Outreach

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Rick Warren: God Calls Us to a Life of Service

“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). read more

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Church Health: Did God Show Up?

This 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? read more

Kay Warren: How to Start an HIV/AIDS Ministry

We 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. read more

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Church Health: How Do People Learn?

Editor’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. read more

Churches Should Build Community Ministry

What better time than a recession to pool your resources and minister to the needy?

It started with a bag of groceries to meet a serious need in our community. From there, our benevolence requests went from six a day to more than 40 a day, and 15 percent of our congregation were out of work. At the peak of the economic recession, our community was hurting and needed real assistance. In response, Saddleback Church launched a food pantry.

People came to our doors the first day we opened them. Today we have fed more than 80,000 people in south Orange County, Calif. Our Food Pantry provides fresh and nonperishable grocery items to families in the community. Pick-ups are available once every 30 days and walk-ins are welcome on select days and times every week.

Within two years, our pantry turned into The PEACE Center, where we also provide free legal aid, immigration help, tutoring clubs, ESL (English as a second language) classes, medical services and many more services.

And the most amazing part is that more than 1,600 people have given their lives to Jesus because of the work done through the center. People come not just with hungry stomachs but with hungry hearts as well. read more

Orphan-Care Ministries Aim to Eradicate Global Problem

God’s adoption plan provides the church with the perfect ministry model

At the heart of orphan care at Saddleback Church is the desire to end the orphan crisis. We believe every child deserves a loving, lasting, legal, lifelong family of their own—and we believe this is doable. If every church empowered their members to care for orphans in ways that helped and didn’t hurt, the orphan crisis could be over.

Unfortunately, though there are still more than 163 million orphans and vulnerable children in the world today, little has been done yet to help orphansstop being orphans. As a culture, we’ve spent years trying to put Band-Aids on the orphanage institution. But children need more than food, shelter, clothing and education. We don’t want children to just survive, but to thrive—and children thrive in family. 

At Saddleback, we began asking ourselves, “How can we end the orphan crisis, and is there something every church can do?” Here are what we believe are the answers to those questions. read more

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Church Health: How Do You Show God’s Love?

It is 5:30pm. Sam comes through the door, intent on surprising his wife Sarah. He finds her stirring spaghetti with one child wrapped around her leg, and the other hollering from the bathroom.

Knowing he only has seconds before she is off to help the bathroom child, he whips out his surprise:

“Look what I brought you!” He announces, as he displays a dozen roses.

Sarah glances his direction, while picking up the Klingon on her leg. “Hmmm. Thanks. Can you take out the garbage?”

Not exactly the scenario Sam was looking for.

Gary Chapman tells us how to fix this disconnect in the Five Love Languages. Sam can learn to speak Sarah’s love language in a short amount of time, and those momentary interactions will deepen their relationship instead of leaving them both wanting. read more

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Billy Graham Program Raises Up 11,000 Young Evangelists

“Learning that God is with us everywhere we go is a blessing.”

Those are words not from a pastor, a theologian, or even a quote from the Rev. Billy Graham.

This came from Damon, a normal 11-year-old, who probably enjoys video games, sports and cartoons like most boys.

But what makes Damon different is that he’s now committed to something those even quadruple his age often find to be a daunting task—confidently sharing his faith every chance he gets.

Studies by the Barna Group show that Americans are five times more likely to come to Christ between the ages of 5 and 12 than after age 19. read more

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Guard Your Mouth With God's Word

I do not believe we can live in victory unless we realize there is power in what we say.

As believers, we need to be trained to understand the soul, which is made up of the intellect, will and emotions. Since it is full of "self" and does not want to submit to the Holy Spirit, it must be purified (see 2 Tim. 2:2).

Because we are free moral agents our own minds tell us what we think, but our thoughts are not necessarily God's thoughts. Our wills dictate what we want, despite what He desires for us. And our emotions govern our feelings, but our hearts should instead be subject to Him. read more

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Define Yourself by Godly, Loving Commitments

“Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living!" (2 Peter 3:11 LB)

Your commitments can develop you, or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. Tell me what you’re committed to, and I’ll tell you what you’ll be in 20 years.

