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Going From Hot to Boiling http://oregonag.org/34928 Wed, 30 Jun 2017 0505:Jun:st +0800 http://oregonag.org/34928

When I order a Latte at Starbucks, I always order it at 190 degrees. My latte very seldom is delivered to me at 190 degrees. Even though I persist, I realize there may be several reasons my latte never makes it to my desired temperature.

Perhaps the baristas are so programmed that when they hear “190 degrees” it translates as “extra hot”, and extra hot is relevant- it means different things to different people.

Or, perhaps the barista simply is not listening. I often find I have to repeat parts of my order.

Water is very hot at 211 degrees. But water boils at 212 degrees.

Or, maybe the baristas have been trained that 190 degrees is simply too hot for clumsy people like myself, and they do not want to get sued when I dump it in my lap (even though I was told that their training manual actually sets the limit of hotness right at 190 degrees) thus, they hesitate to do what the customer asks - Another example of perfect strangers knowing what is best for me!

Lastly, maybe the barista doesn’t realize what a difference one or two degrees actually makes.

For instance, water is very hot at 211 degrees. But water boils at 212 degrees. Do you realize the implications of this? Boiling water produces steam. And if there is enough steam, it can power a majestic 100-ton locomotive like we see in a western movie. Hot water won’t move that heavy machine one inch. But give it enough steam from boiling water, and it can move practically anything!

So what would happen if each of us turned up the heat just one degree, going from hot to boiling? What would happen if we turned up the heat in our relationship with the Lord? What would happen if we turned up the heat in relation to our family? What would happen if we turned up the heat in our ministry by one degree?

Earl Nightingale said, “if you will spend an extra hour each day of study in your chosen field, you will be a national expert in that field in five years or less.”

It reminds me of Galatians 6:9: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” In my own words, let’s not just settle for “average” but let’s turn up the heat to boiling because we WILL reap a harvest…!

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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Lead the Leading Change http://oregonag.org/34893 Thu, 30 Jun 2017 0505:Jun:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34893

Much has changed for us in the past three years. But when I consider the “leading” change, that is, the most significant in my ministry, I’ve come to an unexpected conclusion.

I became the lead pastor of Abundant Life Assembly, in Enterprise, Oregon in 2014. As one of 11 churches for 2000 residents, I wondered why God had called me here?

Well, my family of 5 had increased the Sunday attendance by 33%, to 20. It was a good start. And over the next 3 years, we outgrew our building, tripled our space with the purchase of the historic church on Main St. How did this happen?

In the spring of 2015 I was on a prayer walk when the Lord prompted, “Ask Me for the Christian Church Building”. After debate, I conceded. “Lord, give me the Christian Church building.” I hadn’t prayed out of great faith, but simply obedience. A bit embarrassed, I kept it a secret even from my wife for three months; six months after that, I told the board. The very next month, the pastor of the Christian Church asked if we would be interested in buying their building. One year later, Pastor Boyd Powers was our guest as we dedicated our new facility to the Lord.

God moved. Skeptical hearts turned and a spirit of unity filled the congregation. We were blessed with “parting gifts” – technical equipment – from the Christian Church, and an additional 40% growth after changing locations.

But what is that “leading” change I spoke of? It’s not the building or the attendance, it is the change in me. By the end of year two, I had settled in and learned my community, built trust, and established healthy rhythms for myself, my family, and my ministry. Now I was venturing into uncharted waters, so I called upon our Network and began coaching with Pastor Bill. I had already recognized I needed to change: change my leadership style, build teams, give influence to others, and stop doing it all by myself. If we were going to disciple the people of our church, “WE” needed to do it. But I didn’t know how. I am so thankful to the Lord for the wisdom imparted to me throughout the past nine months of coaching. We weathered the purchase, the move, and the growth with relative ease. And I’m getting some ideas for the discipleship part as well.

Another lead change dealt with my perspective. The results are not up to me, as I may have thought; they’re up to God. I'm grateful I didn't tell you this story three weeks ago because two weeks ago our attendance was 35 again. I think we ought not to look only at the highs - the victories of ministry - nor at the lows; but remain focused on our primary calling, to be faithful and obedient to God. The results are not up to us, but up to Him.

I heard in a podcast this afternoon that “we are not called to build a church, but to build a People.” I believe it because when I look at the people I am serving, I see folks that have grown in the Lord. Lost ones saved and leaders who’ve stepped into roles that they never dreamed for themselves. My own heart is more settled and secure in who God has called me to be. Some encouraging words were spoken at Intermission. Scott Hagan said, "Leadership is not about what you accomplish, but about what you set in motion." My church has been in this community for 75 years. This “People,” has outlived many a pastor, and it will outlive me. But as God has given me favor, and influence, I am learning to give these things away. Church attendance can be like the stock market. One day it's up, the next it's down. In one year it crashes, and for a decade it recovers. So, if we're going to invest our lives, let's do it over the long haul. Let us set our hand to the plow and be willing to dig ditches for water and furrows for seed. And then let God bring the increase. Let us lead the leading change by leading ourselves to greater dependence on the Lord, and staying true to what God has called us to do and to be.

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From Death to Life http://oregonag.org/34883 Wed, 30 Jun 2017 0606:Jun:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34883

This morning a dear pastor friend of mine wrote on his Facebook page about celebrating a 46th anniversary. He said, “this anniversary is very important to me because without a miracle it will most likely be our last.” Later, he told me over the phone, “I never expected to be walking down this road.”

How can I really know what is going through my friend's mind today? How can I really know the measure of grief he is experiencing as he watches his wife of 46 years slip away because of a brain tumor? How can I comfort him when I have not experienced what he is experiencing?

