November 07, 2009

Could Maine Loss Impact New Hampshire Equality?

From Foster's Daily Journal (NH)

Now that gay marriage has been defeated in Maine, attention again shifts to New Hampshire, where lawmakers say momentum from Tuesday's vote may fuel legislation to repeal the state's law and give voters a say.

Two proposals are being drafted in the N.H. House: One would repeal the law Gov. John Lynch signed in June and re-establish civil unions; the other is a constitutional amendment that would charge voters with deciding if "the state shall only recognize the union of one man and one woman as marriage."

Supporters of same-sex marriage are strategizing and gearing up for a fight, said Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, who sponsored the gay marriage law. He said momentum doesn't rest with gay-marriage foes.

"The momentum is on our side and those of us who support equality and love over hate," he said Wednesday.

Even so, "we have a fight cut out for us in January" when the Legislature reconvenes, he said. "But I think virtually everyone in the House and Senate who voted for marriage equality will stick with us and I'm hoping we'll pick up some others."

Others see the Maine results propelling similar action across state lines.

Kevin Smith, executive director of the Cornerstone Policy Research in Manchester, said the Maine election can't be chalked up to conservatives coming out of the woodwork because a proposal that would have lowered taxes was defeated and expanding the use of medical marijuana passed in the same election.

Counting on the political process to establish equality unfortunately means the fight is NEVER over, as the folks in Maine learned and those in New Hampshire may soon also live through.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Daily Devotional 11/07/09 Bucket of Blessings

From: Encouragement for Today

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

It was Friday afternoon and Tom arrived home early from work carrying a beautiful arrangement of cut flowers. I took the flowers from him, placed them on the counter then threw my arms around his neck squealing with delight and kissed his face.

Tom lowered my arms and he lowered his head as he began to tell me that his job had just been eliminated, and in a few short weeks, he would be unemployed. I couldn’t breathe or even speak.

We spent much of the night crying and discussing the details of what we would need to do while we waited for the Lord to open the next job opportunity. Over that next week I enjoyed carrying my beautiful flower arrangement from room to room not wanting to miss one moment of their beauty. Sadly, the blooms on my beautiful arrangement began to fade and I removed the wilted and brown flowers from their container and placed them in the garbage. I thought about holding on to a few of them as a memory of my husband’s tenderness toward me, but the Lord whispered, “Throw the blooms away but save the little blue container. I am going to fill it to overflowing.” Reluctantly I threw out the flowers, placed the little blue container in my kitchen and named it our “bucket of blessing”.

Throughout the long ten months of waiting for Tom to begin working again we received many cards, e-mails and phone calls encouraging us to persevere. Month after month we placed these encouragements in our bucket of blessing and before long it was filled to overflowing. It contained words of encouragement from friends and family, and stories of my husband’s integrity in his former job. Additionally, we placed in there reminders of kind gestures, unexpected gifts of kindness and nuggets of gold from God’s holy word. When either of us was tempted to feel discouraged we would remove one of those blessings from the bucket and read it. Each one was not only a reminder of God’s faithful provision to us but also God’s very presence with us.

Although Tom and I did not know what our future held, our confidence that God’s hand sustains and provides through times of uncertainty was greatly magnified. Although the flowers in that container were beautiful, their beauty only lasted a few days; however the blessings now held in our bucket will last a lifetime. Our circumstances may have changed, however God’s faithfulness does not ever change. The Bible is filled to overflowing with rich words of encouragement to trust the One who created us and who is faithful to sustain us.

Jehovah Jirah - He is faithful to provide!

Dear Lord, You are faithful beyond measure and I thank you for sustaining my family through difficult and trying times. Thank you for the Bible that reminds me of your faithfulness; and thank you for holding my future securely in your hand of provision. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 06, 2009

Encouraging Music 11/06/09 Great is Thy Faithfulness by Wow

Powerful Testimony About ENDA on Capitol Hill

On Thursday, while the LGBT people was still stinging after the loss in Maine, the U.S. Senate held hearings about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would offer protection to LGBT people in the workplace.

Although we understand there were no transgender people that testified, the subject of coverage for them under this bill was raised and addressed positively-a major step forward from the last time it was considered.

Here is a report from the Washington Blade.

Here is the liveblog from The Bilerico Project.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the sponsor of the legislation in the Senate, said during the hearing that ENDA is necessary to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans in the workforce.

"We are on the path to one of those struggles for human progress, for a struggle to have full equality under the law — full equal opportunity," he said. "There can never be equal opportunity as long we do not have equal opportunity for employment. Discrimination is simply wrong."

You can boil some issues down to very simple principles, can't you?

