Norberto Obermann (right) with wife Claudia, son Pedro.
By Carl Stagner
It all began with a prayer. A big and bold prayer—that God would lead Norberto Obermann to do something so challenging it could not be done alone. That, without God, it would simply be impossible. Born in Argentina, and having pastored there and in Brazil for the better part of three decades, Norberto would soon see what happens when such prayers are offered up in faithful surrender. Through a variety of unfolding events, he and his family would be called to pastor North Modesto Church of God in Modesto, California. The quadrilingual pastor—yes, he can speak four languages!—was a perfect fit for the rapidly evolving demographics of the north-central California city. It all made sense to the church and the Obermanns. But God didn’t answer their prayer in the way they were expecting. Instead, they embarked on an adventure that would last two years. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Western
Tagged adventure, application, Argentina, assimilation, bilingual, bold, Brazil, CA, California, CBH, Christensens, Claudia Obermann, cross-cultural, faith, historic, history in the making, hurdles, immigration, international, Jim Lyon, journey, language, languages, Latin America, Mario Hort, Modesto, multicultural, multilingual, Norberto Obermann, North Modesto Church of God, Northern California, overseas, Paul Dreger, Pedro Obermann, pray, prayer, prayerful, precedent, quadrilingual, risk, South America, The Church of God of Northern California Association, trial, visa, waiting
Congressman Steve Russell speaks at MACU on January 23.
By Whitney Knight
In his first public appearance since leaving office this month, former U.S. House of Representatives member Steve Russell (R-OK) spoke at Mid-America Christian University today on the life and legacy of pastor and civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In his address, Russell called King “one of the greatest Americans” and emphasized his devout Christian faith. He said that King’s belief in God is still contested even today by the former preacher’s detractor. “He was the example of courage and a target of hate,” Russell said. “He was used by God to rally a nation.” Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Colleges & Universities
Tagged chapel, civil rights, college, congress, Congressman, faith, higher education, House of Representatives, MACU, Martin Luther King Jr, Mid-America Christian University, MLK, OK, OKC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, racism, speaker, Steve Russell, Whitney Knight
Photo: First Church mortgage going up in flames.
By Carl Stagner
Two thousand years ago, Jesus paid the debt we could not pay. His victory over death became our victory, setting us free to experience new life and share it with others. Until freedom reigns, debt has a way of holding us back, enslaving us to our past. First Church of God in Jefferson City, Missouri, found themselves in this very predicament. While thankful for the grace that covers their spiritual debt, the debt that stared them down, barring the way forward, was financial. This debt kept them from experiencing God’s best and embracing the future he’d planned for them. Then, early last year, the capital city congregation fixed their eyes on Christ and boldly stepped out of the boat. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged bold, building campaign, celebration, debt, expansion, faith, financial freedom, goal, Jefferson City, Jesus, Joe Gregory, Joseph Gregory, Missouri, MO, mortgage burning, stewardship
Photo: Pastor Kevin (second from right) with state government staff.
By Carl Stagner
On March 11, the pastor of Accokeek First Church of God in Accokeek, Maryland, represented his congregation during testimony before the Maryland State General Assembly in Annapolis. Kevin Wayne Johnson was humbled to present the church’s plans to help bring about community transformation, even if just for a few minutes. Recently the church was one of three in their entire district to be selected to receive bond bills to enhance the lives of their neighbors. While it was certainly exciting to speak before a gathering of state senators, it was even more exciting to first hear of the funds that would come their way. But for Pastor Kevin, neither experience can compare to the thrill of new opportunities to see lives changed for the cause of Christ. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Northeast
Tagged Accokeek, bond bills, Center of Excellence, community, discipleship, district, evangelism, faith, First Church of God, funding, funds, government, grants, Great Commission, Kevin Wayne Johnson, Maryland, outreach, reclaim your neighborhood, Senator C. Anthony Muse
By Carl Stagner
Cannon Elementary School is exactly one mile from Community Church of God in Danville, Illinois. One mile was just too close to ignore the ten-mile long list of difficulties a school faces from year to year. A couple of years ago, the Holy Spirit placed a burden on the hearts of the missions team at Community to begin reaching out to the faculty, students, and staff of Cannon Elementary. Today, the school has come to recognize that if they are in need, the church is available. Now the church has discovered that the school is there for them, too. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged Cannon Elementary, CHOG TraffickLight, church and state, Community Church of God, community outreach, community service, Danville, drums, education, faith, human trafficking, IL, Illinois, Jeremy Zerkle, Jessica Zerkle, school
Photo: Donna Thomas
By Carl Stagner
Can you imagine taking Bibles into mainland China? Or negotiating the planting of Christian churches there? Can you imagine being met with fixed bayonets and machine guns upon arrival in Guatemala? Can you picture speaking to the inmates at a Latvian penitentiary? Or the prime minister of Guyana asking for your help? Donna Thomas can answer each with a yes, having stepped foot in eighty countries. She has led a fascinating life, marked by both challenges and triumphs. It all began when she followed the Lord’s call to missions after a hearing a sermon delivered by E. Faith Stewart. Since then, Donna Thomas has followed the Lord wherever and whenever he has said, “Go.” Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, CHOG TraffickLight, Global Strategy
Tagged Chuck Thomas, Donna Thomas, evangelism, faith, Faith Stewart, missionary, missions, Oklahoma, witness
By Becky McCoy
Bold is…leading others to Christ at age 95.
In September 2012, my mother was in the hospital in Indianapolis due to respiratory problems. On a Friday afternoon, her health started deteriorating, and we called in all the family members who were able, to come and see her. Mom also felt that God was getting ready to take her home. She told all of her children and grandchildren who were there just how much she loved them and how she was ready to go be with the Lord. She also asked me to call my brother, Rev. Steve Nelson, who was pastoring in Louisiana. She needed to tell him also how much she loved him and his family. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Be Bold
Tagged Be Bold, BeBold2014, Becky McCoy, Boldness, evangelism, faith, Great Commission, Helen Nelson, hospital, nurse, salvation, sharing Christ, witness
By Gwynne Watkins
Several young pastors in the Church of God contribute to a blog called Belong. The following blog post provides an introduction to an ongoing series of posts that share stories of faith and life experiences in the Church of God. These stories can be found at www.mthaley.org/belong.—Ed.
In the initial post on this blog, David Aukerman wrote these words:
We have so much in common, and yet we love our differences. We share a common theological heritage, but we don’t always agree with each other. Continue reading
By Carl Stagner
Juvenile crime—down 39 percent in one year. Arrests—down 54 percent in one year. Since 2004, overall juvenile crime has plummeted by more than 70 percent. Some crimes are now virtually nonexistent. The past thirteen years have ushered in a new era of learning to work together to transform culture. As a result of strategic partnership between churches, schools, and government, there has been an explosion of extreme love in Florence, South Carolina. Pastor Clyde Odom of King of Kings Church of God has brought this incredible story of transformation to light. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged Clyde Odom, Community Coalition, cooperation, crime, discipleship, documentary, Extreme Love, faith, Florence, hope, King of Kings Church, love, outreach, South Carolina, transformation, unity, video, Weslei Vianna, YouTube