Friends

Nov 24 2014

By Rev. Doug Clay

 

DClay-300x300Good Monday Morning . . .

 

I have heard it said that true friendship is when you walk into a friend’s house and your WI-FI connects automatically.

 

C.S. Lewis said friendship is born at that moment: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

 

I can’t imagine going through life without a few good friends.  Too often when we walk through some difficult seasons it is easy to withdraw into isolation; or fall into a pit of condemnation; or reach for some short-term medication . . . but to have a few good friends, who can “refresh your heart,” now that is priceless:

 

A friend who refreshes is one who offers tears, not just answers.

 

A friend who refreshes gives godly counsel, not just quick-fix formulas.

 

A refreshing friend is one who will keep reminding you of the bigness of God and His ability to see you through no matter how unfair everything is for you.

 

A friend seeks to be genuinely interested in your wellbeing and will empathize, instead of comparing his plightful situation to yours.

 

Paul said of Timothy “He genuinely cares about your wellbeing.” [Phil 2:20], and he said of Philemon, “Your kindness refreshed the hearts of the people.” [Phil 1:7].

 

Take some time today to thank the Lord for the friends that He has placed in your life.

 

Strive to have friends for life. To find a real friend in a lifetime is a good fortune; to keep him is a blessing!

 

Make a great day!

 

Doug

 

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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Giving Thanks for Mozambique

Nov 11 2014

GU_presidentThis month’s posts will focus on what it means to be thankful. Our second post is written by Dr. Gary Seevers, President of Global University.

Dr. Gary Seevers, President of Global University, recently had the opportunity to travel to Maputo, Mozambique in October. Below, he recounts his experiences of that trip and the incredible results.

“I first came to Mozambique 12 years ago in 2002. Keith Heermann (Executive Vice President) and I had made several trips to Mozambique. During those trips we met with several leaders and ministers, including Pastor Luis Manuel Jeronimo. He pastors Igreja Evangelica Assembleia De Deus Alfa & Omega, possibly the largest A/G church in Mozambique. Soon after those meetings took place, we unfortunately had to put the GU National Office in mothballs.

This 2014 trip was scheduled to hopefully begin the process of re-opening that National Office. At the request of the AGWM Area Director Lance Hines, we were hopeful that we could reconnect with the ministers of Mozambique.

We arrived and God immediately began to move. An unexpected breakfast meeting was scheduled with Pastor Luis, missionary Todd Stamps, and myself. During this meeting I learned that Pastor Luis, who has visited Global University three times, had begun using our Christian Life (CL) curriculum as the start of a seamless training program with the young people in his church!

The approach Pastor Luis followed was to “require” the youth of his church to study Global’s CL courses beginning at age 12. This December, there will be a graduation of 86 teenagers who have completed all 18 CL courses. Currently, there are 356 more teenagers moving through the CL curriculum. He testified that the students are growing and developing spiritually, some more so than the adults in his church! The parents of many of these teens indicate that studying the CL courses has positively impacted their children’s regular studies in school and their academic performance has improved overall. The students are more committed to Christ, the church, their families, and better prepared for adult life because of Global’s CL courses. Isn’t God good?

Despite the incredible impact these courses are already having on his church, Pastor Luis’ primary question was this: “How do we take the next step in the seamless approach to the Christian Service (CS) program and eventually to the BA program?” What an amazing future partnership opportunity!

Todd Stamps, the missionary who also joined us in that meeting, shared his heart with us as well. We hadn’t had the opportunity to work with Todd previous to this meeting and we were glad to meet him. Todd is the son of Don and Linda Stamps (missionaries to Brazil), the author of the study notes for the Fire Bible, and a gifted translator. He shared how the Holy Spirit has placed a burden on his heart to be involved in the training of pastors. His desire is to try and learn about the “need” of the church and see how Global could fit into or fulfill that need. This is an incredible introduction that the Lord arranged for us at the perfect time!

I was also able to introduce the Portuguese courses and Portuguese GlobalReach.org site to Luis and two other missionaries. All have indicated this is a strategic tool in advancing their various efforts not only in their particular churches, but in the entire nation.