Daily Devotional 11/06/09 Practice Makes Perfect

From: Encouragement for Today

Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but this verse has always made me nervous. I mean only Jesus is perfect, right? Perfection is impossible this side of heaven, right? So, why did God include this verse? I recently stumbled upon a new perspective for this verse that helped me to see it in a different, more hopeful light.

Perfection simply means “to seek union with God.” As we chase after Him with all our hearts, forming a relationship that is dependent upon Him, we are pursuing perfection. The closer we grow to Him, the more perfect we become. The more time we spend communing with Him, the closer we are to His image?the image of perfection. The trouble is that we interject our own insecurities into that verse. We know we can’t be perfect. We have tried it but it hasn’t worked. And so, we just dismiss that verse with a huff. “That is simply asking too much,” we tell God and give up before we have even begun.

Yet God is not asking anything more than to begin walking with Him, to pursue a relationship with Him, and to love Him more each day. The more we delight in Him, the more our desires line up with His. (Psalm 37:3-4) And the more our desires line up with His, the more perfect our hearts and minds become. We complicate what is actually simple.

Hosea 11:3 says, “’It was I who taught [my children] to walk.’” Just as parents teach their children to walk, God is allowing us as His children the time to practice our steps as we progress a bit more each day. He expects us to stumble along the way. Psalm 37:24, says, “Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” I take great comfort in knowing that He knows I will surely stumble.

Whether I stumble or fall is not the point. The point is that I am walking, one baby step at a time, with Him. I have a firm grasp on His hand, and I have let go of the things of this world that keep me from moving forward. The more I do this, the more perfect I become; the more I am molded into His perfect image. When you put it like that, perfection seems doable. It even seems likely. The Bible says I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). I am counting on that Truth as I practice walking with Him day by day, getting closer to perfect with each step I take.

Dear Lord, I desperately want to be perfect and to please You. I am learning that You make me perfect as I draw close to You. Help me to be intentional about doing this day by day. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 05, 2009

Updates Coming from BCF's Fall Renewal

Our church, Believers Covenant Fellowship, is holding a series of worship services and workshops under the banner "The Fire and the Glory." We have leaders from the northwest, southwest, midwest, southeast, and Canada joining our BCF ministry team, and you can join us from anywhere in the world via a live video stream on the Internet. Here is the link for the USTREAM video feed.

Jim will also be Tweeting throughout the event. You can follow him here.

We start off at 7:30 (EST) tonight, with Pastor Debbie George leading prophetic worship and Pastor Susan George sharing the message.

Click here to find out more about them and the rest of "The Fire and the Glory" which will run through Sunday afternoon.

Encouraging Music 11/05/09 Testify to Love by The Bridge

Time Magazine Looks Ahead at the Aftermath of the Maine Vote


Mainers' 53-47 vote to reject gay marriage does more than simply slap down a law that just six months ago had made Maine the U.S.'s second state to permit same-sex couples to wed. With voters thronging to the polls, the closely watched — and ultimately not very close — vote extended the winning streak of gay-marriage opponents nationwide, who have now prevailed in more than 30 straight state elections over whether to allow gays to marry. Just like Californians one year ago, Maine voters insisted on having their say on an issue that simply will not go away.

But Maine's vote, much like all of the states before it, including California's vote on Prop 8 a year ago, will do little to slow the fight over gay marriage. Not in Maine, where Tuesday's vote was only the equivalent of a veto and can be easily reversed by lawmakers when they next meet, and not in the rest of country, where the issue continues to roil courthouses and statehouses alike. "Ultimately, this is going to have to have a national resolution," says same-sex-marriage activist Mary Bonauto, one of the nation's top lawyers involved in the campaign to legalize gay marriage. "It's about aligning promises found in the Constitution with America's laws." A leader in Maine's campaign to uphold gay marriage, Bonauto is best known for arguing the same-sex case that led the Massachusetts Supreme Court to strike down prohibitions against gay marriage in a hugely influential 2003 decision that paved the way for that state to become the first to permit gay marriage in 2004.

