Golf Deadline Next Week, Register Today

Super Smiles!

Christian Endeavor had our highest attendance at our 5th annual outing in 2017. We have a goal to raise attendance to an all-time high of 80 people this year. And we’re getting close to the registration deadline next week on Thursday, April 26. Please spread the word to golfers you know, and send them our golf page short link: bit.ly/Golf4CE

Friendly competitions in the scramble format include Top Team, Closest to the Pin and Longest Drive. We also have a 50/50 Putting Contest. And don’t miss out on your chance to win a $10,000 hole-in-one prize!

Honeybrook Golf Club caters a super meal each year, just before we give out prizes.

Golf AND Good Eats!

Okay, so we can’t help you with your golf game. Haha! But we do guarantee you will have a super fun day!

Stay out of that sand!

Sign up today! Don’t miss out on the fun. You can register & pay online or mail a form with your check. Individual golfers are also welcome to help fill out incomplete foursomes.

Just sayin’ HI! Hope to see you soon in Honey Brook!

(If you’re unable to attend, would you consider sponsoring a hole for $200, or being a patron at any amount? Details also found on our golf page: http://www.ceworks.faith/support-get-involved/golf-tournament/)

Give Me Advice

Imagine you had the opportunity to give one piece of advice to a new Christian. What would it be? Advice is available from sources leading people in every possible direction. So how can you know what to say? How can you know that your advice is solid and worth listening to?

A wise English man several hundred years ago was asked this question. His response, “Watch and pray continually against pride.” He went on to write, “Beware even the appearance of pride! Let there be in you that lowly mind which was in Christ Jesus. Be clothed with humility. Let modesty appear in all your words and actions. One way we do this is to own any fault we have. If you have at any time thought, spoken, or acted wrong, do not refrain from acknowledging it. Never dream that this will hurt the cause of God – in fact, it will further it. Be open and honest when you are rebuked and do not seek to evade it or disguise it. Rather, let it appear just as it is and you will thereby not hinder but adorn the gospel.”

John Wesley wrote these words. They challenge me to own my inadequacies, embrace my deficiencies, and confess my transgressions. God is fully aware of who I am. Even more humbling, He knows what I am capable of doing, thinking, and becoming. By God’s grace I am saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Wesley’s advice to “watch and pray continually against pride” provides deep and nourishing wisdom.

Within Christian Endeavor we direct people to God’s Word, the Bible, to know God and His ways more intimately. Find the book of Philippians in the Bible and turn to chapter two. You will receive even more advice in dealing with our battle against pride.

African Journey: A C.E. trip to Nigeria and Egypt

NIGERIA

My journey began Tuesday, January 2, 2018 as I boarded a plane for Frankfurt, Germany that after a layover would transport me to Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria boasts Africa’s largest population and plentiful natural resources. Southern Nigeria welcomes Christian teaching while Muslim practices dominates Nigeria’s North (90% Muslim). Christianity’s explosive growth has especially occurred amongst charismatic congregations. Christian Endeavor truly holds a non-denominational position in Nigeria as pastors from various backgrounds follow C.E. because of its biblical platform. Currently about sixty churches connect with C.E. and a whole new region is opening that could greatly expand this work in Nigeria and a few churches over the border in the Republic of Benin.

I was greeted at the airport by Bishop Rev. Dr. Joseph O. Adeosun, C.E. Nigeria’s President as well as Dr. Toyin, VP for Nigeria. Bishop Adeosun has been the catalyst with the C.E. Nigeria efforts. The first C.E. Leadership Academy started on the evening of January 4. About one hundred and fifty people filled the church hall as Dr. Adeosun and I both offered welcome messages in between interpretive dances and praise worship choruses. After three hours together we all retired for the evening. The next morning approximately sixty people gathered to start the training. This number grew to about eighty by mid-morning. A format including lecture as well as small group interactive discussion was used. A longer break was taken at lunch but we covered significant material from morning until ending the day with dinner. The teachers included Bishop Adeosun, VP Modou Kanteh, and me.

