Guest Editorial: Kyle Bartholomew
(Editor’s note: Today the Metro Manila Mission Team – led by the valiant leaders Kyle & Joan Bartholomew – will be sent out by the Holy Spirit! Excitingly upon their arrival in the Philippines, Kyle & Joan will not only be planting the Ninth Crown Of Thorns Church – the Metro Manila International Christian Church – but they also will be establishing the extension school, the International College Of Christian Ministries (ICCM) – Manila! Kyle’s growth as a man of God in understanding and teaching the Scriptures has been a tremendous joy to the entire ICCM and to me personally. This incredible article underscores Kyle’s remarkable insights into God’s Word! KM)
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by BEING LIKE-MINDED, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2
There is no doubt that the biggest obstacle in accomplishing Jesus’ dream to evangelize the nations in any generation, is getting Christians to work together! I find it amazing that Jesus gave us a task that can only be accomplished through the organized and unified efforts of “like-minded” disciples.
This past year, I was blessed to be able to participate and graduate from the ICCM Master’s Program. As part of our curriculum, we were required to read all four volumes of The Search For The Ancient Order, which is a historical account of our roots – The Restoration Movement – from the late 1700’s to the 1900’s. I found myself most fascinated with their dream of establishing an American Christian Missionary Society in the mid-1800’s. The prevailing thought was that a church could do more than a disciple, and a group of churches could do more than a single church. In 1850, their dream was realized as the first church was sent out by the Missionary Society to Jerusalem. Although having some success as a number of additional church plantings were to follow, this society was short-lived as the cooperating congregations never renounced autonomy, and as a result, each church went back to doing only “as each saw fit!” (Judges 17:6) While attempts were made to preserve the idea of this society as several smaller cooperative efforts were initiated, they too eventually “fizzled-out.”
We understand from Philippians 2:1-2 that “being [spiritually] like-minded” is a quality that can only come from “being united with Christ.” A leader can only receive this quality by walking with God and then passing it on to his people. In the event that a leader becomes unspiritual, he no longer has the capacity to be “like-minded.” In turn, his unspiritual guidance and independent spirit can lead a group of disciples or even an entire congregation adrift, further frustrating the dream of Jesus. This has been a scheme of Satan dating far back before the beginning of the Restoration Movement. While speaking to the Ephesian elders, Paul stated, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!” (Acts 20:29-31) It is sobering to consider that the extreme persecution from outsiders served only to strengthen the early church, while preachers that rose-up from within the movement and later defected were far more successful at destroying it! Some scholars estimate that by approximately 150 AD two thirds of all Christians became apostates. Sadly, these misguided brothers and sisters listened to the growing number of false preachers and were enticed by various offshoots of “heretical Christianity!”
There are many reasons why a Christian who was once spiritual can become unspiritual. We will focus on just four reasons and four leaders that Satan successfully led astray!
Simon the Sorcerer – Sin of Discontentment
“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the Apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.’” (Acts 8:18-23)
Here we find a story in which Phillip, a recently appointed “deacon,” travels down to Samaria and converts the most powerful man in the city named Simon the Sorcerer! This man was so influential that he was nicknamed by the people – “The Great Power!” Yet, when Simon saw the miracles of the Holy Spirit, which was an even greater power alive and active in the life of Philip, Simon was drawn to it and was baptized. It could not have been too long after Simon’s conversion that he realized Philip had now succeeded him as the most powerful man in the city. To Simon’s dismay others had also noticed that Philip possessed the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, given to him at the laying on of the Apostles’ hands during his appointment as a “deacon.” (Acts 6:6) This most certainly did not sit well with Simon who secretly grew discontent with his role, while subjected to watch Philip grow in power and influence right before his eyes. Sometime thereafter, the Apostles Peter and John came to Samaria and began laying their hands on some of the disciples. Though the Samaritan disciples had received the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit” at baptism, the Apostles gave the ability to some of the Samaritan disciples to also do miracles just like Philip. (Acts 2:38; Romans 8:9 KJV) The Samaritans needed the miraculous gifts such as tongues to preach to the lost and prophecy to strengthen the disciples since the New Testament had not yet been written. (1 Corinthians 14:22)
It was at this moment that I believe Simon saw an opportunity “to vault” himself past Philip and regain his former position of prominence. Philip had the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, but that’s not what Simon asked for. He wanted the ability to distribute the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, an ability that even Philip did not have. Peter sees through Simon’s selfishly motivated request and rebukes him for his bitterness. Sadly, according to Christian tradition, Simon never repents and goes on to become one of the founding fathers of Gnosticism – a heretical sect in the first century that believed salvation could be gained through “secret knowledge.” Gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “to know.”
It cannot be understated that we as Christians must guard our hearts against discontentment. It is easy to become dissatisfied with our role, who is chosen to disciple us, what church we lead or serve in, etc. We must always remember we serve a sovereign God, “Who created us in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) Not accepting God’s sovereign plan for your life leads to discontentment, discontentment to bitterness, and bitterness will not only kill us spiritually, but also the people we influence! (Hebrews 12:15)
Nicolas of Antioch – Undealt With Baggage
In addition to the Gnostics, the Nicolaitans were another dangerous offshoot of Christianity. The Apostle John writes, “But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans which I also hate.” (Revelation 2:6) This group spawned several splinter groups with a wide range of teaching as all unspiritual groups do, but most believe the original intent of this group was to bring Judaism back into Christianity. It is very interesting that according to Christian tradition, Nicolas of Antioch is considered to be the founder. Nicolas knew Philip well as they were both appointed “deacons” on the same day! “This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.” (Acts 6:5)
It is hard to understand how a man “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” can become a heretic. However, I have learned throughout my 13 short years as a Christian that everyone brings some type of “baggage” into the Kingdom upon their conversion… and baggage if undealt with, can have devastating consequences. Nicolas was a convert to Judaism prior to becoming a Christian and so there is little doubt that he brought “doctrinal baggage” with him. He probably had qualms and silent reservations for years and, because he did not deal with them, they ultimately led him astray!
Every “remnant (veteran) disciple” including myself must understand that we too carried baggage into the New Movement from our former fellowship. I am certain that I personally ingested large doses of satanic poison from the pulpit for at least the last three years I attended from 2003-2006. “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) Every Sunday there are countless numbers of “Satan’s servants” that wake up, put on their suit and tie while preparing to preach a sermon to their congregations, never realizing they are serving Satan rather than God. During those three years, I sat and listened to sermon after sermon that produced doubt rather than faith! Questions were being asked from the pulpit the same way Satan questioned Eve in the Garden: “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:1) Do we really have to go to midweek? Do we really have to give a contribution? Must we really go to all nations? All the while implying that we do not! These questions produced a doubt in me for years that was only alleviated when I made a decision to let go of what I had heard, and to hold on to the infallible Words of God found in the Scriptures!
Diotrephes – Disdain Toward Authority
“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.” (3 John 9-10)
It is clear while reading 3 John in its entirety that the Apostle John served as an overseer of this congregation. What is also made clear is that Diotrephes, who was one of the leaders if not “the” leader, refused to submit to John. What was the reason for this rebellion? John simply stated, “He loves to be first.”
We as Americans live in a country that understands rebellion towards authority all too well. In fact, our country was started out of a rebellion toward not only the Kingdom of England, but also the idea of a kingdom itself! Out of our fear of tyrannical rule, we gave the power to the people, calling it democracy! Yet, the structure of church government that we see in the Scriptures is not modelled after a democracy but rather a kingdom!
Over the years, I have found that those who have the hardest time submitting to a higher authority in the church are actually many of the leaders themselves. They have been spoiled by having church at a time of their preference, instructing the song leaders to pick songs that they enjoy, and even preaching in a style that they want to be preached to. The reality is: Every leader leads the way they think is best. Yet, what they think is best, so often is merely just their opinion… And when someone over them has a different opinion, they quickly cry out, “DEMOCRACY! DEMOCRACY!”
