Tag Archives: restoration

Hurricane Sunday: Florida Churches, Ministries Unite for Puerto Rico

By Carl Stagner

September 20, 2017. To most of the country, that date holds no particular significance. But in Puerto Rico, that date will long be remembered as the day everything changed for almost everyone. Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in one hundred years, left widespread devastation in its wake. Utility companies have struggled to restore power, businesses have struggled to reopen, and some churches have even closed their doors. A mass exodus of citizens, without precedent in the history of the territory, has only made the problem worse. Though media coverage has waned, the need for restoration of property—and hope—is more critical than ever. Moved with compassion and compelled by the Spirit, Florida Ministries, the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano), Helping Hands in Motion, and Florida congregations are coming together for Puerto Rico on the third of June for what they’re calling Hurricane Sunday. Continue reading

Trusting the Healer: A South Dakota Woman’s Testimony

By Michael Smith

Editor’s note—The belief in divine healing has been a long-emphasized doctrine in our movement, from before the days of the “crutches on the wall” in E. E. Byrum’s Gospel Trumpet prayer room, to modern-day testimonies of healing around the world shared in person, in books, through videos, and in CHOGnews articles. Though perhaps not understood the same way it always has been, healing certainly continues to come from a merciful, all-powerful God. The following is a story of healing from Rustic Hills Community Church of God in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Our prayer is that it will encourage you and serve as a reminder that God still works miracles today. Continue reading

Renovation for a Church, Renewal for Far Rockaway

Pastor Arthur Davenport speaks at the building dedication.

By Emily Ploetz

On Sunday morning, October 8, worship filled the room in the First Church of God of Far Rockaway, New York. The service was unlike any typical Sunday morning gathering for a very special reason, six months in the making! Far Rockaway had been under a full-scale renovation for half a year and, after everything had been completed, Pastor Arthur Davenport invited the congregation to join in a procession of prayer and worship. There was much rejoicing at this celebration because everyone there knew that God had blessed them in so many ways. Continue reading

The Power of the Cross to Take Back a City

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Photo: Crosses displayed with victims’ pictures inside the church.

By Carl Stagner

Approximately eight hundred murders rocked Chicago in the last year alone. Gang violence is on the rise in many large cities across the country, and Chicago is no exception. While many would rather retreat to the suburbs and write off urban centers as a loss, there is a growing movement of people that won’t give up on the youth, the children, and the families of densely populated areas. The grim statistics might suggest the forces of evil have completely taken over cities like Chicago. But soldiers of the cross like Greg Zanis are fighting side-by-side with congregations like Restoration Church of nearby Aurora, Illinois, to take back their cities. Recently, this reclamation effort took the form of one cross built for each of the eight hundred victims. Continue reading

Convention 2017 Speaker Reclaims Destiny Once Stolen by Hell

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Photo: Paul Sheppard

By Carl Stagner

“I am a witness that, not only does God’s grace save us and give us right standing with him when we first accept Christ, but it reclaims and restores us when we’ve failed as believers.” Paul Sheppard, longtime Church of God pastor and scheduled speaker for Church of God Convention 2017, knows firsthand that God is not only in the saving business, but also the reclamation business. His story of failure and forgiveness that we first broke in November 2015 melts even the heart of stone. But more than a year later, the message of reclamation radiates now more than ever from his renewed life and ministry in the one of the largest communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Continue reading

Pennsylvania Church Celebrates Healing, Kingdom Partnership

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Photo: Community outreach through a car show at University Park.

By Timothy Coppess

God has been at work at University Park Church of God in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. As God has moved, he gave a theme for each of the last three years, but the special focus of each year has continued on into subsequent years. The theme for 2014 was “A Year of Healing.” God continues to perform wonderful healings of past hurts and division, as well as miraculous physical, emotional, and mental healings in the congregation and outside the congregation. Continue reading

Church Property Becomes Refuge for Women Recovering from Addiction

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By Carl Stagner

“If it weren’t for this ministry, that needle would be back in my arms.” The sentiment of the women of Solid Rock Ministries in The Dalles, Oregon, echoes often in the mind of Pastor Ken Post. He says there’s nothing like watching these ladies become so addicted to Jesus Christ that drugs simply lose their former appeal. Following a brief “retirement” from the pastorate, Ken returned to the church he’d once pastored, which now was hurling toward the end of its life cycle. Though Ken was advised to shut the church down, he felt the Spirit tugging him to reorganize the operation into a refuge for women recovering from addiction. Solid Rock would still be a church, but no longer just another church in a community already saturated with churches. Its chief purpose would be to rescue and restore women in desperate need of a U-turn. Continue reading

California Pastor, Former Church Reconcile in Renewal of Fellowship

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By Carl Stagner

Six years ago, the congregation heard the news they never expected to hear. Their pastor had confessed to a moral failure and would resign immediately. Without the sovereign hand of God at work in both the pastor and congregation, this could have easily been the end of the story. Instead, biblical reconciliation, humble hearts, and an unquenchable love for one another prompted what happened next. God’s plan would involve a marriage that held together and now thrives, the complete restoration of a minister of the gospel, and a renewal of fellowship between a pastor and the congregation he’d once served. The story of Pastor Paul Sheppard’s impact in the Church of God and beyond has only just begun. Continue reading

California Pastor Operates ‘Hospital’ for Those Hurt by the Church

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By Serena Ellens

“Everyone who comes to the center is a broken believer. Most of them quit the church, caught in one church fight or another, and hurt by the results. This was their church, and was supposed to be the body of Christ. Everyone who comes here wants a relationship with God, but doesn’t want the church anymore.” These words, from Pastor Daniel Steigman of the Believer’s Spiritual Recovery Center in Corning, California, epitomize one of the greatest struggles the church has ever faced. How can we reach those who have been hurt by the church, and no longer trust in this essential community of believers? Continue reading