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Three Things Christians Can Learn From Muslims: A Trip to Pakistan and Back

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

I recently returned from Pakistan. There has been great discord between Christians and Muslims because of our differences and our history with each other. I thought my readers would enjoy a positive spin on the relationship so below you will read three insights Christians can gain from Muslims before I offer one parting word.

Insight #1: Generosity

I had numerous encounters with Muslims during my stay in Pakistan. Since this is the country’s dominant religion and the country’s name is “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan” you should not find this surprising. Uber drivers, hotel workers, vendors and people serving at tourist attractions tended to be Muslim people. When introduced to these people I was unsure how they would respond to a tall, white, bald foreigner. First I met a family that owns several manufacturing plants including denim clothing, rice mills, bottled water and confectioneries. Following my tour I was given numerous pairs of jeans, boxes of candy, water and many smiling selfie pictures. When I inquired with my host his comment was, “In my experience the Muslims out-give the Christians.” Another day I met a Pediatrician from a local hospital. He learned about medical missions being run by a local Christian pastor. After going through a screening process he began volunteering his time a few times a year to do eighteen hour days, seeing one hundred children patients, and writing numerous prescriptions. This young Muslim doctor was willing to do this alongside Christians because people needed help. A generous spirit runs through the hearts of many Muslim people.

Insight #2: Devotion

The news media has taught us that Muslims are all fanatics lurking at our doors waiting to bomb our public places and fire machine guns into the air. My experience in Pakistan was that Muslim people are very kind and devoted people. Please understand, I believe their devotion is misplaced. They pray five times a day and carry out other behaviors because they believe they need to keep the vengeance of Allah at bay. However, it was encouraging to converse with a taxi driver who gave all the praise to his god for providing his taxi. He also discussed how after he dropped me off that he would be pulling into a parking spot so he could do his afternoon prayers. I silently prayed for this man because I realized that a proper understanding of God could make this devoted person a great asset for Christ and the Church. It is imperative that we look at Muslim people as people. Yes, there are fanatical Muslims just as their are fanatical Christians, but the people I met were kind and devoted to the god that they know.

Insight #3: Innovation

Many people believe that anyone living in a country ending in the letters “stan” must wear a turban, veil, ride a camel, and daily avoid dust storms while giving the middle name Ishtar or Muhammad to all of their children. This is so far from the truth! While I was in Pakistan I walked through three story malls with hundreds of brands. I sat in a food court with most of the fast food chains from the USA. I went through a store that would have rivaled any of the Walmart, Target, or Costco superstores in my home country. Along with this there are trampoline places, mini-golf courses, large cineplexes, amusement parks and more. I walked through a seven story electronics mall with 900 computer stores. Yes, contrary to your thinking, these people communicate with smart phones and not just carrier pigeons and falcons! Our media has caused us to have a false impression of the innovation of places like Pakistan. I am interested to see where this innovation takes them in the next ten years.

Final Thoughts

Now, before I receive countless emails and “unfriend” requests, let me part with this statement. Muslim people do not know the way to God. They believe by doing enough good things that their god, Allah, will be appeased. We worship different gods, but our approach should follow 1 Peter 3:15 where we are always prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and we will share this with gentleness and respect. Pray for Muslims to have visions of Jesus in their dreams. I have one friend that came to Christ in this way from a Muslim background. May God grow us in our ability to love all people as God’s creatures and then lovingly direct them toward Him with our attitudes, words and actions.

Thank You Patriot Way Participants!

Celebrating our Successful First Annual

Patriot Way 2018 logo

Patriot Way
C.E. 5 Mile Run & 1 Mile Walk
Saturday, November 10th, 2018
Ephrata, PA

run banner
Thank you to all of our event participants: runners, walkers, volunteers, business sponsors, sign sponsors & donors! We appreciate your partnership in helping to make our event a huge success.

