Thursday, June 26, 2008

Church Family Update

Hi Church Family,

The book of James says: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:17-18

As we close in on the end of June I was looking over our calendar from the first six months of 2008 and thought to share a synopsis with you. Sometimes we can forget what a powerhouse of life and activity we have here at CMCC. Here goes:

So far this year, we’ve had the following special ministry events: Strongman Steve Carrier and Team Mega-Force (over 100 people made decisions for Christ in these meetings); Evangelist Randy Goudeau, the young Louisiana-born church planter currently working in New York City; Caryl Mallory from Wycliff Bible Translators; Youth and music ministers Mark & Mary Meyers from Orlando; Paul Moore, Sr. from CitiHope International in Andes; Former NFL star, Paul Costa; Rev. Bob & Cara Grimm from Walla Walla, Washington and Sue Brown from Arising to Excellence Ministries in Dallas. Also, many of us took an overnight trip as a group, attending the two day Battle-Cry youth event at the Meadowlands in New Jersey where thousands of youth gathered as T.D. Jakes and other notable speakers and music groups ministered.

Additionally we’ve had monthly women’s meetings with special guests including Mrs. Kris Mirocco and regular men’s meetings including an eight week Saturday morning video series teaching on the subject of ‘honor’ with John Bevere. So far this year, we’ve also had a CMCA school spelling bee, family game night, coffee house, Valentine’s dinner, 24 hour prayer vigil, CMCA awards ceremony, Good Friday Passion film presentation, Easter sunrise service, Easter breakfast and Little Pond school picnic.

Our regularly scheduled activities included 26 weeks of Sunday morning services with record high attendances, Wednesday mid-week services (with separate worship team), weekly home groups, weekly prayer meetings, and twice weekly music practices. We also conducted weekly Power Kids, adult and children’s Sunday school, True Beauties, Royal Rangers and Youth Group. Our Beacon University/Christian Life School of Theology program continues to feed the minds and satisfy the souls of some of our most intelligent members through weekly college level studies. We are always providing pastoral counseling, marriage and pre-marriage counseling, funerals and bereavement counseling, hospital visitation, and prayer ministry in addition to leadership development and personal discipleship to our expansive leadership team.

Catskill Mountain Christian Academy, finishing its thirteenth year, continues to educate students with excellence in a full academic program, caring for the minds and spirits of 50 children from pre-k through senior high. Seven hours a day, five days a week for forty weeks a year our facility is home to a world-class school program. CMCA students continue to score well above average in standardized tests, including the SATs, and a large majority of our graduates continue to move immediately into higher education. This week, four academically prepared and spiritually mature young scholars will graduate from CMCA and move forward in their lives. We pray for God’s protection and good success for Deanna Barto, Sarah Keator, Lani Odato and Morgan Spaulding.

Our senior citizen weekly dinner/fellowship, in its eight year, continues to serve a free hot meal to 30-50 local seniors each Wednesday evening and our Nursing home ministry rolls on, as it has for over fifteen years, presenting a song service each month to the residents of Mountainside Nursing Home. Home group leaders meet regularly for training and problem solving, our prayer team is coordinated and active and our usher team is well equipped to protect and serve at every service.

The power-house CAP program/Family Table, our rural food initiative, is caring for the needy in our region, having provided over two hundred thousand dollars in food-aid so far this year alone. Another major portion of our Main Street, Margaretville facility is occupied by this life giving grocery store/warehouse. The Family Table store buzzes with activity during store hours six days each week as the blessing of food is available to income-eligible families. The Family Table also holds monthly evening work parties including dinner and fellowship for the CAP membership. Since starting four years ago we have distributed over 1.2 million dollars worth of groceries to local families below the poverty line, serving thousands of our neighbors in need.

To put the icing on the cake is the unseen work of maintaining the CMCC facility and grounds and running the business/administrative office. Each week cleaners are cleaning, fixers are fixing, books and finances are being kept in order, bills are being paid, trucks are being fixed, broken furnaces repaired, insurances are being negotiated, snow is being plowed, grass is being cut, our web site maintained, meetings organized, sermons prepared, classes taught, and the list goes on and on. Literally thousands and thousands of man-hours of work are being conducted under the covering of CMCC, all for the glory of the King! To Him alone: To Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, be all praise for ever and ever! This is our purpose. This is our cause.

On a more personal note, but still part of the productivity of CMCC so far this year:
  • Nancy and I conducted ministry weekends at both the City of Refuge Church in San Antonio, Texas and at the Word of Jesus Church on Long Island.
  • I was a conference speaker at the Eagles Wings Ministries annual national minister’s conference in Pennsylvania.
  • Nancy and I had the privilege of representing CMCC last month at the United Nations in New York City at the 60th Birthday Party for Israel along with many notable dignitaries.
  • I spoke in April to a group of mainly police officers at the 1st anniversary memorial event of Trooper David Brinkerhoff’s tragic death here in our town.
  • Nancy served on the board of directors of the Pregnancy Distress Centers of Ulster County.
  • Both Nancy and I have preached at various regional churches including Greenville and Athens.
  • My latest book revision, The Sovereignty of God, originally written in 1901 by A.W. Pink and revised, edited and updated by me came out within the past two months. Published by Bridge-Logos Publishers this book is the second Pure Gold Classic I’ve revised—the first being four years ago, entitled Power, Passion and Prayer by nineteenth century revivalist Charles Grandison Finney. I spent nearly every spare moment for over seven months in 2007 on the Pink manuscript and it is a good feeling to finally see it in print. My first sole authorship book, Family Church, is now being edited by the publisher and will be out sometime next year. The Sovereignty of God is available for purchase from the church office.