Attendance was light at the start of the next day. We were confused that only fifteen people were present. We learned 98% of the Nigerian churches hold weekly prayer and worship services from 11PM to 4AM. Yes, you read that correctly! By 11AM most of the group had returned. Our day concluded at dinner time again. The sessions we planned seemed to truly impact the participants. In talking with VP for Africa Momodou Kanteh, he plans to identify several key leaders from the group and follow up with them to continue processing the material. We are hopeful that this will help them to further reinforce the messages with their people. I am receiving messages from participants that God used the training in a powerful manner.

Long range planning- developing parts of the world are starving for this level of training, however, they barely have the resources to pay for transport to the event. Considering lodging, food, and training materials makes this kind of event financially out of reach. An offering was taken one night and it amounted to $12! Recognize the average worker makes $50 per month here. We are called by God to make disciples of ALL nations. We are also called to Consider the Cost. Please pray with me as we live in the tension of carrying out C.E.’s purpose while living in the reality that we are a tremendously underfunded ministry. This event took place mostly because of a scholarship gift. Events beyond the Feb/Mar event in India and Lebanon may need to have funding from various donors to take place.

On Sunday we visited two C.E. churches. One was in Nigeria and the other was in the Republic of Benin. Both churches welcomed us with song and dance. Next we drove sixty kilometers to a new Nigerian C.E. “Zone”. This drive took over two hours. The roads have virtually fallen apart. Riding in the van can be compared with white water rafting. One person drives while others look for the rocks and pot holes that could break your axle like many other cars alongside the road. When we arrived there was a great ceremony. We were introduced to the regional King who was a pastor before taking on his monarchical role. He concluded our time together by explaining he has a plot of land to use for educating children and youth. Since twenty churches have closed in the area he sees young people not being trained for Christ. Then he asked us to think about receiving this land to start an education project. This was a generous offer. Unfortunately it is outside the scope of what we currently are able to do. We must covenant to pray about this need, however, because a Christian school in this region would touch numerous lives for Christ.

To close the Nigerian experience, it was humbling in many ways. When an airport guard asked for a bribe to allow the training manuals to clear immigration, I was humbled when a female police officer rescued me just in time. I was humbled to ride in the middle of the van for the safety of myself and the other passengers because spotting me could cause us to be targeted by criminals. I was humbled to sleep in a hotel room with rolling power outages where I needed to lock and bolt the door answering only for my contact as criminal activity and kidnapping are rampant. Finally, I was humbled by watching ten Nigerian children play soccer on a small church concrete pad with a tennis ball. The game continued with both sides displaying incredible skill until the ball split in half. The children ran away to find another game. I walked over to the “ball” only to discover it was actually an unripe orange that had fallen from a tree. Finally, I was humbled to meet so many wonderful servants of God involved with C.E. Nigeria. Dr. Adeosun and his son-in-law took special care to ensure my safety and the safety of those involved with the event.

EGYPT

Egypt’s one hundred million people mostly connect to Muslim teaching. Prayer chants rang out three times a day from the local Mosque’s loud speakers reminding me of the country’s vast spiritual need. The majority of Christians are Coptic which is a very traditional group resembling Catholicism. Coptic Christians have little emphasis on outreach.

I landed in Cairo and was transported three hours to Alexandria. I had productive meetings with my contact there during the next two days. The first day focused on explaining C.E. in great detail. The entire C.E. process was described so he could understand how it works in the local church. I had gone through the process with him with a ZOOM connection (online tool) but the personal connection allowed much more to be understood by him. He will be sharing about C.E. with his church but he thinks C.E. could assist refugees across the Mediterranean rim and across Europe because no one is giving refugees discipleship method assistance. Egyptian churches are slow to think about “OUT” as an important function of their ministry so C.E. could be slower to grow in Egypt.

The following day we focused on his ministry. He has a significant ministry with refugees in Turkey that speak Arabic. I have not mentioned his name for his protection as he makes several trips per year into a region that is 90% Muslim. His travel name is Joseph so we will use this to describe him. One of his functions is networking people who are doing refugee ministry. So I plan to connect him with Raffi Messerlianand, C.E. President in Lebanon, as well as some people in Germany who are reaching out to refugees through their local youth ministries. My time in Egypt was very short but the relational connection was well worth it. Joseph has also agreed to translate the Quick Start Manual into Arabic which means we will have an Arabic description of the C.E. Principles (Up, In, With, Out) and the pledge/promise in Arabic as well. This will not have the iPledge and TEAM Work Manual documents translated, but I am thrilled that the first step will be taken by translating the Quick Start.