  • Sponsors: Windsor Christian Academy, Koller Chiropractic, Beers + Hoffman Architecture, Arrow Plumbing & Mechanical, Chikes Orthodontics, WebTek Computer Company, Fulton Elementary School, Four Seasons Produce Inc.
  • Donors: Chester County Run Store, Dairy Queen Ephrata, Dennis Kreitz, Domino’s Ephrata, Four Seasons, Giant Ephrata, Inside Track, Javateas, LA Fitness Lancaster, Planet Fitness Ephrata, Redner’s Ephrata, Sharp Shopper Ephrata, The Historic Smithton Inn, Udder Choice, VFW Ephrata, Weis Markets Ephrata, Wendy’s Ephrata, Ephrata Area Education Foundation
  • Sign Sponsors: Carole Ashby, Dave & Jen Coryell, Nancy Coryell, Robin Greenly, Lori Henne, Nancy Kremm, Colleen Ossman, Mindy Sheaffer, David Simpson, Jon & Karen Stewart, Carla Weitzel
  • Results: click to download PDF file
  • Top Female Winner (video): Sarah Delia
  • Top Male Winner (video): Andrew Fetter
    DSC 0176 winners
  • Link to More Photos: in our online album

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, November 9, 2019

 #5mileCErun  #run4CE

2 Ways How November 10th Could Change Your Life

Saturday November 10, 2018 at 9AM in Ephrata, Pennsylvania a five mile race begins, followed by a one mile walk starting at 9:10am.  “For God and Country” describes why we invite you to invest your time as a runner or your finances as a sponsoring partner in this event. “For God” refers to the sponsoring organization, Christian Endeavor. This ministry is Unleashing Youth for Christ and Church in several U.S. states and thirty countries through its powerful but simple youth development approach. “and Country” explains that a portion of event proceeds directly assist some of the 100 veterans and their families living below the poverty line in the three municipalities covered by the Race (Akron Borough, Ephrata Borough, Ephrata Township). Come race the PATRIOT WAY and make a difference “for God and Country.” Click on the following link for more information or to register for the event: bit.ly/5mileCErun

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/)

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.

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)

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!

Golfers Tee It Up At Annual Outing

Christian Endeavor hosted their 5th annual Golf Outing fundraiser at Honeybrook Golf Course on Thursday, May 18. In contrast to the very first golf outing, which was very cold, everyone appreciated a sunny day to enjoy some good competition for a great cause. With the highest attendance yet, participants enjoyed a four-man scramble style tournament where they also took a break before hole 1 for a putting contest. Christian Endeavor has a goal to raise attendance to an all-time high of 80 people next year.

We would like to recognize the generosity of our golf outing sponsors.

Platinum Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Charlie & Esther Popjoy
Gold Sponsor: Mr. Tracy Matthews
Silver Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Walter & Sarah Styer

Partner Sponsors: Sporting the Stars, Everything Printing, Heat4Less

Hole Sponsors: Dr. & Mrs. Dave & Jen Coryell, Mr. & Mrs. Andy & Donna Dittrick, Mr. Robert O. Jones, Dr. & Mrs. Bruce & Linda Rothenberger, Mr. David Simpson, Boardman-Hamilton Company, CIP Solutions, Freddy’s Family Fun Center, Harvey Prescott Insurance, Meschter Insurance, Ryan, Morton & Imms, Windsor Baptist C.E. Youth Group.

Patron Sponsor: Geppert Bros., Inc.

Honorary Hole Sponsors: R-V Industries, Lancaster Bible College, Messiah College, Point University, Union University, Mount Airy Christian Academy, Central Schwenkfelder Church Lansdale, First UMC Ephrata, Grace EC Akron, Leesburg Presbyterian Church, Montgomery Square UMC North Wales, Trinity EC Boyertown.

Prize & Silent Auction Donors: Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, Fensty’s Flea Market, J.O.Y. Bookstore, Schaefferstown, Kramer Portraits, Ozzy’s Family Fun Center, Pep Boy’s Pottstown, Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center, Shady Maple Farm Market, Sight & Sound Theaters, Strasburg Railroad Company, Styer Propane, The Swamp Door Antiques, Tom Sturgis Pretzels, U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team, Village Greens Miniature Golf, Waltz Golf Farm, Wimpy & Dee’s Classic Diner. Goody Bag Donors: Bob’s Bread Barn, Freed’s Market, Herr Foods, Inc., Hole-in-One International, Messiah College, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Sharp Shopper, Turkey Hill Dairy.

Special Thanks to Our Great Hosts: Honeybrook Golf Club

Mark your calendar for next year’s Golf Outing • May 17, 2018

Click HERE for team photos (more pics to be added soon)

Rediscovering Grace

Finding agreement points across large cultural demographics requires keen judgment today. A verse almost every human being benefits from remembering is Luke 6:41, “Why do you look at the speak of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” We need more Grace! We see everything wrong with other people but want a free pass every time we fall short. Grace is vanishing from society. Absent from our homes, schools, and work environments; athletic arenas, and roadways; grace has disappeared! (The next several posts will look at rediscovering grace in these places.)