Transitions- some are sudden curves that throw us out of balance. Some are very slow and subtle. Some transitions are very scary while other transitions are turned into a celebration. No matter what transition in life we face, I find that life is one big transition!

Life is one big transition!

While some transitions throw us off balance, there is one anchor that keeps us standing upright.
“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38, 39)

When words I use to try to comfort my friend seem to fail me, I can pray Romans 8:38,39. I can pray that the powerful love of God will be his anchor to keep him walking his path with confidence and assurance that he does not walk that path alone. He has the God of the universe walking with him. What an amazing God we serve!

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Romania Trip http://oregonag.org/34876 Mon, 30 Jun 2017 1010:Jun:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34876

A great big "Thank you " to those who contributed to the Romania Missions trip.

The trip was life-changing in many ways. New friendships were formed, ministry gifts discovered (everyone can do puppet ministry) being fluid with everyday experiences. Every lady on the trip had a purpose and was used to touch the lives of women.

So let me share what a Tea looked like for the team members:

Up early in the morning to travel usually 2+hours to a village out of Bucharest. We were joined by Tamara's team (Tamara Henkes is our missionary to Romania) the incredible team she works with helped load vans, drive to locations, help with set up and interpret for us.

When we arrived in the village Tamara would find the location for the tea and how many were coming. (This is where the team learned to be fluid). Often the number would double by the end of the tea.

The kitchen crew made incredible croissant sandwiches, chips, and sweets. There were ladies who provided soda to drink . some decorated the tables, some served the ladies, then all participated in some way during the program which consisted of puppets, skits, worship, testimonies and the giving of gifts.

The pictures will show you the amount of space and primitive conditions the ladies worked in. These gals were amazing. Loved their "can do" attitudes. The team members were "all in". Everyone was willing to help with every aspect of the tea. Tamara and her team worked hand in hand with our team and it was an incredible experience.

Tamara shared in a recent email that she had already heard from some of the pastors in the areas how the women who had attended the teas were in church Sunday.

We all are thankful for the opportunity to represent the Oregon Ministry Network and we look forward to planning future trips.

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

Reflection on past accomplishments or even past disappointments can provide some benefit to every pastor or leader. However, if a pastor or leader begins to live only in their past accomplishments they will miss opportunities and possibilities before them. In addition, the person who is only looking back will become ineffective and irrelevant to the current and future generation.

“Everyone enjoys being inspired. But here’s the truth when it comes to personal growth: Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.” John Maxwell

In Genesis 12, God spoke to Abram about growing forward. He outlined a number of things Abram would need to release in order to for him to experience growing forward. This wasn’t an easy decision for Abram, especially at the age of 65, but it was necessary to fulfill God's purposes for his life. It meant leaving and letting go of his country, his community and even his tribe. Abram had to be willing to go to a new land and experience a new dimension of God’s presence, promise, and provision. Fast forward to Hebrews 11:8, which reads, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Growing forward!

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

There are a few ESSENTIALS that have helped me in my growing forward since I began my ministry at the age of 21.

  1. LISTENING: Some of my best growth has come by listening to the words and wisdom of more mature and experienced ministers. Rather than resist the help of others, I have learned the value of listening to ideas, suggestions and insights.
  2. LEARNING: Leaders are learners. This can be accomplished by personal devotions, reading great books, furthering education by attending conferences and connecting with those who are ahead of me in experience and accomplishment. I am determined to never feel I have arrived.
  3. LETTING GO: Releasing rather than rehearsing offenses, failures and missteps is vital in growing forward. If you’ve had a bad experience, grow through it rather than die in it.
  4. LOVING: Love is the greatest attribute of the Holy Spirit a person can display. As the primary expression of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life, love will always take you beyond your current situation. When you love God, love others and even love yourself, you are growing forward.
  5. LEADING: No doubt, being a pastor or leader gives you the greatest opportunity to experience growing forward. Making decisions and leading the way will always take you into new territory.

I am sure if space allowed I could add to the list. My challenge to all of us is to keep growing forward!

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. Benjamin Franklin

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From Zero to Fifty, Just Like That! http://oregonag.org/34799 Tue, 30 Jun 2017 0606:Jun:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34799

A great king once made a very profound statement: “Once I was young, and now I am old….” Psalm 27:35) Now that’s a transition that regardless of who we are or what status in life we live, we all relate to the king’s profoundness! And if one reads between the lines a bit, you might even hear the king add, “from young to old just like that!”

This year Delores and I are celebrating our fiftieth year of married life. And we went from zero to fifty, just like that! So, we decided we would celebrate this whole year just in case another “just like that!” happens.

The other part of the king's statement says, “…yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” (Psalm 27:35). That’s our story! From young to old, just like that, but I have never been abandoned or my seen my children begging for bread!

Some have asked us what has sustained us for fifty years when there seem to be so many reasons these days to not stay together.

For starters, when we were engaged and talked about “growing old together,” we decided to strike several words from our vocabulary. Words like “divorce” or “I hate you!” would not be part of our conversation regarding each other because we realized that contrary to popular belief, words do hurt, and they are very difficult to retrieve once they have been spoken. Honestly, there have been a time or two when one or both of us felt like divorce might be the easiest way, or we felt like uttering those hurtful words. But we both remembered our covenant with each other. We have never used those words to threaten each other.

We also decided that we would read the word together. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word is living. When there are so many things that would seek to destroy or “kill” our marriage, why wouldn’t we want to read that living word together from time to time? His Word speaks life into our relationship! His Word speaks healing when either one of us or both of us are broken!

Along with the Living Word as our guide, we also decided it would be good to pray together daily with each other and for each other. Hardly a day goes by without that prayer. Our prayer time is not lengthy, but when we invite the Holy Spirit to be involved in our daily lives, we each sense His presence guiding us through our day.

