The second season of the City of Angels Church Basketball League has been launched with a sensational start!
The Commissioner of the CAICC Basketball League –
Tony Untalan – readies the Mavericks and the
Lakers for the first game of the season!
The first week's scores were: Mavericks (West Region) prevailed over the Lakers (AMS, North, Ventura Regions) 51 – 47! The Bulls (Southland Region) played very steadily to beat the Celtics (South, East and IE Regions) 49 – 43! And in a bit of an upset (at least in Kyle's mind) the Knicks (OC Region) beat the Heat (Central and AV Regions) 57 – 48!
Though Kyle Bartholomew wins the tip-off, the
Knicks prevail over his team, the Heat!
The second week was even more "spirited" as the Celtics overcame a 10 point deficit with three minutes to go to edge the Mavericks 57 – 55! The Heat overcame last year's champions the Lakers 45 – 37! And the Bulls "came to play" as they defeated the Knicks 66 – 44!
The sly "silver fox" – Cory Blackwell (back to the
camera) – calls the Bulls to "Just do it"
to get them to a 2 – 0 start!
The emerging All Stars this year are: Amar Pandaranga (Knicks) who is leading the league in scoring with 21.5 points/game! Followed respectively by Erik Russell (Mavericks) with 20.5 points/game and Kyle Bartholomew (Heat) at 18 points/game!
The league's leading scorer Amar
Pandaranga on a fast break!
Levi Bartholomew (Heat) is a "beast on the boards" with 10 rebounds/game! Also rebounding efficiently are Iggy Odighizuwa (Celtics) at 7.5 rebounds/game and Carl Buckner (Knicks) with 7 rebounds/game! Then the top three 3-point shooters thru two games are Erik Russell with 3.5 threes/game, Ivan Lombard-Jackson (Bulls) 2.5 threes/game, and Amar Pandaranga 2.5 threes/game!
The leading 3-point shooter, Erik Russell (far right),
is surrounded by teammates and fans!
So after two weeks, the Bulls are 2 – 0; the Lakers are 0 – 2; and everyone else is 1 – 1! Remember, with a five game season, the top four make the playoffs!
Just as Adam's lay-up teeters on the rim, so
do all four playoff positions!
Praise God that while we are having a lot of fun at the basketball games, the Lord has graciously given the City of Angels Church an incredible harvest this week as 14 were added to our number: 11 baptisms, two restorations and one place membership!
Good news this week as well from Polokwane, South Africa! Bradley Hoorzuk and the eight disciples with him have made the decision to join God's new SoldOut Movement! Bradley is the original planter of this former ICOC Church in 1998. Interestingly, Polokwane lies around 200 miles (300 km) north of Johannesburg. Polokwane literally means "Place of Safety" – a nice name for a remnant group! Polokwane is the capital of Limpopo Province in South Africa. It is also often referred to by its former name, Pietersburg. Polokwane is a major urban center of over 500,000 lost souls – the biggest and most important city north of Guateng! Please be praying for this gallant group! And to God be the glory!
Pray for the Polokwane Remnant Group to inspire
other disciples from all parts of South Africa
to join God's new movement!
Now more detailed news from around LA…
Chris Chloupek: "HOW YA DO'IN?" FROM THE AMS REGION! Today was very special for Sonja & me and many others! Our dear brother RD Baker was restored! RD shared very humbly and vulnerably about how his heart drifted from God. During his restoration before the AMS Church on Sunday, RD quoted Hebrews 2:1, "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away." RD was baptized on April 17, 1992. He and his then wife gave up everything to serve the Lord. They gallantly went with their three children to plant a church in the Middle East and grew this congregation from two to 40 in just two years!
They served God in different ministries in our former fellowship for years. But it was during this time that their drifting from God began, causing their marriage sadly to end after 22 years. RD – disillusioned and devastated – started compromising his convictions even more. Due to loneliness and sentimentality, he ended up dating a non-Christian. Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, he eventually "came to his senses," ended the immoral relationship and drove 2,300 miles to be restored in the AMS Region! Special thanks to Jason Bond, Cory Blackwell and Chris Broom, amongst others, who were and are there for RD! I am very proud of RD and know God will raise him back up in "due time" as he walks humbly with Him. (Micah 7:8)
RD (in red) is restored to the Lord and His church!
Last week, our newly restored brother Johnny Rock Page raced in the Daytona AMA Super-bike Event! He reached a top speed of 204 mph! He was interviewed in the Roadracing World Magazine which was published last week. He shared about his different passions which included his decision to make Jesus Lord! Read all about it by going to the following link: http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/the-latest-from-ama-pro-superbike-racer-johnny-rock-page/
Chris (right), Johnny (middle), and Chris' two children
in Johnny's "racing pit" at the Daytona
Then on Sunday, Johnny and my family of four visited the "crankin' Orlando Church" that has sent out two church plantings – Gainesville and Houston – in its first year and a half of existence! It was so refreshing to preach in a church of "likeminded" disciples 3,000 miles away on the East Coast!
The Sullivan and Chloupek Families are reunited
from their "Phoenix and LA days" at the
Orlando Worship Service!
God also blessed us with a wonderful talented young singer, Dariel Edwards, who was baptized last week! Therefore, God has given the AMS 10 additions in five weeks!
Dariel is welcomed into God's Kingdom
by the hard-working AMS Sisters!
