitivity is not about our emulating our culture. It is about our understanding cultural differences so we can interact with it and minister effectively within culture. n a recent interview with Outreach magazine, Tim Keller, author of Center Church: Doing Balanced Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, makes some interesting observations concerning culture and Christianity. Keller notes that in previous generations both evangelical Christians and nominal Christians believed sex outside of marriage, divorce, cohabitation, and homosexuality were wrong. However, things have changed. Moral absolutes have become obsolete throughout much of our society. In addition, a common general view of God no longer exists. Keller states, “In parts of the South, there are still lots of people who have that ethos—they’re not born again, but they still have that kind of general Christian way of thinking about things. But that’s just not true on the coast anymore, and increasingly, it won’t be true anywhere.” Due to the changing of North America’s culture, presenting the message of the gospel is becoming increasingly challenging. Christians often use a lot of jargon that makes it difficult for people to understand what they are saying. Furthermore, as Keller states, many Christians “do not know how to talk yet very persuasively—in fact, very often talk offensively—to anybody who’s not already got a kind of general, conservative Christian ethos about them even though they are not born again.” The need to keep things simple is crucial, especially when communicating with non-Christians. A few years ago, while counseling a young married couple that had just started attending our church, I en-

couraged them to apply the Word of God to their situation. After our second or third counseling session, and my continual encouragement to apply God’s Word to their lives, it dawned on me they did not have a clue about I was saying. I took it for granted that they understood. I was wrong. It was a learning experience for them and for me. People often fail to understand what we are saying. We do well when we reevaluate our communication with others, to see if what we are saying is being understood. Listening to Our Culture Reevaluating our communication with others also includes evaluating our ability to listen well. Based on conversations with fellow Christians, I am convinced many Christians lack a proper understanding of how to reach out to people of a different culture. Perhaps it is because we are not listening to them. Keller says, “An awful lot of people who are died-in-the-wool evangelicals move into a new city or place where they see a lot of very secular, un-Christian people, and they look at the trappings. They look at Starbucks. They look at the way people dress. They look at the movies they watch and that sort of thing. And they actually create a church community that mirrors those things on the outside, but it’s very clear when you listen to the sermons, when you listen to what’s being said, that they actually haven’t listened very well to what’s different about the new culture.” How do we listen well? Keller says, “You have to know where the people live and their aspirations and their hopes and

beliefs so well that when you talk to them, they sense that you understand them and that you have put your finger on things that they know are something of a problem in their own lives.” People want to know they are loved. They are not looking for someone who looks like them, acts like them, or lives like them. They are looking for someone who understands them and cares for them. Becoming a Counterculture Movement We must not be afraid to reach across the ever-growing gulf between the church and culture. We can do this by simply loving people. If we are sensitive to people, we will by definition be sensitive to their culture. This is the true meaning of cultural sensitivity. Cultural sensitivity is not about our emulating our culture. It is about our understanding cultural differences so we can interact with it and minister effectively within culture. We can make a difference in our culture. Keller says, “If we really had major increases in strong churches that were engaged in culture but were not over-assimilated to it, if we had major increases in number of churches like that in cities, the chances are that something very good could be happening. We really could become a counterculture for the common good, a counterculture that, if it doesn’t turn the culture around, at least is salt and light here, is having some influence.” Eugene Wilson lives in Olive Branch, Mississippi.

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[BUILDING COMMUNITY]

A Community of Care LEE ANN ALEXANDER

y first babysitting experience was traumatic. It probably didn’t help that I was thirty years old and terrified of children, but I reasoned, “How bad can it be?” I was answered with the eldest leaving the house to play outside one morning while I was still asleep, a showdown or two over bedtime, and the youngest finally calling me on my skill set and asking very frankly if I even knew anything about taking care of kids. I did not. It turns out caring for children is hard work. Probably the best advice I got was from a seasoned caregiver who explained that taking care of little children is not just about making sure they eat, get enough sleep, and are safe. She advised that they have a lot of other needs, fears, and anxieties that are best met by showing them love and affection. Surprisingly, when I looked for ways to show affection and attention to the children—hugs, conversation, and reassurance—they seemed to feel more secure and the whole week went a lot better. After working with newcomers to church and those in the infancy of their new life in Christ, I wonder if there is a parallel. Of course, anointed preaching, Bible studies or some form of doctrinal teaching, and godly counsel are needed—much the way a child must have food, shelter, and safety. But there is another component of love and affection a newcomer needs that takes the work of the whole church body: the newcomer must feel loved and welcomed into the family just as an adopted child would need the same from its new family. 24

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The word community has become a social buzzword of sorts. Its definition has stretched to mean a multitude of things from a physical locale where people live to an intangible sense of connectedness among a group of people. All of these interpretations have in common the arrangement of people coming together, and it is on this point we must focus to ensure we are intentionally creating a community of care in our churches—an arrangement where people can come together and feel valued and loved. We must be sure our community is open to new arrivals. Creating this sense of caring community does not necessarily come naturally. Between all the time and hard work it takes to keep all of the ministries of the church in action and the wide variety of personality types within the church, it may take conscious effort to create a family-wide focus on adopting newcomers into the community. I think with discomfort of times I’ve gone to church with a roast in the oven at home, responsibilities for portions of the service, and urgent information I needed to share after service with fellow members about upcoming church events. I know there have been times I’ve rushed past first-time guests or new additions because of other agendas. But with Jesus’ mandate to make disciples, shouldn’t the goal of helping newcomers assimilate into the church be the most important agenda? Not everyone is an extrovert, and it’s not reasonable to think every member of the local church should invite a new family out for dinner after service. But some of us can, and most of us can say hello to acknowledge the newcomers and affirm they are welcome. As the guests return, what a message it sends as the church moves beyond being friendly to truly befriending the new arrivals. Sure there are strategies for making a good impression of the church at the door, welcoming guests with a greeting team, and ensuring guests meet the pastor after service in a hospitality room set up for that purpose. But the effectiveness of any of these strategies is undercut if the rest of

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To leave a newcomer at the altar is to abandon a new baby. There is a familial responsibility we have as the body of Christ to help our new brothers and sisters in Christ grow. This child-rearing process is at its best when we are at our most caring. the church body does not support the vision to lovingly welcome in newcomers and help them fit into the church family. This assimilation process can take a variety of shapes depending on the church culture and the culture of the region. It can include mothers who’ve been part of the church for some time inviting moms new to the church over for a play date where they can talk while the kids play. Perhaps where appropriate, a young adult or couple may meet a frequent guest at a coffee house to talk about the newcomer’s spiritual growth. It can mean families inviting new families out for a meal after service to get acquainted. But these efforts are not limited to families and are not confined to meals. Anyone can take some time to have a conversation with a guest; and with wisdom and safety parameters in place, social media can afford connection possibilities as well. In sum, there are a number of ways we can befriend those new to our church family. Some time back we had a meeting at our church of everyone willing to teach a Bible study. I was thrilled when twenty-two people showed up. I reviewed the forms the teachers turned in with their prior experience and available times and devised an efficient plan of matching up teachers to students based on time slot openings. The funny thing was our newcomers were not wild about the idea of committing to a Bible study with a complete stranger. In my eagerness to push our newcomers through a discipleship system on paper, I over-

looked the vital relationship component of helping new Christians connect within the body of Christ and establish trust for learning and growth. I share this story because all of our experience, knowledge, and best intentions to disciple others are incomplete without a willingness to build relationships. And relationships are built as we care for a new person, listen, and show attention and kindness. It’s a simple concept, but it’s one we must continually reevaluate and intentionally reinforce. Guest care cannot be the function of the pastor or the greeter at the door or it will never work. Certainly, guests’ most important needs are salvific, and there is a redemptive work that only Jesus can do. But to leave a newcomer at the altar is to abandon a new baby. There is a familial responsibility we have as the body of Christ to help our new brothers and sisters in Christ grow. This child-rearing process is at its best when we are at our most caring. Lee Ann Alexander is the assistant editor of the United Pentecostal Church International. She attends The Sanctuary in Hazelwood, Missouri. Tim Dugas and Scott Graham are the pastors.

