Posts Tagged ‘ Church of God ’

General Assembly 2016 #GOCOG

church of GodThe Church of God General Assembly kicks off next Tuesday and concludes on Friday. The Assembly meets every two years to discuss vision, progress, structure, and appoint leadership. This may sound boring but it’s not. It’s actually encouraging and necessary.

For those who aren’t part of the Church of God you’ll probably quit reading and wait for the next post. I get that, but if you’re looking for a church I highly recommend finding a Church of God in your area here.

The movement has a rich heritage and legacy in the Holy Spirit. Founded in 1886 by a Baptist minister named Richard Spurling who in 1884 began a journey through Scripture and Church history to find the roots of holiness and power lacking in the church of his day. In the early days of the church the doctrines and experiences of Sanctification, Spirit Baptism, and healing were rediscovered. The Church of God has been re-digging foundational wells ever since. Establishing churches, sending missionaries, and building schools are all part of the mission to make disciples and equip people to do the works of Jesus. If you would like to learn more about the history and teaching of the church you can visit the website or order Like A Mighty Army (the history of the church) and Church of God Distinctives. If you’ve heard of Perry Stone, Jentezen Franklin, or Judy Jacobs that will help give you an idea of what we’re like.

The thing I love about this particular member of the body is its foundation in Holy Spirit, its openness to God doing and moving in new ways and its passion to bring generations together. Paul said we are one body with many members. The body is Jesus, the arms, legs, fingers and toes are the Church of God, Baptists, Methodists and all other groups. We each need to find the tribe we connect with and some may glean from many, I know I do. I’m part of the Church of God but I have learned from books written by Baptists, Wesleyans, and more.

Getting back to General Assembly, looking at the schedule I believe this is a very important meeting considering what is going on in our world today. Tony Evans will be speaking on Urban Evangelism, Larry Stockstill is speaking on spiritual fathering, Ed Stetzer on Great Commission and culture, and more.

This is Dr. William’s last Assembly as General Overseer so there will be appointments of new leadership positions and I pray that those voting hear and are lead by Holy Spirit in decision making not only on leadership but resolutions as well.

I am excited that our theme for the next two years is GO. Some may wonder why a one word theme. I believe GO sums up what we are called to well. GO share love, GO heal the sick, GO provide comfort, GO change the world.

These next two years are full of great promise all over the world. I know it’s easy to look at the circumstances all over the world but we are told don’t look at the temporal, look at the eternal because the temporal is always subject to change. I believe we are a great change agent all over the globe, through our churches, schools, missionaries, home for children, and every believer wherever we may be. We are the change agent for our neighborhoods, our workplaces, cities, regions and nations.

I am praying not only for good business sessions and services, I am praying for a move of Holy Spirit at General Assembly that will propel us to GO be the change our world needs.

I won’t be in Nashville, but I’ll be watching, and you can too here.

Our future is bright! Praying for the new leaders that will be elected and for the Church as a whole as we continue advancing the Kingdom of God through the Church of God!

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Honoring the Past to Propel the Future

Photo courtesy of the Church of God Archives and Dixon Pentecostal Research Center

Photo courtesy of the Church of God Archives and Dixon Pentecostal Research Center

Last week I went to our state camp meeting but this post is not about that. Friday night when I got home the Lord began speaking to me (because apparently, sleep is not important). He said in order to move forward there must be honor for the past.

A few weeks ago I posted about one of my former Pastor’s who passed away. I wanted to honor him and how he impacted my life.

Dictionary.com defines honor as “high respect, public esteem, and the privilege of being associated with or receiving a favor from a respected group or organization”.

At times there can be tension between the past and present. There are some who want to hold on to the glory days and some who want to throw out anything associated with the past. Both positions are wrong and cause great harm to progress in the Church.

When we honor men and women who have led in the past, when we honor moves of God that puts us in position to stand on the shoulders of past outpourings. On the flip side, if we stay back in the 1950’s healing revival or the awesome period of any given denomination it will stunt all forward progress.

I believe we honor our past by knowing our history, learning both from victories and mistakes, and following the example of their faith. Paul said follow me as I follow Christ. Many leaders of the past kept journals or have biographies written about them. When we read these books I believe we can learn from how they walked.

We don’t honor the past by being a carbon copy, we honor those before us by applying what they taught in our day and moving forward in their vision.

Being part of the Church of God, the best way for me to help grow the movement is to be part of my local church, pray over events in my state and for our General Assembly. Each day I pray for my Pastors, state and national leaders. But if I really want to see the Church grow I need to understand where we came from, I need to know our history. Each generation builds on the previous, we don’t start over. We can’t build and move forward if we aren’t acquainted with our past.

