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Posts tagged ‘Sunday’

When the Preacher Needs Help and No One Will Tell Him.


Godly pastor

Would you mind if someone corrected you for a sermon you gave? (Lightstock)

It sounds like such fun, being an encourager of ministers of the gospel. And it is.

Except for when it’s not.

What does an encourager of preachers do when he finds those who need not so much encouragement as basic instruction? They have fundamental problems in their preaching and need to make some serious changes but you’re in no position to tell them.

Compounding the problem, what if those preachers are being outwardly successful in their Kingdom work (as far as you can tell) in spite of their preaching flaws?

Many would say, “Leave it alone then. Clearly, the Lord is blessing, so maybe you are not the judge of their preaching.”

I happily admit I’m not the judge of anyone’s preaching.

However …

What about when a preacher saturates the sermon with references to himself and his family, his goals and his activities, and hardly brings up the name of Jesus at all?  You walk out knowing far more about him than you do about the Lord.

Should you say something to him?

You have no way of knowing whether this is his usual way of preaching or if today was an aberration. And if it was out of the ordinary for him, that raises a question: Does a pastor have a right not to preach the Word sometimes, but to preach himself, his views, his stories, and his convictions?

Paul said, “We do not preach ourselves but Jesus as Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5).

What about when the pastor reads the scripture, then uses it as a platform from which he dives into his pet theories and ideas and convictions, with hardly a reference to the text thereafter?  You leave with an ache inside, knowing there was so much in that text that could have meant so much to his congregation.

The pastor’s self-confidence is sometimes just that: confidence in himself.

What about when the minister reads a great passage and then preaches in and around it, analyzing it–sort of–from a remote distance but never makes it come alive for the listeners, never seems to appreciate what is happening in the text, and never asks what the Spirit is saying?

Was he tired today? Had he been too overworked that week to prepare adequately? Should we pray that he gets this right the next time? Or should we leave it alone?

What do you think about the preacher sabotaging his sermon at the crucial invitation time (the last 5 minutes of his message) in order to do something entirely different and unrelated to almost everything that has gone before?  The invitation time was then tacked on, but as out of place as a lean-to on a mansion.

Does the fact that as his members exit the building they say “I enjoyed the sermon” make it all right?  Does the fact that the preacher has drawn a huge crowd justify his shoddy preaching and prove he’s being effective even if his technique is lacking?

The encourager of preachers is something like an itinerant medicine man. When you find a sickness, you want to address it. But often you cannot.

a) You don’t know the ministers, but are visiting in their congregations, so you have no basis for speaking to them about your observations. Keeping one’s opinion to himself is part of the self-discipline the Lord requires of any of us.

b) Since such preachers seem to be thrilled with the success they are enjoying, numbers-wise, they would probably be surprised to learn anyone thinks their preaching is woefully lacking. You have no right to tell them, Mr. Encourager.

c) And, because these preachers are young and, in some cases, you are older than their parents, even if you had the opportunity to make suggestions, they would probably write you off as out-of-touch with how the Holy Spirit is doing things in this new generation. And they may be right, a fact you must always consider.

And so, you have one avenue to address this issue and one only.

You happen to own a blog. (smiley face goes here.)

Arriving home, you open your laptop and go to your website and type the story of your frustrations in the hope of making a point, not so much to these ministers (you feel confident they would never seek out a brother’s blog to learn how to improve their techniques) but for others coming after them.

What you wish for these and all other ministers is something like the following …

a) That preachers would occasionally listen to two sermons (DVD or CD or 8-track tape): their own from the previous Sunday and one by a master preacher. It’s just possible they would be amazed at the contrast, and that would be a positive beginning.

b) That from time to time, pastors would invite an outstanding gospel preacher to sit in their congregation for a couple of sermons and then give the pastor a confidential, no-holds-barred personal assessment (not written, but face to face) of what he is doing well and where he needs improvement. The minister could do with it what he chose, but just the discussion alone would be worth whatever it costs.

c) That all pastors would study preaching and work at improving their techniques, and not just copy a favorite motivational speaker.  (For a motivational speaker, everything is fair game. But the minister of the gospel must rule out much material that would be entertaining or even uplifting, but detrimental to his purposes and distracting to his message.)

d) That all pastors would seek out two or three friends to critique their preaching from time to time. These could be members of the congregation gifted in communication and wise in their methodology. Have an English teacher who belongs to your church give her suggestions from time to time. Again, what he does with their analyses is his decision and his alone. But he will have heard from his audience, and that is something.

It takes a strong person to welcome criticism and a mature one to want to continue to improve.

For this encourager of preachers, I will pray for those ministers. Believing them to be sincere followers of Jesus Christ, I am confident He is their biggest Encourager and, therefore, their most trusted Critic and best Helper. And that’s good enough for anyone.

Written by Joe McKeever

Dr. Joe McKeever writes from the vantage point of more than 60 years as a disciple of Jesus, more than 50 years preaching His gospel and more than 40 years of cartooning for every imaginable Christian publication.

For the original article, visit joemckeever.com.

