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Posted by on in Note from PJ

“Last year alone, ninety three members of my congregation were killed. The threat is particularly great for those who convert to Christianity. I baptized thirteen adults secretly last year. Eleven of them were dead within a week.” British citizen Andrew White, speaking in 2014 about the church he pastors in Baghdad, Iraq.  

The Body of Christ is much more than a local church that meets on Sundays – it is a global body built up of all those who call Him Lord and Savior. We are called to be one, meaning that believers in other countries are our brothers and sisters.  We feel with them.

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Posted by on in Note from PJ

It was October 31, 1517.  All Saint’s Eve.  The 500th anniversary comes next year. A simple monk put 95 thoughts in writing and nailed them to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany.  He was challenging the religious corruption he saw around him.

His name was Martin Luther, and he would end up standing in front of the Holy Roman Emperor, along with an array of other leaders representing the religious and political establishment of the day, to answer charges of heresy.  “Martin, how can you assume that you are the only one to understand the sense of scripture?  Would you put your judgment above that of so many famous men and claim that you know more than they all?” pressed the brilliant Catholic theologian Johann von Eck.  “I ask you, Martin, answer candidly...do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors which they contain?”  

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Posted by on in Note from PJ

Our purpose as a church is stated like this:

To exalt Jesus Christ by making disciples who…

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I’m in Thailand this week for the gathering of hundreds of Alliance church leaders from 50+ countries.  I’ve met pastors from Syria, Congo, Cuba, Russia, ​Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mongolia, Iraq, China, Japan, Indonesia, India, and France, just to name a few.  The Alliance World Fellowship convenes every 4 years, and I am representing the USA along with 5 others. 

​As I mentioned to our Elder team in an email this week, i​t ​h​as ​been ​especially moving to meet the pastors from Syria here...4 of them.  One is in Aleppo, another in Homs, one in Damascus.  A doctor in one of the Alliance churches there (who had opportunity to leave the country but chose to stay and serve, leading a Bible study in his home) was beheaded by ISIS, a father in the Aleppo church was killed by a bomb, and the video they showed this week of the devastation in Homs was overwhelming.  

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Posted by on in Note from PJ

“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10

The purpose of tithing is to teach us to always put God first in our lives. Tithing is the spiritual habit of giving back to God the first 10 percent of all I make.  God doesn't need our money.  He wants what it represents: our gratitude, our priorities and our faith.

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