Lastly, we had an amazing City of Angels All Congregational "SINGLES NIGHT OUT" OPEN MIC NIGHT! It was so encouraging to see singles from our "12 regions" come together! There are so many gifted and talented brothers and sisters throughout the LA Church! We had comedy, singing and dance performances. Of special note, Eddie, a brother in the OC Region, did a comedy routine that had the entire crowd laughing hysterically! It was so great to hear him tell jokes that even Jesus would have laughed at! There's no business like "SOUL" business!
Tim Kernan of the North Region: Well it has been an incredible honor for Lianne & me to be in LA soaking up valuable lessons and taking care of the North Region so expertly built by Joe & Kerry Willis before us. After the Sydney Mission Team left in December taking most of the leadership, we started a six week training program complete with d-groups, a reading list, homework assignments, etc. to raise up a whole new batch of leaders! As of today we have five strong Bible Talks in two new House Churches, which God has blessed with six additions over the past four weeks including the baptism of Roberta this Saturday!
After her baptism, Roberta is embraced by her
two dear sisters Tanisha and Cecy!
Also, we are so proud to announce that Travis & Cecy Frazier, who have become such close friends to Lianne & me, will be appointed as a Shepherding Couple for the North Region at the All Congregational City of Angels Church Easter Service on April 20, 2014! Please pray for us as we head into a harvest period over the next six weeks here in Northridge in the hills of Los Angeles!
The new Shepherding Couple for the powerful
North Region – Travis & Cecy Frazier!
Jake Ramsier of the Antelope Valley Region: There has been a lot to rejoice over in AV the last two weeks! We celebrated three additions to our region: Randell was baptized; Reggie was restored; and Nivan placed membership after returning (for now) from Chennai, India!
I don't think anyone who was present for Randell's testimony will forget it! Currently a student at Antelope Valley College, Randell suffered a severe stroke as a young man. Because much of his memory was lost, he read his own journals from before his stroke to learn about who he had been. In these journals, he learned that he had loved God! As he began studying the Bible anew he said he was so inspired and comforted to know that God had not changed and was still there for him.
When he met the disciples at AVC and started studying with RJ Castro, one of our most intrepid ICCM students and "unpaid interns," he found people who truly shared his love and desire for God! He found the guidance and support that he had always wanted in order to truly serve God as a disciple!
Reggie's restoration was an equally memorable testimony! Originally baptized in 1991, she shared how far she had drifted from God and how totally hard-hearted she had become. Despite having no intention of seeking God again, through the persistent love and gentle reminders of our "AV Mom" Moni Bhalla over the years, Reggie finally agreed to attend our Women's Day last month! Reggie shared that after hearing the vulnerable testimonies she made a radical decision that day to return to God! What a beautiful story of the power of enduring love for a precious lost sister and the power of one radical decision! Reggie shared that she knows the road forward will be difficult (something that all who are restored understand more deeply than those baptized!) but she can't wait to be useful to God again!
Of course Nivan is a special treasure to the whole AV Region! Because of his time serving as a missionary in India and Pakistan, he brings a special global perspective to the church here. As a would-be missionary to the Third World myself, I'm personally grateful to have my friend back for the time being to learn as much as I can from his latest "combat tour" in India!
Jake & Jen Ramsier are doing an outstanding
job in building the AV Region!
One final note of celebration: I got a big kick out of surprising our Campus Ministry Leader Zach Shields during announcements this past Sunday when I announced that Zach will be going full-time as an Intern starting this June! I trust and respect Zach as a genuine man of God and am excited and grateful to have his hands totally free for the work! Please keep sending your prayers up "the 14" for us! There is much to do and work on every hand…
As our newest intern, Zach Shields is determined
to preach "nothing… except Jesus Christ and
Him crucified!" (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Tyler Sears: "Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task… [Deacons] must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience." (1 Timothy 3:1, 9) Greetings from the West Region!
Last Sunday was a historical day for the West Region as we were blessed with the appointment of Larry & Christy Wilson as Deacons in the West! They've served God in many churches around the United States and have been such a joy to work alongside. As is our custom, we gave them a gift – a deep, glass lantern that represents the "deep truths of the faith with a clear [glass] conscience." Larry & Christy are true "lights" in our region and in the dark world around them! We then had our new Shepherd, Jim Fenton, come and pray over them, and following the church joyfully congratulated them!
Super servants wherever the Spirit takes them,
Larry & Christy are the new Deacon Couple
for the West Region!
This week, the Lord blessed us with the baptism of a young student from Santa Monica College named Yordan! He was met by one of our Bible Talk Leaders, Hector Mogollon, and is fired up to reach out to his friends and family! Pray for the workers so we can bring God even more glory!
Yordan inspires the entire West Region
with his heart for God!
Chris Adams: The OC Singles are growing in conviction and gratitude for God's amazing Kingdom! Last week, Letty Palacios shared powerfully for contribution on how God had seemingly answered her prayers by miraculously giving her a dream job that would provide for her and Sofia, her precious nine year old daughter.
However, her boss changed her hours to include Sundays and totally expected her to either miss church or FIND ANOTHER CHURCH or find another job! She shared how she put her faith in God and refused to compromise on her pledge to "seek first His Kingdom" and so appealed to a top executive who had come from out of state and just "happened to be in the office" that day! The executive was moved to tears by her life testimony and told Letty that no other person since the beginning of her time with the company in 1995 had refused to work on Sundays because of their relationship with God. So she herself refused to let any of her subordinates fire Letty, recognizing in her a boldness and integrity that she felt the company truly needed in their employees!
All Letty is required to do going forward is to call in Sunday mornings and say, "I am unable to work today!" God met all her and her daughter's financial needs, but Letty is most ecstatic that she can now give sacrificially for the Mission Contribution to see this priceless Kingdom advance!
