Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stones of Remembrance

“What Do These Stones Mean?”
A Message by BWC Media Pastor
 Rev. Keith Kiper
Our Text: Joshua 4:1-9 -
 Common English Bible (CEB)

4 When the entire nation had finished crossing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Pick twelve men from the people, one man per tribe. 3 Command them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from right here in the middle of the Jordan, where the feet of the priests had been firmly planted. Bring them across with you and put them down in the camp where you are staying tonight.’”

4 Joshua called for the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one man per tribe. 5 Joshua said to them, “Cross over into the middle of the Jordan, up to the Lord your God’s chest. Each of you, lift up a stone on his shoulder to match the number of the tribes of the Israelites. 6 This will be a symbol among you. In the future your children may ask, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you will tell them that the water of the Jordan was cut off before the Lord’s covenant chest. When it crossed over the Jordan, the water of the Jordan was cut off. These stones will be an enduring memorial for the Israelites.”

8 The Israelites did exactly what Joshua ordered. They lifted twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, matching the number of the tribes of the Israelites, exactly as the Lord had said to Joshua. They brought them over to the camp and put them down there. 9 Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests had stood while carrying the covenant chest. They are still there today.

A wise person once said that history should be a guiding post, not a hitching post. There really is a lot of truth in that quote, isn’t there? As time goes by, we tend to remember the best about the past, forgetting the not so good, maybe trying to completely forget some of those other foolish things we may have done back there in the good old days. Of course, that was before we became older and wiser. Someone once said it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. It may have been my wife Vicky talking about me!

History can repeat itself in the church world also. Certain trends may come and go. Worship styles may change. I personally don’t think it matters what your personal choice is as long as it centers on worshipping God and doesn’t become a routine where we are caught up in the act of worship and not honoring our reason for worshipping the Creator.
That wise 20th century philosopher Jack Handy said, "Probably the earliest fly swatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick."

As we look at the book of Joshua today, we see that Joshua wanted the people to remember the past and what God had done for them. Remember when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. Yet, later they complained when in the desert because they remembered how they had eaten when they were slaves. Human nature doesn’t change much does it?

Although God would work a miracle to allow the people to cross the Jordan River on dry ground, Joshua knew that only those who saw the incident would remember it. Joshua wanted to leave a legacy for the next generation-those who would be born long after the miracle occurred. Joshua wanted to create a way to communicate God’s greatness to the children of Israel who had not yet been born. He devised a plan called the “Stones of Remembrance.” Are we in this generation leaving stones of remembrance for the next generation?
Let us take a look at this today. What are our “Stones of Remembrance?” What principles and  worldview are guiding our lives? Are we as a Church passing on the important things to our children and future generations? Do they have something to help them remember that God does not change?  If we are not, then they will only remember the secular world’s ways and ideals, and pass these on to their children and grandchildren. Worldview does matter. Just look at the suicide rates today. Tragedies like the school shooting in Connecticut seem to become commonplace in our Godless society. Yes, satan is alive and well on planet earth. But I know someone who is greater.
So, what can we do church? How can we insure that the next generation realizes what is really important. How can we pass the values on to our children? I don’t profess to have all the answers to these questions. I do believe, however, that the Bible gives us all the answer we need. Let’s take a look at some of these today.

Have you seen the car insurance commercial with the rocket scientist? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that much of our education system is in shambles in America today. Our educators unfortunately have forgotten the values and Christian principles that guided our nation in the past. The stones of a divine Creator have crumbled into the rubble of Darwinism and evolution. Situational Ethics have replaced right and wrong. And, yes, sadly, this has even affected those who have grown up in the church.

As parents, we are the ones who are responsible for our children’s moral upbringing. We not only have to teach them the meaning of right and wrong, we have to demonstrate it in our lives and actions. Our worldview must dictate how we act. Sadly, today many want to separate their life into compartments. The fall did not destroy our original calling and purpose in life, it just made it more difficult. Genesis 3:16,17 uses the same Hebrew word for the labor of childbearing as for  the labor of working and growing food.  This text tells us the two central tasks of adulthood-raising are still the next generation and making a living. We are hindered by living in a sinful and fallen world.  When God redeems us through His Son, He releases us from the guilt and power of sin.
Because of what Jesus did on the cross, our work here on earth takes on a new meaning as well. We offer our gifts to God as a way of participating in making His Kingdom come to earth. With our hearts and minds renewed, we must press on with love for God and a renewed delight in carrying out His plans through our service to Him.
In many Christian schools, the typical strategy is to inject a few narrowly defined “religious” elements into the classroom. Prayer and Bible memorization is usually added. The problem is that they teach exactly the same thing as the public government schools. This is spreading a thin layer of spiritual devotion over the subject matter like icing on a cake. The problem is the subject matter is often the same.

Dorothy Sayers said, ”If our religion does not speak to our work lives, then it has nothing to say about what we do with the vast majority of our time. No wonder people say religion is irrelevant! How can anyone remain interested with a religion which seems to have nothing in common with nine-tenths of our life.”

Most of us have heard of the veggie tales videos. The founders of veggie tales talk about how this dual thinking almost snuffed out their creative talents in creating this ministry. Phil Vescher says he always wanted to make movies. But the message he always heard growing up was that full time ministry was the only valid and meaningful Christian service. Young people had only two choices-become a missionary or a minister. So Phil packed his bags and headed off to Bible college.
Yet the more he saw the powerful influence movies were having on kids, the more he thought he should produce high quality films with a Christian message. He decided God could use a filmmaker or two. Phil and his friend Mike Nawrocki started a video company. Many of their classmates and friends became youth ministers and pastors. Phil and Mike became the voices of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. Just think if these two had not broken free from the secular vs. sacred mindset! Every member of the body of Christ has been gifted for the benefit of the whole. We all lose out when those gifts are not used. Maybe God is calling you today to use those gifts He has given you.

Paul mentions spiritual gifts often in the New Testament and gives us some great advice. Let us look at some of these.
1 Corinthians 12:1
[ Spiritual gifts ] Brothers and sisters, I don’t want you to be ignorant about spiritual gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (in Context) 1 Corinthians 12 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
1 Corinthians 12:4
There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
1 Corinthians 14:1
[ Spiritual gifts and church order ] Pursue love, and use your ambition to try to get spiritual gifts but especially so that you might prophesy or teach.
1 Corinthians 14:12
The same holds true for you: since you are ambitious for spiritual gifts, use your ambition to try to work toward being the best at building up the church.

