Answering the Call:
Beyond Pulpit Ministry The Ministry of a Paramedic
Donâ€™t Let Your World Change You;
Change Your World
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Coming in May: A Tribute to James L. Kilgore
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EDITORIAL BY SIMEON YOUNG SR.
A Call to Courtesy e courteous …” (I Peter 3:8) It is not uncommon to see “common courtesy” replaced with shocking displays of rudeness on parking lots, at gas stations, on the highways, on airplanes, in classrooms, in checkout lines, in the social media, on the Internet, and even in church. John Romano, a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, asked in an article published in The Dallas Morning News (January 17, 2014), “When did we become so angry?” He said, “To me, it feels as if many of us are … one forgotten turn signal from an altercation on the roadside, or one misunderstanding away from a night spent in handcuffs.” He goes on to say that it feels to him “as if too many of us are just waiting for the provocation that will validate all of our pent-up frustrations.” Romano says we see this culture of discourtesy in Washington “where hyper-partisan politics makes it impossible to simply disagree. … Sides must be chosen and vendettas never forgotten.” He says we see it on the Internet where “anonymity and distance have made civility seem like a relic from the past. Taunts and insults you would not normally consider when in the presence of others are now a routine and accepted way of making a point.” He goes on, “You see it in media, where outrageousness pays and divisiveness sells.” The word courteous is a Middle English word meaning “having manners for a royal court.” The word was once used to describe the refinement of manners in kings’ courts. A courtier attended a royal court as a companion or adviser to the king or queen. The courtier’s courtly behavior, dictated by royal protocol, came to be seen as a form of flattery. A courtier was not required to feel the way he was expected to behave. Peter had something altogether different than that in mind when he wrote to the persecuted Christians of his day to “be courteous.” Perhaps, because of the religious and political climate of that era, Christians needed to be reminded to treat each other and even non-Christians with courtesy. What exactly was Peter calling for
In a culture of coarseness that conditions us to be rude, biblical courtesy that includes unity, compassion, love, pity, and humility calls us to be courteous. when he wrote, “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (I Peter 3:8-9)? The Greek word translated courteous in I Peter 3:8 (KJV) is translated humble in several other versions of the Bible. Courtesy in the context of the culture of those Christians to whom Peter addressed these words called for unity, compassion, love, pity, and humility. Never have the words “be courteous” been more appropriate and needed than now. In 1989, in a meeting with President George H. W. Bush, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was overheard reminding the president to smile. It was, of course, the politically correct thing to do. Peter’s call to courtesy, however, requires of us more than merely posing for a photo op, maintaining an image, or faking a smile. In a culture of coarseness that conditions us to be rude, biblical courtesy that includes unity, compassion, love, pity, and humility calls us to be courteous. When the five elements included in Peter’s letter are present in our lives, a mindset of courtesy enables us to refuse to return evil for evil and reviling for reviling and sets us up to receive a blessing. Impulsive and impetuous Simon Peter, the man who said, “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (I Peter 3:8-9) had grown spiritually to the point that he was able to curb
his emotions. Peter’s quick temper had been replaced with courtesy. Courtesy is not named as one of the nine spiritual gifts, but if I may paraphrase Paul’s words, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and I am not courteous, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and I am not courteous, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and I am not courteous, it profits me nothing.” If courtesy springs from love, as Peter seems to imply, then my paraphrase of I Corinthians 13:1-3 is not a stretch. Paul said, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). Though the word “courtesy” does not appear in this list of spiritual fruit, it seems to me that one could not manifest the fruit of the Spirit and not be a courteous person. May we be of one mind, be humble, have compassion, demonstrate love, show pity, and bless those who mistreat us instead of retaliating. In our hearts we know we are called to this. Be courteous and be blessed! Simeon Young Sr. is the editor of the Pentecostal Herald.
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Fundamental Doctrine 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.
APRIL 2014 PENTECOSTAL HERALD EDITOR Simeon Young Sr. EDITOR IN CHIEF Robin Johnston ASSOCIATE EDITOR P. Daniel Buford PRODUCTION MANAGER Larry Craig PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Jina Crain CREATIVE DIRECTOR Abraham LaVoi DESIGN SUPERVISOR Tim Cummings GRAPHIC DESIGN Laura Merchant, Dennis Fiorini EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Brooke Rosser COPY EDITOR Patrica Bollmann
VOL. 90, NO. 4.
The One True God 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).
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. ©2014 UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH INTERNATIONAL.
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UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH INTERNATIONAL
GENERAL EXECUTIVE PRESBYTERS
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 Michael Ensey SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION Dan Batchelor
Gary Gleason* Aaron Soto* Kevin Borders* Kevin Cox* Daniel Garlitz* Marty Johnson* Bernard Elms* Brent Coltharp* Raymond Woodward*
J.R. Blackshear, Ernest Breithaupt, W.L. Clayton, B.S. Cole, Daniel Garlitz, Arless Glass, John Grant, Tommy Hudson, David Johnson, James Kelley, Carrol D. Kennedy, Carl Lagow, Roger Lewis, R.J. McIntyre, John D. Mean, James Merrick, Ronnie Mullins, Paul Price, Paul Reynolds, David Robinson, 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
Dennis L. Anderson, Elvin Anthony, G. Terry Brewer, Ronald L. Brown, Steven Carnahan, Steve D. Carrington, Brent Coltharp, Mike Conn, Carlton L. Coon Sr., Kevin Cox, Jack Cunningham, Steven D. D’Amico, J. Stanley Davidson, Devon Dawson, Dean M. Dickinson, Andrew Dillon, Daniel Fleming, Edward Goddard, Scott Graham, Percel T. Graves, Ken Gurley, Billy Hale, John W. Hanson, Arthur E. Hodges III, Gary Hogan, Jerry T. Holt, David Hudson, Wayne Huntley, Darrell Johns, J. Mark Jordan, Ron Lichtle, Arnold MacLauchlan, Daniel McCallister, Richard McGriffin, Scott D. Marshall, Matthew Martin, Mark Morgan, Arthur Naylor, Trevor Neil, Gordon Parrish, Kevin Prince, John E. Putnam, Stephen P. Spite, Jesse Starr, Jay Stirneman, Rick Stoops, Robert Stroup, David Tipton Jr., Jerry Tipton, David Trammell, C. Patton Williams, Richard A. Wittmeier, Raymond Woodson Sr., Chester Wright
Scan the QR code on your mobile device to visit pentecostalherald.com.
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT] Columns 3 | Editorial
Simeon Young Sr.
7 | The General Superintendent Speaks
David K. Bernard
13 | My Hope Radio
17 | Faith & Culture
21 | Feedback 29 | Worldline
Bruce A. Howell
33 | New Start
Carlton L. Coon Sr.
37 | Multicultural Ministries
49 | Launch Your Ministry
8 Answering the Call:
Beyond Pulpit Ministry Jonathan Painter
12 Answering Two Calls
14 The Ministry of a Paramedic
Brad D. Buford
16 Don’t Let Your World Change
You; Change Your World Daniel E. Dagan
18 The Worship Leader
22 Ministry of Encouragement
26 Ministry in Teaching
30 Prayer and Fasting
34 Teach the Child;
Remind the Teen
Beth and Caleb Randol
51 | Sunday School Steve L. Cannon
Pentecostal Life 42 | Miracles
Benjamin D. Copple
Learning to Hear 44 | God’s Voice: Debra’s Story
26 38 Ministry of Mothering
41 Crockpot Evangelism
Lorin L. Bradbury
11 UPCI Financial Report
As told to Kerri Wilson
46 | Testify
Cynthia A. Lovely
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The Bible you have been waiting for ...
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THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT SPEAKS BY DAVID K. BERNARD
The Church in a Multicultural World he United Pentecostal Church International exists in 203 nations and territories around the world and operates 20 ethnic— or language-based—ministries in North America. How does the church function in this multicultural environment? First, as a church we do not try to promote one culture over another, but instead we promote biblical values. While most of us probably prefer the culture in which we were raised and while there is nothing wrong with this personal choice, we cannot allow our preferences to restrict either our evangelism or our fellowship. We don’t send missionaries in order to convert people to American or Canadian culture but to convert them to Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, when we minister to immigrants and ethnic minorities in our own country, our goal is not to make them conform to certain social expectations but to win them to the Lord. People of various cultural preferences and political persuasions need to feel welcome to participate in our services and in the life of the local church. Different cultures have different modes of thought, communication, etiquette, dress, music, food, traditions, ceremonies, rituals, and symbols. We like our own culture because it is familiar and comfortable to us. When we are first exposed to another culture it seems strange, and our instinct is to reject it. As we become more acquainted with different cultures, however, we learn to appreciate them. For the most part, the differences are neither better nor worse—just different. We also learn that some cultures are better in some ways while other cultures are better in other ways. As an American who grew up in Korea, I appreciated many things about traditional Korean culture such as politeness, respect for elders, commitment to family, and emphasis on education. At the same time, living in a conformist culture under a military dictatorship with the threat of Communist invasion loom-
ing at the border only thirty miles away, I was thankful for traditional characteristics of American society such as democracy, freedom of religion and speech, individualism, personal initiative, social mobility, and economic opportunity. Both societies promoted a strong work ethic, which has helped make them more successful economically than some others. Second, we recognize that the Bible has authority over all cultures. My parents were the first UPCI missionaries to Korea. Korean acquaintances told my father that Koreans were very reserved and would never worship exuberantly in the American style. He replied that our basic forms of worship were not American custom either, but Bible custom. In later times American visitors were usually amazed by the fervent prayer, sing-
afterward are “digital natives”—they have always been surrounded by the culture of online technology. By contrast, “digital immigrants” remember a time before the Internet and have had to learn how to function in the digital world. As another example, our population is becoming much more urban, and there are significant cultural differences between small towns and big cities. We must be willing to adjust our methods to reach people of different backgrounds. Doing so may lead to significant changes and greater diversity in our music, technology, symbols, worship services, programs, and community involvement. Radical change could signify or cause a compromise of Apostolic identity, which we must not accept, but not all change should be viewed in this light. To a great extent our styles of communication and worship are culturally relative and thus susceptible to change, even though our message is not. To illustrate, in the twentieth century popular hymns and choruses such as “The Royal Telephone” and “Jesus on the Main Line” referred to the latest technology and used current musical styles. These songs would have been incomprehensible to the apostles, and they do not relate to the current generation either. To win souls Paul varied his methods depending on cultural factors while remaining true to God’s Word. “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (I Corinthians 9:20-22). May God grant us wisdom to do the same today.
First, as a church we do not try to promote one culture over another, but instead we promote biblical values. ing, and worship of the Korean church. We cannot simply conform to the culture around us, but we must evaluate it according to scriptural teaching. We must stand for sexual morality, modesty of dress, distinction between male and female, and wholesome speech (whether via technology or in person) even as culture abandons these scriptural principles. Historically, many cultures have promoted biblical values in these areas, at least in part, but sadly they have changed under the influence of modern Western music, television, and movies. We must also guard against the materialism, self-centeredness, and relativism of modern culture. Third, the church must be flexible in responding to cultural diversity and change. Our nation has people of many cultures, and our culture is changing rapidly. People of different generations, races, regions, and social backgrounds can have significantly different cultural experiences and expectations. For example, people born in the mid-1980s or
David K. Bernard is the general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International. APRIL 2014
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
Answering the Call:
Beyond Pulpit Ministry JONATHAN PAINTER
t seems that there is a certain perception that exists in the minds of some that ministry is confined to the pulpit and to the service a preacher gives to those who belong to his or her congregation. The highest goal for some is to be able to remove oneself from the “burden” of a time-consuming job in the secular world so more time can be devoted to the “work of God.” It is likely that at the root of this line of thinking is a misconception about what ministry really is. Is ministry about the greatest spiritual gain that one can gather and for those that immediately surround him or her? Or is it about the enrichment and spiritual gain that can be brought to those in our communities and our world as a whole? Ministry cannot be accomplished solely from behind the pulpit. Ministry is not confined to the four walls of a church building. When the following two questions are answered I believe the matter will come into sharp focus: What does Scripture tell us that Jesus has commissioned us to do as ministers and bearers of the gospel? What benefit does a ministry outside the pulpit exclusively bring to the church? To answer the first question I direct your attention to the Head of the church, Jesus Christ, who said that we are to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15, NKJV). I do not believe that Jesus’ use of “into” in this instance was a casual preposition, but rather a more meaningful call for the disciples to submerge themselves in the world in order that the gospel might be proclaimed more effectively through them. As this world becomes increasingly wicked, the temptation for Christians is to displace themselves from the secular world. However, this is not the commission that Jesus has laid out for His church. Our task is likened to that of Jonah’s, in that we are to “arise” and “go” into the wicked cities of the world proclaiming the gospel. Paul, expressed his joy and thanksgiving over the fact that God not only allows those who are in Christ to overcome through their knowledge of the gospel, but He also manifests this same knowledge to those in the world through them. (See II Corinthians 2:14.) This gospel is for the whole world to 8
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hear, and we have an obligation, as the salt of the earth and the light of the world and as a city that is set on a hill to take this message into our cities. This lamp we have was not given to us that we might hide it, but instead set it on a â€œlampstandâ€? to light all the world that surrounds us (Matthew 5:13-16). I do not mean in any way to diminish the role of pulpit ministry by any of my previous statements. I believe it is immensely important and it is necessary to have ministers and pastors who can devote every waking moment to the study of the Word and to the care of the saints. However, pastors are asked to be shepherds to the faithful members and others who attend their congregations (see Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:2) and also ambassadors of Jesus Christ to those in our communities. (See II Corinthians 5:20.) Pulpit ministry and workplace ministry are not mutually exclusive. With this in mind, I believe there are numerous ways
ministers can submerge themselves into the world around them and thus be more effective in our endeavor to spread the gospel. A minister does not necessarily need a full-time job outside the church to have consistent contact with the secular worldâ€”he can volunteer for his community as a mentor, board member, or elected official. He can work part-time, visit patients in nursing homes and hospitals on a regular basis, visit homeless shelters, and host grief and addictions counseling sessions. This segues into the answer to my second question: What benefits may be gathered from non-exclusive pulpit ministry? I have found in my experience as a bi-vocational minister that there are at least two benefits to ministry beyond the pulpit. The first is relationship building. I work at a large hospital that serves as a healthcare center for our entire county. In that environment I have access to people of all backgrounds, nationalities, cultures, and belief systems. Many occasions arise when I come
Pulpit ministry and workplace ministry are not mutually exclusive. With this in mind, I believe there are numerous ways ministers can submerge themselves into the world around them and thus be more effective in our endeavor to spread the gospel.