Recently a long-time youth worker friend described his youth group challenge. He found success for several years growing teen disciples by guiding them through the Christian Endeavor tenets, specifically the pledge and practices. These teens graduated and a new student core emerged. About twenty teens normally appear at the church’s weekly youth gathering. He diligently instructed the teens on the C.E. pledge and practices. This group’s defeated reaction toward the pledge over months of training confused him. Why was something so successful with one group having trouble getting off the ground with new students. As I asked questions about the teens, I learned the previous group had been primarily from families connected to the church. Both mother and father lived in most of their homes. Eighteen of the twenty new teens came from divorced homes who were also not “church kids” but came from the surrounding community.

After processing this we realized grace was one reason the C.E. approach stalled. Grace was missing from the new student equation! The previous teens heard the C.E. practices “Pray, Study, Serve, Share, Worship” and accepted a challenge to grow closer to God. The new teens heard the same words and recoiled feeling weighted down by authority and unrealistic expectations. In essence, the first group saw opportunity where the second group experienced what I am calling the vanishing grace syndrome (VGS). The C.E. practices are only what God asks of all believers, so how do we prepare youth for lives as Christ’s disciples?

Traditional youth ministry practices use events and periodic gospel presentations to reach teenagers. Teens with VGS may attend events and listen to “the sinner’s prayer”, but what they are really longing for is authentic relationships over time. They need to absorb the gospel bit by bit gradually moving toward a place where they are prepared to hear more. This will be a place where they are encouraged to “Pray, Study, Serve, Share, and Worship.” Instead of recoiling from something that feels legalistic and wreaking with authoritative overtones, they will embrace a path toward intimacy with the God they are beginning to know.

So in the end youth workers, parents and pastors: reaching many VGS teens (and increasingly many adults are in this camp as well) requires patiently modeling the very grace people do not understand. Then what seems to have vanished, through Holy Spirit power, may become visible to them.

By the way, Christian Endeavor begins its work on the new resource “Grace Encounters” in 2017. Helping people guide VGS teens to embrace grace and take steps toward intimacy with Christ.

20 Seconds at the Gym . . .

Early last week two muscle massed men were working out at the community gym. One man said to the other, “Hey, I just went to that huge church (actually said the name of a local mega-church). It was like a movie theater! Lights, big screens, loud music . . . it had everything except a smoke machine.” Second man, “Yeah, that is better than all the old stuff that doesn’t make any sense. You know, when that church building was built, I was really hoping it would be a movie theater.”

It is amazing how listening to people for twenty seconds can provide a different perspective. I think it is fantastic that across God’s church there is room for all kinds of faith expressions. Some of these expressions are steeped in tradition with robes, choirs, candles and organs. Others are more modern with video projectors, lighted stages, bands, and movie theater stadium seating. Two things make these forms work. First is relationships. Organs yesterday, electric guitars today, who knows what the instrument of choice will be in the future.  One thing is certain; it will change!! When it changes, the church will remain in tact through the connections people build with one another. One reason Christian Endeavor works is because this youth discipleship process emphasizes relationships. Relationships are built between adults who coach youth in ministry tasks. Relationships are emphasized through students regularly gathering. Relationship with God is developed through emphasizing the C.E. Practices- Pray, Study, Serve, Share, Worship. Relationships make the church! There has never been a church without a relationship; at least two people are always required!

The second thing making churches work is God’s Word, the Bible. Stop following the Bible’s teaching, or merely suggest the Bible is a book of stories, and uncontrollable conflict ensues. Suddenly you have people ignoring verses that either don’t make sense, challenge them too much, or just disagree with the way people want to live. This is life by chaos. Unity in this environment is impossible. Each person governs life by their own rules. Imagine a gym where every person tried to grab the same set of dumbbells at the same time all claiming equal rights in the moment. Chaos! A church committed to Biblical truth is capable of communion, connection, and calm in the midst of life’s chaos. Teenagers do not see this kind of peace as they look at society at large. They see confusion. They see a world without truth. What we can model to the two men at the gym as well as women in the park and children at the playground is that we, the followers of Christ, have peace. Our peace comes from knowing the Truth. Psalm 119:32 reads, “I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.” Freedom comes from following truth. Finding relationship in Christ with other followers of that truth is what makes a church. It is a church that all the music, lights, and latest technology will never ever equal.