Tag Archives: devotional

If You’re Thankful

By Carl Stagner

In 1985, Laura Numeroff wrote a book that would become a modern children’s classic. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie soon led to numerous children’s books that filled in the blanks of a variety of “if-then” statements. For example, “if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.” I’ve discovered the same theme in my daily life. Continue reading

A Year of Living with Less: Ohio Pastor’s Family Accepts Radical Challenge

The Deeter family.

By Carl Stagner

No more trinkets or toys. No more new clothes or that pair of shoes you’ve just got to have. No more DVDs, home décor, or kitchen appliances—even if they’re on sale! Absolutely no more trips to the department store or the mall simply to browse the selection—that would be too tempting. Josh Deeter, pastor of First Church of God in Tallmadge, Ohio, and his wife Emily, accepted the challenge early this year to make 2018 their “year of living with less.” The goal: to stop buying things for an entire year. Don’t worry—they’re still buying deodorant, tooth paste, food to eat, and necessary items that break. Half-way through the year, they’ve learned a lot about themselves, how much God has truly blessed them, and that living with less can mean living for so much more. Continue reading

AZ Churches Coordinate Discipleship Strategy, Share Resources Nationwide

Matt Anderson uses the Journal with the Bible for a daily devotion.

By Carl Stagner

The Phoenix Collective was born out of a desire between Arizona Church of God congregations McDowell Mountain, Arcadia City, and Desert City—each with similar missional DNA and past working relationships—to be stronger together. While no legal binding exists, the three churches have formed an LLC to strategically share administrative services, payroll services, and health insurance. Beyond the practical nuts and bolts, there was a desire to be more creative in each church’s discipleship strategy. What if they united to produce a tool that would boost the effectiveness of discipleship among their three congregations? And what if other churches wanted to get involved? Last year, these what-ifs became reality as the first Journal was released. Since then, the results have been perhaps beyond anyone’s expectations. Continue reading

Columbus Convention Host Pastor a Husband, Father First

Lady “C” and Bishop Clarke.

By Carl Stagner

Timothy Clarke wears a lot of hats, and not the kind that cover his head. For example, he’s the founder and chief prelate of Berean Fellowship, an international assembly and partnership with pastors of small to mid-sized churches and young pastors, and those new to pastoral ministry. He’s served as president of the National Inspirational Youth Convention. He’s the author of numerous books, including Bind Up Your Broken Heart, available from Warner Press. His title of bishop (also translated in Scripture as overseer or elder) is no misnomer; his spiritual oversight and influence is widespread across the Church of God. Among his numerous other roles, he’s served as senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio—host church for the next Regional Convention (June 19–20)—for the past thirty-six years. But of all the hats Timothy Clarke wears, his favorite are husband, father, and grandfather. Continue reading

From the Archives: In the Studio of the Soul

By Elsie Egermeier

Up two flights of steps I climbed one day to visit the cozy studio of my artist friend. There I found him quietly at work. The canvas before him was bare when I arrived, but soon it began to take on the initial appearance of a painting. I watched with impatient interest in the development of the scene. A stroke here, another there (apparently meaningless to me were some of them), here a deep hue, there a light shade, but all the while the painting grew more harmonious. I noted the unhurried progress of my friend. “Why doesn’t he splash on the paint a bit more lively?” I wondered. Continue reading

Twenty Pastors Combine Efforts, Offer Movement Free Holiness Devotional

By Carl Stagner

Three pastors walk into a restaurant. They sit down, enjoy lunch together, and chat about life and ministry. Then they start imagining. What if? What would happen if a handful of Church of God ministers came together to create a devotional resource on one of the Movement’s founding emphases, such as holiness? What if younger and older pastors, as well as missionaries and seminary professors, from different backgrounds, all contributed to the final product? What if, then, this resource were offered to the Church of God at no cost? No joke, no kidding! This meeting of longtime ministry colleagues John Mattern, Jonathan Frymire, and David Aukerman turned out to be the catalyst for the creation of a devotional on the topic of holiness, designed for use between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Continue reading

Subject to Jesus: Louisiana Pastor Reflects on ‘Jesus is the Subject’

By Stephen Nelson

Jesus is the subject. Yes, a recurring theme on my blog, in my social media feed, in my sermons, and in my conversations. This is because this has become the constant theme of my life. It’s Easter weekend, and our senses are more in-tune with Jesus. It brings to mind questions about empires, crucifixion, and the resurrection. And also, are Jesus and the Easter Bunny friends? And, why do bunnies lay multi-colored eggs once a year? Continue reading

Six-Week Devotional Journal Coming from Warner Press

Spiritual_Apps_COVER_FORWEB

The six weeks before Easter are an ideal time to renew our Christian discipleship practices. In early February, Warner Press will release A Devotional Journal for Daily Spiritual Apps to guide Christians in this Easter season tradition. Continue reading

IMPACT Materials Now Available: Reaching Your School for Christ

IMPACT_reach_schools_curriculum_logo2014

It is here!

Impact is a six-week curriculum and campaign that challenges your ministry to be world changers and to show Jesus to their friends at school.

Months ago the campus ministry team caught a vision of empowering students to impact their school for Christ. What if a few students got serious about impacting their school? What could God do in that school, community, or city?

This month we begin a campaign to get students across North America to be missionaries in their schools. Continue reading

Restraining Our Inner Grouch

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

In my younger days, I had an inner crabby monster that did not always stay behind locked doors. Sometimes it sprang out to startle small children, friends, and family members. I so often felt like Oscar the Grouch, Sesame Street’s shaggy garbage-can crank, that I probably should have worn a hairy, green, three-piece suit on pastoral calls. Continue reading