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into contact with patients who are going through more than just physical suffering. It is amazing to see how open people can be when they are in a state of physical or emotional turmoil. They will share their life story, looking for someone to bring a message of comfort and hope to them—someone to encourage them and help them find a way out of their hopelessness. I have many opportunities to build relationships with people I would not ordinarily have any contact with, simply because I have entrenched myself in the community. I have contact with at least one hundred people every day, consisting of patients, members of their family, and co-workers—people I have a chance to witness to. I also volunteer as a board member for our county’s substance abuse advisory board and have some pull with involving faith-based organizations in rehabilitation to addicts and in voting to allocate government funds to those programs. It takes relationships with people in the world to win them to the Lord. Did not many men of the Bible serve a secular role as well as a religious role? Look at the examples of Joseph, the highest ranking man in Egypt (Genesis 41:40) and Daniel, who served as a part of the royal court in Babylon (Daniel 1:19-21). Not only did these men have positions, but they also served as advocates for the welfare and livelihood of their secular societies. It is difficult to know how to approach unbelievers if we do not understand them. In order to gain this understanding it is important to meet them at their level, without surrendering our convictions. The example of men like Daniel brings a question to mind: How can we expect to serve as advocates for change in our cities if the people there have no idea who we are or what we stand for? Being in the workplace gives us not only the opportunity to build relationships, but also to serve as examples to those we exchange words with on a regular basis. A true representation of a Christian is one who can live a godly life in the presence of worldly people—one whose actions show that he or she can affect people for the better. More people will be won through their observation of our Christian behavior than they will through the doctrine we share with them. A Christian witness is not just about dressing holy and giving Bible studies, though both are vital. It is about our attitude toward others, conversations that we partake in, our work ethic, and our patience and calmness in the midst of turmoil and stress in the workplace. Peter spoke of the faith that is “tried in the fire” so as to ultimately
bring about “praise and honor and glory” unto Jesus Christ. If we do not have any instances in our lives where we must exercise Christian virtues, then we will not develop them. So the opportunity to thrust ourselves into the lives of others also presents an opportunity for us ministers to enrich our spiritual lives—thus we find a second benefit to workplace exposure. When a true Christian plunges into the secular world to be a part
A Christian witness is not just about dressing holy and giving Bible studies, though both are vital. It is about our attitude toward others, conversations that we partake in, our work ethic, and our patience and calmness in the midst of turmoil and stress in the workplace. of it on a regular basis, there will come a time when others will begin to ask questions about his or her faith. This is the inevitable benefit of bi-vocational ministry. I want to encourage new ministers and veteran ministers alike to find ways in which they can be a benefit to their cities, whether it is through a full-time or volunteer job. When Jerusalem rejected Jesus, He did not leave the Jews to enter into greater communion with His true followers, but instead He wept over Jerusalem and entered into the city on a day when it would be swarming with those He knew would reject Him and send Him to the cross (Luke 19:41, 45). What an example for you and me! As the people of our cities become more and more sinful we must not distance ourselves from them, but like Jesus weep over them and seek them out declaring the glorious message of hope that is the Resurrection. Jonathan Painter is the music minister at Abundant Hope in Bremerton, Washington, and a licensed minister with the UPCI. He also serves as a sectional youth leader.
The 100 Year Anniversary Commemorative Issue of the Pentecostal Herald is truly a collector’s edition. Including historical articles, photographs, timelines, and biographies, this is an issue you will cherish for years to come. To order, visit www.pentecostalherald.com.
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UPCI FINANCIAL REPORT YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2013 2013 2012 Inc/Dec
Consolidated Statement of Activity: Revenue and Support: Contributions Sales of Literature and Material Budget Fees and Affiliations All Other Total
$ 33,638,886 7,212,593 3,512,218 5,122,690 49,486,387
$ 32,265,847 7,517,481 3,409,050 3,788,933 46,981,311
Expenses: Missionary and Ministry Projects Cost of Sales Salaries, Payroll Taxes and Emp. Benefits All Other Total
22,659,755 4,913,126 8,674,556 9,714,669 45,962,106
22,198,297 5,333,565 7,443,178 9,546,694 44,521,734
461,458 (420,439) 1,231,378 167,975 1,440,372
Total Consolidated Change in Net Assets
$ 1,373,039 (304,888) 103,168 1,333,757 2,505,076
Revenue and Support $5,122,690
Revenue and Support 2013
$2,505,076 Increase in Revenue
Sales of Literature and Material Budget Fees and Affiliations All Other
Expenses 2013 $8,674,556
Missionary and Ministry Projects
$1,440,372 Increase in Expenses
Cost of Sales Salaries, Payroll Taxes and Emp. Benefits $4,913,126
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
Answering Two Calls CHAD FLOWERS
e rub shoulders with a world around us that is lost and hungry for healing and restoration. We are well aware that the salvation offered by Christ at Calvary is the answer for every soul. However, have you ever been confronted with the helplessness of not knowing how to usher someone from crisis to salvation? As a teenager, I answered the call of God on my life to be a preacher of the gospel that delivers the message of salvation. Then came a second call—a call to be a counselor and deliver the message of healing and restoration. My journey into the field of counseling began as a child. Growing up in the home of a pastor, I witnessed on more than one occasion my father expressing his desire to help families in crises with more than a simple response of “Well, let’s just pray.” Don’t get me wrong; the power of prayer cannot be overestimated, but seeing this desire in my father and in other pastors with whom I’d spoken caused me to prayerfully consider becoming a trained counselor. I can’t exactly remember when I first felt the call of God on my life. Also, I had no idea what that call would entail. However, I felt that counseling others would be a vital part of this calling. Thus the journey of pursuing two calls began. After graduating from high school in 2001, I simultaneously pursued both callings of counseling and pulpit ministry. In the years to follow, I enrolled in and graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and then a Master of Arts in Counseling. I then completed the necessary testing and intern hours to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC). During these same years, I obtained all three levels of ministry licensure with the UPCI, served on the AIM program to the nation of Singapore under missionaries Steve and Barbara Willoughby, traveled as an evangelist, and ultimately came to serve on staff at my home church. Though this pursuit took many years to complete, the vision for what I could offer both as a minister and a counselor gave me the drive this path required. Today, I’m blessed to fulfill two callings—I currently serve alongside my father as assistant pastor at Emmanuel Pentecostal Church in Mesquite, Texas, and as an LPC in private practice. 12
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The revelation of God’s purpose for two callings is ever evolving in my life. I now believe I had no idea of the services I could offer as both a minister and LPC The private practice I started last year serves a dual purpose: (1) it presents networking opportunities with other professionals, business owners, and city officials; and (2) it provides a professional service to the community and area churches, including UPCI churches. As an assistant pastor, I occasionally meet with members of our local church for pastoral counseling. However, as an LPC, I have built a clientele consisting of members of our surrounding community and neighboring churches. Sometimes pastors are confronted with a major crisis, and professional assistance is requested. It is an honor to assist other pastors in working with families in crisis. I am grateful for the trust given me as a counselor. Being an LPC as well as an ordained UPCI minister makes for a valuable resource to our churches, local and abroad. Beyond my home court of Dallas, I’ve had the opportunity to help train other ministers in counseling with teenagers at youth worker conferences, as well as conduct one-on-one consultations with other pastors. I’m also excited to be working with the Family Ministries Council of the UPCI and a team of other Apostolic counselors on something we are creating as a resource for our UPCI pastors. I can’t say much more now, but when it is launched, I believe it will assist in removing many roadblocks we face today as ministers and pastors in helping people. The future is bright for Apostolic professional counselors. There is a very present need that will not be fully met anytime soon. In the future, I’d like to see a stronger unified network of Apostolic counselors built for the purpose of sharing resources and offering more availability to pastors. It is my goal to help facilitate this need. While I feel called to my home church as a minister, I am grateful to be pursuing a second call that can help reach beyond just our local pulpit. Is it absurd to answer two calls? If it allows us to excel for the Kingdom, I think not. My first call is to preach the Word, but beyond that lies the second call to bring emotional healing. It makes for a busy life, but one that I believe is making a difference. Chad Flowers serves as assistant pastor at Emmanuel Pentecostal Church in Mesquite, Texas. Richard Flowers is the senior pastor.
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MY HOPE RADIO BY TIFFANY COUNTAWAY
Two Artists … Two Minutes Petersburg, Indiana, at the church where my father served as pastor at the time. I was baptized in the same church. I live an overcoming life by surrounding myself with active Holy Ghost filled teens. I love youth rallies and youth camps.
part was working with Larry Carter. One day we were together for at least twelve hours. I am amazed at what all went into this project. There are people who helped on this project that I have never met. I loved the photo shoot most of all. My dad took those pictures.
kids’ choir. It wasn’t until I was about eleven that I started singing solos. My mom was and is my biggest influence in the music world. Mom taught herself how to play the piano.
down. My dad preaches that if you hang around greatness your life will always be challenged and you will always chase after greatness.
What is your music background? I can What is the best advice you have remember singing at the age of two in the been given? Don’t ever quit. Don’t slow
Tell us a little about your family. Dad You wrote several of the songs on is my hero. I have seen him go through many your album. Where do you get your trials while pastoring for fourteen years— inspiration and what is your process having cancer and losing a child. He has for writing? The inspiration for two of the never had the thought of resigning from the church. My mom is also my hero. She keeps me in line and I love her for that. I have a little sister named Dasha.
songs I wrote came from my dad’s messages, “King in Me” and “Amazing.” For the two other songs I credit my inspiration from life itself and the struggles that life brings.
What is your salvation story? I received What was your favorite part of the the Holy Ghost when I was four years old in album-making process? My favorite
Tell us a little about your family. My family is important to me. They are my best friends. I am blessed to have been homeschooled by my mom and to have my two sisters as classmates. My dad likes to travel, so I’ve had opportunities to visit many different places and learn a lot. One of my favorite times of each day is having dinner with my family. Describe your spiritual journey. I grew
up in church but did not discover what the Bible truly says about salvation until I was
If you had the attention of the world what would you say? Jesus is coming,
and He is coming sooner than you think.
Where can we listen, purchase, and connect with you? You can listen to
my CD on the Youth Vibe station on myhoperadio.com. You can purchase it from pentecostalpublishing.com.
seventeen years old. (I learned this through Endtime Ministries.) Shortly after I was baptized by water immersion in Jesus’ name at North Cities UPC in Garland, Texas I received the Holy Ghost. Not long after that I joined the North Cities family. Today I’m walking with Jesus like I never was able to before!
Do you write your own songs?
What is your favorite Scripture verse in the Bible? “The people that do know
What would you do with a million dollars? I would give to ministries and or-
their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many” (Daniel 11:32-33). What is your music background? I started playing the piano, singing, and writing music at a young age (elementary school). God’s Word, journeys I went through in my life, and different people influenced me to write music. I am currently studying arranging and orchestration at Berklee Music.
What is one of your favorite songs to sing? Why is it your favorite? “Those
Who Know Their God” is my favorite song to sing because it’s based on my favorite Scripture.
Yes, I write music inspired by God’s Word, so the writing process usually starts off when I read a Scripture and feel God place it on my heart to write a song about it. After the lyrics are done I will go to the piano and start writing the music.
ganizations that are making a big difference in this world: Endtime Ministries, North Cities UPC, and Little Giant Steps. I would also spend some of it to record my first full album and to spoil my family a little.
Where can we listen, purchase, and connect with you? You can listen on my-
hoperadio.com, on the Youth Vibe station. You can purchase through iTunes and connect through Facebook. Tiffini Countaway is the producer of MyHopeRadio.com.
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
The Ministry of a Paramedic BRAD D. BUFORD
jolt awake at the sound of a loud alarm going off. The sound echoes in the small, dark bedroom in which I’d been sleeping. Through the fog of sleep deprivation I hear the dispatcher talking over the radio. There has been a shooting and they need me. My adrenaline starts flowing and I hit the door running. I was blessed to grow up in a godly home. My family was always at church. If it was not for regular services it was for church-related functions or events. If I was not at church I was at the United Pentecostal Church International headquarters. I would be playing on the floor near my father’s desk as he edited an article before a rapidly approaching deadline or helping my mother correlate packets for an upcoming ladies conference. When my older brother, Brandon, was finishing high school he was called to be in the “ministry.” When I drew near to finishing high school I was unsure of what God wanted me to do as a career. I had never felt the calling to be in “ministry.” God had not called me to be a pastor, a preacher, or a missionary. Then I realized my definition of “ministry” was incorrect. Everyone can have a ministry. Everyone can work for the kingdom of God. What was going to be my ministry? What was God calling me to do? God called me to be a paramedic in 2001. After years of school and countless clinical hours I became a paramedic. I did not know how God was going to use me. Taking care of my patients was my job, not my ministry. God had begun my ministry, but I was unaware. After several years of working as a paramedic my emotions became calloused. After seeing countless injuries and illnesses I had become immune to the shock. This is common within emergency services such as police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel. It is the only way we can remain calm and work while being in extremely stressful situations. Unknowingly, God was preparing me for my ministry within my career. I still could not see my ministry. I still had questions. How could doing CPR on a lifeless six-month-old child be a ministry? How could working a car accident that took the lives of two young men in an instant be a ministry? How could treating a patient who was having a heart attack be a ministry? When I was ready, God revealed my simple ministry—peace. It started with simple mental prayers while I was working on 14
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my patients. I would simply ask God to help me help them. I noticed it would keep me calm, which in turn helped the patient to relax. God showed me that even though it may be just another call to me, it was the worst day of my patient’s life. I began talking to my patients differently. I saw a change. My patients would relax and their condition would improve. I stepped out and began to tell my patients that I would pray for them. Several of my patients have told me that it meant so much to them to know someone was praying for them. There have also been several patients who have told me they have not been going to church but they knew they needed to start going again and get their lives straight. God was doing it. He had begun using me as a tool to touch lives in a way only He could do. I started understanding my ministry more and more. I realized that my ministry had grown to a whole lot more than just my patients. The families of my patients had become a major part of my ministry. The answers to my questions began to surface. How could doing a CPR on a lifeless six-month-old child be a ministry? Comforting a scared young mother and praying for a blanket of peace that only God can provide over her family. How could working a car accident that took the lives of two young men in an instant be a ministry? I was able to pray for peace and guidance for the families that would be forever changed. How could treating a patient who was having a heart attack be a ministry? I have been able to comfort the patient’s spouse, pray a prayer of peace over the entire family, and pray a prayer of healing over the patient. I never knew God could use me like that. I had thought that the pastor would pray for the sick until it was revealed to me that I may be the closest thing to a pastor a patient will ever see. My perspective of my job has changed; it is now my ministry. Now when I drive to work I pray a simple prayer that God will keep my crew and me safe from the dangers of the situations in which we will find ourselves.