It’s easy for the young generation to get frustrated with the older generation when things don’t seem to be moving forward. It’s easy for the older generation to be frustrated with the young people coming in because they feel like we want to change everything. The truth is both generations need each other. I can get frustarted at times but then Holy Spirit reminds me, those before me built the Church of God from nothing and that is a huge accomplishment. Men and women before me have seen mighty moves of God because they were willing to pay the price of ridicule and much more.

Let’s do our generation and the next generation a favor, get to know our past, honor the men and women before us. Honor what they have set in place. Us young guys need to get under good pastors and learn from them, seasoned pastors need to take young leaders and mentor them. This is how things continue to grow.

 

Getting acquainted with the past:

2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity by Eddie L. Hyatt

Theological Roots of Pentecostalism by Donald W. Dayton

Like A Mighty Army (History of the Church of God) by Charles W. Conn

 

Moving forward in the present:

Issues in Contemporary Pentecostalism (various contributors)

Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson

It’s GO Day

Go dayToday, is GO Day – global outreach day. Today is a day we are encouraged to tell our story of what God has done for us to at least one person.

Do you remember the guy that Jesus cast the legions of demons out of? Jesus told him to go tell his story, the next time Jesus was in that region everyone had heard the story and many became Jesus followers.

So maybe your story isn’t that dramatic, maybe it is. It doesn’t matter how dynamic or seemingly boring our Jesus stories are, what matters is each one of us can relate to someone.

It’s easy to make sharing your faith into a formula. But instead of sharing our faith, let’s share a story, everyone can relate to a story, everyone can relate to feeling the love of God.

Today can be a new start for us, to share our story with one person, and who knows, maybe our story can mean a new start – a relationship with Jesus for someone else.

If you’ve never shared your story before you can visit itsgoday.com for tips on how to share your story. Even if the person you share with doesn’t respond in that moment you have planted a seed. Let them know about your church, if it’s a neighbor let this be the start of a friendship. Invite them over for a cookout start living Jesus in front of them and watch God’s love change their life.

I know I have some favorite Bible stories that really mean something to me. Our life may be the only Bible story someone hears. Jesus said go into all the world and share the good news. Our world starts with our neighborhood before it ever becomes world missions. Let’s save our neighborhoods one neighbor at a time.

 

MY STORY

I was raised in church and knew Jesus from an early age but for a long time it was all about performing for God and making sure I was better than the person next to me. There came a point when God told me He didn’t want me to keep a list of do’s and dont’s but He just wanted me to love myself and my neighbor. That’s what God wants for each of us. It’s not about keeping rules or one uping the next guy it’s about knowing God loves us, loving God and others. Jesus came so that we could know God’s love and live loving who He made us to be. Would you like to receive God’s love today?

Say, God I receive your love. Jesus I believe you love me and gave your life for me. I ask you to forgive my sin and be my savior.

Invite the person to church, friend them on Facebook, connect with them in some way. One paragraph is all your story takes and one sentence can begin a new chapter in their life. There is no magic formula and no set prayer someone has to pray. Just share your story and God’s love and see what God will do.

honoring the legacy of Dr. T. L. Lowery

tl loweryDr. T. L. Lowery passed away this past Sunday at the age of eighty seven. I first heard Dr. Lowery on a Perry Stone broadcast and thought, man, this guy sounds like a preacher. While I never followed his ministry anytime he was on with Perry Stone I enjoyed listening to him teach.

 
Dr. Lowery served in many different capacities in the body of Christ including; pastor, evangelist, mentor, and General Overseer of the Church of God.

 
He was most known for his enthusiastic Spirit-filled preaching and for the many signs and wonders that took place in his meetings. The most impressive thing to me about Dr. Lowery was not that he pastored large churches or that he served as General Overseer. What impresses me about Dr. Lowery is that he took time with so many young ministers, he taught them, mentored them and gave young men an opportunity to speak.

 
What is now known as OCI, the ministry started by Mark Casto and Perry Stone began in T. L. Lowery’s building. Dr. Lowery allowed a young minister, Mark Casto to use his building for prayer meetings and the rest developed from there.

 
There are so many things that could be said about his life but as I reflect on the messages I heard him preach and the discussions I watched him, Perry Stone, and Fred Stone have, I can just hear him saying don’t focus on my legacy go do what God has called you to do. Go do the preaching, go do the miracles, win people to Jesus and lead them in Spirit baptism. Preach the Word and live holy.

 
Dr. Lowery’s legacy will live on in the lives of countless people who have heard him and will continue to be able to hear his messages on YouTube and read his books.

 
When a great general leaves the battlefield that does not mean the fight is over, it means you take what that general taught and you continue in the mission. We still have a great commission to fulfill and Dr. Lowery is looking on from the great cloud of witnesses.

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