Rebellion is a temptation for every leader, and an underlying American value, but according to the Scriptures it is “like the sin of divination!” (2 Samuel 15:23) For Satan himself was cast out of Heaven for his rebellion toward God. Diotrephes simply followed in Satan’s footsteps wanting “to be first,” forgetting all the while that it is God who is first and that “there is no authority except that which God has established!” (Romans 13:1)
DEMAS – Secret Sin
“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” (2 Timothy 4:9-10)
As Paul neared the end of his life, he longed to have his closest friends and fellow preachers by his side. Sadly, a man named Demas, who is also referenced in the books of Philemon and Colossians as a fellow laborer and preacher in the Lord, was no longer with Paul as he had fallen away. I highly doubt that Paul was aware of what was really going on in Demas’ heart and mind until it was too late. Like Judas before him, Demas decided to fight his spiritual battle alone… And like all who are not honest about their lives, he was overpowered by Satan and his demons!
It is true that every disciple, no matter how strong he may be, is constantly fighting against his attraction to the world. When we are not honest about where we are at spiritually, even the best discipler cannot help us. I have found over the years that most disciples and especially leaders struggle in this area. This comes from our desire to look better than we are, rationalizing that our sin will cause those we lead to stumble, and ultimately trusting our own human wisdom rather than the perfect Word of God. Therefore, it is vital that we all remember no matter what role we play in the church, that honesty is God’s policy and more importantly the only path to Heaven! The life of Demas should be a sobering reminder for all of us that Satan has always worked to dishearten God’s people by taking out godly men and women that in turn cause devastating “ripple effects!”
It is quite significant that although Simon, Nicolas and Diotrephes never repented, this may have not been the end of Demas! The name Demas was often used during this time as a shortened version of the name Demetrius. Some have suggested that Demas was the Demetrius of Ephesus, a former persecutor of Paul who later became a Christian! (Acts 19) It is also the opinion of many that the last words written about Demas were not by Paul but rather the Apostle John, “Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone – and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.” (3 John 12) This is an attractive opinion indeed, because if true, it would prove that Demas learned to crucify his flesh and was restored to the Lord sometime after Paul’s death! He may have joined Simon, Nicolas and Diotrephes by being unspiritual for a time, but prayerfully he did not share their same fate. Let us never forget that even the most non “like-minded” disciples can repent and re-join us in our quest to win a lost world for Christ! To God be all the glory!
“Keep Our Island Beautiful”
WHO is putting on this event, and WHO does the CLEAN-A-THON benefit?
ANSWER: The Honolulu International Christian Church in cooperation with City & County of Honolulu, Department of Environmental Services “Earth Month” Project; beneficiary is Pearl Harbor Bike Path & Manoa Valley Stream (Nonprofit ID # available upon Donor’s request).
WHAT is a CLEAN-A-THON and for WHAT is the money being raised?
ANSWER: A half-day of picking up litter strewn along the Pearl Harbor Bike Path and the Manoa Valley Stream. The money being raised supports the various ministries of the Honolulu International Christian Church and MERCYworldwide which include:
- FREE Marital and Family Counseling, including Annual Retreats;
- FREE Counseling for Teens, Youth-at-Risk and College Students;
- FREE Leadership Training at UH-Manoa., Kapiolani Community College (KCC), Chaminade University and Hawaii Pacific University (HPU);
- Organization of Annual Blood Drive (with the Blood Bank of Hawaii);
- Annual Toy Drive (Thousands of toys donated locally and nationwide);
- Monthly Youth Events for College Students, Teens and Pre-Teens;
- International Leadership Development (for several youth in Honolulu County, who will go to London, England or Santiago, Chile for our 2015 European Missions Conference or our 2016 Central & South American Missions Conference, respectively);
- Annual Day of MERCY, co-sponsored by MERCYworldwide;
- Bible Literacy Programs FOR ALL AGES and walks of life (which covers the elementary teachings and basic principles of the Scriptures).
WHERE will the CLEAN-A-THON event be held?
ANSWER: Pearl Harbor Bike Path (meeting at Neal Blaisdell Park or Waipahu Depot Road).
WHEN will the CLEAN-A-THON event be held?
ANSWER: Saturday, April 4, 2015, from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
WHY are you doing this and what is your suggested donation?
ANSWER: To KEEP OUR ISLAND BEAUTIFUL, and to raise funds to support our good work locally, here on Oahu, and our missions work in Hilo and Kona, across the mainland and beyond!!! In keeping with our Hawaii 5-0 Campaign—to plant 5 churches in the Hawaiian Islands over the next 5 years—we suggest a donation of $25.00, $50.00, or $500.00; but ANY amount will be greatly appreciated.
For more information, please contact us at (800) 769-6010.
Mahalo for your time and kokua!!
The noble Moscow Church Leaders – Oleg & Elena Sirotkin and Zhenya & Julia Sobolev!
Kids Kingdom is the same in every language!
Lena Kapskaya – a talented actress and artist – paints the faces of the workers and the children of Kids Kingdom!
Kids Kingdom wins the hearts of the children!
Franc from Cameroon is baptized!
Valenitna (Nikita’s mother) is baptized!
The Moscow Inaugural Service was such a historic event that even the media was impressed!
The CSA Conference was held at the beautiful Gran Palace Hotel Convention Center!
Carlos & Lucy Mejia, the Directors of the CSA Conference, give a fiery welcome to the Leadership Workshop!
The worship of God through prayer and singing in three languages – Spanish, Portuguese and English – was incredibly inspirational!
Raul Moreno inspires all to evangelize the world!
The Campus Workshop was simply outstanding!
Elena enjoys a moment of fellowship with the Sao
Paulo Sisters after the Campus Workshop!
The Presentation: Who Wants To Be A Missionary moved many to decide to go to the mission field to serve the Lord!
Hector Gomez shared “good news” from Bogata! He will become the Librarian and Publisher for the new SoldOut Movement’s Berean Online Library!
Ryan and Helen Sullivan of Orlando presided over the contribution!
Alfredo Anuch delivers the keynote address!
Alfredo & Alejandra Anuch will lead the Santiago Church when the Mejias depart in June to strengthen Mexico City!
Doris (Alfredo’s mom on the left) and Sonia (Alejandra’s mom) are both sold-out disciples!
Marcelo, Silvana and Carlos were baptized immediately after service!
Raul & Lynda Moreno – the Sao Paulo Church
Leaders and the World Sector Leaders for Central & South America!
The beloved Argo Arneson preaching his farewell sermon!
Chris Chloupek and Cory Blackwell masterfully oversaw RD & April’s wedding!
Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. RD & April Baker!
Lance’s Dad & Mom… Lance baptized his father last year just before he went on to glory!
Then his father and mother – Frank & Mirna! Also pictured is Adam who was baptized the same day!
The North Sisters warmly welcome Kia into God’s Family!
Not to be outdone, the UCR Ministry and their newest sister Astrid issue the same challenge, “You will be next!”
Dominic & Nikki, a dating couple, repent from their sins, commit to a pure dating relationship, and are baptized on the same day!
This Sunday, we saw this Scripture fulfilled as Jarod Piercey was baptized into Christ and joins our newly formed “Young & Faithful” Teen Ministry! His “big” sister, Destiny, was baptized in November of last year.
Sharil shared very vulnerably about how her son got so depressed that he was struggling with suicidal thoughts, and how God worked through our Campus/Teen Intern, Marvell Holder, to save his life spiritually and maybe even physically! Rod, Jarod’s father, shared his joy and vision for his son, and how today Jarod was “honoring his true Father… and me as well!” Jarod shared honestly, and with a sincere gratitude for all those who loved him and helped him come to this point – he was especially grateful to God! Tears streamed down many faces today, and even mine now as I write remembering this miracle!
Jarod’s family and spiritual family gather to celebrate!
Last but not least, thank you to all the amazing brothers and sisters in the Eugene Church for your love and hospitality! Jason Dimitry and I are very grateful to have been able to spend a week with you!
Jason Dimitry: Good news from your family in San Francisco – 2015 has started off with a bang!! God has given us 14 additions since January 1st! Especially encouraging were the baptisms of two incredible opinion leaders Niquis and Omar at our SF State Campus!
Sharon before and after her incredible baptism!
Janay is the first SMU student baptized!
Marcos celebrates his salvation with his
new best friends – the USP Brothers!
Bife de lomo!
The fun PURE Dance!
Their Bible Talk!
Dean “The Machine” Lam!
And since our last entry in the Good News Email, our sister Cheyanne Keliihoomalu – the reigning Miss Rodeo Hawaii – competed in the Miss Rodeo USA Pageant in Las Vegas and won Miss Congeniality by showing her “faith, hope and love” and not only representing Hawaii but also God’s Kingdom!
Ron testifying before the House of Representatives!
