A Huge Difference

Aug 04 2014

By Rev. Doug Clay

DClayI have heard it said that the only disability in life is a bad attitude. Well, whether that is true or not, I believe you will agree with me that attitude makes a big difference.

The Bible says there is a connection between our attitudes and the rest of our lives.

Proverbs 23:7a

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.

I certainly don’t believe we just think into existence anything we want, but I do believe our thoughts can produce a good attitude and a good attitude can get you through even the worst of circumstances.

So, whether or not your “attitude determines your altitude” as some claim, I am convinced a good attitude can . . .

  1. Keep you positive when the environment around you is negative.

Psalm 37:5-7, The Message

Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. 7 Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.

  1. Give you hope when you feel hopeless.

Romans 15:13, The Message

Oh! May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

  1. Help you keep things in proper perspective.

Colossians 3:1-2, The Message

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective!

Make a commitment today to have a good attitude. After all, a good attitude can help you make a great day!


Rev. Doug Clay serves as the General Treasurer of the Assemblies of God. He can be reached at dclay@ag.org.

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3 Things to Look for In a Mentor

Jul 28 2014

By Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs

JeremiahIn my work as a University Chaplain, I talk with a lot of students about having a good mentor and becoming a good mentor to another. One of the findings of the National Study of Youth and Religion is that only committed religious parents can have more impact on the religious faithfulness of young people than adult mentors. Mentors matter.

I suppose that one of the reasons that I grew in my faith so much as a young adult, from “never-been-to-church” to “pastor-in-training” in 14 months, was the great mentors that I had in my life. I don’t think just any mentor will do, however. Here are three traits that distinguish great mentors:

1. Good mentors are unwavering. We had a really spectacular youth ministry and a really spectacular college ministry. In fact, when I lead communities now, I’m often thinking about what I learned about community in that college ministry. Darrell Neal was the elder from our congregation that was appointed to oversee ministries with young people. Darrell was around often, encouraged us in life transitions, and was always centered when one person or another tended to some version of religious oddity.

The most important thing I learned from Darrell was after our congregation went into absolute turmoil. I won’t go into details, but our really healthy church experienced a crazy upheaval. People were leaving the church, hurting one another, and vying for power. Darrell refused to participate in the craziness and simply stood as a steady force in the storm. He eventually did leave our congregation (just as I did a while later), but even then he did so with respect, grace, and without malice.

Darrell’s unwavering maturity taught me to stand in the gap when life and ministry are difficult. My family and my churches have reaped the benefits from his steady leadership.

2. Good mentors can get out of their own way. I suppose that all of us have had mentors and leaders from whom we learned over time that their mentoring wasn’t really about them. Mark and Rose Diekevers taught me that the best mentors have the self-confidence that the relationship is not about filling a need they have to be important, needed, or in authority. When we started a small ministry for young adults out of the remnants of our former college ministry, Mark and Rose opened their home week after week to us.

Never once did they try to take the teaching and leadership away from the young leadership team. When asked, they responded with advice that was never motivated by their own desires. When I returned to college after a break of several years, they gave me the largest financial gift I had received from anyone at that point in my life. For a number of reasons, financial aid was not going to make ends meet that first semester before it would ratchet up the next semester. They filled a gap. No one knew that they were doing it but me and a couple close friends. They didn’t need to be recognized for the great ministry that they did in those years with me and the young adults in that group.

I have experienced mentors that were filling their own needs by “discipling” me. But I learned from Mark and Rose that the best mentors are ones that can get out of their own way to serve another.

3. Good mentors gently challenge you consistently. Often folks will tell you that a good mentor will challenge you when you are making a poor choice. That is true. At appropriate times, we need people to tell us simply, “That is a mistake.”

Bob Vanderburg taught me that we also need mentors to challenge us consistently. I worked for Bob as I was making my way through college (and by “worked” I mean that we went to the job site each day and talked about life, God, and ministry). Bob is a smart man and has an opinion on everything. As we “worked” and talked, he would push against my ideas for ministry and my theology. He never withdrew friendship because of our disagreements. He never tried to manipulate me.

He just gently disagreed with me and forced me to articulate myself more clearly. In many ways, my formation as a theologian began in these discussions. Similarly, when I went to seminary my friend Robert Lowery began to challenge me and force me to think more clearly. A safe place to be challenged, debate, and even argue is the best way to learn to think clearly.