A couple closing thoughts. I have had the necessity to travel a little more this year and participate in several organizations that will ultimately benefit the work of CMCC. As a member of the International Coalition of Apostles, the ecclesiastical advisory board of the International Christian Wealth Builders Foundation, the board of directors of CitiHope International, a member of Your Ministry Consultation Services, Eagles’ Wings Ministries and several other organizations that we are closely affiliated with, my active participation by attending various meetings and conferences enables CMCC to be connected with the greater Body of Christ and draw resources from some of the most cutting edge, godly and prophetic ministry partners available.

Nancy and I along with the other elders/trustees of CMCC are constantly prayerfully considering new opportunities and trying to make our church run in a way that pleases Jesus. We are highly fortunate to have had seventeen years of growth and life and never take one moment for granted. We are deeply grateful to the Lord for the good He has given and our deepest most heartfelt prayer of all is that we can continue into the future with unity, hope and love. Our hearts desire is to make a place for people to be able to serve the Lord and grow in His grace as we work together to represent God’s interests in this generation and prepare the way for generations still to come.

Some things out there in the future that are in various stages of development are:

  1. Second story for our main building which will be able to expand our services to the community and the Kingdom of God even more.
  2. Business school and entrepreneurial empowerment program.
  3. Young adult’s residency discipleship program.
  4. New flooring for CAP.
  5. Two grants are currently under review by the USAID for foreign-aid projects. If approved, one will fund a program in Kenya, the other in the Dominican Republic.
  6. Senior citizen’s housing project.
  7. Reprisal of our radio ministry.
  8. Women’s care center.
  9. Church planting.
  10. Growth and expansion of our school of ministry.
  11. Development of Bethesda Ministers Association.

Finally: I hope that you are as excited about the future of Catskill Mountain Christian Center as I am. To everyone who has worked with love on behalf of our Lord and Savior... thank you. "For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
See you Sunday!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Signposts: The Happening

The new M. Night Shyamalan horror movie, The Happening, is indoctrination into a suicide ethic. It imagines that plant life on earth, in a sudden evolutionary advance, intentionally releases a toxin that takes away the human survival instinct resulting in mass suicide. Most disturbing to me was the unspoken but apparently self-evident truth that suicide is the single universal action humans will take when their survival instinct is removed. Of course the human-species-hating, politically correct, green movie-line reveals that this 'happening' is ultimately evolution righteously acting and protecting earth from the overpopulated human locust hoard.

In one sense 'The Happening' is a classic 'The Birds'-like scary movie, where a force of nature becomes our worst nightmare. On the other hand, it imparts a desensitizing and dispassionate visual imagination of suicide by thousands of people with no sense of conscience or transcendence. To enhance the cringe factor, the movie depicts scores of innovative variations of self-murder with an Alfred Hitchcock kind of indirect morbidity.

The Happening is actually kind of silly and would bother me a lot less if it didn't play so conveniently into the pro-suicide agenda being promoted to our society as a rational solution to environmental concerns and government budgeting woes. For example, consider the real life story below.

--"Oregon says cheaper to die than treat” by Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 6/13/2008 8:30:00 AM
Thus far Oregon is the only state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, which is loosely regulated. But respect for life may be facing another threat there.

Oregonian Barbara Wagner is dying of lung Cancer.

Oregon's Health Services Commission has said it will not pay for more treatment, but will provide $50 in lethal drugs so she can kill herself.

Dr. David Stevens heads the Christian Medical Association. "I think this is a terrible situation for patients in Oregon, and something that's going to happen in other states as physician-assisted suicide is legalized," he laments. "Oregon is rationing health care and is also sending a message to dying patients that physician-assisted suicide is the cheap option and they would encourage people to take it."

Stevens believes that is a conflict of interest for the state because it controls the medical funds.

"End-of-life chemotherapy can cost thousands of dollars a month, and bureaucrats -- in an attempt to save money -- are telling patients [they] can't provide money for ... chemotherapy, but here take these pills and they will comfort you [and] end your stress."

The situation goes against the grain of medical ethics, says Stevens. "Palliative care means helping take care of symptoms when you can't eliminate the cause of the patient's illness," he explains. "They're stating [that] the way to comfort someone is to get rid of the patient. That's a terrible message to send to seriously ill patients."

As it would be, he says, to send the same message to people with chronic diseases or physical handicaps, or to the comatose who cannot make the decision themselves, that they are doing the state a favor in dying.