 

10 Things A Children’s Pastor Must Do For Church Families.


 

1. Make it simple for families at home by offering resources for them to buy

Compile a list of recommended parenting books, kids devotionals, and workbooks for kids to equip them at home where most faith learning takes place. Even have some on hand that you can sell to them right at church.

2. Busyness does not equal effective ministry. Make events meaningful and less often.

Do not create too many programs that only further pull families away from their already busy schedules. You are not a social club, but a support for faith learning. Make any programs you do offer meaningful; don’t give in to the pressure to fill a calendar with busyness. Don’t feel the pressure to do what another church is doing; consider the unique make up of your church and prayerfully plan what suits the needs of your specific congregation. What is suitable for one congregation might miss the mark for another.

3. Spend money and resources on making your rooms kid-friendly

Your kids classrooms and nursery should be the cleanest, most organized, and the best decorated parts of your church. It’s an outward display of an inward commitment to excellence for the most vulnerable of our church. Cut down the clutter, and go through areas regularly to see them with eyes of a newcomer.

4. Please do not make a desperate request for teachers

Do not allow just anybody to serve. Keep high standards for who works with the most vulnerable of our congregation. Ask people you want directly. Go for the best. Parents will notice. It shows priority to those who we should be taking the best care of. I love having youth helpers and think it is vital for them to learn to serve. However, they are not to be relied upon. Adults are. Adults who typically are parents, involved in teaching, and who have a solid faith.

5. Set high standards, not low, for volunteers if you want to keep them.

Set a standard of commitment for those who volunteer. The least I allow for volunteer teachers is 4 weeks on 4 weeks off. Less than that and the person does not take ownership for their ministry. More than half of my teachers have asked if they can teach every Sunday because then it gives them full control over the run of the class. They take personal ownership and invest themselves in those kids’ lives. If volunteers only teach occasionally, there is no ownership taken and the kids suffer. The volunteers burn out because they have no attachment to the kids or ministry.

6. You are not the source of the children’s spiritual formation

Do not give parents the idea that the church does everything for their child’s spiritual development. Stress that you are only a support for what they are doing at home. A good portion of your time should be giving them resources and equipping them to lead their own children at home. Bring the ministry to homes, not just within your church.

7.  Stop creating an environment where parents feel like the church needs them to be perfect

Provide a way that they can submit prayer requests to the church staff so they can be prayed for and problems can be dealt with together. They need to know they are not judged, but welcomed and loved in the mess of life.

8. Kids need God’s Word taught simply, and to be loved by an adult who listens

Stop thinking that the next best thing is always happening. It’ll be exhausting if you’re always looking to order the new curriculum based on that season’s new hit TV show. God’s word is life changing and captivating as it is. What kids need to know about God and the Bible has not changed. Don’t sacrifice this for trying to stay current. If it works, great, but stop searching and searching for what just came out. Kids need what they have always needed: to know his Word, taught straight up. This is what changes their hearts. They also need to know that they have a space to be listened to and loved by a real person who takes the time to be in their classroom every week.

9.  Give kids a family atmosphere at church; your goal isn’t entertainment atmosphere.

We are a body of believers. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Our ties together have to do with him alone. With encouraging one another and building one another up in our faith. Kids need this too. God’s Word changes lives. The love of his people showing his love to others is what lonely hearts need. It’s what your heart needs. It’s what our kids’ hearts need.

Valerie Ackermann is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Parkway Community Church where she is involved with overseeing volunteers, planning and developing programs, and facilitating the classes for Sunday school. She also teaches her own class every Sunday and loves staying in the classroom and on the front line with the kids.www.leadmetoGod.com

Publication date: December 31, 2013

Church Matters

Greg Stier: Foyer Secrets Revealed.


Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, Colo.

What I’m about to tell you could put me on some ministry hit lists. I could get beaten with hymnals, immersed in the baptismal (for a little too long) or Bible-whipped across my jaw.

I’m about to share with you a few of the subtle “tricks” some pastors use in the foyer on their church members. These highly guarded ministry secrets could get me taken out by some rogue pastoral network. So if this is the last blog you see me post, you’ll know what happened.

How do I know some pastors use these tricks? Because, having gone to church for the last 40 years or so, I have personally been on the receiving end of some of them. And, sadly, having been a preaching pastor for a decade, I used some of them to ward off close-talking congregants or church members with the “best” idea yet.

So, without further adieu, here they are …

1. “Let me pray about that.”

2. The shoulder pause/play button. Okay, I’m super-guilty of this one. When I was a pastor I could work the foyer like nobody’s business. I would talk to anyone and everyone I could. I figured this was the one time a week I could literally rub shoulders with everyone at our church.

If I was talking to someone and saw somebody that I desperately needed to talk to I would put my hand on the shoulder of the person I was talking to and say, “excuse me for a moment.” I’d then tell the other person what I needed to tell them as quickly as possible and then take my hand off the shoulder of the person I was talking to and finish the conversation.

