Tag Archives: testimony

Taking the Plunge: Couple Chooses Life, Gains Life

Nick and Sidney Truax embrace after he baptized her.

By Carl Stagner

Young adults. Unplanned pregnancy. One, a wandering believer; the other, lost. The cards were certainly stacked against them. Nick and Sidney knew they had options—separation was on the table, and abortion wasn’t out of the question. A baby’s heartbeat, a wedding ceremony, a church that loved them, and a half-decade of patient prayer culminated this past fall when, accompanied by joyous applause, Nick performed the baptism of his own bride. Continue reading

Former Harlem Globetrotter a Slam Dunk for Convention Lineup

Derick “Dizzy” Grant as a Globetrotter.

By Carl Stagner

At the age of seven, his parents took him and his brother to see the Harlem Globetrotters. Little did they know the impact that experience, coupled with a brand-new mini-basketball, would have on Derick Grant’s life. The New Jersey boy’s passion for the game had been ignited, and several years later the “All-American” athlete would secure his college’s number-two spot for all-time-high scoring. Expectations were dashed more than a few times, however, and he ended up on a team that regularly played against, and lost to, the Harlem Globetrotters. Things turned around when, after a year, the Globetrotters recruited Derick, launching an incredible eight-year journey and building a platform that God would later use in ways Derick could have never imagined. His testimony and knack for delivery on and off the court position him perfectly to address the Church of God at all three Regional Conventions this year. Continue reading

“A God Thing” Leads Oklahoma Soldier, Father to College Success

Matthew Holata

By Whitney Knight

Many can attest to the old saying that “God moves in mysterious ways.” As Matthew Holata learned, sometimes that can even mean through the radio waves. A native of Morris, Oklahoma, in the eastern half of the state, Holata grew up as a competitive kid with a love of sports and teamwork. He planned to pursue the path of a student-athlete after graduating high school, but came up just short—literally. Continue reading

Chuck Myricks Jr.: Anointed Hands Join Hands with Servant Solutions

Chuck Myricks Jr.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God has a rich history of raising up outstanding musical talent. From Doug Oldham to Edward Cumberbatch, from Sandi Patty to Alanna Story and numerous others, musicians in the Church of God have faithfully expressed their joy in the Lord through song. No list of our Movement’s stellar musicians could be complete without the name of Chuck Myricks. The son of the highly-acclaimed Cleo Myricks needs little introduction as he has clearly established a name for himself in the music industry, in both Christian and secular business circles, and across the Church of God and beyond. Of course, Chuck’s mission isn’t to make a name for himself but to lift up the name of Jesus. In so doing, he already wears several ministry hats and won’t be removing any of them any time soon. Now he’s excited to announce he’s donning one more—as he joins the staff, part-time, of Servant Solutions. Continue reading

Scarred but Restored: Ministry Gives West Virginia Women Second Chance

Lori Meadows baptizing one of the ladies she’s invested in.

By Carl Stagner

Often derided and dismissed, they’re considered the fringe of society. In chains and often in danger, they stand in need of rescue. Made beautifully in the image of God but scarred within, they are the “least of these” and must not be ignored. That’s what Lori Meadows recognized while riding the roller coaster of emotions when her daughter was nearly swallowed up by the quicksand of drug abuse several years ago. While walking alongside her daughter, God opened her eyes to the brutal world of women suffering from addiction. In time, she and the ministry she founded called Recovery Warriors became inextricably connected to Southridge Church, the Church of God congregation in South Charleston, West Virginia. In mid-November, the church hosted a spiritually potent “Beauty Day” for the ladies of the local recovery home. The occasion was yet another reminder that these “warriors” are totally committed to giving West Virginia women a second chance. Continue reading

Restored and Resolute: Pastor’s Painful Past Redeemed for Purpose, Promise

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

Steadfast Stateside: A Sister’s Perspective on Missions

Kay and Sherman Critser

By Cheral Critser

Editor’s note—Sometimes the story that doesn’t get told is the one about family and friends who are left behind when missionaries leave for the field. Honoring the retirement of career missionaries Sherman and Kay Critser, Cheral Critser—Sherman’s sister—offers a tribute to the couple and, at the same time, a unique perspective on missionary service.

Kay Critser was pregnant with Ryan and went to the doctor to see if she was having twins (Kay was a twin and there are twins in our family). They called on the phone, asking me to come over. I was excited and asked if they were having twins. Sherman laughed and hung up on me! As I went down the hill from the dorm, I was thanking and praising God for the twins. I crossed the street and was at the light post on the corner of the college library. I heard a voice loud and clear, “They are not having twins.” I jumped, looked around and there was no one around. The voice told me God was sending Sherman and Kay to Africa. Continue reading

Unconditional Love Defines, Directs Regional 2020 Host Church

Madison Park lives out the love of Christ locally and globally.

