Author Archives: chogministries

Joy Comes in the Mourning: Houston Church Finds Hope Amid Loss

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By Serena Ellens

“…The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21 NKJV). Often cited in times of trial or difficulty, these famous words perfectly embody the attitude of Houston First Church of God during the past few months. The trials began with severe flooding in the church, which was due to the heavy rainfall and resulting damaged drainage pipe that burst in the roof above the youth room. Filling the church with one to three inches of standing water, the flood damaged numerous areas of the building and required that much of it be gutted and completely redone (drywall and insulation included).

Then the church was struck again, this time with the traumatic and sudden loss of their lead pastor, John Miller. After suffering a stroke on June 2, Miller passed away a few days later, leaving his congregation behind while he went to be with the Lord. Continue reading

Quartet Takes CHOG Heritage Music Beyond the Movement

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By Carl Stagner

One night at a little Baptist church in Tennessee, a team of Church of God musicians, worship leaders, and pastors proclaimed the message of Christ and the Church of God in song. After a particularly meaningful song, the quartet’s pianist spoke up regarding the problem of suicide in our culture today—how two young ladies had recently committed suicide back home. Responding to the tugging of the Holy Spirit, a lady within the sound of the pianist’s voice stood up to testify that she had come to that same depressed place in her life—it seemed like giving up was the next step. But God had told her to come to church that night, and this young lady’s life was forever changed. The quartet’s name is Common Bond, and theirs is a bond of perfectness reflecting the love and power of Jesus wherever they go. Continue reading

Breakthroughs at the Border: Spiritual Harvest along the Rio Grande

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By Carl Stagner

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, God throws you a curve ball. For nine years, Abner Rodriguez and his wife had been praying for a house. After only two months to settle into their new home, God revealed his plan to send the family to Del Rio, Texas, to plant a church. It would be Abner’s first church plant in the United States, though for a decade he’d been a highly successfully church planter and pastor of some two thousand people spread out among twenty sites in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras. An inflatable bed hasn’t been the most comfortable sleeping arrangement, and the added commute between churches has been far from pleasant. Nevertheless, the blessing of being on the frontier of revival among our Hispanic brothers and sisters has been worth every mile and trial. Continue reading

CHOG TraffickLight: Oklahoma Adult Group Unites for the Cause

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By Carl Stagner

The millennials aren’t the only ones championing social causes these days. In Oklahoma, one senior adult ministries group came together around the cause for freedom. Of course, they’re not addressing the human trafficking epidemic to feel good about themselves; they’re genuinely concerned about the human condition and the well-being of those made in the image of God. Faith produces action, and the seniors of the Church of God in Oklahoma have followed up their prayers for CHOG TraffickLight with a generous donation. Continue reading

CHOG TraffickLight: Stripped Love Offers Sunday Suppers

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By Katy Hagerman

Since women who work in the sex trade often work from late on Saturday to early Sunday morning, a traditional church service on Sunday morning just doesn’t work for them. Stripped Love, the ministry of CHOG TraffickLight led by Kimberly Majeski in Anderson, Indiana, came up with a creative response—Sunday Suppers. This new initiative began in June, allowing these women to come to church and fellowship, but at a nontraditional time. Sunday Suppers have been held from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, and include free child care for the women and all-you-can-eat food. Instead of a tradition Sunday sermon, Sunday Suppers is similar to a devotion time with the women reading from the Bible, sharing stories and struggles, and praying for each other. Continue reading

From 25 to 125 in 1 Year

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By Carl Stagner

Just one year ago, Jason Jordan and his family took the reins of leadership at West Side Church of God in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Average Sunday morning attendance in August 2014 was down to 25. The church had entered into a season of decline and discouragement. As the average age of the congregation climbed, cobwebs formed in the baptistery. Flash-forward one year—125 people gather for worship each week, the cobwebs were swept out of the baptistery out of necessity, and up to fourteen infants recently needed care in the church’s nursery. Continue reading

CHOG Convention 2015 Videos Available

By Carl Stagner

Since the landmark 2015 Church of God Convention, Church of God congregations and individuals have been looking forward to the release of the videos of the sermons. We’re pleased to announce that the videos are available online—watch them for free! All ten main services, excluding worship music, are uploaded. Those who attended and those who were unable to attend can now relive—or catch up on—those powerful, life-changing moments. DVDs and CDs can be ordered by calling Church of God Ministries at 800-848-2464. Continue reading

Church of God in Jamaica Dedicates Olson Memorial Chapel

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By Carl Stagner

In April 2014, Jim Lyon joined the Church of God in Jamaica to celebrate one hundred years of ministry. During the Jamaican General Assembly, a ground-breaking took place on the site of the Olson Memorial Chapel—named after the family that came from the United States in 1907 with the message of the Church of God. On the last Sunday in July, the Church of God in Jamaica celebrated once again as construction on the church was completed in an amazing six months. Though the journey was not easy, Adinhair Jones, executive chairman of the Church of God in Jamaica, saw evidence of God at work the entire way. Continue reading

Do Something: Putting Faith into Action in St. Joseph, Michigan

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By Emily Ploetz

Action. This small word can be strongly defined as “an exertion of power or force” on Dictionary.com. There is no greater example of the kind of action that God calls us to than the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Neither of the religious leaders were willing to exert any energy into helping the beaten man. But a Samaritan exerted as much power as he could to help a complete stranger. How many times does the church walk past those who are hurting and only pray that things will get better? As the hands and feet of Jesus, there is incalculable potential to do something.