A pharmaceutical company is now providing Wagner with cancer drugs for which the state will not pay."--

Why shouldn't people consider suicide as a natural solution? Here are seven quick reasons:
1. It is against God's law. Remember, 'Thou shalt not kill?' Back when we started killing innocent babies through abortion, Christian ethicists prophesied that soon we would come to other convenience killing like euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and infanticide. Welcome to the future.

2. You cannot repent of a sin until you have committed it; therefore you go into eternity with the sin of murder on your soul. You will stand before God as an unrepentant sinner, not in Christ. How badly we need good strong 'Hell' teaching!

3. No righteous person in the Scripture ever took his/her own life to escape personal pain.

4. Human bodies are technically God's property. A person does not own his/her body, God does. People have the responsibility to nurture and use their bodies for God's designed purposes but not the right to kill them. "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." Psalms 24:1

5. Humans are made in the image of God and killing a person is killing God's image. This is the devil's greatest objective--killing stealing and destroying everything in God's image. We believe that human life is sacred and precious because people are made in God's image, not because we are comfortable or happy.

In addition, Human bodies are designed to contain the Holy Spirit. "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19

6. What goes around comes around. Welcome to Hitler's world. It's all fun and games until you get old or sick and still want to live but the government decides otherwise. When the government and Hollywood agree as to an appropriate social remedy that opposes the Word of God, watch out.

7. The one escaping into death leaves a legacy as a coward for the living.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Frequent Churchgoing Protects Against Adultery

Story by AFA Journal Staff. Sources cited for News of Interest indicate source of basic information only.
June 2008

A study published in the June 2008 Journal of Marriage and Family showed that strong faith in God by itself does not protect against marital infidelity.

However, according to the study by Fuller Theological Seminary researchers David C. Atkins and Deborah E. Kessel, regular attendance at church did make a difference. People who rarely attended services were four times more likely to have an affair than those who went to church often.

Atkins and Kessel proposed that frequent churchgoers hear about the moral aspect of marital infidelity in their services and therefore are likely to practice what is preached.

At the same time, other religious activities such as prayer did not make a statistical difference as to whether couples cheated., 4/15/08

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lakeland Revival and Ministry Weekend

My wife Nancy, daughter Sharon Rose and I have been at the Lakeland, Florida Revival for the past two days. This two-month-old outpouring of God’s grace is led by Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley and is noteworthy for several reasons, including many notable physical healings reported and over 20 (apparently substantiated) reports of people raised from the dead. This is the first major revival being covered in over 200 countries on live TV (God TV) and world-wide on the internet ( with many of the reported miracles coming from people watching at home.

As with other contemporary outpouring-type revivals like Toronto and Brownsville, thousands of people (4,000 each on the two nights we attended) are coming from all over the world every single night of the week. There were people from at least 30 different countries in attendance in the meetings we attended.

The powerful, loud, rock-style worship music was led (for the two nights we attended) by the Heather Clark Band and is strong, anointed and altogether wonderful. The people crowd the platform like a rock concert to worship for a good part of the five straight hours each night. The bass guitar sets the aggressive attitude of the music and perfectly matches Todd Bentley who is covered with tattoos, wears a number of earrings and piercings, bald head, beard and a Harley-Davidson shirt. As a matter of fact, the entire revival has almost a biker feel to it; very blue collar; lots of Harley shirts, biker vests and in-your-face Christian tee shirts.

We arrived both nights well before 5:00 pm to get good seats for the official 7:00 pm start of the service and each night we stayed until after midnight when the service ended. Todd Bentley is a passionate exhorter with a gift of faith for healing and miracles. There was no official preached message in the meetings we attended but after the first two hours of worship, Bentley essentially moved back and forth from prophecy to exhortation to healing to testimonies. Many people with serious health conditions came forward and testified of healing (sort of Benny Hinn style) and Bentley prays with evidence of power as most people fall over, some dramatically. It is heartbreaking to see the sick people who are so desperate for a healing touch from God and it is wonderful to see people healed. An example was an elderly woman who came with a walker and was running back and forth across the platform. The dear woman was just overjoyed to be able to move freely after years of disability.

For me, the best part was the palpable presence of God in the worship. To be with 4,000 people from all over the world who are hungry for a touch from God and to feel the living presence of God is such a wonderful thing. My daughter, Sharon, had the sensation of heat on her hands for over an hour and both Nancy and I felt God’s love filling our bodies and refreshing our souls. Outstanding! If anyone is interested, I will be organizing a church trip to the revival in Lakeland, Florida within the next month or so. Keep watching for details.

We have a great weekend of ministry coming up. Pastor Bob and Cara Grimm from Walla Walla, Washington will be our guests. They oversee Christian Life Center in Walla Walla which is where my son, David, is pastor of Generation Ministries. The Grimms lead a very fast growing church with a strong youth orientation. Come and be blessed by their passion and fire for God! Check our web site for details on this weekend’s activities:

See You Sunday!