Observing Christians in Nigeria and Egypt that face daily persecution brings deeper perspective to Christian commitment. Praise God for all the saints God has reached and connected with C.E. so together we can take steps to make God’s name great among the nations. Peace!

DC
Dr. Dave Coryell
General Secretary

Christmas at the Beach! Adult C.E. Retreat

Feeling the need to get away from it all? Join with other C.E. adults to celebrate “Christmas at the beach” … in May! Learn what is happening in Christian Endeavor in the USA and around the World with an update from director Dr. Dave Coryell. Hear inspiring Bible-based messages by Dr. Kirby Keller. And enjoy Christian musical artists Dawn & Randy Marks. And you don’t want to miss the fun banter between Dawn & emcee Frank Schock. REGISTRATION DEADLINE is MARCH 31, 2018. Basic retreat dates are May 8-10, 2018 with an extended retreat option starting May 7 for additional site-seeing. Click HERE for a flyer and registration form on our site, and video links from previous retreats.

Do You Still Trust Me?

OK, I’ve strung you along for three posts. It’s time to reveal where this is going. Do you Trust God? This simple question has numerous answers. What appears to be a Yes or No response is actually much more complex.

You might say “No” because you believe God exists but you are not sure you can put absolute faith and belief in something or someone who allows you or others close to you to endure pain. This is a fair response. People have wondered for centuries how a good God can allow evil to exist in the world He created and sustains. Please recognize this approach assists people in trusting the god of self. It tacitly communicates that the person’s agenda and viewpoints are more keen and on target than any views that could exist outside of self. We say that we should not have physical difficulties because a good God will not allow that to happen to us. My loved one should not have died because that is not what I wanted. I would have passed that test if God would have helped ME. I do not mean this next statement to be taken with a mean spirit. You are the “god” of your life. You are only using “God” as a place to channel the hurt and pain you have experienced from difficult life circumstances.

Another response to “Do you Trust God?” could be to say, “I don’t believe in God!” This approach means you have chosen something else to put your trust in. Maybe you believe a life force exists in all living beings that is supernaturally synced together like James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Another possibility is that you have placed yourself at the center of your life. Your trust is in yourself and you alone. How is that working out for you? The next time you experience hardship, heartache or loss remember this post. Relying upon self provides short-term sustenance and long-term wanting. Self cannot fill the void people have because all of us are wired for relationship.

I choose to Trust the Lord. Life continues to send encounters my way that create confusion. I will never be haughty enough to believe I have the answer for every question life creates or that my finite mind can handle all the information I would need to reconcile these many questions. The evidence God has provided in the Bible and through the experiences of my life are more than enough to over-shadow the questions I have not figured out and may not determine in this lifetime. May God give you the courage and faith to make the Lord your Trust. Trust me, it will be the best decision of your life!

CE World Convention 2018 registration website is live!

The registration website for the C.E. World Convention 2018 in San Diego is live now! Raptim Humanitarian Travel is honored to assist you with your preparations to attend the C.E. Convention. Please take time to read through each section of the website before registering. Informational tabs are across the top of the site. Click HERE for info and to register. We hope you can join us this July!

• (Region 1: Europe, Australia and Pacific, Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, Mexico)
• (Region 2: South America, India and any other countries from Asia)
• (Region 3: Africa)

Do You Trust Me Now?

Last month I wrote about living in a society that is devoid of trust. Trust has significantly eroded in America. Think about what has happened to labels. I used to be able to read labels such as Democrat/Republican, Conservative/Liberal, Lutheran/Presbyterian/Methodist/Mennonite and actually have an idea what they meant. Recently I read how the Food and Drug Administration in the USA requires all ingredients to be listed on the labels. However, if something is sprayed upon the bag that holds the “food” then this does not need to be listed. What!?! That is correct.

Trying to avoid BHA, BHT, and other harmful chemicals? They may be present even if the label doesn’t say so. Who is labeling the packaged food you eat? Who sponsored the advertisement you just read or heard? Who made the clothing you wear? Who endorsed the curriculum children are being taught in local schools? What did that news station just say? Who owns them again?

