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Posts tagged ‘Church service’

Jonathan Urges Politicians To Put National Interest First.


Ruth Bamidele

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday en joined politicians in the country to place national interest above every other motives in the new year  2014, adding that they should make Nigeria great and leave a better country to the next generations.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The President made the call while speaking at the Catholic Church in Area 3, Abuja, where he observed his New Year Church service.

In his words, the president said, “All what we need to do is to make sure that we continue to do things right. That is why I always plead with my fellow politicians that yes we must play the politics but let us take the interest of the country more than our own individual interest. And as we continue to play the politics in that direction, leaders will come and go but the country will stay.”

He further added that, politicians should begin to plan for the next generation instead of wasting all energies on their own personal interests.

He also said that Nigeria has all it takes to be great and to provide leadership for the African continent.

“Luckily, we have a Constitution that says that nobody will be a governor or president forever. It is only in the parliament that you can be there till you die. As long as we consider the interest of our country, children, grand children and we begin to plan for the next generation instead of wasting all our energies to think about ourselves. Before we get to the next 100 years, the country will be better. Nigeria can even change in the next few years and things will be better for everybody.” he said.

The president promised that 2014, will be better than 2013 as he his administration will ensure that sustainable power supply is attained in the country from the middle of this year.

Source: African Examiner.

Crisis hits church as elder exposes bishop’s fake miracles •SSS steps in.


Church-iyke-synagogue

A large-scale scandal has broken out in a church known as the City of Truth (a.k.a Holy Ghost Embassy), Uyo, Akwa Ibom State as the founder and general overseer of the church, Bishop Israel Usoro, has been accused by his pastors of engaging in fake instant healing and false prophecies.

But Bishop Usoro has denied the allegation, claiming he never knew whether those who claim to have been instantly healed of their ailments during the church’s tarry nights or similar programmes were real or pretenders.

It was learnt that Usoro, whose church is situated at No 12, Paul Bassey Street, Uyo, began to experiment the fake instant healing after a Ghanaian pastor, one David Amousou, came in as a guest preacher earlier in the year and arranged with some boys to act as sick people to receive instant cure after being prayed for.

A letter of resignation written by one of the elders and former protocol officer of the Church, Mr. Idorenyin Aquaisua, to Bishop Usoro and other key officials of the church, chronicled the dates of a series of fake miracles the bishop had performed by paying people, sometimes as little as N2,000, to come and pose as if they were mad, blind, infirm or afflicted by evil spirits.

“It bears recall that I have served God in your Church, City of Truth Chapel Int’l, for well over seven (7) years now. Within this period, I stand vindicated before God, my conscience, and man that I have been selfless, diligent, truthful, faithful and committed in my services to God. Since 2006 till date, I have held very many sensitive positions in the church with enduring legacies.

“At a time when the Church was almost grounded by severe moral crisis occasioned by your activities that generated intense feeling of distrust in your wife, I was persuaded, out of trust by you and some faithful members of the church then, to head the Protocol Unit in your office in 2010 so as to encourage and give you the needed support to continue your ministerial duties with minimal distraction,” Aquaisua wrote.

“I came to know you closely as a prophet who professed total dependence on God. Therefore, until certain events unfolded recently, I had no cause to doubt your prophetic grace. When news first came to me early June 2013 that the regular instant healing miracles that were taking place during the Tuesday Power Night programme in the church were stage-managed, I almost beat up the person who brought the news.

“On Tuesday, August 13, 2013, I took an independent step to verify the stories and this step brought me face to face with the truth. That evening during the regular Power Night programme, a clean-shaven young man dressed in torn T-shirt and dragged along by another young man was intercepted as they were about to enter the church and interrogated in the studio room.

“During interrogation, both the young man and his accomplice, who earlier claimed that the young man he was dragging into church was mad, confessed to me (with Elders Idorenyin Mfon, Effiong Usoro and Evangelists Anietie Walter and Harrison Eke as witnesses) that he ‘was NOT MAD and that he was arranged to dress like and to act as a madman in the church for you to ‘deliver’ him so as to boost the faith of members in your anointing and increase the membership of your church’. They said what they were doing was a new method of ‘evangelism’ which you have since embraced”, he further alleged.

But Bishop Usoro refuted the allegations of fake or false instant miracle, claiming that they were peddled by some former officers of the church who are no longer members of the church.

He likened them to Lucifer who was thrown out of heaven. “Since then, he can never say any good thing about heaven.”

Usoro denied ever delivering the supposedly mad man on Tuesday, August 13, 2013, even though he admitted seeing such a person in church that night.