Supporters were left early Wednesday morning looking for silver linings. Eight thousand volunteers manned the campaign to keep same-sex marriage, says Bonauto, and most of those people were not gay. "One way or another, after this vote, the people of Maine are not going to allow gay and lesbian people to remain strangers to the law," she says. "Gays and lesbians have met their non-gay neighbors, and they have introduced their families and their children." In Washington State, voters appeared to have ratified a law that was passed earlier this year giving its 6,000 registered domestic partners the same state rights as married couples. Cities as different as Chapel Hill, N.C., and Houston supported openly gay candidates for mayor, though the top vote getter in Houston will have to win a runoff before she takes office.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Daily Devotional 11/05/09 Pursuing Jesus Above All

From: Encouragement for Today

Psalms 63:1, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirst for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (NIV)

There is a tale of an elderly woman in the church who served the Lord for years. Instead of seeking the help of others, she did most of the work herself. She was head of women’s ministry, taught Sunday school, sung in the choir, was on the prayer team, and counseled the pastor on a regular basis. She was tired, worn out, and longed for heaven. Yet, because there was still so much work for her to do, she feared that she would never die. Eventually she did die. I guess God wanted His job back.

Nevertheless, from the perspective of most, today’s successful leaders, whether in the Christian world or secular, are much like this woman.

Somewhere between her calling and service to God she took over, rushed ahead, and set her own agenda. It happens to the best of us. In our service to God we can easily slip into pursuing ministry instead of pursuing Jesus, and miss the purpose of our existence. The same is true in every facet of our lives. The pursuit of happiness, opportunity, or even being a good parent, can get in the way of simply pursuing Jesus.

What are you pursuing? What is it that you really want? Is it a successful career that you covet? Is it to be a musician, a doctor, or to author a book? Maybe it’s a spouse you’re dreaming of, or the desire to be a mom that you’re longing for. Whatever your dream is, it’s a God-given dream. In addition to giving you the dream, God has also given you what it takes to make your dream come true. We don’t arrive at our dreams by our own efforts, nor can we make them come true all by ourselves. We get there by pursuing God.

I have found in my own life and ministry that when God reigns in my heart, blessings and opportunities pour down faster than I can make them happen myself. The best way to get where you’re going is to surrender your dreams to God.

We are always in a hurry. God never is. While He has given us the vision of what we are to become, it may not be a reality in us yet. We have to let God work in our lives until we are ready. The dream is not what needs shaping. It’s us. God often prepares us for our dreams through adversity in our lives.

Don’t be discouraged if your dream seems unreachable. No matter what your circumstances are, God is at work shaping and preparing you for it. You and I may achieve some sort of success by our own pursuit, but it will never satisfy us like pursuing Jesus and waiting on Him to bring our dreams to pass.

When God alone is our true treasure, reward, and prize; when He is all we long for, seek after, love and adore, then He gives us the desires of our hearts. Only then are we ready to fulfill our purpose. No other person or thing can satisfy us like Jesus or prepare us for our God-given dreams. What are you pursuing?

Dear Lord, You know the dream I have tucked away in my heart. You know how I’ve longed for it to become a reality. I trust You today. I give You permission to work in my life preparing me for that dream. While You work, I will simply pursue You and be satisfied until my dream is a reality. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 04, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/4/09-Putting Politics Behind and Focusing on Jesus!

A lot of people reading this were upset at the results of elections held in various parts of the country. That's one of the biggest problems with relying on political solutions--they aren't decided by right and wrong or clear moral values--it's who has the best funded, most effective message and organization structure to get out the voters that support them. Sometimes that makes us happy, other times it makes us angry, and the results are seldom permanent.

That's why I'm so glad I know Jesus, because he NEVER, NEVER changes. He always wants to love us and he is driven by right and wrong with clear moral values. Those values, unlike what some right-wing churches teach, do NOT include hating or condemning LGBT people. Jesus' love extends to all people.

Beginning Thursday night, we will be involved in a worship event that promises to be like few others ever held. We're not hyping it to reach into your pockets and get some of your money--we simply want you to share in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and be blessed by some of the most gifted, spirit-filled LGBT men and women of God on this continent!

Our church, Believers Covenant Fellowship, is holding a series of worship services and workshops under the banner "The Fire and the Glory." We have leaders from the northwest, southwest, midwest, southeast, and Canada joining our BCF ministry team, and you can join us from anywhere in the world via a live video stream on the Internet. Here is the link for the USTREAM video feed.

Here is the schedule of events:

Thursday Evening, 7:30 PM
Pastor Debbie George leading prophetic worship
Pastor Susan George, preaching God's Word

Friday Morning, 10-12 AM
Brief Worship, announcements
"Healing Our Identity"
Pastor Jack McConnell

Friday Evening, 7:30 PM
Welcome, worship,
"Embracing The Refiner's Fire"
Pastor David Thomas

Saturday Morning, 10-12 AM
Brief Worship, announcements
"The Restored Five-Fold Ministry & It's Purpose"
Apostle Dale Jarrett
"On Being A New Testament Church"
Apostle Dylan & Vinnie Crozier

Saturday Evening, 7:30 PM
Welcome, worship
"Out of the Fire and Into the GLORY!"
Rev. Evelyn Schave

Sunday Morning
Welcome, worship
"Living IN The Glory"
Apostle Randy Morgan

NOTE: The times are all in the East Coast time zone. Intercessory Prayer starts 30 minutes prior to services and will also be broadcast.