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A photo caption could go here, if needed. Can be changed to white and placed over a dark image. Just depesnds on the design.
I also pray that when He needs us to help someone He will give us the power to do it quickly, safely, and effectively. We have to keep ourselves and our equipment ready because we never know when someone is going to need us. I must always be ready to help. I must always be ready to answer God’s call. We all must be willing to allow God to work through us through a ministry. No ministry is too small. One ministry that is often overlooked is cleaning the church. Most take it for granted that the church is always clean on Sunday morning. Someone has to take the trash out and clean up the Kool-aid and cookie messes in the Sunday school rooms. If everyone left the task to the next person the task
would never be completed. Let God use you and see what blessings He has in store for you. God did it for me. God gave me my career— my ministry. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Brad D. Buford, his wonderful wife, Tempie, and their boys, Preston and Parker, reside in Union City, Tennessee. They are actively involved in the First United Pentecostal Church of Union City, pastored by Tempie’s father, Paul Ray Cagle Jr. APRIL 2014
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
Don’t Let Your World Change You;
Change Your World DANIEL E. DAGAN
fter more then twenty-two years of ministry I have seen, heard, and experienced things in working for the betterment of others. As a freshman in college, I prayed and deliberated over what to do with my life. I sought to know how I could make a difference and help others. I graduated with a BA and went to work for a Caterpillar equipment dealership. I also felt God leading me into a deeper level of serving others. Now after working with people in many situations and settings, I have had to make an intentional effort to keep a tender heart of service. Recently I read a passage of Scripture that spoke words of instruction and inspiration to me along this line. In II Samuel 23:1-7 we read some of the last words of David, the giant slayer. Here he gives several admonishments to individuals who lead others. He tells them they must be just and fear God. And he says leaders must be full of the vitality of life, like the tender grass springing up after the rain. Then, in verses 6 and 7, he talks about the “sons of Belial” who are the workers of lawlessness and worthlessness. He speaks of the difficulty of conquering these people and how it may change you into something different than you wanted to be. In verse 7, he offers a warning to the keepers of the law to not become like the lawless people they are working with. Over the last several years in dealing with several cold, hard, and difficult people I had to make a consistent effort to not allow all of this to change me into something other then a just and God-fearing man. We must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. We must be strong, yet graceful and decisive. We are in the world but we must not be of the world. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
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Daniel E. Dagan serves as the senior pastor at The Pentecostals of Englewood in Englewood, Florida. He also serves as the chaplain for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
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FAITH & CULTURE BY EUGENE WILSON
A Case for Boundaries e live in an individualistic culture, one that tends to find value in institutions only as support systems, with little if any commitment to them. Consequently, there is increased pressure on the church to accommodate our culture by focusing on the personal needs of people. The thought is, if we focus less on the institutional aspects of the church, such as the responsibilities of community, and place greater emphasis on the needs of people, the church will grow. Support for this type of thinking is not unfounded. Jesus fed the multitude, turned water into wine, and healed the sick. He met the personal needs of people. Likewise, we should be concerned with the needs of people. Julia Duin, Religion editor for the Washington Times, addresses this subject in her book Quitting Church, which focuses on the dropout trend of believers thirty-five years and older. She quotes Frederick Buechner, from his Secrets in the Dark: Much of what goes on in churches, I am afraid, is as shallow and lifeless as much of its preaching and as irrelevant to the deep needs of the people who come to church hungering for a sense of God’s presence that they more often than not never find. Clearly, and rightfully so, the church must meet the needs of people. If it fails to do so, it stands the chance of losing its relevance in people’s lives. But what people think they need may not be what they need. People may feel a need for such and such, but actually need something entirely different. Many people do not see a need for doctrine or boundaries. However, it would be a travesty for a church to not preach doctrine or teach the necessity of boundaries just because people do not see a need for it. The early church grew because it “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42), not because it forsook doctrine and community, and discontinued prayer.
People Need Doctrine
When a church minimizes what people truly need and provides what they think they need the church does a disservice to them. The lack of doctrinal teaching also does a disservice to the church as a whole. Wendell Willis in “The Erosion of Community: A Challenge to the Church” (an article appearing in the Christian Studies Journal) shares the following: “Sixty percent of the respondents in a research project indicated that the most significant reason why they chose their current congregation had to do with “theology or religious beliefs.” What does this information tell us? Willis suggests it implies that “among those seeking congregational commitment, beliefs are significant, and therefore to diminish or avoid theological teaching is an unwise move.” Church growth is stunted when the church focuses its efforts entirely on meeting the personal needs of people.
People Need Boundaries
Doctrine involves the need for commitment to community as well as boundaries. Willis remarks, “Those who study the nature of communities note that ‘community’ not only assumes that members have something in common, but also that what they have in common distinguishes them from others. Thus community implies both similarity and difference, and those two realities entail a boundary.” It is a mistake to think that the sole purpose of boundaries is to keep people out. Boundaries also serve the purpose of including people. Boundaries help to create community. Thus boundaries must not be discarded in an attempt to accept all people; to do so would result in the loss of community. Unfortunately, many people have failed to see the importance of boundaries. Some even believe boundaries are unchristian. But boundaries are essential. Boundaries matter. And boundaries are not unchristian. Willis says: Biblically, the existence of boundaries is related to election. While Paul’s struggles with Jewish people (including some Jew-
ish Christians) are occasionally presented as if he were opposed to boundaries (cf. Ephesians 2:15), he is in actuality re-locating the boundaries of God’s people in faith in Jesus’ work (noted in Ephesians 2:16 and Romans 11:16-26). Willis presents two unintended consequences that occur “when the believing community denies or minimizes their distinction from the larger society.” He says, “First, the Christian community becomes less important to Christians, not just in the question of affiliation or attendance, but in shaping values and norms.” And since most people want values they will get them from other places, and the consequence of getting values from other places is a loss of identity of the community. Second, Willis maintains a loss of distinction creates “a tendency for those in the community to adopt a more critical and judgmental attitude toward outsiders (or lapsed members). An unacceptable spirit of pride can develop.” The removal of boundaries weakens the church. Willis notes that “H. Richard Niebuhr, at the first involvement of the church in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich, warned of the danger when the church identified itself too closely with trust in civilization. He wrote: ‘The captive church … is a church which seeks to prove its usefulness to civilization, in terms of civilization’s own demands.”’ Instead of removing or minimizing boundaries the church should seek to shore up its boundaries. Church growth is dependent upon this. And ultimately people need it even though they may not recognize its value. Because, as Willis states, “one purpose of the church is to make us better than we want to be!” Eugene Wilson is an ordained minister and a leadership consultant and coach specializing in church leadership. He is a graduate of Regent University with a doctorate of Strategic Leadership. He and his wife, Kerri, have two children. APRIL 2014
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[BEYOND PULPIT MINISTRY]
he worship service is one of the most effective tools we have to evangelize the sinner. It is also one of the most effective vehicles to edify, unify, and satisfy the believer. And it provides a setting in which to minister collectively unto the Lord in praise and worship. The worship service is where we meet God face to face. It is a place where we concentrate upon God, reflect upon His blessings, celebrate His triumph, experience His love, and appropriate His benevolent promises. The service is a place where our faith is fortified, our commitment is renewed, our knowledge is expanded, and our spirit is nourished. The worship service is the showpiece to the world of our love for Jesus Christ and commitment to His body, the church. Every service should be a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, pointing the world to the empty tomb. The world must know that we do not come together merely to learn a catechism, to socialize with friends, to do our religious duty, or to dress up. Through the worship service the world can see our consuming devotion to, and faith in, the Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 18
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Worship Is Not Preliminary
Most evangelical churches put great importance upon the preaching of God’s Word. The platform is the main focus of the service. The lectern is even located in the center of the platform area so that it becomes the central point architecturally. The preaching is usually the latter portion of the service so that it becomes the climax. Emphasizing the preaching is a wholesome, biblical practice, for “how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). Our Great Commission is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Jesus was both a teacher and a preacher, and He ordained that by this method the lost should hear the gospel and faith be planted in the hearts of men and women (Romans 10:14-17; I Corinthians 1:21). Nevertheless, in our zealous elevation of preaching, we should not minimize the importance of corporate worship, nor ignore the need for preaching to embody and be accompanied by worship. Can we say that preaching, which ministers to the people, is more important than worship, which ministers unto the Lord? Is ministry to people more important than ministry unto the Lord? Both are important! Many times the worship service is referred to as the “preliminaries.” This word means something that serves as an introduction, going before the main event. It carries with it the connotation of
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something preparatory or introductory to something greater. When this word is used, the implication is that the purpose of the worship service is merely to get us warmed up for the main event. This concept, whether deliberate or not, can promote a demeaning attitude toward a very important part of the service. Preaching should not be emphasized to the detriment of worship, and vice versa. These two parts of the service will complement each other if both are regarded highly. A good worship service will prepare the hearts of the congregation for the preaching of the Word of God. Offering praise and thanksgiving opens the door to the spiritual man so that the Word can penetrate and have a lasting effect. And many times preaching will embody worship, lifting the service even higher in worship. The worship service should be like a journey with the preaching bringing us to our destination.
Leading in Worship
Few things are more rewarding or challenging than being a worship leader. Sometimes the congregation will gather with an attitude of expectancy, ready to worship. At other times, they will be haggard, tired, and distracted. Worship leaders cannot follow these moods, but they must always exude a constant, positive attitude of worship, which can be an overwhelming task at times.
Worship leaders should remember several important points.
1. They are the leaders. Worshipers assemble together and sit on pews that face the pulpit. They fix their attention on the leader with the anticipation of being led on a spiritual journey. He or she is their leader, and it is hoped that they are ready to follow. Dwight D. Eisenhower defined leadership as “the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Most people come to church to worship even though they may be tired, depressed, carnal, or even despondent. The leader’s task is to help them do what they really want to do. A congregation, at times, will appear uninterested. Sometimes they may even resent the leader’s prompting them to worship, but when the goal is reached they will be pleased with his urging. In every congregation there will be people who will not cooperate. Therefore, leaders should concentrate their attention on those who are following. Otherwise they will feel intimidated, or even challenged, by unresponsive individuals.
He or she is the leader.
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Leaders can become preoccupied with the negative individuals, attempt to force participation, and thereby spoil the wholesomeness of the meeting. People will rarely rise above their leadership. Worship leaders cannot blame the congregation if the service goes nowhere. It is the leader’s responsibility to lift the congregation into real collective worship. If the service is a flop, the worship leader should take a serious look at the reasons for failure and prayerfully seek ways to improve. 2. Show, don’t tell. The best way for leaders to motivate people to worship is to themselves worship and be an example. The leader can become so preoccupied with leading that he or she forgets to worship. When we lead, we must never forget we are worshipers too. As one pastor put it, “We must both preach what we practice and practice what we preach. The great pastoral peril is to succumb to the temptation of being just a coach.” When the worship leader truly manifests a love for the Lord, the congregation will catch his or her spirit of worship. 3. Inspire, don’t intimidate. There is nothing that makes me more unhappy than someone trying to make me happy! A worship leader can ruin a service by trying to move a congregation too quickly. People need someone to remind them of how great God is by exhortation, reading of Scripture, a song of praise, or some other method. It would be wonderful if everybody came to the service ready to release themselves in a great expression of praise, but in the real world, that is not the case. Bringing them to that place is the challenge of the leader. If the leader can help the people to see Jesus, they will worship Him! If the leader becomes angry or frustrated the congregation will shrivel up. From time to time, the people will need a stimulating challenge, but a rebuke should be used only rarely and then in the wise discretion of the pastor and not anyone else. If the congregation is intimidated, they will be distracted from the main goal. People should always be treated with human dignity. A friend of mine became frustrated with a congregation because of their poor response to his exhortation. In a fit of anger and frustration he told them they reminded him of buzzards perched waiting for something to die. Of course, this statement only made the situation worse. He apologized for the remark later. Probably most leaders, myself included, have made similar blunders. The worship leader’s job is one of inspiration, not intimidation.
Inspire, don’t intimidate.