Letty's godly example surely will one day allow
her to see her precious daughter
Lastly, God blessed the OC Teen Ministry with another soul saved today! Anthony, a student at Cypress High School, was invited to do Bible studies by our dear sister Erin Fischer who had been friends with Anthony for a few years. Ever since Anthony's first Bible Study, there wasn't a moment where he had a closed heart. Every day for a whole week, the brothers got together with Anthony right after he got out of school and helped this young man become a true disciple, until no one could keep him from jumping into those saving waters!
Anthony's expression says it all, "It feels
so good to be a disciple of Jesus!"
So encouraging was Anthony's sharing before his baptism, as he had mentioned that before Erin invited him to study the Bible, he had been praying for friends that would get him closer to God! True to His words – God put disciples in his life!
Capil Marhatta: Greetings from the Sensational South! The angels are rejoicing over two more souls added to God's awesome Kingdom! Last Sunday, our dear sister Brenda Johnson (from the Phoenix Church), drove all the way to Long Beach to baptize her daughter Crystal! Crystal truly was "speechless" as she shared before the many witnesses and made Jesus Lord of her life!
Crystal and her mom Brenda are
now sisters in Christ!
This past Sunday we saw an incredible young lady Chanae get baptized! It was a family affair as her whole family came out to watch her get baptized!
Though a baby Christian, Chanae is dearly
loved by all the South Sisters!
Then Dima of the Moscow Remnant Group challenged us during his "farewell communion" to love our brothers and sisters. What an opportunity to let the world know we are His disciples during this time of political upheaval in Crimea! Please be praying for Dima as he will be one of the 30 that are already in Moscow with 20 more remnant disciples soon to be gathered there for the planting in December!
Finally, Joe Estep reminded us that Special Missions is right around the corner this May 18th! He gave us a charge out of Nehemiah where the "remnant" rebuilt the Walls of Jerusalem in 52 days, and ironically we have about 52 days to rebuild our Special Missions Wall!
Debbie Bosch: "They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water." (Isaiah 49:10) Greetings of love from the Inland Empire Region! Today marks the first day of SPRING Break… out in Palm SPRINGS! Our God added three to our IE Family this week through the refreshing "springs of water!" Caitlyn, Eddie, and Daniela were all baptized into Christ!
Caitlyn, a COD student, was reached out to by Valeria – just a month old disciple – in her singing class! Caitlyn grew up as a Seventh Day Adventist so she gave up her past traditions and also her job in order to enter God’s amazing Kingdom! As she stood firm in her convictions, God blessed her leap of faith and her job allowed her to get Sundays off!
Caitlyn joins the IE Sisters in issuing their weekly
challenge, "You will be next!"
Second was Eddie, a UCR student, who did The Light and Darkness Study last Sunday after church. However, he had a hard time believing that he was in the darkness and so he left the study upset! Amazingly, God brought him back two days later as Eddie had the heart to seek the truth, and on Friday night he became our brother!
Not to be outdone, Eddie and the IE Brothers
dare their listeners, "You will be next!"
Last but certainly not least, Daniela was baptized after an electric Sunday service! Daniela had a dream to go to Japan one day as she is majoring in Japanese at UCR, but now she is ready to go anywhere!
Daniela was next!
Also encouragingly was that our brother Iggy hit the game winning shot this past Saturday at our CAICC Basketball League and so the Lord gave us a victory: 57 – 55!! Lastly, through the "desert heat" and the "sun beating down" this past weekend, God blessed our tagging efforts and we were able to raise over $1,000 dollars!! We are praying to blow out Special Missions to continue to forcefully advance God's Kingdom!!
Kyle Bartholomew: Greetings from the Central Region! These past two weeks have been remarkable as three more have been added to our number through baptism! First, last Saturday night, we saw the first USC undergraduate student baptized in the new movement! Josh made his decision to be "all in" for Jesus after two months of wrestling with God over his salvation!
A historical night as Josh is the first USC
baptism in the new movement!
Then, Jeff an ELAC student, made the decision to make Jesus Lord and was baptized Wednesday night! He had been going to a different church for the past few years, but had little success in his efforts to completely repent. Eventually this led to him crying out for God to send him help. Miraculously, one day later, Jeff met disciples on campus and studied every day until he was baptized!
Jeff wastes no time after he discovers the truth
and studies daily till his baptism!
Lastly, Sarah – an amazing young single mother – was baptized today! Prior to being baptized, she vulnerably shared about how God had brought about incredible changes in her life. These changes included her living situation and her relationship with her daughter. She humbly gave glory to God and then was baptized! Pray for us as many more are on the way!
In the midst of so many challenges, God gives a
helping hand to Sarah to enter His Family!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA & CANADA
NEWS FLASH – Tim Kernan, the Toronto Mission Team Leader and the Director of the 2014 GLC: Greetings from the 2014 Global Leadership Conference Headquarters here in Los Angeles, California! We are so excited about this year's GLC theme – ZION'S DREAMERS!
ZION'S DREAMERS – August 10-12, 2014!
This year's GLC will feature "pre-meetings" of the Crown of Thorns Council and the Church Builders Workshop which are by invitation. Also on Friday evening, an International Campus Devo hosted by Tyler & Shay Sears will be at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert where the entire GLC will be accommodated! Then on Saturday will be the First Annual CyberCon – our first mini Cyber Conference! This exciting addition will be directed by Ron Harding. That same day will be The Shepherds' Fellowship overseen by Tony & Therese Untalan and The Kingdoms Got Talent 2 hosted by Princeton George followed by The Pure Dance with "DJ" Rob Onekea!