We are both very excited to have the opportunity to be actively involved in the ministry efforts of this gathering. BCF has received several prophetic words that point to an incredible outpouring from God happening during this time, and we can ALL be blessed by that!

Click here to see the official brochure for the event, including bios of the speakers.

Instead of wrestling with disappointment and anger at how the political process has once again failed you, we invite you to join us as we share some really good news--God loves you!

Encouraging Music 11/04/09 Operator by David North & Gospel Celebration

Equality Dealt a Blow in Maine

A tragic streak continued last night in Maine. According to the Associated Press, for the 31st consecutive time same-sex marriage was put up to a popular vote in a state, opponents carried the day.

Last night's loss in Maine, where an existing law passed by the legislature was repealed, is certainly one of the most disappointing and painful of this uphill battle for equality, coming in the region of the United States most favorably disposed to open minded thinking and acceptance.

It remains very difficult for a minority to obtain rights that the majority has when the majority can turn them back by forcing a public vote, where they have vast superiority in numbers. Those of us who are accepting and supporting of LGBT people and understand that they should have equal rights need to work harder and perhaps find a different approach to prevail.

We offer our condolences and prayers for those same-sex couples who had legal rights taken away from them. We hope that the anger and hurt you rightfully feel can be channeled in a positive and constructive direction,

Here is the report from MSNBC.

Here is the local perspective from the Bangor, Maine Daily News.

Daily Devotional 11/04/09 Be Devoted

From: Encouragement for Today

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:10 (NIV)

She walked into church on a dreary Sunday morning, her heart as dark as the gathering storm. She’d gotten into a fight with her husband just before leaving home, and in an angry, regrettable moment, stormed off without him. She found herself sitting alone, thinking she didn’t belong there.

He’d gotten laid off at work on Friday. No notice. No final paycheck. Just a “get your things and get going” announcement. He hadn’t told anyone yet; it was just too embarrassing. What was he going to do? How would he pay his rent? Were his employers right? Maybe he just couldn’t cut it. He’d come to church that day because there was nowhere else to go.

Look around you at any church service and you’ll see normal looking people. Their lives must be great, you think. They walk in with a smile and out with a smile. All the while, many of them are dying by increments on the inside. Despair, fear, anger, questions. Is this all there is? Does anybody care? Will someone love ME?

Our churches are filled with hurting people, carelessly tossed aside by someone during the week. Their hearts and minds reverberate with echoes of angry words spoken to them and unkind actions done to them. They walk into our churches and small groups with a filament of hope and a last-ditch prayer. What will they find?

Jesus saw beneath the surface of the plastic smiles, and stopped what He was doing to show people honor and respect. It wasn’t Jesus’ well-manicured conversations that did it; He didn’t seem to be a master of small talk. Reading about Jesus’ interactions with people, we find He got to the heart of the matter very quickly. Jesus’ compassion must have radiated from Him because it didn’t take long for people to open their pain-filled hearts. When they did, Jesus introduced God’s healing love.

What does this mean for us? Can we really love others like Jesus did? Can our churches and small groups reflect the life-altering community of God’s intent? Can we really make a difference to the “walking wounded” sitting next to us in church every week?

I think one of the ways we can get past surface relationships with others is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” This passage calls us past the neighbor level, past the acquaintance level, past the “just friends” level, and up to familial devotion. It calls us to look at those around us and consider how we can honor them with our time and attention, as we would our brother or sister.

This isn’t easy in our busy lives. Yet this Scripture holds the promise of the creation of a loving family of believers here on earth - a family that values and honors each other. That sounds like a place I want to spend the rest of my life creating. I guess I’ll need to spend a little more time with the woman sitting next to me this Sunday.

Heavenly Father, I praise You and thank You for loving me just as I am. But I need help to love my Christian brothers and sisters just like they are. Help me to love like You love. Examine me and show me areas that need Your attention. I long to have the heart of Christ for others. In Jesus name, Amen.

November 03, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/3/09-Renewal Is On The Way!

Beginning Thursday night, an outpouring of spiritual renewal will begin in Northern Virginia! Our church, Believers Covenant Fellowship, is holding a series of worship services and workshops under the banner "The Fire and the Glory." We mention that here because all of it will be broadcast via UStream over the Internet. Here is the link for the USTREAM feed.