It becomes clear that these gifts are for every Christian. They are not just for those in “full time ministry.”  We must pass these truths on to our children and grandchildren. As with Joshua we need to choose our own stones of remembrance. In Joshua’s time, the Hebrew people took their tabernacle with them as they traveled. Jesus came so that we become the tabernacle where God can dwell in us. Psalm 48 celebrates Mt. Zion, or Jerusalem at the dwelling place of God. The real focus is not on the earthly city, but God Himself.
God is great and deserving of great praise.
He dwells with His people and is a refuge for them.
He is the great King who is feared throughout the earth.
He is a God who loves
God’s praise resounds to the ends of the earth.
He is righteous and the source of righteousness.
He is the God of justice.
He is God forever and forever.
God is the guide of His people.

The Bible talks about becoming as little children. In William Bennetts book,” The Book of Virtues, he has included a poem by Olive A. Wadsworth. Even though written as a poem for children, I believe it speaks to us about the importance of a parent’s first responsibility. That is the nurture of our children and grandchildren. I believe it speaks to adults and children alike.
Over in the meadow,
In a hole in a tree,
Lived an old mother bluebird
And her little birdies three.
"Sing!" said the mother;
"We sing," said the three:
So they sang, and were glad,
In a hole in the tree.
Over in the meadow,
In the reeds on the shore,
Lived an old mother muskrat
And her little ratties four.
"Dive!" said the mother;
"We dive," said the four:
So they dived and they burrowed
In the reeds on the shore.

Over in the meadow,
In a snug beehive,
Lived a mother honey bee
And her little bees five.
"Buzz!" said the mother;
"We buzz," said the five:
So they buzzed and they hummed
In the snug beehive.

Over in the meadow,
In a nest built of sticks,
Lived a black mother crow
And her little crows six.
"Caw!" said the mother;
"We caw," said the six:
So they cawed and they called
In their nest built of sticks.

Over in the meadow,
Where the quiet pools shine,
Lived a green mother frog
And her little froggies nine.
"Croak!" said the mother;
"We croak," said the nine.
So they croaked, and they splashed
Where the quiet pools shine.

Over in the meadow,
In a sly little den,
Lived a gray mother spider
And her little spiders ten.
"Spin!" said the mother;
"We spin," said the ten.
So they spun lacy webs
In their sly little den.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Advent Preparation from Breakpoint

Advent Preparation
Embracing the Story behind Christmas

By: John Stonestreet

The holiday season can seem every bit as chaotic, random and thrown together as the playlists of those obnoxious 24/7 Christmas music stations. Going from Black Friday to church pageants to being frisked by the TSA as we travel to sometimes awkward family gatherings strangely resembles going from the materialism of “Santa Baby,” to the light spirituality of “The Little Drummer Boy,” to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” concluding with “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
And we end up feeling like Charlie Brown screaming at Linus, “Can’t anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?”
So what do we do?  Well, one important thing is to remember what Eric Metaxas reminded us of a week ago: that it’s not really Christmas season—it’s Advent season, a time set aside by the church to help believers prepare to receive the fullness of Jesus’ coming.
And it’s not just in remembrance of His incarnation, coming to Bethlehem as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, but also in anticipation of His return as the “Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory,” who will “send his angels to gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens” (Mark 13:26-27).
Over the past few years, walking through this season of Advent in prayer, scripture and devotional readings has been a huge blessing to my family, my church, and to me personally.
Another thing that has really helped me is studying just how big this Christmas story is. Behind all the gifts, the carols, nativity scenes, and dinner parties is a narrative that spans from the creation of the heavens and earth to the re-creation of the heavens and earth.
Here’s what I mean: All those characters we remember in the Christmas story—Mary, the Wise Men, Shepherds, Angels, Joseph, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Simeon—they all have something in common. They identified what was happening to them as being firmly rooted in the promises of God—promises to His people detailed in the Old Testament. Thinking like they did—that behind all of the noise and chaos of this time of year is a story being unfolded—has changed almost everything about how I approach Advent and Christmas.
One resource I go back to over and over again to remind myself of this is Michael Card’s incredible CD “The Promise.” Rather than just picking eight to ten Christmas carols he liked and re-singing them, Michael’s CD beautifully takes us in song on the journey from the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus through the specifics of the details in the nativity, to the establishment of Jesus on the throne of David as the ruler of all things.
It’s absolutely stunning, and Michael joined me on “BreakPoint This Week” last weekend to walk through these songs and therefore the big story of Christ’s coming from the Old Testament to the New. In between Michael’s narration are key segments of many of the songs. It’s something you’ll want to listen to—go to and click on the “This Week” tab.
And I’ve partnered with T. M. Moore to prepare a special Advent study for you and your family called “He Has Come.” The study consists of a teaching DVD, devotional studies on Advent, and a CD of many sacred carols which reflect the worldview truths established by the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh.
We have both the Michael Card CD and our “He Has Come” Advent study for you at the BreakPoint book store online. If you’d like both for yourself or your family or friends, we’re offering them together in a special Christmas bundle at
And this Advent, let’s look beyond all the glitzy schmaltziness of our culture’s celebration of the holidays, and see the grand story behind Christmas, and prepare ourselves to celebrate the bedrock truth of our faith and the reason for our hope: Christ has come, and He shall come again...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Remembering Christ's Birth During Advent

Thanksgiving 2012 is now history. Most of us are probably having ham or turkey sandwiches today along with the usual leftovers. Some may even complain about leftovers while much of the world is still hungry. Christmas decorations have been hanging in the Big*Box stores since Halloween, their second biggest retail season only to Christmas, due largely to our culture's fascination with the occult and the vampire craziness of late in television and motion pictures. Black Friday is now being pushed to Thursday, even sooner on some internet shopping sites. Jesus and His birth are almost forgotten by much of our quasi-religious and atheistic culture.