I forget where I heard it but someone once said that shoulder is like a pause/play button on a TV remote control. Put your hand on the shoulder and you’re pressing pause on the conversation. Take it off and and you’re pressing play.

Maybe this is bad but I still find myself using the pause/play button even though I’m no longer a pastor.

3. “How long have you been attending here?” When I was a pastor and saw someone I didn’t recognize walking up to the church building I would ask, “Is this your first time here at Grace?” It only took one, “No I’ve been going here for four years now” for me to stop asking that question.

“How long have you been attending here?” is a far less dangerous question because, whether it’s their first or 50th time attending, you’re pretty safe in not offending them.

BTW, if you ask them this question every week sooner or later they’ll be on to you.

4. “Well let’s pray right now!” Sometimes after preaching two or three times on a Sunday morning a preacher gets exhausted. Inevitably it’s that one person at the church who, if he/she got paid by the word would be filthy rich, approaches the pastor and begins a 30 minute diatribe about their situation.

“Well let’s pray right now” is a way some pastors bring a period to a comma in the conversation. It’s a pastors way of saying, “Dude, I’m tired. Let’s land the plane and quit circling the airport!” And, as long as the pastor genuinely prays, it’s an effective way to wrap up a potentially endless conversation.

5. Protect the quarterback. Okay I have a problem with prolonged huggers and close talkers. With these people I play the role of the offensive lineman. I put my hand on their non-pause/play shoulder and I protect the quarterback (aka “my personal space.”)

When someone gets past my guard and goes in for a hug I turn my body to the side, and my hand on their back then, after a second or two, I pat four times which is pastor-speak for Let my people go.”

6. “Walk with me to my car.” It’s interesting how much can be accomplished in 60 seconds.

7. The handoff. Like I said these secrets could get me taken out. Pastors could conspire against me for spilling their ministerial secrets.

By the way if you took this tongue-in-cheek blogpost too seriously and want to give me a suggestion I guarantee you one thing … I’ll pray about it.

Written by Greg Stier

Greg Stier is a husband, a father, a preacher, an author, a twitchy revolutionary and a fanatic for Jesus. He’s the President of Dare 2 Share Ministries which has led thousands of students to Jesus and equipped thousands more to reach their world with the gospel. He blogs at GregStier.org.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Boko Haram Kills 12 Borno Villagers.


By SaharaReporters, New York

Boko Haram sect between Saturday and Sunday killed 12 villagers in two villages of Borno State and escaped without any resistance, several other villagers sustained serious injuries by the Boko Haram fighters.

A Christian pastor on mission work in the villages and another military source in the 7th Division of Nigerian Army, Maiduguri told SaharaReporters in separate telephone interviews.

The sources who don’t want to be mentioned, said, the attacks occurred in Tashan-Alade on Saturday during a wedding ceremony and also on Sunday.

The attackers stormed the villages on motorcycles and left over 20 persons with serious gun wounds, some of whom are being treated in Maiduguri and Michika in Adamawa state.

SaharaReporters could not reach, Col. Mohammed Dole, spokesman of the 7th Division of Nigerian Army in Maiduguri.

What Happens When You Listen to God.


listening
(© Udoudo/Stock Free Images)

True friends are hard to come by. Ron and Jackie Hill are those kinds of friends. While we only go out with them about once a year, it feels as if we have just seen them the week before. We know that if we needed them, all we would have to do is call, and they would drop everything to help.

Once they shared a heartwarming story about their daughter Sarah. Sarah is a behavioral therapist who specializes in working with autistic children. She has a heart for these special kids. At one time she found herself with only 20 hours of work a week. Finances were tough.

Wisely, she began to seek the Lord, and boldly asked Him for more hours. As she prayed, she heard the Lord say, “Volunteer.” She prayed some more. Again she was impressed in her spirit with the simple wordvolunteer. Sarah honestly admitted that she responded out loud with, “Have you lost your mind, God? I don’t have enough gas to even get back and forth to work. How am I going to be able to drive somewhere to volunteer?” And as God so often does, He merely repeated, “Volunteer.” Obediently, albeit a bit reluctantly, she obeyed.

Sarah was attending a very large church, and asked to volunteer as a Sunday school teacher for autistic children. With her credentials she was welcomed with open arms. Shortly after that, the therapist group she works with let her know that they had a client for her. When she went to meet them she immediately fell in love with the family. As they talked, the parents shared that they needed her help on Sundays. Her heart sank. Sadly, she explained that she could not help them because of her commitment to the church.

They explained that their need was for someone to help them so that they could go to church. When she asked them where they attended, it was the same church where she volunteeredThese godly parents wanted someone to take their autistic child to the very Sunday school class that she was helping in. In other words, they were now going to pay her to do what she had volunteered to do at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

God never speaks to us in startling ways, but often in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Elijah desperately needed to hear from the Lord. Standing in a cave on a mountain, “a great strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing” (1 Kings 19:11-12, emphasis added, NASB). And in the gentle wind Elijah heard the voice of the Lord.

