Saturday, March 29, 2014

Some Recommended Reading

Bill C. Konstantopoulos has written a modest but compelling 125-page topical exposition of Romans 8:1-39. Bill’s ministry has taken him to communities as contrasting as the urbanization of Kankakee, adjacent to Chicago; to Appalachian VA, TN, and Kentucky; yet, as global as Costa Rica, Kenya, and Argentina. The ability of this native-born Greek to master speaking in English, while also ministering equally well in Spanish, Portuguese, and Greek, only further recommends his competence.

Konstantopoulos is well-fortified by years of loving pastoral relationships as well as of serious study. His writings are further enhanced by his native Greek language. In twenty-one brief vignettes in easy to read English, Bill juxtaposes humanity versus holiness while exploring a range of doctrinal concerns varying from predestination to his baker’s dozen “ingredients for victorious and fruitful living.”

He transitions from Romans eight to Romans twelve to make his final ascent up the peak of personal transformation (RO. 12:1-2. His concluding “Biblical Foundations” offers a fitting closure to this significant subject of Freedom From Condemnation.

Having frequently observed “Brother Bill”  both in and out of the pulpit, experiencing him as a “man of the cloth,” a very human pastor, and a much-beloved friend, I suggest that his best-known characteristic is his steady and consistent faith by which he walks a very human walk. That walk has nonetheless created an extraordinary human being who deserves our attention whether he speaks his message or writes it. What gets my attention is the fact that he lives his subject as well as anyone I know.

This newest one is one of three new books currently coming available from Bill Konstantopoulos (none pictured here since my cover picture is a pdf that will not transfer via blogspot). Since I cannot picture it, I have pictured here several earlier writings. I also suggest that you do not criticize your pastor if he does not preach doctrine to suit you if you will not make the effort to check out what is being written of doctrinal interest.

 For further information, contact the author at 1-423-328-7112 or                    billck@comcast.com. I am at Warner’s World - walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com,
adding my two-cents worth to steer you toward some good reading.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave—Ed. by Henry Louis Gates Jr, 2013, published by Penguin Books, New York, 2013. This beautifully –written story describes the fascinating journey of Solomon Northup. First written by Solomon himself in 1853, following his recovery of his freedom, and published by Derby and Miller.

Steve McQueen  and company first dug this old volume  from out of the middle 1800s history and made it into a movie. Penguin then published it under the their copyright, complete with introduction by Professor Ira Berlin and the general essay written by the popular black author-editor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

I have read many black biographies and autobiographies over the past twenty years ranging from Sojourner Truth of Battle Creek and Martin Luther King, who moved into Montgomery while I was still a young pastor in Bainbridge, GA. Solomon Northup was a new name to me, but I quickly noted the resemblance on the front cover to Steve McQueen, whose name appeared below as the author of the foreword. 

Further observation also revealed Steve McQueen’s part in producing the major motion picture under this same title, “12 Years A Slave,” a Twentieth Century Fox Film production. Being somewhat addicted to reading biographies involving social issues such as slavery, I quickly checked the book out of the library and began reading.

I wholeheartedly agreed with Ira Berlin’s introductory statement, “For sheer drama, few accounts of slavery match Solomon Northup’s tale of abduction from freedom and forcible enslavement.” Solomon’s true story provides the exciting adventure of an extraordinary black man who endured forced kidnapping under fraudulent circumstances, was sold into slavery and transported to a distant part of the country where he endured more than a decade of slavery in a region considered among the worst possible of all slave experiences.

I found the book amazingly full of detail – places, people, and perspectives--a good read. Solomon was a “free black” whose family went back at least half a century as free citizens. I’m not quite sure about the literary quality of his original account, but it appears to be well organized, thoughtfully (if not purposefully) written; yet produced by one who had no journalistic training of any kind. Although Solomon was not a highly educated man, his writing was well organized and well written - compelling reading.

Solomon’s writing did not reflect the obvious lack of literary skills found in the very elementary writing of Sojourner Truth’s original narrative. As a fan of Sojourner TRuth and one who found her story compelling, I found some of her original writings suggestive of her lack of education and writing skills, as one would normally expect. Not so with Solomon Northup.

Be that as it may; I found a very readable book, of excellent literary quality, highly adventurous, and thoroughly descriptive of a vicious and inhumane subject [slavery]. Surprisingly enough, it was also totally devoid of anything sounding resentful, hateful, or vindictive. From a Christian perspective, I was surprised at times with his frequent grace-filled approach to situations that I found in the best sense of the Christian word “grace”.