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[BUILDING COMMUNITY]

Building God’s Comm u SYLVIA CLEMONS

omeone once said, “To live above with those we love, oh, that will be glory. But, to live below with those we know; now that’s a different story!” As we answer the Lord’s call and enter into the body of believers, we can find it is sometimes a challenging place to be. We come, desperate and broken, looking for hope, love, and sense of purpose. Or we respond to the romancing of the Spirit, yielding to the profound love of God and wanting to bask in that glorious atmosphere. But Jesus came to call the sick—the sinners—to repentance, because they are the ones in need of a physician (Mark 2:17). And that’s what makes up our church community, including you and me. Because we have not yet attained that state of wholeness or perfection we are to work toward (Hebrews 6:1), we can unexpectedly find ourselves smack dab in the midst of confusion and strife. As I travel on missions trips interacting with various cultural groups within our Apostolic movement, I see how easy it is for us to continue to be captured by our cultures even after becoming bornagain believers (Acts 2:38). In one country, I found national pastors who preached the Word with power, but still beat their wives on occasion just because that’s how they have always done it. In another culture, known in the past for its warlike tribal aggressions, strife still has a hold on many church communities. We spend our entire lives totally immersed in our culture; its ways are so ingrained they can be difficult to recognize. But many of our cultural traditions, habits, and ways of relating are inconsistent with God’s expectations of His children. Without recognizing and yielding them to God’s Spirit, it is impossible to fully “come out from among them” (II Corinthians 6:17). There are many ways we can be captured by our cultures. In America, we are captured by our intense striving for more and better, by a competitive spirit and desire to be number one at any cost. It leads many to over-busy schedules and stressed-out lifestyles, even in the work of the Kingdom. 26

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Being delivered from our cultural captivity has two stages. We must first “come out” of the world’s culture and ways of relating (Galatians 5:19-21), and we must “come in” to God’s culture and His ways of loving (Galatians 5:22-26). The Israelites came out of Egypt, but they didn’t get Egypt out of them. After being born again of the water and the Spirit, there is still work that has to be done and this process takes time. It also takes our awareness and willingness, along with God’s Spirit at work in us. If we stop at the first stage of our cultural deliverance process, we don’t allow God to work on and heal our innermost wounded parts. In our second stage of deliverance, if we concentrate only on the outside, the inside remains full of dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27). Yes, God wants us to attend to the outside, but He also wants to do a deep renovation on the inside so He can flow freely within and through us. A couple I used to know was restoring an old Victorian house that had stood empty many years. Starting to work on the inside, their neighbors convinced them to make the outside pretty since they were tired of looking at the eyesore. The couple worked diligently, painting on Victorian colors and creating a thing of beauty—on the outside. But, stepping inside the house, it was barely habitable because of lack of attention. In our own internal renovation process, I believe God works through our brothers and sisters in the faith. They are the “holy sandpaper” He uses to rub the rough edges off and help us complete the process of healing and coming into His culture. But here’s the problem. We don’t recognize what the Lord is trying to do and respond in our old culturally ingrained ways. We get offended and might become disappointed, disillusioned, and disconnected, spiritually and/or relationally. Or we might join in the carnal environment to the detriment of our own spiritual health and the health of the church community as a whole. Neither of those responses honors God’s plan for the way His church is to represent Him on this earth.

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m unity

If we falter in our vertical gaze upward at the One who saved us, we will gaze horizontally at each other, becoming critical, judgmental, and easily offended. Or we will gaze internally, becoming fixated on our own selfish desires. When we see others as our enemy, our carnal nature and the world’s culture stay in control, even in Spirit-filled churches. Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to sift him as wheat (Luke 22:31), to separate him from his fellow disciples. Satan uses the same tactic today and wants to sift or separate us within the church community. He will do everything he can to keep us focused on what’s wrong, on the sin of our brothers and sisters, and on not getting what we deserve. Unless we allow the Lord to work on us and get Egypt out of us, we will cooperate with the enemy and join in the strife and disunity, making authentic revival impossible. What is God’s culture supposed to look like in a church community? The Bible is full of instruction on loving and caring for one another. I believe Philippians 2 contains a clear and concise description of how it is supposed to be. 1. We are to be on the same page, recognizing who we are in Christ and what our true purpose is in this world (I Corinthians 1:10; Micah 6:8; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Deuteronomy 10:12). 2. We are to have the same love and lay down our lives for others (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16). 3. We are to be united and agreeing with each other (Psalm 133:1; Romans 12:16; Philippians 3:16; I Peter 4:1).

4. We are not to do things for selfish purposes, but with humility we are to think of others as better than we are (Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). 5. We are to watch out not only for our own good, but for what is better for others (Romans 12:10; Galatians 6:2; I Timothy 5:21). 6. We are to do everything without grumbling and arguing so we stand out as different and shine like stars in this crooked and corrupt world (Proverbs 10:12; 15:18; 16:28; Matthew 5:16; 13:43). 7. We are to emulate Jesus in the way we relate to others, humbling ourselves and being obedient, always keeping our eyes on our purpose and our God (Isaiah 66:2; James 4:6; Proverbs 16:5; I Samuel 15:22). By becoming more like Him, the body of believers will be a distinct and shining example of His love, whether in how we relate to each other or in how we reach out and minister to the lost. We will be known as true disciples by living a love that is more than just words but actions lived out each and every day in God’s community of faith. Sylvia Clemons is an ordained UPCI minister on the administrative staff of Hope Center Church in San Antonio, Texas. Nathan Scoggins is the pastor. Sylvia is also a state-licensed counselor involved in Apostolic teaching, writing, counseling, and ministry throughout the country and abroad. FEBRUARY 2013

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Global Missions is thrilled to report a great victory from the 2012 General Conference in St. Louis for the whole missionary family and the whole fellowship. We had three missionaries designated for finishing their PIM subscription: the Randy Adams family, missionaries to Togo/Benin, the Michael Long family, missionaries to Zimbabwe, and the Leonard Richardson family, missionaries to Taiwan. We are happy to report that all three had been fully subscribed before the service Wednesday night, due to the hard work of Brother Jack Leaman and the District Global Missions Directors in raising these needed PIMs. During our General Conference service, twenty more PIMs were raised and will go toward the next missionary to help them reach their goal of full PIM subscription. The offering for the “Ransom� theme of reaching souls in every region of the world was a great success. There was $298,000 in pledges and cash received during the service that will be dispersed through all six regions for the work of evangelization. What a tremendous victory and outpouring from the hearts of those attending! We thank you for your sacrificial giving and your consistent support of the work of missions around the world.

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9:25 AM

WORLDLINE BY BRUCE A. HOWELL

World Reports RAZIL: Theresa and I flew 2500 miles in our Cessna seaplane ministering in Coari, Pauini, Eirunepé, and Carauari. It is amazing to see what God is doing through trained ministers who arrived with only the clothes on their backs. In some cases, years later, we see them pastoring large congregations, building beautiful churches, teaching in the Bible schools, superintending large “roadless” river districts by boats, owning small businesses, and sacrificing to give toward national and international regional missions to other Portuguese countries. Theresa has turned the Manaus Bible school over to faithful Brazilian leadership who are doing a great work. Five other towns near Manaus went to celebrate graduation together last year at “Jerusalem.” Paul Mooney was with us for graduation. He also ministered at the Manaus conference November 16-18, 2012. —Bennie and Theresa DeMerchant FRANCE: Last summer we took the time to turn our attention toward ministry development. We are excited about our biblical preaching small group, in which our local ministry staff took part. Our textbook was Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching, which has been translated into French. Our ministry staff is from widely varying backgrounds, which is often the case almost everywhere. Though we have had to take the time to familiarize everyone with the vocabulary, it is rewarding to see the participants engaged. Everyone seems to be getting different things from the study, while at the same time the key underlying ideas are being made clear: faithfulness to the Word of God and faithfulness to those we are called to feed spiritually. We have had some excellent discussions, which have served to edify and encourage those working in the ministry of the Word. Providing a focus and a framework to preaching has helped the group feel more comfortable with what they are trying to do. We are confident that this, and other efforts like it,