The NYC Staff and the 10 additions of 2015!
God has also blessed us with two incredible couples to serve as Shepherds over the church here in Boston! One of the shepherds, Sal DiFusco, has served as an Associate Professor at the distinguished Berklee College of Music for the last 17 years! As he has been totally devoted to the Kingdom, God has been moving powerfully in his life and he was recently promoted to a full Professor! As you can imagine, we are very blessed to have Sal oversee our Music Ministry!
We’re also fired-up to raise our Special Missions coming up in May! Already, God has allowed us to raise close to 15% of what we plan to give! Please pray for us as many are close to the waters of baptism! Much love from Boston!
Maria Franklin from Chicago: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit; says the Lord Almighty.“ (Zechariah 4:6). We have had an inspiring month as God added four to our number by baptism! Mike was baptized from Morton College; Meaghan from University of Chicago; as well as Ahkeem and Victor in the Teen Ministry!
Ashok is thrilled knowing his sins have
been washed away!
Happy New Year and “grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!” (Ephesians 1:3) The incredible Winter Workshop on January 2-4, 2015 in Los Angeles began this new year centered on the book of Philippians with the inspiring theme – THE UPWARD CALL! One of the many highlights of the weekend was the announcement that, Lord willing in 2015, the Spirit will plant Moscow, Russia in February; Manila, Philippines in June; and Stockholm, Sweden in September! By the end of the year, of the 12 Crown of Thorns Cities, amazingly only three are left to be planted – Johannesburg (2016), Cairo or another Middle East Capital (2016), and Hong Kong (2017)!
The first Crown of Thorns City to celebrate the New
Year was Sydney! The Sydney Disciples brought
in the New Year while most of us in LA were
“having Quiet Times” at 5AM Pacific
Coast Time (PCT) on our
Metro Manila celebrated 2015 at 8AM (PCT)
on New Years Eve Day!
Hong Kong as well celebrated at 8AM (PCT)!
Chennai Disciples practice the “Cupid Shuffle!” India
celebrated New Year’s at 10:30AM (PCT)!
The disciples in Moscow rang in the
New Year when it was 1PM in LA!
Gumboot dancers performed on New Years Eve as
Johannesburg rang in the New Year at 2PM (PCT)!
The Egyptians had a peaceful New Year’s Celebration
filling up Tahrir Square in Cairo at 2PM (PCT)!
The City of Lights – Paris – had a spectacular
celebration at 3PM (PCT)!
In “Merry ‘Ol London,” Big Ben ushered
in 2015 at 4PM (PCT)!
In Sao Paulo…
Balloons saluted a New Year!
The Sao Paulo Disciples celebrated at 6PM (PCT)!
Santiago’s New Year came at 7PM our time in LA!
And in Mexico City, the 2015 New Years was a night-
long festival that began at 10PM in Los Angeles!
Yet as inspiring as the historic plantings of Moscow, Manila and Stockholm are, there will be far less “moving around” – especially from LA, where we have sent-out over 200 disciples during the last two years to plant and strengthen churches! Prayerfully, during 2015 – The Year of Maturity, we will focus not only on “the three leadership fountains” for the SoldOut Movement: the Campus Ministry, the AMS Ministry, and the Remnant, but also to “mature” and appoint new Evangelists and WML’s in almost every one of our plantings and several of the LA Regions! Maturity means multiplying disciples and multiplying the leaders to graciously lead them!
The Courageous Stockholm Mission Team led
by Argo & Anu Arneson!
The 2015 Winter Workshop was kicked-off on Friday morning, January 2nd with the Church Builders Workshop!
Friends and family came from all around the world
for the 2015 Winter Workshop! So awesome to
have the “Mejia Familia” from Chile!
The initial lesson – FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST – was an “upward call” to all church leaders to refocus their time and energy on Christ Jesus! That evening about 500 disciples attended the Bible Talk Leaders Workshop where Matt Sullivan delivered the inspiring speech, PROGRESS AND JOY IN THE FAITH!
Matt Sullivan of Orlando dynamically
preaching the Word!
On Saturday, there was The Men’s Program from 9AM to Noon which was followed by The Women’s Program which was held from 2PM to 5PM. The speech I CAN DO ALL THINGS was eloquently preached by Chris Broom to the men and Helen Sullivan to the sisters!
Helen Sullivan encouraging the Sisters
to say, “I CAN!”
To close The Men and Women’s Sessions, a hilarious Bible Talk Skit – showing disciples what to do and what not to do at Bible Talk – was brilliantly directed by Cesar & Debbie Limon!
The Bible Talk Skit gave us several
In the evening, Nick & Denise Bordieri and Tony & Therese Untalan inspired The Shepherds Classby specifically addressing the role of the Shepherds to hold up the Evangelists’ arms!
Sunday, January 4th was the LA Congregational Worship Service where we were joined by the Las Vegas and San Diego Churches! The atmosphere was electric as ten brothers and sisters shared about their ministries which are located all around the globe!
The enthusiastic disciples at the Sunday Worship
Service of the 2015 Winter Workshop!
Then Carlos & Lucy Mejia presided over a very moving communion entitled, I COUNT EVERYTHING A LOSS, and Joe & Kerry Willis inspired us for the contribution on the theme ofCONSIDERING THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS! For the sermon, Andrew Smellie gave a very stirring keynote address on THE UPWARD CALL!
Joe & Kerry Willis share about the incredible
sacrifice of the entire Sydney
In the afternoon and evening was the gorgeous wedding and joyous reception of Kirk & Margie Hamula – both ICCM Students!
Kirk & Margie recently returned to LA after
their honeymoon in Madrid!
On Monday morning was the first Crown Of Thorns Council Meeting of the new year. Congratulations goes to our three newest couples: Roger & Kama Parlour, Jay & Barb Shelbrack, and Lance & Connie Underhill! This session began with Joe Willis addressing the brothers onEVERYTHING IS UNDER HIS CONTROL. Elena spoke to the sisters on the same theme. That afternoon, Kyle Bartholomew gave one of the greatest lessons that I have ever heard which was entitled, BEING LIKE-MINDED!
The Crown of Thorns Council!
That evening was The International College of Christian Ministries (ICCM) Faculty & Regents Reception! Very excitingly, new faculty and roles were introduced: Tim Kernan as the President of ICCM – Toronto, Lianne Kernan as the Dean of Women of ICCM – Toronto, Kyle Bartholomew as the President of ICCM – Manila, Joan Bartholomew as the Dean of Women of ICCM – Manila, Anthony & Cassidy Olmos as the Directors of Marketing, Cesar Limon as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Rebecca Rico as another Graduate Teaching Assistant, Adam Zepeda as Academic Resource Teaching Assistant, and since there are now extension campuses of the ICCM in other nations, I will be privileged to serve as the Chancellor of the International Colleges of Christian Ministries!
Adam Zepeda & Rebecca Rico are two of our
new ICCM Graduate Teaching Assistants!
On Tuesday January 6th, the World Sector Leaders Council convened. Tim Kernan preached an incredible lesson from chapter one of Philippians entitled WHATEVER HAPPENS! To close out this session we had a very stimulating discussion about the SoldOut Movement’s future plantings from 2015 to 2018!
For Wednesday lunch, Andrew & Patrique Smellie – the World Sector Leaders of Africa – and Elena & I met with Nick Winn of Gordon’s Bay, South Africa. (Gordon’s Bay is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town.) Nick, after attending the entire Winter Workshop made the decision that afternoon for his congregation to officially join the SoldOut Movement!
Andrew celebrates the new Gordon’s Bay
Remnant Group with dessert, but then
remembers his new year’s diet!
Lord willing in March, Andrew & Patrique will speak at the Gordon’s Bay International Christian Church! Then the three of them will travel to Johannesburg to “spy out the land” as Nick grew up there! Prayerfully, the Johannesburg Remnant Group will begin this summer under the leadership of Jacques & Jeanette Groenewald now in our London Church!
Nick Winn – with camera in hand – can’t wait to return
to South Africa to share about the Winter
Workshop and meeting Andrew Smellie
and Jacques Groenewald (right)!
Extraordinarily, during the two weekends following the Winter Workshop, we witnessed our second and third weddings of the month – AJ & CL Penedo and Daniel & Patty Granger!
Congratulations to AJ & CL Penedo
of the Southland Region!
Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Daniel & Patty Granger
of the OC Region!
God really used the Winter Workshop to motivate and strengthen the City of Angels Church as January has been an incredible month! We have seen our pledges for weekly contribution rise from $29,809/week to $36,020/week! Also, there are now 93 students enrolled in the International College of Christian Ministries (ICCM) Bachelor’s Program which met for the first time this year on Saturday, January 24th!
Since the focus of the ICCM is glorifying Jesus, our
Latin motto is “Venia et Veritas,” which
comes from John 1:14 as Jesus is
“Grace and Truth!”
A light breakfast is provided before the ICCM Class…
Professor Bartholomew and Professor Smellie are
caught sampling Stan’s Donuts before
the students have a chance!
Board of Regents – introduces
the new semester!
As well, on the following morning at our Bring Your Neighbor Day, God gave to us 1,506 in attendance! So, in the extremely busy first 28 days of 2015, God has blessed us with 30 additions – 21 baptisms, five restorations and four place memberships! All of this is so remarkable and we have 11 more months to go in 2015! And to God be the glory!
And now more good news from around Los Angeles…
HEADLINE NEWS – LOS ANGELES
Ighodaro Odighizuwa: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Warm greetings of love from the San Bernadino Sector of the Inland Empire Region! 2014 was an incredible year for the Inland Empire Region as we started out with 56 sold-out disciples and God blessed us with 114 additions! At the 2015 LA Winter Workshop, we experienced a historic event as the Spirit sent 34 disciples to plant the 12th Region of the City of Angels Church in Palm Springs! We also sent out nine disciples to start our new sector in San Bernadino led by Ashley and myself!
Argo presents Sal & Patricia Velasco with
the Fire Trophy! (Luke 12:49)
Each member of the new Zealous Palm Springs
Region also received the “Fire Trophy!”
The new Radical San Bernadino Sector!
It has been a very “WINDY” 2015 so far and the Spirit continues to move as 12 precious souls were added to our number in the month of January including six baptisms and two restorations! Today we had a record Bring Your Neighbor Day attendance of 145! We were privileged to witness four incredible campus students baptized from three different IE Campuses: Eric from UCR, Nichole from RCC, and two CSUSB students Jeremy and Erin were baptized into Christ!
Nichole of RCC gives the IE Challenge,
“You will be next!”
Like all IE baptisms, Erin of Cal State San Bernadino,
lovingly gives the charge, “You will be next!”
Jeremy is a music major at Cal State San Bernadino (CSUSB) specializing in the piano and cello. He was reached out to this past Wednesday and did an “on-the-spot Bible study!” Jeremy shared that he has been praying for God to send him people that could show him God’s will for his life. After concluding that we were the answer to his prayers, he started eagerly studying the Bible twice a day and was baptized today on our BYND Service!
With Jeremy’s baptism, we now have two
strong disciples at CSUSB!
Lastly, this January, the IE disciples are putting into practice, “Love one another,” as we have three new dating couples: Jason Woody & Daniela Payan, Erik af Klint & Michelle Pettit, and Garrett Bradley & Kelechi Kalu!
The IE’s three new dating couples – Garrett & Kelechi,
Erik & Michelle, and standing on each side is
Jason & Daniela – issuing the challenge,
“You will be next… to date!”
Lance Underhill: “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth.” (2 John 1:4) The South Region is rejoicing with all that God is doing! First, Clarrisa, a great young lady, was introduced to the church by her friend, Aaron Turner – who is now in San Francisco. Over a four year period, she studied the Bible with Coleen Challinor in OC; later with Chenelle Patterson in Orlando; and then with Sarah Dimitry in San Francisco! Although brought up very religious, she finally realized after four years that she hadn’t watched her “life and doctrine closely,” and was baptized as a disciple last Sunday!
After four years of studying the Bible off and on,
Clarrisa becomes a baptized disciple!
Secondly, the South is jubilant as we surpassed our new pledge goal! Last but certainly not least, Stacy & Lynette Ybarra and their son Christian have been accepted into the ICCM as unpaid interns! The whole Ybarra Familia has added so much joy to the South! Just last year, their teen daughter Cameryn – although the youngest in the family – was the first to seek God with all her heart and then lead her family back to God! God is truly amazing!
On the day they were restored, Stacy & Lynette (left)
rejoice that their son Christian becomes a disciple!
Now all three are in the ICCM!
Cory Blackwell: Greetings from the Southland Region! Sunday was an incredible day! The Lord blessed us with our best Bring Your Neighbor Day ever! With 111 disciples, God blessed us with an attendance of 253 fired-up souls worshiping God! Our newly formed First Century Choir did an outstanding song called Give Him Glory! It had the church singing with great joy and then we were brought into the presence of God as our dear sister, Ciera Mercano – who is classically trained – sang, Open My Heart. I want to commend our Women’s Ministry led powerfully by the love of my life, my wife – Jeraldine! They worked around the clock completing studies, counting the cost, and baptizing at the service four precious women – Talisha (the physical sister of Ricky Ball), Jade, Sarita and Izzy, a zealous campus student at El Camino College!
Our precious new sisters: Talisha and Sarita!
During the sermon titled Kingdom Eyesight, we learned that God wants to 1) Reclaim Our Lives; 2) Reshape Our Futures; and 3) Redeploy Us To Win The Nations In Our Generation!Following, all our friends and family enjoyed a feast of foods prepared by the Bible Talks!
Cory calls for disciples to be willing to be “deployed”
to any and all nations!
Chris Adams of the Ventura Region: Around Christmas, our dear brother Miguel (Bear) reached out to a friend from elementary school named Ruth on Facebook. Shortly after, Ruth bumped into another bold sister, Alysha, at Starbucks who shared with her, and she began to study the Bible and to see the love of the disciples! Later, Ruth admitted that during her first “counting the cost session,” Kerri-Sue made her feel “quite uncomfortable” with her probing questions, so she walked away briefly. However, not long after, on January 9th, she “came to her senses” and thanked everyone at her baptism for believing in her and sticking with her, even when she was doubting God!
Ruth (third from the right) joins the ever growing
worldwide chorus, “You will be next!”
Finally, today’s Bring Your Neighbor Day Service was the most powerful service to date, since Kerri-Sue & I arrived in June 2014 with the “OC-4!” Pray for our workers to increase!
Luke Speckman: Greetings from “the OC!” We are very eager to get to work in the new year! To get geared up, we had an “Intern Training Class” at the end of 2014! We met together every day for two weeks from 10PM to Midnight and the curriculum included preaching, ministry book reading and reports, fun activities all with an expectation of excellence, and commitment to the end! Amazingly, 41 disciples committed to this rigorous schedule!
The two week “training classes” were filled with
singing, studying the Scriptures, and even a
game of “Chicken in the Hen House!”
We concluded our class by praying over Orange County in several different locations, and then the Interns led the following Sunday service including all preaching, sharing, singing, and praying! It has been an incredible journey for Brandyn & myself being in Orange County and we are so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from such an incredible group of disciples!
The OC Interns praying over Laguna Nigel!
Lastly, we are so thrilled to have Princeton, Joy, Glenn and Eric with us in the OC, who recently placed membership from the Miami Remnant Group! Please keep us in your prayers!
The OC Region sings to Princeton, Joy, Glenn and
Eric, “We love you with the love of the Lord!”
Cesar Limon: “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”(Acts 17:6 ESV) Grace and peace in abundance from the East Region! If we are to be like the First Century Church then we as well are to “turn the world upside down!” This was our theme at ourBring Your Neighbor Day as God allowed us to have 99 at church – our highest attendance! Amazingly this past week after our pledge drive, our weekly contribution went from $804 to $1,206, that’s raising it over 50%! Thank God for pledge drives! Also this past week was encouraging to send-off Kevin Hetrick to be the Campus Minister for the North Region and it was refreshing to receive Garrett Bradley from the IE Region as he is a great “partner in the gospel” to me!
The record setting East BYND – 99 in attendance!
Excitingly, this past Wednesday, Nick – a foreign exchange student from South Korea – was baptized into Christ! He shared that he was an atheist his whole life until he saw the fellowship and the love of all the disciples! We believe he is the seed for South Korea as his dream is now to go back to preach to Word to His people!
While Nick shared at his baptism, the disciples
were thinking, “This is our future
Evangelist for South Korea!”