Having lived part of my life in the segregated south, I found Solomon inspirational in character without professing any special outward piety. As a result of that part of my life, I could identify with the times he described. At the same time, I admired his tenacity as a fellow human being. I responded to his sometimes na├»ve or innocent refusal to become warped by his inhumane treatment and his rejection of being metamorphosed into a hate-machine of a mind-boggling system that accepted his treatment as a racial, economic, and social privilege. Under similar circumstances, I can’t quite wrap myself around just how I would have responded.   

For the reader who appreciates a happy conclusion to the story, this book offers a highly satisfying conclusion of a family being restored to its rightful place in society. As one reader, I deeply appreciated the man Bass, who became the needed link in Solomon’s restoration to freedom. I could personally identify with him out of some of my past associations in the early Civil Rights days in the old South.


I recommend the book. It makes me appreciate my Christian values. It also enhances my appreciation for the social progress our country has made, while further sensitizing me to the social burden carried by many people of color in our still rather racist culture. It only enriches my love and appreciation for my many black friends, not all of whom are American, but whom I deeply esteem and highly value as an enrichment of my own life. Books like this also make me appreciate my local publc library even more than I already did . . . From Warner’s World, I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Organized to Work Together

Forty-four people quietly gathered In Lansing, MI on December 28, 1920 and found enough consensus between them to elect officers for a new Michigan Assembly that included all ordained/unordained ministers and one lay member from each congregation. Officers of this new organization were: C. S. Sisler of Lansing, Chairman; William Hartman of Kalamazoo, Vice Chairman; and Secretary E. C. Grice.

They adopted sufficient bilaws to govern them as they worked in three specified areas of need that had prompted them to meet and organize. The problems prompting them were: 1) ministers circulating with dubious credentials; 2) pastors experiencing difficulty transitioning from one congregation to another; and, 3) internal conflicts within congregations. Gale Hetrick later noted that “These three concerns would dominate the business sessions of the Assembly for nearly two decades) (Laughter Among the Trumpets/119).

The group included twenty-five pastors, five evangelists, several female spouses that included ten women, one of whom was Allie Fisher Allen. Michigan was the first state to organize in this manner; thus, the succeeding organization of the Church of God in Michigan is today the oldest of its kind in the movement. As it approaches its coming centennial in 2020 it currently represents more than 14,000 people in 102 churches, down from the peak number of 136 churches.

Brown later described this effort as a “daring thing” for which the officers were called on the ecclesiastical carpet and admonished by national leaders the following Anderson Camp Meeting. It was a new and daring experiment because these were people of the Reformation Movement, sometimes known as “come-outers.”
Beginning with Warner, Fisher and the Coles,the primary thrust had been to call people out of sectism into spiritual unity and to avoid all appearance of the denominationalism we so severely thrashed. 

Until C.E. Brown finally convinced us that we could organize to do the work of the church, although we knew we could not organize the church itself, we [the Movement] had been vigorously anti-organization and we are still plagued with that disease. That bias seemingly went far beyond Warner’s perception of the church as something created and organized by God. To some of us it appears to run hand in glove with Warner’s loss of credentials in the General Eldership of the Church of God, almost like an emotional hangover, that Warner himself never got over and forever after had this vendetta.

I offer this backward peek to make a couple of observations relating to our transition into a new period of ministry and growth under the leadership of Dr. Jim Lyons. It has been my observation that we are unclear about our identity and our core DNA. As a result, we have proclaimed vigorously our message of holiness and unity but we have avoided coming to the table of dialogue with that segment of the church our earlier literature designated as “Babylon.”

Out of our antipathy to Babylon and to organization we have become relatively ineffectual in serious cooperative evangelism, working together and reaching out to win the none-churched. We have, in fact, become a comfortable private membership, YMCA of sorts for spiritual health addicts, disinterested in getting socially involved in redeeming either society or the people in it.