will lead to the edification of the church as a whole. —Marcus and Renee Brainos CZECH REPUBLIC: In April 2012 we were told by our landlady that the Prague church must find a new location. Many of you prayed with us as we were on a short time frame. God indeed does perform miracles! On Sunday, June 24, the historic chapel that had been the home of the Prague International Pentecostal Fellowship for the past fifteen years began to completely fill with members and constituents for the final service at that location. What an awesome day! Now we have beautiful facilities with room to grow by 50 percent. We are confident that God has given the increase and it is now time to begin harvest season. — Roger and Becky Buckland THAILAND: During the past eight years, a group of very poor Akha Hill Tribe people worshiped in a tiny bamboo church that needed to be rebuilt every three years. During one of our visits, my wife and I saw where the church people had put six posts in the ground in their effort to start building a new church with almost no money but lots of faith. God responded. Evangelist Brian Norman saw the posts and wanted to help. The next week, God put it in the hearts of Pastor Anthony Jarry and the church members in Phoenix City, Alabama, to help build a church in Thailand. So without the Thailand church asking for help, enough funds came to build a beautiful church. —Jack and Michiko Coolbaugh MALTA: In May 2012, we attended the Europe/Middle East Sub-regional Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. We were refreshed in our spirit by the power of the Lord and the fellowship with believers of “like precious faith” (II Peter 1:1). We witnessed the Lord filling more than forty with His Spirit; nearly an equal number were baptized in Jesus’ name. Following the conference we joined with several other ministers and their wives

and took a tour of four of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. We returned to Malta with a prayer cloth that had been anointed with oil and prayed over at the site of the church of Laodicea. Since our return we have had new visitors, and on Pentecost Sunday we broke our attendance record with 105 present for our Music of Pentecost concert. —Kirby and Mary Parker FINLAND: The ten-member EME Regional Prayer Team shared both time and tears as they joined us in Helsinki, saturating the city’s spiritual atmosphere with prayer. The trip culminated on Sunday with our first hall service. There were twenty-three present, including nine from Helsinki, five of whom were first-time visitors. One of those five received the Holy Spirit! We are already reaping the benefits of this team’s labor of love on Finland’s behalf. Our deep thanks to those in Europe and the US who prayed for this endeavor. —Mark and Glenda Alphin SOUTH/CENTRAL AFRICA: We want to thank all of our faithful partners in missions. We are happy to report we returned to our fields of labor at the end of October 2012. We want to thank Dr. Mike Talberg from Minnesota for bringing his medical team to Namibia. Many were blessed by the medical care. Zimbabwe’s general conference was a great success with thirty-five receiving the Holy Ghost. Thanks to Superintendent Jannie Smith and his team for organizing Because of the Times South Africa. Many from all over the South/Central Region were blessed. Thanks again, Anthony Mangun and team. —Ted and Patricia Grosbach Bruce A. Howell is the general director of Global Missions for the United Pentecostal Church International.

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[BUILDING COMMUNITY]

Allies in the Home MITCHELL BLAND

hen the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel, or any country for that matter gets bored or irritated, why don’t they just lob bombs into other countries? What? That’s absurd, you say? Yes, probably the most absurd thing you have read in a while. Countries do not pick fights for the sake of picking fights. Also, they do not pick fights with an ally. This whole idea of being someone’s ally is important for the safety of all involved. Countries in close proximity to one another are ones that really want to be connected in a positive way. Put this whole idea in the context of marriage. If you can get this concept of “allies, not enemies” in your marriage, it will make a huge impact on how you treat and view your spouse. We readily understand that allies do not just lob bombs into other countries for the fun of it or because they are having a grouchy day—think of the unimaginable damage that would take place. How much more devastating it would be to do this to our spouse! Oh, not literal explosives, but “pushing her/his buttons” or being unkind, unloving, and sometimes just plain mean. Could this 30

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be considered as “sowing discord” or “provoking to wrath”? When I know something is going to bug my wife or provoke her, why would I ever want to do it? This type of absurdity wreaks havoc on relationships. Allies would never do such a thing. Another hallmark for allies is they have the same mission. Have you talked about this with your closest ally—your spouse? What are your dreams, your goals? What are you pursuing? What do you want to achieve? It is important that this sharing is done so you and your spouse can head in the same direction. You can more easily safeguard against things that will cause you to get off task when both of you are watching. Your focus can be more intent and your goals more attainable. When there is an alliance, resources and information are shared. There is no need to hide anything. There should be no fear of betrayal. The bottom line of being an ally is trust. When you trust your spouse completely you will be able to become more vulnerable with that person. As you begin to share more information and deeper issues, you bond in a beautifully intimate way. This cannot happen unless there is a strong foundation of trust. When you both make up your mind you are going to be strong allies, the foundation of trust is so much easier to achieve. There should be no guesswork involved with allies. As a spouse, you cannot flip-flop on important issues, no matter whom you are with or where you may be. For instance, when you are at church, are

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you the epitome of a virtuous woman, but at home, the contentious wife? This is unacceptable. Your stand has to be the same regardless of audience or location. If you love and are very attentive to your wife on Saturday when the kids are at Grandma’s house, the same should be true on Tuesday evening when you have had a bad day at work and the house is in chaos with the kids trying to get homework finished and the wife preparing supper. It should never be said, “I walk around on eggshells until I figure out my spouse’s mood.” Your spouse should never be forced to figure out if you are an enemy or an ally on any given day. Take the guesswork out of your relationship. Make a wholehearted commitment that you stand together and have each other’s back regardless of what that day brought. Preserving peace between allied countries is yet another area spouses could emulate. The Bible calls us to be peacemakers. We must be careful here and not read that to say “peace keepers.” Marriages head into trouble when a spouse does not want to deal with an issue and uses the line, “I just want to keep the peace.” So often we believe it is the biblical thing to do. Not only is it not what the Bible says to do, it is also dangerous to practice peacekeeping. The Bible tells us to make peace. It is an action. We, of course, must address situations by “speaking the truth in love.” We are not called to just live with it—just hunker down and bear it. No, we are called to make peace. Go to the person as the Matthew 18 principle instructs us. This principle does not exclude your spouse.

Yet another major responsibility of being an ally is fighting with one another, not against. The power of darkness fights us spiritually; the philosophies of the world fight us mentally; the ungodly and unwholesome appetite of the sinful nature fights us emotionally and physically. The last thing a person needs is to fight against their spouse. Will there be disagreements? Absolutely. But that is where you share your information, your ideas. State where you stand and come up with a compromise. A house divided against itself will fall. It is vital that there be peace in the home. When that is the case, it will be a haven for the family. Otherwise, it will be destroyed. I am certain there are many other similarities that can be used when comparing an alliance of countries with a spousal alliance, but let us apply what’s here. When we make a commitment to be allies, we can then begin to view everything our spouse does in a completely different light. Allies are not out to harm, but to protect. They are not out to tear down, but build up. Any fighting will be against a common foe. Peace can and will reign in a household of allies. Mitchell Bland is the happy husband of Janelle and proud dad of Skyler. When not busy with his duties as the assistant pastor of The Sanctuary in Hazelwood, Missouri, Mitchell and his favorite ally, Janelle, enjoy ministering at marriage seminars across the country.

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New Expanded Seminars for 2013!

Church Leadership

O O O O

Life & Family

Pastors Church Administrators Sunday School Teachers Youth Staff

O O O O

Worship Arts & Technology

Music Ministers Tech Directors Tech Team Members Outreach Directors

SAVE THE DATE St. Louis, Missouri Tuesday, October 1 - Friday, October 4, 2013

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3:12 PM

NEW START BY FLO SHAW

New York Metro Mission he second World Network of Prayer (WNOP)/North American Missions (NAM) Plowing Before the Planter (PBTP) event conducted with church planter Steve Williams of All Nations Apostolic Temple in Rosedale, Queens, New York, was an awesome success! The prayer events transpired Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18, 2012. All Nations Apostolic Temple is a daughter work (church plant) of All Nations Apostolic Tabernacle, pastored by Bishop Devon Dawson, district superintendent of New York Metro. The church plant currently holds services in a large building on a corner lot that was formerly a Jewish temple and school. A UPCI church member is now the owner of the property and has given the church planter access to the building.