4. Don’t be a bore. A congregation can be bored a number of 20
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ways. Let us consider them and avoid the pitfalls. • Lack of enthusiasm by the leader. Droning on in a monotonous or unassertive voice will put people to sleep. • Repetition of hackneyed clichés. Over a period of time we can pick up a whole vocabulary of religious verbiage that rolls off people “like water off a duck’s back.” • Lack of direction. People feel the frustration when the leader is like a person in a dark room fumbling for the door. A leader needs to learn to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and to make proper preparation. • Telling long stories. Stories that don’t inspire will bore, distract, and deflate the service. • Giving an autobiography of the day’s activities. • Being unorganized, unprepared, and sloppy. People are very time conscious in today’s fast-paced world. Tuning guitars, playing the scale to find the right key, moving microphones, shifting through notebooks for words to a song, whispering back and forth about the music are a waste of people’s time. It also gives the impression that what is being done is really not worth doing well. • Excessive talking. I have been in services where real worship was taking place and the leader interrupted to tell an unrelated story or to expound on a complex spiritual thought. In doing so, he completely stopped the spirit of worship. The leader should not feel compelled to comment on everything. Sometimes less is more! We should let the worshipers worship and the preachers preach! There is a time for all things. The worship leader is like the apothecaries who prepared the incense for the altar of incense. (See Exodus 30:34-38.) The incense produced a sweet, fresh smell that drifted into the camp of the Israelites. Likewise, the worship leader should strive for sweet freshness. Always being fresh requires effort. Being a good leader in worship is hard work. The following suggestions are offered to help enhance the worship leader’s skills: • Be prayerful and meditative. • Scout for new choruses. • Memorize worshipful passages of Scripture. • Stay abreast of new methods. • Be innovative. • Be a thoughtful planner. • Be selective with music. • Learn to empathize with working people and visitors. • Read books on worship.
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• Be observant and learn. • Learn to be spiritually sensitive. Good worship services do not just happen. The worship leader plans, organizes, memorizes, and sets goals and themes for the service. Many services are a hodgepodge of themes and subjects, leaving people with their minds scattered. They go home without really retaining anything. A service where the songs, the prayers, the preaching, and the exhortation all blend together on a common theme will make a tremendous spiritual impact. Often the Holy Ghost blesses when little preparation has been made. Nevertheless, our efforts to find God’s leading in advance could help the service be even more effective. Is it more spiritual to find God’s will before the service or during the service? Perhaps no
one answer will fit all situations. But surely God is not pleased when a lack of preparation is due to a lack of concern or commitment, and He certainly sees through pseudo spirituality that is nothing more than stalling because of lack of preparation. Gary D. Erickson is the former General Sunday School Director of the United Pentecostal Church. He currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri, and attends New Life Church where Gary Tracy is pastor.
This article is excerpted from the book Pentecostal Worship, by Gary D. Erickson and is available for purchase at pentecostalpublishing.com.
[FEEDBACK] FAITH & CULTURE BY EUGENE WILSON
A Miracle in Smithville
A Miracle in Smithville ecently I had the honor of ministering at New Life United Pentecostal Church of Smithville, Tennessee. Pastor Dwayne Cornelius leads this growing congregation. When the Cornelius family assumed the pastorate seven years ago New Life’s average attendance on Sunday was in the fifties. Today, Sunday attendance routinely averages around two hundred. In 2011, facing a need for additional classroom space, the church began to explore its options. An off-price department store named Roses went out of business. The thirty-six thousand square foot building is located adjacent to the church property. A miracle unfolded: the church was able to rent the building for five hundred dollars per month for ten years, with an option to purchase the building on the backside of the lease. New Life invested just over five hundred thousand dollars in renovations. The building houses New Life’s recently opened daycare, church offices, men’s and women’s exercise rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, gymnasium, kitchen and dining hall, as well as various classrooms and mini-auditoriums for youth and children. To say that New Life is the “happening” place in Smithville is an understatement. The church hosts various community functions, ministries, and events. The church is also a trendsetter for area denominational churches—several churches have adopted or embraced a more exuberant style of worship. Recently a former United Methodist pastor and his wife in Smithville joined the leadership team of New Life after having received the revelation of Jesus Name baptism and being filled with the Holy Ghost. Surprisingly, New Life does not exist in a thriving community. Located seventy miles east of Nashville, Smithville is off the beaten path. The city population is only fifty-six hundred people and the county population is twenty thousand. In addition, the median income for a household in Smithville is $22,482, whereas the median household income for Tennessee is
$43,989, and $52,762 for the United States. And yet, despite these odds, New Life is a thriving congregation. Pastor Cornelius is routinely asked what the church does for outreach. What programs has his church implemented? What church growth formula do they follow? Most people are surprised with his answer. Although home Bible studies are taught, people are invited, and various events are held that bring an awareness of the church to the community, no specific plan of action for outreach has been implemented. And yet the church has grown. After interacting with the leadership team, ministering in the church, and developing a close friendship with Pastor Cornelius, I believe I can offer some insight into the growth of the congregation. Principles are both timeless and universal—principles work everywhere, at all times. I have witnessed the same principles embraced at New Life UPC (a rural church) work effectively at growing churches in heavily populated areas. God is not a respecter of persons. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Church growth is not limited to churches located in cities. Rural churches can experience growth too. Principles work regardless of the location, situation, or circumstance. What seldom works is the programs adopted from another church of a different culture and context. What may work well for a church in a city may not be doable in a rural church. Different cultures call for different methods. Principles, however, work regardless the culture or context. The challenge with principles is that they are not easy to come by. There are no one-two-three steps to be taken. Furthermore, building around principles takes time; it is not an overnight fix. The dividends, however, are well worth the effort.
So what are some of the principles I observed at New Life? For one, the leadership team at New Life is hungry to learn and grow, especially in the area of leadership. They do not believe they know it all. They are content but in no way complacent. Consequently, there is a high level of quality as well as a commitment to growth within the leadership team. There is openness to change. As a result, leaders are encouraged to try new things and to learn from what does not work and try again. Leaders are encouraged to express their thoughts, to share their feelings, to speak up. Consequently, a high level of trust exists among the group, and a spirit of camaraderie is apparent. I also observed a willingness to welcome others within the team and an eagerness to support one another. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV) says, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Although emphasis is commonly placed on not neglecting to meet together, we must not neglect the rest of that Scripture verse. We must stir up one another to love and good works. And we must not neglect to encourage one another. This is the environment of New Life, and this environment is a result of leaders who embrace principles. What works in Smithville can work anywhere.
Eugene Wilson and his wife, Kerri, are active in the training of leaders. They live with their two children, Kade and Jaelyn, in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
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Principles work regardless of the location, situation, or circumstances.
P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D
I am the editor of the Tennessee Voice, the Tennessee District news magazine. May I have permission to reprint Eugene Wilson’s article (“A Miracle In Smithville”) that appeared in the February issue of the Pentecostal Herald? This article is about one of our churches in Tennessee. I recently toured the facility the article described so aptly. I believe our Tennessee constituency would be excited to read this article. Thank you for considering this request. May God continue His blessings upon you and your work! —John M Singleton Editor’s response: Thank you for your request. Please feel free to print Eugene Wilson’s article that appeared in the February issue. We ask only that you print the article as it appeared in the Pentecostal Herald and that you cite the source.
12/30/13 2:58 PM
A few months ago, you gave us permission to translate “Start the Year with a Stop List” for the condensed electronic version of Reflections magazine in French. We are now requesting permission from you to publish the French translation of the following articles: ”The Jesus Name Centennial” by David K. Bernard (January 2013); “Missions à la Montréal” by Don Hanscom and me (February 2014). Thank you for your assistance. —Liane R. Grant
[ WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU ]
Email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor’s response: Please feel free to print the articles. We request that you cite the Pentecostal Herald.
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
Ministry of Encouragement JEREMY PAINTER
n the Roman year 761 (our ad 8), Ovid, the great Latin-speaking storyteller and author of the stunningly successful Metamorphoses, directed the imaginations of his readers to the distant East. He didn’t always tell new stories. In fact, it seems he almost never did. His best tales, like Shakespeare’s long after, were old tales to which he had added his own keen powers of human observation. He had an unparalleled ability to furnish a story with a seemingly insignificant detail that would nevertheless provide his reader with profound psychological insight into the human condition. The (tangential) detail’s very insignificance insured that it would operate beneath the threshold of consciousness—until just the right moment. This was Ovid’s way. The old tales he told spread as fast as rumor. He was so deft at his craft that people on both sides of the Mediterranean knew his stories, and to some extent (as we shall see), they believed the historicity of his tales. One of his stories tells of a visit that the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes (the Romans called them Jupiter and Mercury) made to Phrygia (a territory in southwestern Anatolia, i.e., modern Turkey). They came down in the guise of mortal men and beggars. When they knocked on the inhabitants’ doors, they were met with a unanimous sentiment: cold indifference. Unable to find shelter in the nicer homes, they came at last to the home of Baucis and Philemon, a poor, middle-aged couple, whom Ovid is sure to call “pia” or “pious” (faithful, god-fearing). Baucis and Philemon, said Ovid, welcomed the beggars. She threw a rough coat over their cold, 22
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wet bodies; she cooked the bit of sow they were hang-drying from the rafters. And she sat the visitors down at the couple’s humble table—a table so humble that, to make the table even, they broke a piece of pottery and placed it under the uneven leg. When the wine they poured didn’t run out, the couple learned they were entertaining not mere beggars, but gods. The gods blessed them for their kindness to strangers, made them priests of a temple, and flooded the town for its inhospitality. Baucis and Philemon had treated the beggars like gods; therefore the gods treated the lowly couple like exalted priests. We can’t say for certain whether Ovid’s story actually generated an expectation of a divine visitation in southwestern Asia Minor or his story merely reflected an already widespread tradition amongst the “backward” and superstitious Phrygians. Whatever the case, Luke the Evangelist tells us that when Paul and Barnabas came to Lystra (Acts 14), which neighbors (and was sometimes interchangeably referred to as) Phrygia, the inhabitants, who’d just seen Paul heal a cripple, went into a frenzy. They decked the two apostles with garlands and lit the sacrificial altars; priests of Zeus came scurrying out of their temple, shouting (in Lycaonian), “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” The lesson had been learned. Or had it? The moral of the old tale was: don’t assume that a man’s looks can tell a man’s nature. They were quick to reject what their eyes had told them. But then they immediately went back to relying on first impressions. According to legend, winged Hermes was the swift messenger and interpreter of his father Zeus, the mighty
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A man from Cyprus, born of the tribe of Levi, given the name Joseph at birth, the apostles gave him the nickname “Barnabas,” which Luke tells us means, “Son of Encouragement” (some translations use the synonymous “Son of Consolation”). “cloud-gathering,” “thunder-wielding” son of Chronos. Believing Paul to be Barnabas’s subordinate, they called Paul “Hermes”; Barnabas, they assumed, was Zeus in human disguise. This episode, along with other passages in Acts, is suggestive of the kind of charisma and stature that Barnabas seems to have possessed. True, Lystrians assumed Paul was Hermes because he was the one who did the speaking. But their legends just as often depicted Zeus as the one who would speak. In fact, in Ovid’s tale of Baucis and Philemon only Zeus spoke; Hermes was the silent partner. Even though Paul had spoken the word of power, something told Lystrian eyes that Barnabas was the more likely of the two to be the CloudGatherer. They used their mythology to try to interpret and make sense of the present, but not only had they mischaracterized the nature of the two men (they were not Greek gods), but they had also misjudged Paul and Barnabas’s relationship. A man from Cyprus, born of the tribe of Levi, given the name Joseph at birth, the apostles gave him the nickname “Barnabas,” which Luke tells us means, “Son of Encouragement” (some translations use the synonymous “Son of Consolation”). Indeed, the first time we meet Joseph “Barnabas” we find him going beyond his fellow Christians in their giving by taking the unprecedented step of selling his land and laying the proceeds at the feet of the apostles (Acts 4:37). His example had such a powerful effect upon people that one couple (Ananias and Sapphira), so desperate to imitate and equal his largesse, even went so far as to lie to Peter about the sale of their land. It was Barnabas who was, almost single-handedly, responsible for leading the elders of Jerusalem’s church to accept the ministry of Paul. We first meet Saul when he coldly holds the coats of stone-throwers (Acts 7:58); the second time he is mentioned, he is “breathing out threatenings and slaughter” (Acts 9:1). Only a figure whom everyone could trust would be capable of persuading Jerusalem’s elders that this same Saul was not only a fellow believer, but he was also a fellow apostle. Barnabas was that figure: “Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles …” (Acts 9:27). At first, whenever Luke mentions Barnabas and Saul/Paul together as missionary partners, he lists them as “Barnabas and Saul.” Barnabas was the clear leader (the first name in ancient lists usually speaks to its order of prominence). But suddenly everything changed when the two arrived in Paphos, where the country’s deputy, Sergius Paulus, witnessed Paul rebuking a magician. The deputy became a believer; and Paul, probably in part because of this prominent conversion, became the lead figure in the remain-
der of Paul and Barnabas’s journeys (and in the wider Christian movement). In Acts 13:43, after Sergius Paulus’s conversion and his subsequent sermon in Pisidian Antioch, the reader will notice that Luke inverts the order of names to reflect this new reality. It is now “Paul and Barnabas.” Human nature, being what it is, does not often take kindly to going from first to second. Indeed, of all the musical instruments there are to master, second fiddle is the most difficult. It’s not easy finding oneself in the position of grooming one’s own replacement in the hearts and affections of the people. But Barnabas brought Paul, a younger man (or at least a younger Christian), alongside; he risked being fatally wrong about Paul when he recommended him to the apostles; and he probably mentored him on their travels. And now, carnally speaking, the man who was once mistaken for Zeus in comparison to Paul has found himself in the backseat. We’ll hear from Barnabas again, and we’ll find him in the familiar role of believing in another young man. This time, ironically, he’ll believe in John Mark even when the now not-so-young Paul no longer can. Barnabas makes Mark, who has problems with homesickness (a bad problem for a missionary to have), a missionary partner. Barnabas will not always be right about everything (for instance, he will choose the wrong side in the debate over Gentile table-fellowship [Galatians 2:9]), but on the subject of encouraging young men for the ministry, Barnabas’s instinct was impeccable. Mark will become one of the Four Evangelists. At least fourteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament were written by either Paul or Mark—both men who were given the solitary gift of Barnabas’s support and encouragement. This makes Barnabas indirectly responsible for more than half of the New Testament books. Young men and ladies need thousands of hours of training. But the value of simple encouragement cannot be overstated. Among the more prominent and public ministries, the ministry of encouragement is often the overlooked and undervalued ministry. In fact, it’s often not viewed as an official ministry at all. We all need correction and instruction. But we also need to be encouraged, that is, inspired to take courage and believe that, with God’s help, we are fully capable of exceeding even our own life’s expectations. Have you ever been someone’s Barnabas? Jeremy Painter teaches English Literature for Urshan College and Regent University. He lives with his wife, Laura, and three children, Ethen, Carter, and Morgan in Florissant, Missouri.
