Thursday, August 31, 2006

Your All-FGBC News Has Arrived!

Here’s the latest issue of FGBC World!

The only all-Grace-Brethren publication connecting your local church to other churches and personalities in the Fellowship

Suggested text for bulletin, newsletter, website, or PowerPoint announcements:

The latest issue of our all-Fellowship publication, FGBC World, has arrived. See stories about a Pennsylvania church's outreach activities, photos and reports from DRIVEN, BNYC and Celebrate06, a dramatic story about a Grace Brethren firefighter who was first into the Pentagon on 9/11 and much more. Each issue carries stories on interesting Grace Brethren personalities, a calendar of events, a Grace Brethren Almanac, an explanation of the Gospel with an invitation to respond to Christ, and more! An expanded version is online at and to receive daily updates on churches and personalities click “Editor’s Blog.”

Suggested ways to distribute FGBC World in your church:

___ Place small stacks at all information desks, entrances, side tables and sitting areas

___ Place supply in church library

___ Make pulpit announcement of arrival of new issue – highlight one or two stories. Remind worshipers they can have a free subscription sent to their home.

___ Include announcement of arrival of new issue in Sunday bulletin for several weeks

___ Place a copy in each staff person’s office, and in each leader’s mailbox

___ Have ushers make available to each Sunday-morning worshiper

___ Plan to use with Visitor’s Reception or Newcomers Class

___ Distribute on every-other-chair in adult Sunday School classes and Adult Bible Fellowship rooms

___ Mail with church newsletter

___ Encourage your people to use it as a witness tool (each issue includes plan of salvation) or to explain the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches to inquirers

___ Scan and include image in PowerPoint announcement slides

___ Note arrival of new issue on your church website, and link to

___ Note new issue in pushed e-mails to congregation or select lists. Include link.

___ Create a fun quiz based on current issue—use as icebreaker

Register Online for Focus Retreats Now

The office of Tom Avey, Fellowship Coordinator, has announced that registration for the 2006/07 Focus Retreats are now online.

The theme for this year's focus retreat is "Building Authentic Community." Registrants will recieve a copy of FGBC moderator Tim Boal's BMH book Building Authentic Community.

Dates and locations for this year's retreats are:

October 9-11 at Punderson Manor in Ohio
October 23-25 at Sandy Cove in North East, MD
January 29-31 at Rancho Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, CA
February 26-28 at Florida FFA Retreat Center in Haines City, Fl
May 14-16 at Camp Clearlake in White Pass, WA

All pastors and leaders in Grace Brethren churches are invited to enjoy any one of these-48 hour retreats. Register at

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

John Snow Easing into Retirement at Lititz

Pastor Scott Distler, Grace Brethren church of Lititz, PA, recently noted this in an e-mail to his congregation:

"Beginning September 1, Pastor Snow officially takes a step into retirement by going to part-time for a one-year period and will no longer be over our adult ministries.

"I have asked Pastor Andy Brightbill to put together an 'Assimilation Task Force' whose responsibility it will be fill this gap by looking at where we are today as a ministry when it comes to getting people assimilated into our ministry; then determining where we need to go in this area; and putting together and implementing a strategy to get us there."

Before You Repeat That Story in a Sermon. . .

The gospel truth on faith-based myths

© August 27, 2006

Madalyn Murray O'Hair never petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to get religious broadcasting off the air. James Dobson never launched a petition drive to stop her. O'Hair died more than a decade ago, but the rumor about her FCC petition lives on.

The commission has received millions of inquiries about it, many the result of church-sponsored letter-writing campaigns. It's gotten so bad that the FCC's official Web site has a page debunking the rumor. (The page notes that in 1974, two other people petitioned the FCC to look into the practices of stations licensed to religious groups, but O'Hair, the famous atheist, had nothing to do with that petition, and it didn't seek a ban on religious programming.)

"It's the mother of all urban legends," said Rich Buhler, founder of, a Web site that exposes false "e-rumors." The story resurfaces from time to time; one recent version blamed the supposed O'Hair petition for forcing "Touched by an Angel" off the air.

The FCC story is one of dozens of urban legends with religious themes circulating on the Internet., the self-styled "urban legends reference pages," lists about 50 religion tales.

Most are pure hokum (scientists drilling in Siberia punch through to hell). Some have a partial basis in fact (seventh-graders in California are subjected to an intense three-week course in Islam and forced to pray to Allah). Some are comical (St. Chad is the patron saint of disputed elections). And a few are true (Gov. George W. Bush signed a proclamation declaring June 10, 2000, to be Jesus Day in Texas).

Many of the legends seem to appeal to conservative and evangelical Christians and are widely circulated by e-mail and on blogs they read.

But some evangelicals have taken on myth-busting as a ministry. Web sites such as and expose hoaxes and urge Christians not to pass on unsubstantiated rumors.

To read the entire story, click here.

Southern Baptists Do It (Feetwashing) Also

David Cox, co-pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., washes the feet of retiring pastor and former SBC president Bobby Welch. (Photo: James A. Smith Sr. / Florida Baptist Witness)

Oh the Vulnerability . . .

'I ask your forgiveness': First Baptist pastor Flockhart's lies on resume led to his resignation

By Kimberly Miller
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The Rev. Steven Flockhart lied, and for leaders of the venerable First Baptist Church West Palm Beach, it came down to that.

On Sunday, a little more than a day after Flockhart, 40, resigned as pastor of First Baptist, the chairman of the church's personnel committee told hundreds of congregation members why they asked the charismatic pastor to leave.

"First Timothy says very clearly that a pastor should be blameless, and, moreover, he must have a good testimony with those from outside or fall under reproach and smear of the devil," Ben Bassett said. "The reality of our goal at a time like this is to deal with the issue of sin, and Dr. Flockhart has spoken untruth to us and confessed it is a sin."

Shortly after Flockhart's appointment in June, The Palm Beach Post reported that a Georgia church had sued him to force repayment of a $162,799 debt allegedly rung up by using church credit cards for personal use and writing checks to himself without church permission. Flockhart repaid the debt last year.

On Sunday, The Post ran a front-page story about Flockhart's résumé, which contained false claims about his education, including that he had graduated from Columbia International University and had earned degrees from two other respected institutions. He actually obtained bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees through correspondence courses offered by a Georgia theological school that is not accredited by a recognized agency.

Flockhart wrote a resignation letter that Bassett read to church members at Sunday's service.

"Never did I expect my foolish mistakes from eight years ago to resurface and cause such embarrassment," Flockhart wrote. "I ask your forgiveness for this situation. You embraced our family and loved us from the beginning. We immediately fell in love with First Baptist and this community. I will cherish the sweet memories that we shared in this brief time together."

NCO to Examine Two on September 14

North Central Ohio License and Ordination Exams will be held Thursday, September 14. Roger Tickle (Mt. Vernon GBC) is scheduled to be examined for ordination and Shawn Kaeser (Marysville GBC) will have his license exam at East Side GBC (7510 E Broad St, Blacklick) at 9:30-12:00. Ordained men from the NCO are needed to conduct the exams. Others are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion. Contact Chip Heim, NCO Exam Chairman, at if you can help. The next exam date is Tuesday, April 10, 2007.

Rhett Edwards New Delaware (OH) Youth Pastor

Rhett Edwards is the new youth pastor at Delaware (Ohio) Grace Brethren Church (Gary Underwood, Senior Pastor). Rhett is a recent graduate of Grace College, where
he served as Student Body President during the 2005-06 School year. Rhett is from Wooster, Ohio, and began serving at Delaware GBC in mid-August of this year.

Monday, August 28, 2006

On Preparing for the Pastorate . . .

Here are some pretty stimulating thoughts about what it takes to adequately prepare a person to pastor in today's world. This is an excerpt--read the entire piece here.

The traditional seminary must deal with many cultural and ecclesial challenges. One of the most significant is the dramatic new cultural situation of the Church in the West.

Our assumptions about and practice of local church ministry, as well as the training required for that ministry, were formed in the context of Christendom or, to put it another way, in a churched culture.

However, the culture of Christendom no longer exists, and the Church now finds itself in a new situation. Kennon Callahan speaks clearly to this tension when he says:

"Professional ministers are at their best (and they do excellent work) in churched culture. But put them in an unchurched culture and they are lost. In an unchurched culture, they do a reasonably decent job of presiding over stable or declining churches. They maintain a sense of presence, dignity, decorum, and decency—with a quietly sad regret—much like the thoughtful undertaker who sees to keeping things in good order throughout the funeral."

With that in mind, let’s think for a moment about what could easily be a typical morning of a seminarian.

He says good-bye to his wife and leaves for campus. As he walks from his apartment toward his car, he says “hello” to his postmodern neighbor. Having forgotten his morning coffee, he stops for a cup at the local convenience store owned by a Muslim.

Having satisfied his caffeine craving, he notices while driving that his gas tank is low, so he stops at the gas station for a fill-up, handing his twenty-dollar bill to the Hindu behind the cash register. Confident now that he’ll make it to school, our student looks at his watch and realizes that he has just enough time to pick up some clothes he dropped off the other day at the local dry cleaner that is owned by a Korean Buddhist family.