The Prayer Participants The prayer events began Friday night at the training session with more than sixty people in attendance, including those from surrounding churches. One person came from as far as the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area. The congregation appeared to currently have about a dozen members, including the pastor and his family. Many of those present had previously participated in the two-day prayer/fasting promoted by district leadership for the PBTP event. Margaret Banks,

WNOP/NAM branch coordinator and NYM District prayer coordinator, coordinated and led the mission with specific roles assigned to others. WNOP also provided directives in the PBTP coordination and planning phases. The Prayer Events The prayer events encompassed training and corporate prayer on Friday, focused/strategic prayer and prayer walking on Saturday, and morning worship service on Sunday. This successful model outlines the full scope of a PBTP event. For the training session Bishop Devon Dawson led in the opening service, casting the vision. Margaret Banks spoke on PBTP logistics and the mechanics of prayer walking. I spoke on topical prayers and strategic warfare prayer. The entire structure incorporated a similar format/materials used at the 2012 UPCI General Conference PBTP training. NYM District NAM director, Lloyd Tucker, also was present and involved in the PBTP event. Other church leadership participated as well. Some participants involved in PBTP came with the intent to acquire the information and materials presented to use as a model to implement in their own churches. The Event Highlights From the very first night, the results already superseded the “plowing” stage, beyond “sowing the seed,” straight to an “increase.” God filled one person with the Holy Ghost Friday night during the training session. On Saturday, a lady who had been away from the Apostolic truth since childhood walked in off the streets during focused prayer and prayed with the group and made a commitment to return to the house of God. On Sunday I ministered in the morning service. Five first-time visitors attended and all went to the altar weeping and seeking God. One was filled with the Holy Ghost. A prodigal who had not spoken in tongues for years prayed through. The time at the altar lasted for more than an hour as the fire of God fell and people intensely worshiped God.

Spiritual Mapping and Prayer Focuses Through spiritual mapping conducted by church planter Steve Williams, some territorial history and specific focuses were highlighted and certain ungodly spiritual strongholds in Rosedale were identified. This was done prior to rendering prayer for direction to help dispel the darkness of evil forces and to allow the light of the gospel of Christ to enter. A prayer guide booklet was distributed to the assembly by Pastor Williams. Other focuses included the implementation of church mission/ vision as well as the maximum church impact on the community through outreach, soulwinning, and team support in the context of revival and harvest. Those involved in this PBTP prayer event committed to consistent prayer and fasting for Pastor Williams, his family, and their church plant. Others also were solicited to render continual support for this new work. Prayer Mission Success The Williamses were genuinely grateful for the PBTP team coming to support them with prayer and fasting for this three-day weekend event. To God be the glory! WNOP and NAM are thankful to God for the continual success of the Plowing Before the Planter missions, even as reflected in this second dynamic event. We look forward to the opportunity to conduct future PBTP missions trips, anticipating further successful outcomes. Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase (I Corinthians 3:6-9). If you are interested in being a part of a future PBTP event, please access our training videos and training materials posted online at namupci.com and wnop.org. God said, “Arise, walk through the land … for I will give it unto thee” (Genesis 13:17). Flo Shaw is the international coordinator of World Network of Prayer.

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[BUILDING COMMUNITY]

The Beauty of Community P. DANIEL BUFORD

n this month of hearts, love, cupids, and arrows, God’s plan for community can come to the forefront. Early in time God created Adam and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). Then God created Eve, a helper suitable for him. In the process of time, due to varying circumstances, some individuals became lonely so God set the solitary in families (Psalm 68:6). As these people began to dwell together in families or communities, the psalmist noted, “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). The communities the people gathered in needed to be harmonious communities. An orchestra is a community of musicians, but only as they play in unity, harmony, and under the direction of the conductor. Otherwise it is just a wild cacophony of ear-splitting, sensitivities-insulting noise. Heavenly harmony happens when the members of the community have agreement. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). In the New Testament, God called His church “unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Corinthians 1:9). He called that fellowship “the body of Christ, and members in particular” (I Corinthians 12:27). On the Day of Pentecost the believers were with one accord in one place (Acts 2:1). As the early church became that community of believers, “they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). God called these believers, not to have “fellowship with devils” (I Corinthians 10:20), but to be equally yoked with believers (II Corinthians 6:14). As a child growing up in an ethical United Pentecostal church, I recall the church members giving new members the right hand of fellowship (Galatians 2:9). The individual seeking membership was usually a fellow believer moving in from another town or was marrying a young man from the local church. After a time of seeking “to know them which labour among you” (I Thessalonians 5:12), the pastor would invite the new member or family to stand in front of the pulpit and then all of the members would walk around and shake their hands. This took awhile, especially in a church with a Sunday school attendance over 200, but it showed the value the pastor and the church family placed on the community of the believers. After 34

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the hand shaking was over, the church membership roll book was opened and the new members signed the roll. It gave me a visual image of that blessed entity—the church family. What is it about community? Community is crucial to contentment. Antisocial behavior is pathological. It is not healthy or normal to desire to be in solitary existence. Even in our prison system, solitary confinement is reserved for the most incorrigible prisoners. Even in nature, community is crucial to survival. A herd of musk oxen face their enemies by gathering in a circle with their horns and heads facing outward and their young, defenseless members in the middle of the circle. The wolf chasing the deer herd knows by instinct that it is easier to cut a deer out of the herd and take it down than to fight the whole herd. The stragglers, the slow, and the weak who drift or wander away from the safety of the community become easy prey for the predator. Back in the 1970s when my wife and I got married at the “Victorious Church on Victoria Drive” in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I sang to her John Peterson’s song containing these sincere words: Each for the other, and both for the Lord. Oh, darling sweetheart, let the angels record; Vows sweetly spoken; may they never be broken; Each for the other, and both for the Lord. This sense of unity and purpose helps make community. Even the Three Musketeers knew this. Consider their slogan, even if only in fable: “All for one and one for all.” Gary Erickson recently wrote in a Word Aflame Publications adult lesson, “Collaboration, emotional intelligence, and networking are important. A career advisor told me that job interviews today are focused more on how well a prospective leader gets along with others. Knowledge and expertise are important, but having the ability to work with others is just as critical.” The value of networking and collaboration are not new. It has been in God’s plan since Adam’s day. A Sense of Community Index (SCI) has been developed by CommunityScience. Although designed to assess the sense of community in neighborhoods, the index has been adapted for use in schools, the

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workplace, and a variety of types of communities. The index asks the individual to rate on a “not at all, somewhat, mostly, and completely” scale twenty-four statements such as: • I get important needs of mine met because I am part of this community. • Community members and I value the same things. • This community has been successful in getting the needs of its members met. • People in this community have similar needs, priorities, and goals. • I can trust people in this community. • This community has symbols and expressions of membership such as clothes, signs, art, architecture, logos, landmarks, and flags that people can recognize. • Being a member of this community is a part of my identity. • This community can influence other communities. • This community has good leaders. • Members of this community have shared important events together, such as holidays, celebrations, or disasters. • I feel hopeful about the future of this community. • Members of this community care about each other.

As we approach the never-to-be-forgotten day of February 14, while love is raining in pink and white confetti hearts, may we remember the big picture of membership in Christ’s community, the church. P. Daniel Buford, associate editor of Word Aflame Publications, is a thankful son, a loving husband, a sanctified-proud father, a blessed father-in-law, a doting grandfather, and a member of Christ’s community. And he is a happy man.

When I consider the above list and reflect on the family of God, the body of Christ, the fellowship of believers, and the household of faith, I rejoice that God has placed the solitary in families, the lost sheep back in the fold, and His children under His sheltering arms. According to the September 2012 OneHealth Newsletter, “studies show substantial evidence that young adults who feel a sense of belonging in a community, particularly small communities, develop fewer psychiatric and depressive disorders than those who do not have the feeling of love and belonging.” Yes, the church is our community, our heavenly place we can gather with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). As members of the community of Christ, we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). John Donne wrote in “No Man Is an Island,” No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.