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SHEAVES FOR CHRIST 2014 OFFERING DATE: SEPTEMBER 7 // GOAL: $4,000,000 www.sheavesforchrist.com APRIL 2014
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[BEYOND PULPIT MINISTRY]
Ministry in Teaching y faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). The passage above describes an important aspect of ministry. The ministry must be biased toward a future success in others. By walking alongside others who receive the answers for their needs we have obtained our “land” to live in— “land” that could not have been ours otherwise. Our spiritual growth continues and our ministry expands. I began to pray that God would open the doors for me to minister in areas other than within the church itself and in outreach activities of the church. I sought opportunity to reach into the lives of those around me at work. I asked God to help me say things in a way that left no doubt in the minds of others about the love of God. I prayed that God would cause rivers of living water to flow into the lives of those around me. Those who gather in church to hear preaching are in an environ26
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ment of worship where the powerful presence of God can speak to them. Exhortation or conviction can flow with positive results. But I visit with hundreds every week who do not know the answer to the confusion and doubt that our society has handed them. They may never darken a church door. They are deceived and lost. The harvest must be out there. The young mind is like wet cement; it is fashioned into a mature adult thinking machine by a regimen of exercises from home and school designed to give a world-view with which to measure what is around them with some accuracy. During high school, students struggle to expand the horizons of their own personal view of the universe. These students are confused. They struggle with basic reallife concepts and are forming philosophies they will follow the rest of their lives. Much modification of mental ability and knowledge takes place on the campus of the university. The professor will present material and often make it flow by wrapping it in a philosophy that entices the seeking mind to eagerly reach for it. This is a subtle process in some areas, but in the sciences the main thrust of teaching for many is to separate the student from his mental images of the world entirely and substitute them with the utopian hope that
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through science they will end the tragedies of life and a greater future. This appeal gains a response from almost any carnal mind bent on self-improvement. As a professor employed at a university in the southwest, I walk daily among hundreds of other professors, office workers, librarians, and thousands of students. Among those thousands, I will personally interact with about a hundred people per day. In that one day I will expose people to several different levels of instruction with the intent of developing skills and knowledge that result in “education.” In this dry atmosphere of intellectual development and focused mental work on research problems, how can one hope to minister? After all, these campus dwellers are part of the up and coming—the successbound leaders of the future. What could they possibly need from a teacher willing to minister to them the gospel of Christ? The task seemed daunting, even impossible, but I knew that a desire to reach the lost would result in opened doorways. The key must be a desire to walk in a land of promise where you have placed your feet on uncertain terrain. This desire was expressed in daily prayer with thanksgiving for the work God was going to do. In many cases, university students face hard choices. Do they keep the Sunday school lessons and family choices of their past as
the benchmark worldview or do they finally lean toward the academically polished persuasion alluding to a chance existence and a future success brought about purely by human motivation and hard work? The student also suffers the usual trouble-filled life of any person, along with many unusual psychological and sociological maladies this isolated environment can potentially produce. According to the Journal of the American Psychological Association, in a report that reflects data collected for 2011-12 by the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors, “Anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).” This report notes that an alarming 7 percent of the evaluated student body considers suicide. Normally the student has recourse in a campus counseling office. Faculty will rarely see a student with life issues seeking assistance. However, each of these situations potentially presents an opportunity to minister. The student is far from home and no one person may be accessible for them. This is where constant prayers for the right words in lectures and an obvious presence of God’s love in the classroom can be most effective. APRIL 2014
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At the present time several students attend a weekly preaching point. I am presently working with an agnostic student who is from an atheistic family. There are questions about God almost every time the student comes to work. I know God is doing a work. God began to work with me in my lecture hall and in the interactions with students and other faculty in my area. The flow of context given in lecture for my subject matter began to change. I was given inspiration during the lecture allowing me to phrase my material so that students became aware that something was different. Regardless of the subject matter, God can inspire in the classroom while you teach just as He does in other circumstances. God can do it! The result of this process was a change of perception in many students who would never consider approaching a professor with their real-life dilemma. I have no skill or words that will do this; God does this. I have prayed for it and He has answered. Ask for this, for it is in His will to do it. He will not upbraid you, but will give you abundantly what you seek. Any subject, any school, any level. He can do it! A student who joined our campus from another community enrolled in my course one fall semester several years ago. The student happened to be enrolled in courses along with several other students who attend our local congregation, and the student had taken a job alongside another member of our church. About two months into the semester I received a visit from this student after conviction and uneasiness prompted a response. The student had listened to my lectures and felt directed to see me. After a few minutes of conversation, this young person broke into tears and realized that God had orchestrated these events to bring him back from a backslidden condition. While attending church service the next Sunday the student went to the altar and received a renewal. When we are completely submitted to God in ministry He chooses to use us to bring about His plans for others. This is ministry in the trenches of real life. Another year a certain traditional-aged student enrolled in my freshman chemistry class. This student had already begun experi28
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encing a serious difficulty in life. A little while into the semester the student visited my office with a circumstance that required them to drop the course. Several semesters later I had begun a series of after-workday Bible discussions with a colleague who is from a different church affiliation. I noticed that this former student in my program now worked for my associate and was sitting in on the discussions. Months went by and one day the student requested a copy of my studies. A few weeks later this student attended our church. It has been several years since that Bible study and that student is now involved in ministry in our local congregation and has married in our congregation and started a family. God has restored health and renewed hope. At the present time several students attend a weekly preaching point. I am presently working with an agnostic student who is from an atheistic family. There are questions about God almost every time the student comes to work. I know God is doing a work. I receive requests for Bible studies several times a year. Among the hard science student body, that is remarkable. These students face real problems and it takes real answers to help them. I did nothing to bring these students to my office or to speak with me in the hallways, but they came of their own accord because God opened the doors. The teaching minister is busy. Your ministry can be enlarged if you will be willing to walk in places that seem to be uncertain. The field is white and ready to harvest. Randal Hallford is an associate professor of Chemical Physics at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is also the pastor of Life Tabernacle in Olney, Texas, a daughter work of Life Tabernacle of Wichita Falls, Texas.
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WORLDLINE BY BRUCE A. HOWELL
Updates from the Mission Field CHILE: Our National Conference is always a great time of fellowship, worship, and preaching for our Chilean brethren. This year was no exception. Even though the meeting was held several hours south of Santiago, there was a record number in attendance. Over 900 people came from as far away as Arica in the north and Punta Arenas in the south to add their voices in worship and praise to the King. The anointed preaching and worship again blessed everyone and the Spirit of God moved in each service. —Dan and Debby Barkley
Pentecostal Church of Chennai, pastored by Ruban Hobday and his wife, Sandhya. Along with a Sunday service and a Thanksgiving service, Allan Shalm preached in several sessions at “Joshua Generation,” a retreat for youth from three Indian states where we saw at least seven receive the Holy Ghost. Then he challenged the graduates of Fishermen’s Net Apostolic Bible College, which is affiliated with the GATS program, to go beyond what is required of them and serve the Lord with all of their being. —Allan and Georgene Shalm
BANGLADESH: During the month of August 2013, James Corbin was privileged to minister with Theron Smith from Sumter, South Carolina, in Adur, India, at the Bible school as well as a number of churches in the local area. The Holy Ghost fell during each service and approximately thirteen received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Many miracles took place. —James and Elizabeth Corbin
PARAGUAY: June 7-9 we held our National Youth Conference. Brother Poitras and Brother Crossley were our speakers for the conference (as they were here for the Next Steps program). There was a great spirit of unity. About five hundred gathered for the last two services. Eight received the Holy Ghost and three were baptized in Jesus’ name! We also had the dedication of New Heights School and privilege of having Tim Scott and family present, as well as Brother and Sister Crossley. A special monument was made by our AIMer Jeremy Durand in honor of Fred Scott and his wife. The mayor of the city of Lambare was also in attendance. It was a special moment. The church was filled with the students and their families, and there was a special touch of God in the program and ceremony. —Joey and Cristina Bir
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The Central African Republic is currently in a state of crisis. Following the political coup in March of 2013, the country has remained in great distress. Our pastors, churches, and brothers and sisters in Christ stand in need of prayer. We need fervent prayer on behalf of the C.A.R! Please, pray for political stability, provision for the people, and peace. —Michael and Danan Benson
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: It’s so exciting to see the progress on our new construction site. We have been able to dig the trenches, construct the reinforcing, and are now ready to cement the foundation. The Bible school students have classes in the morning, and then work on the construction after lunch. We are all extremely overjoyed to see the building slowly rising from nothing to something grand. We badly need the expanded Bible school facilities to serve to more students; and having a new headquarters complex will enable us to better handle the huge administrative workload in Papua New Guinea. —Richard and Andrea Carver
INDIA: In May we were privileged to minister in India, where Allan Shalm was born to missionary parents George and Margaret Shalm. It was an honor for us to attend the General Conference in Kodaikanal, where we reconnected with pastors and friends that we had not seen for almost thirty years. Global Missions Director Bruce Howell was the main speaker for the conference, but Allan Shalm also ministered in two night services where many were healed and dozens testified that they had been filled with the Holy Ghost. We also spent more than a week in the city of Chennai where we ministered in several events in the United
MERICAN SAMOA: Our churches in American Samoa were blessed by the ministry of Cecil Sullivan, former missionary to the Philippines. The Lord moved in a marvelous way. Six received the Holy Ghost and people were touched and healed spiritually as well as physically. —Bennie and Pat Blunt FRANCE: In spite of economic uncertainties that have the world reeling, great things are happening in the kingdom of God. This past summer, we assumed the responsibility of the international work in Paris. Being a world-class city, Paris has a large population of foreign workers and students. This church was birthed out of that community. Five people have been baptized and have received the Holy Ghost in the past ten weeks, but we need a permanent place to rent for this group of fifty people. —Paul and Darla Brochu
TONGA: During the Tongan General Conference and dedication of new Vava’u church building with guest speaker Gerald Sawyer, eleven received the baptism of the Holy Spirit while many others were renewed. We are believing this is just the beginning of a great and mighty revival. The very first church building in our northern district is beautiful. We believe that through this work many other churches will be started in this area. —Crystal Reece Bruce A. Howell is the general director of the Global Missions Division of the United Pentecostal Church International.