A good way for the individual and the church to remember the signifigence of this Christmas Season is the observance of the four Sundays of Advent. Unfortunately there are no published sermons on Wesley’s preaching during the Advent season or even addressing the Christmas message.  However, his perpetuation of the traditional Anglican celebration of Christmas is evidenced in his instructions to the North American Methodists.  Our Catholic and most of our mainline churches already observe Advent. Sadly, many of our Wesleyan and sister churches do not. At best, some will celebrate with minimally with a service after Thanksgiving such as"Hanging of the Greens." This is great, but why stop here. Here is the 2012 Calendar:

Advent Dates for 2012
• December 2 - First Sunday of Advent 
• December 9 - Second Sunday of Advent 
• December 16 - Third Sunday of Advent 
• December 23 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. When Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it is the last, or fourth Sunday of Advent.

In Eastern Orthodox churches which use the Julian calendar, Advent begins earlier, on November 15, and lasts 40 days, rather than 4 weeks.

Why not light a candle and read the complimentary Scriptures leading up to Christmas? This only takes a few minutes during the morning worship service and helps us to focus on what happened two thousand years ago. Its also great to hear Scripture in our Bible starved society. of today. That's what I think anyway...what are your thoughts? keith 1 Cor 13

Keith Kiper is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church. He currently serves as Media Pastor at Boonville Wesleyan Church. He is married to the former Vicky Brown. The Kiper's have  a grown daughter Kristen in college, a Maltipoo named Opie, a Cockerpoo named Jackson and two cats. Keith manages several facebook pages, blogs, and websites.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

United Kingdom Wesleyans Love Haiti"

by Wesleyan Information Network | Aug. 22, 2012 |

After a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti in January 2010, God laid a short-term mission trip to the country on the hearts of Wesleyans from the United Kingdom.In April 2011, Cassius and Vanessa Francis, leaders in The Wesleyan Church of the British Isles, visited Haiti for a few days to meet with Global Partners’ Caribe Atlantic Area Director Dan and Joy Irvine and National Superintendent Rev. Doucet Desronvil. The leaders felt United Kingdom Wesleyans could be more effective than simply sending money and provisions from afar. Instead, they advised the Francises to assemble a team to return and work on a mission. As a result, the Love Haiti project was birthed.

Eleven people traveled to Haiti in August 2012 to serve in various capacities. The partnership of churches working together has been crucial to the success of the mission and broadened the ministry and learning opportunities for the entire team.
The team planned to work at with teenagers at two camps located at a new church plant in Li la Vois with Pastor Edna Joseph (Li la Vois is where people resettled after the earthquake) and in Source Matelas with Pastor Jean Claude Guerrier. However, news of the camps soon spread far and wide in both areas, and the camps were extended to include preteens. The team led corporate devotion and worship times, facilitated sports, music, and technology activities, and workshops. The United Kingdom visitors also made presentations at both churches in their Sunday morning services.
Those who traveled to Haiti have been challenged and inspired by the locals and received a warm welcome when they arrived.
“We believe the people have recognized the heart of what we were trying to achieve and why we were there,” says Cassius. “It took us a year to fundraise for the mission through various sponsored events, including a fashion show, music concerts, an art auction, and even a birthday tea party. We give God thanks that we have accomplished what we set out to do.”
Volunteers are currently planning and fundraising for the next Love Haiti Mission, August 3-17, 2013. Team members request Wesleyans to pray for various needs in Haiti:
  • The youth leaders, in particular the leaders at Li la Vois and Source Matelas Wesleyan churches. They have a tremendous role in inspiring this and future generations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Dan and Joy Irvine, Rev. Doucet, and the church leaders in Haiti. They have achieved a tremendous amount, but they are well aware of the challenges and scale of the task ahead.
  • Further mission opportunities to inspire the British Isles District of The Wesleyan Church
For further information on Love Haiti Mission, please visit!/LveHaiti2012onMission
Cassius Francis is from The Wesleyan Church of the British Isles and is in church leadership at the Moseley Wesleyan Holiness Church in Birmingham, England.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Beams, Bigots, and the Beatitudes...My Thoughts

Keith Kiper
Media Pastor
Boonville Wesleyan Church
Re-posted from The Circuit Rider

It seems that everyone is "coming out of the closet" these days. This is even happening in the world of Gospel Music."Coming out"  the common phrase used today when someone who is a homosexual decides to let the world know about their sexual inclinations, usually someone from the Hollywood culture. Although usually not really a big surprise, many of us would rather not know. Yes, this is considered free speech and expression. Sadly the same tolerant standards don't seem to apply when the conservative Christian doesn't agree with the ungodly lifestyle of others and expresses their opinion. The Bible has a lot to say on this matter  also, we will get to that later.

We are told we should not judge others. Quotes will show up in blogs about the beam in our eye when we are focusing on the speck in our brothers eye. Some of the newer ones in response to"Love the sinner, hate the sin" tell us we should focus on hating our own sin. Of course, only the quotes of Jesus on judging others are given, none about helping our brother out of sin, or the authority of God's Word. And yes, there is some truth here as it sounds good at face value. Our preaching should point to Christ in a loving way, but sometimes we have to be specific, something lacking in many of today's sugar coated sermonettes.

Theologians have a term for focusing only on the words of red while ignoring the rest of the New Testament. They term this the Christological Fallicy. Romans Chapter one warns of the consequences of the ungodly lifestyle. The rest of Chapter One is  surprisingly up to date. No nation in history has survived for long after treading this path.

18 God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodly behavior and the injustice of human beings who silence the truth with injustice. 19 This is because what is known about God should be plain to them because God made it plain to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse. 21 Although they knew God, they didn’t honor God as God or thank him. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 While they were claiming to be wise, they made fools of themselves. 23 They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans: birds, animals, and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to their hearts’ desires, which led to the moral corruption of degrading their own bodies with each other.

The Bible does hold the Christian responsible for speaking the truth in love to others. As Christians and as Wesleyans we are obligated to do so. We have practiced civil disobedience in the past when man's law conflicted with God's law. We may have to do so again in this upside down world. I close with what James had to say about the matter. I love James' practical insights into Christian living.

" My brothers and sisters, if any of you wander from the truth and someone turns back the wanderer, recognize that whoever brings a sinner back from the wrong path will save them from death and will bring about the forgiveness of many sins." James 5:19,20 CEB

Keith Kiper is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church. He currently serves as media pastor at Boonville Wesleyan Church. He is married to Vicky. The Kiper's have  a grown daughter Kristen, a Maltipoo named Opie, and two cats. Keith manages several facebook pages, blogs, and websites.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Fundamentalist Blubockers?"

