Pastor Ray Hodges preaching the gospel at Resolute Church.
By Carl Stagner
Ray Hodges had personal experience with church; he’d never had personal experience with the risen Christ. Growing up Catholic, he’d acknowledged the existence of God but would confess there was no relationship with Jesus. Even when he began attending the Iglesia de Dios (Church of God) with his girlfriend, it was the kindness of the people, the lively music, and the relatable preaching that he came to know and love. Without the foundation of Christ in his life, the allure of drugs and parties soon became too much to bear. Thankfully, the patience and persistent prayers of his wife and pastor over Ray’s fifteen-year addiction paid off when Jesus Christ gloriously redeemed his painful past for a future of purpose and promise. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged addiction, addiction recovery, barber, Bill Banda, church growth, church multiplication, church plant, church planting, Corpus Christi, drug abuse, drug addiction, drugs, ethnic, Gilbert Davila, Hispanic, intervention, life change, Michelle Hodges, mistakes, multi-ethnic, multiculural, multiplication, pain, past, patience, persistence, personal, prayer, Ray Hodges, recovery, redemption, Resolute Church, restoration, story, testimony, Texas, transformation, TX, unconditional love
Dedication service crowd fills the new sanctuary!
By Carl Stagner
It was nearing the middle of the night on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Instead of sleeping, several of the saints of Green Valley Church of God, in St. Albans, West Virginia, were wide awake. They’d gathered in the parking lot, gazing in horror as smoke and flame engulfed the place where they’d accepted Christ, got baptized, grew in their faith, and/or made lifelong friends. Thoughts raced through their minds: What’s next? How will this affect the ministry here? What in the world does God have in mind? In the trauma of the moment, God’s sovereign hand was hard to detect. But out of the bad, God was working for the good, ushering in a new beginning for Green Valley Church of God. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Northeast
Tagged building, construction, damage, David Bowen, devastation, facility, fire, Green Valley Church of God, Mitchell Burch, property, rebuilding, recovery, restoration, Saint Albans, St. Albans, Tom Coll, turnaround, West Virginia, WV
Joel Whiteside’s first stint in prison lasted twenty-eight months when he was just seventeen. After release, Joel struggled to make good decisions and soon his life was spiraling out of control. A three-year sentence in 2008 was a turning point. He realized that it was time to change the trajectory of his life. Joel’s personal story of transformation fuels his nonprofit organization, Been There, Done That, which supports those who are re-entering society in Cowlitz County, Washington, after incarceration. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Colleges & Universities
Tagged adult studies, Been There Done That, incarcerated, incarceration, jail, Joel Whiteside, OR, Oregon, Portland, prison, recovery, second chances, student, testimonies, testimony, Warner Pacific University, West Coast, WPU
Tree and structural damage in Puerto Rico (credit: Caleb Garcia).
The following is a disaster relief update provided by Mary Ann Martinez-Garcia of the Church of God in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20 (click here for the original report).
Thank you so much for your support and the support of our Church of God family. We really appreciate your prayers! Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Church of God Ministries, Disaster Relief
Tagged aid, Caribbean, crisis, Disaster Relief, DRC, humanitarian, Hurricane Maria, Mary Ann Martinez Garcia, Puerto Rico, recovery, storm damage, update
Rockport Church of God building post-Harvey (credit: Cindy West).
By Carl Stagner
She’s been through hurricanes before; this was no ordinary hurricane. Before the Category 4 monster known as Harvey slammed the Texas coast near Rockport on August 25, Vera Predom knew a disaster could be on its way. Having lived in the same Rockport home for nearly thirty years, she’s had plenty of opportunity to observe hurricane behavior. When Hurricane Harvey made “the turn” near Corpus Christi, she realized Rockport was in danger. Little did she know her home would be totally destroyed. Now Vera offers the Church of God a view of post-Harvey Texas through the window a FEMA-designated shelter. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Disaster Relief
Tagged Disaster Relief, FEMA, humanitarian aid, Hurricane Harvey, recovery, Rockport, Rockport Church of God, storm, Texas, TX, Vera Predom
By Carl Stagner
He is just the same today. No doubt about it. An incredible miracle has happened among the congregation of the Epperson First Church of God of Winchester, Kentucky. Aaron Williams, son of Pastor Chris Williams, walked into the sanctuary of the church on November 22 for morning worship. No, he wasn’t a prodigal who had returned home. Aaron Williams had been in an auto accident that, according to doctors, should have claimed his life. But the Lord heard the thousands and thousands of prayers that went up from Kentucky to the West Coast to Japan. From the fiery crash to the remarkable recovery, to the souls saved and rededicated to the Lord as a result, this is a story of hope that Pastor Chris, his family, and his church have lived. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Southeast
Tagged Aaron Williams, car accident, Chris Williams, Darryl Allen, divine healing, Epperson First Church of God, Kentucky, Miracle, praise report, recovery, testimony, Veronica Williams, Winchester
By Carl Stagner
Heroin use may be more pervasive than you think. Statistics estimate that as many as 900,000 people regularly take heroin in the United States alone.* Because heroin doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, race, or location, it’s likely that you may know someone who has either tried heroin or is affected by heroin abuse in some way. Relative to other drugs, heroin is inexpensive, especially addictive, and overdose generally leads to death. Of all the counties in Ohio, Clinton County is the sixth highest county in heroin overdose deaths. Unable to ignore the epidemic, First Church of God in the Clinton County community of Wilmington joined several other local churches to seek solutions. The results were of eternal consequence. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged baptism, community, drug addiction, evangelism, First Church of God, Hope Over Heroin, Larry Speelman, Ohio, outreach, rally, recovery, salvation, testimony, Wilmington
Photo: Church of God Ministries leaders join Native American Ministries leaders to start a Celebrate Recovery ministry.
By Handel Smith and Ryan Chapman
As we drove through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the unimaginable reality of a community plagued by alcoholism, domestic abuse, and unemployment was alarming and difficult to process. In the midst of chaos, sadness, and confusion, we reached out to Christ. New hope and encouragement are being restored, due in part to a partnership formed by Church of God Ministries (CGM) with those serving our Native American brothers and sisters. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy
Tagged addiction, alcohol, Celebrate Recovery, Handel Smith, Indian Reservation, Native American Ministries, Pine Ridge, recovery, Ryan Chapman, South Dakota, Wounded Knee
Photo: August 2014 graduates of Joshua House proudly dressed for ceremony and celebration.
By Carl Stagner
Crossroads Community Church of God in Yuba City, California sees an often overlooked need in our culture today—ministry to men. Specifically, they’ve recognized a void in outreach efforts to men who have hit rock-bottom, given their lives over to drugs and alcohol, and have lost all hope for recovery. After just a few years in operation, Joshua House has celebrated men who have stepped up to the plate, broken free from addiction, acquired jobs, and reunited with their families. For these men, however, the road to recovery is not without its twists and turns. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged addiction, alcohol, California, Crossroads Community Church, drugs, families, family, freedom, Jim Clark, Men, mens, program, recovery, Teen Challenge, Yuba City