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
Prayer and Fasting KIM JOHNSON
ftentimes, fasting and prayer are taught as two separate spiritual disciplines that believers practice in order to develop their relationship with Jesus. Yet we find in the Bible that fasting and prayer go together like a hand and glove. Fasting and prayer humble the soul enabling it to submit to the Spirit and to the purpose of God. And a soul that is submitted manifests the power and providence of God. Prayer comes forth from our spirit. It is how we communicate with our Creator. Fasting deals with our outer man and brings cleansing to our inner man. When our undisciplined flesh rises up, oppression comes to our inner man. Flesh is so easy to puff up. It is like flour and water—all it needs is a little yeast to rise. And because we are subject to this world and have the knowledge of good and evil, we need to check constantly for leaven in our flesh (Galatians 5:9). Fasting aids in helping us to see what the Spirit of truth wants to reveal when He is searching our hearts for sin. Fasting humbles our human nature and opens up our spirit to hear from God. It also reveals to God the sincerity of our heart. The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17). Fasting is presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1), and prayer then goes forth from a position of contrition and brokenness instead of pride and arrogance. It produces humility and a repentant heart by which God is able to answer our prayers. It removes the blindness of pride so we are able to fear God and to act appropriately in His presence. Another aspect of prayer and fasting is their close association with the “word of faith” that we speak (Romans 10:8). Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Jesus Himself conveyed this powerful principle when He expounded on faith and speech: 30
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“Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:22-24). Jesus said that His words are spirit and life (John 6:63). He also said, “And I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. . . . When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (John 8:26, 28). Therefore, we conclude that if we speak forth the Word of God in faith believing, we speak forth life. On the other hand if we speak forth words rooted in evil, negativity, doubt, and unbelief, we speak forth death. This principle of speech is fundamental in developing our relationship with God and understanding the relationship between fasting and prayer. So what do our words have to do with prayer and fasting? First of all, let’s examine the power of words. Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness because of their words. Samson’s words
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ensnared him. God upheld Samuel’s words all the days of his life— not one fell to the ground. Daniel received an angelic visitation because of his words. God told Hosea the prophet to “take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips” (Hosea 14:2). Jesus fasted forty days and nights to overcome the devil with His words. Words are the vehicle that creates a life’s past, present, and future. The tongue’s function is to reveal the hidden self: one’s thoughts, ideas, and personality. The tongue takes these hidden ele-
ments from within the person and through words brings them out into the open. A person’s logic and reasoning are made manifest by his words. His ambitions and desires are penned in the heavens with his words. Jesus said, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). The ultimate judge of all mankind will be the Word of God—and yet man continues to rush headlong into an inferno of misery because he does not recognize the corrupt and puffed up nature that fuels his speech. The disciples of Jesus could not cast out a devil with their words because their hearts were full of doubt and unbelief. It APRIL 2014
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wasn’t that they didn’t try, but when they tried, they were unsuccessful. Jesus told them they lacked faith and could only cultivate powerful faith through fasting and prayer (Mark 9:29). Why only by fasting and prayer? Could it be that fasting and prayer enable us to speak forth the word of faith? Matthew 8:16 says, “When the even was come, they brought unto him [Jesus] many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.” In the Old Testament, it was the faith of men and women that caused them to seek God’s ways through fasting and prayer. (See Hebrews 11.) Their actions moved God to manifest His grace in their lives. Oftentimes we read about those who made supplications to God through fasting and prayer. The word supplication in Hebrew is the same word for grace. Hence, the Old Testament patriarchs knew how to access the favor of God through fasting and prayer. There are many other examples in the Bible of those who accessed God’s favor through fasting and prayer. For example, Nehemiah, the cupbearer of King Artaxerxes, received words that brought anguish to his soul. In response, Nehemiah sought God by way of fasting and prayer, and God intervened mightily to destroy the works of the enemy against Nehemiah. In the Book of Acts, we read about a devout Gentile named Cornelius who feared God and prayed always. Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing” (Acts 10:30). Cornelius was a man who had learned the art of fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayer prepared Cornelius to receive a messenger from God, divine instruction, and salvation for his entire house. Daniel’s fasting and prayer life was the mark of his success with God and man. Daniel 9:3 says, “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” Daniel used fasting and prayer to seek God’s favor and understanding for himself and the captive nation of Israel. The humility of fasting coupled with repentance moved the heart of God to bestow on Daniel the ability to understand the visions that God had given him pertaining to Israel’s future. In Daniel 10, we again read of Daniel humbling himself through fasting. Daniel 10:12 states that Daniel’s words were heard in Heaven from the first day he set his heart to understand and to chasten himself before God. The result was that God sent an angel to Daniel because of Daniel’s words. Notice that Daniel set his heart to seek and to understand God. He obtained the desire of his heart through fasting, which God called chastening. The Hebrew word for chasten in this passage is anah. This word means “to abase self, afflict, answer, chasten self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, humble self, hurt, ravish, submit self, weaken.” God heard and responded to Daniel because Daniel was willing to humble himself before God and to depend
on God alone for help. God always responds to those who are humble before Him. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The word poor in this passage is from the Greek ptochos, meaning “beggar (-ly), poor.” I remember a time while I was on a fast that there were some accusations made against my character. I took the accusations before God and asked Him to search me to see if there was any truth to these words. The Lord then began to reveal a pattern in my life that was contrary to His Word and ways. Hence, I was able to repent of this pattern, thus enabling God to deliver me from my sin. Fasting done properly with the proper motives moves the heart of God. Another example of how fasting and prayer work together is King David’s intercession for his newborn son. When King David’s newborn son became sick following God’s judgment for David’s sin, David fasted for his son until the child died. King David understood the mercy of God. He knew that by humbling himself before God there was a possibility that God would turn back judgment and heal his son. Although God did not change His mind, God did honor David’s humility and brokenness of heart by rewarding him with another child, Solomon. Isaiah 58 shows how fasting is more than just afflicting the flesh; it is drawing out the soul, i.e., moving from selfishness to selflessness. God said the purpose of fasting was not to make your voice heard on high but to humble yourself and to draw yourself out to others. The results will draw His mercy and grace near, and He will hear and answer your prayers. It is similar to the fast of Esther: her voice was not heard during the fasting, but the fast itself gained her favor with God and King Ahasuerus, causing her petition to be heard. Fasting puts us in a position to approach God for our petition and to hear God’s answer. Paul taught believers to crucify their flesh so they might walk in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is more than being led by the Spirit in action; it is also speaking and praying according to the will of the Spirit. Therefore, fasting puts us in a position to rid ourselves of fleshly mindsets and yokes that cause us to pray and to speak contrary to the Word and will of God. Jesus said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). May we learn to walk as our spiritual forefathers did: humbly and prayerfully before God. May our lives of fasting, coupled with prayer, move us to the place that enables us to speak the word of faith and to see God manifest His power in and through our lives.
Could it be that fasting and prayer enable us to speak forth the word of faith?
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Kim Johnson is the author of Teach Us to Fast and Pray. Kim is committed to the ministry of intercessory prayer and travels internationally teaching seminars on the subject.
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NEW START BY CARLTON L. COON SR.
Bloom Where God Plants You! ortland, Oregon, has over 2.4 million souls crying out for a man or woman to come start an Apostolic church. In metro Portland, twenty neighborhoods with populations of over 50,000 have been designated as target areas for a church planter. Do you hear the cries of the souls of the lost in Oregon? Please come help. The door is open. God’s call is universal but the path to follow that call is varied. Church planter Kevin Neu was not brought up as a Pentecostal. In fact, he was not raised attending any church regularly. He was part of the 85 percent of Americans who do not regularly attend church. An invitation by a fellow high school student changed Kevin’s path and ushered him into this new idea of going to church. At the beginning he attended infrequently. But the presence of God drew him back. Eventually Kevin repented, was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and received the Holy Spirit. He was the only member of his family that had found salvation. Kevin began to pursue an intimate relationship with God and soon realized he was called to preach. After his marriage to Terina, the couple pursued soulwinning, stepped into ministry, and helped launch a new church. Kevin’s ministry developed. He was eventually licensed with the United Pentecostal Church International and now serves as Oregon’s Youth secretary. Circumstances took the Neu family to live in Eugene, Oregon, a city with no United Pentecostal Church. The Neu family was traveling sixty miles one way to attend services. In Eugene they were surrounded by people in broken relationships, addictions, and abuse. These people needed Jesus and were not open to traveling 120 miles to be in church. The Neu family heard the cries of the lost in the city where they lived. A Godcalled preacher cannot live with the cries of the lost around him and not be touched. After almost a year of the sixty-mile commute
to church, the overwhelming and ongoing cry of the souls of Eugene, Oregon, had found its way into the hearts of Kevin and Terina Neu. Kevin and Terina spoke with their pastor. Kevin’s reasoning was, “I own a home in Eugene. I have an established career that is providing for my needs. I know the spiritual climate of this city. My friends, acquaintances and business associates are unlikely to be discipled in a church sixty miles away. I am a victorious Christian with the message this
Eighteen months after starting the church several dozen members meet at The Pentecostals of Eugene. New souls are entering the kingdom of God. Many have been baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Spirit. The cry of the lost now has an answer in the form of a God-called preacher. How shall they hear without a preacher? Perhaps God has allowed circumstances to put you in a situation similar to the Neu family. Perhaps you are called to
Researchers have shown that only 10 percent of the population will travel more than fifteen minutes to be in church. Is God calling you to bloom where you have been planted? city needs. It only makes sense that I start a church in Eugene. This is where God has put me.” The Neus applied to start a church plant and were approved unanimously by both the North American Missions board and Oregon District board. Less than thirty days later Kevin and Terina were having Bible studies in their home in Eugene— ministering to people in the city where they reside. Within months as many as twenty people were gathering in their home for Bible study. Of course, this meant they had outgrown their space. The baby church moved from their home into a rented building where they started a Sunday meeting. Eight months after the church was started, the Oregon District North American Missions team sponsored a Cityreach evangelism event in Eugene that drew over thirty first-time visitors. Since that time the Neus have used home Bible studies, lifestyle evangelism, and consistent street outreach to keep their congregation growing.
preach and the town or city in which you reside has no church. Researchers have shown that only 10 percent of the population will travel more than fifteen minutes to be in church. Is God calling you to bloom where you have been planted? Portland, Oregon, needs more church planters. Steve Hanson is a church planter who is now the director of North American Missions for Oregon. If you would like information about opportunities in Oregon or the Cityreach evangelism strategy, contact Pastor Hanson at email@example.com. Carlton L. Coon Sr. is the general director of the North American Missions Division of the United Pentecostal Church International.
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[BEYOND PULPIT MINISTRY]
Teach the Child; Remind the Teen BETH AND CALEB RANDOL
he Word of God gives the ultimate command to be a Christian educator: “These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thine house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
Teach the Child (Beth)
Education starts the minute a child opens his/her eyes for the first time. Infants begin to see, hear, taste, smell, and make connections. Our nurseries and Sunday school classes must be filled with learning opportunities. Why not take advantage of these first years? When we do, we are planting a seed in a child that will continue to grow throughout their lifetime. My father-in-law reminds our church, “When you win an adult, you win half of a life; when you win a child, you win a full life.” Children are our future and if we do not teach them, then who will? Will their friends or teachers at school teach them? Or will their friends and Sunday school teachers at church be their primary examples? The ones who are in our Sunday school classes at this moment are the ones who will be running the schools, the government, the United Pentecostal Church International, the churches, and sometimes our lives. Our beliefs, money, and everything we have now will be transferred to them. This is why we must make teaching our children a priority in the church. For the past seven months I have been privileged to teach in the four-year-old Sunday school class. The major34
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ity of our students are bus kids with some speaking little to no English. This has proved to have both heartbreaks and rewards. Most of these children will come to Sunday school without breakfast, their hair unbrushed, possibly still in pajamas, or in one case, not having their diaper changed since the day before. We have dealt with cursing—yes, even at age four—and we have had a child cry throughout the entire class without knowing why, since the child did not speak English. All you can do is love them; a little love and attention can achieve much. One particular boy who was in my class (he is now five and has moved on) had major behavioral issues. He refused to listen, he would act out randomly throughout the class, and he was very disrespectful. This particular child would also ask for a snack at the very beginning of class; however, snack time is more toward the end. When we did have snack time, he would be done and asking for seconds, thirds, and fourths before the rest of the children had been given theirs. One day he really broke my heart when he was so concerned about where the food came from and then proceeded to ask why the other children would throw away their snack when they did not want any more. He would just stare at the trashcan so puzzled and concerned. Understanding that some of his behavioral problems were because he was hungry, we served the snack a little earlier and began to give him some extra attention, such as letting him be the main helper for the day, letting him pick out a Sunday school song, pass out crafts, help with the lesson, or even just giving him a pat on the back. Soon we began to see his entire attitude changing. He became the most excellent class role model and would be willing to help the teachers or help other students who needed it. He is one I pray will keep coming to church throughout his life and become a great leader. If we put teaching our children on the back burner, then what will happen to the future? What will happen to the souls of those around the world? Christian education must be the
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foundation within our churches. If we are not teaching our children, then there is someone else out there who is.
Remind the Teen (Caleb)
Beth and I have been a part of the Fusion Student Ministries team since fall of 2013. Even though I studied church music at Urshan College, I slowly started to realize I have a desire to work with young people. With this desire, I have learned an important idea that shapes my approach to teaching teens. Everyone remembers the times of his or her youth. Great memories were made, lessons were learned, and one’s worldview was shaped to prepare for life’s highway called adulthood. It is in this time of one’s life that he or she is at a fork in the road. The conversation transpiring inside the mind is likened to the comical satire of angel versus devil where both are trying to outargue each other in order for the teen to make the perfect decision. It is during this point of life that a youth worker is the most important person, aside from the pastor and parents. As a youth worker, it is easy to teach the same Bible story that the student has heard many times before. It is likely those who have attended church since birth are the ones who know the story of Joseph verbatim, as well as the many interpretations given by the pastor’s sermons. Listening to the same stories again and again can turn from being a reminder of the grandeur of God to one questioning if Christianity has become more about the stories than the relationship. The question put before the youth worker is this: How can we reach the youth of today without making it easy for them to lose focus tomorrow? The answer is simple but hard to approach. My first time teaching a youth class was at a Trinity Baptist church located in St. Louis County. My wife and I were contacted to help revamp the Sunday school program. We had a training seminar on Saturday and then taught the Sunday school classes the following day while the teachers took a back seat and watched. The youth class had a firm curriculum rooted in doctrine and theology equivalent
to the theology classes I had at Urshan (except without Pentecostal teachings). Though what they were learning was phenomenal, I wanted to change things. I spoke on how God has given us a rose whose name is Jesus; the red petals signify the blood He shed, the stem is the cross, and the thorns are the thorns on His head. Before I explained how wonderful God’s love is, I asked every student there to come to the whiteboard and write down something they were struggling with personally. It took a lot of courage to publicly write a dark secret. The tears started flowing as every person in the room looked at what had been written. Those students were struggling with anorexia, suicidal thoughts, peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, pornography, depression, and a host of other personal battles. I finished the lesson and walked to the back of the room where a teacher stopped me. As tears started to appear, she quietly said, “I never knew.” The doctrine and theology of the United Pentecostal Church International are good things to teach young people. Unfortunately, due to the society we live in, youth workers cannot shy away from the haunting truth. The youth of today face social persecution, while trying to follow the rules affirmed in Hollywood’s Handbook of Life. In one of the first services in the New Year, I prayed with one of the teens in our youth group. She had been dealing with depression, suicidal thoughts, and the feeling of being unloved. If I had not asked the tough question, she would still be trying to cope with life instead of pursuing eternal life. One must not be numb to the fact that these issues are found in the minds of Apostolic teens. As God is not a respecter of persons, neither is Satan. This is why youth workers must
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house . . .” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
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remind teens on a deeper level who God is and why He loves him or her. Youth workers cannot be afraid to dig deeper into the minds of the students, to ask the harder questions, and to be prepared for the unpredictable answers. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 reminds the Christian educator of the mission given. We need to be confident that our children and youth are equipped to go out and sort through the knowledge that is handed to them. Christian educators of all ages need to teach the child there is a God and remind the teen that He is still there. Caleb and Beth Randol reside in Moline, Illinois. They attend The Apostolic Sanctuary where they are Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, and assistant music director. Gary Randol is the pastor.
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MULTICULTURAL MINISTRIES BY ART WILSON
An Open Door: The United Nations rom the very start of 2013 I had known amazing things were going to happen. The Lord had given me a clear vision that this would be the year of open doors. Although I had no idea what was going to unfold, I knew I needed to do everything in my power to prepare myself. Also, as pastor of The International Church of Metro Detroit, I felt a burden that this was not just for my personal edification: I must give our church vision as well for what God was challenging us to do. We implemented twenty-four-hour prayer and accomplished a church wide forty-day fast. We reached out to our community and focused on the miraculous in our services. As a result Jesus did some amazing things! By the close of 2013, we baptized over 150 people in Jesus’ name, increased our membership to over 500, and saw many miraculous healings. We were convinced these were the open doors the Lord had told us were to come. However, Jesus had much more planned for us. The Lord said in one of our prayer meetings that in spite of all He was doing, something special was yet to happen and that He was still opening doors. By the close of the summer an amazing opportunity opened unto us. It all started when one of the secretary assistants to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (Ban Ki-Moon) attended our church while visiting family members who were members of our church. They had been praying desperately that God would convict her to seek Him for salvation and for healing of a major medical condition. As her condition worsened and she was losing hope for recovery, God began to convict her and reveal Himself to her in a miraculous way.