It is at this very point of commitment that most people miss God’s purpose for their lives. Many are afraid to commit to anything, so they just drift through life. Others make half-hearted commitments to competing values, and that leads to frustration and mediocrity. Others make a full commitment to worldly goals, such as becoming wealthy or famous, and they end up disappointed and bitter. read more

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Christmas in Connecticut: Morning for Newtown Families

Our hearts continue to grieve over the horrific evil that was unleashed against precious, helpless children last week at an elementary school in Connecticut. In the midst of the pain we also remember that hope rises and prevails over darkness through the Advent of God’s eternal Son.

There are many questions. Answers are complex and elusive. As we try to process such unspeakable atrocities, trying to make sense of the senseless, trying to reason out the irrational, let’s walk through this against the backdrop of what we do know. Here is what we know with certainty.

Sin always brings tragic consequences. The Bible is clear that all rebellion against God will exact payments. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). No matter how troubled the shooter was, there is no way to begin to understand such events without an acknowledgement of sin, evil, and the activity of the devil and his minions. Jesus called the devil “the thief” and said his intent against humanity is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). read more

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LA Revival Erupts at Bonnie Brae Street After 100 Years

The Los Angeles Revival broke out last week on Bonnie Brae Street with the laying on of hands by evangelist Verna Linzey, was the keynote speaker and minister.

The revival saw ecstatic utterances, slaying in the Spirit, violent quaking, crying, tears, people falling on their faces, hands lifted up toward the heavens, screaming in the Spirit, calling the fiery Holy Ghost down from heaven. Event organizers say they're seeing a repeat of the initial outbreak of the revival in 1906, except more people were present this time.

The house was packed full with about 44 people listening to the Rev. Linzey preach. The revival hit Azusa Street last week. Now it has hit Bonnie Brae Street, tracing its steps back to when it came 100 years ago. read more

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In Light of Newtown Massacre, Resist the Devil, Not God

One of the most difficult things a pastor has to do when a tragedy occurs is to try to find the words to comfort a grieving family and explain how God can allow such a horrible thing to take place. While I do not purport to have all the answers for such situations—sometimes it's best just to be there for grieving families and offer prayer for them rather then give explanations—these instances do highlight the existence of evil in the world.

On the day of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., I was shocked to hear both a prominent television news anchor and the governor of Connecticut use the word evil several times when referring to the heinous act of the shooter. Where doe evil comes from?

Jesus said that the thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He also called him a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Rather than cause me to doubt the existence or goodness of God (like Satan wants), heinous acts like this should remind us that there is a real devil in the world who revels in destroying human life while seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). read more

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Treasure Hunters Look for Lost and Needy

 The clues on our treasure map led us to a home improvement store, where we began looking for our treasure—someone with “red hair,” “headache,” “Ralph,” and “back problem” were among our clues. 

Immediately, I noticed a woman with red hair. As I approached her and her husband, I asked, “Hey, do you by any chance have a headache?” She responded, “As a matter of fact I do!”

She was visibly shocked that I had this inside information. After explaining that God had clearly highlighted her on my treasure map, she agreed to let us pray for her even though she adamantly stated that she was not a Christian.

After a short prayer, her headache vanished and she started to cry, overwhelmed that God would care enough about her to send us to help her. She then asked Jesus into her life right there in the middle of the aisle, while her husband stood at a distance in obvious disgust. read more

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Connecticut Shootings: Why the Shock and Awe?

Amid the "most wonderful season of all" comes the tragic news of a deranged young man entering an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 27, including 20 children. Tragically, Christmas for these families will likely be the darkest of many dark hours to come. The days when parents could send their children off to school with confidence that they would be cared for and protected seem long gone.

Just this summer we watched a senseless shooting spree in a Colorado movie theatre take the lives of 12 people and injure another 59. The national premiere of The Dark Knight Rises had Americans clamoring for tickets to be entertained by violent behavior. When tragedies like these occur, why do we respond with such shock and awe? Psychiatrist Keith Ablow said, "This kind of shock registers with people—because it seems like the unthinkable keeps moving into the sphere of our reality."