Content with how well the morning has gone so far, our budding theologian pulls into the seminary parking lot eager to wrestle with the ideas that he’ll hear in his 10:00 a.m. systematic theology course.

However, the theological study of the Biblical text in class is too often conducted with little or no reference to the context in which the student lives. Although this student lives in a large urban area filled with immigrants from all over the world, world religions are relegated to an elective in the practical theology department.

AGBM Dues -- a Gentle Reminder

Dr. Jerry Young, who is doing research and development for AGBM, recently received this e-mail message:

"xxxxx reminded me I needed send in my own dues yearly and in the past I sent my membership dues to Lee Dice. Do I now send them to you? Please advise."

No--All dues ($100 per year, checks made out to AGBM) should be sent to:

P.O. Box 694
Winona Lake, IN 46590

Dr. Young is keeping the "official" membership list of who has paid and who has not, but we're trying to standardize AGBM communications through the Winona Lake office.

Thanks very much--be looking for your "official AGBM ballot" toward the end of this calendar year--only paid-up members will receive the mailing.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Surveying the Good People in Greenville

Danny Wright, Teaching Pastor at the Grace Brethren church in Greenville, Ohio, recently did a survey of those gathered in his neighborhood. Read more of the background on Danny's blog here:

93% of the people I asked to take the survey participated (66/71)

Of those surveyed:

98% said they were a good person (65/66)
98% admitted that they had lied (65/66)
91% admitted they had stolen something before (59/66)
85% admitted to using God's name in vain (56/66)
0% admitted to committing murder initially (0/66)

However, when confronted with Jesus' words, 91% admitted to having a murderer's heart 59/66
2% admitted to committing adultery (1/66)

However, when confronted with Jesus' words, 77% admitted to having an adulterer's heart (51/66)

Then, just like the guys on Way of the Master (and just like the prophets, apostles, church fathers and Jesus Christ, if you are keeping score), I asked them, based on their confession, if God would find them innocent or guilty on the day of judgment. Here were the answers:
53% stated they would be guilty (35/66)
30% stated they would still be innocent (20/66)
5% still were undecided (3/66)
3% said they would be both guilty and innocent (2/66)

Of those who claimed innocence:
60% had no idea why He would find them innocent (12/20)
15% claimed God forgives everyone (3/20)
15% made vague allusions to Jesus (3/20) (more comments on this tomorrow)
5% claimed his baptism created salvation (1/20)
5% gave a clear presentation of the work of Christ for salvation (1/20)

Just to make sure you got that:
1 man (5%) of those who claim innocence claimed Christ as his reason.
1 man (2%) of those interviewed could present the gospel in a clear and understanding way.
1 man (1%) of the people I approached at the fair this week had a clear understanding of the gospel.

This is the rural, conservative, church attending community that I live in.

Clarification on History of Fairlawn (VA) Church

The recent AGBM commendation for Lester Kennedy as Pastor of the Year may have given an incorrect impression about the history of the Fairlawn Grace Brethren Church in Radford, Virginia, which Kennedy pastors. Pastor Roy E. Glass of Clayton, Ohio, who once pastored the Fairlawn congregation, sent along the following clarification, beginning with this excerpt from The Brethren Encyclopedia:

From The Brethren Encyclopedia Vol. 2, pp 1079

Radford, VA, Fairlawn Grace Brethren Church

It was organized in 1947 with one hundred members, among them persons from the DeHart, Terry, and Sutphin families. The congregation has had three locations: Pepper Ferry Rd., Lee Ave., and Mills Ave. The newest structure was built in 1982. Pastors of the congregation were K. E. Richardson, C. C. Hall, R. E. Glass, and A. Harold Arrington. In 1982 there were one hundred members. AHA/DFD Cong. Records

Roy Glass comments:

"Contrary to the above, there were only two locations. The Lee Street mentioned was our residence while living there. K. E. Richardson was the founding pastor. He lived in Roanoke and made this long trip every week while getting the church started. He oversaw their first building. At the time he was a ‘motor car’ [street car] operator in Roanoke in those early days—at the close of the War. Other details regarding K.E. Richardson’s ministry can be found in the Encyclopedia.

"I was the third pastor at Fairlawn from 1969 to 1979. The church at that time was averaging about 300. I then went to Troy, OH, where I served for about 10 years.

"Les [Kennedy] is a great friend of mine and I was pleased to see the honor bestowed on him. However, he was not the first or founding pastor at Fairlawn."

Thanks, Roy, for helping us to keep the history straight.

Friday, August 25, 2006

100 Things a Senior Pastor Learned the Hard Way

Here's a great post and link by our friend Ray Pritchard. Link to him here.

100 Things Learned the Hard Way

Jim Jackson has written 100 Things I've Learned the Hard Way as a Senior Pastor That I've Never Read in a Book. Pastors who read this list will nod in agreement. Church members will understand their pastor better. The following items caught my attention:

4. Choose your battles carefully; ask yourself, "Is this issue central to my vision?"

14. Communicate to your staff that it is okay to fail, but it is not all right to punch holes in the boat below the water line.

23. The style of preaching that communicates today is Biblical, relevant, and confessional; it is best delivered without notes.

41. The most essential spiritual gift that a senior pastor can have is discerning of spirits.

46. Have someone needlepoint this quote for you and put it in a prominent place in your office so you can look at it often: "There is a God--You're not God."

54. If you've got to bite the head off a frog, don't spend a lot of time looking at it; if you've got to bite the head off two frogs, bite the biggest one first.

58. When people think you are wonderful, subtract; when people are critical of you, add; when people praise God for blessings, multiply; when people leave the church because of you, divide.

60. Never read anonymous letters.

65. The "balanced life" is as much of a logical impossibility for a passionate pastor as it was for Jesus; think instead of the Holy Spirit as a swinging pendulum in your heart which is always pointing to an area that needs special attention; respond obediently to the Spirit's promptings.

71. Never attend wedding rehearsals, rehearsal dinners, or wedding receptions; stay home with your family.

73. In long-range planning, hardly anyone can see beyond three years.

77. You are not the last Senior Pastor your church is going to have; you are just the temporary steward of the church to which Christ has assigned you.

89. No Senior Pastor has time to be a counselor; find a therapist you trust and refer people.

94. When you walk into a room and someone says, "Hey, preacher," it is not a greeting; it is a warning.

Empowering the Pastor's Wife

Here is a short excerpt from a current posting entitled "Empowering the Pastor's Wife" by Veronica Reece. To read the entire post, click here.

“I feel like I’ve wasted my life,” said one pastor’s wife whose last child had recently left home. “I’ve given the best years of my life to bringing up my family, while other women have been making a career for themselves, and what do I have to show for all my efforts? Nothing!”

I think many pastors' wives these days feel the same way. They have been influenced to believe that their roles as mothers or homemakers are neither as important nor as fulfilling as a place in the business world or running large ministries in the church. . .

. . . We came to a crossroads in our lives. We had to decide what our priorities were: a second income to have all of the extras, or a full-time job as mom where I was able to invest into the life of my child? What was going to be greater, the short-term investment of things, or the long-term daily investment in the life and discipleship of my child?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Church-Planting Workshop Recordings Available

Audio recordings of the seven GBNAM-sponsored church-planting workshops presented at the recent Celebrate06 national conference in Palm Springs are available for you to hear and study.

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wednesday Update on Darrell Anderson

From NCO coordinator Todd Scoles:

I visited Darrell and Irene at the hospital this afternoon. The bypasses are in good shape, but Darrell had a setback today when a lung collapsed.

Hopefully, there will be no further complications and Darrell can be released tomorrow or Friday. He has been told to expect four weeks recovery time at home.

Continue to pray for healing and for patience in the process. The Delaware congregation is taking good care of Darrell and Irene. They appreciate your prayers.

West Milton Visits Answers in Genesis

Uber-blogger Brian Orme has some fun photos and brief reports/links of the visit he and the staff of the Grace Brethren church in West Milton, Ohio, recently made to the new Answers in Genesis museum.

Blogger Orme is second from left in the photo, and West Milton senior pastor Steve Peters is at right. AIG's Ken Ham is in the center. Link here to Orme's blog and to AIG.

Two BMH Books authors, Dr. John C. Whitcomb, and Dr. Donald B. DeYoung, are official speakers for Answers in Genesis. More on their biographies and specialties can be seen by clicking here.

A Message From the AGBM President

(also on front page of

We just came off a good conference. I know for a fact that the weather was great! It could have been much worse. Also, I am fairly certain that our moderator, Keith Shearer, had to be pleased with the combination of speakers and their messages.

It was amazing to me how God orchestrated some things in my own life to speak again to specific needs and issues. God is awesome.

For those of you who attended our daily AGBM meetings, thanks. In spite of the need to deal with the by-laws we had some good fun and fellowship. I got to know some of you a little better and had discussions with many that were very rewarding.