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[SANCTITY OF LIFE]

“God Setteth the Solitary in Families” LINDA KROG

970: The doctor had referred us to a denominational preacher who set it all up. I was nineteen and my parents, my boyfriend, and I walked out of the Chicago hotel and entered a huge black limo sent to pick us up. Five hundred dollars was a lot of cash and my boyfriend didn’t have it. But my parents did and they had made the agreement with the clandestine clinic. None of us spoke in the limo. No one wanted to talk about it. What was there to say? They took me back for the procedure. The doctor came in and began. Then he handed something to the nurse. She looked at it, holding it under the table as she tried to get his attention to show him. He gave a warning shake of his head and motioned for her to take it out. She obediently left the room. But I wondered about it the rest of my life. I can still see their expressions. No one in the family talked about it, ever. Three years later, the Lord found my soul in the bottom of a spiritual dumpster, a dying fetus. The devil had tried to abort my soul. 2002: My husband and I were in Hangzhou, China, to adopt a Chinese child. Finally, the knock came on the door. Dennis and I shook hands, and after a deep breath, let out big smiles and welcomed our guests. The orphanage director came through the door with a deaf Chinese girl unwillingly in tow. Amanda clung to the woman director, trying to back out of the door she had just walked through. She looked at us like the foreigners we were and shrank from our sight to hide behind the director’s legs. As she peeked out at me, I could see she was dressed in dirty jeans and a dirty green sweater. But she had a new denim jacket and matching hat. Amanda 36

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knew only Chinese Sign Language, and I knew only American Sign Language. Dennis sat down at a small table and coaxed Amanda to come and draw with the crayons we had brought. She did come and sit down, with a little push from the director, but she just sat and stared at Dennis, limp hands in her lap. I have heard it said that it takes three miracles to become an adoptive parent. For us, it happened this way: Dennis picked up the crayons and began to color, hoping Amanda would join in. But she didn’t move and maintained that dead-face stare. Dennis said, “She needs a signing mom,” so I walked over to the table, sat down, picked up a red crayon, and signed red. Amanda didn’t move, but I had her full attention. Then I picked up a blue crayon and signed blue. Again, she didn’t move. Just keep going, Linda, I told myself. I picked up a green crayon and she mimicked my sign. I felt a flash of exhilaration. Stay calm and keep going. There was a spark of hope in my eyes and a spark of interest in hers. I went back to the red crayon and we began again. This time she copied me. She didn’t notice the director leaving. We seemed to have discovered the combination to her heart. Miracle number one! That night I placed a blanket and a pillow on the floor and indicated to Amanda that she would sleep there. Before we turned off the lights Dennis gave Amanda a flashlight so she wouldn’t be afraid of the dark in her new surroundings. Two minutes after lights out I heard her giggling and saw a light flashing. Giggle … light … flash. Giggle … light … flash. I turned over to see Amanda standing over Dennis as he lay on the bed, flashing the light in his eyes. He was giggling as well. She had connected with Dad. Miracle number two! I convinced Amanda to go back to the blanket and we settled in again. A few minutes later I felt a hand on my foot. She patted up the bed in the dark, trying to

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get my attention. I turned on the light and saw her standing next to my head looking at me with big, round, black, pleading eyes. She pointed to herself and then pointed to the very small space next to me. “Yes, Amanda, you can sleep with your new signing mommy.” I nodded and pulled back the covers. She smiled, excited to crawl in. She was immediately asleep. But I was not! Hot tears ran down my face. I could feel Amanda’s very short, coarse straight hair. It smelled different, strange. I’m sure it was her normal smell, but I wasn’t used to it. I felt her arm to make sure she was warm and discovered her skin was rough and dry. She felt like such a stranger to me. I was acutely aware of the missing nine years of her life I had not known her. But still, she was mine. Miracle number three! Dennis and I began to whisper in the dark about her, and then we realized she could not hear us so we talked out loud. I could feel her very small body and couldn’t believe her bravery. I knew that if I were the child and Amanda were the parent, I would not be able to adapt like that—trust so easily and believe the best so soon. After a week my husband flew back to Iowa and his job. Amanda and I flew to Guanghou for the official American adoption ceremony. There were fifty-nine couples with fifty-nine children. About ten families at a time were taken into a small room with an American government man standing at the front with a big smile on his face. We would be taking a pledge that we were legal American citizens, pledge that our children could be legally sworn in as new Americans, and then we could all go back home.

Amanda had no idea what was happening as I repeated the words that magically changed her nationality for life. We faced the American flag, right hands in the air, heads high. We vouched for the authenticity of the information contained in the Visa for immigration of the children. We all said we did certify that the information about ourselves and our new children was true to the best of our knowledge and proudly pledged in their place to be loyal American citizens with all the rights and privileges thereof. I wanted to say to her, “You are an American now, Amanda. You never have to come back to this country again.” But I picked her up, hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, and cried. She smiled at me, confused at what had just occurred, but happy. We were all crying, I guess from the realization of what we had just done for these beautiful, precious children. Psalm 113:7-9 says to me that every child deserves life and a loving family. May God open our hearts to save the children, both the born and the unborn. Linda Krog has been a minister for ten years and a pastor’s wife for twenty-one years. She and her husband, Dennis, have started two home missions churches. They currently pastor The Pentecostals of Fort Dodge in Iowa. She is also the coordinator of the sign language interpreter program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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MULTICULTURAL MINISTRIES BY ALONZO DUMMITT

Family Camp Multicultural Style elebrating Our Diversity in Unity” is the theme for our annual multicultural service during Ontario District Family Camp. The multiculturalism of the Province of Ontario is reflected in our district, especially in our metro areas of Toronto and Ottawa. In church services across the Ontario District, one can find over seventy nations and cultures and over sixty languages all worshiping and working together on a weekly basis to enlarge the kingdom of God. Our missions field at home now resembles a Global Missions field. Early Saturday morning of Family Camp, people begin setting up tables with colorful displays representing these nations and cultures: Bibles, books and literature in different languages, artifacts, maps, flags, and goods from nations all over the world. The decorative and informative displays attract the interest of people as soon as they enter the tabernacle. They stop to look at the exhibits. They are visibly moved not only by the color, craft, and handiwork, but by the message each country brings. Moving on into the sanctuary, one is struck by the native dress of diverse peoples, a pleasing blend of bright, colorful gowns, turbans, and wraps. What a beautiful sight! The service begins with worship and soon the emcee welcomes the people. Then the background music signals the beginning of the flag ceremony. The congregation automatically stands to their feet to begin clapping and praising God as people from many nations march in carrying their national flags. There is a sense of sudden realization at what God is doing, how He is bringing us together in unity from all over the world for one great purpose. An awesome reverence pervades the atmosphere. The service continues as we sing our national anthem, “O Canada,” in English and in French. Then individuals and groups in choir-like fashion take turns, exhibiting their country’s apparel and singing their national songs and anthems. The Spirit of the Lord moves regardless of what language

The church is a body of believers united in a common faith by one Spirit, a supraculture that supersedes all earthly cultures. This is possible through the work of the Spirit. they are singing in—after all, the Lord is the Creator of all these dialects. As many as thirty-one different languages have been spoken in sequence on the platform while the people quote Bible verses. For example, a converted Jew may quote part of the Shema in Hebrew, and a former Muslim may read from Acts chapter two in Arabic. This multicultural service has the highest attendance of all our services at camp. Many people drive to the campground for this service alone. By worshiping together this way, we gain an understanding and acceptance of other cultures. We all must live according to biblical culture, but we also need to accept each other’s cultural differences and remain in unity. We should love one another just as Jesus intended, for He said, “Father, ‘neither pray I for these [disciples] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one’” (John 17:20-21). Many studies have shown that all people—of differing cultures, colors, religions, and languages—share a common characteristic. Each one believes his own culture is superior. This tendency is a breeding ground for racism to exist and persecution to abound. It leads to walls of separation and division among the people God created. This may be the way of the world, but it should not be so in the church. The matter was settled long ago by the disciples when they met in Jerusalem to discuss the Gentile problem. Peter spoke to the apostles and elders, “God, which knoweth the hearts, bare [the Gentiles] witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:8-9). The church is a body of believers united in a common faith by one Spirit, a

supraculture that supersedes all earthly cultures. This is possible through the work of the Spirit, who transforms each member’s thinking, behavior, and affections. Just as all parts of a human body work together as one, the body of Christ should feel, think, and function as one. Jesus died for all. There is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:5-6). We all speak in tongues; we all have obeyed Acts 2:38. We are brothers and sisters in this one body of Christ. We are all going to Heaven together. If we can’t get along down here, how are we going to be together up there? “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy … for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). When we sing “You’re my brother, you’re my sister,” we should mean it! The field is “white unto harvest,” but the harvest field is not just in North America. Multiculturalism is the key to growth in the Ontario District. During the last ten years Ontario has been blessed to have increased by thirty new churches and daughter works. Twenty-one of the thirty are ethnic churches or non-Caucasian. The same applies to the percentage of our newly licensed ministers. We consider all our churches equal. Our emphasis is on unity—to reach every lost soul. We are excited about what God is doing! That is why we celebrate our “diversity in unity” at Family Camp each year. Alonzo Dummitt is the district superintendent of the Ontario District, United Pentecostal Church International. FEBRUARY 2013