In spite of the elimination of certain words, there have been times when we have hurt each other. We decided from the beginning to not go to bed angry (Ephesians 4:26). We have had some pretty late night conversations, but they have always ended in asking each other’s forgiveness and once again declaring our love for each other.

Actually, I don’t think it is all that hard for couples to stay together when both are willing to work on their marriage with the help of the Holy Spirit!

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Ask God to do Ten Things During Summer Camps http://oregonag.org/34822 Tue, 30 Jun 2017 0505:Jun:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34822

This summer, we have six NextGen Summer Camps scheduled: two Kids Camps, two Youth Camps, a Royal Ranger Powwow and a Girls Camp. God has helped us put together some fantastic leadership teams for this year’s camping season, but we must heed the warning of Psalms 127:1, “unless the LORD builds the house, its builder's labor in vain.” We must ask God to build these camps; we need to pray for God’s favor over the campers and leaders.

This is why I'm asking all our pastors, leaders and parents to rally their churches and pray with me during the months of June, July, and August for these camps. To assist you in your prayers, here are ten things to ask God to do during our summer camps.

Ask God To...

  1. Save souls and transform lives. Pray for the lost, the backslidden and the hard-hearted.
  2. Show up supernaturally. Pray for Jesus encounters during the worship through songs, the Word and altar times. Pray campers and leaders experience the power of the Holy Spirit in a life-changing way.
  3. Touch each camper: relational, emotional, physical and spiritual. Pray for healings and miracles.
  4. Help our campers with unforgiveness. Pray they are able to let go and receive all God has for them.
  5. Remove all distractions that would hinder campers from receiving all God has for them. Pray that addictions and spiritual strongholds would be broken from their lives.
  6. Anoint our camp speakers and worship teams. Pray their messages will be exactly what the campers and leaders need to hear from the Lord.
  7. Protect all those at camp. Pray for the safety and health for every camper and leader.
  8. Encourage, equip and empower our churches' pastors and leaders during the week of camp. Pray this week of camp will help them in ministry when they return home.
  9. Meet all the needs of the camp leadership teams, camp staff, and church leaders. Pray for God to give them wisdom as they minister to campers at the altar and make critical decisions.
  10. Make this the best week of the year for each camper that attends. Pray for fun, joy, and adventure.

"Rally your churches and pray with me during the months of June, July, and August for these camps."

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The Sending Conference http://oregonag.org/sending-conference Mon, 30 Jun 2017 1111:Jun:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/sending-conference 34814 RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

Salem Commencement Ceremony Report

On Tuesday, May 9, over 200 people gathered to celebrate the largest graduating class in the history of the Salem campus. Eleven students received certificates or degrees: Two Certificates in Ministry Leadership (CML), four Associate in Ministry Leadership (AML) degrees, four Bachelor of Arts in Ministry Leadership (BAML) degrees, and the first Salem Campus Bachelor of Arts in Psychology graduate. Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

MA in Ministry Leadership | Interested?

A major component of the Salem enrollment strategy is to begin offering more graduate degrees. Over the next five years we have a desire to add ministry-related master’s degrees, and possibly master’s in other disciplines, i.e. education, and business. We would like to gauge the interest in a Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership (MACM), with a potential start date of January 2018. If you would like more information about this program, please email Mark Robinson

Fall 17 Application Deadline

NU at Salem is the most affordable Christian university in the Pacific Northwest. When affordability is combined with a convenient schedule and our exceptional faculty, the result is a SUPERIOR VALUE. The deadline for fall applications is July 30

Serving Opportunity | You can be a blessing this summer!

If your church, or possibly a small group from your church, is looking for a serving project this summer, we have a prime opportunity at the Salem campus. We are in the process of replacing the carpet in the upper level of our building with carpet tiles. In one half-day or full-day, you could make a huge difference at the Salem campus. The carpet tiles and other installation supplies have already been acquired. If you have someone who is a flooring installer or possesses moderate DIY skills, we can show you how to install the tiles. The remaining areas are the staff workroom, four offices, and the conference room, or approximately 2,000 square feet. Please contact Mark Robinson for more information

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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Forgetting to Remember http://oregonag.org/34795 Wed, 31 May 2017 1212:May:st +0800 http://oregonag.org/34795

In the center of a far away village, I am told, stands a huge white monument placed on a concrete slab. It is very impressive. But if you walk around the base, you will find no inscription. If you ask any of the citizens, no one seems to know why the monument was erected. Old-timers can’t remember, and the young were never told.

Strange- a monument to nothing! A memorial that has no memory or meaning whatsoever! Life is short, and our memory is even shorter. We come into this world, and in a few short years we leave this world, and within two or three generations our name is no longer remembered.

Formerly known as “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day was first enacted to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War, a war that tragically divided this nation, and still does to this day in some circles. But today, so it seems, the true meaning of Memorial Day has become lost in a flurry of activities to best suit the pleasures of the masses. To a large segment of the population, the significance of Memorial Day is that it is the kickoff to summer vacation.

I have visited many memorials. In a town where we pastored in southern Oregon, there is the old pioneer cemetery that reached back into the wild west days. We visited the World War II memorial in Manila that told the story of a terrible war that took place all over the globe. We have stood before several “walls” with thousands of names engraved- men and women who sacrificed their lives for freedom in Vietnam, Korea, and other places.

But I find the most unusual memorial of all in scripture. It is a memorial that has endured time like no other memorial. More people have visited and continue to visit this memorial than any other in history. It is not made of marble. Nor is it made by human hands. But it is so real and so meaningful and brings so much joy that often times it is not even looked upon as a memorial, but a feast- a celebration of life!

