Tag Archives: Texas

In the Midst of Revival: Crosspointe Kilgore-Longview, Texas

Baptism at Crosspointe Church is a common occurence.

By Carl Stagner

When you’re baptizing someone nearly every week and the walls must come down to make more room in your sanctuary, you’ve got to wonder if revival is breaking out. At the two campuses of Crosspointe Fellowship Church of God in the Texas communities of Kilgore and Longview, God has clearly been on the move in many mighty ways. Led by Pastor Efrain Cirilo, Crosspointe has seen their worship center and children’s classrooms run out of space. In the past couple of years, total attendance has more than doubled to an average of 400 on Sundays. And, it was just last year that they added the second campus at Longview. While no magic formula exists for revival, the church did enact a handful of specific strategies to become a growing, healthy church. Continue reading

Western PA Churches Band Together for Hurricane-Hit Texas

CHOG Albuquerque team members unloading material in Texas.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Greg Smith lived in Houston, Texas, from 2010 to 2013, where attended First Church of God. Over those three years, he got to know Texas pastors Tim Gould, Jim Fiertag, and Tim West. During that period, he also worked on a Homeland Security grant, and was a part of a three-person team that wrote the Mass Fatality Incident Response Plan for the city of Houston and thirteen surrounding counties. Though he now lives in Pennsylvania and pastors First Church of God in Punxsutawney, the Hurricane Harvey disaster hit home for Greg. It should come as no surprise that Greg’s church would respond. But what he might not have expected was the incredible show of support from a dozen churches across Western Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Tenacity Tested: Texas Pastor, Church Poised for Turnaround

Fun at a drug awareness event sponsored in part by the church.

By Carl Stagner

It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. Pastor Lila Clay is acutely aware of the fact that leading a declining church into a new season of growth is no easy task. She pastors NorthPointe Church of God in Nacogdoches, Texas, a small-but-growing congregation on the cusp of turnaround. Though the congregation has grown from eight to an average of forty on Sunday mornings, they’re not taking a timeout to look back at their exciting journey. There’s too much kingdom work yet to do, and there’s simply too much at stake. Still, NorthPointe is one church whose struggles have met their match against a commitment to prayer, patience, and purpose. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Urgent Request

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10 NIV

In light of what has been classified as truly extraordinary need, the Church of God Disaster Relief Committee is highlighting an urgent request. The current scope of devastation from natural disasters around the world is beyond our scale of imagining. The Disaster Relief Committee is working with national leaders and regional pastors in the affected regions to meet needs. Would you help? Donate now to Disaster Relief. Continue reading

Not Just a Number: Victim Offers View from Post-Harvey Texas

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

Hurricane Harvey: Hope for Texas in the Aftermath of a Monster

Houston street sign warns, “Road may flood” (courtesy June Sherman).

By Carl Stagner

Church of God, it’s time. It’s time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Texas. It’s time to be hope to the people who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses, and churches. It’s time to make a difference. Whether God is leading you to give generously, donate supplies, or assemble work teams for upcoming opportunities to rebuild homes, now is the time to act. While this nightmare is far from over for tens of thousands of people, the outpouring of support for the Lone Star State is proving that they are not alone. The latest updates to the Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief Team are both sobering and encouraging. Continue reading

MACU Opens Doors for Volleyball Match Benefiting Harvey Victims

MACU’s Gaulke Activity Center

By Whitney Knight

To provide relief for the thousands of Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey and uphold the “Oklahoma Standard,” Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City and Southwestern Christian University out of Bethany, Oklahoma, are partnering with the Sooner Athletic Conference to collect donations for storm victims. Continue reading

UPDATE 8-29: SE Texas Underwater as Disaster Relief Prep Underway

Houston First Church of God flooding (courtesy Tim Gould).

By Carl Stagner

UPDATE, August 29: “It feels like we are stuck living in a long, dirty shower that never stops.” The words of Jim Feirtag late Monday express what countless Texans are feeling as rains from Tropical Storm Harvey persist. The church Jim pastors, Parkgate Church of God in Pasadena, Texas, has already helped some people displaced by the storm and has made preparations to do much more in the coming weeks.

Houston First Church of God reported late Monday that the water had receded from their building with no visible damage. They thank everyone for their prayers. Unfortunately, the Church of God in Texas reports that an estimated forty-two Church of God congregations were affected by this disaster. Assessment is ongoing, but Tim Gould, pastor of Houston First Church, is now receiving e-mail inquiries about work teams and the need for physical labor. When assessment is complete, inquirers will be notified with specific opportunities. Churches and individuals may contact him at pastortim@hfcog.org. Thank you for your continued prayers, support, patience, and willingness to serve!

The average annual rainfall for Houston, Texas, is 49.76 inches. Forecasters suggest parts of southeast Texas could surpass that amount of rain before Hurricane Harvey—now a tropical storm—moves out. As the Church of God assesses the developing situation on the ground, the need for disaster relief is imminent. While reports of loss may not be complete for several weeks, experts predict that an estimated 30 thousand people will need temporary shelter in the wake of widespread flood damage. Opportunities to give time, supplies, and resources will become more clear in the coming days. Until then, the Church of God Disaster Relief Team is urging you to pray and give. Continue reading

Southeast Texas Underwater as Disaster Relief Prep Underway

Houston First Church of God flooding (courtesy Tim Gould).