Guest Sermon Series
Rev. Robert D. Shofner, Jr
St. John's UCC Boonville Indiana

            I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, which means I believe it is perfectly accurate in its present form.  Many of my colleagues, when they hear me say that, accuse me of being a fundamentalist.  I am not.  Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is to be taken literally at all times.  But that is another BluBlocker (remember those?).  The Bible is a divine library filled with history, law, poetry, songs, stories, letters, parables, drama, philosophy, sermons – and more.  We don’t want to take every word literally.
            The truth is, the fundamentalist who claims he or she does so is lying.  Just ask her if she takes Psalm 18:2 literally, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.”  Does he really think God is a “rock,” or does he think the word “rock” is metaphorical?  She will answer metaphorical, which proves she is not a true literalist. 
            Like all of us, fundamentalists make their decisions about what is literal and what is not based on their own biases.  Classic example: the Bible commands people to “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16).  Simple enough, right?  Doesn’t seem to be metaphorical.  If fundamentalists take the Bible literally, why not just obey it?  Sure, it would seem weird at first, but eventually we would get used to men kissing other men, women kissing other women.  We could replace the handshake and hug with kissing after church!  Maybe that could be a witnessing tool!  “Oh yeah.  That St. John’s Church … they really believe the Bible.  It’s so cool!  They kiss each other all the time, praise the Lord!”  Hey, it’s God’s command from His inerrant Word, right?  But I can almost guarantee that many will argue that texts like these need to be filtered through the context of the culture in which they were written. 
            But wait a minute!  How can one justify ignoring the commands of certain texts, appealing to the cultural context, while demanding others be obeyed without using the same analysis?  BluBlockers. 
            This is a huge problem in our churches, both so-called conservative and liberal.  Too many on both sides of the aisle refuse to acknowledge that human pretensions, biases, cultures, and prejudices impact our ability to interpret and understand Scripture.  This is why one needs to humbly and suspiciously approach the Bible.  Readers must cultivate humility in their hearts and be suspicious of their own penchant to wear BluBlockers.  They need to acknowledge that a literal reading of the Bible can be a dangerous oversimplification.  The same is true with those who hold a purely metaphorical reading.  The true meaning of a biblical text is often more complicated to unearth. 
            Christ followers want to be more like a guy I once knew by the name of Jerry.  Jerry was color blind.  He told me that anytime he picked out his own clothes, people stared.  When he drove, he had to be extra careful because he couldn’t tell the difference between a red light and a green light, other than its position on the pole.  I was surprised to learn that.  When I remarked how well he concealed his challenge, he said, “That’s because I don’t trust myself.  If I did, you would have known it the day you met me – I would have been the one dressed like a clown.  But I learned early on that if I don’t ask for help, I’m in trouble.”
            More people in our churches should admit they need help when it comes to negotiating scripture.

            J.I. Packer writes: “[In] approach[ing] scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world . . . It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us. . . . We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them.” 
            Christians should be very suspicious of their understanding of the Scriptures.  This is especially true when reading prophetic segments.  For example, if you think God directed Bible prophecy toward Americans more than Libyans, Afghans, or Sudanese, the end-times verses will read differently to you.  But if you are a Christian from the Sudan (many of whom are currently having their property seized and their children taken from them), you may think the great tribulation is taking place now and that you have already met the armies of the antichrist.
            Among the most popular topics among evangelicals is the subject of the end-times or last days.  Talk about the return of Jesus Christ often gets people motivated to serve.  But that kind of motivation isn’t healthy when people get excited about the return of Christ based on current events that are interpreted inappropriately.
            In 1988 a booklet came out titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.  Tens of thousands of sincere believers bought that little book and made it central to their lives.  People I knew where passing the book out to relatives, friends, coworkers and neighbors.  They slapped bumper stickers on their cars reading: Warning: In case of Rapture, this car will be unoccupied.  The booklet created quite a stir.  I had been around the block quite a few times by 1988, so I wasn’t nearly as taken with the idea.  I remember telling those I pastored at the time, “Don’t get too excited.  Jesus said no one would know the exact time or hour of his return!  I hate to pop your end-times bubble, but I have some plans for 1989.”
            When Jesus didn’t come back, the author came out with another work with a title of 89 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1989.  It didn’t sell nearly as well.  People who got all jacked up from the first book were disappointed and embarrassed after Jesus didn’t return in 1988.  Some even slipped away from the Lord.  Why?  Talking about Jesus’ return the way Chicken Little talked about the falling sky always yields less-than-favorable results.
            Instead of forcing obscure texts onto modern news stories, wouldn’t it be better to spend energy trying to inspire people to long for Christ’s return?
            When we read the New Testament, we get the idea that the early church expected Jesus to return at any moment – and that was 2,000 years ago!  Why would those Christians talk about the return of Jesus in a way that suggested it could happen at any moment?  The answer may be found in Paul’s comment that God rewards those “who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).  God wants His children to think about, dream about, and long for the return of Jesus Christ.
            Honestly, until recently, I hardly ever did that.  There were too many things to get done … ministry, family, fun.  But as I’ve gotten older, and have learned many hard lessons, and have mourned with those who have mourned, and rejoiced with those who have rejoiced, and have read and studied scripture and many books … now I long for Christ’s return … because I want to see His face … I want to go home. 