Jesus admonishes us to not forget to remember. He says, “Each time you drink this cup, remember Me. What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt” (I Corinthians 11:23-24).

I eagerly look forward to the next time I observe this celebration of life with fellow believers. I will intentionally remember all my Lord has done for me. That will be the real Memorial Day!

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Spoke’n Hostel http://oregonag.org/34759 Tue, 31 May 2017 0909:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34759

Spoke'n Hostel is an oasis of hospitality and radical generosity springing out of Christ's love for the stranger, traveler, and community.

In 2015 we had a chance to visit Mitchell, Oregon and we're quickly struck by the struggles and possibilities this remote Eastern Oregon community faced. Work is very hard to find, isolation mentality had eroded relationships and the town's heart was faint from the ravages of the recession.

In stark contrast, a vibrant community of tourists and bicycle travelers were passing through Mitchell in masse on their way to the Painted Hills and cycling the 4500 mile Trans America Trail.

A vision was released in our hearts to open a hostel inside the Assembly of God to share a Christ-centered hospitality to travelers in hopes of growing the local economy. This growth would help local businesses and provide a base salary for a pastor to focus energy on mending relationships with local community members and teach about God's unconditional love.

One year has passed since opening Spoke'n and there is no doubt that God's vision for this radical use of His resources was spot on!

In the past year the church, closed and left empty like many of the buildings in this dying town, opened its doors anew with a fresh and different vision - provide healing and hope for the local community, promote economic growth, and provide unprecedented hospitality to travelers on a donation basis.

Since June of 2016, Spoke'n has been host to nearly 400 (predominantly bicycle) travelers, 3 retreats, and countless meetings. Businesses in the town report a 30% growth in their revenue because more travelers are staying overnight, and the town is regaining its spirit. Comments from travelers frequently refer to Spoke'n as an unexpected oasis and have responded by scores of 5-star reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. To cap it all off, the Oregon Governor's office of tourism selected Spoke'n as their 2016 recipient of the Tourism Development Award, high praise from one of the most renown tourism boards in the country.

As honored as we are for this prestigious award and the accolades of guests, the best and most humbling praise we've received is that of our Mitchell community. The church has grown from zero to 15 regular attendees and roughly 40 or 50 who consider us "their church" in a town of 125. The trust we've gained over the past 18 months is so humbling. Truly a miracle of God's faithfulness as we diligently pursue his vision.

The details

Spoke'n Hostel has 12 beds (6 bunks) in the bunk room (formerly the sanctuary) and 3 more beds in two semi-private rooms. Each of the sturdy, hand-made bunk beds includes linens, pillow, handmade quilts, reading lights, charging stations and privacy curtains. Mattresses are high-quality foam with a soft and firm side and are an extra large twin size, suited to the tallest traveler.

A full kitchen is available for travelers to prepare their own meals. We intentionally do not feed travelers and respectfully ask them to consider dining at local restaurants.

Spoke'n is a radical idea from the distant past, with a new face. Monasteries of old would provide hospitality to travelers on their journies and pilgrimages. In honor of this tradition, and with hopes of reviving other small towns, we hope to use Spoke'n in Mitchell as a training ground for other hospitality minded pastors in small towns who are looking for new ways to engage with community and travelers alike.

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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Girls Camp http://oregonag.org/events/girls-camp Wed, 31 May 2017 1717:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/events/girls-camp

Location
Kellogg Springs
1111 Kellogg Camp Ln
Oakland, OR 97462

Registration
$120 by August 3
$140 Late Registration
$50 Deposit

Roberta Shimomura Presenter
Roberta has a Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministries from Bethany University and is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. For 10 years she and her husband Brad served as children’s pastors at churches in Washington and Oregon. It was her privilege to love and mentor children and youth to become life-long followers of Jesus Christ. Roberta has 3 children who are the joys of her life. Her family is on a God-sized adventure as new missionaries to Japan.

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Royal Ranger Pow Wow http://oregonag.org/events/pow-wow Wed, 31 May 2017 1717:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/events/pow-wow

The Royal Ranger Pow Wow is Oregon’s premiere Royal Ranger event for boys! Don’t miss this incredibly fun and life changing event. 

August 10-13, 2017
Entering grades 3 and above.
Younger students may attend if accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Activities include: shooting ranges, repelling wall, zip line, craft projects, woodshop and more.
Some activities have additional cost to participate that is not included in the Powwow registration.

Location
Camp Wildcat

Registration
Online registration is not available for Royal Rangers Powwow. Submission instructions and pricing are available in the registration packets.

Dr. Dick Gruber Royal Ranger Chaplain
Dr. Dick Gruber is a husband, father and a grandfather. Gruber loves his family. Since 1980, Dr. Gruber has had over 180 children and family ministry articles, five books and chapters in half a dozen more books published. He has authored and illustrated more than four-dozen cartoon booklets and comic strip sheets helping children grow in their faith.
Gruber earned a Bachelor of Science from North Central University, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership from the University of Valley Forge and a Doctor of Ministry from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

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Amplify 2017 | Brian Eno http://oregonag.org/34727 Wed, 31 May 2017 1414:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34727
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From the General Superintendent George O. Wood with Wes Bartel

I had never heard of Groesbeck, Texas, until I went there earlier this year. There’s an Assemblies of God church there, though. Before I tell you about my visit, let me share with you some amazing facts.

Did you know there are 18,969 communities or towns in America with populations of fewer than 5,000 and that there are Assemblies of God churches in 4,100 of them? Those numbers tell us two things: (1) 4,100 of our 13,000 churches are in small communities, and (2) there is a great harvest of church planting waiting to take place in 14,869 more communities!