In each of our lives, the Lord usually speaks to us in a still small voice. And like the young boy, Samuel, we must learn to respond with “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:9). Nothing comes into our lives without God Himself speaking into the situation. Too often, our spirits are so overwhelmed with the circumstances we find ourselves in, that we forget to say, “Speak, Lord.”

This week in your walk with Christ, when you find yourself not sure which way to turn, practice saying out loud, “Speak, Lord.” As you learn to take this vital step in your deepening relationship with the Father, remember to listen and obey. His answer may not make total sense. But if you ask for His guidance, He promises to answer.

God usually doesn’t shout. Most often, you will sense a gentle blowing. And in that warm wind of your spirit, you will find the voice of God. As you listen, your spiritual ears will grow more and more acute, and like Jesus did, you will learn to hear God’s voice all the time. I promise.

PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 12/30/13

As we approach a new year this week, take some time to reflect on your spiritual walk, realign your priorities to always seek God first before undertaking any new endeavor, and listen to His still small voice. Thank Him that He orders your steps and has the perfect plan for you. Ask Him to direct you in setting some goals for the New Year and bringing you the divine connections you need to accomplish His plans for you. Continue to pray for Israel to fulfill God’s purposes in this season. Remember those persecuted for righteousness sake and ask the Lord for a global harvest of souls and for revival to ignite and spread throughout our own nation. Join those who are heeding God’s Word in humility to turn from their wicked ways, and seek His face. He has promised to heal our land if we do so. 2 Chron 7:14; 1 Kings 19:11-12; 1 Sam. 3:9.

Female Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 15 at Russian Train Station.


MOSCOW — A female suicide bomber blew herself up in the entrance hall of a Russian train station on Sunday, killing at least 15 others in the second deadly attack in the space of three days as the country prepares to host the Winter Olympics.

President Vladimir Putin immediately ordered law enforcement agencies Russian to take all necessary measures to ensure security after the attack.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack, but it came several months after Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov called for new attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including the Sochi Games.
A federal police spokesman, Vladimir Kolesnikov, said security would be stepped up at train stations and airports following the blast, the second deadly bombing in Volgograd in just over two months.

The state Investigative Committee said the bomber detonated her explosives in front of a metal detector just inside the main entrance of Volgograd station. Footage shown on TV showed a massive orange fireball filling the hall and smoke billowing out through shattered windows.

Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the nation’s top investigative agency, said that 13 people and the bomber were killed on the spot and two victims died later at a hospital. Russia’s Health Ministry said about 50 people were injured, and Markin said 34 were hospitalized, many in grave condition.

A police officer was among the dead in the explosion and three others were wounded.

“We heard a loud bang from behind, saw a bright flash and fell on the floor,” local resident Svetlana Demchenko, who witnessed the explosion, was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.

The bomber “became nervous” when she saw a police officer standing by the metal detector and detonated the device, according to the investigative committee.

“The number of victims could have been much higher if not for the system of barriers that prevented the suicide bomber from getting through the metal detector and into the waiting area, where a large number of passengers had gathered for reasons including delays of three trains,” the committee said.

Numerous ambulances were parked outside the station, and several motionless bodies were placed on the pavement.

Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is a city of around 1 million people, about 430 miles northeast of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics — a major prestige project for President Vladimir Putin — will open on Feb. 7.

It lies close to Russia’s North Caucasus, a strip of mostly Muslim provinces plagued by near-daily violence in a long-running Islamist insurgency. Umarov urged militants in a video posted online in July to use “maximum force” to prevent Putin staging the Olympics.

An attack by a female suicide bomber killed seven people in Volgograd on Oct. 21. On Friday, a car bomb killed three people in the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk, 170 miles east of Sochi.

The station was busier than usual, with people traveling home for the New Year holidays.

“I heard the blast and ran toward it,” a witness, Vladimir, told Rossiya-24. “I saw melted, twisted bits of metal, broken glass and bodies lying on the street.”

Sunday’s attack was the deadliest to strike Russia’s heartland since January 2011, when Islamist insurgents killed 37 people at a Moscow airport.

Umarov, who had claimed responsibility for the 2010 and 2011 bombings, ordered a halt to attacks on civilian targets during the mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin in the winter of 2011-12. He reversed that order in July, urging his men to “do their utmost to derail” the Sochi Olympics which he described as “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.”

It wasn’t immediately clear where Sunday’s bomber came from, but officials in Dagestan were checking whether the attacker could come from the region, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Chechnya has become more stable under the steely grip of its Moscow-backed strongman, who incorporated many of the former rebels into his feared security force. But Dagestan, the province between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea, has evolved as the epicenter of the rebellion, with near daily attacks on police and other officials.

© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

Passenger Vigilance Foils Terror Attack on Bus Near Tel Aviv.


Israeli bomb
Israeli police explosive experts survey a damaged bus at the scene of an explosion in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam December 22, 2013. A bomb hidden in a bag exploded on a bus near Tel Aviv on Sunday after passengers were evacuated from the vehicle, and no one was hurt in the blast, a police spokesman says. (Nir Elias/Reuters)

A potentially devastating terror attack was averted in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam on Sunday, thanks to the vigilance of the passengers aboard Dan bus No. 240. Several passengers noticed a suspicious bag that was left in the rear portion of the bus and alerted the driver, who immediately stopped the vehicle. The passengers disembarked from the bus minutes before a bomb concealed in the bag exploded.