This kind of critical thinking and articulation rarely happens in a classroom where the professor does most of the talking. Instead, it is often a good mentor that is able to challenge us gently and force us to articulate our vision.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What are the traits that you look for in a mentor? Who are some of the mentors that have taught you the most?

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs is University Chaplain and Assistant Professor at the University of Indianapolis. He blogs regularly about theology, gender, and justice at JeremiahGibbs.com

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The Most Important Prayer to Pray Everyday

Jul 21 2014

By Justin Lathrop

JustinDo you ever have a hard time getting into a regular rhythm of prayer in your life? I, of course, couldn’t possibly have this problem because, well, I work in a church and spend most of my time with pastors. Oh wait… that’s a complete lie.

I do have this problem.

In fact, in my experience, pastors and people who spend a great deal of time in the church—myself included—can have the most difficult time developing a rich prayer life. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to think a prayer life is just a “given” when you work in a church, when the truth is a rich prayer life takes intentionality and work.

Lately I’ve been praying a very simple prayer that has been reminding me of the power of prayer and helping me to grow in my ability to pray.

It’s the simplest prayer in the world.

It goes like this: Thank you.

I’m not sure what it is about this prayer—why it is so powerful—but as I reflect right now on how this prayer has impacted my life, I can think of a few tangible benefits I’ve seen from uttering these words just a few times each day.

First, it turns my focus to what God has done.

So often I get stuck on what I can do—what I can accomplish in a day, how much progress I can make, what my skills and capabilities and ideas and thoughts add up to. This mindset works for awhile, but all it takes is one bad day for me to realize, in the scope of things, my talents and skills don’t add up to much.

But prayers of thankfulness remind me it isn’t about what I can do, but what God has already done and continues to do in my life and the lives of those around me.

This is not about me. It’s about Him. Thank God. 

Second, it helps me to trust what is coming in the future.

Strangely (or not-so-strangely) taking a few minutes every day to notice what God has done for me, the creative and amazing ways he has come through for me or provided, gives me peace about the future.

Suddenly, I see God’s faithfulness really clearly. I can see how I had a specific need and God met it. I can see how I prayed for a specific person would come to know Him, and they did.

I can rest in the knowledge that the future is not in my hands, but His.

The gift of thankfulness keeps on giving, if we let it.

One of my favorite verses about thankfulness is Philippians 4:6 which says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (emphasis mine).

The thing I love about this verse is the way it connects worry (anxiety), prayer and thanksgiving.

Paul doesn’t say, “when you pray, you should only pray for other people” or “if you don’t pray, you’re going to be sorry.” Instead, he asserts that we can bring literally anything—any request—to God. Whatever is making you anxious, whatever is on your mind, whatever you need or think you need or even want—bring it in prayer.

Just bring it with thanksgiving.

I can’t help but think (and attest from personal experience) that the result is a rich prayer life, less worry about the future, a heart full of understanding and love and a new awareness of the way God meets our every need.

It’s the simplest prayer, but it has huge power.

This week, try praying this simple prayer: “God, thanks for ________.” Maybe you can only think of one or two things. Maybe you can think of five or six. Either way, my guess is this: simple prayer will lead you into a deeper communion with a God who cares for your every need.


Justin Lathrop is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and MinistryCoach.tv,  in addition to serving as a consultant in the area of strategic relations for organizations that include the Assemblies of God, Leadership Network, and Convoy of Hope. To connect with Justin, visit his blog at justinlathrop.com.

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Let Somebody Know

Jul 07 2014

By Rev. Doug Clay

Clay_Douglas_Casual_100A nursing student in South Burlington, Vermont was cramming for an exam in a coffee shop. She left the table to get a refill on her coffee.

When she returned, she found an anonymous note of encouragement, along with a $10 Starbucks gift card. The note said, “I’m assuming that you’re probably nearing the end of nursing school. You should be proud of yourself. You’ve worked so hard to get here and I promise you, it’s worth it. I’ve been a nurse for twelve years and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

That note, which has been widely circulated online, has provided a great source of encouragement, not just for the Vermont nursing student, but for many who have read it and commented about it.