Take towns the next size up — 5,000 to 9,999 people. There are 1,644 Assemblies of God churches in those towns, but 828 more church planting opportunities.

If our goal is a healthy Spirit-filled church in every community, then we must not overlook the small towns and rural places in America!

The church in Groesbeck nearly died. It was down to just nine people. The building was ramshackle. No one had thoroughly cleaned it in years. Junk was piled up in rooms. And, in one place in the sanctuary, the wall had separated from the roof line; you could see the sky when you stood in the pulpit and looked through the gaping opening.

But, the building is not that way today. It’s beautiful! And, there are now about 150 people instead of nine. What made the difference?

Of course, a pastor with a call and a plan. John Carabin and his wife, Marissa, came three-and-a-half years ago to Groesbeck. What brought them there? The call of the Lord and a passion to see their town of about 4,500 reached for Jesus.

John felt a calling not just to the church, but also to the community. He felt that, historically, the two centers of the town were the courthouse and the church. He wanted to restore the church as that second center. So, he followed his call not to be pastor of just his church, but also pastor of the community. As a way into the community, he joined the local volunteer fire department. That not only opened doors of access into the community, but it also opened hearts of covolunteers to the gospel. People started getting saved and becoming part of the church.

If our goal is a healthy Spirit-filled church in every community, then we must not overlook the small towns and rural places in America!

What a privilege it was for my wife and me to be there on a Sunday recently and experience the vitality of that church and the Carabins’ passion for their community and the surrounding area.

Pastor John did not do this alone. A larger church stepped in and helped with pastoral compensation until the church could begin to get its feet on the ground. John also accessed training that was available to him (more about that in a moment).

What once was a nearly dead church came back to life. So, although they’ve fixed up the church facilities, now they really can’t use them anymore for worship services. Why? They’ve outgrown them! Guess what happened? Two trustees of another church in town that had closed sensed the Lord leading them to contact Pastor John and hand over the deed to that church property — valued at close to $1 million. Since March, that has been the church’s new home. And, it’s in Pastor John’s heart to plant three new churches in the next several years in three nearby small towns. Even churches in small towns can become multiplying churches!

Oh yes, I forgot to mention the name of the church. It’s Living Proof Church — so named because the members of that church are living proof that Jesus is still changing lives — even in small towns and rural America.

I want to give a shout-out to all the pastors who are serving in small towns and rural communities.

I want to give a shoutout of thanks also to larger churches, like the one that helped Pastor John, who seek intentionally to be on the watch for others they can help. I also want to share with you a new initiative of the national office to strengthen our rural churches. It’s called the Rural America Ministries Network, and Wes Bartel is the director. In the following paragraphs, I’ll let Wes describe this important new initiative.

Rural America Ministries Network

Wes Bartel

Without doubt, the ministry of the church unfolds in many varied contexts. Christ himself mandated this variety of ministry expressions in His Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

The Assemblies of God has become one of the most effective church entities worldwide in the fulfillment of that important command. Church history will affirm that we have been generous and strategic in our approach.

However, I fear we have unintentionally neglected a culture and people who historically have been a foundation and catalyst of our Movement. I am referring to America’s rural churches. Nearly 45 percent of our churches are in rural communities, and they find themselves reaching out to this unique culture, often without essential training, resources or encouragement to assist them.

To address this important need, the Executive Leadership Team has approved the formation of the Rural America Ministries Network. The Network was created through consultation with ministry leaders who share the same passion and concern for the rural church. Cooperative input and participation from numerous sources within our great Movement will ensure the effectiveness of this resource to churches in rural America.

Here is how Rural America Ministries will work.

  1. Structure: The Network will be the agency within the National Leadership and Resources Center specifically tasked to address the needs of the rural churches within our Movement. Its director will report to the general superintendent or another leader designated by the general superintendent. The director will serve as a primary consultant to the NLRC on matters concerning rural ministry. The director will also manage and promote the various programs and relationships of the Network, as well as serving as the point of contact between rural churches and leadership and the NLRC. Finally, the director will establish a comprehensive database for use by the NLRC from contacts with rural churches and leadership.

    The Network will create a District Advisory Board to give district councils both input and buy-in and to address specific district issues and concerns relative to rural ministry.

  2. Purpose: True to its name, the Network will provide rural ministers with networking opportunities, as well as training venues and other services pertinent to rural ministry within the Assemblies of God.
  3. Relationships: The Network will cooperate with and actively promote other AG ministries that impact the rural church. Let me identify four such ministries that already exist: (1) The Acts 2 Journey, established to strengthen existing churches (Acts2Journey.com); (2) Rural Compassion, which helps rural churches meet the material needs of the poor within their communities (RuralCompassion.org); (3) Church Multiplication Network, which exists to equip, fund and strategically network church plants (ChurchMultiplication.net); and (4) Lonesome Dove Ranch, which provides training and restoration to rural church pastors (LonesomeDoveTexas.com). As the Network grows, the list of ministry relationships it maintains will grow too.
  4. Programs: The Network will establish and host regional conferences or retreats for rural pastors and congregational leadership in cooperation with regional district leadership. The primary purpose of these conferences will be networking and fellowship, training, inspiration and family ministry. The network will solicit necessary funding for the conferences and provide funding assistance to needy rural pastors who desire to attend.
  5. Ministerial training: The Network will seek to establish an effective outreach within our AG colleges and universities for positively affecting and assisting in the development of quality ministerial training in rural ministry within our Movement. It will also seek to solicit contributions toward scholarships that can positively affect training in effective rural ministry.
  6. Funding: Network funding will come from individual and church contributions, foundation grants and General Council disbursements. A U.S. Missions account established for Rural America Ministries Network can receive contributions now (Account #385299-3). I am encouraged as I think about the amazing possibilities that await us as we move forward with this important initiative. I truly believe that God has many wonderful and positive things to accomplish within the rural churches and communities of America. I commend our general superintendent and the Executive Leadership Team for their vision and commitment to this need, and I covet the prayers of God’s people as we move forward in faith.