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[SANCTITY OF LIFE]

DEBBIE VELIE

The Sanctity of Life “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” –Edmund Burke

ince Roe vs. Wade was enacted in 1973, over 55,682,000 babies have been aborted in the United States. By the end of 2012, we had aborted another 1.2 million lives. Worldwide today, 89,000 babies lost their lives. In an article in Healthwatch (online) titled, “Celebs Lambast GOP over Abortion,” Elise Viebeck quoted actress Meryl Streep: “Every day, the opponents of our fundamental reproductive rights are passing laws designed to take those rights away. They’re shutting down doctors and clinics across the nation. They’re making it nearly impossible for millions of women to get the essential healthcare they need.” Ironically, this same actress, when narrating a 2012 documentary To the Arctic about polar bears and how they are being negatively affected by global warming, said a female polar bear is willing to fight to the death to protect her cub. So it would seem that we are proud of the female bear for protecting her young, but fight for women to be able to end the life of their child. According to Adweek’s Marketing Week (October 30, 1989), “The clever strategy of marketing abortion rights under the label of ‘pro-choice’ was conceived by a Madison Avenue advertising agency. After all, the word ‘choice’ strikes at the very heart of what we as Americans hold most dear.” Make no mistake about it—life begins at conception! As soon as a child is conceived, life begins for a genetically unique individual. All of the characteristics that he or she will have as an adult are already determined—eye color, skin pigmentation, intelligence potential, and whether this new life will be a boy or girl. Even before the mother is able to feel the movements of her unborn baby, the infant is waking and sleeping, squirming, squinting, swallowing, breathing fluid, getting hiccups, digesting food, hearing, flexing fingers, sucking its thumb and feeling pain. By the time most preg40

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nancies can be detected (at six weeks) the heart has already been beating for two weeks, brain waves are present, and the nervous system is complete. Many women who have chosen abortion are devastated when they learn the truth about how well developed their baby was. In 1988, Art Levin interviewed Olivia Gans for a special U.S. News and World Report feature. Gans decided that rather than suffer in silence she would share her experience in the hope that she could help others avoid the trauma of abortion. Avid supporters of abortion do not address the emotional pain that women experience as a result of abortion. After sharing the ministry of New Beginnings at ladies conferences and offering the hope we can offer young women in unplanned pregnancy, women approach me with tears streaming down their faces to share their story of having chosen abortion. Many have said, “I know God forgives me, but it’s hard to forgive myself.” I am thankful we serve a God who “healeth the broken in heart and bindeth up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). We can assure these women that the God who forgave David for committing adultery with Bathsheba and ordering the murder of her husband can forgive them. However, I wonder how many women across our country are tormented by their decision and do not know where to find help and forgiveness. Is the church reaching them and ministering to them? Are we telling our young people that abortion is wrong so they will never have to endure the grief and guilt of abortion? Do we talk about it at all? Or do we assume our young people would never make such a choice. I assure you they are making the tragic choice to abort more often than many want to admit. One of these young Pentecostal ladies told me after admitting she went to have an abortion and changed her mind after seeing the sonogram, “Our generation isn’t convinced abortion is

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wrong. No one is preaching about it. No one tells us it is wrong.” We are silent about one of the most basic human rights. Most Christians also were silent when the Jewish people were being shipped to death camps in boxcars. Are we just as guilty today? Are we doing all we can to save the lives of the unborn? As God’s people, we are called to be salt and light. Our job is to lovingly educate others about the tragic reality of abortion. J. Kirk van der Swaagh, director of All Things Project, said human beings are God’s tapestries. He listed the divine attributes of God as outlined in Psalm 139—omniscience, omnipresence, lovingkindness, justice, righteousness, and omnipotence. “Yet, when it came to express this last attribute, what example did the psalmist use—God’s creation of mountains, seas or far-flung galaxies? No, He used none of these. To express the wonder of God’s unparalleled creative power, the writer mentions the fashioning of the human in the womb. The Hebrew word used to express God’s forming of us in the womb, raqam, is the same term for needlework or embroidery. In other words, we are a tapestry that displays God’s artistic mastery. And, like the artist who knows his creation down to the last detail, God intimately knows us. This reality provokes the writer to awe and wonder. He proclaims, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ What is true for the psalmist is true for each human being. Each is fashioned by God and known by Him and we can proclaim on behalf of each, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’”

Here are things we can we do to make a difference: • Support and teach abstinence-based programs in our churches. • Invite a pro-life speaker to our churches to teach the facts about abortion and its effect on the family, community, and church. • Encourage young women facing an unplanned pregnancy to choose life and provide them with truthful and complete information about adoption when single-parenting is not a good option. • Minister to those suffering from choosing abortion. • Support New Beginnings or a local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Christians were silent when humans were being shipped to concentration camps by the Nazis. Too many of us are silent while an estimated 18 percent of abortions involve conservative Christian girls. How will you respond to God’s Word? Etched in the wall of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC, are these timely words: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Debbie Velie has served as Domestic Program Director at New Beginnings International Children’s & Family Services, Inc., for twenty-three years. She and her husband, Tom, are the parents of two daughters. They have three grandchildren. FEBRUARY 2013

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[SANCTITY OF LIFE]

End-of-Life Decisions LISA G. KINDERMAN, MD

If the Lord tarries, all of us will be at this point sometime. Death is an inevitable part of life. For a Christian, it should not be so scary. hey just don’t get it,� the emergency room doctor said. I let him give me the details, but I had to take it all with a grain of salt. It was certainly hard for many to see this family at this stage in their journey and come up with a different conclusion than this excellent ER physician did. I expected this from him, since he was probably without a strong faith and a biblical base. I knew this patient and family, and I knew that they got it. In fact, they understood the concept of death and dying with dignity better than most of us do. This happened over ten years ago when I was working as a hospitalist in a community hospital. A hospitalist is a doctor, usually trained in internal medicine, who cares for patients in the hospital. I met Marybeth (I will call her Marybeth to protect her privacy and HIPPA) and her family just a week before, near the end of her brave fight with colon cancer. Marybeth knew full well that all medical science and therapies had been exhausted. She was keenly aware she was dying at the tender age of forty-two. She had already gone through her multiple stages of grieving and had definitely gotten to a place of acceptance. Marybeth was firm with her family. She did not want them to waste their last precious days together being miserable and crying. She wanted to reminisce about the good times and laugh. She wanted them to laugh and enjoy each other. She knew full well the end was imminent, and she did not want to waste a second. She wanted to savor every last moment, and she also wanted her family to. Frequently I saw her mother or children crying in the hospital, but when they 42

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were with Marybeth they were laughing and showing love to each other. My understanding of Marybeth stemmed from my own experience with my mother. Mother was a vivacious, young fifty-year-old woman when she was stricken with ovarian cancer. It was devastating. She was stage four and incurable at diagnosis. She had four girls and a strong faith in Jesus. She said until the miserable, bitter end that Jesus would either heal her or she would go be with Him. She was reduced to skin and bones, except for the tumor and the fluid in her belly. She was in a lot of pain, but never felt sorry for herself. She made sure her girls and family were taken care of. Her love for the Lord and her faith never wavered. She would become discouraged and cry, but she never gave up. As an internal medicine physician, I loved the hospital work because I met the most interesting patients, and the work was stimulating. It had its negative side, however. I frequently dealt with the sickest people and had the dubious distinction many times of signing more death certificates than any other doctor. I read the obituaries in the county newspaper for years and saw that I had taken care of at least 25 percent of the people in the county. Eventually I embraced this as a ministry. I felt that the Lord had qualified me with a good dose of understanding from my own family experience and the opportunities to serve kept coming. Now that I am in the office, I still deal with many very ill people and I can still help guide them through the process of dying. If the Lord tarries, all of us will be at this point sometime. Death is an inevitable part of life. For a Christian, it should not be so scary. If we believe God was manifested in flesh and dwelt among us and died to save us from our sins, what do we really have to fear?