One police sapper suffered a light blast injury and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Police officials believe the explosion was a Palestinian terrorist act. It is unknown at this time whether the attack was the work of a major terror group or a lone terrorist.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said in a statement that the blast was a “heroic action” in response to what he called Israel’s “continued crimes against the Palestinians.”

According to a report from the Palestinian Maan news agency, an Islamic Jihad official lauded the attack, saying he hoped it “could usher the resumption of suicide attacks.”

“[This is] a sign that the Palestinian people no longer accept that Israeli attacks [against the Palestinians] continue without any real response,” he says.

Israeli security forces have formed a joint task force to investigate the attack and apprehend the perpetrators, Army Radio reported Monday. Following the attack, the search for the perpetrators focused on roads in southern Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces troops operating in Judea and Samaria overnight apprehended 12 wanted Palestinians. The men were turned over to security forces for questioning.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says there were no civilian injuries in the blast. The explosion blew windows out of the bus and charred the sides of the vehicle.

“Based on the findings at the scene by bomb disposal experts, it was a terrorist attack,” Rosenfeld says. “We’re continuing to search the area for suspects.”

He says the nature of the target and the nature of the device led authorities to determine that terrorists, not criminals, were behind the bombing.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino held a security assessment following the incident and ordered to bolster police presence on the ground in all major cities and main bus stations nationwide. The police further urged the public to remain vigilant and alert security forces to any suspicious objects of individuals.

“The incident in Bat Yam proves that the threat of terror is always in the background, especially now, when [Israel] is trying to advance the peace process,” Danino says.

‘I’m No Hero’

The incident took place around 2:30 p.m., when the bus, which travels through Tel Aviv on its way from Bnei Brak to Bat Yam, was approaching a stop on Katznelson Street in Bat Yam.

David Pappo, 40, a resident of Bat Yam who was aboard the bus, noticed that a bag placed near the rear of the bus had a wire coming out of it and decided to look inside.

“It nearly cost me my life, but at least I helped find the bomb,” Pappo said Sunday.

Pappo says a 15-year-old passenger sitting next to him alerted him to the bag.

“I didn’t think twice—I looked inside and immediately realized what it was,” Pappo says. “I shouted to the driver to stop and get people off the bus. I know it was a mistake to touch it, because it could have exploded, but at least I helped save lives.”

Bus driver Michael Yoger, 59, has been praised by authorities for reacting quickly and ensuring his passengers’ safety.

“I’m no hero. I just did what needed to be done,” he said Sunday evening. “A passenger said there was a bag with wires near the rear door. I made sure that everyone was off the bus and away from it. I was the last one to get off the bus, only after I made sure all of the passengers were safe.”

President Shimon Peres later phoned Yoger and thanked him and the passenger who discovered the explosive, saying their actions saved lives.

“The nation owes you a debt of gratitude, and I would like to personally congratulate you for this act of bravery,” the president said.

According to Eitan Fixman, a spokesman for the Dan bus company, there were 12 passengers on the bus when the bomb was discovered.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the attack in a post on his Facebook page, saying that it served as a reminder that the terror that threatens Israel “never rests.”

“The ‘quiet periods’ that we enjoy are the result of the important preemptive measures and work done all the time by the security services, and not because the terrorists have taken a time out because of the diplomatic negotiations or any other reason,” Lieberman wrote.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki issued a statement condemning the attack.

“We strongly condemn the bombing of a bus near Tel Aviv today,” Psaki said. “Violent acts targeting civilians are deplorable. We reaffirm our unshakable bond with Israel and our solidarity with the Israeli people. Our thoughts are with those affected and with the Israeli people at this time.”

Meanwhile, three other security incidents took place on Sunday. A rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip late Sunday night exploded on a road in the Ashkelon region, causing no harm. Warning sirens sounded in the area before the explosion. Police sappers canvassed the area in the early hours of Monday morning and found the rocket’s remnants.

The second incident took place at the Mishor Adumim junction near Jerusalem, around noon Sunday, when three Palestinians attempted to attack policemen stationed at the junction’s checkpoint.

The three arrived at the checkpoint in a taxi and exited the vehicle. The policemen noticed that one of the men approaching them had drawn a knife and proceeded to restrain him. The three were arrested and turned over to security forces for questioning.

In another incident, boulders that were placed on train tracks running between the southern cities of Dimona and Beersheba caused a minor accident, which left no injuries but damaged a train engine. Israel Railways suspended all train traffic in the area for a few hours following the incident to ensure the tracks’ safety.

The Beersheba police have launched an investigation into the incident. A police source says that several leads are being investigated, including the possibility of a nationalistically motivated attack.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

For the original article, visit israelhayom.com.