People crave encouragement. One of the byproducts of being a part of a spiritual family is encouragement.

The Bible talks a lot about encouragement.

I Thessalonians 5:11

. . . encourage one another and build each other up.”

I Thessalonians 5:14

“. . . encourage the timid and be patient with everyone.”

Hebrews 3:13

. . . encourage one another daily.”

Encouragement is a big deal!

This idea of “inspiring others with renewed courage, a renewed spirit and renewed hope,” is something that all of us can do . . . and it works.

Encouragement works. Think about it:

1.) Encouragement helps to keep people from getting a hard heart.

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

2.) Encouragement builds confidence.

I Thessalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

3.) Encouragement keeps people from quitting.

Hebrews 10:25

Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Take some time to write one note of encouragement to someone. It could be a day changer for them and for you!


Rev. Doug Clay serves as the General Treasurer for the Assemblies of God. He can be reached at dclay@ag.org.

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The Tongue Rule Challenge

Jun 30 2014

By Dan Rockwell

dan3Of all the people in the world, Christians should use words more skillfully than anyone.

“Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.” Ephesians 4:29 (GNB)

Sadly, we have a reputation for speaking against things rather than for. Frankly, we are often known for negativity.

Positive speech, in some Christian circles, seems like a sin. We go so far as to suggest that railing against something indicates strength and holiness. In reality, tearing down is unbiblical, misguided, and weak.

Yes, there are exceptions. Jesus hammered the religious elite. If you’re inclined to fight, attack denominational leaders who choose law over grace. Call them pretty coffins full of dried up bones.

But, the tongue rule may be a better option.

The tongue rule:

“Only open your mouth to make something better.”

Other than that, be quiet.

Even if you’re pointing out a problem, only point it out so you can explore how to make it better.

Sounds simple enough. But, James, the brother of Jesus said, “But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 (GNB)

Developing a graceful tongue:

If you enjoy challenges, adopt the tongue rule challenge.

  1. It’s a journey.
  2. Receive and enjoy God’s favor.
  3. Treat others the way God treats you.
  4. Find some friends who are on the “tongue taming” journey with you.
  5. Start again after you screw up. Grace is beginning again, again.
  6. Talk less. But, realize silence isn’t the goal, building up is.
  7. Only speak to make things better.

Dan Rockwell is the author of the Leadership Freak blog, recognized as the most socially shared leadership blog of 2012, in addition to authoring the Grace Freak blog. Currently, Dan coaches leaders, consults with organizations, and delivers corporate and community presentations. You can follow his blogs at www.leadershipfreak.wordpress.com and www.gracefreakdan.wordpress.com.

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Reaching a Rural Community

Jun 23 2014

By Kent Anderson

kentA rural church must find practical ways to reach and serve their community. A change from an inward to an outward focus is only part of the solution. If a church wants to influence their community, the most effective way to do so is the Jesus way- to serve and then share their way into the life of the community. Mark 10:45 says, “The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve”, and this should be our model.

The following are 10 practical outreach ideas that rural churches can implement to reach their communities:

1. Assess the needs of your community. Pastors can uncover needs in their community that others are not addressing. Websites such as epodunk.com, census.gov, and dataplace.org will help you assess your community. Ask members of your community what they feel are the most pressing needs. Ask the question, “In your opinion, what is the best thing our church could do for this town?”

2. Meet with community stakeholders. A rural pastor must be intentional in developing solid relationships with community leaders. Stakeholders can include the mayor, school principal, high school coach, and others. Community leaders know firsthand the issues their community is facing.

3. Become a friend to your community’s school system. The question every rural church must ask is, “How can we wrap our arms around our local school?” In a rural setting, the school is the hub of the community. Some churches bring cinnamon rolls to the teachers’ lounge and deliver coffee and donuts to bus drivers. They provide reading buddies to students, conduct after-school programs, honor teachers and staff, provide supplies for classrooms, and assist with projects around the school.

4. Become active in community events. How can the church plug into the community calendar? What events are taking place throughout the year that your church could join? What sporting events and holiday celebrations can the church be involved in? What does the community offer in the way of meals on wheels, senior center activities, etc., in which your church can partner? Offer an event for your community such as a Kidsfest in the park, mega sports camp, hunting clinic, horse-riding clinic, etc. Connect with your firefighters and policemen and women and host a hero day for them and their families.