            Before He left, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  I am going … to prepare a place for you. … I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1).  Listen.  This planet, in its fallen state, is not our home.  At best, it’s just a motel room.  Longing for the return of Jesus needs to be based on the truth that He has made a home for believers and is coming to get them – not based on some prophecy expert’s dubious revelation.  It is said of the saints of old, “they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16). 
Go ahead and peek through that set of BluBlockers!  Personally, I hope it’s an improved version of San Diego! 
Now, let’s talk about good BluBlockers.  Jesus wore several pairs.  And we’d have a much more positive impact on the world if we wore the same lenses Jesus did.  One of Jesus’ pair of BluBlockers saw the goodness of God everywhere.  When He looked at things like the sunshine or rain, He saw God’s goodness.  When speaking about God’s incautious goodness to humanity He said, “Your Father in heaven … causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). 
Another good pair of BluBlockers we should wear is knowing that God’s love is everywhere.  God is lovingly chasing us even when there is no good reason to do so.  When the Psalmist caught a glimpse of the love and favor God had for him, he cried, “This is too much, too wonderful – I can’t take it all in!”  (Psalm 139:17).  And neither can we.
God’s love may resemble the natural kindness and love that families and couples share; but it plunges far deeper, and it is way more unconditional and deathless.  This kind of love is so “out of the box” for human understanding that Paul prayed his friends would have the “power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is (Ephesians 3:18).  It takes “power to understand” God’s love and grace toward us; God has to help us see it.
I totally get how some think all this is too good to be true.  How can God be so reckless about giving to us when we are so good at being so bad?  But that is exactly what God is like.  We matter to Him, and there’s nothing we can do to alter that.  Now that’s a sweet pair of BluBlockers!
One of my favorite BluBlockers is knowing that God made each of us on purpose.  The Bible says that before time – in eternity – God imagined every individual.  This means He manipulated the odds through history to make sure we got here.  Scripture asserts that God started from the first humans and chose the “times set” for each of us to appear in history and the “exact places” where we would be born (Acts 17:26).  The psalmist declared, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).  To God, this isn’t a world of the “survival of the fittest” – it is a world for the predestined.  He picked us.  And He has a plan for us.  This means we were a forethought in God’s mind, we are not here by chance, and, in a very real way, we are a dream come true for God.  This also means that the other people in our world – whether they agree with us about God or not – are likewise here by design.

Scripture goes so far to say God managed our growth while we were in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) – our physicality and unique blend of personality were created on purpose.  We were chosen to show up on this planet.  The Christian story claims you and I are not accidents; we are on-purpose beings that God placed in the world as unique characters in His unfolding story.  Walking through life looking out this pair of BluBlockers will change the tone of our lives and impact how we live and how we feel about ourselves … and others.
If we approached the world with these good BluBlockers on, not only would our own views be better, but those who encounter us would have a much clearer picture of who God really is.
To wrap this up …
I learned over 40 years of riding a motorcycle to drive suspiciously.  I watch the road.  I am suspicious that other drivers may run over me, so I drive defensively.  Likewise, when I read the Bible, I am suspicious that I have biases (some I’m not even aware of), so I try to be humble and watchful.
Christians need to challenge one another’s BluBlockers – to question things more; to use common sense; to point out how opinions predispose us to judgments and how prejudice, closed-mindedness, and bigotry invariably produce destructive BluBlockers.  I always go to DEFCON whenever I hear a friend say, “The Lord showed me that this verse means …” or, “It says in the Bible …” and then precedes to tell me something that doesn’t stand up against common sense or historical and informed interpretation of Scripture.  More often than not, it isn’t the Lord at all – it’s the person’s own destructive pair of “I have unique insights” BluBlockers.
History is full of examples of people using biblical texts to justify the denigration or persecution or disenfranchising of others – all while considering themselves to be true bearers of the uncompromised “Word of God.”  Watch out!  Always approach Scripture with the awareness that you are wearing BluBlockers.  If you do so, you will have a great shot at keeping out of the land of weirdness and finding the “endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4) that bring us hope.

Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which reveals all truth.  We ask that You humble our hearts that we may admit to wearing our own pair of BluBlockers.  Enable our minds to clearly see.  Convict us of our sin whenever we fall into prejudices, arrogance, and demeaning behavior toward others.  Help us to live knowing and loving You, and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.  Let our light shine so as not to blind others, but to reveal Your glory to them.
And the people said, “Amen.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ron Brewer Ministry Newsletter

Well, hello! Are you hot or are you hot? That really seems like a dumb question to ask right now! It really just depends on where you are at in this big, vast, United States. I have spoken with people in Florida who are really enjoying mild, pleasant weather. Even people on the West Coast who say, it is really nice and comfortable here. While most of us here, anywhere within the Eastern half of the United States is begging for cooler weather.
The old saying is, you can't please some of us all the time and you can't please any of us most of the time. God really has to have a sense of humor. We complain if it's too hot and if it is too cold. 

But, it has been seriously hot and so many places have been without rain. We really do need to pray for rain. I know we went through those straight line winds that brought so much destruction on most all of Ohio, WV, KY and other parts. It was really bad. Ohio is still suffering from severe heat and drought.

Well, this has been a long time coming newsletter. We have really been moving. Since the second week of May, we have been on tour through VA, West Virginia, New York, PA, back to WV, OH and now getting ready for a three week tour into Texas.

God has been so wonderful, as we have seen so many lives changed during this time. I know during this tour we have seen 6 saved and numerous people who were down hearted, discouraged, and various other issues, lives changed. Praise the lord.
Our son Joseph has really matured. He has come along way on the drums. He has been playing with many of the church bands at different churches and God has truly blessed him with a talent. He actually played with me a week ago and made daddy very proud.

I have just began working on my newest project and I am so very excited about this project. Ann Downing is one of the writers on this project, along with some other great song writers. This is an awesome project and as always, I am so proud of my producer, Shane Roark and my record label, Chapel Valley/Mercy Road Records.

I just want to give glory and honor to Jesus Christ for all things. I did make the top five in two different nominations this year. I was in the top 5 for Christian Country Soloist of the Year for the SGM Fan Fair and also Top 5 for Soloist of the Year at the SESGMC. God is awesome.

I am also thrilled at my latest release "My Foot Is On The Rock," which is written by my producer, Shane Roark. It is currently on the charts and still climbng. If you live in or near the Boonville, MS area, you can listen in to my live interview with Glenn Tackett of WBIP Radio on June 22 at 2:00 p.m., if you do not, you can listen by streaming, just click here: I know Glenn would appreciate if you called and let him know you were listening in.

Also, don't forget about Christmas In The Smokies, Pigeon Forge, TN. It is fastly approaching. It is honestly the best time you could spend. Great fun, great gospel music, great christian entertainment and it is all wrapped up in one price, one location, with your room included, meals and you will have a time of your life.
Mark these dates Nov. 26, 27, 28th or Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 1st or Dec. 3, 4 or 5th. Choose which of the three days you wish to attend......Make your deposit of $100.00 to hold your room and you have until November 1, 2012 to pay the balance. Now, for everyone that signs up through me, I will give you a $75.00 discount. That is $75.00 off the total cost of $598.00. You must call 865-278-3681 and tell them Ron Brewer Host Group and let me know you have signed up, or simply give them this promo code 55454.