For those who couldn’t attend, please follow the electronic trail to both the memorials and the award presentations. The three men receiving awards this year were obviously qualified.

I find it a challenge as I listen to how they have served the Lord. Is there a trail of men behind me in ministry? Have I been faithful? Have I used my gifts? These men are an example to us all.

Well, visit again. We are working diligently to stay current and be of service to you. If you haven’t done so already, please check out the new AGBM blog. It will be worth your time.

Don’t forget your calling! Fan the flame of the gifts God has given you.

Pastor Joel Richards
LaLoma Grace Brethren Church
Modesto, California

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Disagreeing From the Second Chair

Ed McMahon won the title as greatest sidekick of all time in an entertainment magazine's poll in July. As Johnny Carson's couch warmer and designated laugher, McMahon never upstaged Carson. He chuckled on cue and was parodied on a sketch show as frequently saying, "You are cor-rect, sir."

Was Ed great in the second chair because he never crossed the mercurial Carson? No. It was because he kept their disagreements behind closed doors.

That, in part, is what makes some leaders especially good in a second-chair position. They know how and when to disagree with the senior leader, and they intentionally develop a camaraderie that allows discussion of most any topic.

Two associate pastors who have specialized in leadership from the second chair are Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson. By the way, the rest of the top five sidekicks: Robin (the Boy Wonder), George Costanza, Chewbacca the Wookie, and Ethel Mertz.

Read more on this fascinating subject in Leadership Journal by clicking here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Darrell Anderson Continues to Recover

Here's the update on Pastor Darrell Anderson, as of this past Friday. Anderson, an associate pastor at the Delaware, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church, is recuperating from heart surgery.

Irene was able to see Pastor D around noon today and she said he was just so excited to see her and so talkative. He wanted to know everything that had happened.

She said he is getting excellent care and has great doctors. He is still in the intensive care unit on the heart floor as a precautionary measure because he has had an irregular heartbeat. He should be able to move to a room tomorrow but we will let you know when he is ready for visitors.

Once again she wants you all to know how very grateful they are for your prayers. We can pray for a steady rhythm to develop in Pastor D's heart, for health and strength for Irene, and for God to be glorified in each step of the healing process.

We can also rejoice in all that He has already done!

Bruce Warrington to Retire From Waldorf Church

Bruce Warrington, who has been pastor of counseling and pastoral care at the Grace Brethren Church of Waldorf, Maryland (Jeff Thornley, pastor) since December 1, 2002, has announced his retirement from the Waldorf church, effective upon the sale of his house and subsequent move to Yorktown, Virginia, to be nearer other family members.

In the August, 2006, newsletter from the Waldorf church, Warrington said, “February 2006 I turned 65. Now it is time to trust God to provide as I retire for personal reasons, not job-related reasons.

“You and Pastor Thornley have been great. I thank him for bringing me here and working with me as I transitioned from being a Southern Baptist senior pastor to the very special Grace Brethren Fellowship. I thank Pastor Thornley for continuing to work with me and letting me continue to minister until I can sell my house (could take months) and move closer to my family in the Yorktown, Virginia, area."

Pastor Warrington has served in several pastoral positions and for eleven years was the Senior Pastor of the Manteo Baptist Church of Manteo, NC, which included the building of a sanctuary to seat 500.

He studied at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and also received a business education degree at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. He has biblical counseling skills and his training includes studying under the ministry of Jay Adams.

He has served on staff at the Fredericksburg Pastoral Counseling Center, along with providing pastoral counseling to his congregations. He and his wife, Barbara, will appreciate your prayers for the sale of their home and the coming transitions.

Friday, August 18, 2006

AGBM Website 'Events' Section Now Populated

Pastors and church leaders--check out the "Events" section on the AGBM website at Click on any event to see details at right.

Additions, corrections, or changes should be sent to Terry White at or phoned to the BMH office at (574) 268-1122.

While you're on the site, check some of the other areas that have been updated--contact info, "We Remember," "Awards," and more. Look soon for resumption of the "Sharpening One Another JR" electronic newsletter by AGBM president Joel Richards.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rick Horner to be Associate at Martinsburg

The following notice appears on the front page of the website of the West Penn District:

"The West Penn District would like to welcome Pastor Rick and Bettie Horner back to the West Penn District. Rick will be serving as the Associate Pastor at the Martinsburg GBC."

James Laird Sr. is the pastor at Martinsburg. Horner's most recent Grace Brethren pastorate was in Kokomo, Indiana.

Darrell Anderson Surgery Goes Well

Today was the "bypass repair" open heart surgery for Darrell Anderson (pictured), pastoral care and counseling pastor at the Delaware, Ohio, Grace Brethren church.

The good news, just received from NCO coordinator Todd Scoles, is: "I just got a call from Pastor Brian who was with the family this morning as they awaited news from Pastor Darrell's surgery. Everything went according to schedule.

"The surgery started at 7:30 and lasted for four hours. They repaired the three by-passes from 20 years ago and the doctors said there were no surprises. Everything went as expected.

"He will be in the hospital through Sunday or Monday but please refrain from visiting until we let you know that he is able to have visitors. The best thing we can all do now is to pray for his quick and complete recovery. Irene and the family wanted you to know how much they have appreciated your prayers."

CE National Plans September "Celebrations" in East

CE National is planning two “Celebration Banquets” in the eastern U.S. to which all are invited.

The Mid-Atlantic meeting will be Sunday, September 17 (location not yet available) and the Northern Atlantic Fellowship function will be Monday, September 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Good ‘N Plenty restaurant in Lancaster county.

Enjoy a time of worship and celebration and hear what God has been doing through the ministries of CE National. Log onto for details and registration information.

Manahan to Speak at NCO Ministerium

Dr. Ron Manahan, president of Grace College and Seminary, will be the speaker at the North Central Ohio Ministerium, meeting Thursday, September 28 at the Powell Grace Brethren Church.

Manahan will discuss the attributes and values of incoming college freshmen and the implications for FGBC churches. Refreshments are served at 9:30, and lunch will follow the meeting.

Contact NCO coordinator Todd Scoles at the Dublin Northwest Chapel for details.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Is Switching Pastorates Unbiblical?

Jim Elliff of Christian Communicators Worldwide has written a very stimulating article in which he advocates pastors staying in place and mentoring others in their congregations to succeed them, rather than continual pastor-hopping by moving to other churches. Here is a short excerpt:

"Be faithful where God has put you. That is of first importance. Also, think deeply about how you might be used to turn things around. It will take patience, but more can be done than you might have otherwise thought. Your determination to stay put and faithfully minister where God has placed you will play a small but necessary role in reforming a broken system.

"Then, develop leaders in your church who can become fellow pastors with you, capable of sharing the load. Implant this philosophy in them, and try hard not to leave (if you must leave) until they are capable shepherds.

"There are many men called to preach who have learned how to work and prosper within the present system of progressive advancement and periodic movement. But the welfare of the churches must be the highest priority. In the present system it is the churches, not the pastors who leave them, that suffer the most."

To read the entire article, click here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pastor Dick Sellers With the Lord

Pastor Richard D. Sellers, 81, of Goshen, Indiana, died at Greencroft Healthcare late Sunday night, August 13, 2006.

He was born January 16, 1925, in Warsaw, Indiana, to Clifford and Fawn (Miller) Sellers. On December 27, 1949, he married Virginia Rose Flora in Dayton, Ohio. She died February 19, 2000.

Pastor Sellers coached and taught at New Paris, Indiana, High School for three years and was a Grace Brethren pastor for 45 years. He was a member of the Calvary Grace Brethren Church of Alto, Michigan.

He is survived by three daughters, Jody (Dennis Bentzler of Kokomo, Indiana, and Sharon (Clark) Wolters and Anita (Tony) Wolters, both of Portis, Kansas; two sons, Bruce (Ruth) Sellers of Goshen and Randy (Priscilla) Sellers of Pendleton, Indiana; ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Also surviving is a sister, Joan Wilcoxson of Winona Lake, Indiana, and a brother, Charles (Bonnie) Sellers of Mishawaka, Indiana.He was preceded in death by his wife, a sister, Dorcas Isham and a brother, Donald Sellers.

Friends will be received 2 to 8 p.m., Thursday, August 17 and 9 to 10 a.m., Friday at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home in Goshen, Indiana A 10:00 a.m. funeral service will be conducted on Friday, August 18, 2006, at the funeral home. Rev. Bob Moeller, retired Grace Brethren minister; Rev. Mick Funderburg of the Calvary Grace Brethren Church, Alto, Michigan; and Rev. Chris Hinshaw of the Elkhart Grace Brethren Church will officiate.

Burial will be in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Liberty Mills, Indiana.

Memorial contributions may be given to New Tribes Mission for LeAnna and Ray Finsaas.

Pray: Darrell Anderson Faces Surgery

Todd Scoles, North Central Ohio district coordinator, passes along the following note from Darrell Anderson, associate pastor at the Delaware (OH) Grace Brethren Church:

What a joy it is to be a part of the family that cares!