Celebrating the Lystras

George O. Wood

I want to thank Wes Bartel for providing vision and leadership for the Rural America Ministries Network. It is an important new initiative that needs your prayers, financial support and personal involvement.

Let me conclude by circling back to a biblical example. Remember the apostle Paul’s first missionary journey? One of the towns in which he established a church was Lystra. I’ve been to the remains of that town. It is small. Seeing it, you might think of Lystra as the critics of Jesus thought of smalltown Nazareth: Can anything good come from there?

Well, Paul found Timothy there. That was very good! And since that time, no one can count the number of gospel workers who have come out of churches in small towns. Those places have been fertile fields in producing a harvest of pastors, ministers and missionaries.

So, I celebrate all the “Lystras” in our Movement today — and the lives of children and youth that are being discipled and shaped by loving pastors and church leaders. These young people will powerfully impel forward the Kingdom of God in the generation to come, should Jesus delay His coming!

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A Mentoring Ministry for Future Men http://oregonag.org/34379 Tue, 31 May 2017 0606:May:rd +0800 http://oregonag.org/34379

A dear friend of mine once told me to wear my office well. He went on to explain that folks expect things from you that may not be “in your job description.”

Here are two important responsibilities in every Christian’s “job description.”

  1. The Fruit of the Spirit
    Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirt is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
    Practicing the fruits of the spirit shows Christ in us to the world.

    This fruit of the spirit allows us to work toward fulfilling Matthew 28, which brings us to the second responsibility.

  2. Go Make Disciples
    Matthew 28:19-20 says “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

    Making disciples involves more than explaining what one is; it means being one yourself, and modeling what a disciple of Christ is.

That is what Royal Rangers is – a mentoring ministry for future men – to influence more boys and young men for Christ than ever before.

Royal Rangers offers many training opportunities to help churches get Rangers (re)started, and to help established outposts improve – how to be better mentors.

Every year in August, we hold our Summer Powwow. This year it’s August 10-13 in beautiful downtown Harlan, Oregon. It is 4 days of fun and often challenging activities, ending each night with a chapel service. We are excited to have Dr. Dick Gruber as our speaker. He was the speaker at Fusion this year, NextGen Ministries’ Youth/Kids Leader Conference.

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Youth Camps http://oregonag.org/events/youth-camps Mon, 31 May 2017 1010:May:nd +0800 http://oregonag.org/events/youth-camps

Oregon Youth Camps are for open to students grades 6-12. They are an excellent opportunity for them to grow in their walk with God, to make new friends, and to have a TON of fun!

Here are camps available for youth this summer:

Eastern Youth Camp July 17-21 2017
Guest Speakers and Artists: Jeremy Hocker, NU and Delivery Boys

Location
Camp Elkanah
49504 OR-244
La Grande, OR 97850

Registration
$140 by June 29
$160 after June 29

Resources
Policies
Promo

Online registration is not available for Eastern Youth Camp. Submission instructions are available in the registration packets.

Jeremy Hocker Eastern Youth Camp Presenter
Jeremy Hocker is a longtime Oregonian who is passionate about seeing generations become lifelong followers of Jesus. He is a dynamic speaker, communicating the lifesaving message of Christ in a relevant and powerful way. Jeremy served as the Youth Pastor at Redmond Assembly for over thirteen years and has recently transitioned into the Associate Pastor role.

Discipleship Youth Camp August 2-5, 2017

This nontraditional camp is built around small group settings that link students with leaders in a 1 to 6 mentor-coaching ratio environment, and designed to be lived out over the year. 

Location
Faith Christian Center
1049 NE 11th St
Bend, OR 97701

Registration
$99 by July 13
$119 after July 13

Resources
Policies

Summer Youth Camp at the Beach July 31 - August 4, 2017
OMN Advertised Summer Camp, Hosted by Horizon Community Church, Tualatin

This is a Summer Camp for Middle and High School students.  Students will participate in activities including basketball, volleyball, octo-ball, ping-pong, billiards, disc “Frisbee” golf, miniature golf, swimming, canoeing, and blobbing, and have life-changing moments including services with Donnie Moore and high-energy worship music.  The entire camp is designed to build relationships and experience the presence of God.

Location
Twin Rocks Camp in Rockaway Beach

Registration
$250

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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Kids Camps http://oregonag.org/events/kids-camps Thu, 31 May 2017 1010:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/events/kids-camps

Oregon Kids Camps are open to students entering grades 2-6. They are an excellent opportunity for them to grow in their walk with God, to make new friends, and to have a TON of fun!

Here are the camps we have available for kids this summer:

Eastern Kids Camp July 10-14, 2017
Activities include: swimming, zip line, archery, crafts, crazy camp games, and more.

Location
Camp Elkanah
49504 OR-244
La Grande, OR 97850

Registration
$140 by June 22
$160 after June 22

Online registration is not available for Eastern Kids Camp. Submission instructions are available in the registration packets.

Western Kids Camp August 14-18, 2017
Activities include: swimming, zip line, archery, crafts, crazy camp games, and more.

Location
Kellogg Springs Camp
1111 Kellogg Camp Ln Oakland, OR 97462

Registration
$200 by July 27
$220 after July 27

Brad & Roberta Shimomura Presenters
After leading Children’s Ministries for several years, Brad and Roberta Shimomura and their three children are now world missionaries with the Assemblies of God, appointed to the nation of Japan. They have a desire to reach the children of Japan with God’s love and are so excited for the God-sized adventure that lay ahead of them.