After the Winter Workshop, we sent out nine disciples on the “Azusa City Mission Team” and in the first two weeks they have seen their first two baptisms: Chris and Luis! Jorge and Sara have been doing an awesome job leading this team as they secured brothers and sisters households, and have had impact on both of “their” campuses: Citrus College and Azusa Pacific University!
Chris, the historic first baptism of the Azusa Mission
Team, challenges all at Citrus College,
“The Gospel will reach you next!”
On Saturday at the ICCM, Sara was extra fired-up as she started dating Jovanny from our Central Region… God is good! Much love from the East!
Congratulations to Jovanny & Sara!
Chris Chloupek: How Ya Do’in? from the AMS Region! In John 5:17 Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” In the AMS, we are so grateful that we have a God that is always at work in our lives! We are very thankful for ICCM and how this is preparing so many disciples for the full-time ministry! We have eight disciples in the AMS that our currently enrolled! Among them are Nick & Jackie Iadonisi – our two new paid interns in the AMS! They lead a Bible Talk called the “NEXT LEVEL” that takes place in Nick’s gym, as Nick is also a personal trainer. Please pray for Nick who has submitted his video to compete in the next American Ninja Warrior Competition. Please view his submission video athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UrVe6DmVxM especially if you are struggling to keep your New Year’s diet resolution!
Nick & Jackie have provided a tremendous spark of
enthusiasm that has spread across the
entire AMS Region!
Finally, I am very excited to say that the latest GNN Film, RESPECT is up for viewing on theCaicc.net! Click on the Arts, Media, Sports Region link or click on the following link to view it:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEXv_G8ylUs. It is based on a true story about a brother who overcame the sin of homosexuality. It was made by the sacrifice of disciples in the AMS Region! As disciples in the AMS Region, we are committed to using our talents to evangelize the entertainment world for God. Our mantra is “Heart for God first, talent second!” There’s no business like “soul” business!
And now the good news from our World Sectors…
HEADLINE NEWS – USA SW QUADRANT
Jeremy Ciaramella: Good news from Phoenix! “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” (Acts 10:1-2) God moved the heart of a women named Angelica Rivera – who reflects the nobility seen in our first century brother Cornelius!
Like him, Angelica fears God – the first kiss she and her husband shared was at their wedding! Also like Cornelius, she is devout – leading women’s Bible studies and even going on a missionary journey to Manila, Philippines! And yet, she humbly recognized that she had never heard the“message through [which she] and [all her] household would be saved!” Glory be to God that she joyfully and tearfully responded to the saving message in the Scriptures and therefore was“baptized in the name of Jesus Christ!” immediately after counting the cost late Saturday night!
A God-seeker all her life, Angelica finally
receives the Holy Spirit of God!
Please be praying for her husband who is also studying the Bible! Thank you for your prayers and“partnership in the gospel!” (Philippians 1:5)
Erin Fruithof: Greeting from Las Vegas! We are super fired-up for all the incredible things God has been doing here! Last week, we had our first campus baptism of 2015! God has blessed the UNLV Campus Ministry with Jaycel, a hardworking full-time student from the Philippines! We met Jaycel a week before school started and went straight into the studies. Her love for God was obvious and Jaycel wasted no time changing her life to become a sold-out disciple of Jesus Christ! She fell in love with God and her new purpose in life to make disciples and was willing to give up everything she had to be united with God, including her boyfriend of three years! After four days of studying the Bible, Jaycel was baptized and has been going after the vision to evangelize the world in our generation ever since!
Jaycel’s baptism excites the entire
Las Vegas Church!
This past Sunday, we had an awesome Bring Your Neighbor Day! God completely blessed our services and broke our attendance record with 91 people! It was incredible to see every table at Chipotle with Bible studies after service! As well, we are super grateful to be able to send three incredible disciples from the UNLV Campus Ministry to the ICCM this semester: Arvind, Yine and Shamika! We know that they will continue to do great things this year for the Lord as they are fortified by their studies with the ICCM!
Richie McDonnell: Greetings and Happy New Year from Santa Barbara! The Lord has been blessing us with some beautiful weather as we close out January! (Praying for you Boston, Syracuse and NYC!) To start off the month, we combined our Winter Workshop with the San Francisco Church in that great city! The workshop really was an UPWARD CALL! Upon coming home, we launched a sharing campaign for both the Campus and Singles Ministries. Also, today was our First Anniversary Service, marking the successful completion of our first year as a church where we more than doubled in size!
On top of all of this, we had an awesome baptism of a student at the SB City College, Sam! Sam had a troubled and neglected past, full of many hurts, but finally found what he was looking for – the “pearl of great price!” (Matthew 13:45-46) To God be the glory!
Sam (right) makes his treasure the Kingdom!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA NW QUADRANT & CANADA
Tim Kernan: Greetings from Toronto, Canada! It’s been an incredible and “action packed” few weeks! First of all it was blow away to see the amazing baptism of Donna (Smellie) Clark’s daughter Meighen! Everyone was in tears as a crowded room of disciples and family shared about how much she has grown into her mother’s footsteps to become a wonderful woman of God!
Donna and “Uncle Kevin” joyfully baptize Donna’s
daughter – Meighen!
Shortly after, Lianne & I were so honored to be able to attend the Los Angeles Winter Workshop!We were so glad to be able to bring a very special sister, Andrea Foo-Fat, with us to meet “rest of the family” down in Los Angeles! It was so heart-warming to be with disciples from around the world to get the year started right! Of special note Lianne & I were so encouraged to get together with our Northwestern USA and Canada World Sector Leadership D-group comprised of the Church Leaders and other aspiring and talented disciples for a great Italian dinner at Buca di Bepo!
The leaders of the USA NW Quadrant & Canada
World Sector enjoy a pleasant meal together!
Returning invigorated and ready to attack 2015, the Toronto Church rallied at our Winter Workshop! It was a rousing time of hot preaching and cold outdoor activities such as tobogganing! It was also a massive present for all of us that Steph Brown, Lianne’s father, has now officially and permanently moved to Toronto and that on his birthday!
Finally it was so encouraging to head to Portland for the Portland & Eugene Winter Workshop! It was a joy to be with all the disciples there but especially the Dimitrys, the Challinors, the Reeds and the Limons who will soon be assuming the Portland Church Leadership after the Challinors head out to LA in late May!
The Dimitrys, the Challinors, the Kernans and
the Limons stand united for Christ!
Please continue to pray for Toronto as we advance into this “Winter Harvest” in the snowy North!
Jason Dimitry: Greetings from your family in San Francisco! Wow, where do we begin! God has done so much since our last report! During this “out of season” time of ministry, God has added six to our number!
Particularly inspiring were the baptisms of two brothers, Ray and Ricky Carungay! Their sister Cindy became a disciple four months ago, and she immediately started reaching out to her family. It was amazing to see these siblings united in Christ on Sunday!
Cindy, Ray and Ricky are now united in Christ to
help their parents enter the Kingdom!
God also blessed us with the life-changing UPWARD CALL Winter Workshop! Thanks to Jeremiah & Julie Clark, Richie & Elizabeth McDonnell, and the entire Santa Barbara Church for encouraging us with your preaching and fellowship! Also glorifying God at the workshop, Elliot Svenkeson & Camille Santiago, our Teen Leaders, were engaged!
True love – Elliot & Camille!
At the beginning of the year, it was on Tim’s and my hearts to somehow, some way, with very limited resources, plant a church in our World Sector. From a geographical standpoint, I suggested Sacramento. We started praying and by faith I brought it before the San Francisco Church and made it our goal for the year! Out of the blue a couple days later, Kip calls me wanting to talk about the possibility of starting a house church in the Sacramento area due to our dear sister Rebecca Rico’s mother studying the Bible who lives there. One thing led to another and after further discussions with Kip, Tim and myself, I’m so excited to announce that at this year’s Global Leadership Conference in August, Lord willing, we will be sending-off and officially planting the Sacramento International Christian Church with Jacob & Courtney Beas leading the charge!
Jacob & Courtney are training under the Dimitrys to
Lord willing plant the Sacramento ICC
in August 2015!
Also check out our World Sector news broadcast called the I’M IN Network:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkNXx9zpwPY.