Thank you for all your prayers thus far. As most of you have heard by now, through a series of events unrelated to a heart problem, Irene and I found out that I will need a second bypass surgery. I had a four way by-pass in 1985. God has given us 21 good years since the bypass. I will need to have three of the four by-passes redone.

There seems to be a misunderstanding about when the surgery will be. I am scheduled for open heart surgery on August 17th unless there are some cancellations and then they would move the surgery up. There also seems to be a misunderstanding of what I'm allowed to do at this time. The doctor says for me to keep a modified schedule with no strenuous activity. I will be keeping my regular appointments and plan probably to be in the office from 8:30 a.m. to 12 o'clock and from 1 or 2 p.m. until five o'clock in afternoon.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to talk about the removal of a large polyp that tested benign, but was told there could always be cancer cells lurking in the polyp. This is what began the series of events. Before surgery the surgeon wanted me to go to a cardiologist for clearance because I would put to sleep. Tomorrow I will find out how critical it is to have the polyp removed before heart surgery. It can be done in a different way without being put to sleep.

This appointment is now past and the decision, after consulting with two surgeons was to delay the polyp surgery

Please pray for wisdom with the surgeon tomorrow concerning the polyp and when it needs to be removed.

Please pray that Irene and I can have an impact for the Gospel and the sake of Jesus on the surgical and nurse team involved in my heart surgery.

Please pray for a quick recovery after surgery and that I will not get impatient to get back to work. Irene and I would like to be around for another 21 years of shepherding people, if the Lord Wills.

Please pray for Irene, she is a real trooper, and we are hooked at the hip. We have been through a lot in the last 48 years and God has always shown himself mighty to us, and we know he will do the same this time.

Longtime FGBC Pastor Vic Rogers With the Lord

Pastor Roger Mayes of the Grace Brethren church in Yucca Valley (CA)sends along the following information about the homegoing of one of the Lord's choice servants in the FGBC:

Victor Sewell Rogers was born November 16, 1923 to George Walter Rogers and Elma Grace Brumbaugh Rogers in their home in East Freedom, Pennsylvania. He was the middle child of five children. He passed away Thursday, August 10, 2006 in his Sun City, California, home. Vic was 82 years old.

Vic had fallen in his backyard and hit a concrete sidewalk April 23 and broke his neck. He was making good progress and was to come home soon. On July 25th, Victor told family he was ready to be with the Lord. The next day he suffered a massive stroke.

His wife, Vivien Jane Rogers from Sun City, survives him. They were married for 61 years. He is survived by two daughters. They are: Ruth Ann Rogers and Sharon Louise White, both of California. Eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren also survive Victor.

Victor has two siblings who are still living. They are: Catherine Lingenfelter (wife of Galen Lingenfelter) from Pasadena, California and Levi Ellis Rogers from Sun City Center, Florida.

Vic was preceded in death by his brother, Galen Brumbaugh Rogers, and Lucinda Rogers Meyers (wife of Victor Meyers)

Vic received the Lord when he was seven years old in 1930. That makes him a believer in Christ for 76 years. He was baptized in the Dunnings Creek Hollow beside the Church of the Brethren Church in Pennsylvania. Elders dammed up the river and Victor was baptized.

Vic graduated from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, High School in 1942. He attended Practical Bible Training School in Binghamton, New York, from 1942-1945. After marriage to Vivien Laux from Lorain, Ohio, he attended Biola College from 1945-1948 receiving a Bachelor of Theology degree.

From the time he was born until eleven years old he was a member of the Church of the Brethren. From twelve years old to the present he was a member of theLeamersville Grace Brethren and the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

Victor was the pastor of the North English, Iowa, Church 1948-1952; Jenners, Pennsylvania 1952-1959; Leamersville, Pennsylvania 1959-1969; Albuquerque, New Mexico 1969-1979; Chico, California 1979-1985; Yucca Valley, California 1986-1987; and Dolan Springs, Arizona 1987-February 29, 2004 when he retired from full-time ministry. He was in the ministry for almost fifty six years. He was involved in four building programs in Jenners, Leamersville, Albuquerque and Chico.

He never missed preaching a Sunday in 55 years.

He had the privilege of leading Shimer Darr to the Lord and encouraging him in the faith. Shimer continues as a Grace Brethren pastor today. Roy Glass was often encouraged by his cousin Vic in the early days of ministry. Victor touched many lives in ways only eternity will record.

He was remembered for his involvement at different district camps. He sang in a quartet for ten years in Leamersville. He had a radio broadcast for years. He loved to sing for the Lord. He enjoyed traveling every chance he had. He made seven cross-country trips to National Conference.

He loved to tell stories. Some stories were about his hunting expeditions while others were a little bragging about how many miles per gallon his vehicle achieved.

Victor was the last of four generations of preachers. He leaves behind a legacy of at least seven generations of Christians.

His favorite hymns were "Know My Jesus," "One Day," "Redeemed and How I Love to Proclaim it."

In recent months he has told everyone he met, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. If I don't see you anymore on this earth I will see you in heaven."

A graveside service will be held in Joshua Tree, California, at the Mountain Valley Memorial Park Tuesday, August 15, 2006 at 10 AM. A memorial service will be held at Grace Community Church in Yucca Valley, Saturday, September 2, 2006 at 1 PM.

Anyone who would like to share comments regarding how Victor touched their lives may send letters, notes, poems etc to Grace Community Church 6300 Ruth Dr. Yucca Valley, Ca. 92284 and they will be shared during the memorial service.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Looking Into the Future--Implications for the Church

Here, from our Southern Baptist friends, are some thoughts about trends and demographic shifts and what it may mean for God's church in the years ahead:

Interesting days ahead

By Erich Bridges

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--"May you live in interesting times," goes the oft-quoted saying.

Is it a blessing or a curse? It depends on how you define "interesting." Our tumultuous times are definitely interesting -- in every sense of the word -- and promise to get more so.

Forecasting International, a firm associated with the World Future Society, periodically offers predictions for the near- to medium-term future. A recent list, compiled by FI President Marvin Cetron and futurist Owen Davies, includes a number of items that affect the church and its world mission enterprise:

-- Despite rising fuel costs, economic disruptions and terror threats, global travel (by air, land or sea) will become faster, cheaper and safer, Cetron and Davies predict. Chinese will spend $100 billion on international travel in 2008. By 2020, some 50 million Indians will travel abroad as tourists. Social and political upheaval might undercut this optimistic scenario. Consider what the events of a single day (9/11) did to the travel industry, or the chaos caused by the airplane bomb plot uncovered in London. But international economies depend on ever-increasing -- and dependable -- global travel.

Implications for the church: More missionaries, short-term mission volunteers and Christians from many nations will be able to take the Good News farther and wider -- if they chose to do so -- and many more people who have yet to hear the Gospel will be visiting us.

-- Internet users worldwide will surpass 1.35 billion by 2007. "Cultural, political and social isolation (have) become almost impossible for countries interested in economic development," say the forecasters. Psychological and spiritual borders still prevent the Gospel from entering new places, but fewer and fewer political borders do.

-- International business growth and integration will act as a "stabilizing force" in the world, as interdependent nations "find that conflict is unacceptably hard on the bottom line." That trend, if it proves accurate, will give unreached people groups in chaotic areas greater access not only to political peace but to the message of God's peace.

-- However, the ongoing fragmentation of the post-Cold War world has destabilized some regions, a trend that will continue. State-sponsored terrorism will decline, but terror groups motivated by "generalized, virulent hatred based on religion and culture" will increase their attacks.

Islamic extremism, in particular, will continue to undermine stability both in the Muslim world and beyond. "Though Islamic terrorists form only a tiny part of the Muslim community, they have a large potential for disruption throughout the region from Turkey to the Philippines" -- a swath of the globe that contains many unreached peoples. Mission agencies and workers, like international companies and their employees, have no choice but to increase training in risk management and security.

-- People in the developed world are retiring later. By 2010, the average retirement age in the United States will reach into the 70s. Baby boomers and their children will "have not just two or three careers, but five or six, as dying industries are replaced by new opportunities." Many of them will make career changes because they desire "to do something more fulfilling" -- like helping others. The phenomenon of second- and third-career Christians entering full-time ministry and mission service is already well under way and will increase as the U.S. population ages.

Global Research Director Jim Haney of the International Mission Board offers a caution, however: These late-blooming Christian workers need to be ready to "think outside their cultural box, a necessary step to making a difference cross-culturally. Baby boomers have a hard time talking to their own neighbors. (Many) Christians in our churches insulate their lives with other Christians."

-- Millennials and Gen Xers worldwide (people in their 20s and 30s) share more in common with each other than with their parents and will "tend to homogenize basic attitudes throughout the world." They're becoming major forces in the Communist Party of China and the business revolution of India. They are entrepreneurial, ambitious, materialistic and in a hurry. They're throwing off old traditions that prevented their parents from hearing the Gospel. Whether they have the inclination -- or the time -- to listen to the call of God as they chase the "good life" is another matter.