Here is the schedule of events:

Thursday Evening, 7:30 PM
Pastor Debbie George leading prophetic worship
Pastor Susan George, preaching God's Word

Friday Morning, 10-12 AM
Brief Worship, announcements
"Healing Our Identity"
Pastor Jack McConnell

Friday Evening, 7:30 PM
Welcome, worship,
"Embracing The Refiner's Fire"
Pastor David Thomas

Saturday Morning, 10-12 AM
Brief Worship, announcements
"The Restored Five-Fold Ministry & It's Purpose"
Apostle Dale Jarrett
"On Being A New Testament Church"
Apostle Dylan & Vinnie Crozier

Saturday Evening, 7:30 PM
Welcome, worship
"Out of the Fire and Into the GLORY!"
Rev. Evelyn Schave

Sunday Morning
Welcome, worship
"Living IN The Glory"
Apostle Randy Morgan

NOTE: The times are all in the East Coast Time Zone Intercessory Prayer starts 30 minutes prior to services and will also be broadcast.

We are both very excited to have the opportunity to be actively involved in the minstry efforts of this gathering. BCF has received several prophetic words that point to an incredible outpouring from God happening during this time, and we can ALL be blessed by that!

Click here to see the official brochure for the event, including bios of the speakers.

As our household is consumed with preparation, hosting guests, and participating in the Renewal, you won't see as many posts here this week, but we'll be sharing the spiritual overflow with you in the days and weeks following.

Encouraging Music 11/03/09 Giving My Best to You by Cathedral of Hope

A New LGBT Advocate Is Emerging in the US Senate

From New York's Gay City News:

"For himself, I think, he’s going to take all the time he believes he needs in order to be successful, because it’s all about being successful.”

Those words were part of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s answer to a question about the frustration some LGBT activists and leaders have expressed about the pace of Obama administration action on gay issues. Gillibrand was speaking specifically of the effort to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (DADT).

But that perspective applies as well to the senator’s own advocacy on LGBT issues — she is committed, apparently with some good measure of urgency, but she is also pragmatic. That became clear in an interview with Gay City News on October 25, and at a community forum she hosted the same day at Manhattan’s LGBT Community Center.

Earlier this year, Gillibrand proposed incorporating an 18-month moratorium on DADT discharges into the Defense Department’s funding authorization, only to pull back when it became clear that the 60 votes needed to beat back a Republican-led filibuster were not there.

“When I didn’t have 60 votes on my amendment, a lot of the advocates said do not drop” — in this instance, meaning put up for a vote — “your amendment; we don’t want to have a failure on the first vote as a strategy,” the senator explained. “Because we want to build momentum and not lose momentum with a failed vote, and I said fair enough.”

Instead, she said, she successfully prevailed on Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the Democratic chair of the Armed Services Committee — a committee on which she does not sit — to hold a hearing on DADT in November, the first such review of the policy in the Senate since it was implemented in 1993.

The other defining characteristic of Gillibrand’s advocacy on LGBT issues is that she clearly wants to be in the game. Beyond her recent activity on the military policy, she also expressed a willingness to be the lead sponsor of the DADT repeal as well as of the Senate version of New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s Respect for Marriage Act, a measure to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), introduced in the House in September.

In both cases, however, the senator, first elected to the House in 2006 and only in her current post since January, when she filled the vacancy left by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made clear she would defer to the judgment of both advocates and more senior colleagues.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Daily Devotional 11/03/09 Calling the Great Physician

From: Encouragement for Today

"On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'"
Mark 2:17 (NIV)

Recently I came down with an infection. After ten days of misery, I finally went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with bronchitis. Feeling much better after a few days of antibiotics, I wished I had sought out a physician's help sooner, preventing all those days of unnecessary suffering!

As I considered my stubbornness in deciding to call on a doctor, I thought about how our walk with Christ is often just like that.

For example, we have problems in our lives, but we think we are qualified to handle them ourselves. We have burdens, but we assume we can carry the weight on our own. We have questions, but don't really trust God to supply the answers. We need help, but stubbornly refuse to ask.Some people call God the "The Great Physician." Although we think of this in terms of physical healing, Jesus walked the earth to provide something more: spiritual healing.

In Mark 2:13-17, the Pharisees asked Jesus why He was eating with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus explained that He came so we would know Him, and be healed from the inside out. You see, if the world were a righteous place, there would have been no need for a Savior. But God knew just how much we needed a Great Physician. Out of compassion for us, He sent His Son to fill that role. In order to tap into His healing power, we simply have to seek Him. And the sooner, the better.