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Emotional IQ Part 2 http://oregonag.org/34594 Thu, 31 May 2017 1010:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34594

We all have feelings. In fact, for a lifetime we have had people telling us how we should feel or not feel. It started when I was little: “Larry, you can stop crying now- big boys don’t cry.” Or, if I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar, I could count on hearing, “Larry, you should be ashamed of yourself!” And, later on, if I allowed my feelings to get hurt by someone, invariably I would hear, “Don’t feel bad Larry, I was just kidding.”

Feelings are neither right or wrong

In fifty years of ministry, I have observed many marriages where one partner will be upset or even angry because the other partner feels a certain way, not counting the fact that feelings are neither right or wrong. There is no morality to feelings. Obviously, how we react to our own feelings or another person’s feelings might be right or wrong, but feelings are just feelings, and they may abruptly change within a very short amount of time!

Feelings are so much a part of us, that our feelings are at the heart of good communication. Couples who never talk about each other’s feelings on important issues are headed for trouble. Likewise, couples who do not empathize with each other’s feelings, even though they may not agree with the other’s feelings, are headed for hurt and disappointment in their relationship.

Good communication in our marriage is being able to ask ourselves, “Can I be mature enough and responsible for allowing my spouse to express their feelings simply because that’s the way they feel?” In other words, I must choose to let my spouse express their feelings honestly without a “put-down,” or criticism, or telling them, “you shouldn’t feel that way.” This, of course, requires creating a place of safety. If I am standing by with a bulldozer ready to tell her why she shouldn’t feel the way she does, then the conversation is over! Feelings are neither right or wrong, so even though my wife may feel different than I do, by allowing her to express her feeling without road blocks will not only enhance our relationship but will bring a love bond between us that is absolutely amazing.

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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Anaheim Outreach 2017 http://oregonag.org/events/AIM Wed, 31 May 2017 0909:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/events/AIM

REACH Anaheim 

Equip your students with hands-on training and an experience that will lead them to reach THEIR community for Christ. Every student, parent, and leader on the trip will be engaged in an interactive experience the will inspire them to reach beyond themselves!

In partnership with the SoCal Network and Global Passion, we are working with the local churches in Anaheim to create a cross-cultural ministry experience for you and your students. We are striving to see two outcomes by the end of the week. First, that students are equipped in a practical way that can be replicated in their own communities. Second, that the people of Anaheim will connect to local Assemblies of God churches in the area. Our hope is that in the following weeks, both the churches in Anaheim and those who send students will see new faces walk into the doors of their church.

During the week, every student, parent, and leader on the trip will be engaged in an interactive experience that will inspire them to reach beyond themselves, break through their comfort zones, and do more than they thought possible. In addition, each person will receive training that will stretch their thinking to realize the potential of putting their time, talent, and energy into the Lord’s hands.

When registering for Anaheim17, there will be an option to add the AIM Outreach. Students, parents, and leaders can register at anaheim17.ag.org.

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Emotional IQ Part 1 http://oregonag.org/34434 Wed, 31 May 2017 0606:May:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34434

She had been an effective leader in our church for many years. But as she came into my office that day, I could tell she was deeply troubled as she announced that she and her husband were leaving the church. After what seemed hours of probing, she finally revealed her reasons for leaving. The previous Sunday my wife happened to pass her in a very crowded foyer and didn't stop to greet her. As tears were running down her face there in my office, she added, "and she didn't even smile, and that really hurt my feelings!"

Why did this lady's feelings really get hurt?

  1. She allowed a negative thought to trigger a negative feeling. She thought that the pastor’s wife was "aloof" that day because she had walked by without giving this lady attention. This lady assumed my wife was thinking she was somehow better than others. However, if this woman had "taken her thought captive"; according to 2 Corinthians 10:5, she would have realized that she had actually been hugged by the pastor's wife on numerous occasions. It is often negative thoughts that spark negative feelings.
  2. The truth is the pastor's wife could in no way hurt this lady's feelings. That’s why we call them “my feelings.” I am in charge of my own feelings. It's my choice as to what hurts them. You don't control me. I can choose to have my feelings hurt by something you do, but you cannot hurt my feelings.
  3. Perhaps this woman was seeking extra love and attention that day, and when she didn’t receive it, she found my wife to be at fault, and the lady became "the victim." According to psychologists, sometimes a person desires the feeling of being a martyr for his or her own sake, out suffering or persecution because it either feeds a need or a desire to avoid responsibility.

You hurt my feelings” is a phrase we should reconsider using because it simply is not true. Rather it is a confession of our own mistake of allowing someone else to control us.

Healthy leaders will not only be in control of their own feelings and know how to process negative thoughts that spark negative feelings, but they will also keep from blaming others for hurting their feelings.

Here's a question: Do I let my feelings dictate my actions, or do I process my thoughts and feelings in a responsible way?

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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Passing the Baton http://oregonag.org/34403 Wed, 31 May 2017 1111:May:rd +0800 http://oregonag.org/34403

Today we stand on the edge of another generation who must have the opportunity to set their hope anew on God. In Psalm 78, King David gives the church a mandate to reach the next generation, because every new generation is an unreached generation. If we fail to meet this obligation, then we’re doomed to repeat the fate of Judges 2:10, where following Joshua’s generation, there arose another generation who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.

Every new generation is an unreached generation.

As Assemblies of God Leaders, we must strive daily to fulfill this responsibility. This mandate should compel us to pass our movement’s heart for missions onto the next generation. Last year was an extraordinary year for NextGen Missions. One of our OMN churches, Yoncalla Assembly of God, ranked #2 in the nation (Division A) for their BGMC giving of $12,979! Overall, our kids gave $130,241 to BGMC, with 52% of our OMN churches participating. Additionally, our youth saw tremendous growth in their STL giving, seeing a 42% increase over the previous year. They gave $93,338 to STL, with 34% of our OMN churches participating.