Ricky Challinor of Portland: Greetings from the City of Bridges!!! We had an amazing Winter Workshop as we were privileged to hear so many young preachers lay out the Word of God! There is no better way to end a Winter Workshop than with two amazing baptisms and an inspiring wedding!! Ray & Viridiana Gallardo are an amazing young couple. This young man is a future Latin Ministry Leader! “Viri” – who is 8 1/2 pregnant – is expecting to have their little girl at any moment! Yet for the sake of their salvation, they made the radical decision for Ray to move out until they would be married on Sunday! Praise God!
now one in Christ!
Today, there was much rejoicing in Heaven as two more were brought to salvation! The Lord brought back one of His sheep in Gelacio Andrade’s restoration! Also very encouraging was the baptism of Alex – a student at Portland State University! This young man, though very talented and intelligent, made the humble decision to make a true “180” in his life to make Jesus Lord! As he shared at his baptism, “It’s time to say good-bye to Catholicism and hello to Baptism!”
Alex has deep convictions to preach
against false doctrines!
Lastly, I want to thank the Dimitrys and Kernans for being here for the workshop, as they are best friends to Coleen & me! We and the entire church are so grateful for them! Please continue praying for the Portland Church as we have our Bring Your Neighbor Day – Back To The Bible as we are praying for a record attendance!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA SOUTH QUADRANT
Matt Sullivan of Orlando: “At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of His voice, to the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He unleashes His lightning beneath the whole Heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of His roar; He thunders with His majestic voice. When His voice resounds, He holds nothing back. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.” (Job 37:1-5) God has certainly done great things for us in the last few weeks with thunderous and marvelous things happening in Orlando!
Our year started off powerfully at our Winter Workshop centered on Philippians as we simply imitated the awesome LA Church’s Workshop. (1 Thessalonians 2:14) The preaching was phenomenal as so many young leaders spoke with power and wisdom to inspire our congregation to have a great year with the theme: 2015 The Year Of The Dream! Then God blessed us with the addition of Marcel Turner (of the Gainesville planting and Mike’s right hand) as our new Campus Minister! Along with Tia Taylor, they have powerfully led our Campus Ministry to set-up 200 Bible studies in the first two weeks of the semester! Currently there are about 10 students up to The Kingdom Study and many visited yesterday at our Bring Your Neighbor Day!
God’s Kingdom – three of them are only weeks
old as disciples!
In addition, the Singles Ministry has about 25 studying the Bible and have already had two baptisms this year! One was Darren from our Full Sail Singles Bible Talk who was powerfully moved by the love of the disciples and now believes he can overcome his past and be used by God to save others!
Darren anticipates entering the Kingdom of Light!
Excitingly, the Holy Spirit has blown Rob & Jenny Bolton along with their two beautiful daughters, Lexi and Karli, from Gainesville down to Orlando to help us continue building our powerful Marrieds Ministry! We are so excited to report that during our pledge drive the Lord “thundered” and helped us raise our weekly contribution by over $825 which allows us to have two full-time interns! Finally, the Lord has blessed us with my best friends and partners in the gospel being appointed a Shepherding Couple – Ted & Kathy Green!
Matt & Helen appoint some of their best friends –
Ted & Kathy – as Orlando’s newest
Anthony Eckels: “In this way the Word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” (Acts 19:20) Greetings from the Houston International Christian Church! We kicked-off the year with ourWinter Workshop entitled, Consuming Fire For 2015! During the workshop, we announced Houston’s first paid intern, Jonathan Smoot, and five unpaid interns who will be working at the University of Houston with 40,000 students!
Marc Pierre, Kristine Bates, Chris Jones
and Ray Cholod!
The Austin disciples were unable to be at the workshop due to an ice storm. So, Elizabeth & I took a trip to Austin to join their Bible Talk last Friday to encourage them. They had so many commitments that Grant Hill rented a community center with his own money to accommodate all their visitors! With a total attendance of 27, we had a Bible study on Joshua taking the land! I challenged them to all study the Bible so they could take by storm Austin: “the live music capital of the world” and University of Texas’ 53,000 students! The response was incredible! The following Sunday, Austin had 12 people travel 2 1/2 hours to church in Houston! The Holy Spirit is blowing in Austin!
The Austin Bible Talk with 27 in attendance!
This past week we launched our AMS Ministry at a cafe called Bohemeo’s in downtown Houston! Six disciples had a total attendance of 14 at their first Bible Talk, set up six studies, and had a jam session following!
The AMS Bible Talk packed out Bohemeo’s Cafe!
Lastly, this Sunday at our Bring Your Neighbor Day Service, we had a record attendance of 74! Continue to pray for more workers to gather the great harvests awaiting in Houston and Austin, Texas!
Mike Patterson: “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” (1 Corinthians 9:19) 2015 has already started off with God doing the miraculous in Gainesville! Our Winter Workshop was named after our theme for 2015, Win As Many As Possible! We ended the workshop with our Bring Your Neighbor Daywhich was also our First Year Anniversary Service, having our highest attendance ever of 112!
Inspiring to me over the weekend was seeing all the younger disciples raising up and preaching especially after having sent out nine members to strengthen other churches. We had the special privilege to send Marcel Turner and Bobby Hodge to Orlando to strengthen the Campus Ministry and Rob & Jenny Bolton to help build the Marrieds Ministry in Orlando! All were on the Gainesville Mission Team and we are extremely grateful for their contributions in building this congregation!
The Bolton Family was very instrumental in
the planting of the Gainesville Church!
Already this year, we have seen three baptized into Christ: two campus students Alex and Andre, and our brother Alex Jones baptized his wife Katrina!
Alex is fired-up to baptize his wife Katrina!
The first Alex mentioned is a UF student who had been attending the ICOC for four months and was even on campus handing out invites to their service. He saw us having Bible Talk and decided to join us. Thinking he may be a disciple, since he had been attending our former fellowship for so long, I did The Discipleship Study to find out. To my surprise he had never been baptized and didn’t even know it was necessary for salvation! Alex being so fired-up to find the truth and to see a church that is on fire for God, studied daily and was baptized!
Alex appreciates the zeal and love in
God’s new movement!
God did so many amazing miracles last year that we chronicled on a slide show which we presented at our Anniversary Service! (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0oZ3MxBWKZkeWhycEcya2VyUXM/edit?usp=docslist_api) But we believe that with many more disciples than at our start last year, God will do “even greater things” (John 14:12) in 2015 as we continue to strive “to win as many as possible!”
HEADLINE NEWS – EUROPE
Michael Williamson of London: “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel because it’s the power of God!” (Romans 1:16) God has been at work in this great city during the month of January! We kicked-off the New Year with a “punch” as Reece (a former amateur boxer) was baptized at ourNew Year’s Eve Party!
Reese is excited to share Christ
with his little sister!
We were then “blessed” by our new sister “Blessing” who was baptized a week later at ourWomen’s Midweek Service, and on Sunday Lauri Vaher from Stockholm placed membership! Lauri will be helping us in the singles leading a Bible Talk in the West, as he completes a three month internship in Furniture Restoration.
Blessing has become a real “blessing” to
the Great London Church!
Upon our return to London from the life-changing Winter Workshop in LA (arguably one of our best), the Lord added three to our number as Mara from Gainesville placed membership as she is studying abroad here till May; Richard from Hungary was baptized; and Victor Komo’s sister Betty, who originally came to London for her brother’s wedding, was married to Christ herself!
Richard is the seed of the Gospel for
the entire nation of Hungary!
Every married couple dreams that their wedding will
touch the hearts of their family members. Victor’s
prayers were answered in Betty’s baptism!
God has been moving with the remnant as Rene & Anita Vermaat of Amsterdam are finishing the details of their move to London hopefully next month! Additionally, I’ll be traveling to Ireland in two weeks in hopes of starting another remnant group! Please pray for our Winter Workshop entitled,TRANSFORMATION THROUGH DISCIPLING (Romans 12:2) where Jake & Megan Studer from the mighty Toronto Church will be guest speakers! As well next weekend, we unveil our 2015 Prayer Goals, one of which is to hire another full-time couple to help with the work here on London’s incredible campuses! 2015 here we come!
HEADLINE NEWS – AFRICA & THE CARIBBEAN
NEWS FLASH – Nick Winn the Minister for the new Gordon’s Bay ICC Remnant Group:Greetings from Gordon’s Bay, South Africa! God is surely stirring the hearts of men in this generation, as we are excited to “officially join” the SoldOut Movement! Our first official Midweek Service went excellently after my return from the LA Winter Workshop! All the disciples were grateful to hear they are now a part of God’s worldwide movement! In the words of Justin Scott who was baptized in December, “I’m excited about a lot of things… especially hearing and seeing the new movement! The fact that we have brothers and sisters all around the world is mind blowing!”