On Sunday will not only be the Second Commencement Ceremony of the ICCM, but the unveiling of our new Central Leadership – the World Sector Leaders – at communion! Lord willing, this courageous group of disciples – through the Spirit's power – will keep us united as we evangelize the nations in this generation! Tickets are on sale at the "early bird price" of $150 at https://glc2014.eventbrite.com until April 1st, when the tickets will go to full price at $175. The link for the hotel reservations will be available soon. Stay tuned for the official program!
NEWS FLASH – Anthony Eckels of Houston: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again." (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) Greetings from the Houston International Christian Church! We had a great week as we began our campaign on campus, as well as with the singles and marrieds, sharing with hundreds of people throughout the city! One of the brothers shared with one of the University of Houston football players, who wants to come to church and study the Bible!
We welcomed our last team member, Melissa Pierre Jean from Orlando! She arrived last week and had an interview the very next day for an LPN position… and she got the job!
The Houston Mission Team welcomes "home"
their last member – Melissa!
Chantelle Anderson of the Houston Remnant Group is very fired up to have single disciples here and has several friends studying the Bible! Saturday, Elizabeth & I received the great news that our house is now under contract in Orlando, which is an answered prayer! Please pray for us as we prepare for the Inaugural Service at the Downtown Crowne Plaza, 1700 Smith Street, Houston, Texas 77002 at 10AM on April 13, 2014!
The University of Houston with 41,000 students in the
forefront with the inspirational Downtown
Mike Patterson: God is not only blessing the city of Gainesville with the University of Florida Gators top ranked Basketball Team now moving onto the NCAA Sweet 16, but God is moving the church forward in its growth spiritually and numerically! Going through the First Principles Classes with the entire church has certainly solidified the convictions bringing an amazing unity in the congregation!
Last Sunday we had our Bring Your Neighbor Day where the disciples had "one-for-one visitors" with a total attendance of 57!
Brady leads the singing at Bring Your Neighbor Day!
Today, I concluded our 1 & 2 Peter Series with a lesson simply titled, Warning! We learned that Peter was writing in Rome knowing his death was imminent; therefore he focused on God's desire for all men to repent before Jesus returns!
Tish, a woman from Santa Fe College was met by Jacob (who was our first baptism at our Inaugural Service on January 19th!) and his discipler Daniel during our "50 a day sharing campus campaign" gearing up for our Bring Your Neighbor Day! Jacob had felt discouraged after sharing with someone who was not open and felt like calling it quits. Daniel and Jacob decided not to give into discouragement and the next person they shared with was Tish! She did The Seeking God Study and came to our Bring Your Neighbor Day Service and even came to the Leaders Meeting! When I asked about who could be baptized the next Sunday, she volunteered herself! Today, Tish was baptized into Christ!
After BYND, Tish correctly "prophecies" that she
will be baptized the following Sunday!
For the first 12 weeks of 2014, the Lord has blessed us with 13 additions! Praise God for His incomparable grace poured out on His new church planting in Gainesville!
Mike Underhill of San Francisco: This March has been our "Harvest Month" in SF and it's been AWESOME to see God bless us with new souls added! Jaden is an Academy of Arts student with a ton of talents and met by our fired up brother Elliot Svenkeson. He overcame an addiction to marijuana that he had accepted he could never change and has now become a "new creation" here in the SF Church! (2 Corinthians 5:17) I'll never forget Elliot looking at me as we walked out of the cold ocean water and sharing with joy that Jaden was the first baptism he was responsible for! Elliot has worked tirelessly for many years as a disciple and Jaden made all the labor worth it!!
For Jaden and all true disciples, the Holy Spirit
can help you overcome any sin!
Also, John & Laura Zamora have sacrificed so much to build the church here in the SF Bay Area, and now their old friend from their previous church has been baptized! Monica learned through the Scriptures that her initial baptism in her former church was invalid after seeing the Bible's teaching on discipleship before baptism. She was baptized and now her ex-boyfriend is doing well and plans on being baptized this next week!
Monica exuberantly comes out of the waters
of baptism ready to win souls!
We have five more people who have been "eagerly examining the Scriptures" and are hoping to be baptized in the next few days so please pray for us here in SF! Also, we want to welcome Adi Namatasere from the Inland Empire Region of the Mighty City of Angels Church! She placed membership here in SF today!
Ricky Challinor of Portland: Greetings from the City of Bridges!!! This week has been incredible as Coleen & myself, along with Aaron and Gabby our Campus Interns, were able to visit the dynamic Las Vegas International Christian Church!!!! All of us are so inspired by the congregation and the PHENOMENAL work Jason & Sarah Dimitry have done for the Lord!
This week, God worked as David Broten was baptized!!! David is the father of Joshua Broten, a brother in the Singles Ministry. Although David is in his 60's, he proved that you "CAN teach an old dog new tricks!" David has been a "man of the Word," digging into his Scriptures since the early 80's. But because of religious traditions and hypocrisy, David gave up hope that he could find the "true church of God!" As we studied the Bible, Dave was like a kid in the candy shop! So excited to learn what a true disciple is! At one point David said, "I don't know how I missed this for 30 years, but the Scriptures speak clearly!" His zeal and desire was seen in him cutting his 30+ years of addiction to cigarettes out of his life "cold turkey!"
So many of Joshua's prayers were answered
when his father David was baptized!
God is so amazing as there are many others studying and there are many more miracles to come! My thanks again to the vibrant church in Las Vegas and our dear friends the Dimitrys!