“I saw two young men and one said the other was partially mad. I told them to be coming to church because if I don’t see anything about you, I can’t heal you. It is not the work of the flesh. It is only when you are under the unction of the holy spirit; that you can do all these things. That’s all.”

He showed two other patients, a lady with goitre and a young man supposed to be mentally deranged whose conditions he said had been improving since they were brought by their relatives to the church

Usoro admitted being invited by the SSS to answer questions on the fake miracle saga and claimed that he was acquitted after the security operatives heard his own side of the story.

•Text courtesy Saturday Sun. Photo shows an alleged miracle in session in a Nigerian church.

Source: Radio Biafra.

5 Essential Tools for Your Christian Walk.


Essential tools
What godly tools do you have at your daily disposal? (Adamr/Free Digital Photos)

You know that when you set out to do a good work, it can’t be done without the right tools. The job might be something as simple as hanging a picture frame to something as complicated as building a house. The right tools are essential to get the job done right and efficiently.

As a God-fearing Christian, you should always be looking for new ways to love and please God. Each Sunday service you attend makes you stronger, smarter and loads up your belt with another tool. Each great discussion with a Christian friend is like taking a grinder to a dull chisel. It may take a few minutes to work out the problem or thought, but you’ll come away sharper.

So, what tools has God provided you with in your Christian walk? The thing to keep in mind is that there are so many great tools out there, and they can come in all shapes and sizes. As I personally continue to maintain my walk with God, I continue to discover what tools seem to be the most useful and make the most impact in my life. Be sure to share some tools that are in your belt as well.

Here are 5 essential tools for your Christian walk:

1. Accountability. Accountability in your Christian walk is huge! I can’t say it or stress it enough. I know most of you think you are Superman and can handle any monster that comes your way, but you must remember there is an enemy, and he has his own set of tools to try on you.

What does being accountable look like? Well, it starts with every day. Join forces with a solid Christian friend of yours, and stay in contact daily. You can send him or her a verse, and they can send you a verse. Try to encourage each other and build each other up. If bigger issues come up, talk about them. This tool is very essential and must be sharpened often.

2. A Bible. Reading your Bible often is a great tool to keep you sharp and alert. The lessons and examples in it can effectively help you live a better life and keep valuable lessons at the top of your head.

What does reading your Bibe look like? The best way you can do it is to set up some kind of reading plan. YouVersion has some really great plans that you can download on your smartphone. You can also check the back of your Bible for checklists and more ideas. Grab this tool and start today!

3. Church. Attending a great church is a tool you should really have in your belt. Even if you don’t get a lot out of the message each week, you can effectively build great relationships with like-minded people.

What does attending a church look like? At the very minimum, you should try to attend the Sunday service. Go further, and try to attend some small groups or classes. Through all of these avenues, be intentional about starting relationships with those who attend. Pray about it!

4. Small groups. As I mentioned above, you should definitely get involved in a small group or even a home group with people from your church. These get-togethers create some of the best times, strongest friendships and deepest conversations about God and life.

What does attending a small group look like? Be intentional. You can either ask your friends or church leaders for information, or you can read through your church bulletin or guide. Get into a six-week class with your spouse, or join a class specific to men or women. Don’t wait!

5. Prayer. Jesus taught us all the power of prayer and daily communication with God. Your prayers may not always look or sound pretty, but prayer is a tool you must be very intentional about. Like the heavy-duty carpenter pencil that gets used so often in your belt, prayer must be used often and sharpened daily. Get to work and pray!

These are just a few tools that I use and have had great experiences with over the last few years.

In your own experience, what have you found to be some essential tools in your own Christian walk?

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

BRYAN VAN SLYKE/MANTURITY

Manturity is a blog built on establishing spiritual maturity in today’s man. The goal is to assist men in building better marriages and help them in grow in maturity and explore different aspects of manhood.Manturity.com features new weekly blog posts, daily social media updates and a powerful resources page. Stay up to date with the Manturity blog communities on Facebook and Twitter.

For the original article, visit manturity.com.

When Refreshment Comes.


Praying-man-standing

Burned out? All you made is a little rest and refreshment to find your second wind.

The youth ministry I grew up in was amazing. I was offered so much activity and was infused with so much passion that I was always serving somewhere.

Each week started with Sunday school, followed by Sunday service and a meal out with fellow youth groupies. Sundays ended with the evening service. On Monday nights, we went street witnessing, on Wednesdays we had youth group (all of the “mature” students served in multiple capacities), and on Friday nights we did ministry at the nursing homes.