5. Develop a community group adoption program. What groups, places, or organizations could your church adopt? This program could include adopting teachers, social workers, firefighters, sports teams, classrooms, the senior center, or the local park. One church in Kansas adopted the town’s main street and the youth washed all the windows of the downtown businesses. A rural church in Iowa painted the benches on Main Street.

6. Become a specialty provider. Many rural churches do not have the capacity to run a food pantry, clothing closet, or thrift store. Become the church that has a specialty item — diapers, baby formula, underwear and socks or hygiene products. One church in Montana offers firewood during the winter for people in their community. Another church in West Virginia designated a Sunday School room for teachers and offered them supplies for their classroom.

7. Offer a need-based program. Offer a program based on the findings of your assessment. Programs like Celebrate Recovery, Marriage Encounter, Financial Peace, Angel Food ministry, single moms ministry, and MOPS can be a way to reach out to people in need in your community.

8. Create a helping hands ministry. Organize a Sunday School class or small group focused solely on outreach. The class or small group can pray, plan, and implement ministry opportunities within the community. One church asks each individual department to conduct one service project each year. This way, the church has outreach focused ministry going on in its community every month.

9. Prepare your church for emergency response. Partner with organizations such as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Red Cross, emergency personnel, etc. Train church members to be first responders when disaster hits.

10. Conduct a one-day outreach. Plan a day of outreach that might include distributing school supplies, clothing, shoes, coats, etc. to the people within the community. A rural church in Illinois conducted a one-day outreach called Sharefest and had over 600 people attend. The town’s population is 2,000.in

The impact of a powerful rural Pentecostal church in a community will greatly enhance community life and pave the way for strong connections between the church and the community. As General Superintendent George O. Wood has stated, “We must have substantial evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, our prayer should be, “Let my heart break with the things that break God’s heart – and then let me do something about it.”


Kent Anderson serves as the Church Care Network Coordinator for Convoy of Hope – Rural Compassion Ministries. To learn more about Rural Compassion, please visit www.ruralcompassion.org.

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The Growth of the Church

Jun 16 2014

By Dr. Dick Brogden

dick-brogdenCurrently there is an inordinate emphasis on size and speed when it comes to the development of the church. Church history soberly shows that orthodoxy tends not to spread as swiftly as heresy and that bad teaching outpaces good. It is the slow, steady repeated truth of God that builds the enduring church. The largest church at the end of the first century was found in Rome, thought by most scholars to be around two hundred members. The churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica (among others) were most probably between fifteen and fifty. The record of Acts takes place over about fifty years.

Biblical precedent indicates that it takes about a generation to get a few churches to what we now consider modest size. One myth is that the church has to grow quickly; another that a strong church is a big church. The best churches tend to grow slowly and steadily, and the normal first century church comprised less than fifty people.

Disciples, too, are forged over time. If a church is but a collection of disciples, then it makes sense that strong churches require time to become solid. Another common myth today in missions is that all new disciples need is the Bible and the Holy Spirit. As appealing as this sounds, it has never been true in history, and if we are honest, it has not been true for any of us experientially. Consider how many books, sermons, mentors, friends, and external inputs help shape and form our spirituality over time. None of us grew to where we are without multiple sources of input over disparate seasons, all the input submitted to the authority of the Holy Spirit and the Word.

Biblically there always remains the need for an outside catalyst to help correct our biases and heresies. A group of people studying the Scriptures can just as easily end up pooling ignorance as illumining one another. Acts 15 is a classic example of ongoing external input necessary for the formation of strong disciples and churches. The negative example of external input (requiring circumcision) does not negate the massive, ongoing positive external input.

Paul and Barnabas report the wonderful turning of the Gentiles to Jesus. They also report the negative external pressure. James and the counsel respond by correcting the error and reinforcing what is necessary. In Acts 15:20, James delineates what they should not do–former religious forms and rituals. Paul reminds the council that coming to Jesus demands conversion (v. 3) and James cites Peter that the Gentiles must come out of false religion (v. 14). In Acts 15:32, Judas and Silas “exhort and strengthen the brethren with many words.” In verse 35, Paul and Barnabas teach and preach to the Gentiles and in verse 36, Paul and Barnabas commit to revisit their converts to ensure they are walking correctly.