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Because of the above, I have no problem if a patient is tired and has made the decision for no more aggressive care. I have had patients who made the decision to not resuscitate and who have lived many years. A “do not resuscitate” order is NOT a “do not care” order. We do what we can, but take no extraordinary measures to bring back a patient who has died. The DNR order just means no CPR and no artificial measures. Again, it is not a “do not care” order. Goals of care-giving depend on the stage of illness the patient is in. A patient with lung cancer who is still functional and enjoys time with family should be given treatment for infections and anything we can correct. The same patient who is days away from death and is in pain is a different matter. Comfort is the main key and withdrawing treatment may be appropriate in that case. There is a major difference between withholding therapy while keeping someone comfortable and actually doing something that causes the patient to die. Withholding life-saving treatment may be appropriate in terminally ill patients, if they and the family agree.

Doing something that actually ends a patient’s life, like giving them a drug that would cause death, in my opinion (both medically and spiritually) is never appropriate. God is the one who decides who lives and dies. If we withhold treatment, He may still perform a miracle. If we actively take a life, we are taking it out of God’s hands. As a Christian physician, I have a moral obligation to give people the options and let them decide. However, I will never participate in anything I think is morally or spiritually wrong. The cases of Marybeth and my mother were easy for physicians. Both Marybeth and my mother had strong faith and knew they would see each other in Heaven. It is sad and more difficult if faith in God is absent. Healthcare workers deal with these issues every day and need to be upheld in prayer. Lisa G. Kinderman, MD attended college and medical school at Indiana University. She received internal medicine training at the University of Iowa. She attends Apostolic Bible Church in Brownsburg, Indiana. FEBRUARY 2013

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[SANCTITY OF LIFE]

Love the Creator, Love His Creation

AARON SOTO

“Roses are red Violets are blue You are my favorite, Dad, And I really love you!” hese words were written with a pencil on the back of a nondescript piece of paper. This simple expression of love would never receive accolades from literary critics or grace a Hallmark card, but it’s very precious to me just the same. The value of this poem is derived from the creator: my daughter. Because of my relationship with the poem’s creator, and because of the love woven into each word, I would never think of throwing it away. Recently, my wife and I had the privilege to visit Aspen King in the hospital. She was one of the tiniest patients we’ve ever visited—just three and a half pounds and sixteen inches long. Yes, there were some complications with little Aspen, but she was becoming stronger and working her way through her challenges. Only after one of the more intense hand-washings in our lives were we permitted to approach Aspen. She was sleeping peacefully under the bright lights of an incubator. Aspen’s tiny chest heaved at an amazing rate, reflecting that her little lungs were in good working order. Just one look provided me with undeniable evidence—Aspen was not a simple, humble creation; she was one of the most beautiful and original creations on planet Earth. We took our time studying the awesome craftsmanship of God. Aspen’s mother spoke to us about her baby’s challenges, how she and her husband had not yet had the privilege to hold their daughter in their arms. And then out of nowhere, she said, “You know, it’s hard to believe that babies are aborted at this stage.” I looked back down at little Aspen; she was stirring now. I began to think about how Aspen was receiving state-of-the-art medical treatment in a hospital, while just a few miles away babies just like Aspen were being terminated at the hands of physicians who had sworn to protect and preserve life. Familiar thoughts began to stir in my mind: Why is Aspen considered a baby by our world’s standards simply because she’s outside of the womb developing in an incubator? If Aspen were still developing in the womb and not the incubator, world standards would dictate that she was a mass of tissue that could be discarded just as easily as delivered. Is it possible that a person who would never throw away a poem written by a friend would throw away a masterpiece created by God? Some things should never be thrown away.

God was and is the greatest of all creators. He was the first to create. He created when there were no materials to use. He created on a scale that defies understanding. He created both the vast universe and subatomic particles. And when He was done creating those things, He decided to create one more thing: His masterpiece. Imagine an all-powerful, eternal, all-knowing God stooping over the earth and transforming a pile of dust into a sculpted figure with hands and fingers, and a handsome face. He chose to make the figure in His likeness and image. Can you imagine God breathing the breath of life into the nostrils of man? Can you imagine the chest of His masterpiece beginning to heave just like Aspen’s tiny chest? Both Adam’s and little Aspen’s bodies were heaving with the breath of God! The angels in Heaven were watching as the Creator fell in love with His own creation. And God’s love for human life hasn’t changed from Adam to Aspen. Human life was and is God’s masterpiece. Genesis 1:27 affirms, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” When I consider how I wouldn’t throw away a poem because of my relationship with the creator of that poem, it occurs to me that a core problem with our abortion-minded culture is an absence of relationship with the Creator. If people ever had a truly meaningful relationship with the great Creator, Jesus Christ, they would treat His creation differently. If they understood that each and every child in the womb has been graven upon the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16), they would treasure that life for the miracle it is. If they understood that God knew us and loved us before we were ever formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), they would think differently about protecting and preserving human life. A lack of relationship with the Creator causes parents to throw things away that should never, ever be thrown away. But if a parent loves the Creator, he or she will love His creation. Aaron Soto is the lead pastor at Apostolic Truth Church in Appleton, Wisconsin. He is happily married to his classy wife, Heather, and has three beautiful children. Aaron is also honored to serve as the spiritual advisor to Womankind Medical Clinic.

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Letters to the Editor How may I get a copy or reprint of the September 2012 issue (“Women in Ministry”) of the Pentecostal Herald? —David L. Bufkin Editor’s response: Our secretary, Becky Miller, will contact you and explain how you can receive a copy. I have been enjoying the Pentecostal Herald more each month. But I appreciated the candor in the article about a change of mind (“I Haven’t Changed My Mind …”) in the December 2012 issue of the magazine. I could have echoed the entire article. It is nice to know someone else feels that same way. I am fifty-six years old and feel like I know less than when I was twenty-six. Perhaps we didn’t realize then how much there was to know. —Lynn Powell The article “I Haven’t Changed My Mind …” in the December 2012 issue of the Pentecostal Herald touched me. I have recommended it to several of my friends. —David Morehead I am studying in a Pentecostal seminary in Amsterdam and I am writing my thesis on women in the ministry in the Dutch Pentecostal movement. There hasn’t been much documented about the movement in the Netherlands. Is it possible for you to send the September 2012 issue of the Pentecostal Herald (“Women in Ministry”) to me? Of course I would pay for this.  —Anniek Rooseboom, Netherlands Editor’s response: Thanks for your inquiry. We will be delighted to send you a copy of the September 2012 issue of the magazine.

I would like a copy of the article in the November 2012 issue of the Pentecostal Herald: “Surviving a Crisis of Faith” written by Jonathan McClintock. I appreciate your help as usual. —M.E. Coker LT, CHC, USN, Staff Chaplain, Japan Editor’s response: I am happy that you enjoyed the article. I am emailing it as a Word document. Please send information about ordering a large quantity of the January 2013 issue of the Pentecostal Herald (“100 Years: 1913-2013—Jesus Name Message”). Here at Spirit and Truth Center, we are teaching a series about our heritage and would like to give a copy to each family in our church. What is the cost for 150 to 200 copies? —Karyn Carpenter

Editor’s response: Thank you for inquiring about ordering extra copies of the January 2112 issue of the Pentecostal Herald. Our secretary, Becky Miller, will contact you with details. The January 2013 issue of the Pentecostal Herald brings back childhood memories. I enjoyed reading John Smelser’s article “My Soul Cries Out for God’s Best.” George R. Farrow’s song “All in Him” (included in the article) is one of my favorite songs. George Farrow visited our town when I was very young. I remember paying a penny for a copy.  —Robert S. Vincent

Send letters for possible publication to: syoung@upci.org, bmiller@upci.org, or Pentecostlal Herald • 8855 Dunn Road • Hazelwood, MO 63042-2299. Letters may be edited for style, grammar, punctuation, or length.