We have set some big NextGen Missions Goals for 2017:

  • STL Goal is $125,000 with 40% of our Churches Participating.
  • BGMC Goal is $150,000 with 60% of our Churches Participating.
  • Ultimate Goal is 100% church participation.

To help us attain these goals, we have two new Summer Missions Projects.

Summer STL Project - John and Carolyn Stewart, missionaries to South Africa. They have been serving in missions for more than 20 years. They are presently serving in South Africa, focusing on leadership development and Church Planting. A STL vehicle is vital for them to be effective in ministry. This vehicle will enable them to do more in the area of equipping pastors and church planting. You can download their Project Bio on our STL web page and view their Project Video on our YouTube Channel. #STLtheStewarts

Summer BGMC Project - Brad and Roberta Shimomura, newly appointed missionaries to Japan. They have been serving in kids ministry in Oregon and Washington for more than10 years. Their primary focus in Japan will be kids and family ministry. This summer, our kids will be helping to buy Bibles for Japan through BGMC. These will include Bibles for parents as well as Japanese comic book style Bibles to give to kids. $15 purchases one Bible. Let’s aim for 200 Japanese Bibles - $3,000! The easiest way for your kids to participate is to send in your summer BGMC offerings to the national office, using their Special Target Form. You can download this form on our BGMC webpage. #BGMCjapan

Be sure to check out our Resource Page for more tools to help you successfully pass the baton on to the next generation.

Finally, if you would like to schedule me to come and do a STL or BGMC service for your kids, youth or church, contact me directly in order to save a date on the calendar.

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Update your Faith Promises Online http://oregonag.org/34372 Tue, 31 May 2017 1111:May:nd +0800 http://oregonag.org/34372

THE PROBLEM

Our missionaries depend on Faith Promises in order to be released to go to the mission field. The Assemblies of God has a great tool for setting up recurring giving transactions through the AG.org website. Unfortunately, the only part of the system that was connected with Faith Promises was to establish a new commitment. There was no way to manage all Faith Promises from a single location, until now!

THE PROCESS

A little over a year ago I contacted the national office regarding this issue with some suggestions of how it could work.They responded immediately and a team was formed to tackle the task of combining two systems. Anyone who's worked on the back end of systems knows that a great deal of work goes into designing them to be easy for the user. After a year, the system went live the first week of April 2017.

THE SOLUTION

To view, modify, or create new Faith Promises, all you have to do is go to ag.org and login to AG Giving by clicking their "Donate" button. On your account home screen, there is a new section titled "Faith Promises." This section shows all of your Faith Promises at one glance. You can add, modify, or remove commitments from here.

Perhaps the greatest feature is on the Recurring Transactions page. Here you can see what you are giving monthly automatically. Each transaction now shows a Faith Promise column.  It's possible you've been giving monthly to a missionary and thought you had a Faith Promise set up, even though it's not. Now you can verify that at a glance.

CONCLUSION

Using this new tool allows you to avoid having outstanding Faith Promises you knew nothing about, set up a Faith Promise for a missionary you've been supporting who was missing that piece, and modify your monthly support amounts for both your Recurring Giving and your Faith Promises all in one place.  No need to call in changes or send in those forms anymore.

Do you have an idea to make something better? Pass it on. You never know where it will lead.

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

You may remember the Sunday School song we sang as kids…

"This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."
I believe this is the directive for the OMN today. It is our time to Arise and SHINE.

In the powerful Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares, You are the light of the world. He follows that pronouncement with this commanding instruction, …let your light shine before others. What perfect words for us in our dark and dim world. Our world could use some light!

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining, they just shine. Dwight L. Moody

During our recent 2017 Network Summit, I encouraged 4 ways as ministers we can keep our lives shining brightly.

  • WE SHINE OUT OF CONNECTION:
    2 Corinthians 3:18 (TLB) …we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord.” We shine as bright as our relationship with the ultimate light of the world, Jesus. Building time into our lives to keep the connection healthy and vibrant must be a priority.
  • WE SHINE OUT OF CONVICTION:
    Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous shines brightly…
    Committing to godly values and virtues will keep your light bright in an otherwise dim, drab and dark world. It is His righteousness, not my self-righteousness that keeps the light bright in my attitudes and actions.
  • WE SHINE OUT OF COURAGE:
    Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John…that these men had been with Jesus. We get our SHINE ON…when we take bold and big steps of faith: speaking up, standing out, staying the course, starting something new or sharing your talent or treasure. People will “see your good works and glorify your heavenly Father.” It takes faith and confidence to do this daily.
  • WE SHINE OUT OF COMPASSION:
    Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another…
    Acts of compassion draw people, not creeds. It is acts of kindness, it is acts of help that make us shine bright. It can be heard in our tone of voice and seen in our willingness to listen and lend a hand. Compassion not condemnation will make your light shine brightly.

Renown British Journalist, Malcolm Muggerridge, was asked once in a television interview, “What do you want most out of life?” His response was simple but profound, “I should like my life to shine…”

IT IS OUR TIME TO SHINE!

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RSS Feed http://oregonag.org/feed/rss Wed, 31 Mar 2017 1313:Mar:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/feed/rss

 

Observations

Prayer

God’s Winning Word is a weekly devotional written by Bill Wilson.

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Summit 2017 | Stan Steward http://oregonag.org/34755 Wed, 30 Apr 2017 0808:Apr:th +0800 http://oregonag.org/34755