-- Nearly half the world's population now lives in cities. That total will reach 60 percent by 2030. By 2015, the number of megacities with populations topping 10 million will reach 23. Beyond the massive physical and social challenges posed by such giants, Christians have yet to find effective strategies for evangelizing them.

American Churches: A Changing Culture

Betty Mulloy, of Pastors Retreat Network, identifies the following trends. Her entire article, which includes information about how "healthy pastors" should take advantage of retreat opportunities, appears at:

A quick look at the American Church reveals a culture in change. Research identifies several major trends that provide both opportunities and challenges for local church pastors:

Churches are either getting smaller or larger. According to the National Congregational Survey, 71 percent of U.S. congregations have fewer than 100 regularly participating adult members, and the median congregation has just 75 regular participants. Only 10 percent of U.S. congregations have more than 350 participants — though those congregations account for almost half of all churchgoers.

Rural churches face special challenges as increasing numbers of people move to urban areas, taking their financial resources with them. As a result, many rural churches have difficulty finding full-time pastors.

George Barna (The Barna Update, October 10, 2005) has reported that more than 20 million adults throughout the nation are “revolutionaries.” In Barna’s words, “These are people who are less interested in attending church than in being the church. We found that there is a significant distinction in the minds of many people between the local church — with a small ‘c’ — and the universal Church — with a capital ‘C’. Revolutionaries tend to be more focused on being the Church, capital C, whether they participate in a congregational church or not.”

Clergy are leaving parish ministry in greater numbers and after shorter tenures, according to a 2005 report by Patricia Chung for Pulpit and Pew. The average pastor changes assignments every three years and has little opportunity to advance to larger, more prestigious positions because comparatively few are available.

The average salary for pastors of congregations with less than 100 members is $32,500 (Christian Ministry Resources report, 2004).

According to H.B London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, in their book Pastors at Greater Risk (Regal Books, 2003), 90 percent of pastors feel inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands, and 70 percent do not have a close friend.

Prayer Requests: Phil Dick and Dave Hobert

As distributed by e-mail this morning to the Real People ABF of Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church by Denny and Judy Daniels:

Please pray for Phil and Becky Dick. Phil will have CT scans done on Monday, Aug. 14, with an appointment to review the scans on August 17. Becky starts school on the 16th, so this will be a full week for them. Please pray that the scans will show that the cancer is shrinking and that the medication has been effective. A good way to keep up on Phil’s progress is to check their blog at (type in phildick).

Pray also for Dave and Susie Hobert in France. Dave will be having a colectomy on September 15 in Dijon. He says, “This is strictly preventative because of the high risk of colon cancer in my case. [Dave had a liver transplant in 2002.] We have been very thankful for the good counsel from French and American sources and for the excellent care that I have received here. The surgeon expects an 8 to 10 day hospital stay and 4 to 6 weeks of convalescence. As you pray, please remember the Montceau church, the emerging leaders, and outreach to Paray-le-Monial and its surrounding area. Thank you very much for your prayers and partnership in mission!”

Complete Text: Glen Shirk Commendation

Here is the text of the commendation for Pastor of the Year presented at Celebrate06, as composed and read by Joel Richards of Modesto:


Born June 11, 1943 in Modesto, California where he was raised.
Attended Modesto Junior College, University of California at Berkley and University of California, San Francisco Medical School (UCSF).

He married Lois Marie Miller in 1966. Together they have five children, all married and serving the Lord.

After internship and residency my friend opened a private practice of Pediatrics in Modesto, California where he was instrumental in establishing the first Neo-natal Intensive Care unit in the area. While in practice he and his wife attended the Ripon Grace Brethren Church where he served on the deacon and elder boards.

After eight years of a successful pediatric practice God called this brother to full time pastoral ministry. Pastoring was something he had felt called to as a young believer and for various reasons had not pursued. Now at age 35 with a wife and five children, he sold his home and moved to Southern California and attended Talbot Seminary where he earned his M Div.

This pastor was called to the Ripon Grace Brethren Church right out of seminary in 1981. The church had had 3 pastors in three years and he was advised by many not to go there. He has served there ever since, 25 years to be exact.

When he came to Ripon, this pastor asked God to do two specific things in his ministry. He asked God that He would make Ripon Grace a church that would embrace those who came into its sphere of influence with love and acceptance. He also asked that the church become a congregation that looks outward toward the world instead of inward. God has granted Glen both of his requests.

This church has sent out short term ministry teams and individuals all over the world.
It has an annual golf tournament that has financed nine overseas projects and is currently working on funding a second training center for Medical Ambassadors International training center in Uganda.
This pastor serves full time at the church and still spends one morning each week (on his day off) working in a pediatric office in Modesto.

He has taught in depth Bible classes for junior high and high school youth who are home schooled while their mothers attend a women’s Bible study.

He has served Hospice of San Joaquin as a pastor and spiritual advisor and serves on the Ethics Committee of Bethany Home, a convalescent hospital for senior adults. He assists with devotions at Bethany Home as well.

One of the things he does well is to support his people while turning them loose to pursue their personal passion for ministry. As a result, the church has supported the following:
1. A skating ministry for teenagers in the back parking lot of the church.
2. Inviting students from Ripon High School (right across the street) for a free lunch on Thursdays during the school year. (Attendance has been as high as 160 kids)
3. A golf tournament that raises thousands of dollars each year for missions. (This year they raised $50,000.
4. Ministry at a local Gospel Mission.
5. Ministry at Ione prison, a facility that houses young offenders.
6. Regular involvement and fund raising for the local Pregnancy Center.
7. Ripon Grace Christian Children’s Center which serves 80+ preschoolers from the community.

What Might Have Been?

My dad is a good man. But try as I might, I can't help but ask, "What might have been?" You see, while My dad is a good man, he is not a great man. Great men move the masses with their words, and change the course of history with their deeds. They amass wealth, and their names find their way onto our lips and into our vocabulary. They are admired, loved, and feared. They become more than men. My dad, on the other hand, is just a man- a good man.

Please don't misunderstand me. I love My dad. Throughout my life he has been to me a life giver, provider, defender, teacher, hand of discipline, obstacle, and hero- all the things that make fathers special. And as my father, my dad taught me that we reap what we sow. Within this context, a short review of my dad's life reveals the series of decisions made and opportunities missed which led to this current mediocrity.

My dad is a brilliant man. I would take his intellect over anyone reading this letter. He has the ability to dominate conversation and overwhelm opponents, though he may not choose to. He reads books like comics, armchair quarterbacks for the Niners, and counsels his Midwest sons by phone . . . simultaneously. This is the kind of mind from which great men leverage their greatness.

My dad started well. With a whole life ahead of him and a medical degree in his pocket, my dad could have had it all. What went wrong? What was he thinking? Had my dad stayed full time in medicine, worked longer days and weekends, and stopped at 2.5 kids, we could be celebrating his retirement today (sans me, Phil, and half of Becky). Instead he celebrates this anniversary knowing that must prepare another sermon to be delivered over next weekend and provide a week's worth of counseling and guidance, all in the relative anonymity of a small town in the Central Valley of California. What might have been?

If the things of the Spirit are foolishness to men, then my dad is surely a fool. For only a fool would sow the seeds that my dad scattered not in spite of, but in hope of the harvest he would reap. As if by design, my dad chose a simple life over wealth, ministry over career, and faithfulness over fame. Incredibly my dad compounds the oddity of his actions by encouraging others to do the same. It is almost as if my dad sees something not visible, believes something unbelievable, and invests in something of unknown worth. While the paths of great men lead others to see and follow themselves, my dad's path leads others to see and follow another. And with all of the intellectual might at his disposal, my dad chooses to constrain himself to another's words, to deliver someone else's message, to build someone else's kingdom. Oddly enough, watching him, I am inspired to do the same.

And so my prayer has changed. I want to be more like my father. God, please allow my simple prayers to move the Almighty, not the masses. Let my humble actions change eternity, not just history. I would endeavor to amass for myself treasure, not here on earth, but equity in heaven, where inflation doesn't devalue, and the IRS can't tax. I wish not an early retirement, but as a good servant to busy myself with the business of the master, not knowing when he will return. And finally I ask not to be a great man, but that my name would be forgotten here on earth that it might be on the lips of the Savior as he confesses me before the Father. That in glory I would stand beside the one who taught me to be a fool and sing the praise of the one who through foolishness made me wise.

So to my father, I say, thanks for showing us how to live. Enjoy the conference and when you get home go to bed early, because the next morning it will all begin again as you pick up your Bible and get back to work.

Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.

If I might add to that, I don't know if this man has the same sense of the gift of encouragement that Barnabas possessed, but I do know I can say of him as it has been recorded of Barnabas, "He is a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and Faith."

And so, It is my privilege to introduce to you the pastor of the year, my friend and your collegue, Glen Shirk.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

'Not All Arabs Descended from Ishmael' - SBC

From Baptist Press:

Mideast turmoil: More complex
than the Ishmael-Isaac rift

By Karen L. Willoughby

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--While it's an oversimplification to say the strife in the Middle East at its core is just bad blood between brothers, some people believe there is biblical justification for that position.