Break the Drought Over Your Life.


drought
(iStockphoto.com)
One thing God loves to do is show off. I know this is hard to fathom, but God loves to display His power andglory to make a point that you’ll never forget. In 1 Kings 18, God marks the memory of His people by consuming a sacrifice by fire.
Some of you may know the story of how Elijah challenged 400 prophets of Baal. This was a showdown between Baal and the God of Elijah during a severe drought in the land. Elijah had declared a drought over the land, and it was so bad that people were eating their children to live.
During this time, water was as precious as gold. Elijah prepared his sacrifice and asked for 12 large jars of water to be poured out on the altar. You have to wonder where Elijah stored 12 large jars of water when everyone else had no water. He was pouring out the most precious commodity of that time on God.
Elijah poured out what was most valuable on the altar. God responded immediately by consuming the water and the sacrifice by fire: “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!’” (vv. 38-39, NIV).
God Responds
The response didn’t stop with the sacrifice: “And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” (v. 41). The sacrifice broke the drought over the land.
If you’re struggling with a drought in your life—it could be a famine of the Word of God or a lack of finances, or maybe a famine for the presence of God—take note of Elijah’s action. Elijah took what was most valuable in his day and poured it out on God.
God proved Himself faithful by pouring rain on the land. When you show your utter dependence on Him by giving Him what’s most valuable to you—your time or your money—God will respond.
We’ve sowed numerous times into the work of God when we didn’t have it. We’ve seen God prove Himself over and over again with an unexpected $15,000 or $60,000 to $70,000 in scholarships and grants that our son didn’t even apply for or in new clients that came to me without my having to market myself.
We had a famine of God’s presence where we were living and decided to move to Kansas City. Before we moved, my husband, Jerome, wanted me to move ahead of the family. We were moving to help build World Revival Church.
Jerome opted to stay in Columbia, Mo., to get the house ready to sell. “It will be easier for you to find a job,” he said.
He was right, because I was offered several positions. Of course, that meant I had to leave my 1-year-old and 4-year-old sons. I remember praying and crying out to God about the anguish of leaving them.
Then a Scripture came to my mind: “’Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life’” (Luke 18:29-30).
I remember weeping as I read that Scripture over and over again. OK, it wasn’t like I was one of those missionaries I’ve read about who left their kids in another country so they could preach the gospel in a dangerous area. I was just moving 1 1/2 hours from my kids and husband.
But I remember Jerome and I praying about this and laying it before God. I believed that for that season of sacrifice, my children would reap. I prayed they wouldn’t have to see a therapist when they turned 30 about that season when I left. I felt like a bad mom, but I got to see them Friday through Sunday.
Now we’ve lived in Kansas City for 14 years, and we’ve seen tremendous blessings. I poured out being with my babies for a few months for the sake of the kingdom. And God has poured the blessing of being a family that serves God together back on us. That temporary sacrifice broke the famine of His presence in our family.
My sons don’t even remember my being gone for those three months when I lived in Kansas City on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then drove back to Columbia to be with them on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Please know that I don’t recommend leaving your children to follow God. My husband prayed and sought counsel for this decision.)
I proved God to my own hurt, and He proved Himself over and over and over again. God will not be outdone in sacrifice. Prove Him by pouring out on Him, and He will respond to you.
Leilani Haywood is the editor of SpiritLed Woman and a frequent contributor to Charisma. She is an award-winning writer who has been published in The Kansas City Star, Focus on the Family, Metrovoice Newspaper and many other publications

8 Keys to Defeating Sexual Sin.


young couple
(© Pkripper503/ StockFreeImages)

When I agreed to write about sexual immorality in thebody of Christ, I thought pulling the information together would be an easy task. As a pastor, counselor, speaker and public health educator, I often address this topic. But as I began to wrestle with the many perspectives from which I could approach the issue, I almost lost myself in a crippling hodgepodge of psychology, sociology and theology.

Finally, I decided that the best approach was the biblical approach. After all, God‘s perspective, clearly revealed in His Word, is the only perspective that really matters.

The Bible makes four simple declarations about human sexuality:

1. God created our sexuality, and it is beautiful (see Gen. 1:26-28; 2:24-25).

2. Sex within the marriage covenant is holy and pure (see Heb. 13:4).

3. Sex outside the marriage covenant is sin (see 1 Cor. 6:9).

4. Sexual relations with the same sex is an abomination (see Lev. 18:22).

Many nonbelievers would probably reject these statements as trivial, outdated, homophobic, narrow-minded, judgmental, accusatory and discriminatory. Unfortunately, judging from their lifestyles, many Christians do too.

I’m not writing to nonbelievers. I’m writing as a Christian to Christians from a Christian perspective.

I wish sexual immorality were a problem outside the church only. But it’s not. It’s a big problem inside the church, also, among Christians and Christian leaders.

Often when I’ve taught about sexuality in church meetings, I’ve been shocked by the concerns that were expressed to me privately. Take my word for it: Every form of sexual addiction, perversion and practice is alive and well among believers, and it stretches from the pulpit to the vestibule of the church and everywhere in between.