Sarah Dimitry of Las Vegas: Greetings from Saint City! This week was action packed as we had Ricky & Coleen Challinor from Portland and their awesome interns, Aaron Turner and Gabby Jimenez, visiting for a time of refreshing fellowship and of course a few buffets along the way!
Gabby, Aaron, Coleen and Ricky are so inspired by
the Dimitrys' (left) ministry in Las Vegas!
Also this week, we celebrated our First Annual Women's Day entitled UNCONDITIONAL! Amazingly, with only 26 sisters in the church, the Lord blessed our efforts with 80 adults! I was just so proud of these young, heartsy disciples who poured everything they had into making this event awesome! We were moved to tears by the dancing, singing and the powerful testimonies and we were honored to host our guest speaker from LA, Lianne Kernan!
The Las Vegas Church's humble imitation of LA is
one of the reasons it is the fastest growing
planting in the movement!
Over 30 women expressed on the comment cards their desire to study the Bible! Please pray for an incredible harvest from this event in the upcoming weeks!
Ron & Tracy Harding of Washington DC: "'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.'" (John 4:34-35) Greetings from the capital of the United States! We are so pleased to announce that as of today the DC Church has sent the last support check for the work of planting and establishing a self-supporting church in Denver! Thanks to the LA Church for helping us accomplish this dream!
The Clarks (center) have been superbly trained for
the ministry by Ron & Tracy as evidenced by the
tremendous growth and zeal in the Denver ICC!
Our month began imitating LA's Sunday Scheduling of our Women's Day. Our 55 sisters had an incredible 116 in attendance! I'm so proud of my wife's tremendous coordination of this impacting event. It was "top notch" from start to finish! We had women travel from Florida, Portland, Boston and New York City to get their Extreme Makeovers! The testimonies were some of the best I've ever seen, moving the room to tears several times. The fashion show with 10 of life's typical women (Attitude Girl, Diva Girl, Addicted Girl, etc.) blew the roof off the room!
The Women's Day Fashion Show "models!"
Then Burgandie Onekea closed it out with a fabulous message! There was such an uproar in the hotel that one of the hotel's employees who came to investigate the commotion ended up getting off work and staying for most of the event! She studied the Bible right after service!
Because doing the work of God sustains and nourishes us spiritually, the church is now larger and stronger than before we sent out the Denver Mission Team! In the last six weeks, we have been "hovering" around the 200 in attendance mark and the Lord has blessed us with six additions – four baptisms and two place memberships!
During this time, we've seen our second Mongolian couple – Doku & Zula – baptized with dreams to evangelize their homeland; and Vanessa baptized as a third generation disciple, who was met by Dilana who was baptized just over a month ago!
Doku & Zula (center) are ready to preach the
Word in their homeland of Mongolia!
Then, after 18 years of prayer – Lou Vivas baptized his mother! We feel so blessed to see God forcefully advance the DC Church! Truly, "blessed are [our] eyes because [we] see, and [our] ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what [we] see but did not see it, and to hear what [we] hear but did not hear it." (Matthew 13:16-17) And to Him be all the glory!
Lou prayed for his mom to become a Christian
and after 18 years of watching her son's life,
Sandra responds to the Spirit's call!
Marley Depew of Hilo: Aloha from da Big Island! Jalia Hatori-Whitney, or Lia, was baptized Saturday afternoon! She is a 17 year old student at the Hawaii Community College. She was reached out to by one of our new brothers Robert, when she wanted to borrow his English book to do her homework. The sisters said she was such a joy to study with and super receptive to the Bible's challenges! Lia's mom and sister were able to join us when she made Jesus Lord, and to God be the glory!
Lia's (third from the right) zeal for homework
eventually led her to have a
zeal for her God!
Coltin Rohn of Boston: "To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds." (Daniel 1:17) Greetings from the city of many "Hahvests Fields!" God has given the disciples here in Boston with "knowledge and understanding" in the area of finances! Thanks to Sal DiFusco for teaching us at our Maximizing Your Finances Workshop! We have this class available online so you can also be inspired by God in your own personal finances! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O22Q4U23UnA&feature=youtu.be)
Sal preaching at Boston's Maximizing
Your Finances Workshop!
Today we started our Book of Daniel Series! It is so awesome to study out this amazing man of God! Daniel meaning "God is my judge" inspired us all with his 1) A Heart To Do What Is Right and 2) A Mind To Understand The Truth – the two points from today's sermon!
This was the heart of Armelle, so God gave her "knowledge and understanding" and so she was baptized last Wednesday! So after Armelle crossed paths with Jovani and Naamah, our "Daughters of Thunder," she quickly realized that God and His Word are her judge! After diligently studying for the last two months and realizing that "faith if not accompanied by deeds is dead" (James 2:17), Jen Difusco and the other sisters were able to baptize her in the forgiving waters of baptism!!! To God be the glory!
watch Jen Difusco warmly embrace Armelle
(red shirt) as the newest member
of the Boston Family!
Joel Parlour: God is always so good to us in Syracuse! In the last three weeks, we have seen one precious soul restored and three baptisms! Last week, on Saturday night around 10PM, Sarah was baptized into Christ! Sarah is about to graduate in a few months to be a "perfusionist" – a very specialized job in the medical field! She is very talented and truly loves God with all her heart!
Joel & Courtney's hard work to rebuild the sold-out
foundation is yielding so much fruit, one of
whom is our dear sister Sarah!