My spiritual life was packed with social activities and service opportunities, and I owned my kingdom responsibility. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to win the world.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have much depth. I knew a few Scriptures and a couple of worship songs, but I hadn’t adopted spiritual disciplines.

My mask was polished, and no one had any idea I was serving on empty. But because I had let the energy of leadership overtake the power of a personal, filling, focusing and engaging, personal connection with Christ, I was headed for burnout … and I was only 15.

My church did not intend to create an atmosphere that overemphasized activity and underemphasized personal God-pursuit, growth responsibility and root growing. It did not set out to grow a group of very active but spiritually shallow young people. It had no intention of leaving a wake of burned-out young adults with strong résumés of service but with no lasting passion for Jesus. Unfortunately, all of those things happened.

Thankfully, because of a crisis, I started living my kingdom life vertically instead of horizontally in my mid-teens. I developed a deep passion for Christ that fueled my compassion for others and for service. For the first time in my life, I was letting God build me in private before I was serving Him in public.

The Dilemma

The pattern that I fell into when I was a teenager accurately represents the dilemma that many with kingdom agendas regularly face. We are driven to do, and sometimes forget we need to first rest in Him. We wake up ready to accomplish and don’t set aside time to replenish.

As easy as it is to justify high activity when it comes to godly causes, if we don’t recognize that we need to abide, enjoy and draw near, we will sacrifice effectiveness and will potentially meander down a road that leads to implosion.

That said, I want to remind us all of two very important things.

First, we must fight to maintain spiritual disciplines that refresh, renew, refocus and help us reconnect. The busier we become, the easier it is to justify a lifestyle that doesn’t leave room for personal pursuit and spiritual reflection.

However, it is the private disciplines that will not only fuel our bodies but invite increased anointing. There is no adequate excuse for drifting from His presence. Nothing on our agenda is more important. But it takes discipline, determination and targeted scheduling to keep it in proper priority.

Second, those of us in ministry must remember that the greatest lesson we can invest in those following us is the priority and practice of spending time alone with Christ.

It is possible to over-entertain and over-program. If the people we lead are so busy living their faith horizontally that they never have time to invest vertically, then we have done them a disservice.

Using our influence, we can train them to fall in love with Jesus and not just the activities and service attached. We can give them glimpses into our own personal priorities and equip them with the tools to run into God’s presence regularly.

There is something inside of us all that longs to make a difference. We want to see lives changed, needs met and culture impacted, but we must not forget the source of our passion, strength, wisdom and impact. We must stay close to Him if we are truly going to make a difference representing Him.

May we never get too busy trying to accomplish great things for God that we neglect His invitation to spend time with the One who is great.

Written by Sean Dunn/Founder of Groundwire

Sean Dunn is a speaker, author and the founder of Groundwire, an organization that exists to broadcast hope to anyone who may be struggling or in crisis. Operating 24 hours a day, hundreds of volunteers man Groundwire’s chat platform, which is available to anyone at anytime who may need help, encouragement or affirmation. Sean and his four children live outside of Denver, Colo. Visit groundwire.net.

Jesus Reveals Himself to Syrian Muslim.


A wooden cross on Syrian fabric
A wooden cross on Syrian fabric (OM International)

I come from a Muslim family in Syria and am a (trade school) graduate. When the war broke out (in Syria), my family and I were forced to flee our hometown and go to a city in the north of the country.

We had few resources in our new home, but we discovered that the local church was giving monthly aid to families like ours. I was confused by the kindness and love that was shown by the church members. I asked myself: Aren’t these the same people that Islam considers impure, evil and occupiers?

As I thought about these things, I began discussing some questions with my friends. Why do Muslims hate Christians? Why do Christians not kill us or blow themselves up? We call them infidels, yet they are the first ones to extend a helping hand to us. What makes them do this, and why aren’t our mosques offering the same help? 

I became troubled and pondered these things in my heart. Then one night I had a dream. In the dream, I was wearing a cross around my neck and people kept asking me, why are you wearing a cross when you are a Muslim? I told them “I trust this cross to protect me.” When I woke up, I didn’t know what the dream could mean.

But even stranger than this, my sister also had a dream. In her dream, a man dressed in glamorous clothes with long hair and a beard asked her the meaning of the cross and why her brother was wearing a cross! Before I could figure out the meaning behind this, I had another dream.

This time, I was standing on a very wide staircase with people all around me climbing the stairs. At the top of the stairs, a priest told the people, “Pay attention. You cannot come up here unless you walk behind the young man who wears the cross.” Slowly all the people began retreating to stand behindme! This time when I woke, I told my family and friends about the dreams.