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Coming Spring 2013

A NEW six-session small group resource from General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Other small group resources available now:

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[SANCTITY OF LIFE]

Abortion or Adoption? CHRISSIE VELASQUEZ

don’t know where it all started, and I can blame it on no one but myself. Why was my conscience allowed to bring me to an abortion clinic? How did my sense of right and wrong become unhinged enough for me to become pregnant at all? Many wrongs were committed, and even though their origin is unclear, their fruits stood out for the world to see. Little girls don’t dream of growing up to be tormented by hatred or lust. As a child, I remember wanting to pray like my mom, be a pioneer like Nona Freeman, win souls like Vesta Mangun, sing like Nancy Grandquist, and of course, do everything my grandmother did. However, at an age much too young for lost hope, any notion of becoming a woman of God could not be found. Only by God’s grace and mercy did I avoid aborting the precious life of my son, Gentry. But the filth in my mind and life never ceased to haunt me. I didn’t go to New Beginnings for emotional or spiritual healing. I went because giving my unborn son to a godly mother and father was the only way I knew to ensure a valuable future for him. I went because I wanted to escape the anger and hurt I had caused my family. I certainly didn’t go expecting any kind of future for myself, but it didn’t take long for me to experience God’s overwhelming, cleansing love! The mission began in the counseling office at New Beginnings. I had come to such an emotional low that I realized I didn’t know God. How can anyone love a person, let alone a God, they do not know? So the objective was simple and direct: know God! I began with making a list of things the Bible says please God. Every answer I found opened even more questions and began new journeys toward my newfound curiosity of this One who created me. A library couldn’t hold the stories and moments where Jesus worked on me from the inside out! He changed me through His love. A fresh definition of love came on the day my baby was born. It was July 9, 2006. I had just delivered Gentry. Renae, a social worker at New Beginnings, was with me and mentioned Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” This Scripture has always seemed to develop new meaning in my life, but two times stand out the most. First, everything wrong 48

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in my life—the sex and hatred, to name only a couple—had a good outcome because of what Jesus had done inside of me. There was a new life, and there were new adoptive parents counting down the seconds until their first and only son came home. Gentry’s life is the one reason I choose to let go of any regrets. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’m sure his mom and dad agree. Second, I realized where I went wrong in the first place. I can’t pinpoint a specific memory of this happening, but the evidence is unavoidable. I stopped seeking God’s purpose. I let other voices drown out the sound of His call. I drifted far away from my first love toward Him. How was anything supposed to work together for my good? Every choice I made was another ingredient in a recipe for disaster. However, with that revelation also came the way out. In my own new beginning, I began to seek Jesus Christ for who He really is. Somewhere along the line, my heart developed love toward Him. And in a hospital room with a precious newborn, I finally recognized His gentle, loving voice speaking undeserved hope into my life. Today, Gentry is growing up fast and is now six years old. His parents fully support his developing passion for music, which will no doubt result in a very talented young man one day. They still send me pictures, updates, and sweet letters to remind me that they think of me often and love me very much. Both of them come to my mind when I think of what it means to be godly parents. I look up to them more than they realize. On July 30, 2011, my life changed again when I married Elvin Velasquez, the kindest man I’ve ever known. We are both young and growing in God, but we are growing in Him together. My journey in Jesus Christ is now being taken with a partner. God has blessed us many times and has recently blessed us with the news of becoming parents. At this writing we are expecting our first child in December 2012. Who knew so many good things could come out of such a messy beginning? God took away my condemnation, sin, and death and traded it all for freedom, power, and purity that were paid for by His sacrifice. All I can do is thank Him and give the rest of my life to Him. Chrissie Velasquez and her husband live in Houston, Texas. They attend Life Tabernacle in Houston. James Kilgore is the pastor.

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The reason our church and district decided to participate in the Apostolic Legends program was to honor our Apostolic heritage, to extend this Apostolic message to future generations and to see this Apostolic doctrine expressed in a well-informed, systematic manner.

–Ken Gurley

For $25,000, an annual $1,000 scholarship will be created in honor of a legend in your life who has left a definable mark upon this generation. This scholarship will continue the legacy he or she has left behind, and every year this legacy will help perpetuate the Apostolic message.

urshancollege.org ugst.edu Please contact Richard Hernandez, director of development, to find out how to honor an Apostolic Legend in your life. rhernandez@ugst.edu (314) 838 - 8858 ext. 7115

Scan the QR code below to view the Apostolic Legends video.

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SUNDAY SCHOOL BY STEVE CANNON

Do You Know Matthias Boutlier? n February 6, 1895, George Herman was born in Pigtown, a rough neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, to parents who were struggling physically. Of the eight children born into this family, only two survived infancy: George and his sister, Mamie. George’s parents owned a succession of saloons and also sold lightning rods. When George was seven years old his father sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys and signed custody over to the Catholic missionaries who ran the school. This school was a reformatory and an orphanage. George would remain at the school for the next twelve years, visiting his family only for special occasions. While at St. Mary’s, Matthias Boutlier became a father figure to George Herman. In addition to teaching him how to read and write, Boutlier worked with George on hitting, fielding, and pitching to develop his baseball skills. George was also taught tailoring and became a qualified shirt maker. He was a part of both the school band and the drama club. This George Herman Ruth Jr. became known to the world as Babe Ruth. He spent twenty-two seasons in major league baseball playing for three teams (1914-1935). Babe Ruth set career records for home runs (714), slugging percentage (.690), runs batted in (2,217) and on-base plus slugging (1.164). Babe Ruth is credited with changing baseball itself, and in 1969 he was named baseball’s “Greatest Player Ever” in a ballot commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of professional baseball. Babe Ruth went from being an orphan to being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His great achievements were possible because someone was willing to train a child and help him become successful. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” You can’t do one thing about your ancestors, but you can do something about your descendants. Your children deserve to be trained in a godly way. They are not just the church of the fu-

Thank you, UPCI and Sunday School, for making it possible that our children can have a heritage for the future. ture—they are the church of today. One tree can start a forest. One smile can begin a friendship. One hand can lift a soul. One word can frame the goal. One candle can wipe out darkness. One laugh can conquer gloom. And one hope can raise our spirits. It’s never too late to try to save tomorrow; we only have to start today. If each child could be reached, the future of the world would be secure. God is calling our children to be missionaries (at home and abroad), pastors, and evangelists. The future of the UPCI is in the hands of our children. It is our job to train them in the ways of Scripture. Our homes are the training ground for the gospel to be shared with the world. The Sunday School Division desires to help train your children for ministry. They in turn will be able to minister to the world. Robert Hall once said, “Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works too.” Ralph Blum said, “Nothing is predestined: the obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” Training our children is the way to have new beginnings. Frank Clark said, “A baby is born with a need to be loved; and it never outgrows it.” Mother Teresa said, “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” Our future depends upon how much we put into our children. The goal of Sunday School is to put the Word of God into their hearts at an early age. Ferdinand Foch said, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” Let’s allow our children to get on fire for worship, for the Word, and for a witness. The goal of Sunday School is to reach and engage our children today. Where can our children go in God? The sky is the limit! Matthias Boutlier was the

Head of Discipline at St. Mary’s. He introduced baseball to George “Babe” Ruth. I believe it was his inspiration that encouraged Babe Ruth to succeed. What do these names mean to you: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Alexander the Great? The first three were Greek philosophers. They spent their entire lifetimes contemplating all aspects of life from philosophy to logic to arithmetic to science. They were masters of the mind. Their influences would impact societies and whole civilizations. These four men had a common thread: Socrates mentored Plato, Plato mentored Aristotle, and Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great. Should we not mentor our children? I believe through spiritual mentoring we can train children who can change the world. Joel prophesied, “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Joel 2:28). Today is the day to see ministry in the eyes of our children. We need to train our children at Sunday school, mentor them at home, and teach them that they have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. Thank you, Matthias Boutlier, for your contribution to Babe Ruth. Even greater than that, thank you, UPCI and Sunday School, for making it possible that our children can have a heritage for the future. Baseball may come and go, but the Word of God endures forever. Your future might be under your own roof. It’s time to think Save Our Children!

Steve Cannon is the general director of the Sunday School Division of the United Pentecostal Church International. FEBRUARY 2013

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14Pentecostal Herald February 2014