Nick (third from the left) with the brothers with
dreams for evangelizing Africa!
Pray for the skeptics… and there are a few, that God will soften their hearts! The entire church is so looking forward to having Andrew & Patrique Smellie preach to us in late March! Love from Gordon’s Bay!
NEWS FLASH – Jerry Koroma the Minister of the new Freetown, Sierra Leone ICC Remnant Group: My wife & I together with our small fellowship are so grateful to God as we have been longing to be connected to the ICC for more spiritual growth and fruitful Christian operations ever since we began reading many of your websites! We welcomed our change of name from our present “Gospel Christian Church Sierra Leone” to the “Freetown International Christian Church!” We are presently meeting in a primary school hall for all of our activities… Sunday: Divine Service, Wednesday: Midweek Service, and Fridays for prayers. The Government banned public gatherings due to the Ebola Outbreak, so we are not having Bible Talks at the moment that would have been have been done on Fridays in disciples homes.
Let’s welcome the Freetown International Christian
Church into the SoldOut Movement!
It is now a crime to gather in a place from five people and above! Even when we evangelize, we go out in two or three persons but that’s what Jesus said to do! (Mark 6:7) To conclude, I have a very great passion to meet the needs of the poor and needy in this part of Africa! Thank you “for your partnership in the gospel!”
Amadou Sountoura: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Matthew 9:38) Greetings from the Ivory Coast! The Abidjan Church has started this year with a 40 Day Fasting Campaign for a year of “uncommon harvest!” God has graciously already begun to answer these prayers, as so far since the beginning of January we have had weekly baptisms! Of note, one of our Shepherding Couples – Patrice & Esther – after baptizing their first son last year, baptized their daughter Paule-Irene last week!
Patrice & Esther – along with their son – applaud
their daughter’s baptism!
Perhaps even more encouraging was the baptism of Agaud a former Governor! Truly, God is honoring our prayers “for kings and all those in authority… so that all men [can] be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth!” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
“You will be next!” has been adopted by Abidjan’s
Disciples and our new brother – Agaud the
Governor (suit and red tie)!
Also, two singles, Denise and Fofana, were baptized into Christ! So as of January 25th, we now have 190 sold-out disciples in Abidjan!
Denise (red) and Fofana (striped shirt) issue the
challenge, “You will be next!”
We are looking forward to hosting the First African Missions Conference in late June! Won’t you plan to join us! Merci!
Alexis Turgeau: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest?’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35) The fields are indeed “ripe for harvest” in Port-au-Prince, Haiti! On December 14, 2014, seven people were baptized! Three more were baptized on December 28th, and today, amazingly five more souls were added to the Lord’s Church through baptism!
who was baptized “for the remission of sins”
and joins the movement with six other
members of his church!
Benjamin Musac – second to Stevenson in their
Baptist Church – is baptized into Christ!
Benjamin’s wife follows him!
So in the past six weeks, God added 15 new disciples to our number and we now have 135 disciples in the four churches in Haiti!
Luke Speckman – the Overseeing Evangelist of East Africa: Greetings from your brothers and sisters in Busia, Kenya! In spite of hardship and persecution, the new year has gotten off to a great start as the church has had six baptisms in the month of January – Daniel, Willis, Euphemia, Monica, Marylyn and Robert!
Mike introduces to the Busia Church their six
future brothers and sisters!
Prayer before the six baptisms!
Mike baptizing Marylyn!
The disciples are very excited and inspired by what God has been doing and to be a part of a movement of churches committed to evangelizing the world in our generation! Please keep the church in Busia in your prayers!
HEADLINE NEWS – RUSSIAN COMMONWEALTH
Oleg Sirotkin: Huge greetings from Moscow! After the arrival of the Moscow Mission Team from Los Angeles in mid-December, we counted the cost with everyone in the Moscow Remnant Group and on the Mission Team. So at the moment, we have exactly 46 sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ! Then during the three weeks in January before our February 1st Inaugural Service, the entire church went through First Principles! Having to “solidify” by counting the cost; having to “unify” by going through First Principles; we are now ready to “multiply” to the glory of God!
The Moscow Disciples had so many of their friends
join them for the First Principles Series!
There is only one week before the Inaugural Service of the Moscow International Christian Church on February 1, 2015! Pray for us as there are seven people who want to “move-in” and/or be restored on that Sunday! This historic service will be held at the beautiful Swissotel at 11:00 AM! The closest Metro Stop is Paveleckaya, so please invite any of your Moscow friends or family! And we are very happy that Kip is coming to help us on the Inaugural Sunday Service!
The Moscow ICC Inaugural Invitation highlighted
their meeting place – The Moscow Swissotel!
Finally, thanks be to our awesome God, as well as to our American and London Sister Churches for your powerful prayers and your incredible financial sacrifice that makes all our efforts possible!
HEADLINE NEWS – CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
Carlos Mejia: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”(Zechariah 4:6) Greetings from Santiago de Chile! We are so excited to host the Central & South America (CSA) Missions Conference in just two short weeks! Our theme is SINO POR MI ESPÍRITU! (BY MY SPIRIT!) Due to amazing church growth in Santiago and in our sister churches, we have outgrown our previous location! This year the conference will take place at the Hotel Gran Palace which is located in the heart of the historic downtown area of Santiago Centro, just one block from “La Moneda” – the equivalent to America’s “White House!”
The 2015 CSA Missions Conference – BY MY SPIRIT!
The CSA Missions Conference will begin Thursday morning at 9AM with a Leadership Workshop where our brother Kip will kick-off the conference with the speech, LED BY THE SPIRIT! Classes till 1PM will follow! Then on Friday evening the official program begins with the sermon, WALK BY THE SPIRIT! Saturday morning will be opened up by Raul Moreno speaking onMY SPIRIT WILL BRING JUSTICE TO THE NATIONS! Then there will be various workshops centered on the Campus, Singles and Marrieds Ministries! That evening, Renato Tria of Sao Paulo will preach at the Kingdom Banquet! His lesson is SPIRIT AND TRUTH! Sunday, we will hear from Cesar & Debbie Limon for communion, Matt & Helen Sullivan for contribution, and Alfredo Anuch of Santiago will preach on BY MY SPIRIT! That evening we will host an Open Mic Night!
The Mejias welcoming disciples from all over Latin
America to the 2014 CSA Missions Conference!
Please, sign up now for this historic event! http://www.eventbrite.com/e/sino-por-mi-espiritu-zac-46-tickets-14259565745?utm_campaign=new_eventv2&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eb_email&utm_term=eventurl_textPray that the conference will continue to motivate us to tirelessly work to plant churches in every country in Central and South America! And to God be the glory!
Raul Moreno: “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”(Revelation 21:5) Happy New Year from São Paulo, Brazil! We are all excited to see the “new”things God will do this year here in Brazil! Some of the recent highlights were: the baptisms of an awesome married couple: Luis & Cristiany; Paulo was restored from our former fellowship and he is ready to win souls having been fruitful even before his restoration; and on the campus front, Bruna was baptized!
The Sao Paulo Campus Disciples enthusiastically
welcome their new sister Bruna!
We were also proud to “welcome home” Valdermar who placed membership from the awesome London Church where he spent a year as an exchange student hailing from USP University! Thank God for the Kingdom!
Vladermar and his sister Ana – who is a disciple
studying law at USP!
Jared McGee of Mexico City: Since the last Good News Email, God has blessed us with two baptisms and two place memberships! One of those baptisms was Antonio, a computer engineer at UNAM, ranked as the number eight university in all of Latin America and boasting a student body of over 320,000 students!!! We’ve all been super impressed with how intelligent Antonio really is! However, there is a great meekness about him, but when he talks, everyone stops to listen! All the more encouraging is his rapid absorption and retention of key Bible passages and principles especially in the book of Acts!
Antonio’s baptism fired-up all the
Mexico City Brothers!
With the Spring Semester starting this Monday, all the disciples are more ambitious than ever to get back into the battle on campus! To aid in this tremendous effort of evangelizing UNAM, and thus all of Mexico, the Santiago Church graciously sent us Anna Hernandez, a very dear sister to Rachel & me!