Then on Sunday morning, Sonimar was baptized! Her testimony is very powerful as she shared with us why the world made her feel so lonely and empty. Darlene reached out to her after a class they had together at Syracuse University and though she grew up religious decided to come check it out. Not only did she check it out but every week she would sit on the front row with a huge smile on her face focused in on the service! She was so fired up about getting baptized that she had her family come out to church with her, and her brother is now eagerly studying the Bible!
Sonimar is no longer lonely and empty as she has
found the "abundant life" in Christ Jesus!
And one extra special personal piece of good news is: My wife Courtney is pregnant with our first child! To God be the glory!
Jacob Beas of Eugene: Greetings from TrackTown, USA!!! The SOUL Campus Ministry is fired up after coming back from a great Campus Retreat in Central Oregon, but even more excited for the incredible worship service we had today as we witnessed Joey, a freshmen at the University of Oregon, make Jesus Lord!
Since Joey was baptized as a freshman, he will have
three more years to harvest the
University of Oregon!
We are standing in awe of God here in Eugene as we've seen seven baptized in the last eight weeks with four more wanting to be baptized next week! Please keep us in your prayers as we continue "sprinting in this race" "to win as many as possible!" (1 Corinthians 9:19)
Jay Shelbrack from Chicago: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news…" (Luke 4:18) It's great to be in the battle and we have a lot of "good news" to share! We had two baptisms and one place membership these last two weeks! Maria, a Business Management major from Morton College, made radical changes that caused her family to take notice. Her mother was so challenged by Maria's convictions that she changed her lifestyle and her relationship with her boyfriend. Her mother also decided to come and bring Maria's siblings to church!
woman of deep convictions!
As well, Desmond, a Music Management major from Columbia College, decided to make Jesus Lord in spite of persecution from his mother and other family members. He knew God was aggressively seeking him as Brice, a Bible Talk Leader at Columbia, had reached out to him months ago and ran into him again!
rejoices in his new life!
We also had another special addition to the family: Anthony Nathaniel Franklin Jr. (Nathan) was born on March 8th! We are so excited for the Franklins as God continues to bless them with fruit in numerous ways!
Also, so encouraging, three disciples – Paulina, Britney and Mohogany – shared for contribution their experience of attending The Central and South American Missions Conference in Chile last month! All three were "blown away" by the love, sacrifice and being served by all the disciples in Santiago! Their sharing impacted the congregation to help them see the world impact the Kingdom is having and how the Special Missions Contribution is vital. A big thank you to the Santiago Church!
Paulina, Brittany and Mahogany were privileged to
attend the CSA Missions Conference in Chile!
The "Tagging Season" has begun as this last Saturday many disciples braved the cold to collect over $3,000! Very encouraging to us also is that we have already collected a total of over $33,000 for Special Missions Contribution!
Andrew Smellie of New York City: "So I will gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well." (2 Corinthians 12:15) Greetings from "The city that never sleeps!" This weekend was an incredible example of disciples "expending" as much energy as possible to see Jesus' dream of evangelizing the nations fulfilled in our generation!
On Friday night, the Campus & Singles Ministry RAISED OVER $800 in 75 MINUTES for our Missions Fundraising Devotional in Downtown Manhattan despite the cold weather!
After returning to their homes across the NYC Area, the following morning we met back in Manhattan at 7:30AM for our Third Annual Run 4 Missions Fundraiser on the George Washington Bridge! One of the many highlights there was the effort of our dear sister Maria Garcia (the Women's Leader for our Latin Ministry and our Bronx House Church), who despite the powerful winds ran 16 laps nonstop (10 miles) on the Bridge, even though she had already made her missions from her tax return!
The Third Annual Run 4 Missions!
After a busy Saturday, I was so proud of the effort of my wife Patrique, Maria and the sisters as they began Counting the Cost around midnight with Gloria Martinez, the mother of CCNY campus student Carolina Martinez (who recently returned from the CSAMC Conference in Santiago, Chile), until 2:30AM in the morning since she finished working at 10:30PM! After a great church service where we celebrated our "Discipler Appreciation Day," Gloria tearfully shared in Spanish about her gratitude for the grace of God as Maria translated. And when Carolina asked her mother for her good confession, Gloria proclaimed in English, "Jesus is Lord!"
On Discipler Appreciation Day, Andrew & Patrique
(left) express their heartfelt gratitude to Mike
O'Donnell (center) and the Chins because
they have profoundly influenced
Then Carolina joyfully baptized her mother into Christ as the church shouted, "Feliz Espiritual Cumpleanos! (Happy Spiritual Birthday!)" Even more encouraging is that Carolina's dad, Jose, who was also present, is now studying the Bible! To God be the glory!
Carolina baptizes her mom Gloria while
her dad looks on!
NEWS FLASH – Lou Jack Martinez of Honolulu: What an AMAZING couple of weeks it has been for Cathi & me in Manila, Guam, AND Honolulu!!!
First of all, we were greeted by almost ALL the members of the Metro Manila ICC when we arrived at 11:00 PM Manila time last Thursday!!! John Malnegro and Gina Dela Pena led the Greeting Party, and we received our very own BANNER!!!
The Martinezes are given a gracious Filipino
Welcome to Manila!
Gina and the Manila sisters did a phenomenal job of organizing the FIRST Women's Day for the Metro Manila ICC!!! Incredibly, 19 sisters had SIXTY-ONE (61) women in attendance!!! The visiting women were visibly moved by Cathi's message, and many set up to study the Bible right after the event!!!
The First Metro Manila ICC Women's Day!