I think we can agree that the American Trust environment has taken a negative turn. However, buckle your seat belts ladies and gentlemen- it could be much worse! I am writing you from a hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. It is almost four in the afternoon and one of my hosts has been in line since early this morning in the attempt to buy gasoline so he could drive me around the city after several days of intense teaching and training. Nigeria, one of the globe’s greatest oil producers, bows at the mercy of corrupt politicians. One was recently caught stealing four billion dollars! It now takes two hours to drive less than forty miles. Bus sized potholes wait to wreck your vehicle and line it up with those abandoned as roadside ornaments. I was instructed to ride in the center of our van so criminals would not be attracted to attack me or those in our van because of my white skin. Each night, my host pleaded that I lock my hotel room door and bolt it promising not to leave and not to open the door for anyone until they returned in the morning. The trust situation may not be good in the USA, but it can get much worse!

We may not know who or what to trust as we traverse the cultural landscape. There will ultimately always be some situation that is more bleak and dire than our own. So in the midst of this uncertainty, let’s begin by defining Trust. At some point I’ll provide Webster’s definition but limited WiFi and rolling blackouts here in Lagos have eliminated this modern convenience.

For now we will say that trust is a person’s ability to put absolute faith and belief in an object, person or statement. I trust a chair will hold me because I believe and have faith that it will do so. I trust my wife to support and love me because she has done this consistently for more than 23 years. This is Trust. Sure, people sit on chairs that break. People have spouses that leave. The action of the one receiving trust does not in the moment diminish the attitude of the one who is trusting. For instance, I trust fully in the chair up to and including the final moment that it decides to collapse.

This brings us to the inevitable question- How can I trust God? I have an answer for you. Many will find it surprising, even infuriating, but you’ll have to wait until next time. Fortunately, because of extended time in my Nigerian hotel room, that message is already written!

Do You Trust Me?

Twenty-five years ago I sat in the movie theater amazed by an animated film with flying carpets, a blue genie and an exciting plot line. Disney’s Aladdin captured the attention of a generation with its encouragement to consider life differently through the song “A Whole New World.” So many teachable moments exist in Aladdin but two brief scenes combine to create a prophetic question haunting school halls, church children’s wings, public play grounds, shopping malls, and all electronic media devices. Twice in the movie young Aladdin reaches his hand down to Princess Jasmine and echoes this prophetic question, “Do you trust me?”

We live in a culture devoid of trust. Think about what we have seen unfold before our eyes. Things began to unravel for me when Jerry Sandusky, previous defensive coordinator for Penn State’s football team during the Joe Paterno (winningest coach at Division 1A of all time) era, was found guilty of molesting children in 2012 through the non-profit organization he started. The unraveling continued when Bill Cosby, 1980’s TV icon and comedian, was tried for his own list of inappropriate actions with women. Other situations came into public view, but nothing has compared to the last few months. Hollywood power brokers have been exposed, news anchors have fallen, and athletes are facing suspensions and litigation. While this has taken place, the second largest US terrorist event took place in Nevada when five hundred people were injured and fifty-nine killed by a shooting spree at an October Las Vegas concert. One month later twenty-six people were killed by a shooter at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Walk into almost any public school today and you are likely to find metal detectors, full time police officers and drug dogs. Enter most modern churches and find security systems with pictures on name badges for staff and printable name tags to make sure children are being picked up by the proper adult.

The answer to Aladdin’s prophetic question from a quarter century ago? ARE YOU KIDDING!! NO!!!!! We now live in a society without trust. This is how bad it has gotten. Each year our family at Thanksgiving enjoys watching the Macy’s parade. The very last parade moment is when Santa comes on a sleigh waving to the thousands of people lining the parade route and the millions watching on TV. This year, “perfectly” framed behind Santa as he appeared on the screen was the Victoria’s Secret billboard. I CANNOT EVEN TRUST THE HOLIDAY PARADE!! My spiritual life did not need to see this billboard and my boys certainly did not need it either. Do you Trust me? asks the media. No way! Do you trust me? asks the politicians that publicly call each other names. Do you trust me as a mentor and a hero? say the athletes. Do you trust me? says the North Carolina school teacher who graduated from a Christian University and then is fired two months after being hired because of a sex romp with a seventeen year old boy. Do you trust me? says the church that invests so much time building its bunkers to prove and protect its theology that little teaches their people that the true church is bigger than just them! Should it bring us great surprise when many children, teens and adults say “NO” when someone talks to them about God and says, “Do you trust Him?”