The issues, problems and consequences of carnality and sexual immorality are recorded in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. God has given us clear guidelines in His Word. So why are so many believers today involved in sexual sin?

Let me put it bluntly: The reason is that too many of us are refusing to yield totally to the Holy Spirit. We declare with our mouths that we love Jesus; we say we will follow Him wherever He leads us.

But our actions indicate otherwise. Our actions say, “I love you, Jesus, almost as much as I love myself; and I will follow you all the way until I get to the fork in the road where I make the choice to satisfy my own carnal desires. I will believe your Word up to the point at which it disagrees with the secular perspective that explains my behavior. Any variance from that perspective means Your Word is outdated and is not for today.”

How did we get to this place? How did the body of Christ reach the state in which sexual sins are not only overlooked by many Christian leaders but are being openly committed by the keepers of the flame? Blatant immorality, drunkenness, womanizing and perversion are running rampant and unchecked in too many assemblies!

Strong words, you say? Yes, these are very strong words. But strong words are what are needed to rout the “strongman” of immorality. The sins of fornication, adultery, homosexuality and perversion have become deeply rooted in the church and are tolerated by too many of us.

Part of the problem is that we’ve believed the lie that church leaders are “faultless.” That lie has caused many of us to close our eyes to the sexual sins in which some leaders have engaged while serving as our spiritual shepherds. Those “private Bible studies” and late night “counseling sessions” with single folks, unhappy spouses and “sick” members have gone unchallenged and unrebuked by a godly membership.

Now mistresses have the audacity to sit on the front row in the church. Homosexual lovers don’t hesitate to share the platform during praise and worship. Unmarried couples who sleep together Saturday night have no qualms about sitting in church together Sunday morning.

I am aware that I sound angry. I am angry! I’m tired of seeing strong young men and women in the church devastated by the ravages of AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and dysfunctional lifestyles as a result of sexual immorality. It hurts to see the hopes and promises of beautiful teen-agers and young women dashed when they discover that they’re pregnant and the father has disappeared or has announced to the world that the child is not his baby because the pregnant female “sleeps around.”

Who will comfort the young child who has been fondled by a priest, a pastor or a trustee of the church in the church? Who will help rebuild the shattered emotions of the pastor’s wife after she has discovered her husband’s infidelity with the church secretary or the Sunday school teacher, or worse yet, one of the young men in the choir? Who will sound the clarion call to sanctification and holiness in this age of promiscuity and rank immorality?

Needless to say, we need a revival. The principles of sanctification and holiness need to be revived at the altar. We must stop petting folks who want to stay in their sins. We must herald the truth of God’s Word. We must face sexuality immorality squarely in the face and declare holy war on our carnal nature.

God has given us plain and simple instructions throughout the Bible such as those found in Galatians 5:16: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (NKJV). We need to study the Bible and let the Word of God speak to us. We must be willing to hear and to repent of the sin that God reveals in our lives through His Word. After all, we serve a loving and gracious God who is waiting and willing to forgive us, sanctify us and restore us.

The strongman of immorality can and must be overcome in our lives and in our churches. There are specific things we can do to ensure his defeat.

1. Flee temptation. If you are struggling to overcome sexual sin, it is your responsibility to flee temptation. Be wise. Avoid situations that would contribute to sexual arousal. For example, if you are dating, don’t allow your date to sexually arouse you with kisses, touches or any other kind of stimulation.

If soft music turns you on, put on some hymns or a loud Kirk Franklin album. Play a marching band if you must!

More importantly, associate with those who have the same attitude about sexual purity that you do. I know it can be difficult to track them down, but there are saved brothers and sisters out there somewhere. Entreat the Holy Spirit to help you find them.

2. Ask for help. If you need special help, seek out a Christian therapist or physician who is trained in handling the behavioral problems and addictions that have a stranglehold on your life. All healing comes from the Lord, but not everyone is able to get free from behavioral problems without assistance.

3. Take the risks seriously. If you know what is right but are choosing to live in willful disobedience, I ask: Is it worth the risk? As a Christian participating in a sexually immoral lifestyle, you risk death from incurable, sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis and more. You risk losing your mate and your family because of your unfaithfulness. You risk losing your self-esteem and the respect of your peers and neighbors. You risk devastating your business or profession, especially if you are in ministry. Worst of all, you risk your fellowship with the Lord.

4. Make a commitment. It doesn’t matter whether the behavior you’re involved in is “trendy” or not. As a Christian, you are a “slave of righteousness,” and your call is to crucify the lusts of the flesh. It is possible to live holy if you desire to do so. Commit yourself to staying before the Lord on a daily basis and avoiding anything that would contribute to your taste for immoral pleasures or gratification outside of marriage.

5. Confront unfaithfulness. If you are a Christian wife and your husband has been unfaithful, ask yourself: Is your spouse truly repentant, and will he remain faithful after repentance? Is the unfaithfulness a continuous practice, or was it just one breach of fidelity? Is your spouse a professing Christian, or does he just go to church on Sunday? Is he a Spirit-filled man whom Satan tripped up but who is now truly repentant?