Anna arrives in Mexico City ready to roll
up her sleeves and save souls!
Even though UNAM is an acronym for “National Autonomous University of Mexico,” I take great solace, joy and a godly pride knowing that we are in the TOTALLY UNIFIED – and not at all“AUTONOMOUS” – movement of God! And to Him be all the glory!
HEADLINE NEWS – PACIFIC RIM & AUSTRAL-CHINA
Joe Willis: Greetings from Sydney as this year’s theme is: “Extreme ’15!” We are grateful to God that nearly all our missionaries received their visas to come back to Australia for another two years! We are just waiting for Mason & Natalie Fetelika’s visas to come through! So please keep them in your prayers!
Mason & Nathalie on their dearly beloved
University of Sydney Campus! Pray for
their visas to return to Australia!
We started the year off with the whole month of January focusing on prayer, which included an All Night Prayer! We started at the Opera House; then prayed around the major landmarks of Sydney; and then prayed through our “extreme prayer list” on top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge! We are expecting God to blow-out our First Year Anniversary Service next week!
The start of the All Night Prayer in front of the Opera
House with the Sydney Bridge in the background!
Prayer with dad – Joe!
We also coupled this with our Australia Day Weekend Beach Service in 94 degrees, where Andrew our youngest Christian did his first communion! Keep praying for us who are “down under” to turn things “right-side-up” for Christ!
Andrew solemnly sharing while presiding
Rich Tabizon: Mabuhay (Live Long) from the Metro Manila International Christian Church! The power of the living God is evident in Manila! 2014 was an exciting year as we witnessed twenty-one individuals make Jesus Lord of their lives and be baptized into Christ! Psalms 126:1-3 (NSAB) expresses our joy best, “When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.”
2015 is poised to be a momentous year for the Metro Manila Church, as we will welcome the Manila Mission Team in roughly 98 days! Our goal is to add twenty-four sold-out disciples by the time Kyle & Joan Bartholomew set foot on Filipino soil to bring our membership to seventy sold-out disciples!
Lord willing, Kyle & Joan leave for Manila in
a little over three months!
God is already moving in this great land, as two weeks ago, a former Women’s Ministry Leader placed membership! Cathy Manresa, who was converted nearly twenty-three years ago in the former fellowship, has decided to shake-off the lukewarmness and rededicate her life to her “first love!” Cathy has recently stated that it is good being back amongst sold-out disciples and she is inspired by the power of God!
Cathy courageously joins God’s new movement!
Jane Chesmore of Honolulu: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)Gigi Paulus is an incredible young woman who had been searching for love, purpose and family. Gigi and her son Gary moved to Hawai’i from Micronesia four years ago to start their lives over. What Gigi did not know was that God had a plan all along to provide her with, literally, a whole new life!
But Gigi began to feel all alone and depressed in “paradise.” Within a few years, she found herself jobless, homeless and caught in a dangerous relationship that led her and her son to stay in a domestic violence shelter for a time. Then, one day late last year, Gigi and Gary were sitting down at a table near Kapahulu Safeway eating some ice cream. That was when Gigi noticed two men reading their Bibles, one of whom was our very own brother, Jamal Carter from the UH Campus Ministry! Gigi thought she was seeing two angels from the Lord! At that moment, she knew that this was a sign from God, reminding her that she needed Him and that she needed to get into His Word!
After offering the “two angels” ice cream, Gigi was invited to church by Jamal and the rest is history! She studied the Bible every week with our lovely, hard working sisters Misty Aiona, Jazmine Yogi, Cathi Martinez, Christle Iaea, Elle Lee and me. And today Gigi was born again, baptized into Christ, while her son Gary happily looked on!!!
Gigi finds the Kingdom at last!
Gigi and Gary now have their own apartment room, a secure job, the true purpose for living, and the greatest family of all – the Kingdom of God!
Also today Joseph Ortiz was restored to the body of Christ!!! Joseph had a very hard time giving his whole heart to the Kingdom because of trust issues and left the body of Christ early last year. But a few brothers stayed in touch with Joseph while he was away and Phil Kelly was able to get Joseph to come back and visit our weekly after-service luncheon about a month ago. Joseph immediately felt the love he had felt before when he was first baptized, and realized that this was still his family in spite of everything he had gone through! So great to have Joseph back with his brothers and sisters!!!
Lou Jack & Cathi enjoyed Christmas in Hawaii
not just for the weather, but for the Ohana!
Finally, the Lord gave us ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY (130) IN ATTENDANCE today for our Bring Your Neighbor Day – our best attendance in several months! Mahalo for your prayers!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA NORTH QUADRANT & INDIA
Chris Broom of New York City: It was amazing to kick-off 2015 by attending the LA Winter Workshop, and I was particularly inspired by all the brothers and sisters who spoke and how much everyone has matured! Upon our return, we were blessed to have Raja & Debs Rajan and Joel & Courtney Parlour as guest speakers at our NYC Winter Workshop and we want to extend a heartfelt thanks to both couples for pouring themselves out for us! Of special note, Debs Rajan had prayed to see snow for the first time and that’s exactly what happened! So we chose to give them, as a parting gift, a NYC snow globe!
Debs dreamed and prayed to see
snow in New York City!
first time thanks to her New York
City Snow Globe!
Today, God blessed our Bring Your Neighbor Day with our best attendance to date of 215 and a contribution of $8,000! We especially want to thank God for the three baptisms, two restorations and one place membership He has added to our number of late! All additions are special, but these last two restorations have been extra special! First, we were able to see a “Kingdom Kid” come back to the fold when Dominique, the son of Richard & Khanni Caoile of the Portland Church, was restored!
as Mike Underhill shares for his restoration!
Then Alex, who was still in the process of restoration, reached out to Mike who was baptized! Mike, a student of Queens College, is from China, but his grandfather is from North Korea and Mike now has a dream to go home and evangelize his people!
Before his baptism, Mike shares eloquently and
powerfully about his dream to evangelize
China and North Korea!
Titi (front middle) celebrates with the
Boston Sisters after her baptism!
The Boston Brothers rejoicing with the
angels at Julius’s restoration!
Though a Teen Disciple, Lisa impresses
all with her maturity in Christ!
Brenda and Abi baptize their sister, Mayte, who
is the last of the four sisters to be baptized
in the past month!
Chi, who was born in China, was initially met
by the San Francisco Church!
Sergio, who was invited by a visitor,
was baptized in just one week!
Deb wrestled with the Scriptures to
make peace with God!
Marlyn not only joins Victor in marriage, but also in
co-leading the Central Region!
Ron preaching his heart out on the National Mall!
Congratulations to Aaron & Aurielle!
The O’Donnells were gracious hosts to the Rajans
during their stay in New York!
Raja calls the 12 interns the “Engine of
the Chennai Church!”
Lastly, thank you for sending Luke & Brandyn Speckman, Tim & Lianne Kernan, and Chris & Theresa Broom to strengthen us in the last 18 months so that the Chennai Church can now be the “Jerusalem” for not only India but all 1.7 billion people of South Asia! And to God be the glory!Dear Brothers and Sisters: Going to all nations is going to take a radical “sold-out” commitment! This became all the more apparent as I received a recent e-mail about our brother and sister in Saudi Arabia: “Omar (an alias) made note of some very interesting developments as of November 2014 in Saudi Arabia, ‘Anyone caught with a Bible in their possession (in public) will be beheaded. The previous penalty was immediate deportation. As well, anyone caught promoting Christianity will be handed over to the authorities.’ Moreover, Omar stated that they would have to use egg cartons to line the windows of their home so they would not be heard and avoid detection from the outside world.””Ashira (an alias) shared that though she does not have to wear a burka which covers a woman from head to foot, she is required every day to dress in a full black gown that covers all of her body as well as wearing a hijab.” These two disciples are truly special people and I am proud to call them my brother and sister!Lastly, let us keep our Russian and Ukrainian brothers and sisters in our prayers as this coming Sunday – February 1, 2015 – is the Inaugural Service of the Moscow International Christian Church! Pray also for me as I leave in just two days to join them for this historic event!
The Gallant Moscow Mission Team!
Saturday March 7, 2015, 10AM-1PM
University of Hawaii @ Manoa
C-MORE Hale Biomedical Sciences Building
1960 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI, 96821
Guest Speaker, Special Performances and Luncheon To Follow!