Note: This story was retrieved from Ministry Today's archives and was published in Ministry Today Magazine in 2004.
Meet three pastors who left their churches to hit the books.
They are among a growing number of Pentecostals and charismatics pursuing higher education ... and a higher calling.
At 53, Bob Proy hit the books ... again. A former pastor with more than 20 years of ministry experience, Proy has spent the last several years in classrooms, furthering his education.
He recently earned masters' degrees in communication, and marriage and family counseling from Oral Roberts University (ORU). Now, he is devoting his doctoral studies at ORU to establishing an after-care program for inmates and their families.
Proy envisions establishing rehabilitation centers outside urban areas where ex-convicts and their families can be discipled while adjusting to post-prison life. And he says higher education is the spark that lit his vision for the future.
Note: The following is an excerpt from the book Lead and Succeed by Sara. J. Moulton Reger
David was the second king in Israel, and he was a great warrior both before and during his reign asking. This story of his leadership in battle was recounted at the time of his death:
David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless, he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men. (2 Samuel 23:14-17)
The Holy Spirit is working in places you might never expect. The move of God happening in these 12 locations is notable, and these hot spots are great places for evangelists and missionaries to set their sights.
China. Nothing in the history of missions rivals the success story that is China. Mao Zedong tried to wipe out Christian faith in the 1970s when there were only 2.7 million believers. Today, the most conservative estimate is that China had 75 million believers in 2010. A few years ago the greatest growth was among rural “house churches.” Today Christianity is also growing in China’s major cities, and charismatic renewal has infiltrated state-sponsored churches.
India. Despite language barriers, tribal divisions and violent attacks by Hindus, indigenous church-planting movements have flourished all over India in the last 40 years. Fifteen years ago in Andhra Pradesh, a woman who heard a gospel radio broadcast, asked if someone could plant a church in her remote village. Within the first year after a pastor came, the church had 75 converts. After a church building was constructed in 1994, this church planted 125 churches with a combined membership of more than 5,000. This type of growth is occurring throughout India today.
There is something about the holiday season that amplifies our feelings. When we are having a good year, we see God’s joy and blessing around every corner.
But then there are the years of loss. This season, there will be people in your church who are grieving deeply. In fact, that person might be you.
Grief has many causes; from the loss of a loved one to the loss of a job. The holiday season seems to also bring out the loss of dreams, and desperation of what might never be.
In this article, I won’t be able to help you make people feel better. Grief is a deep valley that must be traversed at different times of life. However, you should find some new tools here that will help you love the people you walk with in tangible ways and give you the insight to share God’s perspective.
We have just come out of a presidential election. Some Christ followers are happy, some are not, some have concern, and some continue to live in fear. I do not have a problem with concern, but I do have a problem with fear.
Fear has the ability to imprison the faith and hope within us. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, and it is impossible to live in the overcoming power of the Kingdom of God within us. God is much bigger than who is in charge of our nation or any nation. Whoever is in charge should never be an opportunity to allow fear to grip us.
Romans 13 says, "Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear."