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2010 in review

September 14, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 7 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 12 posts. There were 150 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 31mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was February 5th with 86 views. The most popular post that day was CU NEWSNOTES – Ohio – Second District .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were christianunion.com, ohiocu.org, mariaozawa2u.blogspot.com, tips-tools-tutorials.com, and ohamerica.us.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for christian union witness, cuwitness.wordpress.com, the christian union witness, oh, cuwitness, and witness express.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

CU NEWSNOTES – Ohio – Second District January 2010

2

Witness Express 5 (Jan 2010) January 2010
1 comment

3

CU Calendar of Events November 2009

4

CU NEWSNOTES – Ohio – First District January 2010

5

CHRISTIAN UNION MISSIONARIES April 2010

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Witness Express 9 (May 2010)

April 27, 2010

Christian Union Witness Express

 

Family That Matters

By Jim Eschenbrenner

“Eleven years. Eleven years!” Cynthia kept repeating, “Eleven years.”

Her two friends, Barb and Jenny, sat on either side of her, each holding one of her hands. Like clockwork, Jenny pulled a dry tissue from the box to replace the ones that Cynthia was soaking with her tears. There was a growing pile of wadded up tissue balls on the coffee table.

Just a little over two hours ago, Cynthia had retrieved the kids from day care and arrived home to find her husband, Stewart, furiously packing a suitcase. His angry words were seared in her ears and she couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong.

Stewart had told her that he could no longer live in the same house with her or continue dealing with their two children which he claimed were “out of control” and for that he held her responsible. With an angry squeal of tires he left in his pick-up.

Cynthia crumpled to the floor and sobbed.

Katy, their seven-year-old, evidently went next door and told Barb because she was the first one to show up. Soon after that Jenny arrived with her 13-year-old daughter, who took the younger children to Barb’s house.

Through the tears and confusion and pain, Cynthia heard Barb and Jenny trying to offer advice and comfort but their voices seemed to be coming through a far-away tunnel. Somewhere in the fog of emotion, she heard someone mention Pastor Chad. To this day she can’t figure out why, but she blurted out, “Call Pastor Chad.”

Cynthia and her family hadn’t been to church very often; maybe three times in the past year, but she knew Pastor Chad was the “real deal.”

Fast Forward ten months: Stewart, Cynthia and their children, Katy and Kyle are sitting in the same row at church. Cynthia and Stewart aren’t sitting next to each other – yet. The kids sit in between them. It’s not what Cynthia would like, however, they are in church together. And although they are still not sharing the same bed, Stewart did move into the spare room in the basement last week. They have a long way to go. But they have hope.

Real Leadership

by Doug Webster

In Acts 6:1-7 we find a case study in biblical leadership that serves as a model for us today. In just a few sentences, Luke lays out five principles of effective leadership.

(1) Leadership addresses the real problems facing the Household of Faith in a direct and timely fashion. “No sooner was the complaint made by the Hellenists (and it was never denied) than the matter was taken in hand” (Williams, 103). Without denial or delay they dealt with the issue. Real needs were going unmet, widows were suffering, and the apostles responded immediately. A defensive attitude that sought to cloud the issue or cover up their failure to respond to the Hellenistic widows may have prevented them from acting, but they wasted no time assigning blame. Nor did they get bogged down in the decision-making process. Likewise, we have to be careful that a bureaucratic mentality does not set in that prevents the church from engaging and resolving issues, especially when people are suffering.

(2) Leadership is rooted in the biblical community and involves a dynamic interaction between those who take the lead and those who are led. “The Twelve,” that is, the twelve apostles, summoned the whole group of believers. This is the only time in Acts where the apostles are referred to by the title, the Twelve. It served to underscore the solidarity of this leadership body and the representative character of the apostles. They were a living parable of the new eschatological Israel. Whereas we tend to emphasis individuals and accentuate top-down leadership, the emerging church emphasized leadership solidarity. Leadership was and is everyone’s responsibility. By calling “all the disciples together,” the Twelve assured effective communication and a spirit of openness. They did not impose a solution on the church, but gathered all the disciples together (Stott, 121). There were neither “back room deals” nor “behind-closed-doors” decision-making. By design, the admission that there was a problem and the proposed solution was out in the open for all to see and deal with.

(3) Leadership priorities need to be established and honored in the Household of Faith. The Twelve issued a statement to testify to their first priority. They affirmed, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables” (6:2). In other words, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor” (The Message). The phrase, “to wait on tables” was a figure of speech for financial transactions, “because money lenders sat at tables to do their business” (Williams, 106).

Helping the poor was not an issue subject to debate, much less denial and neglect. All were agreed that this need must be met. The problem was time. The apostles did not have the time to manage the relief fund and give themselves to the preaching of God’s word and to leading prayer services.  “It would not be right . . .” was their starting point for establishing practical priorities. They led as they themselves were led. They were not making it up as they went along. They were submitting to the will of God. The practice of principled leadership in the emerging church of Acts is radically different from today’s mega-church super-pastor, who sees himself as the Chief Resource Raiser and the motivational point man for get-it-done leadership. The popular profile of the modern-day visionary pastor tends to bypass the lessons of shared leadership in Acts 6 and depreciate the Spirit-led power of the preached word of God and prayer to build a vital Household of Faith. If the apostles refused to be distracted from their primary calling, perhaps we should reconsider our expectations of pastoral leadership.

(4) Leadership selection is a vital responsibility of the Body of believers. The apostles delegated two important types of responsibility: first, to the community of believers, they delegated the selection of leaders, and then, to those selected, they delegated the designated task. Leadership was not a matter of top-down directives, but a highly interactive process that involved the body of believers. They chose from among themselves people who were “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.” Their selection process depended upon the priesthood of all believers arriving at a consensus, based on prayer and spiritual discernment. The process was radically different from the will of the majority choosing the most popular candidate. Luke adds that “this proposal pleased the whole group.” Everyone had sense of ownership in solving the problem and that helped to assure its success. They demonstrated mutual respect for one another. When the seven were chosen the body of believers “presented them to the apostles, who prayed and laid hands on them.” The process went full circle and concluded with a commissioning service.

(5) Leadership selection is based on a unique set of qualifications. They chose a team of seven who were qualified in a special way. They were “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.” It may be easy to skip over this qualification, but consider its true significance. The seven were not picked because of what they might become but what they already were known to be. They were chosen not for their wished-for-potential but for their clearly demonstrated character. Nor were they chosen for their personality. Somebody wasn’t saying that what we need for this position is an extroverted personality type who has an intuitive grasp of people’s problems and is considerate of other people’s needs. There wasn’t a Myers-Briggs personality type that they were looking for. They were looking for people full of faith and the Holy Spirit. They were looking for people “willing to trust Christ, to take him at his word and to risk all for Christ’s sake” (Williams, 104).

Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One-Minute Manager, counsels pastors never to select a person for their leadership team who doesn’t have a positive emotional effect on you the minute he or she walks into your office. In other words, you can have the character of a man or woman of God, and the competence to meet the need, but if you don’t pass the chemistry test, you don’t belong. Thankfully, this was not how the early church selected its leaders. They looked for people full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.

There may have been practical reasons for selecting seven men with Greek names, but I don’t think it can be said that they were chosen for political reasons. Undoubtedly they needed Greek-speaking disciples to minister to the needs of the Greek-speaking believers. Selection was not based on potential, personality or politics, but on a consistent demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That was what commended these seven to all the disciples.

Douglas D. Webster teaches pastoral theology and preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Excerpted with permission from a message preached August 22, 2004.

No One Ever Told Me!

by Jenny Prine

One summer, eight year old Kourtney pedaled her bicycle down the street to her neighbor’s house. Her neighbor, Mrs. Williams, had invited her to a special week-long Bible club that was just for kids. Kourtney was so excited when she arrived that first day and saw ten other boys and girls there; they had been invited to the club, too. Jeffry and Rachel, two teenagers, were also there.  They were going to lead the hour long club each day. With curiosity and anticipation, the children gathered on blankets under a large shade tree in the backyard.  The first day of Good News Club began.

The boys and girls sang songs, learned a Bible verse, heard an exciting Bible story, played a review game, and listened to a true-life missionary story.  Kourtney, with the other children, heard of God’s love for her and how He created each one uniquely special. They learned of sin, a problem with which everyone is born that separates them from God. They also learned of Jesus, God the Son, who came and willingly died on a cross for their sin, was buried and came alive again.  They heard that Jesus said, “whoever believes in Him will not perish (not be separated from Him) but will have eternal life (life with Him now and forever)” (John 3:16).

At the end of club, the children were given an opportunity to believe in the Lord Jesus as their own personal Savior.  Rachel invited those who were interested in believing in the Lord Jesus to come and talk to her while the rest of the children line up for their snack.  As the boys and girls lined up, Kourtney quietly came and stood beside Rachel.  Rachel asked her why she came.  Kourtney said that she would like Jesus to come and live in her and forgive her sin.  Rachel asked her if she had ever done that before.  Kourtney shrugged her shoulders and said, “No, no one ever told me I could.”  Right then Kourtney believed in the Lord Jesus as her personal Savior, believing that He died for her sin, asking Him to forgive her sin and to come and live in her.  Kourtney continued to attend club each day that week.  She continued to learn more exciting truths from God’s Word and how she could grow in her new life in Christ.

There are many children throughout our communities just like Kourtney who have never heard the gospel and have never received an opportunity to personally believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  I have heard it said that approximately 80% of today’s children will never walk through the doors of a church.  We reach some through our children’s programs and summer vacation Bible schools, but there is still a large number of boys and girls who are not being reached within the walls of our church buildings.

So how do we reach these unreached children who are not coming to us?  We go to where they are, into their neighborhoods, bringing God’s Word to them.  This is at the heart of Child Evangelism Fellowship’s® summer 5-Day Club® ministry.  CEF® works alongside churches and individuals who are burdened for the spiritually lost children in their community.  During the summer individuals volunteer to host a club in their front or backyard or on their porch or patio for a week.  They invite the children in their neighborhood to come to their home for a 5-Day Club, a club like the one Kourtney attended.  CEF trains and equips Christian teenagers and adults who then go out in teams to teach these Bible clubs throughout the community.

If you find yourself burdened for these unreached boys and girls in your own community and desire to find out if 5-Day Clubs are available in your area, you may check out Child Evangelism Fellowship’s website at www.cefonline.com or call the CEF headquarters 1-800-300-4033 for more information.Jenny Prine

INTRODUCTION TO MYSELF: My name is Jenny Prine and I am a Christian Union missionary serving with Child Evangelism Fellowship in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I grew up in the First Delphos Christian Union Church in Delphos, Ohio.  I am a 2000 graduate of our Christian Union Bible College.  I have been on fulltime staff with CEF for the past six years but I am approaching my eighth summer of being involved with the local 5-Day Club ministry.  This will be our fifth summer of training Christian teenagers to go out and teach these clubs in the Fort Wayne community.  We began with a group of 6 dedicated young people, last year we had 13, and this summer we are looking at the possibility of having 20 teenagers dedicating their summer to the Lord’s service by teaching these clubs and reaching the unreached children in our area with the gospel.

Why not seek to reach children in your community? Contact Child Evangelism (www.cefonline.com) or Jenny at jenprine@verizon.net or 260-471-2763

How I Distribute Our Bulletins

by Avis Brown, Homer Christian Union, Indiana

I print the bulletins at my church. . . . I put the Witness Express in our bulletins the Sunday after their receipt. At the present time the number I receive . . . is adequate for us. If there are unused bulletins I remove the Express and put it on the table with the other “pick up” literature.

Witness Express 8 (April 2010)

March 29, 2010

Christian Union Witness Express

 

Known By The Scars

This title song of an album by Michael Card closes with these lines: “But they only recognized Him by the scars.
The marks of death that God chose never to erase, The wounds of love’s eternal mark.”

As a background to the song, in his book Immanuel, Reflections of the Life of Christ, Michael tells of Joseph, a Masai warrior of Africa, who on his face shows the scars that mark him as a warrior after killing his first lion with only a spear and shield.

One day Joseph met someone who told him about Jesus Whom he accepted there on that dusty African road. Immediately the joy of the Spirit began changing his life. He was so excited and happy. He began going door-to-door in his village telling of his conversion to Jesus Christ. But Joseph was shocked by the villagers’ reaction. Some men grabbed him and held him down while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. When he became unconscious they dragged him out of the village to die. When he regained consciousness he dragged himself to a watering hole where after days of weakness he regained enough strength to get up. He rehearsed his gospel story and went back to tell it more clearly but the same thing happened. He was severely beaten and dragged out of the village. Again, miraculously, he didn’t die but revived and lived.

The third time he returned to the village to share his new-found faith. Before he could speak they attacked him. He tried telling them of the love of Jesus as they beat him. As he passed out he noticed the women beginning to weep. Days later he awoke in his own bed with the villagers now trying to save his life. Meanwhile the entire village had come to Christ.
But the rest of his life scars over his body marked the suffering he bore for Jesus.

After Jesus’ resurrection Mary did not recognize Him but thought that He was the gardener. But when she heard His voice she knew that it was Jesus. When Jesus broke bread the disciples of Emmaus knew Him. The miraculous catch revealed Him to His fishermen followers. Thomas doubted Jesus had risen from the dead until he recognized the wounds in His hands and side. When Jesus showed the marks of His suffering, the nail prints in His hands and feet and the spear wound in His side, all doubt was removed from His disciples’ minds. John in the ‘revelation’ recognizes Him as the Lamb slain (sacrificed, the original language term is normally used for sacrificial slaying) for our sins. (Revelation 5:6, 9, 12) So the Lamb in heaven still bears the scars of His sacrifice. (Rev. 13:8).

The missionary Paul wrote to the Galatians (6:17 ‘The WORD’) “Don’t make any trouble for me! After all I carry the scars of Jesus on my body.” Remember that He had been stoned at Lystra and left for dead. He was beaten and jailed at Philippi. “Five times the Jewish leaders had me beaten with 39 lashes; three times Roman officials had me beaten with clubs. Once people tried to stone me to death; three times I was shipwrecked, and I drifted on the sea for a night and a day.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-25 ‘The WORD’). Of himself and other believers Paul writes, “In every way we are troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up. We’re persecuted but we’re not abandoned. We’re captured but we’re not killed. We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 ‘The WORD’).

As Jesus’ resurrected body was recognized by its scars, so His body, the church, should be known by its scars and tears and the unspeakable joy it knows in spite of, and indeed because of, Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Joseph the Masai warrior might ask, “Have you any scars for Jesus?”

There’s been an EXPLOSION at Wilson Chapel!

Because of concern for our youth at Wilson Chapel and the surrounding area, in 2003 Leon and Terri Allman met with Pastor Doug and his wife, Joann.  Out of that brainstorming session came Pioneer Club.  This idea was taken to our Leadership Team, then to our congregation.

Under the direction of Joann, we had our first Pioneer Club meeting on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 with an enrollment of 34.  The classes we have now are Skippers (ages 3 & 4), Scooters (Kindergarten), Voyagers (grades 1 & 2), Pathfinders (grades 3 & 4) and Trailblazers (grades 5 & 6).  Our teens meet on the same night although they are not counted as part of Pioneer Club.

Pioneer Club theme verse is “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Plasm 119:105), the aim is ‘That we may glorify the Lord Jesus’, the motto “Looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2a) and the slogan is ‘Christ in every aspect of life’.  The goals are to enable children to enter into a personal relationship with Christ, to encourage them to form healthy relationships, to help them grow as whole persons and to disciple them in their walk with the Lord.  Several have been saved!

Pioneer Club kids have an opportunity to earn several Bible and Activity Awards. Each unit is geared to the age level being taught. What a thrill to watch the kids’ faces when we have firemen visit with the fire trucks, policemen and nurses. We’ve had sign language taught. A marshal arts expert visited. With Donna Cottrell as our in-home Missionary, we have called upon her several times to share. It’s awesome when the kids see an active relationship with Christ in everyday living all the time in all aspects of life, not just on Sundays.

We soon outgrew our classrooms in the church building. On Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006 we had the ground breaking ceremony for the Family Life Center.  The Children’s Christmas Cantata was held in the finished gym on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006 with 120 in attendance. Upon completion of the downstairs classrooms, on Sunday, May 6, 2007 Dedication Service was held with 180 present for the afternoon session. We began using both the church and the Family Life Center for classes in September of 2007. When the upstairs classrooms were completed in September of 2008, we began having all Pioneer Club classes in the Family Life Center. Several of our ladies prepare a light supper every Wednesday night for those who do not have time to eat at home.

We have seen a steady increase in attendance each year.  In our sixth year, 2009, we EXPLODED with an enrollment of 83!

How can you not get excited when you see children coming to know Jesus and see how they change for the better as they grow in Him!

We have excellent, faithful teachers and helpers who are dedicated to teaching the children who Christ is and how to have a relationship with Him.  What would we do without our prayer warriors? How about the parents, grandparents and anyone else who brings the kids every week. We’ve had parents tell us that their children are choosing Pioneer Club over other after school activities including sports. How cool is that?!

If God had not given us the vision to build the Family Life Center and provided the finances, we would not be able to minister to all these precious souls.

We praise and honor our Father God for the opportunity of serving the children at Wilson Chapel.

CUBC 2010 Spring Ministry Conference Christian Union Bible College

April 24, 2010   Focus:  Evangelism and Outreach

The Christian Union Bible College will hold its Spring Ministry Conference on Saturday, April 24, 2010. The focus this year will be on the topic of Evangelism and Outreach.

The Ohio Examination and Ordination Board will once again give credit to those who are seeking ordination for their participation at the conference. Please plan to attend and bring someone with you. For registration information please contact the Bible College on line at cubiblecollege@yahoo.com or by phone at 937-981-2897.

Witness Express 7 (March 2010)

March 11, 2010

Christian Union Witness Express

 

Making Jesus Smell Good

The Gospels tell the story of Mary and Martha who lived in Bethany (about two miles from Jerusalem). Jesus visited them when He came to the Jerusalem area. There were at least three in the family-Martha, her sister, Mary, and a brother, Lazarus. These were people whom Jesus loved and enjoyed visiting. We have accounts of three incidents in their relationship.

One time when Jesus was visiting, Martha wanted to put on a big dinner; it may be that some of the disciples were going to eat with the family. Bustling around in the kitchen she was irked that Mary had chosen to sit with Jesus and entertain Him by listening to His stories and conversing with Him. Martha had more than her share of Jewish chutzpah (nerve) she approached Jesus and told Him to tell Mary “to get up and help me with dinner.”  Jesus’ response was not what Martha expected but it was typical ‘Jesus.’ He said, “Martha! Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. There’s only one thing you need. Mary has made the right choice, and that one thing will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42). What do you think that ‘one thing’ is that Jesus was referring to? I think it was a relationship with Jesus-spending time with Him! Do you suppose that Jesus (and God the Father) is more pleased with our spending time in prayer and meditation with Him than in some sacrifice we might offer Him?! While Martha wanted to make Jesus feel good by putting good food into His stomach; Mary was making Jesus feel good spiritually by interacting with Him about faith, hope and love-spiritual truths and eternal values.

Now Martha was a true believer in Jesus. We see that in the second recorded incident that brought them together. (I am sure there were other times that Jesus visited with them at Bethany.) In the first incident we do not encounter Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. But he is the occasion for the second event. Lazarus died. Some people have equated this Lazarus with the beggar of Luke 16 but we have no way of verifying that. Lazarus might have been a common name. So I think that there were two Lazaruses. In any case Lazarus became seriously ill. His sisters sent for Jesus because they knew that He had healed people and He could heal Lazarus of any illness. Jesus was teaching and healing on the east side of the Jordan River. He had left Judea because the Jewish leaders were trying to kill Him. (John 10:39). Even after Martha and Mary sent to tell Jesus of Lazarus deathly illness, Jesus did not respond right away. There was a purpose in His wait as He told His disciples -“Lazarus has died, but I’m glad that I wasn’t there so that you can grow in faith.” (John 11:13).  Two days after receiving the message He began the journey back to Bethany (two miles from Jerusalem) to raise Lazarus (John 11:7-11).

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she ran to meet Him. In their conversation she expressed her faith in Jesus’ ability to heal, in His relationship with God, and in His being the Messiah with the power of life and death. (John 11:20-27). Martha accepted Jesus’ claim “Your brother will come back to life. I am the one who brings people back to life, and I am life itself. Those who believe in Me will live even if they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” She then ran back to the house and told her sister, “The Teacher is here, and He is calling for you.”

Mary ran to Jesus and knelt repeating through her tears the same complaint as Martha-“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus was deeply touched by her tears and He also wept. He asked, “Where did you put Lazarus?” Mary and the crowd of mourners with her took Jesus to the cave with the stone blocking the entrance. “Take the stone away,” Jesus commanded. Martha, who had rejoined the group, reminded Jesus that “Lord, there must already be a stench. He’s been dead four days.”  Jesus had the stone moved and said an audible prayer so that those standing there knew that He was talking to God, His Father. He then shouted loudly, “Lazarus, come out!” And Lazarus appeared still wrapped in the cloths they had put on his body. Jesus commanded, “Free him and let him go.” They did and many people believed on Jesus because of this miracle. (John 11:1-45).

Jesus left the area going to the small city of Ephraim. Later the Jewish Passover drew near (the annual celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery). All able Jewish men were to come to Jerusalem and worship with a sacrifice at the Temple. Jesus also came the week before the celebration and was having a meal in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man He had healed of leprosy. Lazarus was also at the dinner. While Martha was serving it Mary came in with one of her prized possessions, a bottle of very expensive perfume made from pure nard (worth hundreds of dollars). Breaking the bottle she poured some on Jesus‘ head and some on His feet. She then wiped away the excess drying his head and then His feet with her hair. Everyone noticed what she was doing partly because the pungent perfume filled the room, and the entire house. Judas led some in complaining that this was a waste. The perfume should have been sold and the money used to feed the poor. While thieving Judas had an ulterior motive Jesus addressed their reasoning, “Leave her alone! She has done a beautiful thing for me. You will always have the poor with you and can help them whenever you want. But you will not always have me with you. She did what she could. She came to pour perfume on my body before it is placed in a tomb.” (He was referring to His coming death by crucifixion. In the process of preparing dead bodies they wrapped them in strips of cloth with spices and perfume.) He added, “Wherever this story of Good News is told in the world, her story will also be told as a memorial.” (John 12:1-8; Mark 14:3-9; Matthew 26:6-13).

And we are retelling the story again. Jesus came to earth to give His life as a “sweet-smelling sacrifice to God” for us (Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29; Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 3:17; 12:18; 17:5). Mary sacrificed something very precious to her. They all knew what she had done but Jesus explained why she had made this extravagant expression of love. Then they understood how much she loved Jesus! I wonder if people around us can readily tell how much we love Jesus! And we might ask ourselves, “How much do I love Jesus; do I love Him enough to make a sacrifice of my most precious possession to Him?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Philippians 4:18)

Ann Ortlund in a book on worship published by Gospel Light Publications wrote of this event. “Many [people] who file into church…have Jesus inside of them. Jesus!-precious, exciting, life giving. But most of them keep Him shut up, contained, enclosed all their lives. And the air is full of NOTHING. They come to church and sit –these long rows of cold, beautiful alabaster vases! Then [they] get up and march out again, silently-or maybe talking their cold alabaster talk-to repeat the ritual week after week…The need for Christians everywhere (nobody is exempt) is to be broken. The vase has to be smashed! Christians have to let the life out! It will fill the room with sweetness.” The eternal, holy God says “I live in a high and holy place. But I am with those who are crushed and humble. I will renew the spirit of those who are humble and the courage of those who are crushed [broken].” (Isaiah 57:15).

Scriptures in this article are from God’s Word translation.

Christian Union Youth Camps – 2010 Version Coming Soon!

Indiana

  • Junior Camp for ages 7-14: June 21-24. Camp Woodsmoke, near Clarksburg, IN. Director Don Fuchs. The theme is “A Time for Everything”. Registration and worker forms will be available in April. Camper registration forms are due June 3.  Worker forms are due May 13. The fee for campers is $30 and for workers is $15.  This includes a T-shirt.

Iowa

  • Junior Camp: June 21-25.  Jericho Hills,  Lucas, IA. Chuck Whitmire, speaker. The theme is “Do Right.”  Cost $120.Kids playing soccer

Missouri

  • Junior Camp for ages 8-12: June 14-17. Inspiration Hills, Polo, MO. Ron Ratliff, speaker. Contact Pat Polo at 816-296-3051.

Ohio

  • Senior High Camp: July 12-17. Greenfield, Ohio.  Director Mike Anderson. Marty Ford ‘Experience’ Band, new classes & activities.
  • Beginner Camp: July 19-24. Director John Dotson.
  • Junior High Camp: July 26-31. Director Jeremy Davis.

Oklahoma

  • Day Camp for ages 6-12: June 7-9, June 14-16, and June 21- 23. 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. daily. Camp Clearview. Director Sam Young. The theme this year will be “Olde Time, God Time” with various speakers scheduled during the three different weeks. This year, to avoid scheduling conflicts, the kids are encouraged to come any of the 3 different weeks.
  • Junior Camp for ages 8-12: July 19-22. Director Bryan Baldwin. The Theme this year will be “ Looking for Him in 2010” The Chapel speaker will be Noah Wickham, and our Missionary speaker will be Richard McCool. Children ages 8-12 will enjoy a week of overnight camping in rustic cabins located at Camp Redlands in Stillwater, OK. There will be games, Missionary studies, Chapel services, and Bible lessons focusing on looking for our Savior in everything we do.

Tri-State

  • 2010 Camp for ages 13-18: July 19-23. Lake Maurer, Excelsior Springs, MO. Director Jim Eschenbrenner. The theme is “Chasing Lions.” Planned activities include archery, basketball, drama, golf, softball, volleyball, and worship. Open recreation will include paintball, pool, and video games. An internship program is available for those who are at least 16 years old and have been at camp for at least one year. Mike Colaw and his friends will be with us to lead in worship. This will be their fourth year and everyone has learned to appreciate both the quality and intensity of being led to recognize the Presence of God who is always with us. Mike and his friends are more than “the band.” They are partners in ministry with counselors and workshop leaders who help us all explore the wonders of worship.

Are You Interested In Short Term Missions?

Would you like to go do something worthwhile for the Lord this summer (or sometime soon)? Here are some contacts for such an opportunity:

  • Teen Missions International (info@teenmissions.org or 321-453-0350) for both youth and adults in the U. S. and international.
  • Hope Mission International (hmomhr@grm.net or 660-425-2277) in the US or Haiti.
    Mission Teams are made up of ordinary people who have committed themselves to one week or more of service to God in a place called Haiti. There are many avenues of service available to the volunteer. As you look over the opportunities available, you may find yourself drawn to more than one area of the work. That’s alright, you can divide your week however you feel led. You may serve part of the time on one team and then switch to another team. Flexibility is the key to a successful experience. Who knows, you may just find that God has a whole new plan for your life that is just waiting to be discovered in Haiti. Open yourself to the possibilities as you examine the various teams. Just click on one of the team buttons above to see how some other people followed Gods leading by serving on a team. Your experience may be similar, or God may have some surprises just for you. In any case, your life will never be the same again.
  • Hope Mission (Ralph Morris, mrrevbjeepin@yahoo.com), Haiti.
  • Word of Life, Nehemiah Network (nnetwork.wol.org), short term missions for adults.
    The Nehemiah Network is a service ministry of Word of Life Fellowship.  Through the Nehemiah Network, we conduct Short Term Mission Trips all around the world (domestic and international).  The Nehemiah Network desires to enlarge the missionary vision and outreach of churches and individuals by connecting them with the needs of missionaries around the world.  We want to assist the local church in accomplishing the great commission through Short Term Missions.
  • Word of Life, Youth Reachout (reachout.wol.org), short term missions for teens.
    Word of Life is a huge worldwide ministry in over 58 countries. Come and catch a first-hand glimpse of world missions! Reachout is targeting hundreds of locations in many countries with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Prepare to be stretched as you share your faith and use your talents and abilities in a variety of cross-cultural settings. Experience the thrill of proclaiming Christ in the open-air, churches, youth rallies, and anywhere God opens the doors through drama, music, testimonies, and preaching the Word of God.
  • SCORE International (scoreinternational.org), teens and adults.
    The purpose of SCORE International is to evangelize, encourage missionaries, and equip participants to do the work of foreign missions.
  • R-VICS, Roving Volunteers in Christ’s Service (www.rvics.com) for retired people in U. S.
    RVICS is a non-donominational Christian organization for couples with a heart to serve the Lord during their retirement years.  Teams of 5 or 6 couples provide a wide variety of maintenance, service, and construction assistance to needy non-profit Christian children’s homes, schools, colleges, camps, conference centers, and churches.  Each work project is 3-1/2 to 4 weeks long, scheduled in warmer climates during the winter months, and cooler locations the remainder of the year.  Members are encouraged to serve a minimum of 3 projects, or up to 8 or 9 projects a year, January through November, with a 3-to-4-week Christmas furlough.  Summer projects are scheduled for those who can serve at that time.
  • Youthworks (youthworks.com) for teens age 12-19 within the U. S.
    Quite simply, our purpose is to provide life-changing, Christ-centered youth mission opportunities. This is our reason for being. We create extraordinarily fun and significant mission adventures, targeted to the needs and capabilities of youth, ages 12-19. By crossing borders of race and culture, and by placing students outside their comfort zones, we find something wonderful happens: God gets their attention! Without the distractions of everyday life, God uses YouthWorks to work in the lives of thousands of teenagers. By attempting to be faithful to our purpose, we find God is also at work in each of the communities we serve. Yea God!
  • HBCGlobal (President Don Callison, dcallison@avmi.org), international teams via Missions.
  • European Christian Mission (Clair Longuevan, 970-210-5594), international.

There are many others.

General Council (Our National Conference)

Date: June 8-10, 2010

Location: Historic Excelsior Springs, Missouri…a spa city founded by Dr. J.V.B. Flack, Christian Union leader, pastor and evangelist. Meeting in the church he founded now called Flack Memorial Christian Union Church, 1300 Tracy Street, Excelsior Springs, MO.

Theme: Following Christ… eye-level, face-to-face, heart-to-heart

Speaker: Doug Grogan, Pastor, Church Planter, Church Leader, Avid Fisherman and Outdoorsman.

Christian Union Missions

February 7, 2010

B-Mail # 258 — Prayer Requests

Thursday,February 23, 2012                                                                                                                                            

Dear Family and Prayer Partners,

Dean leaves early in the morning to go to be with Janene as she is having some personal problems.  She lives south ofIndianapolis,Indiana.  Pray for safety as Dean travels alone and for Janene.

Bev is having cataract surgery Monday morning at9:15 am.  A friend will be taking her to the hospital.  Today during the preoperative session she also found out she has macular degeneration in the left eye.  She is scheduled to see a specialist about that in about 2 ½ weeks.

The equipment in thePhilippinesstill has not been released.  Please keep that in prayer.

In His Love,

Dean and Bev Brubaker                                                                                                                                               

B-mail # 259

Thursday,February 23, 20129:09 AM                                                                                                                            

Dear Family and Prayer Partners,

The message from FEBC and the one to you crossed in cyber space. J

1)      Praise for the transmitters arriving at Iba and Bocaue!!!

Please pray for:

      A)     unloading process
– safety of the people and items being unloaded
– need to finish unloading today; container van must be returned today, otherwise, there will be extra fees

B) 3 container vans – safe return to owner

C) assembly process – pray for SWO technical team who will work on assembling the transmitters

Next week is a combined conference between FEBC and their British Associates FEBA.  Please pray for this important conference.

Thank you for praying,

Dean and Bev

  

Fall 2011 Newsletter

 Brubaker’s Christmas Letter   B-Mail #257

Dear Friends,

The past couple months have been a whirl-wind of activity!  Our trip to the Philippines allowed us to visit people and places we haven’t seen for 22 years!  What a blessing to hear what God has been doing in their lives and to see their children walking with the Lord.  Many through out the world are celebrating His Birth because of the radio broadcasts from FEBC.  It also helped to give us closure for our 15 years spent in the Philippines as FEBC is poised to close the original site early next year in favor of a more practical location in the city.

A side trip to Baguio City in the mountains allowed us to visit a pastor that we helped through college and seminary.  Delfin is now the area director for the Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in the Mountain Province.  His children assist him in the services.  Lyn his wife has started a school for children in the mountain province.

 [We were unable to capture the pictures from the email. Sorry!]

Christmas celebration in the Philippines begins in September—decorations and music both secular and religious abounds in the many huge malls.  The emphasis is on the “star” of Bethlehem and you see nativity scenes all over.  It was nice not to see Santa everywhere. Next year I think we’ll start earlier!  Our picture with the Nativity scene was taken in a hotel.

The original purpose of our trip to the Philippines was not accomplished as the transmitter shipment from Saipan has not been released from customs.  We know that God is still in control so please continue to pray that the equipment would arrive safely and for wisdom for the possibility of a return trip when that time comes.

Part of our trip was a stop-over in California to visit our daughter Julie’s family.  My, how the kids have grown.  Julie is starting a job at a food bank.  Pray for wisdom for her to prioritize her responsibilities with the kids and their school, all that she does in their church and her work.

A quick trip to Indiana for the memorial service of our son, Ron’s father-in-law gave us the opportunity to see the rest of our family.  We are thankful that Tom knew the Lord and a clear Gospel presentation was given at the service. Pray that those that heard will have listening ears and for God’s comfort for Suzanne and the family.

Bev’s mom is doing well following the extraction of her remaining upper teeth and adjusting to an upper denture.  She had cataract surgery on both eyes and is sporting new glasses.  She said, I got more than my “two front teeth” for Christmas. Her glasses are a Christmas present to herself. 

  • We attended our church’s candlelight service last night.  How wonderful to be together with so many friends that love and serve the Lord.  We hope your holiday has been as blessed as ours.  MERRY CHRISTMAS and as Mom has been telling her friends that she calls, “Have a Happy, Healthy New Year”!

Dean and Bev Brubaker and Irene Diffendarfer

 
Subject: B-mail #256 -- News from the Philippines
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2011
Dear Friends, 
I am sad to report that the transmitter shipment from Saipan will
Probably not be released any time soon.  Project manager, Guy West, left today for meetings in Singapore and then returns to his home in Indonesia.  Most of the preparation work here in Iba is finished except for some building renovation that will take place after the transmitters are installed and a very old WWII vintage transmitter is removed.  It's been a bit disappointing, but we rest in the fact that our God is far greater than any bureaucracy here in the Philippines.  And my time here was a good time of renewing old acquaintances, meeting new staff and being of some help in technical issues. 
I would like to share a story of one of our FEBC listeners in Cambodia:
Chou is a pastor and keen listener to family FM.  But he first met Jesus through FEBC's short wave service, Voice of Love.  In 1993 Chou was working as a pharmacist with the army in Banthey Meanchey, close to the Thai border.
One day while tuning his radio he found Voice of Love.  He listened intently for three months and then gave his life to Jesus.  Voice of Love was
Chou's only Christian fellowship for the next two years!  Then he came to Phnom Penh, joined a church and was baptized.  In 2003 he moved to
Kandal province and started a church in his house.  Today it has 25 members and he pastors five smaller groups in the neighborhood.  He still practices pharmacy, and also does some pig farming.  Pastor Chou has been listening to Family FM (FEBCambodia's local station) ever since it sent on the air in 2003.  He tells his church members to listen too.  He says that the radio programs help him greatly in his own ministry.  "Family FM is my pastor!" he says. 
I was able to change my return plane ticket so will be traveling to =
Manila on Thursday and then fly home on Friday. I would appreciate your prayers for safe, timely travel.
Dean Brubaker

 

BRUBAKER BULLETIN    November 4, 2011

Dear Friends,

We just learned that the transmitter shipment from Saipan has arrived in the Manila port.  Now let’s pray it through customs!  And then safely to the FEBC locations in Bocaue, Bulacan Iba, Zambales.  The schedule is to start the installation November 21.

We start our travels tomorrow, so appreciate your prayers.  Bev’s mother will be staying with Bev’s brother for the next two weeks.  Continue to pray for Mom as she still has to eat soft foods since her dental work.

Dean and Bev Brubaker

Sonius Update   October 26, 2011
From: Jim Eschenbrenner <jimesch@gmail.com>

I spoke with Ron and Pauline this morning. Ron is still in a lot of pain. The Dr said it might take 12 weeks for his back to heal. This, on top of the limitations from his stroke, is very frustrating. Ron says his eyesight is decreasing. Both Ron and Pauline asked us to pray that God will help them make the daily adjustments to these challenging effects of aging!

Lee Sonius is in Kenya at the Rift Valley Academy visiting son TJ who is in his final year of high school. The school has had some drills to prepare everyone for the possibility that the political turmoil that is moving through many African nations will also impact Kenya. Already there are discomforting events in Nairobi. Michelle continues to have Visa problems; pray this issue gets resolved.

Also of great to concern is that Lee and Michelle are currently $1300 per month short on their financial support. Gifts can be sent to:

Christian Union Missions Fund
C/O Rev. Neal Skiles
905 Ethel Ave.
Heath, OH 43056-1605

October 8, 2011 Missionary Letter
Helen Inman, MK Care Coordinator

Office phone:  704-587-1407
Cell phone:  803-493-3545

I will not be using my home phone number after June 15
Email: Helen.inman@sim.org [mailto:Helen.inman@sim.org]

You can give to my support or ministry online by going to http://www.sim.org and following the links to give online. You can send checks to SIM/USA (Receipting), Box 7900, Charlotte NC 28241 and designate the gift for either support or ministry
SIM/USA
Box 7900
Charlotte, NC 28241
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Greetings again from the Carolinas,

This time of the year I am still catching up and putting away things at work and home after the busy summer. In doing so, there are several group photos to put away.

Pictured above are the 10 adults, 7 MKs, and some of staff for the August Home Assignment Retreat. (I’m hiding in the middle, in the back.) Other photos are the small group who were here for orientation in March, an April photo of those attending the MK
Caregivers Consultation in Kansas City, the June photo of the 99 participants, 51 children and several leaders at the ACSI orientation for overseas Christian School personnel, and the July photo of 35 new SIM missionaries and 30 MKs (ages 10 months
to 18 years).

To explain maps to younger children, I sometimes start by showing them a photo of themselves, or someone they know, and ask what they see. They say, “That’s ___!”
Then we talk about how it isn’t really the person, but a tiny picture of them. A map is like that, it is a tiny picture of the world, or some part of it.

My collection of group photos give glimpses of the many adults and children we have had the opportunity to help in one way or the other in their preparation to serve the Lord somewhere in the world. We heard bits and pieces of their testimonies of how they came to know the Lord, and how He has called them to reach others through missions. It is good to know that we all fit into God’s bigger picture somewhere!

October 3 I returned from almost 2 weeks of visiting friends and family and a couple of supporting churches in Ohio and Indiana. It was a good trip, and a good time  of remembering some of the big things God has done in my fifty years of walking with Him, thanks to the faithfulness of many in their everyday lives as teachers,
pastors’ wives, co-workers and friends.

Thank you for your part in these 36 years of serving with SIM. Please pray that I will be faithful in the everyday, routine things. We have 10 children scheduled to be here October 31 – November 11 for SIMCO Kids. Two are tiny babies, four are ages 2 – 4, one is six years old, and three are teens. Pray that when these children
see us, they will see a tiny picture of our Lord Jesus.

Helen Inman
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

B-Mail — Brubaker October Prayer Letter
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011
Dear Friends,

We especially need your prayers for Bev’s Mom as she will have several teeth pulled.  Also especially pray for the quick release of the equipment from the Philippine customs.

Thanks for being part of our ministry.

Dean and Bev
=====================================================

 Praise Report from Beth Callison

Today, October 21, marks a great day of praise for us.  It was one year ago today that Don was taken into surgery for cancer of the duodenum.  He is a miracle of God’s faithfulness and healing power.  Even the doctors confirm it.  He has been through chemo, infusions and pill form,  which began June 8th and ended August 9th.  He had very few side effects.  He didn’t even lose his hair which is amazing.  There was about a week and a half after each treatment that he just didn’t feel well.  He had a colonoscopy the end of September and everything was great.  He will see the oncologist again the end of November at which time blood work will be done.  When we met with her after chemo she said everything looked wonderful.

We took a road trip to northern Michigan September 29 – October 11, to visit my 90 year old mother who is doing well and who is still in her own home.
The weather was perfect and the fall colors were breathtaking.  We took mama up to the Mackinaw bridge for lunch one day and enjoyed a short walk down by Lake Michigan.  We enjoyed drives to see the leaves and enjoyed family and friends who came to see Don.  All were amazed at how well he looks.  To God be the glory great things he has done!

We have crossed another “Jordon” , we have placed another stone in our altar of praise and thanksgiving to a faithful God, and we continue to trust him for complete healing.  When Joshua crossed the Jordan and placed stones as a memorial God said, “when your children ask, why the stones are here and what they mean, tell them the stones are a reminder of this amazing miracle.”
Would you take a moment to praise him with us for our miracale and for answers to your prayers and ours?  He is worthy of our praise.  There is not a day goes by that I don’t thank him for the valley experience.  It takes valley experiences to draw us closer to Jesus, it makes the flowers smell a little sweeter, the sunset becomes more vivid, and life is more precious.
Take time to enjoy your spouse, your family and your friends.  Life is short in light of eternity and most precious.  It is with a grateful and humble heart that we say “thank you” for praying and standing with us through this past year.

Praising God for his faithfulness and love,
Beth, Don and our entire family

AUGUST 2011

From The Montagues

    Thought I would send you a short update from South Texas, and what we know about what is going on in Mexico.

We have been keeping busy with literature distribution  mostly among small groups of undocumented people from Mexico who have come to the U.S. for  various of reasons.

Their main reason for coming right now is due to all the violence that is going on in Mexico.

They are difficult to work with because they worry about getting caught here without papers so they don’t stay in one place for very long which makes it almost imposable to get them into a church.   As far as we can tell, about the only time many of them hear the Word of God, is when we visit with them in the street for a few minutes.

Please pray for these people some of them have lost their home and family members in Mexico and they live in fear of the future.

Last month in Lucio Blanco where one of our churches is located there was another gun fight, the 3rd in the last two years, thank God the church wasn’t shot up and no one was hurt or killed this time.

Please pray for the missionaries who have been forced to leave Mexico, they and their families have also been displaced.  We have missionary neighbors who’s family members have been threatened with harm if they didn’t leave Mexico. They are here sleeping in their storage shed waiting to see weather they will go back to Mexico sometime in the future.  Twice in the last two months our neighbors have had people beheaded less than 100 yards from their house. All of the police in the town where they live have been killed.

The gangs have imposed a curfew from 7AM to 7PM people can’t leave their homes.

We hear on TV news that there is talk going on now as to possibly declaring martial law in Reynosa  and shooting people if they are found roaming the streets after curfew.     Please pray for God’s protection for the people down hear.

                                                                          Ed & Rae-Ann

PS:  Watch Border Wars on TV there is so much you get from the news media.

Or look up Mexico violence on the internet.    PRAY PRAY PRAY

 

 

Witness Express 6 (Feb 2010)

January 29, 2010

Christian Union Witness Express

 

Looking Back – What It Means To Be Christian Union
by Joseph CunninghamJoseph Cunningham

Against the dark backdrop of the slavery controversy that culminated in the Civil War the early founders of the Christian Union churches started a movement in the best tradition of the Protestant Reformers of earlier centuries. Churches had become embroiled in controversy and strife about the political issues and viewpoints of the American society of the 1860s.

Disturbed by the situation and the un-Christlike attitudes and conduct of many church members Christian ministers and lay men and women gathered in Columbus, Ohio in February 1864 to provide “a more perfect fellowship in Christ and a more satisfactory enjoyment of the means of religious edification and comfort.” In order to provide these basic benefits of a church they felt it necessary to organize “a religious society under the style of THE CHRISTIAN UNION.” From this small beginning has come the Christian Union congregation in which you and I fellowship today.

So we have a rich and sound heritage that honors Jesus Christ and provides the foundation upon which our families and community can enjoy God’s blessing and prosperity.

These early founders of the Christian Union churches set an excellent example for us. Instead of continuing the feuding within existing churches, these leaders set about establishing new congregations throughout the Midwest. Congregations were founded on Christian Union principles as far north as New England and as far south as Florida and west into Texas and Colorado.

Seven essential principles served as a basis for the union of believers in fellowship and worship:

  1. “The Oneness of the Church of Christ.” This means that all people who trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are members of Christ’s Church. When true believers meet there is an immediate spiritual bond.
  2. “Christ the Only Head.” This is not just a rejection of the Roman Catholic papal claim but the claim of all humans who may want to control the Church. Jesus Christ is alive and well. Through the Holy Spirit He maintains administrative control of His Church.
  3. “The Bible the Only Rule of Faith and Conduct.” This is not so much a rejection of human guidelines of conduct, but a placing of the Bible in authority over tradition and human rules.
  4. “Good Fruits the Only Condition of Fellowship.” The early founders set the example of producing the fruits of the Spirit. And they expected that each believer would exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (James 3:17; Matthew 7:16).
  5. “Christian Union Without Controversy.” In order to head off any repetition of the kind of strife from which they had separated, our early leaders set this cardinal rule. This is the biblical teaching of Ephesians 4:2, 3.
  6. “In order to avoid the autocratic rule of bishops and superintendents or overseers the founders instituted congregational government. Pastors are called by the congregation rather than being appointed by high church officials. Elders, teachers and officers are selected by the people for the local ministry. In this way “Each Local Church Governs Itself.”
  7. “And to avoid the political intrigues of the past, they set the rule that “party politics” would be discouraged within the church…”Partisan Political Preaching Discountenanced.”

In keeping with the third ‘principle’ above the founders “vowed their true and hearty faith in the received scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the word of God.” The scriptures give sufficient guidance for our belief systems and our lifestyle choices. So we believe the Bible and encourage each other to read, study and follow its teachings. Most of our churches have Sunday morning Bible school, and most have midweek Bible studies as well. This helps keep us in tune with God and His will for us.

In order to continue the Christian Union vision of our founders we have as our goal to be Christians that fulfill the Great Commandment of Jesus-(John 13:34, 35)-“”Love One Another As I Have Loved You.” Wholeheartedly loving one another, we have wonderful fellowship in our worship and bless one another in our ministries.

And as our founders we are Great Commission believers. Jesus left a charge to His followers, including us, before He left “”wherever you go, make disciples [followers of Me] of all nations [people, ethnic groups]. Baptize [set them apart by water baptism] in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).

So we have a rich and sound heritage that honors Jesus Christ and provides the foundation upon which our families and community can enjoy God’s blessing and prosperity.

Jim EschenbrennerC.U. Futurecast
by Jim Eschenbrenner

From the inception of Christian Union our founders envisioned a movement fervently pursuing being the church without the encumbrances of bureaucracies and politics. The future will lead us back to those roots in order to move forward and be a post-denominational association of committed Christ-followers that are loving, serving, joyful congregations genuinely open to the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Christian Union church of tomorrow will be seeker-sensitive without being consumer-oriented. It will make the gospel interesting without being entertaining, and convicting without condemning. It will be both effective and faithful, serious and joyful, cross-generational and mission-focused. It will redefine felt needs and meet spiritual needs.

The church was not meant to be a stagnant, tradition-bound institution but a dynamic, Christ-centered household of faith; a place of worship where the spiritual disciplines are modeled, the psalms are prayed and maturity is nurtured. The church will be a community marked by the cross and blessed with resurrection hope.

The future of Christian Union is full of hope and possibilities as we focus our attention on the Bride of Christ – His church. From the very beginning, according to the accounts left for us in the book of Acts, the church was meant to be a dynamic, Christ‑centered household of faith. A gathering of committed Christ-followers – that are loving, serving, joyful congregations genuinely open to the work of the Holy Spirit.

From the inception of Christian Union our founders envisioned a movement fervently pursuing being the church without the encumbrances of bureaucracies and politics. The future will lead us back to those roots in order to move forward and be a post-denominational association of churches with the following attributes:

  • A passion for fulfilling the Great Commission which is sustained by the Great Commandment. Loving God, serving Him who is our Master and King, understanding His love for people and being His hands, His feet, and His voice in order to make disciples who make disciples who make a difference. This zeal will mean building and maintaining facilities will no longer be a priority.
  • A commitment to BE the church will replace building little kingdoms and result in moving from personal preferences and power-plays to Biblical principles; from democratically governed churches to a New Testament form of shared leadership where the pastor is the leader of the elders.
  • A focus on people not programs. The past has proven that programs don’t reach people. People reach people. People mature and begin to practice the spiritual disciplines as they serve, live, study and pray and fast with other people. The Fruit of the Spirit will be evident as Bible studies, prayer times and children’s ministry move out of the church building and into the community.
  • An emphasis on credibility and integrity in our pastors and leaders. Culture, politics, and sin have attacked the office of pastor and many who have filled that position. To accomplish the needed integrity, a formal one-on-one training of pastors will be instituted and will include the recognition of senior mentor pastors to help prepare other pastors for a lifetime of ministry which is “above reproach.”
  • A focus on accountability and partnership, not independence. Churches will seek ways to partner with other churches to reach people who are far from God. This will be accomplished through prayerful and careful alliances, the sensitive use of technology, and the stewardship of resources. Churches will be known not for their autonomy but for their dependence on one another.
  • A renewed zeal for the power of language to tell thought- provoking stories and ask penetrating questions in order to explore, learn, apply and share the life-changing Word of God. The pastor/teachers of the future will express both personal and corporate vulnerability that reflects maturity, not indifference. They will take Biblical integrity seriously and passionately seek spiritual vitality rather than cheap emotional hype.

The Christian Union church of tomorrow will be seeker‑sensitive without being consumer‑oriented. It will make the gospel interesting without being merely entertaining, and convicting without condemning. It will be both effective and faithful, serious and joyful, cross-generational and mission‑focused. It will redefine felt needs and meet spiritual needs.

The household of faith will not be a fun center or an escape from boredom, but a place of worship where the spiritual disciplines are modeled, the psalms are prayed and maturity is nurtured. The church will be a place where peer pressure, self‑centeredness, anonymity and affluence are resisted; a community marked by the cross and blessed with resurrection hope.

This is our goal and if we are serious about the power of the Holy Spirit leading our churches into the future, we are going to be living constantly on the threshold of God’s new and powerful work. We will not only have to live with change, ambiguity and opposition; we will want to – just as the early church did in Acts. The church was not meant to be a stagnant, tradition‑bound institution but a dynamic, Christ‑centered household of faith.

One Christian Union Farmer’s Impact on Missions

Virgil Bixler was a farmer in northwest Ohio. Before his death he established a Family Trust which upon his death was to be distributed by a legal firm he had employed. In addition to relatives and associations in which he was interested he left a significant portion of his estate to a local church and 35% to the “Ohio Council of the Christian Union Church (for Foreign Missions only).” The first of the distribution checks to be received by the Ohio Council was for $192,500.

Since Christian Union has a Mission Board with “full authority . . . to act in all matters pertaining to the General Missionary work, both home and foreign,” the Ohio Executive Board met with the General Council Mission Board and shared the information about the funds. It was agreed that these funds should be used for projects that would be of a permanent or on-going nature rather than current operating expenses or mission personnel support which is the responsibility of our members and congregations.

The Mission Board began the research as to what projects would be the best use of these funds.

The Ohio Executive Board had already decided that a project should be designated in memory of the Virgil Bixler family. This project was a permanent subsidy of a TMI Motorcycle Sunday School Circuit. $12,000 was sent to Teen Missions for this purpose.

The General Mission Board set the following projects in conjunction with our missionaries and their supervising boards:

$2,100 was sent to Word of Life for an air-conditioner for the School of Youth Ministries in Taiwan. $5,000 was sent to Ed and Rae Ann Montague to provide walls and a restroom for a Mexican church. $24,000 was sent to Isaiah 61 ministries for radio stations in Mali, West Africa at the request of Don Callison. $15,000 was sent to Far East Broadcasting Company for pre-set radios and $2,800 for a computer server for the radio station on Saipan where Dean Brubaker served. $35,000 was sent to Teen Missions for the “Three Nations Project.” This is to provide land and buildings in the area where Sudan, Congo and Uganda come together and serve this area by providing a Bible School, with Rescue Units for refugees in this area; included: classrooms, dormitory and a well and water system. Lee Sonius requested $30,000  to be used by his mission, HCJBGlobal, for a solar-powered FM radio station, pre-tuned radios (solar-powered) and a well as a continuing ministry associated with the station in Africa. In addition, to the organization with which Randy Spacht serves, $15,000 was sent to provide support for pastor-missionary training schools in India. The General Mission Board decided to set aside $40,000 for a fund to bring missionaries out of dangerous or emergency situations. There are still funds for a couple of projects which have not been finalized.

The General Mission board will make a full report at the up-coming General Council to be held in Excelsior Springs Missouri June 8-10, 2010.

God moved on this Christian Union farmer to give these funds through which many will be won to Christ around the world. What is God saying to you about the funds you may leave when you go to heaven?

CHRISTIAN UNION BIBLE COLLEGE
www.christianunionbiblecollege.com

Online Classes:
GB 101    Bible Study Methods
GB 121    Defending the Faith
HI 101    Survey of Church History
ME 203    Survey of Missions
NT 102    New Testament Survey
NT 214    Acts
OT 101    Old Testament Survey
TH 103    Christian Union History & Organizations
TH 203    Survey of Christian Doctrines
YM 101    Intro to Youth Ministry

www.cubconline.org

Witness Express 5 (Jan 2010)

January 25, 2010

Christian Union Witness Express

 

Looking Ahead to 2010
As a Christian (Union) leader, what do you see ahead for believers in 2010? What are you telling your followers, family, or friends to expect in 2010? This question the editor sent to CU leaders. Following is one reply that speaks well of the future for this church.

“In 2010, here at Bethlehem Christian Union Church the folks can expect to see more service projects that connect us with the community and demonstrate God’s love in a practical way. Some projects may include passing flowers door to door on Mothers Day, giving free windshield washer fluid at the local gas station, pulling weeds from people’s flower beds, giving free pop at public events, etc.

“Also, it is our desire to preach sermons that apply to young families, since this is the age we most need to reach. We will seek to make our services and programming more attractive to young families so that growth can take place, and the future of God’s kingdom can move for-ward. As a result, we will create small groups that mentor parents and spouses to grow in their parenting and marriages, for we feel that this will create a church full of healthy families, which is vital for us.

“It is our desire to worship God better this year too. We are encouraging our people to become more expressive as we praise God together. We hope that this can be done through public testimony, developing our worship team through training, creating an enthusiastic environment full of joy and singing, and providing opportunities for folks to express themselves to God.

“We also hope to do a couple of teacher training workshops to better equip our teachers.

“And last, but not least it is our desire to grow as an official board. Our official board is reading books together, listening to leadership seminars by John Maxwell and other great leaders. And we are hoping as a board to do service projects and commit ourselves to being the best example to our congregation that we can be. We want to be team players moving forward to grow God’s kingdom, both spiritually and numerically.

“We feel that 2010 is going to be a great year for our church. God is moving, and we plan to move with Him. Praise God!”

Looking Ahead to 2010… Background

“When I first came to Bethlehem in 2009 the board had a unified vision to reach younger couples. We immediatly started brainstorming, and God started working. The first question we had was internal… “What about our church needs to change for us to attract younger families?” So we made some internal changes based upon the fact that young families love children and music. We developed a nursery rotation, made sure we had equipped Sunday School teachers for all ages, trained folks to better run the sound board, developed a worship team, etc. We decided that as a church we were going to go out of our way to be the friendliest congregation around. We began to gear the sermons toward younger couples. And we preached a series on unity called “Biblical One Another’s” (Based on a book by Gene Getz), which has helped develop our church’s health. These internal changes were essential to growth. People won’t come back if they feel that the services don’t apply to them.

“After changing things internally, we asked “How are we going to get these young families to come.” There is a Chinese proverb that describes how many churches do evangelism “Man stands long time with mouth open before roasted duck enters.” In other words, “They aren’t going to just come because your doors are open. You have to go to them. So with much discussion we decided that the best way to reach our community is through service projects.

“We did our first church-wide service project right around Mother’s Day. There were only 4-6 of us. We went door to door and passed out flowers to the mothers in Buckland. From this project we had 10-15 unsaved folks visit our church. And the service projects continued from there. We passed out free pop at the Auglaize County Fair and free windshield washer fluid refills at the Marathon Station in Wapak, we did a leaf raking project in Kossuth, we started a share/care room to collect food, toys, school supplies, and other items to share as a church and to give to those in need around us. Our reputation in the community has boosted greatly. Folks are excited and they are inviting their loved ones. Growth is happening here both numerically and spiritually. People are being transformed. We went from about 60-65 on Sunday mornings to 90-110 in attendance. God is moving and we are praying for continued unity.

“We also did our first small group geared toward young families. We met for 7 weeks to do a series called “FireProof.” There were 10 young couples (20 people) that joined. One man gave his life to God and several others walked away feeling like God was moving in their marriages. This was a great time of growth for us all.”

Pastor Brad Colley
Bethlehem Christian Union Church (Auglaize County)
pastorbradcolley@yahoo.com

www.bethlehemcu.org
419-657-2428

PASTOR MARK McKAY OF ZION C U CHURCH, Van Wert County, Ohioshared the following:

“I have thought prayerfully about this important and timely subject, and have come up with my perspective.

“WHAT WE DO in the coming days will result in either the strengthen-ing, weakening, or remaining static of Christian Union as a denomination, which includes the church here at Zion-Van Wert. Furthermore it will effect ALL Christian denominations and local churches, with the potential of weaken-ing all of us into significant showcase complacency. WILL WE REMAIN STEADFAST IN OUR PERSONAL WALK WITH GOD AND IN OUR OWN PERSONAL AND CHURCH MINISTRY OR WILL WE COM-PROMISE SO THAT WE CAN ESCAPE REAL OR IMAGINED ATTACKS AGAINST OUR BODY?

“The former will very likely cause Pastors, Elders, and Church Officers possible unwanted scrutiny by enemies of Christ (as if it doesn’t already exist) but will strengthen us because of His promised added grace. The latter will surely bring smiles to the same enemies of Christ who will gladly use us as examples of what “Christianity really is.” We must be aware of how the enemies of Christ are working and strengthen our work with total dedica-tion to the Lord. We must present and practice a strengthening redemptive ministry to everyone everywhere. If there is to be anything “status quo” it should be that.

“We here at Zion-Van Wert are working by the grace of God to streng-then our flock, refining our message, and working to raise up new leaders in faith in Jesus Christ. A new midweek Children’s ministry, “Lighthouse Gang”, which has come forward be-cause of a burden of one of our moth-ers, will kick off on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. It will focus on Preschool through 8th grade children while the adults are in Midweek Prayer & Bible Study. Area families not associated with a local church will be contacted so that their children (and Moms and Dads also) will become involved, with the prayer that they will come to Christ. We are also putting together a tool that will enhance our outreach both inside and outside the church.

So, Dianne and I will continue to live for Him, serve His people faith-fully, train new leaders and strengthen the flock, by God’s grace and for His glory. We will continue to love people, looking and praying for the redemption of the unsaved and follow His leading at all times until He comes to take us Home. If the Church will just continue to keep the Main Thing The Main Thing we will weather any storm that comes over the horizon.

“Someone once wrote these words: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

“Blessings,

“Mark McKay, Pastor

“Zion-Van Wert Christian Union Church, Grover Hill, OH”

Greatest Moral Issues Facing America
January is celebrated as “Sanctity of Life” month in many churches.

Abortion, moral relativism and mistreatment of others are the top moral issues facing America according to a year-end poll of America’s evangelical leaders. The Evangelical Leaders Survey conducted during the month of October asked “What is the greatest moral issue in America today?”

Some responses specified secularization, homosexuality, pornography and other concerns, they were not at the top of the list.

Abortion was the number one answer. Said Jeff Farmer of the Open Bible Churches: “not because murder is worse than other moral evils, but because of the massive numbers of this killing field and intentionality of so many to put self-gratification, greed and political advantage above life itself.”

Moral relativism was the number two answer. See Judges 17:6. It is “a non-belief in Absolute Truth which permeates every other arena of our society.”

Mistreatment of others is made worse by “our blindness and silence to injustices here and around the world.”

So wrote Sammy Mah, President of World Relief. “Social ills like poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, human trafficking, and so many more are rooted in injustices that must be fought.”

The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals on which our Executive Officer, James Eschenbrenner, serves. It also includes representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.

My Special Wish for the New Year
That Christians stop sending out Urban Legends without first checking them out,
Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries

I don’t know what your special wish is for the New Year, but mine is very simple — that Christians will stop the annoying habit of blindly forwarding Urban Legends to their friends without ever first checking them out.

Each week, my in-box is filled with messages forwarded by well-meaning friends who still haven’t learned that most of them are not true. Surely, we should hold a higher standard than our non-Christian friends, but it seems not by the evidence I see all the time.

The latest arrived this morning and it read:

“Sorry, I did not mean to ruin your Christmas week celebration !!!
What more proof do we need? Well there are yet more surprises on the way. Let all who voted for him rejoice.
Obama canceled the National Day of Prayer service traditionally held at the White House. Why would he do that when we are historically a Judeo-Christian nation?
Now…….this. [A picture was displayed here]
The Islamic Prayer Day last week at the White House.
For Obama to continue as our President is an insult to our founding fathers (and to all Americans).
If you question the impact of the above picture,
I would suggest you get a copy of the book The Sword of the Prophet by Serge Trifkovic. It is well researched and documented, so it is trustworthy. Anyone who believes that ‘Islam is not a major threat to our freedom and country’ has their head in the sand.”

It all sounds very ominous – if it was true. So I went to www.snopes.com, a trustworthy place to check out this kind of material and what did I find – it’s all false!

Here’s what the web site says:

Claim: Photograph shows President Obama taking part in an “Islamic Prayer Day” observance at the White House.

FALSE

Snopes says that the origins of this e-mail and similar ones is this:

“In 2009, President Obama decided not to host an ecumenical service in the White House in observance of the National Day of Prayer (held on the first Thursday of May) as his predecessor, President George W. Bush, had. Rather than holding a White House service, the president opted to issue a public proclamation and observe the occasion privately:

“Prayer is something that the president does every day,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, adding that Obama would sign a proclamation to recognize the day. “I think the president understands, in his own life and in his family’s life, the role that prayer plays. And I would denote that the administrations prior to the past one did proclamations. That’s the way the president will publicly observe the national prayer day. But, as I said, privately, he’ll pray as he does every day.”

“However, the photograph displayed above does not show President Obama instead observing “Islamic Prayer Day” or engaging in a “mosque prayer session” at the White House. This picture of the president was taken at Istanbul’s Blue Mosque (where protocol requires that visitors remove their shoes before entering), the national mosque of Turkey, during the chief executive’s two-day state visit to that country in April 2009.

“Also, as far as we can ascertain, there is no national ‘Islamic Prayer Day’ acknowledged or observed by the White House — perhaps someone has confused the private prayer service held by Muslims on Capitol Hill in September 2009 with an officially designated Islamic prayer day,” said www.snopes.com.

So there you have it. So, once again, please don’t just blindly forward material before thoroughly checking it out.

Happy New Year to you all and may it be one were we all seek the truth, not fanciful messages!

Dan Wooding, 69, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 46 years. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). Wooding is the author of some 43 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, also recently released “God’s Ambassadors in Japan” which is available at amazon.com.ASSIST News Service (ANS) – PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA  Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net — E-mail: assistnews@aol.com

Missionary HELEN INMAN has made arrangements to spend most of her time for the next few months with her brother, Bill, who is taking chemotherapy for cancer following brain surgery. His wife died on Memorial Day, 2007.

Except for trips to scheduled events she plans to attend, she will be at Bill Inman’s address: Box 393, Piketon, Ohio 45661. She may still be contacted via her email at helen.inman@sim.org or by phone at 803-493-3545.

Pray for her brother and for her travels!