We will also be sailing on Feb. 4, 2013 for 7 days to the Western Caribbean. We will depart from Port Canaveral. Gospel Music at it's best - Sun, fun, beaches, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Cozumel, just to name a few. Food, Chapel Services, Christian Entertainment, Gospel Music at it's best. You don't want to miss this cruise. Make your $150.00 deposit to hold your cabin, pay in full by Jan. 1, 2013. Come on and join us. Call 865-278-3681 use promo code 33221 get $125.00 off the total cost. Prices start at $799.00 per person.

We need you and want you to be part of us. Come and join us and let's enjoy these great Christian events together.

Until next time, I hope we have the chance to see each other In Concert together soon. Remember to pray for one another, our nation, our troops and all the sick!

May God Bless,
Ron, Trish and Joseph

Ron Brewer
Mercy Road Records
Chapel Valley Studio

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chandler Holiness Camp 2012

Our camp evangelist for this year is Dr. John Eldon Neihof, Jr. Rev'd Dr. Neihof is  an ordained elder in the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association, and has been a member of the KMHA since 1991. John began evangelistic work upon the encouragemen
t of his father, Dr. Eldon Neihof. His first few camp meetings were as a song evangelist in camps where his dad was preaching.
Today, John serves as an evangelist, song evangelist, conference speaker, Bible College professor and administrator. John's evangelistic ministry has taken him to fourteen states, eleven denominations, and ten interdenominational fellowships. John thrills to preach and sing of the message of full salvation.

John and his wife, Beth, are members of the Lafayette Church of the Nazarene, Lexington, KY. John completed the AAR from Kentucky Mountain Bible College, a BA from Asbury College, and an MA and PhD from the University of Kentucky. John served for 12 years as the Vice President for Student Life at KMBC.

Our Missions Speaker is Lisette Lewis from World Gospel Missions, who currently serves in Kenya. Lisette is an American schoolteacher (who has and will be) living and working in Kenya. She teaches missionary kids at Tenwek Hospital, but says she really learns more than the kids do.This year's Campmeeting will kick-off at 6:00PM with our annual joint prayer service on Sunday August 5th, 2012. As always, if outdoor temperatures are uncomfortable, we will meet at Chandler Church of the Nazarene on North 4th Street near Chandler Town Hall in Chandler Indiana.

Camp 2012 Schedule
  • Monday August 6th, 2012-Lisette Lewis from World Gospel Missions- 7:00PM 
  • Tuesday 7th-Saturday 11th-7:00PM Nightly- Rev'd Dr. John Neihof
  • Sunday Closing Service- 6:00PM
  •  Rev'd Dr. John Neihof

Monday, July 2, 2012

Biblical BluBlockers?

Biblical BluBlockers...A Misuse of Scripture?
Guest Sermon by Rev. Robert D. Shofner, Jr.
St. John's UCC- Boonville Indiana