One of my Muslim friends was helping to distribute food packages at the church, so after hearing the dreams, he brought me there to attend the Sunday service. When the service ended, I approached the ministers and asked them to help me interpret the dreams.

Using the Bible, the men explained the meaning of the cross to me. Then they showed me 1 Corinthians 1:18, which reads, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (NIV). I listened eagerly and wanted desperately to know more. Now I have placed my trust in Jesus and have come to understand the wonder of the cross.

Although the crisis in Syria still rages, many are coming to faith and sharing their own stories of how God revealed himself to them in their time of need. This testimony, as told to Megan Ross of OM International, came from a Syrian Muslim-background believer who is now involved in the relief effort.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Megan Ross is a photojournalism student who is passionate about telling the stories of how God is moving in our world. She is currently completing a three-month communications internship in the Middle East and is open to wherever the Lord leads next.

7 Things We Regularly Get Wrong About Worship.


Joe McKeever

Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name (Psalm 29:2).

It’s Sunday around noonish. As the congregation files out of the sanctuary heading toward the parking lot, listen closely and you will hear it.

It’s a common refrain voiced near the exit doors of churches all across this land.

“I didn’t get anything out of that today.” “I didn’t get anything out of the sermon.” “I didn’t get anything out of that service.” “I guess her song was all right, but I didn’t get anything out of it.”

Sound familiar? Not only have I heard it countless times over these near-fifty years in the ministry, I probably have said it a few times myself.

This is like dry rot in a congregation. Like a termite infestation in the building. Like an epidemic afflicting the people of the Lord, one which we seem helpless to stop.

But let’s try. Let’s see if we can make a little difference where you and I live, in the churches where we serve and worship. We might not be able to help all of them, but if we bless one or two, it will have been time well spent.

1. You are Not Supposed to ‘Get Anything Out of the Service

Worship is not about you and me. Not about “getting our needs met.” Not about a performance from the pastor and singer and choir and musicians. Not in the least.

2. Worship is About the Lord

“Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name.” That Psalms 29:2 verse atop our article today is found also in 1 Chronicles 16:29 and Psalms 96:8. It deserves being looked at closely.

a) We are in church to give. Not to get.

Now, if I am going somewhere to “get,” but find out on arriving, I am expected to “give,” I am one frustrated fellow. And that is what is happening in the typical church service. People walk out the door frustrated because they didn’t “get.” The reason they didn’t is that they were not there to “get,” but to “give.”

Someone should have told them.

b) We are giving glory to God. Not to man.

We know that. At least we say we do. How many times have we recited, “…for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory”? And how often have we sung, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”?

c) We do so because glory is His right. He is “worthy of worship.”

This is the theme of the final book of the Bible.

  • “Who is worthy?” (Rev. 5:2)
  • “You are worthy…for you were slain, and have redeemed us” (Rev. 5:9).
  • “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12).

3. Self-centeredness Destroys All Worship

If my focus is on myself when I enter the church–getting my needs met, learning something, hearing a lesson that blesses me, being lifted by the singing–then Christ has no part in it. He becomes my servant, and the pastor (and all the other so-called performers) are there only for me. It’s all about me.

We have strayed so far from the biblical concept of worship–giving God His due in all the ways He has commanded–it’s a wonder we keep going to church. And it’s an even greater wonder that our leaders keep trying to get us to worship.

The poor preacher! Trying to cater to the insatiable hungers of his people, even the best and most godly among them, is an impossible task. One week he gets it right and eats up the accolades. Then, about the time he thinks he has it figured out, the congregation walks out grumbling that they got nothing out of the meal he served today.

The typical congregation in the average church today really does think the service is all about them–getting people saved, learning the Word, receiving inspiration to last another week, having their sins forgiven, taking an offering to provision the Lord’s work throughout the world.

Anything wrong with those things? Absolutely not. But if we go to church to do those things, we can do them. But we will not have worshiped.

Warren Wiersbe says, “If you worship because it pays, it will not pay.”

4. Evangelism & Discipleship, Giving & Praying, Grow Out of Worship; Not the Other Way Around

The disciples were worshiping on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and drove them into the streets to bear a witness to the living Christ (Acts 2).

Isaiah was in the Temple worshiping when God appeared to him, forgave his sins, and called him as a prophet to the people (Isaiah 6).

It was in the act of worship that the two distraught disciples had their eyes opened to recognize Jesus at their table (Luke 24).

5. We are to Give Him Worship and Glory in the Ways Scripture Commands

“Give to the Lord the glory due His name and bring an offering.” So commands I Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 96:8.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart–these, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

Singing, praise, rejoicing. Praying, offering, humbling, loving. All these are commanded in worship at various places in Scripture.

The Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, “Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). That is, with their inner being, the totality of themselves, their spirit, not just their lips or their bodies going through the motions. And in truth–the revealed truth of how God has prescribed worship to take place. He is not pleased with “just anything” that we claim as worship.

We must balance our worship between spirit (the subjective part: body, soul, emotions) and truth (the objective aspect: all that God has revealed in His word).

6. We Are the Ones Who Decide Whether We Worship upon Entering the House of the Lord

Don’t blame the preacher if you don’t worship. He can’t do it for you.

No one else can eat my food for me, love my cherished ones in my place, or do my worshiping for me.

No pastor can decide or dictate whether we will worship by the quality of his leadership or the power of his sermon. Whether I worship in today’s service has absolutely nothing to do with how well he does his job.

I am in charge of this decision. I decide whether I will worship.

When Mary sat before the Lord Jesus, clearly worshiping, He informed a disgruntled Martha that her sister had “chosen the good part,” something that “will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). That something special was time spent in worship. Such moments or hours are eternal.

Lest someone point out that Martha could have worshiped in her kitchen by her service for Christ, we do not argue, but simply point out that she was not doing so that day.

7. Remember: Worship is a Verb

And it’s an active verb at that.

Worship is something we do, not something done to us.

In the worst of circumstances, I can still worship my God. In the Philippians prison, while their backs were still oozing blood from the beating they’d received, Paul and Silas worshiped (Acts 16:25).

Even if a church has no pastor and has to make do with a stuttering layman or some inept fill-in, I can still bow before the Lord, offer Him my praise, and give Him my all. I can humble before Him and I can bring my offering.

What I cannot do is leave church blaming my failure to worship on the poor singing, the boring sermon, or the noise from the children in the next pew. I am in charge of the decision whether I will worship, and no one else.

Someone has pointed out that ours is the only nation on earth where church members feel they have to have “worshipful architecture” before they can adequately honor the Lord. Millions of Christians across the world seem to worship just fine without any kind of building. Believers in Malawi meet under mango trees, according to retired missionary Mike Canady, and their worship is as anointed as anyone’s anywhere. (What? No stained glass!)

Our insistence on worshipful music, worship settings, and worshipful everything are all signs of our disgusting self-centeredness.

It’s disgusting because I see it in myself, and do not like it.

No one enjoys a great choir more than I. I love to hear a soloist transport us all into the Throneroom by his/her vocal offering in the service. A great testimony of God’s grace and power thrills me. And of course, being a preacher, I delight in hearing a sermon that you feel is direct from the heart of God.

But if I require any one or all of those before I can worship, something is vastly wrong with me.

My friends, something is vastly wrong with us today.

Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. Visit him at joemckeever.com/mt. Used with permission.

Publication date: May 24, 2011

Woman Sexually Assaulted During Seattle Church Service.


 

Aaron Little, Saint Spiridon Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Aaron Little allegedly assaulted a woman during Sunday services at Saint Spiridon Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle.

A registered sex offender has been jailed on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman as she was in the midst of prayer during Sunday church services in Seattle, police said on Monday.

The suspect was subdued inside the sanctuary by several of the victim’s relatives, who restrained the man until police arrived on the scene of what officers called one of the most outrageous sexual assault cases they had ever encountered, Seattle Police spokeswoman detective Renee Witt said.

“We’ve all seen and heard some pretty bizarre and egregious things, but this … it just kind of blows your mind,” Witt said.

The 25-year-old victim was accosted while attending services with her family and boyfriend on Sunday morning at Saint Spiridon Russian Orthodox Cathedral, a church just north of downtown Seattle familiar for its blue, onion-shaped domes.

Police said the assault began when congregants rose during the service, and the suspect, identified as Aaron Little, 37, reached over and lifted the woman’s skirt to peer under it.

The victim initially did not realize the intrusion, but several of her male relatives witnessed it and hustled the man out of the church through its front door, Witt said.

But before the relatives could return to their pew, the man dashed back into the chapel through a side door and sexually assaulted the woman, Witt said. The woman’s family members once again caught up with the suspect, grabbed him and called police, she said.

“Four people actually held him for us until we got there,” Witt said. “He’s really lucky they used the restraint they did, considering what he did. Good for them.”

The man, who lives in a small town south of Seattle and has a previous conviction for sexual assault, told officers he has mental health problems, Witt said.

He was jailed without bond on suspicion of rape, but it will be up to prosecutors to decide how he might be charged, police said.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

ELAINE PORTERFIELD/REUTERS


Editing by Steve Gorman and Matthew Lewis

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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