By Carl Stagner

The average annual rainfall for Houston, Texas, is 49.76 inches. Forecasters suggest parts of southeast Texas could surpass that amount of rain before Hurricane Harvey—now a tropical storm—moves out. As the Church of God assesses the developing situation on the ground, the need for disaster relief is imminent. While reports of loss may not be complete for several weeks, experts predict that an estimated 30 thousand people will need temporary shelter in the wake of widespread flood damage. Opportunities to give time, supplies, and resources will become more clear in the coming days. Until then, the Church of God Disaster Relief Team is urging you to pray and give. Continue reading

Concerning Clergy Compensation: Concilio Connects with CARE

Concilio pastors pray together at the CARE seminar in Houston.

By Joseph Cookston

¡Buen trabajo! ¡Excelente! ¡Muchas gracias! We want to contextualize the information to our culture—thank you for the great desire to help us!

Openness and expectancy abounded throughout the CARE Seminar that opened the convention of the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano) of the Church of God in Houston, Texas, near the end of July. Pastors and spouses gathered and processed together for the three-and-a-half hour dialogue regarding pastoral compensation and financial planning. Again and again, participants expressed their gratitude for the intentional reach into the world of Spanish-speaking congregations of the Church of God. Continue reading

MACU Basketball Standout Awarded ‘Heart of a Champion’

Photo: Malcolm Mann and John Fozard.

By Whitney Knight

Adding to an impressive list of accomplishments during his career at Mid-America Christian University, basketball standout Malcolm Mann added “Heart of a Champion” to his repertoire during the TopAchievers Performance Sports Award Gala on June 24 in Plano, Texas.

Mann, who recently received the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Game Plan 4 Life (GP4L) award, was given the “Heart of a Champion” for his honor and integrity on and off the court. The award was presented by MACU President Dr. John Fozard. Continue reading

Spanish-, English-Speaking Churches in Texas Become One

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Photo: Pastor Carlos Lamelas baptizing a believer on Feb. 5.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Malcolm Tyree described it as a “Super Sunday,” but not because of a certain football game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. What happened on Sunday, February 5, at New Vida Church of God in Dallas, Texas, was nothing short of incredible, especially in light of all that had transpired over the past year. Eleven people were baptized, ranging in ages from six to sixty. Wonderful, sure. But not so uncommon. Uncommon was that these individuals represented multiple cultures originating from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba. Such celebration came on the heels of a year of transition which saw the finalization of the merger between a Spanish-speaking and an English-speaking congregation. But for New Vida Church of God—once New Life Fellowship and Iglesia de Dios Vida Abundante—this wasn’t the grand finale. This is just the beginning. Continue reading

The Church of God in the U.S. Celebrates Thanksgiving

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Photo: Turkey giveaway at Jubilee Christian Church, Boston, MA (courtesy jubileeboston.org).

By Carl Stagner

In the Church of God in the United States, Thursday, November 24, 2016, will not just be another day to stay home from work. While many must clock in on Thanksgiving Day, others who don’t have to are choosing not to sleep in, kick back on the sofa, and watch football all day. Instead, they’re choosing to give back. Ephesians 2:10 is written on the tablet of their hearts, and their appetite for serving others is greater than their appetite for turkey and all the trimmings. They understand that thankfulness and giving go hand-in-hand, and that such values must not be restricted to the fourth Thursday in November. Nevertheless, in worship, in teaching, in good works, and in fellowship, the Church of God loves to celebrate Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Thank You, IYC, for Your Impact On Us

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Photo: IYC volunteers give CPS visitation rooms a makeover.

By Mary Walker

Editor’s note—Every IYC affords students the opportunity to give back to their host city through acts of community service. You never know what kind of impact they’ll leave behind. The following is the story of one local agency blessed by youth groups attending IYC2016 in San Antonio, Texas.

Maybe you’ve heard people say they’ve had a “life-changing moment.” It could be something big or small, but whatever happened, they knew nothing would be the same again, or they discovered or became something new. Some people could really use a moment like that, to make their lives just a little bit better—and sometimes you can’t wait for it to come along. Instead, you need to take action to make it happen. Continue reading

IYC2016: A Generation Rising

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Photo: Worship with thousands of students at IYC2016.

By Carl Stagner

Words fail to adequately describe the total impact of the fiftieth International Youth Convention of the Church of God on students and leaders alike. Four consecutive days at the beginning of July 2016 proved to be transformational for untold numbers gathered in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Reports have already surfaced of first-time commitments to Christ, rededications, renewed hope, and calls to ministry. Though the previous forty-nine conventions were powerful and life-changing, even veteran leaders are citing something uniquely incredible about the move of the Holy Spirit at IYC2016. From the high-intensity worship, to the no-holds-barred messages of truth and grace, to the citywide service projects and the Silent Walk, IYC2016 offered the perfect conditions for life-changing encounters with the living God. Continue reading