I BELIEVE IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE DECIDE WHO WE ARE AND WHAT OUR MISSION IS. TO DETERMINE THIS, WE MUST ONCE MORE BECOME PEOPLE OF THE BOOK.ONCE WE DO THIS, WE WILL HOPEFULLY DISCOVER THAT WE ARE PEOPLE OF GOD NOW. And with this, I draw some conclusions:
   
   
    1. As people of God, our mission is that unique mission given God’s people in the Scriptures--reveal God to the inhabitants of the world. In other words, our primary mission is missions itself, or evangelism and since that was God’s mission, that is our primary mission, around which our whole church ministry should be singularly organized. Building buildings and institutions, doctrinalizing the church, and teaching our distinctives are not our primary mission. The church is about searching for that one lost sheep, while we provide for the ninety and nine
2.      As people of God, we are His people NOW, not at some future time of fulfillment. Our generation is run in the ground with garden varieties of millennialism, while we have no one proclaiming a forthright amillennial apologetic. Instead; we must go outside our circles to find scholarship like N. T. Wright, who reminds us with refreshingly with sound reason and biblical basis for proclaiming that through Jesus we live in a new era of GOD’S KINGSHIP and that we ignore that at our own peril.
3.      If we are God’s people, and if we presently live under God’s authority and the mentoring of Jesus, we cannot be like Jesus and be independent consumers, autonomous and untrusting of each other, but we must organize our cooperative work to do whatever it takes to win the world at any cost, and the rest of our institutional life will be shaped by our mission and by who we are.

We will do what we do because of who we are
and this will determine whether or not we are a loosely connected association or the tightly-knit Body of Christ. This will determine whether we as the Church of God attempt to be an evangelical holiness Lone Ranger or we come to the table of dialogue with holiness churches, Pentecostal churches, Calvinists and Arminians and we find ways to cooperate and complement to win the lost at whatever cost.

From Warner’s World, walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com invites your further comment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Being God's People

Blogging makes it easy to take some liberties, which I hope will not be presumptious. Pictured at right is a friend-poet-preacher, B. C. Lee, retired in OK. Byrum celebrated his 95th birthday this month. The picture was with 70 years (I think) in ministry. We spent a year or so as students when Byrum was pastor in Oregon City, Oregon and I hope he will not think me presumptious. :-) 
. . .

God’s people find their identity in God’s Book. The theme of the people of God threads its way throughout Scripture. The biblical book of Exodus introduces a people who were no people. It follows them under the creative influence in history. The story of God’s people becomes God’s story—His Story. His Story and their story shape human history.

If we in the Church of God are to be people of God, we must once more become people of that Bible that recognized God’s people from early on as a “holy people who belong to the Lord your God,” the same God that “has chosen you. . .” (Deut. 7:6, NCV).1 It further concludes “The Lord will help you defeat the enemies that come to fight you,” i.e., God will “establish you as his holy people” (Dt. 7:6, CNV; 28:9, NIV).

In due time, Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected, resulting in the birth of the church at Pentecost. God’s chosen people blossomed as the church--birthed through His unique creativity, for His very own purpose. It should not surprise us that the friends Paul recommended (Ro. 16:1-5) were people chosen by God, people committed to fulfilling God’s redeeming activity in their world

Peter recognized them as the “chosen people,” the “laos” (Greek term for the people of God, I Peter 2:9). We may be fuzzy about their ethnicity, but they were of clear origin--people responding to God’s call. They were of unique characterspecial people …  a royal priesthood … God’s chosen people. They had a focused purpose: i.e., to declare God’s praises. This awesome opportunity gave them responsibility that called forth their highest commitment (cf. II Cor. 2:14-16, Col. 1:10-12).

Gerald Nevitt spoke to the Church of God Reformation Movement, locally and in the larger context, when he concluded that “A new vision of what the church is to be and do in our world must begin with an understanding of who we are.” It is critically important, he added, that each congregation “have a firm conviction regarding its identity.”2

The resurrection and the events of Pentecost transformed Christ’s followers into a tightly-bound fellowship that found its true identity in its message and its mission. Led by the Holy Spirit, the disciples, joined by an expanding company, went all-out in cultivating believers among people of various ethnicities (Mt. 28:19-20).