In another recent situation, I quickly and desperately sought God's intervention. A few days later, I happened to notice I felt a peace I could not explain. In fact, I was confused as to why I was so calm. I thought to myself, "Why am I not obsessing about that problem every second? Why am I not more distraught and worried?"Then God quickened my heart and reminded me that I had turned that problem over to Him. He had taken the weight off of my shoulders. He had given me spiritual healing in the form of peace.
I had sought a cure from the Great Physician, and He had provided it. Not a cure for the problem, but a cure for my heart as I dealt with the problem under His care.If you need a physician who knows your suffering, understands how you are feeling, and has the cure, make an appointment to spend time with God today.

Dear Lord, forgive me for sometimes coming to You for help only after I have exhausted all efforts to handle the problem on my own. Please fill me with a peace that surpasses all understanding in the situations I am facing. Grant me spiritual healing, and help me see You working in and through me. Thank You for always being available and on call. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

November 02, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/2/09-BCF Praise Report

"Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming Fire."
Hebrews 12:28-29

Greetings BCF Family & Friends!

What an EXCITING HOUR we are living in! As we witness many Biblical prophecies concerning the last days unfolding in everyday news and world events, as we witness the hardships and injustices, poverty, diseases on the increase, world hunger, and environmental destruction all right before our eyes- WE ARE ALSO SEEING a most beautiful move of the Spirit of God- where love and forgiveness are causing lives to be healed and restored, we are seeing signs and wonders of miracle provision and answers to prayer on a daily basis, and we are seeing the Body of Christ become impassioned and on fire to live for and serve the Most High God, the Lord Jesus Christ! As the darkness gets darker, the Light of the Lord is shining brighter and brighter for all the world to see! What a mighty and loving Heavenly Father! What a powerful and compassionate Savior is our Lord Jesus! And HOW AWESOME the presence and movement of the Holy Spirit is in all of our lives! Praise the Lord!!! If you are feeling dry in the Lord- it's not because God is holding out on you! Maybe YOU need to seek Him more and get some things right in your heart/life so He can breakthrough into your world anew!

We had a wonderful service at BCF yesterday. It was so cool that we had 40 people who joined us live online for our worship service! Praise God- that's why the Lord told us to do the ustreaming- for those who can't get there! We are all pumped up in the Spirit and prepared for our Fall Renewal/Outpouring which begins this week. We had some good altar time yesterday praying and interceding for the Lord to move upon everyone who is coming- and beyond. Please continue to pray for us and ask the Holy Spirit to have His way throughout the weekend. WE WILL BE USTREAMING LIVE all of our services and workshops. I'll include a brief schedule here for you to see, and we'll be sending out reminder emails later this week.

The Holy Spirit spoke to us yesterday about THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth just as it is in Heaven." The Church has been praying that for 2,000 years- and the message yesterday was "The Kingdom IS come!" It's not afar off, it's not somewhere in the sweet by and by- the Kingdom is NOW! There are over 50 references to the Kingdom in the Gospel of Matthew alone- Jesus had a lot to say to us about this subject- and why? BECAUSE WE THE PEOPLE OF THE KINGDOM! He's been teaching us how the Kingdom works/operates, by faith and love; He's been doing deep heart works in all of us to get us to let go of offense, strife, bitterness, resentments and unforgiveness; He's been teaching us to TRUST Him and to let go of our will and agenda in favor of His.....and the hour is now upon us when a sovereign move of God is about to be released into our lives! We were born for such a time as this!

I believe that the Holy Spirit is about to sovereignly impart to all of us- the greater and needed anointing of the Holy Spirit that will empower us all anew with zeal and passion, and the grace to reach and bring in The Harvest!
God knows that we can't do it without more of His anointing- and we've been asking Him, waiting, sometimes getting discouraged at the wait, BUT NOW the time is upon us. It is past time to prepare yourself, it is now time to stand READY to DO what He shows us to do.

The scriptures speak of how the early Christians did not 'love their lives, even unto death.' They were so passionate about living for the Lord and serving in His Kingdom, that they were no longer caught up in the cares of this world- even to the point of death! They weren't even afraid to die because they KNEW where they were going. Do YOU? Are YOU that passionate about your relationship with God? Do you understand and know what is the hope of YOUR calling?? Are you living to build God's Kingdom or YOUR kingdom?? Choose THIS DAY whom you will serve.

The hour of decision is upon us all.

Romans 14:17 says, "The Kingdom of God is NOT about meat or drink, but about RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE (shalom), and JOY in the Holy Spirit!"

I'm praying for you in the Holy Spirit as I write this now, and am asking the Holy Spirit to touch you with the FIRE of God and ignite you with a new passion to know the Lord more and to serve Him until He comes. I've been praying for the Lord to release His holy MANTLES upon His Sons & Daughters so that we may walk in a new grace and a new power than we have ever known before.