He revealed to her that Jesus is the one true God, and that she would find the answers to all of her questions at The International Church of Metro Detroit. She traveled all the way from Manhattan, New York, to attend a service. During the course of the service Jesus touched her and she was completely healed. She has since been baptized in Jesus’ name and received the Holy Ghost. She was so excited at the miraculous things that had just happened in her life that when she went back to work at the UN building, she began to spread the word throughout the campus with emails, flyers, and phone calls. As the curiosity grew and people began to talk, many global officials wanted to hear more. The interest grew so much that they started seeking a way to get together to ask questions about her experience. She decided to contact me for direction on what to do next. Upon hearing what God was doing, I was excited. It became clear that this was the open door we had been preparing for all year, and it was at the most important location in the world. Part of the United Nations mission statement says, “We are determined to promote better standards of life in larger freedom.” Our prayer is that this mission statement will soon be fulfilled by the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After spending time in prayer, I felt strongly impressed of the Lord that we needed to hold a church service on the United Nations campus. But upon investigating if a church service would be possible, we were denied approval at every turn. No one had ever heard of a church service taking place there. However, we felt strongly to keep on trying. We finally gained approval to have the service we had hoped for. We were able to
We were able to have a full church service on the United Nations campus. Close to 150 people attended our first service.
have a full church service on the United Nations campus. Close to 150 people attended our first service (all United Nations staff and one guest). During the service the presence of God filled that place and the Lord touched many lives. We prayed for the sick and the needs of the people. The interest for more information about Jesus was overwhelming. Although we had a full house, there are hundreds on a waiting list to experience a service at the United Nations building. We have also maintained several Bible studies during the intervening months. We are now in the process of getting approval to place a baptistery on the United Nations campus to prepare for the growing interest in salvation. We have plans to double our 2014 schedule of services and increase our efforts in fellowshiping with the staff that attend. We were excited to have prayer with the international director of Women’s Relations, who informed us that she would like to connect us with many displaced immigrants who have a strong desire to be a part of a church and find community here in America. Our plan is to keep moving forward with the Bible studies and services as long as Jesus keeps the door open. Please join us in prayer. We have been privileged to create key contacts that could greatly aid in revival efforts on a global scale. The staff has informed me that we are guests on international soil in America. We believe for the wisdom and hand of God to move this project into revival. This is truly an open door! Art Wilson serves as senior pastor of The International Church of Metro Detroit. Since planting this church in November 2000 they have baptized over nine hundred people in Jesus’ name. Art also serves the UPCI as the national secretary for Building the Bridge Ministry.
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
Ministry of Mothering RACHEL COLTHARP
unday, oh blessed Sunday. An entire day devoted to the sacred … to the holy. For Sunday we reserve Sunday clothing, Sunday shoes, Sunday school— and Sunday food: pot roast, potatoes, and carrots are relics of my childhood Sunday memories. And my favorite, the Sunday afternoon nap. It is indeed a blissful ritual to this ragged mother of four. For some folks, ministry revolves around something done on the platform, in a classroom, on a bus, or with an instrument. But not for me. My ministry involves less glamorous settings. It has included atomic blowout diapers, spit up in my hair, fishing dolls out of the baptistery, chasing an almost naked toddler up the center aisle of the church (she was trying to get to her dad), and wiping throw-up off of couches, car seats, and youth-camp floors. So let me introduce myself: my name is Rachel. I am a mother minister. I’m making disciples, preparing food for God’s children, teaching little hands not to hurt others. It doesn’t feel very spiritual, and thankfully it doesn’t require an amen or a pat on the back. But make no mistake; it is holy work. The sacred often wears an apron of duty. Don’t be fooled by the pretty pictures. Mothering is rough stuff. And it is holy work. The job I do as a mother has eternal consequences. When I act in a way that wins their hearts to me, I can then win their hearts to Him. Together we build with toys, and together we memorize Bible verse cards. Somewhere here, between the Legos and the Logos, I have found my most important ministry calling. Every time I set a meal before a child and tell him or her that behind the bread is the flour, and behind the flour is the wheat, and behind the wheat is the seed, and behind the seed is the ground, and behind the ground is the water and the sun, and behind the water and the sun is the Creator who made it all, I have pointed a soul to its Maker. I don’t just feed bellies; I’m feeding souls. Every time I wipe a fevered face or clean a scraped elbow or splint a wounded heart I have the opportunity to tell them that we are fragile beings—eternal souls wrapped in paper-thin skin. Here today, gone tomorrow. We break so easily. We must remember that this skin will fail us and we will one day stand before the Maker, so we had better make things right with Him. Every day. Every time I wipe a tear of frustration or betrayal I can point toward the One who never wounds or abandons. I don’t just quell childhood squabbles; I am building peacemakers. 38
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Each morning we sing the song I wrote to remind them: Take time to be holy; Cleanse your heart from self and sin; Take time to surrender all your day to Him. Soon come test and trial it’s certain; You’ll be tempted, scared, or hurting. So take time to be holy; Spend some time with Him. We are not just learning music—the scales and notes—we are learning to be His. There is no retiring from the ministry of mothering. From the basket to the casket, I have the responsibility of pointing my children and grandchildren to Christ. My life and my choices will show them what it looks like to navigate the passages of time. The transitions from strength to weakness. From youth to aged. As they watch my body wither and grow frail, they can see what it means to grow stronger in faith. I will teach them how to live, and one day I will teach them how to die. And when my lips are silenced, my words will live on in their memories. When my hands are finally folded and have grown cold, my life will still touch them. I will be gone, but I will be here. In a world that measures with standards of production, numbers, and return on investment, I suppose my ministry is not very successful. Yet. The four children I am raising, and the other four I have watched in my home over the years, do not yet have much to offer in terms of financial return or productivity. But I’m not measuring by that standard. A crop of potatoes can be multiplied in just a few months, but an oak tree will take decades. I’m not growing potatoes. I’m growing oaks. Rachel Coltharp is a wife and mother who writes and speaks from her real life experiences, mostly mistakes and do-overs. She is an avid disciple of the Apostolic doctrine. She is married to Brent Coltharp and lives in Aurora, Illinois.
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[BEYOND THE PULPIT]
LORIN L. BRADBURY
Crockpot Evangelism everal years ago I was inspired by an article in the Vision titled “Whatever Happened to Onion Soup?” The author wrote of the time when people were not afraid to open their homes and offer something as simple as a bowl of onion soup. Too often today people are concerned with impressing people rather than enjoying their company. Much of the revival we have experienced in our church in Bethel, Alaska, has been enhanced by fellowship around our dining room table or in our living room. Our home, which we dedicated to the Lord, has been a tool for evangelism. Sometimes it is as simple as inviting a visitor after a Sunday night service for whatever we can create from leftovers. On other occasions it’s a planned meal with a formal invitation to acquaintances from the community or visitors to our church. Then there’s the Sunday afternoon dinner. Since the invention of the Crockpot it has been quite simple. Before we go to bed on Saturday night a roast is dropped into the Crockpot; and with a little water and a package of dried onion soup added and the Crockpot set on low, we wake in the morning with the aroma of dinner filling the house. Before leaving for church, potatoes and carrots are parboiled and added to the roast. We are prepared to invite a visitor or a church family we haven’t visited with in a while, or both.
No, I am not a chef, but I have watched my wife, who has a gift for hospitality, repeat this process hundreds of times. The concern is not on how the throw pillows are arranged on the couch. Nor is much thought given to the pictures that don’t hang quite straight. In fact it may have been awhile since the blinds were dusted, but that’s not the concern on these occasions. The focus is on the guests who are going to come through the doors into our home. They didn’t come to see a museum—they came to share in the fellowship and know they are genuinely welcome and appreciated. A man once told me that he found a certain person interesting because that person was interested. When we show genuine interest in another person, that other person is likely to find us interesting. When they find us interesting, they are likely to find the things of God interesting. I propose we set aside a day in each of our churches to dedicate our Crockpots to the Lord. Let’s get busy with the work (or in this case, the relaxation) of evangelism. Lorin L. Bradbury is the pastor of the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska. He is also the secretary of the Alaska-Yukon District, Northwest Regional North American Missions director, and a psychologist in private practice.
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Miracles BENJAMIN D. COPPLE
everal months ago I came across a thought-provoking debate held by the popular debating series Intelligence titled “Science Refutes God.” The debate was quite interesting from a scientific as well a theological standpoint. To determine which side is the winner, the mediator has the audience vote before and after the debate and the side that convinces the most people to switch is declared the victor. I was disappointed (but not necessarily surprised) to see that the percentage of those who voted “for” jumped from 37 percent to 50 percent and those who voted “against” from 34 percent to 38 percent. While listening to the closing remarks of the debate, I was reminded of John 6:44, where Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” When confronted with the existence of miracles and other supernatural occurrences, the debaters continually asked for proof, while refusing to accept arguments of faith. One of the gentlemen even went so far as to say that he would become a believer on the spot if only the opposing side could present him with “a single shred of evidence”—a common response for unbelievers. The fact that miracles cannot prove to some people the existence of God suggests that miracles are not the evidence of God. At first glance this conclusion appears strange, but the Bible provides two examples where Jesus refused to perform a miracle to prove Himself to unbelievers. In John 7:3-9, the brothers of Jesus pushed Him to attend the Feast of Tabernacles so He could show off His miracles. But the Bible says “Even His brothers did not believe in Him” (NKJV). Jesus refused to go with them on such terms and attended the festival in secret. In Mark 8:11-12, the Pharisees asked Jesus to give them a sign from Heaven to prove Himself, but He responded, “Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” Jesus knew these people were not truly looking to believe in Him, and therefore He refused to give them a sign. However, He did perform miracles for people who had faith and wanted to believe in Him, such as the woman with the issue of blood, Jairus (the man whose daughter was at the point of death), and the man in Mark 9 whose son was possessed by a demon, to name a few. It is obvi42
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ous that God does not perform miracles in response to unbelief; He performs them in response to faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” How can a Christian go through a terrible trial in life and still believe there is a God? The answer is not that God performs a miracle, though He may choose to do so, but faith. And how can such faith be acquired? The answer is through a relationship with God. The Lord of the universe desires to have a relationship with His creation. Once faith is acquired through a relationship with Him, then miracles can be poured out. It is not the miracles of God that save us; it is our relationship with Him. Only a full-fledged relationship, complete with repentance, baptism, and the infilling of His Holy Spirit, can prove to a person that God exists. It is what makes the difference between a Christian and an atheist who goes through the same trials as the Christian. The atheist uses trials to confirm his belief that there is no God. He doesn’t have a relationship with God. Miracles can bolster faith and draw outsiders in, but they won’t substitute for a relationship with God. What about those people who performed and experienced the miracles of God, yet didn’t make the journey? How did Gehazi, Judas Iscariot, and almost every king of Israel after David experience all those miracles, yet rebel against God and act as if He didn’t exist? The answer is that it is possible to experience and perform the miracles of God and still not have a relationship with Him. Jesus confirmed this in Matthew 7:22-23 when He said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” From His haunting words we
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can conclude that just as miracles are not the evidence of God, they also are not the evidence of a relationship with God. The Bible illustrates this point in John 6. Jesus fed more than five thousand people with just five loaves and two fishes. The people were so enamored of Him that they followed Him all the way around the Sea of Galilee to be with Him again when He landed on the opposite shore. But Jesus saw their hearts and knew they wanted to be with Him only because He had fed them. When He asked them to believe on Him, they responded the same way the Pharisees did in Mark 8 by asking Him for a sign to prove Himself. Instead, Jesus asked them to commit to Him, but most of the people went away. They wanted His miracles, not a relationship with Him. Consequently they received neither. But then Jesus turned to the twelve disciples, those closest to Him, and asked a timeless question: “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67). Peter spoke up for them all, saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69). The twelve disciples desired to have a relationship with Jesus, and as a consequence they went on to perform many great miracles, signs,
and wonders. Their miracles were not the proof of their relationship with God, but they were the result of it. It is essential that we have a close, healthy relationship with God. Not only are we saved by our relationship, but it is also a gateway to His supernatural power. These miracles do not prove God; He does not perform miracles in response to our unbelief, but in response to our faith. God will not comply with those who demand a sign to prove His existence. But to those who have walked and talked with Him because they know He exists, He will always answer in times of stress. The real proof of God to every Christian is in the late hours of the night, the stressful months of the year, the long hours spent with Him, the strength derived from His presence—in a word, those who have a relationship with God. God is calling us to draw closer to Him and to prove ourselves by our faith in Him. Benjamin D. Copple is a worship leader and the leader of SURGE Student Ministries at Turlock Christian Life Center in Turlock, California, where the pastor is Tony Copple. APRIL 2014
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Learning to Hear God’s Voice Debra’s Story
AS TOLD TO KERRI WILSON
ne spring evening I was making a banana pudding for a friend, as I often do, but this time the experience proved to include more than just my good deed. As I prepared the pudding I realized it was getting late. I called my friend to let her know I was running late, but I would be there. It was approximately 9:15 pm when I finally left the house. I drove off, speeding, and about a half mile down the road as I was getting ready to round a curve, something told me to move over to the edge of the road and slow down. When I did there was a middle-aged man standing in the center of the road. I drove by him in shock and realized that if I had not moved over and slowed down my evening would have turned out very different. Throughout the month prior to this event I had been waking up early each morning to spend time in prayer, praising God, and reading my Bible. It became evident to me that this devotional time was drawing me closer to the Lord and making me feel spiritually 44
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connected to Him. I recognized it was the Lord calling me to spend time with Him. As I reflect over that fateful spring day I’ve come to understand that God’s protection in my life was at work. However, His protection didn’t just haphazardly occur in a mere moment—it had already begun while I was heeding His call to relationship. Because I had already become familiar with His voice it was easy for me to listen to Him in the midst of my harried pudding delivery. Today I understand the importance of learning what the voice of God sounds like. Now I know why yielding my will to God can make the difference between life and death, not only in the spiritual sense but also in my day-to-day living. This experience changed my perspective, and it changed my life. Debra Smith attends The Apostolic Church in Millington, Tennessee. The pastor is Travis Sheppard. Kerri Wilson lives with her husband and two children in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