Before this trip, Keith and I were terribly saddened by the closing of the National Office in Mozambique. Frankly, I thought progress there had come to a full stop. Unbeknownst to me, God was still taking the seeds we helped plant over a decade ago and growing them into a model that is about to go nation-wide through Pastor Luis’s ministry! Not only that, God is now opening doors so the people of Mozambique can continue teaching their young people with CL curriculum in their local churches. We are so thankful for God’s continual blessings. He is so much bigger than we could ever understand or comprehend. He is so good!”

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Thanksgiving – A Redemptive Outlook

Nov 03 2014

MJ

This month’s posts will focus on what it means to be thankful. Our first post is written by Michael Johnson, Director of Ethnic Ministries at Global University.

 

Ephesians 1:15-16

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

The Thanksgiving holiday is a rich American tradition that is both historically and relationally steeped in gratitude and community. The first Europeans and Indigenous Americans celebrated life and survival together and in turn gave thanks to God for preserving their lives during unsettling times. Fast forward to the year 2014 and we can see the vast changes this festive celebration has evolved into. Here are some of its new characteristics: Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys, Black Friday sales, carbs, sugar, and lots of butter. Although different from the first Thanksgiving, the holiday still carries the spirit of gratitude where friends and family still gather to give thanks for a productive year.

On the other hand, here are some ideas from Ephesians 1:15-16 that could bring the holiday a more redemptive outlook. In the text, Paul is rejoicing over the church in Ephesus who gave their lives to Christ and received the promises and blessings of God. This group of believers were once steeped in the cultural and religious darkness of Gentile traditions, but at this point their new experience entailed something else: spiritual blessing, predestination, adoption, grace, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, understanding, the gospel, and the Holy Spirit.

Paul took it upon himself to nurture, guide, and help the Ephesian church to live the Christian life. His heart burst with joy because he knew firsthand the challenges this group had to live with in regards to spiritual darkness, maturity level, and human resources. The bottom line is that Paul was thinking of others and putting their needs before his own. He was excited about the intentional growth and unison this church family was practicing, and as a spiritual father he could not help but GIVE THANKS and PRAY.

The imagery of Paul locked up behind bars in a Roman prison, with a pen and paper, writing these words while feeling the pain of not being present with his spiritual children compels any reader to consider the sincerity of these words: “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”

In this month of November, let everyone take the initiative to imitate Paul and consider others more than oneself. To transform a holiday of feasting and relaxation to one that is truly:

THANKFUL – for people that God places in our lives

PRAYERFUL – for people’s faith in Christ and love for his church

 

Michael can be reached by email at mjohnson@globaluniversity.edu.

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God is Still God

Oct 27 2014

DClay-300x300By Rev. Doug Clay

Good Monday Morning . . .

Gladys Aylward was an incredible woman. Born in London in 1902, to a working-class family, she was forced to enter the workforce at an early age. Her ambition in life was to be a missionary, but she was turned down by the agency she applied to because of an “inadequate academic background.” Instead of giving up on her dream, she spent her entire life savings to move to Yangcheng, China to live among Chinese people.

Gladys was loved and respected by the people of Yangcheng. She started adopting war orphans and at one point had over 100 children in her care. In 1938, Gladys was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng, but she could not bear to leave her work behind. With only one assistant, she led 94 orphans over the mountains to safety. At one point during the escape, Gladys was visibly tired and discouraged. A 13-year old girl reminded Aunt Gladys of the story of Moses crossing the Red Sea. Gladys snapped back in weary desperation, “But I’m not Moses,” to which the girl replied, “Of course you’re not, but Jehovah is still God.”

Most of us will never find ourselves leading a group of orphans across the mountains of China to find safety and shelter. Yet there are times, when we get weary and discouraged on life’s journey; there are times that we can feel enemy forces pursuing us; and there are times when we feel like screaming, “I’m not Moses.” It’s in those times that you need to remember, “Jehovah is still God.”

Remember . . .

 

When your strength is gone . . . He is still God.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

 

When you have no peace . . . He is still God.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

 

When you feel totally lost . . . He is still God.

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

 

When you feel vulnerable . . . He is still God.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

 

When you feel hopeless . . . He is still God.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Because He is still God, you can . . .

Make a great day!

 

Doug

 

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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