If each of us Christians will take His Great Commission serious and determine to do at least one act of love and kindness for someone else every day- we can start winning hearts to Christ by simply how we treat them! Let Jesus shine! Let your love light, your faith in Christ, your Hope for tomorrow be reflected in your attitude, your actions and your words! The Kingdom is COME- NOW! Start living like you are in Heaven already- you'll be amazed at just how much you already really are!!! Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT seen!!!!

God Bless YOU and fill you anew today and every day! We love you and we are praying for each and every one of you and your churches/ministries.
We are one Body, one Church- united in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Much love and Shalom, with nothing missing and nothing broken in your life!

Ap Dale

Encouraging Music 11/02/09 All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name by Avalon

Daily Devotional 11/02/09 In His Presence

From: Reflections

Psalms 16:11 KJV: Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Pausing to consider God, I have felt the world slip away. The concerns of this life and the worries of the day quickly fade into the background in comparison to Him. He towers above the circumstances and does not give way to the pressures of my day. He is the same today, tomorrow and forever. I come to Him and I am reborn. I am filled with the newness of my first words heard from Him. My spirit is rejuvenated and my passions rekindled, and all within a few quiet and passing moments.

November 01, 2009

If CNN's Anderson Cooper Is Gay, Why Doesn't He Just Say So?

That's the question asked by this piece on Gawker (hat tip to PageOneQ:

It's not like Cooper's in a club all of his own, either. He is part of an increasingly large crowd of notables who won't come out but have given up trying to hide that they are gay. Queen Latifah denied that she was going to marry her girlfriend, a girlfriend who she tries to pass off as her "trainer." Kevin Spacey got busted lying about being mugged in a London cruising park. Ricky Martin has stopped even trying to fight the gay rumors. Jodie Foster has never said she's a lesbian out loud, but she basically came out when she thanked her partner in an acceptance speech.

These gay-not-gay celebrities are different from the Hugh Jackmans, John Travoltas, Tom Cruises, and Kenny Chesneys, who are all constantly plagued with gay rumors that they strenuously try to deny or deflect. If they're gay, they're doing it in secret. Cooper and his set of cohorts live openly gay lives — and that's a good thing — but they refuse to acknowledge what the public already knows.

In Anderson Cooper's specific case, we sort of understand why he won't open his mouth and let the rainbows fly. All the guy has ever wanted to do was be an old-fashioned newsman and unfortunately him coming out would make him a part of the story. Every time he tried to cover something having to do with gay civil rights (or Madonna or Fire Island) plenty of people would claim that his reporting was biased because of his sexual orientation. It's not fair: Katie Couric doesn't have to worry when she covers pay inequality for women, and neither does Harry Smith when discussing new medicine that will eradicate baldness.

Coming out would open Cooper up to irrational accusations from those waiting to pounce on the "liberal media" just as quickly as A.C. pounces on his muscle man in an Indian hotel room. That sucks, but it's the way it currently is. How does it get changed? Well, by having some major national news figures come out and show that they can still get blown over in a hurricane or report live from a war zone without breaking into a anti-Prop 8 rant.

That's right, Anderson, it's going to take you to change it. Rachel Maddow has paved the way, but all the baby gays out there need you to man up and be our Jackie Robinson. The first step is the easiest, you just have to say what everyone already knows.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

LGBT Helping Hands 11/1/09-Metro TeenAIDS (Washington, DC)

Metro TeenAIDS provides resources to help young people fight AIDS and support each other. MTA is the only organization in the Washington DC-metro area focusing all of its efforts on the unique prevention, education, and treatment needs of young people.

Advancing the overall health of at-risk and HIV-infected adolescents is within our community’s power. Metro TeenAIDS advances community prevention efforts by:

* mobilizing young people in support of their peers,
* battling stigma and indifference by raising community awareness about the threat HIV/AIDS poses to young people,
* providing HIV information and innovative prevention strategies to young people and the adults in contact with them,
* uniting with other organizations to ensure that teenagers receive adolescent-appropriate and easily accessible prevention, health care, and counseling services as well as safe recreational opportunities; and,
* developing comprehensive programs which address the many co-factors of adolescent HIV infection — including low self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, dangerously unproductive free time, and exposure to peer groups which encourage unhealthy and risky behavior.

Our community risks losing a new generation to HIV.

Washington, D.C. has one of the highest AIDS rates in the country. But very few of those infected are getting the treatment they need. Between 1,000 and 1,500 infected young people live in the Washington, D.C. area. Yet only 100 of them are receiving medical care.