The next day, the 31 would-be disciples of the Manila Church had a Bring Your Neighbor Day of 64 in attendance, and quickly became the 32 would-be disciples, as they baptized a young man, Casey, into their fledgling Campus Ministry!!! Our Manila Remnant Group is FULL of amazing hearts for God and poised for great growth in 2014!!! Great job, John, Ana, Gina, Jason, Ronnie, Joff and the ENTIRE Manila Church!!!
Then it was off to Guam to visit our four person remnant group there!!! John & Bernie Pereda (Bernie is Therese Untalan’s Sister) and Debbie Hack met us right off the plane with their very own Guam International Christian Church banner!!! And we had the pleasure of staying at John & Bernie's beautiful and warm home, where they have church and now Bible Talk!!!
Wherever Lou Jack (right) went with John, whatever
problem he came across in Guam, he always
took "the bull by the horns!"
Midweek Service the next day was AMAZING as the four disciples brought SIXTEEN (16) people to Midweek Devotional, including several visiting from our former fellowship!!! Please be praying as we are hoping to find all the "fully-committed hearts" for God on the island of Guam!!! (2 Chronicles 16:9) John & Bernie, GREAT JOB leading the way in the evangelization of this beautiful island in our generation!!!
Finally, we added TWO (2) more single men to the thriving Singles Ministry in Honolulu, powerfully led by Scott & Terra Utter with the able assistance of veteran disciple Mike Watari, who has been baptizing like John himself lately!!!
It was another BAD DAY FOR THE DEVIL here in Honolulu as Mike Zwicky was baptized into Christ on Wednesday, March 12th! Mike is an IT professional by trade and hails from Cape Town, South Africa. As Mike Watari was walking to his Bible Talk spot, he was stopped by Mike Zwicky, who pointed at his Bible and stated, "It's a good read, isn't it?" Just like Phillip in Acts 8, Mike W. was led by the Spirit the LONG way around a large seating area to get to Bible Talk when he bumped into Mike!
Mike W. asked Mike Z. what Scriptures he had been reading lately, and Mike Z. mentioned Psalm 119 as one of his favorites!!! Just as in Acts 8, Mike W. started with that very Scripture that Mike Z. had just read and explained to him Psalm 119:1-2. Mike Z. joined them that night for Bible Talk and was overjoyed to find new friends and a renewed hope after pouring over the Word. Mike Z. expressed to Mike W. that a couple of weeks prior he had prayed to God for new brothers in his life as he left his old church behind to start anew. The next day after Bible Talk, he got his wish as we completed a marathon Bible study and baptized him into Christ after midweek service!!!
The Honolulu Brothers introducing Mike Z (second
from the left) to his SoldOut Family
around the world!
Finally, there is a time for everything as this past Wednesday night at midweek our dear brother in the Lord, Scottie Togiola was restored to the body of Christ! After a year of wandering from vice to vice and church to church, Scottie realized that the world had nothing to offer him but wages paid in full by death! With the help of Scott Utter, Alex Aehegma and Mike Watari, Scottie once again turned to "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…" (Philippians 4:7) and vowed to never turn his back on Christ and the Kingdom of God ever again!!! 100 for Hawaii!!!
HEADLINE NEWS – INTERNATIONAL
NEWS FLASH – John Malnegro: ONLY GREAT NEWS FOR THE METRO MANILA ICC!!! For the past two weeks, the Lord has given us such overwhelming encouragements! First was the visit of Lou Jack & Cathi Martinez! Cathi, blew all the women away by her inspiring message during their first ever Women's Day, where they had three visitors for every one disciple!!!
The next day, at our Bring Your Neighbor Day, Lou Jack preached a powerful sermon that led us to remembering how God would truly bless His church when RIGHTEOUS leadership is being practiced! Amazingly, we're now experiencing it happen again in His new movement, yet this time with "a greater glory!" (Haggai 2:9) And the church had the privilege of having Lou Jack lead the song he wrote The Glory Song, which was followed by the inspirational baptism of Mackcasey Valdoz, our first campus baptism who's presently studying Civil Engineering at National University!!!
And today, God has blessed us again with another baptism from the Single's Ministry whose name is Philip Raynes – another song leader and guitarist!!! Mackcasey and Philip, are both personal fruits of our fired up leader in Metro East, Rose Sobrino! Truly, OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!!
Philip Raynes, Rose Sobrino and Mackcasey Valdoz!
Raul Moreno: "He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents." (Malachi 4:6) Greetings from São Paulo! The Lord was gracious as He allowed us to witness the Scripture above become a reality as Juliana, who is an USP student, baptized her mother Maria last week thus fulfilling a great dream of hers! This is a wondrous sign of God's Kingdom being among us as it inspires us to never give up the hope that our families can be converted to Christ! We love you with the love of the Lord!
Maria (second from the left) was baptized through the
godly example of Juliana (center), her daughter
who is an USP student!
Jared McGee: Greetings from the Campus Ministry in Santiago de Chile! This fall semester has started off with a bang as there are 20 people seriously studying the Bible on campus! I'm happy to say that the brothers are more fired up than ever after an All Night Prayer Devo last Friday, and we are starting to see results!
With an intense focus on Catholic University of Santiago, our goal is to baptize as many young leaders as possible to not only evangelize Santiago, but all of Chile and Latin America! Catholic University is the number two school in all of Latin America which boasts Chile's "best and brightest" as its student body! We are anxious to turn these motivated young people into dreamers for Jesus! Today, we had our first baptism in the campus as Loreto made Jesus Lord of her life!
Loreto (left) attends Santiago's Catholic University
which is the number two college in all of
Central and South America!