They're referring to Abraham's two sons by two mothers: Ishmael, the firstborn to handmaiden Hagar, and Isaac, born in God's timing to 100-year-old Sarah.

Islamic studies professor Samuel Shahid, however, sees the biblical justification theory as flawed, cautioning that it plays to Islamic interests.

"Muslims insist that all Arabs are the descendants of Ishmael in order to give legitimacy to Muhammad as a descendant of the prophet," said Shahid, a Palestinian educated in Lebanon who teaches at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. "Arabs actually belong to many different branches."

All Arabs could not have come from Ishmael, Shahid said, because after Sarah died, Abraham married an Arab woman, Keturah.

"Where did she come from, if Ishmael were the first Arab?" Shahid asked.

R. Dennis Cole, professor of Old Testament and archaeology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, concurred.

"The current designation 'Arabs' is itself multifaceted, including many groups which have no Semitic ancestry," Cole said. "It includes many whose native tongue today is Arabic, but whose ancestry may be Indo-European, African, Arabian (as in from the Arabian peninsula), and many others."

A look at the past provides a roadmap of events leading to the current war raging between Israel and Hezbollah, who are Lebanese Shiites said to be undergirded by Persian Iran, and between Israel and Hamas, who are Palestinian. Both groups call for the eradication of Israel.


Some people in discussing the current crisis between Israel and Hezbollah to the north and Hamas in the south point to the Roman destruction of Israel by Hadrian less than 150 years after the birth of Jesus. That's when the Romans, to obliterate any connection Jews might have felt to the area, renamed Canaan with a Latin name -- Syria Palestina -- which corresponded with the Hebraic word rendered "Philistine."

The name was chosen to remove any connection Jews might have had for the land, Cole said. The Philistines had been Israel's enemy during the days of Israel's judges. Who were the people who imprisoned Samson and who grew a giant named Goliath? God in Amos 9:7 said He brought the Philistines from Caphtor, which some say is another name for Crete.

"The majority of the Philistines came to the region as part of a mass migration of Aegean and Mediterranean tribes known collectively as the Sea Peoples, who had repeatedly attacked Egypt," Cole said. Ramesses III drove them out from much of Egypt, but he was unable to oust them from what today is known as the Gaza Strip and north to what today is modern Tel Aviv.

Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria by 732 B.C. had conquered the Philistines, and all traces of them "as a people or ethnic group" disappeared by the time of Alexander's conquest of the land in 332 B.C., Cole said. He said he sees no geneaological connection between ancient Philistines and modern-day Palestinians.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian, from 132-135 A.D., squashed a major Jewish uprising, banned Jews from living in Jerusalem and dispersed most remaining Judean Jews throughout the Roman Empire, Cole said.

Arab conquests took Palestine from the Roman Empire in the seventh century, Shahid said, and for the following 850 years, the biblical "Land of Canaan" known as Palestine was occupied by various Arab peoples before becoming part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire in 1517.


By the early 1800s, Jews, the largest non-Christian group in Europe, were targets for ridicule and discrimination, just as people often are by those who fear anyone "different." The concept of a homeland for Jews in Palestine was mentioned as early as 1840, Shahid said. By the 1880s, European Jews were buying land in Palestine and farming it, to the chagrin of Bedouin Arabs who didn't like the fences, and the cry for a Jewish homeland intensified.


The Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I with the help of Arabs inspired by "Lawrence of Arabia," a British intelligence officer. As part of the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919 the British Empire was given control of "Palestine," an area that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to Iraq. That same year, Britain approved the Balfour Declaration, which appeared to favor the establishment in Palestine of a homeland for Jews, said Nancy Duke, associate professor of history at Louisiana College.

Three years later, the newly formed League of Nations gave Britain a "Palestinian Mandate," which included "the establishment of the Jewish national home" and "safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine," according to Article 2 of the mandate.

Three months after the signing of the Palestinian Mandate, Britain separated what today is known as Jordan; it then was known as the Transjordan because it was on the other side of the Jordan River from the rest of Palestine. That separation limited Jewish expansion in Transjordan, which resulted in its intensifying in what today is known as Israel, Duke said.


During the 1920s, 100,000 Jewish immigrants settled in Palestine, and the British began to set quotas to stave off rising Arab resentment. One outcome of the resultant hostilities was the separation of the Jewish and Arab economies in Palestine, which had been more or less intertwined until that time.

"That disengagement was a pivotal point at which the Jewish population in Palestine became independent and self-sustaining," Duke said.

The Great [Arab] Uprising of 1936-39 was essentially a revolt triggered by increased Jewish immigration stemming from European anti-Semitism. The British response included the MacDonald White Paper of 1939, which appeared to many people to rescind the Balfour Declaration. The White Paper indicated that since more than 450,000 Jews were at that time already living in Palestine, the "homeland for Jews" aims of the Balfour Declaration had been met.

"It should be noted that, according to 'The Modern Middle East from Imperialism to Freedom: 1800-1958' by Emory Bogle, the Jews remained a decided minority of the population and owned about 5 percent of the land," Duke said.

Jews felt betrayed by the White Paper; Arabs felt squeezed by Jews buying land that the Arabs hadn't seen any need for "owning."

Then came World War II. In its aftermath, 250,000 Jews were stranded in displaced persons camps in Europe, unable to get into Palestine because of British-imposed immigration quotas, set to appease Arabs. Leon Uris' best-selling book "Exodus" and an Otto Preminger movie of the same name describe that tumultuous time.

"The British continued the immigration ban because they considered it more important to support Arab interests, because of British interests in Egypt and other Arab lands, and especially to guarantee the friendship of oil-rich Saudi Arabia," Duke said. "As Bogle states, 'It [the Labour Party] had to protect British interests in the Middle East while it considered necessary adjustments upon the possibility of ending its long domination of India and elsewhere. Also, the Labour Party only endorsed a limited Zionist presence of a Jewish National Home in a bi-national Palestine.'"


The Jewish underground militia, which had been growing in strength since the late 1930s, began terrorizing the British, including bombing British headquarters at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946.

"Seeing that the situation was quickly spiraling out of hand, the British announced their desire to terminate their mandate," Duke said. They were gone by May 1948.

"The Jews seized the opportunity and declared their independence as a state," Shahid said. "The Arab League fought them, and lost, and the borders were redefined."

More than 700,000 Arabs scattered during the fighting, mostly to Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Most expected to return to their homes within a few months, but when the Jews won, Arabs were not allowed to return. Resentments festered, Shahid said.


Political tensions between Israel and her neighbors erupted as armed combat in 1967. That's when Egypt expelled United Nations forces from the Gaza Strip and closed the strategic Straits of Tiran to Israeli vessels. Israel attacked on June 5, 1967. Six days later, "the Jewish state emerged victorious," Shahid said. "Israel had defeated the armies of three large Arab states and decimated their air forces. Territorially, Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights."

Egypt's foiled attack on Yom Kippur six years later, in 1973, was a blip on an otherwise relatively calm 15-year period, except for near-continual resentment-fueled skirmishes between Israel and her Arab neighbors.


With ancient roots growing into the Ottoman Empire, Lebanon became part of France's Syrian Mandate, the mainly Christian part of it, after World War I. Enough Arabs lived there, though, that when Lebanon acquired its independence in 1943, agreement was reached that its president would be Christian; prime minister, Muslim; and the head of Parliament, Shiite.

"That is the same still today," said Shahid, who moved to Lebanon from Jordan in 1960 to study at American University of Beirut.

More than 110,000 Palestinians left their homeland in 1948, when Israel declared itself a Jewish nation. Most expected to return within a few months, but when the Arab League forces were defeated, Arab resentment festered. Starting in 1968, several factions of Palestinian militants began to use southern Lebanon as a launching pad for attacks on Israel, said Shahid, who studied, taught and pastored in Lebanon until the late 1970s.

Resentment simmered between Palestinians and native-born Lebanese as well, and boiled over into a civil war starting in 1975, which ultimately left the nation with no effective central government, Shahid said.

"The civil war reached its peak in 1975, but it continued and continued and things were so bad for 18 years," Shahid said.

Israel took advantage of the weakened government and retaliated in 1978 for the Palestinian attacks on Israel but was curtailed by the United Nations. Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982, this time capturing Beirut in its desire to eradicate the Palestinian Liberation Organization from Lebanon. That's when Hezbollah with the support of Iran started developing, Shahid said.

Israel occupied about a five-mile-wide strip of southern Lebanon until 2000 to protect northern Israeli cities from Hezbollah attacks. U.N. peacekeepers have -- ineffectively, Israelis say -- occupied southern Lebanon since 1978.

Most recently, a seemingly unending series of Hezbollah-driven rocket attacks into northern Israel erupted into retaliatory action July 12, after eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two soldiers kidnapped, according to multiple news sources. Israel went on the offensive, and that's where we are today.