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“Testify!” CYNTHIA A. LOVELY
y spiritual heritage came from my mother. She was a devout Catholic with a hunger for God; she welcomed the revelation of Apostolic truth. Every year on December 3, the anniversary of her death, I struggle with a variety of emotions: loneliness, nostalgia, a longing to see her again, and comfort knowing she is with the Lord. This past year on December 3, I embraced a new emotion: joy. God miraculously opened the door for me to share my mother’s testimony and my own testimony with several people in a Bible study at a Methodist church. How was this possible? By not boxing God in, grabbing the opportunity, and running with it. I have been employed as an administrative assistant for a Methodist church for several years. There have been opportunities during that time to slip in a Pentecostal touch: ministering in their services with our interpretative signing team, sax/piano duets with my husband and I, our entire music team leading worship in one of their meetings, and UPCI missionaries Mark and Mariann Starin of Lebanon speaking at one of their missionary events. The best was yet to come. A small group of congregants at the Methodist Church meets once a week for an early morning Bible study. Last fall, they decided to study the Holy Spirit. I heard the opening discussion because they chose to meet that day in the room directly connected to my office. I could see and hear through my office window, and I almost jumped through it when they mentioned the Holy Spirit. I restrained myself and prayed for the leading of the Holy Ghost. When the study session ended, I immediately approached the pastor, my boss. “You do realize you have an in-house resident Pentecostal, right? I almost crashed your Bible study this 46
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morning.” She smiled and told me I should have joined them. “I didn’t want to overstep your authority,” I said. “But I’d love to be involved.” She invited me to be a special speaker at one of their sessions. Resisting the urge to jump up and down, I accepted and started to plan my presentation. At first, I thought of using church history and relating to Wesley, because he was much more scripturally based than their present organization. The Lord kept whispering, “Testify.” I recalled the Scripture verse, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). The Lord handed me the perfect opportunity to begin with my mother’s testimony since the study fell on December 3. Many years ago, my mother had read the book The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, and she became interested in this “gift of the Holy Ghost.” She started attending local prayer meetings and eventually met up with Lee Stoneking. He prayed my mother through to the Holy Ghost at an Apostolic Pentecostal tent meeting as she fell through a hole in the side of the tent, speaking in tongues. Shortly after this event, she persuaded me to attend a youth service held in our area by David Wilkerson, where I first experienced the power and presence of God. (My mother knew I would agree to go because I had also read his book and was curious about meeting him.) So my mother’s story led naturally to my own story. I set out to prepare my speech with numerous notes and index cards, a circle of believers praying and fasting with me. When the appointed time arrived, I assembled all the notes on the podium and never looked at them through the rest of the study. I had asked God to give me the words and He did. I shared my mother’s testimony, my testimony, my husband’s testimony, my sister’s testimony, and a little bit of anyone else’s I could think of. You could not deny the Spirit of God that was in the room. I spoke about family dynamics and how they shape us from our childhood, and our past, which affects us into our adult lives. How we all have our own quirks from our upbringing, but God
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We all have our own quirks from our upbringing, but God can make us new and mold us into His perfect creation. can make us new and mold us into His perfect creation. I shared my hesitancy in attending Pentecostal meetings; but because I was concerned about my mother being involved, I started to check it out. The group listened intently as I told my story of God drawing me, tenderly, sweetly through songs, sermons, and altar calls. I expressed my gratitude for God’s patience and longsuffering with me. How it took months to break down the hardness of my heart through rivers of tears. I testified of the glorious experience of speaking in tongues and being filled with the Holy Ghost at a Pentecostal altar. At the end of the session, the pastor opened it up for questions. There were sincere inquiries from the group. “When you speak in tongues, are you still in control?” “Is this for everyone?” “Oh yes, the promise is to all!” We had an informative and enlightening discussion. I handed out two-page copies of Scriptures verses for them to take home and read about the promise of the Comforter and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. In the weeks following the class, each person approached me individually to tell me how much they appreciated my willingness to share my spiritual journey. Because I had already typed up a rough draft for the initial Bible study, I edited my written testimony and made copies to hand out in the final session to those who missed my speech. Then I mailed out copies to the members who normally come to the study but
were unable to attend the last few sessions. And I added a thank you in the monthly newsletter I design for the church, offering copies to anyone who may be interested. It worked. I received a new request from that thank you. They all received a copy of the Scripture verses along with the testimony. At last count, thirteen people have now received my testimony by spoken or written word from that Bible study. When God grants us opportunities, we must take every advantage to walk through the doors and extend them as much as we can. Jesus said, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Don’t box God in, regardless of where you work or whatever the situation. I pray for my Methodists. The seed has been planted but now I need to water it with tears, prayer, and fasting. God will give the increase. I am thrilled that God created this chance to share my testimony, and I am overwhelmed with the perfect connection with my mother. On a day usually filled with conflicting emotions and bittersweet memories, I was filled with joy. Only Jesus could fit the pieces together so perfectly. Cynthia A. Lovely is a freelance writer who lives in upstate New York. She attends Maranatha Ministries in Schenectady, New York. The pastor is Richard Frank. APRIL 2014
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g the n i r u o p ‘new t a u o d s e i e h n t ys of ly we a e r d u y l S r a … e y agerl ens.” n the e i p l d r l a a u e c 6 o r e r d e r I n e “ a uar y 194 w , n s a s J e r , u e ld g a p r He r ton tal pa u s o o entecostal , c P s e e l t h u T n , o e n s P oo our n o Withersp ’ . e T . r i f W – f touch o
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P E N T E C O S TA L H E R A L D
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LAUNCH YOUR MINISTRY BY MARK JOHNSON
A Man’s Gift uss Wilson, the recent Seattle Seahawks quarterback who won the Superbowl, said, “I loved, loved, football as a child.” He would draw the plays on paper for the fun of it before he ever joined a team. When he joined his first team—he had been to one practice—the coaches saw and were amazed at how far he could throw a football. His dad and brothers played football, so he had grown up always throwing a football around. The coach put him in as backup quarterback in his first game. He had gone to one practice before the team’s first game. The starting quarterback was hurt on the first play of the game, and Wilson was put in as quarterback. He had not been in enough practices and training by his coach to know their plays, but because he had been learning and studying football his whole young life, he effectively stepped into the role as quarterback and his team won the game sixty to three. Every man has a gift—something that makes him unique. It is a contribution he can make that no one else can. Solomon said, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16). Your talent and abilities open doors for you when you develop them. Some people have talents that are present without trying, but most of us have to work to develop those abilities. Often the challenges you face build and develop your abilities. Abraham Lincoln was known for his ability to craft a clear, understandable point from simple sayings that were easy to remember, such as “Broken eggs cannot be mended. I have issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and I cannot retract it.” He developed from a simple, country upbringing into a polished politician. This ability was honed by intense effort. He taught himself the law by reading Blackstone commentaries. Lincoln traveled around the state of Illinois giving speeches and telling stories. Jesus chose each of His disciples with varied backgrounds and abilities. Each apostle used his distinctions. Andrew was a connector who introduced people to Christ. Peter, the outspoken one, was selected to bring the gospel to the three categories of
men: Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. Jesus rebuked Peter on occasion for his outspoken actions, but Peter preached the first sermon of the church age on the Day of Pentecost.
If you need information about a subject, the Internet can be a great source for that information and training. Jerry Jones spoke a few years ago about
God’s hand in your life can use your developed abilities to benefit His kingdom. Submit the talent God gave you and allow it to serve God’s greater cause. Paul was handpicked to carry the gospel beyond the borders of the Jewish people and into the Gentile world. He had a passion for the things of God that God channeled into writing almost half of the New Testament books. My brother is an effective businessman. He has honed his instincts over many years in business. Recently, he sat at the negotiation table to help a non-profit organization in Atlanta purchase a six-million-dollar facility on sixteen acres. When the owners balked at reducing the price, he stepped up his negotiating tactics and convinced them to agree to sell the entire property for one million dollars. God’s hand in your life can use your developed abilities to benefit His kingdom. Submit the talent God gave you and allow it to serve God’s greater cause. How do you move into ministry? Although not a complete formula, following are steps that will help move you forward. Prepare. Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first two sharpening the ax.” A sharp ax makes the work of cutting down the tree much easier. Although some preachers are so good at their trade that it looks simple, it is far from simple to deliver an engaging sermon. The deeper the well, the more opportunity there is to draw water from it. So prepare yourself by learning all you can. Go to LaunchYourMinistry.com and work your way through the introductory training. iTunes University has many free classes on a large variety of subjects.
his learning from Aristotle’s writings on the art of rhetoric. Jerry Jones’s education in the classics has created part of his foundation for a powerful speaking ministry. Sharpen your ax today. Pray. Seek the Lord to find His will. What does God care about? That is what you want to know, and then you want to care about what God cares about. Seek counsel. The Book of Proverbs repeatedly points to the benefits of gaining others’ perspectives on life’s great choices. Here are two verses: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22). Your pastor is your best counselor. Start there. Allow preachers and prophets to speak into your life, but trust your pastor to guide you and have spiritual authority over you. Practice. Not standing in front of a mirror and trying to get the tenor of your words correct, although that may help at first, but actually speaking in front of people. Teach a class, a Bible study, or witness to someone. Don’t be silent and wait to get picked for the leadership team. Be a leader where you are. God will make sure there are opportunities for you. Mark Johnson is the pastor of Life Tabernacle in Elkhart, Indiana. He is also the secretary of the Indiana District. APRIL 2014
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United Pentecostal Church International General Conference 2014 St. Louis, Missouri • America’s Center Tuesday, September 30 - Friday, October 3, 2014
A VANCE KINGD M THIS YEAR:
AFTERNOON SEMINARS Church Leadership
All the seminars very well thought out, had knowledgeable speakers, and relevant topics!
Life and Family
I am as excited about these seminars as the night services. Keep up the good work!! –H
Worship Arts and Technology
We attended “From The Parking Lot to the Pew.” We have already started implementing some of the ideas we got from this seminar. – Tammy
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SUNDAY SCHOOL BY STEVE L. CANNON
Launch Your Ministry from Children’s Church he pulpit ministry is a major aspect of God’s plan to reach our world, but it is not the only avenue of proclaiming God’s Word. Every believer has a ministry in the church. Strong churches realize that everyone has a ministry and it often starts in classrooms. Sunday school teachers or children’s church directors have a great responsibility in the church’s mission to “Save Our Children.” Albert Einstein realized the importance of people when he stated, “Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men.” Most people think ministry starts at the pulpit, but they are mistaken. Everyone has a ministry and it usually begins outside the pulpit—in things that some may consider to be small. It might be working in the nursery, teaching a class of juniors, or conducting children’s church. Burdens are born when we get involved with reaching souls for Christ. “If you plant for a year, plant grain. If you plant for ten years, plant trees. If you plant for one hundred years, plant men. If you plant for eternity, plant the Word” (Anonymous). Our ministry is for eternity and we must plant the Word. The Word of God is eternal. The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, but the second best time is now. The future success of our pulpits begins with the faithful dedication of teachers guiding the youngest students in their relationship with God. Sunday school classes and children’s church sessions are not baby-sitting jobs. We are preparing our children to accept leadership positions in the future. I am what I am because I had dedicated teachers who believed in me. I remember Dot Parker, who pointed her finger in my face and said, “God has a future for you in His kingdom!” It really scared me as a ten-year-old boy, but she
Everyone has a ministry and it usually begins outside the pulpit—in things that some may consider to be small. was right! Alvin Toffler stated, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” We must retrain ourselves to be soulwinners and child developers. George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” We must recognize our need to be involved in ministry whether or not we ever step into a pulpit ministry. A woman took her four little boys to Sunday school every week. To get four boys dressed and to arrive at church weekly was an incredible task. Each time the boys came to church, they had pockets full of money. Some called them the richest boys in the class, but it only appeared that way. On closer examination one could discover the full story. The boys’ father owned a nightclub. On most Sundays he was passed out from the weekend of drinking. He seldom came home on Saturday night. The boys and their mother would stop by the nightclub to see their dad. While the mom checked on the dad, the boys found loose coins and bills all over the floor. They would prop the door open so the light would reveal where the money was. They stuffed their pockets while their mom went to get some money from their dad to give in the Sunday offering. The money that fell from the drunken dancers went into a UPCI church. The devil had that money long enough. One of those boys was born again before age eighteen. Later he became a preacher. He taught children’s church, the teen class, and eventually the adults. He became involved with the General Youth Division for some thirteen years, then involved with the General Sunday School Division for seventeen years. That same son is a
close friend with my wife—he became her husband! That one son who picked up coins from the dance floor and gave them to the kingdom of God now serves as the General Sunday School Director of the UPCI. My dad, at age seventy, gave his life to God and served Jesus for thirteen years. He would have been proud of me now. The time and place for launching one’s pulpit ministry often begins in obscure and strange places. My call came from that dance floor and that Sunday school teacher who pointed her finger in my face. The call to launch your ministry may come from what might seem to be the smallest job in the church, but if you apply yourself, you will grow in ministry. What counts is not the number of hours you put in, but how much you put in the hours. The future belongs to those who hear the voice of God and respond affirmatively. I like this phrase from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.” Hear the voice of God and launch your ministry from whatever position you are in. Sow seeds of the gospel and at the end of the day you’ll reap the harvest. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” God is watching your dream, burden, and dedication; so launch your ministry from children’s church. Steve L. Cannon is the general director of the General Sunday School Division of the United Pentecostal Church International.
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