What does Trust even mean to the average person in 2017? How do we live in a culture devoid of trust? How can we share about Christ with people and invite them to trust Him when trust is not available for view in the public eye? Tune in for my next several posts and I’ll let you know how, but one question first . . . Do you trust me?

Somebody is Watching

Walking alone through your neighborhood at night and suddenly you get that feeling. Strolling from store to store on a shopping trip with some friends and you feel it again. Jogging as the sun rises in the wooded park near your house and once more the hair stands up on your neck. Many times when you experience this sensation there is no one around. Other times, somebody is watching you! This is not a blog to cause worry as Halloween approaches and people scurry to buy pumpkins to carve and candy to distribute. Our media does a fine job in the worry creation department. My purpose is to reflect on a trend I have witnessed in many teenagers and young adults today. Increasingly, there seems to be an attitude that says, “I will do what I want and if others don’t like it . . . IT DOESN’T MATTER TO ME!”

I have heard variations of this phrase such as:

  • I don’t care what they think
  • I can do whatever I want
  • Why should I care what they think?

Contrary to popular opinion, IT DOES MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK!!!!!

Paul writes a letter to mentor Titus as he guides a church. The second chapter of the book that bears Titus’ name specifically begins explaining how people should be taught in order to lead godly lives. Paul addresses older men and women, younger men and women, and finally slaves.  “Slaves” is a word most people tend to avoid. However, slaves were a normal part of New Testament times. Slaves were owned by a master and were subject to this person’s authority. To slaves, Paul gives Titus these words in Titus 2:9-10, “be subject to your masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

Somebody’s watching!! The principle Paul unveils here connects attitude and actions with a believer’s ability to influence others with an “attractive” gospel. Let me interpret- God is our master and we are all subject to His authority. When people say it doesn’t matter what other people think, they are normally trying to justify their right to do whatever they want to do. The world loves us to have this idea because it moves us toward worshiping ourselves instead of honoring God as our master. People make choices about what to say, eat, wear and do based on whether it feels good to them. Those looking to follow God will humble themselves and consider what people who do not know Christ are thinking. Will those people see something “attractive”? Live your life well and remember . . . Somebody’s Watching!

I’m Leaving Without You!!!!

Once a month I dedicate a day to praying and planning. As part of that routine, when the weather cooperates, I walk and pray. Recently I was walking and praying near a beautiful park down the road from our house. I overheard a mother calling to her two-year old son, Tucker, as I meandered along the park trail. The gist of the conversation went like this. The mother called for Tucker and threatened to drive away if he did not come right away. Quoting her statement, “I’m leaving without you!!!!” Tucker, feeling no immediate threat, called the mother’s bluff and crawled up the amazing climbing apparatus. The mother, undaunted in the battle of wills she had created, started the car. Tucker continued his pursuit of happiness as he felt much more excitement from the climb-nasium than he did from the thought of going home. Mother, feeling as if she could not abandon her plan, backed the car up and began to drive away. Tucker, seeing the exodus of his mother, begins to wail at the top of his little lungs. Slamming on the brakes, Mother leaves the car in the middle of the parking lot and hustles over to console her despondent son. Tucker wins!

There are no perfect parents. I made more than my fair share of bone-headed decisions in my two parenting decades. The situation I observed provides a strong analogy for our relationship with God. God provides a path that requires us to surrender. We have to lay down any authority we think we have, humble ourselves, and follow God’s path. How often does God say, “Hey, I’m heading this way!” Then we turn and invest our time with useless pursuits that will not matter in eternity. God’s will is being done. His plan will carry on with or without you. God wants you to walk with Him so that when you play, you play with Him in His way. When it is time to go, you are willing to leave. Taking God’s path requires us to remember God’s words in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” The next time you witness a battle of wills, consider your own will. Pause for a moment and listen to hear if God is calling, “I’m leaving without you!!!!”