The "unthinkable" first surfaced in mankind thousands of years ago when Cain killed his brother Abel out of mere jealousy and rivalry. God had warned Cain, "Sin is crouching at your door," but Cain ignored God's word and committed murder. God punished Cain for taking innocent life but the violent shedding of blood has continued for centuries. Why? read more

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Can There Be Another Great Awakening?

I believe that the greatest danger facing American today is President Obama's redefining of the Christian faith. In the next four years Obama will have the platform to substantially change the face of Christianity unless we act with decisiveness and courage.

Obama keeps saying he a Christian, yet his policies are those of the most radical secular humanist. His social policy is wildly pro-abortion and pro-homosexual. Obamacare and his economic policies are overtly socialist and Marxist. All of these are unbiblical, yet they define Obama's "greatest achievements!" What makes it so infuriating is Obama's campaign to transform America is being done as a so-called Christian. read more

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Joshua Fowler: ‘Heaven Stood at Attention’ for God Day

In an age where the government—both national and local—has seemingly neglected God’s Word, Apostle Joshua Fowler believes Dec. 12, 2012, will be recorded with historical significance.

Wednesday, Fowler and other leaders of God’s army joined local government leaders at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando to proclaim 12-12-12 to be “God Day: Awakening a City to Awaken Nations.” A representative of Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office, city commissioners and a representative of United State Congressman Daniel Webster’s office were on hand for the proclamation.

“When that proclamation—signed by the mayor and city commissioners—was read, the prayer was powerful. God just came in and arrested the place,” said Fowler, senior minister of Life Legacy Church in Orlando. “When the city commissioners left, their words were that they were rocked by this. God just touched them. read more

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Post-Sandy Chaplains Rely on 'Divine Appointments'

Chance. Coincidence. Happenstance. Those words don’t exist in the vocabulary of Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains.

“Because our chaplains pray each morning for God's direction, we don't believe that we ever accidentally stumble into a meeting with somebody as we’re ministering in the aftermath of a disaster,” said Jack Munday, international director of the ministry. “Those encounters were put in place by God. We call them ‘divine appointments.’”

And those divine appointments have been happening for more than a month now in New York and New Jersey following the impact of Superstorm Sandy in late October.

Take, for instance, the recent experience of chaplains in Nassau County, N.Y., where the chaplains have been reaching out to hurting survivors since Oct. 29. read more

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Rick Del Rio's Church and Partners Contribute 50,000 New Coats to Sandy Victims

Lower East Side churches and volunteers distributed 5,000 coats, scarves, boots and other winter supplies at the schoolyard at PS 34 in New York Saturday, in the shadow of the power plant that darkened lower Manhattan during Superstorm Sandy.

The only Manhattan location is one of 11 regional hubs created by a unique partnership between American Red Cross, Somebody Cares America, New York Christian Resource Center and local faith-based groups that collectively distributed 50,000 coats and more last weekend to communities most directly impacted by the storm.

“We are delighted to see the Red Cross partner with us in this way,” one of the organizers, Pastor Rick Del Rio from Abounding Grace Ministries, said. “Though power has returned to Lower Manhattan, the lingering effects of the storm are still being felt. What better way to warm the hearts of children and families during the holidays, then by warming their physical bodies first.” read more

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Lou Engle Calls Switzerland to Intercession

Lou Engle's movement, TheCall, is gathering in Switzerland next month, and he's urging the nation to participate in intercession and fasting.

TheCall Geneva will convene at various locations Dec. 8-12 with a goal to invoke spiritual transformation.

Engle, co-founder of TheCall solemn assemblies, is part of the leadership team at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. He wrote in an email: “We want to alert you—the faithful fiery praying friends around the world—to join us on this strategic day. God is orchestrating a convergence of believers including modern day reformers from around the world to join us specifically on December 8th for 12 hours of fasting and prayer.” read more

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