            Not long ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of a clinic while Debbie was undergoing one of her annual Coumadin tests.  A trio of persons was sitting nearby, and they started talking about a new Bible study that one of them was attending.  The conversation went more or less like this.
            “Oh, I’m so excited!  Our teacher is leading us through a study on Revelations.”
            (I always cringe when I hear ‘Revelations’.  There’s no “s” in Revelation, people!)
            “Wow,” was one response.
            “Yes!  And we learned all about the meaning of the phrase, ‘the abomination that causes desolation.’  The study leader explained that the Lord had shown him what it meant.”  (Of course, it’s always much more interesting when God Himself weighs in on an interpretation!  So I perked up!)
            “He said, “I’ve discovered that it is helpful if you break words apart when you study Scripture.  If you break down ‘abomination,’ you get a-bom-in-nation.  This verse is a prediction that a number of nations would one day get the atomic bomb.  And it’s happening!”
            The listening couple nodded in agreement.  “Praise Jesus!  We’re in the last days!”
            I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair!  The fact that this story even happened makes me wonder if the Bible should come with a warning label on its cover: If you are already kind of nuts, this book will only make things worse
            On one hand, I’m glad the Scriptures are accessible to so many, yet on the other hand it bothers me that people treat it like a purely existential document which they feel free to interpret through their peculiar, and, frankly, uneducated view.
            I love the Bible.  It’s full of narrative history, genealogies, laws, poetry, proverbs, prophetic oracles, riddles, drama, biological sketches, parables, letters, sermons, and apocalypses.  It is a mystical book that fills the believing heart with life, wonder, grace, power and comfort.  All Christian believers treasure the Bible.  It has been the best-selling book in the world since printing began.  When Guttenberg invented the printing press, the first words he reproduced were the words of the Bible.
            But, giving people the impression that the Bible is easy to understand and easy to apply is really misleading.  That’s like saying marriage is easy.  Of course marriage can be wonderful, but it is not easy.  It’s not easy to keep your “I” on your spouse and off yourself.  It’s not easy for men to understand women (do I hear an ‘Amen’?) … or women to understand men (do I hear a ‘Right on, preacher!’?) 
            Nor is it easy to understand the Bible.  Truth be told, it’s often quite difficult.  Some texts seem impossible to figure out.  That’s why, throughout history, so many have used the Bible for their own, sometimes evil, purposes.
            Sacred scriptures, which have brought unspeakable comfort and blessing to countless millions, have also been used to bring pain, horror, and death to many.  The Bible has been used to validate the torture of so-called heretics, to justify slavery, to justify war, to oppress women, and to perpetuate other injustices.
            On a less disturbing, but equally ridiculous note, believers throughout history have used the Bible to “prove” specifically when Jesus would return.  (I guess He never got any of their memos.)
            How can this be?  How can there be such divergent conviction about the “truth”?
            Some would argue that the Bible doesn’t need interpretation; it just needs to be obeyed.  In some cases that’s true.  Paul commands, “Do everything without complaining or arguing”  (Philippians 2:14).  That doesn’t need interpretation; it just needs to be obeyed, plain and simple.
            But not all passages are that simple.  And if we are not careful, we can think our understanding of what we read is the meaning that the Holy Spirit intended.  But that is a huge presumption which ignores that our experience, the culture we live in, our prior understanding of words and ideas, and so on, always inject themselves into what we read.  We are just kidding ourselves if we think our biases cannot lead us astray and cause us to read unintended ideas into a text.
            Case in point:  Let’s say we grew up believing it is stupid (maybe even sinful) for people to get tattoos and have their bodies pierced.  Maybe we heard our mom and dad say it was wrong.  Or perhaps we believe that because, when we were growing up, tattoos and body piercings were only fashionable for mean-looking Harley riders and their biker mommas, and those on the low end of the socioeconomic scale.  Is that an unfair prejudice?  Sorry, but yeah.  But if that was our experience, it impacts how we think.
            Whatever the reason, inbred opinions cause us to read Bible texts with a predetermined selectivity.  We come across a verse such as, “Do not cut your bodies . . . or put tattoo marks on yourselves.  I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:28).  Wow!  That just leaps off the page!  It’s like the voice of God – a spiritual epiphany.  No wonder tattoos and piercings bother me so much.  God feels the same way!  Never mind that in the previous verse men are told never to “cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard” (Leviticus 19:27).  We all ignore that verse.  But, logically, if we choose to harp on the command that forbids tattoos or piercings, reason demands that we should obey the hair rule.  That means churches should be full of men with mullets and scraggly beards!
            So, why aren’t Christians fair and reasonable when it comes to interpreting Bible texts like these?  Because something in each of us longs to emphasize the things that resonate with our own opinions and biases, while ignoring the ones that don’t.  However, it’s one thing to interpret Bible texts in a biased, squirrely way … it’s quite another to slap God’s endorsement on our interpretation.  But people do it every day.  It’s no wonder that what we do saddens Jesus’s heart … the same Jesus who said, “I give you a new command.  Love one another as I have loved you.”  And that is to be obeyed, not interpreted.   
Listen, it’s simple.   If we don’t like something, we just need to be honest about it.  Example.  I personally don’t like tattoos and piercings.  And when the boys were growing up, I told them tattoos and piercings were not allowed in my house.  I said, with a smile on my face, “It isn’t that God is against it.  In fact, God has tattoos.  He has us tattooed on His hand (Isaiah 49:16).  Apparently, He’s into tattoos.  It’s just that I am against it.  I don’t want you permanently altering your body until you are an adult and decide to do so.  I’m just weird.  Get used to it.”
            Hey … it’s okay for a parent to be uptight about some stuff.  We just can’t project our preferences on God and “swear . . . by heaven” (James 5:12) that God feels the same way.
            It’s not that we can’t have seemingly unreasonable opinions about things – we just need to own up to the reality that all of us have BluBlocker vision that affects how we see things.
            Remember them?  Back in the 1980s BluBlockers were all the rage … boasting of providing UV and blue-light protection for the eyes.  Since I have to wear glasses all the time, I couldn’t wear BluBlockers.  But the boys could, and did.
            One day we were heading out of town, and we stopped to fill up with gas and grab some treats for the road.  Debbie asked Michael to get some of her favorite gum … Wrigley’s in the blue pack.  He brought it back to the car and tossed it to his mom.  She looked at it, and asked, “Michael, how come you didn’t get me my regular kind?”
            “I did,” he answered.
            “No, you didn’t,” she said as she held up the pack for him to see.
            He looked at it, and said rather sarcastically, “Mom, the pack is blue.  That’s the kind you like!”
            She paused for a second and said, “Take off the BluBlockers, Michael.”
            He pulled off the glasses and instantly realized he had bought the green gum, thinking it was the blue.  Something in the BluBlockers made the green pack look blue.
            That’s what happens to us when our lives get colored by our experience.  We interpret our surroundings through that color.  That means what looks true sometimes isn’t, and what looks untrue is sometimes true.  Our ideas, presuppositions, and even prejudices color our reasoning and interpretive skills.  We don’t see clearly.
            People have been wearing BluBlockers all through history.  For example, in the premodern world a violent natural event like an earthquake or erupting volcano was thought of as some kind of vengeance from the gods.  Their Blublocker was that they believed gods did that sort of thing.  When there was a natural disaster, people assumed someone had killed a sacred animal or had committed some nasty crime that angered the gods and the cataclysmic event was retribution for that immoral act.
            In the modern world, we know that natural disasters brew because of a number of natural conditions.  This is our BluBlocker.  What premoderns saw as acts of the gods, moderns see as the logical results of nature’s adjustments.  No vengeance there.
            Different BluBlockers lead to different interpretations.
            Another example.  My mother-in-law believed there was no way the United States ever got those men on the moon – not really.  When asked about the live television broadcast that captured the event, she would say, “It was all Hollywood.  They staged the whole thing.  It was fake, and a lot of people made a lot of money from our tax dollars.”  Her BluBlocker conspiracy “glasses” made the whole thing look like a hoax. (On the other hand, she swore up and down that “X-Files” was actually true!)  
People who view the world as conspiratorial or interpret biblical prophecy by breaking words apart (especially since Scripture was originally written in Hebrew and Greek – not English) are wearing bad BluBlockers.  When we use faulty methods or tools to interpret something, the world ends up looking distorted and weird.
The BluBlockers we wear provide a framework for processing data, just like prescription eyeglasses from what we (who need them) see.  I remember getting my first pair of eyeglasses as a kid and being amazed at how it helped me see the world in a whole new way – clearly!  I had become used to the blur.
Sadly, there are many disorienting “prescription” BlueBlockers out there.  Instead of clearing things up, they actually distort and give us an inaccurate view of the world.  There is no place where this is truer than in the context of religion.  When it comes to what we believe about God (theology), how He wants us to live (doctrines), and what we can or cannot do (commandments and injunctions), Christians have so many different sets of glasses, we make Elton John’s eyewear collection seem paltry.
All kinds of things influence the way we see things: our experiences, our parents, the History Channel, an Oprah show we once saw, friends, the churches we’ve attended, our prejudices, expectations, hopes, failures, God, the devil, being an American – these all color the way we interpret our world and our faith.
The bottom line, when we want to avoid misusing and misinterpreting God’s Word, we first want to do an honest evaluation of how we look at the world, and what kind of BluBlockers we are wearing.
Next time we’ll look at some various examples of BluBlockers.  In the meantime, do your homework!

Let’s pray. 
Heavenly Father, we thank you for Your Word in all its variety, style, and truth.  Please accept our confession that we all wear BluBlockers that color our perception of our world and Your Word.  With our confession, open our eyes to clearly see.  Grant us honest and humble hearts that we may love one another as You have loved us.
And the people said, “Amen.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Trust with all Your Heart...