As a pioneer evangelist on the Ohio frontier, Daniel S. Warner found his niche when he concluded that “On the 31st of last January the Lord showed me that holiness could never prosper upon sectarian soil encumbered by human creeds and party names, and he gave me a new commission to join holiness and all truth together and build up the apostolic church of the living God. Praise his name! I will obey him.”3

A year later he added “the God of all grace has most emphatically taught us in his word that his church is one, as the Father and Son are one, and that a manifestation of this unity is to be the world-saving salt of the church.” Since that time, others have suggested that “every Christian has a legacy in every other Christian” and that we “experience that legacy only as we receive each other and relate, moving eagerly beyond group boundaries.”4

Theologian, Gilbert Stafford, in addressing an International Forum of the Church of God, suggested that “unity is a biblical mandate, not simply the idealism of … early leaders or of contemporary ecumenicists.” Stafford also insisted that people identify themselves by the different ways in which they reveal God through their daily lives:
               1. following Jesus as their model and mentor (Mark 10:43-45).
               2. obeying Christ’s commission as they embody the person of Jesus (2 Cor. 5:19-20). They symbolize His presence, becoming tangible evidence of His reality. They serve as (His) ambassadors, just as if He were making His appeal through them ((v.20).
               3. equipping themselves through discipleship (Eph. 4:11-13). They serve individually, providing channels of grace; i.e., they become grace dispensers as they use their gifts for the common good of the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:7).         
               4. proclaiming the story of Jesus to others, and discipling them (Mt. 28:19-20). God’s people keep the church in a perpetual state of reformation, being renewed by seeking first the Kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33). Repeatedly, and repetitiously, they act on the authority of Jesus as they pursue fulfilling the will of the Heavenly Father (John 8:28).

Like John Wesley, they become people of the book--always action oriented. They prioritize discipleship qualities, they minimize the luke-warmness that characterizes that casual brand of faith that Peter Wagner dubbed St. John’s Syndrome (Rev. 2:4).
              
In 1995, General, Colin Powell announced that he would not run for the presidency. He gave as his reason his lack of political passion. There is no higher calling, as we transition into a new era of spiritual service and Christian growth, than having the passion to be People of God People of God's Book. May we follow Jesus our model/mentor, may we embody the very person of Jesus as we follow His Great Commission, and may we adequately disciple ourselves in order to adequately disciple others.

From Warner’s World, I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com
_____
              
               1 “Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, New Century Version, copyright 2987, 1988, 1991 by Word Publishing, Dallas, Texas 75039. Used by permission.” Unless otherwise marked, all Scriptures quoted are from the New Century Version.
               2 Gerald G. Nevitt, God’s People On Mission Through Ministry. (Lansing: The Church of God in Michigan, 1995), p.29.
               3 quoted by Barry L. Callen, It’s God’s Church. (Anderson, IN.., Warner Press, Inc., 1995), p.1195
               4 James Earl Massey, Concerning Christian Unity. (Anderson: Warner Press, Inc., 1979), p.82. 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Understanding Who We Are

The Church of God Reformation Movement is known as a people of the Book, a favorite term of John Wesley. Thus, any vision we have of our mission as a church must begin with how we understand who we are as God’s people. Or, as Gerald Nevitt suggested in God’s People On Mission Through Ministry: “It is critically important that each church have a firm conviction regarding its identity.

Nevitt wrote after being called to the top Administrative post at the Service Center in Lansing, MI administering the work of the Church of God in Michigan. He believed that if the church is to recognize itself as the people of God, which the Church of God does, then it becomes strategically important that each local church have a firm conviction of WHO it is and WHAT IT IS TO DO.

That said, he offered a strategy whereby the churches could “forge out of our life together a commitment to the mission of Jesus Christ”--“glorify God” and “seek and save” the lost as described in Luke 19:10. He sought to facilitate and develop a structure which would energize church planting and expanding God’s kingdom.

Nevitt rejected being a mere ecclesiastical engineer keeping oil on the wheels of church machinery while professional hired guns preached weekly sermons and taught weekly disciplines on “Everything you ever need to know about being a Christian.”.    

The New Testament teaches that Jesus multiplied his ministry by commissioning twelve non-commissioned student preachers to “go” and disciple others. He mentored and trained them to go in God’s name and sent them out to help find peaceful solutions for the fragmented relationships of a complex humanity that needs reconciling with God and with one another.

Did Jesus mean only for the twelve to go; or, did he mean to further reveal his identify through them and to us, so that we might also accept this mandate and further carry on his ministry? The theme of the people of God began with ancient Israel, whom God called to become “people holy to the Lord your God … chosen … to declare the praises of him who called you … (Dt.  7:6; 28: I Peter 2:9).