Complete Text: Lester Kennedy Commendation


The man we honor today was born on July 4, 1926 – over 80 years ago at Bassai, Central African Republic. He lived in Africa for 3 ½ years and then came to the United States with his brother, Paul to live with his Aunt in Pennsylvania, while his parents returned to Africa to continue their mission work.
On their second visit to Africa, his father went home to be with the Lord and is buried at Bassai. His mother continued her missionary work until the early 1980’s.

Education for him began with elementary and high school at Willow Grove, PA. His first 2 years of college were at Bob Jones University and then graduation from Taylor University.

Schooling continued with a semester in New York at a medical missionary course followed by seminary training at Grace Theological Seminary graduating Suma Cum Laude with a B.A. MDiv. In 1952.

Before graduating from Grace, he met his bride-to-be and married Lois Virginia Hall on June 16, 1950.

Ordination to the ministry came in 1951, including summer courses at Temple University, followed by completing linguistics training in Oklahoma during that summer. In August 1952, the couple left for France for 9 months of language preparation for their ministry in Africa. With language preparation completed in June 1953, they left for their calling to the C.A.R., faithfully serving the Lord for the next 6 years at M’Baiki, Bozoum and Bellevue.

During these years, three of their five children were born. Judith in France, Lester and Richard in Africa.

In 1963, the family came back to the states to Tennessee to continue the work that God placed upon his heart. For the next four years, he pastured the Limestone Tennessee Grace Brethren Church before returning to the African mission field for another four-year term. His two youngest children, Daniel and Joyce were born during the pastorate in Limestone.

In 1969, God called again and the servant obeyed and moved his family to Buena Vista, Virginia where he became pastor of the First Brethren Church for the next 17 years. It was during these years that God used this seasoned servant to shepherd and pastor a needy congregation and to invest his life also in mentoring young assistant youth pastors as they were beginning their ministry for Christ.
God continued to blessed as the church grew and matured under his leadership.

In 1985, God moved him again. This time it was to begin a work in Fairlawn, Virginia and he continues to pastor there today.

Over the years, this faithful man of God has served willingly in the following District/Fellowship capacities: (formerly Southeast District, now the Blue Ridge Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches)
Moderator of district (6 terms)
Treasurer of district
Secretary of district
Chairman of Ministerium
Treasurer of Bolling Conference Ground
Serving with district camp (Camp Tuk-A-Way for 35 years)
Board of Grace Schools for 15 years

In everything this faithful servant has done in his life, the Lord has been his guiding force. It is through his witness and love of the Lord that many souls have come to Christ as Savior.

When asked about retirement you will hear him say, “the day I cannot get up to the pulpit is the day I will have to quit.”

Recently, the family experienced first hand the grace and blessing of our awesome God when going for a general doctor visit the physician discovered a low heart rate and felt that it would be appropriate for him to see a cardiologist for further evaluation. The cardiac cath revealed a blood clot in one of the main arteries to the heart. The physician was able to remove the clot and place a medicated stent. It was God’s divine intervention that prevented the clot from dislodging causing a heart attack or death.

Indeed, the man we honor today has demonstrated a lifetime of faithful, dedicated service to the Savior whom he loves. May his life and witness inspire and challenge each of us in our ministry to continue to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 36).
Thank you for your godly example to each of us.

Lester Washington Kennedy, Jr., today we honor our Savior as we honor you with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fellowship of Grace Brethren ministers. God Bless you indeed!

Complete Text: Jesse Deloe Commendation

3 August, 2006

It is a delight for me to be able to announce today that the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers has chosen to award its Excellence in Ministry Award for 2006 to my good friend and colleague, Jesse B. Deloe.

Jesse was born into a printer’s family. His father, Jesse B. Deloe, Sr. was employed in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Times-Herald newspaper and at the Government Printing Office. Later the senior Deloe became a linotype operator for the Brethren Missionary Herald Company, and you can see his photo and a feature article about him posted just outside the door of Jesse’s current office at BMH.

Jesse gave his heart to the Lord early in life and was baptized by Pastor Bernard Schneider at the First Brethren Church of Washington. D.C., now the Grace Brethren Church of Lanham, Maryland.

Jesse first moved with his family to Winona Lake in February of 1945 and, after a number of ministry excursions to other parts of the country, returned to Winona Lake where he has been associated with the Brethren Missionary Herald Company as Director of Operations and Senior Editor since 2003. Every recent book issued by BMH has benefited from the careful eye and incisive mind Jesse brings to assuring that grammar, punctuation, syntax, logic, and theology are all of the highest quality in BMH Books.

Jesse and Gladys Mighells of Randolph, New York, married in June of 1956, so the Deloes earlier this year (all year, actually) celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Jesse and Gladys are both alumni of Bryan College in Tennessee, and they have two sons, Christopher and Jonathan, and three grandchildren.

Jesse went on to further his education at Indiana University and Grace Theological Seminary. A lifelong learner, he has taken additional coursework in Canada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and California.

Jesse began his career as a French and English teacher at Warsaw, Indiana, high school and junior high, and went on to become a teaching fellow at Grace College. He served as an associate pastor at the Grace Brethren Church of Waterloo, Iowa; as interim pastor of the Dallas Center, Iowa, Grace Brethren Church; as pastor of the Lyndhurst Grace Brethren Church in Cleveland, Ohio; as pastor of the North Riverdale Grace Brethren Church in Dayton, Ohio; as pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Whittier, California; and as interim pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Lanham, Maryland.

From 1975 to 1982 Jesse served as Director of Church Relations with the Foreign Missionary Society of the Brethren Church (now GBIM). His employer there, John W. Zielasko, said, “I am pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to the honor of Jesse Deloe. Jesse is a faithful and reliable teacher of the Scriptures. He brought with him eleven years of pastoral experience when he joined the Brethren Foreign Missions staff and he served in that position with distinction.”

For the next four years Jesse was Assistant to the President – Homer Kent—of Grace College and Seminary and later also served as a field representative for Grace from his location in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In commenting about Jesse’s service with Grace, Dr. Kent noted that “It is obvious that he knows the FGBC inside and out, and has served it well.”

Moving next to Grace Brethren Home Missions (now GBNAM), Jesse was Director of Administration from 1988 until 1997. His employer there, Dr. Larry Chamberlain, who is now president and CEO of the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation, says, “I had the great opportunity to work alongside Jesse…Jesse, as you know, is an excellent communicator, both written and oral, and he employed that skill to strategic advantage in his communications to our constituency, among our staff, and with our board of directors. As a member of the executive team, his contribution to the many decisions that needed to be made during the time he was with us was significant, born out of his years of administrative experience and training.

“He and Gladys continue to be vocal advocates of the mission and ministry of North American Missions and the Investment Foundation. On many fronts and over many years, Jesse’s gracious and enthusiastic support of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches has been profoundly far-reaching and highly effective. His strategic leadership, combined with a servant’s heart, gives us all cause to cheer this champion of excellence in ministry.”

Jesse also worked for several years as a church consultant, both independently and under the umbrella of Jerry Twombly’s organization, helping churches and schools raise funds, do strategic planning, and resolve conflicts.

In serving the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Jesse was secretary to the executive committee for several years, was vice-moderator in 1978-79, and was moderator of the Fellowship in 1979-1980. He is always helpful and frequently utilized as a parliamentarian, he chaired the constitution revision committee, and he has held numerous district offices including moderator and as an officer of the district missions board.

In his local congregation, Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, Jesse has been faithful in many roles. He recently concluded lengthy service on the Board of Overseers. He has been a member of the Pastor’s Consulting Committee during the tenure of Pastor John Teevan, he has helped revise the church’s constitution, and he is popular as an ABF teacher wherever needed. He and Gladys lead the North American Prayer Group every Friday morning, they participate every Wednesday in the Global Prayer Group, and they head up the “Coffee and Juice detail” that helps Winona Lake worshipers stay awake, alive, and alert on Sunday mornings.

Pastor John Teevan comments, “Jesse is an exceptional man in our Fellowship because he has done it all, done it well, and has kept a positive spirit even when deeply disappointed. He has pastored and worked for nearly every national organization. Even when his position has been eliminated, he has continued to rebound. I also see him as a significant encourager in my life beginning in 1982 when he recommended me for the GBIM board. He has been both faithful and helpful in all my years at the church. He's on my list of heroes.”

I want to conclude by adding a personal note. Jesse and Gladys have been faithful friends to Sharon and me since we lived close to one another on Robson Road in Winona Lake in the 1970s. They have visited us as we have lived around the country, have stayed in touch with us, have prayed with us through a number of family crises, and they continue today to be faithful, encouraging, steadfast friends who are highly valued.

As a staff member of Brethren Missionary Herald Company, Jesse is insightful and faithful, approaching his work with the highest integrity and standards of excellence. His encyclopedic knowledge of the Fellowship and its history is continually valuable, and I greatly value his reasoned input on decisions, directions for the future, and his judgment on perplexing questions we face.