By Carl Stagner

What drives the arms of the heavenly Father to welcome back the prodigal son? What brings the wanderer out of long-term drug rehab and back into fold? What then transforms him and ultimately calls him to pastor one of the most influential Church of God congregations in the country? What motivates those under his leadership to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and care for the orphans and widows in their community? What causes them to add tremendous hospitality, for the Church of God movement next June, to their already full ministry plates? At Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, the answer is no secret. It’s unconditional love. Continue reading

Philadelphia Pastor Publishes Legendary Account of Pain, Redemption, and Triumph

Milton Grannum telling his story at Church of God Convention 2009.

By Carl Stagner

Because of his commitment to Jesus Christ, Milton Grannum’s family kicked him out of their house when he was only fourteen years old. Adding insult to injury, they tossed his school books out the door and told him he should go live at the church. The words of the psalmist brought comfort to young Milton: “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in” (Psalm 27:10 ESV). Stuffing all his belongings in a pillow case, Milton left, unsure of what he might face. Still, Milton Grannum found resolve in the words of a song: “Whether I live or die, whether I wake or sleep, I am the Lord’s, I know.” Continue reading

MACU Music Major: “Jesus Put a New Dream in Me”

Kevin Dugay

By Whitney Knight

From the big screen to the chapel stage, music and ministry worship major Kevin Dugay is used to drawing a crowd. With his soulful voice and God-given gift for performance, Dugay frequently leads worship during Mid-America Christian University chapel services every Wednesday and Friday. But long before he found himself in Oklahoma City, Dugay was an accomplished young actor with twelve years of stage experience and a promising professional career ahead of him. Continue reading

Louisiana Church Planter: “The Struggle is Real”

Stephen Nelson at Awaken’s Easter Egg Dash and cupcake giveaway.

By Carl Stagner

Church planting is not for the faint of heart. Attendance ups and downs are normal. Emotional peaks and valleys come standard. Starts and stops are rocky, and twists and turns are plentiful. It’s a roller coaster of an experience and, as Stephen Nelson of Awaken Church, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, explains, “The struggle is real…but God is faithful!” With candor and confidence, Stephen opens up a window to the challenging but life-changing world of church planting as he’s experienced it over the past few years. Continue reading

Disaster Response Sustains Haiti Hospital through Recent Crisis

Hospital of the Church of God in Haiti.

By Mark Fulton

Responses to crises vary wildly. In February 2019, a faction of the general populous of Haiti responded to economic and governmental crises with a long period of violent protests and roadblocks, leading to advisories from the US Embassy, to all people, to “shelter in place.” In the midst of the uncertain times, the Hospital of the Church of God struggled to continue its normal daily functions. Continue reading

Unexpected Journeys Lead Pastor to Niche in Teaching, Blogging

Scott Beha

By Carl Stagner

Southridge Church is a thriving Church of God congregation nestled in South Charleston, West Virginia. On Easter Sunday, they rejoiced to welcome over 700 for worship, an all-time high. Already this year, the church has celebrated the baptism of 20 believers. Eighteen months ago, small-group participation had declined to about 60; since then, the number of participants has topped 200. Outreach into a women’s recovery center has brought more than 150 additional guests, many of whom have since been saved and baptized. A strong partnership with an elementary school has helped the church make major strides in the advancement of the kingdom, even as the school permitted the church to host an Easter egg hunt for students during the school day! Lead executive pastor Michael Coker and lead teaching pastor Scott Beha are thrilled to be a part of Southridge during such an exciting time in the church’s history. But Scott wouldn’t have been there to experience it firsthand, except for a series of unexpected journeys that also helped him find a God-ordained niche in teaching and blogging. Continue reading

Bolivia: A New Joel

Sunday school in Bolivia.

By Paul and Kattia Jones

Once upon a time, in a small Church of God in Bolivia, South America, there was a four-year-old boy named Joel. He was restless. He participated in very little during Sunday school, and he did not pay much attention to his teacher Irene, either. In addition, he showed his fist to any child who kept looking at him. This type of behavior drew the attention of missionary Kattia Jones, who decided to speak with the teacher. The conversation led to another topic that the missionary suspected was the main reason why Joel behaved that way. Continue reading

From the Archives: Now I Am Truly Free

By Phyllis Kardatzke Miller

When a person is confronted with the claims of Jesus on his life, he makes a choice—he either accepts or rejects. There is no gray area in between of “tabling for future reference.” After seeing there is one way (and a very narrow way it is!), the person who understands that God is calling him to repentance and consciously takes the truth “under advisement” is choosing not to believe, and seeking his own approach to God. Continue reading