Disciples and churches are forged over time. Let us continue to believe that God will do great things and bring millions into His church. Let us continue to understand that it is slow, steady, life-on-life work to make disciples and build churches.


Dr. Dick Brogden currently serves as an Assemblies of God World Missionary and is the Strategy Leader for Live Dead Arab World.  To find out more about the Live Dead Arab World project, visit http://arabworld.live-dead.org. 

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The Freedom of Unconditional Love

Jun 09 2014

By Carla Ellis

DSC_9157It was a hot and sweaty day in the desert of Rajasthan, India when my Indian friends and I arrived at the village. From the outside it looks like any other village, but behind the walls lives a group of people desperate for true unconditional love.


The Rajnats are known as “The King’s Dancers”. During the dynasty period they danced for the royal families, but when the dynamics of India changed, so did the future of the Rajnat people. Societal norms forced the Rajnat women into bar room dancing and prostitution. They are born into the most devastating business in the world, which often begins at the age of 12.


We had been ministering alongside our Indian friends in one of the Rajnat villages for months, but this day turned out to be the most challenging. After arriving at the village we began asking the ladies if they would like to make jewelry with us. They said, “No, we must work,” reminding us once again of the horrific life that chained them.


Then I spotted a ray of hope in the distance. A young lady named Rakia came and greeted us with her beautiful smile. Every week I had been praying that God would somehow give me an opportunity to minister to Rakia. Not only was Rakia born in the brothel, she was also born deaf and mute. By pointing to the necklace and tools I asked Rakia if she wanted to make one. She quickly nodded her head to say yes. “Finally God! Thank you,” I whispered. Rakia took us over to a wooden bench sitting outside her small concrete home. Just as we began to start, her mother called her away from us.


A strange man took her by the hand and led her into a room only inches from where we were sitting. In seconds her demeanor changed from happiness to hopelessness. She was being led once again into the depths of despair, realizing she was moments away from despicable shame and abuse.


We were devastated! I wanted to scream. I wanted to pull her out and save her! But there was absolutely nothing I could do. I felt so shallow and helpless. I was so confused about why God allowed this and extremely angry that Rakia’s mom allowed this! How could a mother do this to her precious daughter? Everything in me wanted to let her know what an awful person she was!


Then she asked me a very challenging question, “Can you help me?” I hesitated. “Help you? I don’t think so! You just gave your daughter to that man,” I thought to myself. She showed me her hands. They were very dry, cracked, and infected due to the harsh conditions endured in the desert. I must admit I did not feel very sympathetic or loving. I did not want to help her; I wanted to help her daughter.


Then the Lord spoke to me, “I did not send you here today for Rakia only. I also sent you here for Rakia’s mom. She needs your unconditional love, too. A love that shows no record of wrongs, a love that forgives, even when a person has hurt you or someone you love.”


Suddenly, Rakia’s mom looked completely different in my eyes. I began to see her as Jesus does, beautiful and desperately helpless without Him. Forced to watch her own daughter be raped by strangers day after day, she was also shackled by the generations of sin that have stolen happiness and hope from her family.


Then something occurred to me. I remembered I had the exact medicine that Rakia’s mom needed in the car. I had forgotten to leave it at one of our schools earlier in the day. Realizing it was not a mistake, but divine intervention, I ran to the car and got the medicine. Putting the medicine into Rakia’s mom’s cracked hands, scarred by the hardships of life, I prayed that she would find freedom in God’s amazing grace and that I would find freedom to share his unconditional love.


Although your journey may not lead you to the deserts of India, there are people in your path every day who need a touch of God’s love. Some are easy to love, others not so easy. My prayer is that God would give all of us divine encounters with those who need it most desperately.


Carla Ellis and her husband, Rev. Joel Ellis, are Assemblies of God World Missionaries and currently serve as part of the Global Operations team at Global University, with Joel as Vice President of Global Operations. She can be reached at cellis@globaluniversity.edu.

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The Dilemma of a New Generation

Jun 02 2014

By Rev. Nino Gonzalez

Pastor-Nino2Joshua 24

A “dilemma” is a situation requiring a choice between alternatives in which one of them is not desirable. We are living in a generational tight spot. The challenge to believe in God is at its critical moment. How long will it be before this generation in its entirety decides to do away with morality, healthy values and everything that sounds like God? Some social experts believe that in two generations an entire system of beliefs can be gone. What guarantees are there that our children will accept, choose and be taught the things of God in the years ahead?


