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Can You Spot the Real Christians?

F-BerteauThe unsaved see believers as hypocritical, and no different than themselves. Here’s how to live an authentic faith that stands out from “normal” American Christianity.

I hesitated to accept the gospel in college because of the behavior of people who claimed they were Christians. They were not much different than me. Their language, actions and behaviors weren’t so special that I viewed what they had as a better life. Why would I want what they had? What was so special or different about it?

When it comes to our culture, it’s more of the same. The music industry feeds our youth with profanity and sex, but then those same musicians stand up and thank “the man upstairs” at awards ceremonies. Our sports heroes party, use performance-enhancing drugs and get into fights, but then they kneel down and thank God the moment they score a touchdown.

What is the world supposed to think of this? Would the real Christians please stand up?

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Reinhard Bonnke: All America Shall Be Saved!

reinhard-bonnke-veroEvangelist Reinhard Bonnke took his soul-saving mission to Vero Beach, Fla. this weekend during a two-day Gospel Fest.

An outdoor tent set up at the Vero Beach Airport drew at least 5,000 worshippers from across the country hungry to hear the simple gospel Bonnke preaches—and sit under the anointing of the evangelist who has invited multiplied millions of souls into the kingdom.

“Every time I take the microphone I have one burning desire in my soul …” Bonnke told the crowd on Saturday night. “To see hell empty and heaven full!”

Bonnke is best known for his crusades in Africa and for his cry, “All Africa shall be saved!” More than 55 million Africans came to Christ under his ministry from 2000 to 2009 alone. During the Saturday night Gospel Fest the evangelist was focused on lost souls in America. Bonnke declared, “All America shall be saved!”

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Rick Warren: God Calls Us to a Life of Service

Rick-Warren-Saddleback-Church-small“It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” (Ephesians 2:10 LB)

God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.

You weren’t created just to consume resources—to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. You were created to add to life on Earth, not just take from it. God wants you to give something back.

The Bible says, “In our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10b TEV). These “good deeds” are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes (Colossians 3:23-24; Matthew 25:34-45; Ephesians 6:7).

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Church Health: Did God Show Up?

Kim Martinez 2This month, I’ve been looking at multiple tools for looking at how people experience your church. Hopefully, these tools are helpful to you as you consider how you interact with people.

However, I think it is important to end the month of church health with the ultimate check up:

Does God show up?

When I first came to pastoral ministries, I was unfamiliar with the weekly rehash of Sunday morning. The pastor would start the conversation: “How did Sunday go?” For me, the only real question was this:

Did God show up?

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Kay Warren: How to Start an HIV/AIDS Ministry

f-MinOut HowTo ScottTokarWe have a moral responsibility to engage the largest humanitarian crisis in history

The AIDS pandemic remains today as the largest humanitarian crisis in history, and the church has a moral responsibility to become engaged. Every church, whether large and affluent or small with little in the way of financial resources, can make a significant impact in its community. Here are five practical steps to launch an HIV/AIDS ministry, based on the acrostic START.

Seek support from the pastors, elders or deacons of your church. Church leadership must understand why it is important to begin this ministry. Without their support, the ministry probably won’t succeed. Inform the leadership team about the number of people infected and affected—locally and globally—and about the reasons the church is best positioned to care for people who are HIV-positive. Write a purpose statement that clearly explains the aim of this ministry and how it fits within the scope of the church’s overall vision.

Talk about scriptural foundations for this with the congregation. Human emotion is insufficient as a rationale for beginning an HIV/AIDS ministry. It must rest on a scriptural foundation.

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Church Health: How Do People Learn?

Kim Martinez 2Editor’s Note: This is the third and final in a series of articles by Assemblies of God Pastor Kim Martinez on church health. Part 1 Part 2

Jeffrey squishes his car into a parking spot, grabs his bible and heads for the church.

He is on his Sunday-best behavior. He dropped his wife and kids off at the door before parking on the back 40 and slogging through the slush to get into the sanctuary. As he enters the church, his brain starts to switch off. He has walked into the presentation zone. Jeffrey wants to engage in church, and he works hard at it, but every Sunday, he fights a simple problem—his mind tries to turn off when he enters the building. He hasn’t figured out the cause, but perhaps with a bit of thought, we can change the environment so that he finds himself energized and focused instead.

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