Trust with All Your Heart
   Knowing God and trusting God are fully connected actions throughout the teachings in
 scripture. The more we come to know God, the more we come to trust. And as we trust 
God and find God faithful, the more we know God's goodness and love. The proverbs in 
today's reading point us to an intimate trust in God in every aspect of our lives. They
 teach us to include God in all we do and trust God to make our paths straight.
   We can trust God for wisdom, strength, provision, and instruction. God proves to us 
God's faithfulness as we demonstrate our trust in God. The more we know God, the more 
we trust. As we grow in our relationship with God, we come to trust God with all our hearts
 in all areas of our lives.
* How do the proverbs say wisdom is achieved?
* How are you challenged by the instruction to give the first of all your crops (v. 9)?
* When have you trusted in God and found God to be faithful?
* How can you become more trusting of God's good will for you?

   God, you are wise and kind and good beyond measure. Help me trust your goodness
 and seek you. And in seeking you, help me to know you. And in knowing you, help me
 to trust you more. Amen.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bits & Bytes for Bagley Backers-July 2012

Bits & Bytes for Bagley Backers
June 2012
General Conference Highlights
We returned to the States just in time to attend General Conference in Lexington, KY early this month. Highlights for us included the following:
  • It was exciting to connect with a large number of our supporters as well as people and churches who partner with the work in the Africa Area. It was also a thrill to reconnect with missionary colleagues from days gone by - including sharing a meal with Jim & Roxy Lo and Marc & Di LaPointe.
  • The African Area's official representatives were Dr. Usman Fornah (Sierra Leone), Rev. David Kajila (Cameroon), and Rev. Filipe Macaringue (Mozambique). Also present were Frances Fornah (Sierra Leoen), Brimah Samurah (Sierra Leone), and Rev. Joe Ocran (Ghana). It was great to have an extra chance to interact face-to-face again with these effective leaders.
  • During the Sunday morning service we enjoyed participating in the parade of flags  - featuring the flags of 93 nations where the Wesleyan Church has a presence. (Brenda carried the Swaziland flag, while Bob carried the Zimbabwe flag.)flags
  • ​ An offering was taken during that service to provide funding for a fresh new thrust with the Jesus Film around the world. Africa will benefit with new teams in Congo (DRC), Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and South Africa.
  • Also during the morning service we had the opportunity of serving communion with Dr. Fornah. What a privilege to serve together!communion
  • General Conference marked the retirement of Dr. H.C. Wilson from his role as General Director of Global Partners. We were privileged to share in a special farewell for him the night before conference began together with other leaders from GP as well as a number of especially invited guests. 
  • Dr. Dennis Jackson, former European Area Director for GP, was elected to take over leadership from Dr. Wilson. The Area Directors had a chance for a breakfast meeting with him the last day of conference as well as participated in meeting with the broader GP leadership that afternoon.
  • A personal highlight for us was the Tuesday morning service which featured Native American Ministries. Particularly meaningful was the public apology on behalf of the denomination by Dr. Jerry Pence to Rev. Jerry Yellowhawk for the racist attitudes and ways of the past.
The Wesleyan Church of Nigeria Begins Construction
The young church in Nigeria has just begun construction on the first Wesleyan Church in that country. Property has been purchased on the outskirts of Lagos and plans drawn for a three-story multi-purpose building which will house the church on the bottom floor and a school on the upper levels. Local church members are providing most of the labor, calling on professional services only when necessary. Rev. Andrew Bondo, a Wesleyan missionary from Liberia to Nigeria is giving direction to the project.BondoNigeria
African Leaders Pass Away

The Africa Area is mourning the loss of two faithful leaders of the African church. Please pray for their families and the flock they leave behind.

Rev. Dr. Abraham Katwebe, National Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church of the Congo (DRC), passed away from cancer this past month. Jerry Manwaring tried to attend the funeral to represent the African Area, but was unable to secure a visa with short notice.

Rev. Bill Niemack, District Superintendent of the Transkei District (South Africa) also passed away from cancer this past month. Bob represented the African Area at the funeral and was honored to bring the funeral sermon.

We will be traveling around North America until mid-July.  Our schedule for this time follows:

June 17 - Trinity Wesleyan, Greenville, OH
June 18-22 - Missionary Training Institute, Marion, IN
June 24 - Greensburg Wesleyan Church, Greensburg, IN
June 27 - International Partnership for Ghana, Brockville, ON
July 1 - Woods Harbour Wesleyan, Woods Harbour, NS
July 6-15 - Beulah Camp, Browns Flat, NB
July 22 - Emmanuel Wesleyan, Roanoke, VA
Support Report
GP's financial year ends on August 31st, giving us two and a half months left. As of today, we are only $154 behind in donations from where we should at this point in time. Please help us pray that giving will remain strong during the summer months which historically often show a lag.

Thank you so much to those who give faithfully, sacrificially, and generously to our support! We deeply appreciate you continuing to stand behind us.

Online donations or monthly commitments can be made online by clicking here.

Praise Points
1. Praise the Lord for His watching over the African representatives as they traveled to General Conference.
2. Praise God for the godly example and heritage left behind by Dr. Katwebe and Rev. Niemack.

3. Praise God for financial provision for new Jesus Film teams.

4. We thank God for the opportunity to visit with Brenda's parents and with our daughters, Tracy & Mary Beth, this past week.

Prayer Requests
1. Ask for God's help as we share in services what God has been doing in and through the church across the African Area.

2. Pray that God will help us to connect well as we help with the training of new missionaries at the Missionary Training Institute.

3. Pray for God's help in meetings with churches and individuals who are involved in significant ways to partner with the African church and their ministries.

4. Ask God to protect and provide for the Nigerian church as they continue to work on building construction.

5. Pray for the church in Congo (DRC) and Transkei District (South Africa) as they adjust to new leadership.

6. Pray for God to strengthen Dr. Dennis Jackson as he adjusts to his new role as Executive Director of Global Partners.

Africa Area Prayer Calendar

A prayer calendar with requests for every day for July - August, 2012 is now available by clicking the following link: Africa Area Prayer Calendar. Feel free to share it with others who are interested in praying for God's work in Africa.

Lauren Gross, GoNet missionary to Zambia, recently put together prayer maps with photos of African leaders and GP missionaries to use as you pray.  You can access them by clicking on the following links: Missionary Prayer Map, and African Leaders Prayer Map.

Bagley Backers on FaceBook
For the most up-to-date news and prayer requests visit the Bagley Backers group on Facebook.
BagleysPrintable Version

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