Across the nation, half of all new HIV infections occur among people under the age of 25. But as many as one third of all HIV-infected young people do not know they carry the virus.

With so much ignorance, and such limited healthcare, young people face the highest risk of infection. They also live in a culture that heightens those risks. Adolescents tend to distrust adults who could help them, yet face intense pressure to become sexually active at an early age.

How do we help young people to protect themselves?

MetroTeenAIDS speaks to youth in their own language and in their own space. With our team of specially trained young people, working alongside professionals, we reach out to them in schools, nightclubs, youth centers, shelters and the streets.

Click here to find out more.

SNN Recommends 11/1/09-"I'm Fine With God...It's Christians I Can't Stand" ratings: 34 of 52 reviewers gave it at least 4 out of 5 stars
SNN rating: 4 stars

Many non–Christians find the behavior of some Christians off–putting rather than inviting. Many Christians do too! Now Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz, authors of Knowing the Bible 101, take an unflinchingly honest and often humorous look at some believers’ outlandish behavior. This candid assessment of the church will bridge the communication gap, empowering Christians to share their faith more freely and helping those who don’t yet believe discover the truth about God without being distracted by...

* judgmental attitudes, hypocrisy, and condemnation
* confusing mixtures of politics and the gospel
* defensive positions in the “God vs. science” debate
* extreme teachings about prosperity
* unbalanced fixations on the end times
* uninformed opinions about others’ beliefs
* unprofessional Christian media and entertainment

This refreshing call to authentic Christianity will help Christians and non–Christians get past the peripheral issues and communicate openly and honestly about God.

Click here to purchase this book and read customer reviews.

Matthew 25 Resource 11/1/09-A Child's Place (Charlotte, NC)

With no permanent residence, homeless children often stop going to school -- the one place that should provide structure in a life of transition. Without the influence and stability of a classroom environment, these children lose more than a chance to learn. They also lose the crucial sense of belonging gained from interacting with friends and other students. But there is hope for these children -- and help -- through A Child's Place. Founded in 1989, A Child's Place is a collaborative effort between the Charlotte, NC community and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS).

The goals of A Child's Place are to:
# provide stable, appropriate education to homeless students
# provide support services to enhance their opportunities for academic success
# provide services to families to ensure long term stability and self-sufficiency

Education and Support

Homeless children are provided with stable, appropriate education in a mainstream setting through A Child's Place. Comprehensive and timely assessments ensure that students receive the instruction and services they need. For the homeless students who are in need of extra support in order to achieve academic success, food, clothing, personal hygiene products and school supplies are distributed. Volunteer professionals provide medical, dental and counseling services. Volunteer tutors and "lunch buddy" mentors also offer academic and emotional support to children coping with stress, fear and other emotions resulting from homelessness. Scholarships to after school programs accomodate working parents' schedules and enrich learning experiences.

Family Advocacy

Housing a child means housing a family. Through its Family Advocacy program, A Child's Place provides parents connections to the employment, housing and education opportunities that can lead to a life of stability. Vital services also available to families include links to crisis counseling, budgeting and financial assistance plus emotional support and encouragement.

Click here to find out more.

Welcome to Sunday Worship 11/1/09

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day.

Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.

If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with us.

Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)
MI-Renaissance Unity Church, Warren, 10:00 AM
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM
VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 AM
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 11:45 AM
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem, 12:00 PM
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa, 1:00 PM
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach, 1:00 PM
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, 1:30 PM

Canada, Vancouver-Christ Alive Community Church, 10:15 PM
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program) 4:30 PM

Video Archive

AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach
FL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. Lauderdale
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa
GA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta
GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta
MI-Christ Community Church, Spring Lake
MI-Renaissance Unity Church, Warren
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem

OK-Expressions Community Fellowship, Oklahoma City
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa
TX-The One Church, Garland
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore

Audio Archive
AZ-Community Church of Hope, Phoenix
AK-Open Door Community Church, Sherwood
CA-Christ Chapel of Long Beach
CA-Christ Chapel of the Valley, North Hollywood
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program)
FL-New Hope Christian Center, Pensecola
GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta
MD-Kittamaqundi Community, Columbia
NC-Revolution Charlotte
OH-Emmanuel Fellowship Church, Akron
OH-All Saints Community Church, Cortland
TN-Covenant of the Cross-Madison
TX-New Hope Fellowship Church-Dallas
TX-White Rock Community Church-Dallas
TX-Community Gospel Church-Houston
TX-Through Him Fellowship-Houston
South Africa-Deo Gloria Family Church

Can we pray for you? E-mail