Thoroughly penetrating our communities can happen only by living the gospel continuously, and modeling it perpetually with every person within our influence. If people of the book do not accept the idea, who will? That brings us to a description David McKenna gave of a piece of his world in Seattle “Our World Perish”, pp2-4, HOLINESS TODAY, Feb. 1999).

He described it as a place with yuppies loitering on crowded sidewalks, headed for a coffeehouse, a Sunday brunch, even a body building salon. That mixed crowd varied from Asians to Middle-easterners, including a smattering of Hindu couples. A short distance further he observed a line of white people threading their way into a white protestant church and noted that they seemed to be somewhat out of step with the clashing colors, blended cultures and mixed creeds on the crowded sidewalk.

Seattle may be a bit larger and more cosmopolitan than my corner of Battle Creek, but it is not that much different; the whole point being that if the church [as the people of God] does not reach out, reach up, reach down, and reach around, who will? Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman that he asked for a drink of water [a real social no-no!]. He visited the home of a thoroughly hated tax collector. He dealt gently with an adultress, caught in the act. His social boundaries were determined by the needs of individuals he encountered wherever he went.

An early disciple of Jesus described God as having obvious affection for this broken and divided mass of humanity (John 3:16-17). This challenges us to identify more closely with the needs of a world that God obviously loves with some passion. It challenges us to accept the idea that it is God’s mandate and that He wants us to saturate our world with His story, but will we practice the behavior?

The first-century church did more than hold fellowship meetings and conduct worship services for fellow Jerusalemites. They began saturating Jerusalem with the story of Jesus by their very lifestyles, which enraged Saul of Tarsus. He determined to exterminate this blasphemous “sect.”

The followers of Jesus were persecuted and scattered throughout Judea and the uttermost parts, but they took their story with them. Thus, Jesus became known all the way from Jerusalem to around the globe, because they accepted the idea and they practiced the behavior.

Practicing this behavior suggests every nation must become our mission field, every congregation must become a sending station, and every member must become a missionary--I did not say preacher. They took their story of Jesus back to where they lived and went from there.

We can accept the idea; leaders can teach the concept, devise strategies for accomplishing our identified mission, and we can practice it in our day to day human relationships. Most of us can do this at home, because many of us literally rub elbows with the world when we walk the sidewalks of our cities.

We are not to merely meet and teach about God, and talk about our world; but we are to talk to the world about our God who has so much interest in the world.

To my church friends, I say if we focus on Jesus our focus will be on the reason he died on the cross. But, we cannot be like Jesus and remain independent, autonomous, unforgiving, selfish and doing our own thing. Many of my friends like to read of life as described in THE BOOK OF NOAH; but what we really need is to rediscover the commitment that drove those people to live as sacrificially as they did.   


From Warner’s World, this is walkingwithwarner,blogspot.com

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Measuring Movemental Response to Our Mission

Early in the twentieth century, Nora Hunter, founder of our original Christian Women’s Connection (CWC) summarily concluded “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.”

That statement summarizes Church of God Reformation Movement history as I see it.  We succeeded in coming together as a fast growing reformation movement, following early years of “flying ministry” and become established local congregations. In 1953 Harold Phillips reported on our being something like third fastest growing church body in the nation. Since then, we have spent much of our history trying to hang together, which we achieved with considerable success. Having said that, we have not yet succeeded at working together; we struggle with our early biases as we continue to pursue the ideal of being God’s people on mission in ministry (service).

We were right, but we were wrong when beginning. Our “anti-biases” thwarted our progress but we continue trying to organize even as Theologian-Historian C.E. Brown said was proper. Functioning as God’s people on mission in ministry deserves our very best but we have too often merely self-indulged ourselves in debating issues of holiness, unity, core values, Christ being our message, and a host of “good” issues that perhaps fell short of that more important issue. How we cooperate together is vitally important because that is our organized team effort that fulfills  or fails the mission God left us!

I find Bill K’s diagnosis apt when he writes in his coming publication: “No Church can be properly organized, or do evangelism, missions, and effective ministry without the Holy Spirit operating within the life of the believers making up the Church” (The Holy Spirit, Orasis, 2014; cf A Biblical Model For Restoration (Orasis, 2014). I am led to conclude that we too often indulge ourselves in “Reformation/church” issues” when we should be submitting ourselves to the reenergizing  and enabling of God’s Holy Spirit in a movement-wide revival that could unite us most effectively and efficiently in achieving God’s goals suggested in Matthew 28:19-20, John 3:16 and elsewhere.