Only you can answer these questions. Forgiveness is possible–and biblical–but the Bible also says that you are not obligated to remain with an unfaithful mate. If you choose to stay with him, you must realize that your husband’s unfaithfulness could well mean your early demise from undetected disease. Given the severity of the sexual diseases among us, I strongly suggest a period of sexual abstinence and then the use of protection at all times, even after lab reports have determined that your mate is disease-free.

Even if your husband is a pastor or church leader, do not hesitate to confront him head-on about his infidelity and report it to the other church authorities. Women must stop shielding and hiding such behavior. Many are suffering physical abuse and threats from these “spiritual leaders” because they are too afraid or too embarrassed to expose them.

Stop being a punching bag for these unregenerate heathen! The Word tells us that a man is worse than an infidel if he neglects his family (see 1 Tim. 5:8). Seek legal help to get the support you need to maintain your family and yourself. There are laws on the books that address adultery!

6. Don’t accept excuses. If you are a member of a congregation and discover that one of your leaders is being sexually immoral, you have a responsibility to bring it to the attention of the church leadership. This action must not be based on hearsay or gossip. But if you know without a doubt, then it is your duty as a Christian to pull the covers off this festering boil that affects the whole body of Christ.

There are no excuses. We do things because we want to do them, and your pastor or leader is no exception. Besides, how can you sit under the leadership of a hypocrite who thumbs his nose at God’s state of holy matrimony?

Yes, it takes courage to uncover sin, but it must be done–even if you are rejected by the leadership. Even if you’re called a liar! Just pick up your marbles and move to another ministry after you have sought God’s face. You don’t want to find that you’ve run from the frying pan into the fire.

7. Confess your sin. If you are a Christian leader, pastor or minister involved in sexual immorality, you need to confess your sin and seek serious counseling–both psychological and spiritual. I personally believe you need to be relieved of your position during this process. You cannot continue on as though nothing has happened. There needs to be public repentance and restoration before you mount the pulpit again or accept any kind of leadership position.

8. Stand up for holiness. To all believers and ministers of the gospel, I say: Wake up! We need to combine forces to lead a strong, faith-based, biblical attack on the scourge of sexual immorality that has become epidemic in our congregations.

It is time to stand up for Jesus. It is time to rebuild the walls of holiness and sexual purity in the church so that we are no longer a reproach to the world. In the words of Nehemiah 2:8: “Let us rise up and build!”

 


Judy Ann Fisher is the founderof the Full Gospel Church of the Lord’s Missions International in Washington, D.C. She is a gifted businesswoman, she is owner of several companies and has traveled extensively as a motivator, lecturer and presenter of her Human Sexuality series.

Israeli Civilian, Palestinian Girl Killed in Gaza Flare-Up.


GAZA CITY, Gaza — A Gaza sniper shot dead an Israeli civilian over the border Tuesday and Israel hit back with airstrikes on two Hamas training camps, which hospital officials said killed a Palestinian girl near one of the targets.

The Israeli man, who the military said was working on Israel’s security fence, was the first Israeli killed on the Gaza frontier in more than a year.

ObamaCareYou Can Win With The Facts 

His death, which drew a swift threat of retaliation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came amid heightened tensions after two suspected Palestinian attacks — a bus bombing near Tel Aviv on Sunday that caused no casualties and the wounding of an Israeli policeman in a stabbing on Monday.

Officials from Hamas, the Islamic group which rules Gaza, and witnesses said Israeli aircraft bombed the group’s training camps in Khan Younis and al-Bureij. Witnesses said Israeli tanks fired shells east of Gaza city.

Gaza hospital officials said a girl, whom they estimated was two-years-old, was killed by shrapnel during the Israeli strike on the Bureij facility.

She was standing with other family members outside their home near the camp and two of her brothers were wounded, the officials said.

Earlier, a Palestinian was killed in a separate incident in northern Gaza, hospital officials said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said he was handling an explosive device near the security fence and that soldiers fired at him after warnings.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the sniper attack, which followed a Palestinian rocket strike on southern Israel on Sunday that caused no casualties.

“This is an extremely grave incident and we will not ignore it,” said Netanyahu, who was visiting the southern town of Sderot, about a kilometer [half a mile] from the Gaza border, at the time of the shooting.

“Our policy has been to thwart [Palestinian attacks] and to respond [to them] forcefully, and that is what we will do in this case,” he said, referring to the shooting, in a statement released by his office.

However, since an eight-day war in November 2012, both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas Islamist rulers have been wary of taking military action that could trigger widescale fighting.

No one was hurt in Sunday’s bomb blast on the bus, which had been evacuated after the explosives were spotted, and the wounded policeman was expected to recover.

But the incidents, which Israel blamed on Palestinian militants, fueled concerns of a new Palestinian uprising as peace talks show few signs of progress.

Hamas praised Sunday’s bus bombing — the first in Israel in more than a year — but stopped short of claiming responsibility.

Violence in the West Bank has increased in recent months. At least 19 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the occupied territory since the U.S.-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood resumed in July after a three-year break.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

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