Also of note are the baptisms of Cesar and Ivan, two young men from Colombia, and the restoration of our dear sister Angelita! The Lord has added four in the last two weeks, and 14 thus far in 2014! Pray that the pace will only increase, "that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly!" (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
Lord willing, Jared & Rachel will plant the
Bogata ICC in February 2015!
Michele Williamson: Greetings to all from London! We had an incredible Women's Day two weekends ago entitled Alluring. The theme was inspired by the Scripture in Hosea 2:14, "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her heart." God certainly allured and inspired all of us as He spoke powerfully through our main speaker Angelica Grima-Robles. I am so proud of how hard Angelica worked to create a lesson that not only hit the hearts of our guests but also our sisters as she spoke about her "wilderness" experiences in and out of the Kingdom.
Angelica (left) and Patricia have a tremendous
impact at London's Women's Day!
Dr. Jen Watkins, Keithra Adderley and Patirica Feumba also shared vulnerably about their lives and our 43 sisters had 103 in attendance! It was incredible also to have three sisters from two of our European Remnant Groups visiting: Karla Garcia from Madrid as well as Yuklin Zoutendijk and Anita Vermaat from Amsterdam who had a guest visiting from London who was part of our old fellowship. Many women are studying as a result of such a great day!
Alexis Turgeau: Dearest Brothers and Sisters, God blessed our congregation in Port-au-Prince by adding two news souls yesterday after the worship service! Continue to pray as the fields are so ripe for harvest here in the great nation of Haiti!
Alexis (right) continues to make disciples in
Port-au-Prince and throughout Haiti!
NEWS FLASH – Debs Rajan of Chennai: Vannakam! Greetings from the Land of the Tamils! Our theme for this month is "March Madness!" Everyone has been evangelizing and doing Bible Talks like crazy! Every disciple is being trained to "go anywhere, do anything and give up everything for the Lord!"
My wonderful husband, who has the dream of going to all nations, has an expectation from the church to at least know the names of all 196 nations of the world and their capitals! Each month, we focus on one continent and one book in the Bible. So, in the Leader's Meeting, which is almost the whole church, we have a quiz! This month it is Asia and the Book of John. April is Africa and the Book of Acts. May is Europe and the Book of Hebrews. This one thing has changed the confidence level of the Chennai disciples so much!
So far in March, God has blessed our efforts with five baptisms already! Michael, who has his Masters in Bio-technology and was born into a Catholic family but became an atheist, was "dunked" at the Marina by the brothers!
into a radical disciple of Christ!
Michael's change was so radical that his younger brother Nathaniel wanted to see what was causing all these amazing changes! This Sunday, Nathaniel – who is a Professor in an Engineering college – also confessed his sins and got baptized! Now we have a Bible Talk in their house!
Nathaniel the young professor rejoices
over his salvation!
Suraj, an Engineering Graduate, came to our congregation after hearing so much negative and so much positive! After hearing the radical messages preached by my husband and seeing the commitment of the disciples, Suraj realized he never became a disciple and was baptized!
by faith cleanses all of his sins!
We also had a teen Matthew, and Arun Toraito, a Hotel Management student, baptized! We truly are "Mad for Jesus!" (2 Corinthians 5:13)
Young Matthew (left) has become a
"March Madness" disciple!
Dearest Brothers and Sisters: Let us remember that leadership has two roles in the eyes of God – direction and unity! Therefore in keeping with the pattern of Acts 15, the following letter from our leaders has been sent to be read in all of the SoldOut Movement Churches:
From: The Central Leadership and the Crown of Thorns Councils
Subject: The Use of Marijuana
Greetings in the Lord! It has been brought to our attention that there are questions concerning the use of marijuana by disciples. Indeed, "some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling you by what they said." (Acts 15:24) So we all agreed to share our position on this matter with you. The use of prescribed medications overseen by legitimate doctors is accepted in our fellowship around the world. So whether it is a drug such as morphine or marijuana, if these medications are directly administered intravenously or as prescribed pills by upstanding doctors, we feel that this is acceptable.
However, if marijuana is taken in any form for "recreational use" – whether legal or not – we believe this violates several Scriptures such Galatians 5:19-21, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God." The Greek word translated "witchcraft" is "pharmakeia" which connotes mind-altering and/or illicit use of drugs.
Lastly, let us remember that each of our bodies is "a temple of the Holy Spirit." (1 Corinthians 6:19) We are not to pollute our bodies in a way that will affect our health or our ability to worship God. We have long taught to abstain from cigarette smoking, pipe smoking, cigar smoking and e-cigarettes for these reasons, as well as not to be a stumbling block to Christians or non-Christians. Therefore, "you will do well to avoid" marijuana smoking for any reason. (Acts 15:29)
This directive comes from our hearts to honor God and to call disciples everywhere to be "likeminded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." (Philippians 2:2) Continue to pray for us as we continue to pray for you. And may God's grace be spread to all nations in this generation.
With all our love and affection,
The Central Leadership and Crown of Thorns Councils
Also join with me to pray for all of the church plantings in God's movement in 2014! Santa Barbara and Gainesville have been planted and Houston will have their Inaugural Service on April 13, 2014! Pray as well for the send offs of Toronto (May), Dallas-Ft. Worth (August), Chennai (September), and Moscow (December)! Our dream is becoming a reality: "Proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His gory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples!" (Psalm 96:2-3)
Pray for the seven church plantings that – Lord
willing – the Spirit will launch in 2014!
Lastly, please continue to pray that as a movement that we will be "brought to complete unity to let the world know that [God] sent [Jesus]" to save them! (John 17:23) And to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the glory!