Joshua had to face the same dilemma that this generation is confronting today and that’s the essence of his message in Joshua 24. When we observe the context of the book of Joshua we find a few hints as to what Joshua did and what we, the church and its leaders, can do to influence a generation towards God.


First, we see a leader who witnessed God’s supernatural power. From his days in Egypt, all the way through the desert, and now in the promised land of Canaan, he witnessed God’s move firsthand. He ate manna; drank from the rock; benefitted from the cloud and the pillar of fire. I am of the conviction that Christianity without a demonstration of the supernatural doesn’t have a chance in this generation. The God of Moses and Joshua was a “show up” God. He was there, present, doing, speaking, moving, intervening, correcting. Today we defend thesis after thesis on Christian doctrines with seemingly no demonstration at all. What chance do we have against the modern serpents of Egypt? It seems like this world is Pharaoh’s palace and we need to demonstrate that Jesus Christ has more power than anything Egypt throws at us.


Secondly, Joshua was a leader with boldness and convictions. We need that type of character today. Christianity is fighting for a position on the platform called political correctness. We want to be accepted by the powerful and famous, (politicians, sport stars, Hollywood figures, etc.) and if that means compromising our knowledge of God, moral and holy living, so be it. Joshua knew that charging a generation to choose between God and the idols of his time meant discovering the hidden philosophies in peoples’ lives. Our pulpits and preaching opportunities have to be modern day Shechem, (Joshua 24:1), where people are confronted with their motives, ideas, philosophies and human principles ruling today’s life.


Thirdly, we need to pose the right questions and propose the right answers. Do we want to continue the path this generation has taken or do we want to see healing throughout our land? Our culture might not have the obvious physical idols like in the time of Joshua, but they are embracing the philosophy behind the idol. Some of these are the lack of respect for human life; violence, self pleasure; materialistic ambitions; sexual immorality, etc. These were the goals behind the idols of Canaan. Joshua charged his people to choose. That was a clear call to repentance. He boldly states, “Fear God” (v.14). He was calling Israel to a return to God.


Lastly, he made himself an example, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” We need to be examples to this generation. Christianity has the best opportunity when the messenger lives the message. We know we have a dilemma, but this could be the greatest opportunity the church of Jesus Christ has ever had. Let’s choose the right path.


Rev. Nino Gonzalez serves as the Superintendent of the Florida Multicultural District of the Assemblies of God.

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God’s Blessings

May 27 2014

By Dr. John Bueno

John Bueno 10 09The Book of Isaiah is one of the most amazing books in the Old Testament. It is the background and basis for all that occurred in the New Testament. Hundreds of years before it was fulfilled, God revealed through the Holy Spirit His promise of redemption for mankind.


Isaiah 51:2 should inspire us all as we serve our Master: “But Abraham was only one when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation” (TLB, emphasis added).


Sometimes it seems as if we’re working alone, or at least within a very small minority God has called to share His wonderful message. Even surrounded by millions of people, it is easy to feel isolated. We are tempted to believe our contribution is insignificant in the great scheme of things. However, God’s word to Abraham serves as a guarantee to us all that with the Lord’s blessing we are a great majority.


I need and want God’s blessing upon my life, and I am sure that is your desire as well. As you read this, pause to breathe a prayer and open your heart to God’s blessing. When He comes into our lives, everything changes. The thing that seems so impossible can become a reality in God’s will and purpose. The blessing of God is essential for anything we do. No matter how good our training or talents might be, we will be ineffective unless we have God’s blessing upon our lives. The exponential fact of God’s blessing is unbelievable. God took one individual—Abraham—and made a great nation that is spread across the globe even today. He wants to do the same with us.


The promises of God extend to all of us. I have a word from the Lord for your life: Seek His blessing today in all you do—“But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.”


Dr. John Bueno is the President and Founder of El Salvador Schools, Liceo Cristiano, and previously served as the Executive Director of Assemblies of God World Missions for 14 years. He can be reached at jbueno@globaluniversity.edu.

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