The AGBM has done a good thing by recognizing Jesse for his Excellence in Ministry. This is a good, faithful man with high moral, ethical, and spiritual standards. And by God’s grace, he will have many more years—in spite of his history of open heart surgeries—of vital and valued ministry. I’m honored to call Jesse friend and colleague, and I thank you for honoring him and Gladys with this well-deserved commendation for Excellence in Ministry.

--Terry White, Publisher
Brethren Missionary Herald Company
Winona Lake, Indiana

412 Commission, Randy Smith Announce Upcoming Changes

From Randy Smith: "This letter was released today for publication to the FGBC Pastors, etc. Please pray with us!"

“Nearly four years ago, I began asking God why He ordered me back from my home in Jerusalem and I sought God about a new vision. We maintained our mission to that region of the world, but I knew God brought us back to the US. Trying to understand that move and deal with cultural re-entry to the US, we kept moving ahead in ministry. Ed Lewis from CE National and I met in Philadelphia at Urban Hope, and he shared with me a burden he felt the Lord gave him about the upcoming generation and their lack of understanding of the Word of God. That one conversation changed my direction. I recognized the hand of God was sculpting my heart and answering the question, “What is my family doing here?”

When we parted, I committed in my heart to build a low cost “Disciple making factory” in Sebring, where God planted us. It was to offer an entire trip through the Bible in a year. It was to focus on the Bible, not books about the Bible. Within months God had given us an old hotel to transform for our new dream, the “Great Commission Bible Institute”, placed in our hands by a generous couple in Sebring, Steve and Cyndi Swan. It required thousands of hours of effort to tear apart and rebuild, and God again provided for every dollar necessary, and dozens of volunteer workers under the supervision of Pat and Marilyn Michaud, a couple God moved to Sebring to accomplish this specific vision.

As the Lord assembled the team and the resources, I saw a dream birthed into reality. There are few things more exciting in ministry! When we were set to open, Ed Lewis and Jeff Bogue (National Director of 412) asked if we were interested in joining forces with them to offer a 412 Commission (a brand new ministry of CE National) at our Sebring site. We were delighted, as we recognized their abilities in reaching youth of this generation. What an exciting year we had. We graduated our first eleven students and had an incredible experience.

In the process of marrying the Great Commission Bible Institute to the 412 Commission, we set aside our name, our website, our handbook and any identity that would conflict with the CE National identity. We do not regret any of it, because God blessed in the whole effort. Sebring Grace Brethren Church felt the impact of the discipleship program, and we saw the hand of God at work in the lives of these choice youth.

In an effort to grow the program, the National Director of 412 (Pastor Jeff Bogue) proposed to the establishing committee a partnership with Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, a fine organization with deep roots of history in this kind of instruction. MBI offered transfer credits to us and began to take over the classroom instruction parameters as agreed, while CE worked tirelessly to direct the assembly of the program. As a result of the objectives of CE and of Moody, the price for the program grew significantly. The original vision of the program was maintained, but many other features added to enhance the vision, and each of these cost money. As the cost climbed, some of our leadership in Sebring expressed a discomfort at the level of the price, and felt the vision was going to be hindered if we couldn’t offer the program to students that were coming simply to learn the Bible and be discipled. Some students didn’t care about credit, and the costs of the credit was very significant. Sebring began raising money to help the students on our campus. The Lord raised over $13,000.00 in six weeks through our people.

This year, 412 Commission attempted to offer four sites: Lititz, PA, Goshen, IN, Akron, OH and Sebring, FL. Because of the high cost and the inability to offer financing from our sites, students expressed much interest, but couldn’t afford to come. We watched countless youth get excited until they found out about the price. It became clear there was a problem. The national director pushed to get financing, but was unable to find a way. In the end, the 412 Commission simply could not get more than the current 16 students, some or which are tentative. Jeff Bogue made the difficult decision, in consultation with Ed Lewis, to shut down all the sites except the one located in Akron. The 412 National Director asked us to wait a year in a holding pattern until the systemic issues could be addressed, having done everything they could think of to salvage the program.

With three weeks before we were to receive our students, we were unable to stop the release of Ben and Christina Ogden (who had left other jobs to be a part of this) and find some way to meet the needs of funding the building, the van purchased a year ago for this program, insurances, etc. With none of the anticipated income and with our vision put on hold, we had to fall to our knees and ask God what we were to do. Could we justify releasing staff and paying significant monthly bills without a ministry while we awaited the efforts of 412 Commission to raise a group of students for next year?

Our team concluded that God had given us a vision, and we should not abandon it. We could not justify losing people that knew God’s call was to work in this ministry! We needed to return to Great Commission Bible Institute’s original plan. Of course the first problem was a resource one. How could we afford to stay open? Within 72 hours of our decision to resurrect the vision, God began to pour in the money needed. First, a gift of $10,000.00 was promised. Then, additional monthly support for Ogden’s was committed. We were just getting started, and yet God was smiling on us, telling us to go forward.

What does that mean for this year? GCBI opens its door again to the vision, and we are bringing in some students already this fall. The handbook will be rolling off the printing press next week, advertising is underway, and students will be coming in a few weeks. Where are we getting them from? Stay tuned! God’s work, done God’s way, will not lack God’s supply. We are excited to watch the events unfold.

We are thankful for the partnership with 412 last year. Their team in Akron is led by Ryan and Lori Rodeman, who truly are some of the most gifted and loving leaders of youth anywhere in the country. Jeff Bogue continues in the role of National Director, and is a man who truly has been blessed by the Lord with incredible gifts. We feel privileged to have worked on their team. We will carry the lessons they gave us as we move forward, and we wish them every success. Sometimes the Lord’s direction is painful. This is not. We have the joy of praying for their success as we get excited about God’s obvious provision for us!

GCBI will release in a few days a program with a price and program unmatched anywhere in the US. We want the program to cost no more than necessary for students to take it seriously. We are very serious about what God has called us to do. Ben and Christina Ogden will continue to recruit students and be here for the mentoring and discipleship. They are still seeking the balance of their needed support, but it now exceeds 50% of the needed amount. Several teachers have been lined up for the incoming students, each who agree to teach at no cost.

Our program is set to open the dorm to new students on September 16, with classes beginning on the 19th. The annual cost of the new program is $6500.00 including room, board, instruction and a number of ministry trips (one overseas mission experience). Obviously, we are doing this with substantial gifts from dear friends of the ministry. The Israel trip will be an additional option of $2800 per student (conditions in Israel permitting).

We are not seeking students that desire college credit. We want participants to consider one question in relation to coming to GCBI. Do you know the Scriptures well enough to take on life? Can you open God’s Word when someone comes to you with a problem and really know where God addresses that issue? Do you know how to use the Word powerfully to answer life’s tough questions. If you do, you don’t need to come.

You see, we won’t teach Shakespeare. You won’t get Music Appreciation 101 or a math class. What you will get, from Genesis to Revelation, is a clear understanding of the ONLY collection of writings that God promised will make you completely equipped to serve Him (2 Timothy 3:16). If you want that, we have a place that you can get it. Invest nine months of your life and we will show you how to use the Bible in ministry and daily life – all of It! You’ll read every page, and you’ll know what you are looking at! Sound interesting? You have no idea how it will change your direction!

Excited to be serving a Big God!”

Rev. Randall D. Smith,


John McIntosh to Follow Jim Brown as Moderator

At the delegates’ luncheon at Celebrate06, John McIntosh (Simi Valley, CA) was elected Second Moderator-Elect, which means he will be moderator of the FGBC for the year following Jim Brown. Tim Boal is moderator 2006-2006, Jim Brown will be 2007-2008, and John will be 2008-2009.

Larry Humberd (Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem, PA) was elected to Fellowship Council from the east, Ron Smals (Mansfield, OH, Woodville) from the central region, and Phil Sparling (Auburn, CA)from the west.

The next Fellowship Council/Cooperating Organization day will be Friday, January 26 in Southern California. No exact location yet, meeting will be from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Tom Avey says, “Thanks so much for your participation in Celebrate06. I don't know how conference was for everyone else, but I had a great time spiritually, physically and in the FGBC family.”

Can We Ever Be Careful Enough?

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, has excellent standards to help his staff avoid moral problems. Here is a short excerpt:

As Christian leaders, we need to be above reproach. Paul wrote, "Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence." (1 Cor. 10:12 MSG)

That’s why I established these Saddleback staff standards for maintaining moral integrity:

- Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex.*
- Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you.*
- Thou shalt not kiss any attender of the opposite sex or show affection that could be questioned.*
- Thou shalt not visit the opposite sex alone at home.
- Thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex alone at the office, and thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex more than once without that person’s mate. Refer them.
- Thou shalt not discuss detailed sexual problems with the opposite sex in counseling. Refer them.
- Thou shalt not discuss your marriage problems with an attender of the opposite sex.
- Thou shalt be careful in answering emails, instant messages, chatrooms, cards, or letters from the opposite sex.
- Thou shalt make your secretary your protective ally.
- Thou shalt pray for the integrity of other staff members.

* The first three do not apply to unmarried staff

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” (Eph. 5:3 NIV)