However, I suggest that in our struggle to mature as a Movement, good things are happening in places large and small and the following gives the gist of just one good story among many. 

A certain Thomas Willard went from Indiana to the northeast area of Michigan’s lower penin-sula—low population center. Following a 1931 revival at Kittle School, a nucleus contacted J. E. Kolar, a Hungarian immigrant who had moved into nearby Alpena in 1925 to manage a leather factory.

I met Kolar in 1952 and learned how he came to America as a nine-year-old and became a Church of God preacher. I never heard how he found the Church of God but I know that he conducted a second schoolhouse revival in 1932. That summer of 1932, Marvin Coffman became first resident pastor of this church in the north woods—Mio.

Local historians report that volunteers cut timber and erected the first church building in 1932-1933. A decade later—1942--the men raised their small building, set it on a basement foundation, and enlarged it. In 1948, they purchased a house and relocated it to the church property, refurbished as a parsonage. The Miller and Galbraith families contributed heavily to this early development
The Millers donated the property where the church rested for many years, and they nurtured their children in their faith. Son Bill and I met met later in far away San Antonio, TX, becoming fast friends across more than half a century of ministry--two young Michiganians far from home).

By 1975, the late Robert Bills became God’s instrument for a new church building on CR-608, between Mio and Fairview--not exactly metro Detroit! Completion of a new parsonage resulted through cooperating with the Mio/Fairview Building Trades Class. Growth continued for another decade under excellent leadership by Michael and Beverly Smith--now in Sioux Falls, SD.

This resulted in completion of their 1984 Building Campaign and their 1989 refurbishing of their sanctuary while adding a classroom-office complex. In 1990, the Reverend Doctor William H Jones became pastor in Mio, relocating from his rural Sears Church and moving deeper “into the north woods” into a county numbering some 7-8,000 souls. Yet, this church that grew from nothing now thrives beyond two hundred. Jones served until 2001. 

His leadership paved the way for a future Family Life Center. The growing church, solidly established, called an Associate Pastor/Youth Pastor. He served 1998-2004 and the team enjoyed an excellent ministry in Mio, until the Church of God of Michigan challenged Dr. Jones to lead the State Ministry of the Lansing Service Center in 2001. Jones became State Minister in Michigan and this thriving church in an unincorporated community of 2,000 called Michael Stadelmayer in 2003.

The church next called a new youth pastor who served until 2012. Meantime, the church occupied its new Family Life Center in ‘06 and in 2012 completed its new commercial kitchen in the Family Life Center. But when the Youth Pastor resigned, they determined not to hire another associate. They stepped outside their box, reorganized their work—differently, perhaps better.

They hired additional part-time staff and spread responsibilities of the associate pastor among a series of Directors, Worship & Media, Youth, Children, and Connections. They also upgraded audio and video equipment to enable high quality messaging for broadcasting. But something else was also happening!

I’m not privy to all the details, but Pastor Mike, this city boy from Kalamazoo, pastoring in West Lafayette, IN prior to Mio, looked beyond ministering to Mio every Sunday. He saw drive-in members, which eventually led to a satellite group in Ogemaw, which has now relocated into the larger community of West Branch in the Michigan thumb, under capable local administration.

Further away, the older, well established congregation that Kolar launched in Alpena in 1925 had fallen on hard times. But “someone envisioned” an organized entity called Tri-point Ministries and now Pastor Mike is Senior Pastor of Tri-Point Ministries. With campuses in Mio, Alpena, and West Branch he faithfully preaches from Mio.  Tri-Point forms a multi-site concept of One Church serving from multiple campuses in Mio, Alpena, and West Branch, in addition to whatever other broadcasting the church does.

Stadelmayer, whose parents emigrated from the Church of God in East Germany following WWII, offers comforting word: “While God's Word remains the same, the methods that we use to share the gospel allow us to move into the social media age and get information and share God's Message to people via email, text, Facebook, our church website, Youtube and Twitter.”

I see Mike via the ether waves daily and to any who read this and think the Church of God has lost its way and wanders without vision--think again. Just remember the Rooster that strutted into the hen house one day carrying a large Goose egg. He announced “Girls, I’m not complaining; I just want to show you what some others are doing.”

From Warner’s World,
I am walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com,

reminding all of us that it is important how we work together because that measures our response to God’s call to help heal this hurting world!