A few years ago, leaders from First Church of God in St. Joseph, Michigan, traveled to California to listen to Pastor Miles McPherson, author of the book Do Something! Make Your Life Count. This book is about how important it is for the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus and reach out into the community. Pastor David Colp, and Chris Britton, the missional outreach director, were both inspired by this book, and decided to make change a reality in their community. Continue reading

Plovdiv Perspectives: Devout Muslim Accepts Jesus

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By Kathy Rankin Simpson

Dave and Kenneth met with the “Pernovo” congregation to discuss plans for the August youth camp. They were pleased to learn that seven youth and one adult will participate, but another blessing awaited them. Dave and Kenneth were introduced to “Ali” who shared his fascinating testimony. Born and raised in a Muslim family in Pernovo, Ali had no contact with the Christian church. At fifteen years old, the Islamic age of maturity, he devoted himself to the study of the Qur’an. Ali’s level of literacy and desire to read is quite unusual in his community. Although Muhammad recommended that Muslims also read the five books of Moses, the Psalms of David and the four Gospels, Ali concentrated only on the words of the Qur’an. Continue reading

It Takes a Team: An Interview with CHOG Ministries’ Xen Riggs

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By Carl Stagner

How much do you know about what goes on inside the office at Church of God Ministries? Who conducts necessary office work so others may travel the world with the hope of Christ? It’s the behind-the-scenes work that enables Church of God Ministries to carry out the work of Christ. When you support the unrestricted portion of the World Ministries Budget, you support our missionaries, our projects at home and abroad, and so much more. In the following interview, get to know one of the faces behind the scenes. His name is Xen Riggs, and your support of the “basic budget” makes his vital ministry possible. Continue reading

Choosing Jesus Over Porn: A North Carolina Pastor’s Victory

By Carl Stagner

No one wants to talk about it. It’s silently eating away at the souls of our teens, our men (and women), and even our younger children. Our Sunday school teachers aren’t immune. Our board members and elders aren’t immune. Our pastors aren’t immune. Why aren’t we talking about it? The world is. Lately, so is Aaron Holman, pastor of youth and young adults at New River Community Church of God in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Ordained in July, this Christ-centered leader is boldly sharing his own struggle with pornography so others may find freedom. Continue reading

CHOG Pastors Offer Perspective, Prayers for Charleston, South Carolina

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By Carl Stagner

June 17, 2015, was yet another dark day for all of us in the United States of America. Searing pain was felt across the land, especially for those who lost loved ones in one of the largest mass shootings ever to take place inside the doors of a church. In the days that followed, the Church of God encouraged believers to spend focused times in prayer for families of the victims, for the safety of our churches, for reconciliation, and for the future of our country. As heinous acts of racism and persecution against Christians continue to rise in our world, the Church of God stands on its founding principles of holiness and unity with the Prince of Peace as our common subject. Two examples of a holy, loving response to the June 17 tragedy come from Brownsville Community Church of God in Charleston’s neighbor-to-the-north, Summerville; and the Church of God in Varnville, South Carolina. Continue reading

Independent by Design, Cooperative by Choice: Yearbook and Registration

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By Carl Stagner

It’s not a census. It’s not Social Security. It has nothing to do with the title on your car, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ve just signed a creed, signed up for selective service, or directed shoppers to buy pink onesies for your newborn. It has been said that we Church of God congregations function independently by design, but cooperatively by choice. That means that we don’t have to work together, but we choose to cooperate to further the kingdom of God. We know we can’t do it alone. Yet we don’t know very much about ourselves if ministers and churches overlook the need for annual registration—registration that has historically helped Church of God Ministries produce a Yearbook. Continue reading

I Can See! A Story of Hope from the Mission Field

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By Lori Nicholas

Jackson Inyangala. I may not always remember that name, but I’m sure I’ll remember him for a very long time. Jackson is a student here at KIST [Kima International School of Theology, Kenya] who came to the clinic one day stating, “My teacher said I should come see you for my eyes.” He went on to tell me that other students could read what was written on the chalkboard from their seats, but he had to walk up to the board to read it. Continue reading