Archive for the ‘On Our Hearts’ Category

64 degrees on January 31st

You can imagine my surprise when I woke up to snow on Friday, October 27th. It was, of course, bound to snow sooner or later. But I did not expect it to come so soon. On the one hand, I must admit that the snow was (and is) beautiful. But on the other, it was a brisk reminder that winter is coming and it will be cold! To put a fine point on it, on January 31st the expected high in our hometown of Cottage Grove, MN is 25 degrees; the expected low a pathetic, single digits temp of just five degrees… and we live in the warm part of Minnesota :).

San Antonio, on the other hand, is looking at an expected high on January 31st of 64 degrees. Sixty-Four-Degrees-Fahrenheit! And you could be there if you come to this year’s EFCA Theology Conference, which begins on January 31st. The opportunity to escape the cold alone should peak your interest. But let me share a better reason to come to this year’s theology conference.

The theme of the conference is “The Gospel, Compassion and Justice, and the EFCA.” This is an important theme, and I am excited to see what God does in our family of churches through this conference. My hope, prayer and expectation is that God will use our time together to help our family of churches better understand the biblical and theological mandate for gospel-shaped compassion and justice.

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Friday, November 3rd, 2017 | No Comments »

Three Doors Toward Sexual Hope and Freedom

Cultural pressure and technological opportunity continue to make the temptation and battle of pornography ever more widespread, intense, and damaging.

In the face of that reality, the EFCA and the North Central District seek to cultivate a disciples-of-Jesus culture that is uncompromising in its biblical call to purity; practical in its offering of resources to help follow that call; and redemptive in its restoration of disciples who are sexually stumbling or addicted.

Here are three current resources, any one or more of which may be helpful to you or those to whom you minister.

  1. Project Purity. This is a long-standing, abiding resource that is available to pastors and ministry leaders. It is a confidential pathway to regaining sexual freedom and purity. It utilizes the confidential services of two professional Christian therapists. Find out more information here.
  2. Pure Desire University. An event coming to Minnesota next month, PD-U is a two-day conference designed to equip men, women, and students with an understanding of the factors that create and reinforce addictive sexual behavior. It also provides a comprehensive understanding and the tools required to develop a ministry to men, women, and students.  It will be held at Grace Church Eden Prairie, November 10-11. Find more information here.
  3. A letter in your mailbox. If you are a church ministry staff person, expect a letter in the mail later this month from a fellow NCD pastor who has experienced great sexual purity victories and has some hope-filled words for you, no matter your story.

In the fellowship of the NCD family, let’s keep helping each other, both in heart and in action, on the path of purity to which Jesus calls us and on which he walks with us.

 

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 | No Comments »

Biblical Worldview Conference

Worldview is a buzzword today, but does our worldview really matter? Whether it’s secular materialism in Europe or animism in Africa, does the cultural worldview affect the church? Why do our missions projects fail to bring lasting change? And can we partner with the global church in a way that is truly sustainable?

In an exciting collaboration, EFCA / ReachGlobal and Disciple Nations Alliance are teaming up to present a Biblical Worldview Conference specifically for globally influential missions-minded pastors and ReachGlobal leadership.

“Jesus is King and His primary agenda is to advance the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations.
The key agent in this task is the local church, ministering wholistically and incarnationally,
and always operating intentionally from the biblical worldview.”
(Disciple Nations Alliance)

 As a church leader who is making a global difference, you are invited to:
Biblical Worldview Conference
the key to transformation
hosted by EFCA ReachGlobal

October 17-20, 2017
EFCA National Office
Minneapolis, Minnesota

For more information

To register

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 | No Comments »

Hurricane Harvey & Irma Update

Dear Pastor and Mission Leaders,

Greetings in Christ.  We have all been watching what has happened in Texas and in Florida.  It is hard to imagine the extent of the flooding.  What can we do as churches and as individuals?  Much of my information comes from the efca.org website that is highlighting the Hurricane Harvey and Irma ministry opportunities.  I have also added information from EFCA Crisis Response staff.  Their urgent focus now is Texas.

TEAM NEEDS:

  • EFCA Crisis Response still needs skilled workers at Columbia, SC and at Denham Spring, LA.  These skilled workers could be finish workers, and roofers, especially for Denham Springs.  For information about serving there, please email  They would like to finish at these locations soon so their staff can go to Texas.
  •  EFCA Crisis Response is starting to take teams to Texas beginning on September 17th.  These teams need to be limited from 15 to 30 people.  They are still working on housing.  EFCA Crisis Response is now working in Corpus Christi and soon in Houston.  Teams will be working through EFCA churches in southern Texas.  They will work in Rockport and other coastal cities.
  • The crisis response registration fee is $275 per person.  Consider putting a team together in your church or with other EFC churches in your area.  There is also the need for long-term workers to serve in Texas. 
  • EFCA Crisis Response is currently doing initial assessment for Florida.  Special areas of focus are Naples, Fort Myers and Gainsville.  With current flooding and infrastructure needs still unknown go to https://go.efca.org/resources/announcement/hurricane-irma-response for updates for serving.

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Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 | No Comments »

NCD Facebook Page

We have a brand new Facebook page to acquaint you with all the good things that are happening in the North Central District.  You can find (and follow) us at https://www.facebook.com/NCDEFCA/ 

Friday, September 8th, 2017 | No Comments »

Will You Join Us at the Fall Teaching Conference?

If you teach the Bible as part of your ministry responsibilities, the upcoming Fall Teaching Conference is for you.  You may teach formally or informally, in front of a large gathering or one-on-one over coffee.  Either way, the Fall Teaching Conference is for you.  Or you may be a church leader who rarely teaches, but you hunger to know and apply The Book of Acts to your life and ministry.  The Fall Teaching Conference is for you.

On October 3-4, in the casual and relaxed atmosphere of Camp Shamineau, men and women, lay and staff, pastors and ministry leaders, singles and marrieds will join for fellowship around Jesus Christ and what he teaches us in The Book of Acts.

The Book of Acts—probably a favorite of us all.  We are rightly drawn to its vigor, its courage, its hope, its Christ-centeredness, its Holy Spirit power, its advance of the gospel, its heroes and anti-heroes.  There are so many things to aspire to in this book, and so many perils to avoid.  No wonder it’s a frequent focus of our sermons, lessons, personal meditation, and strategic methods.

Yet do we know how to read Acts well?  We tend to read portions of it with great care, extracting principles for this or that aspect of following Jesus.  But do we read it as a whole?  Do we understand its unfolding message from beginning to end?  Do we read it in light of Luke’s first volume, The Gospel of Luke?  And what about our pick-and-choose method of applying Acts?  We seem to be quick to use it to support such things as deacons, disciple-making, regional gospel influence, team ministry, and missions.  But we are slow to use it to support choosing of leaders by lot, speaking in tongues, pooling of personal possessions, healing, and visions.  On what basis do we choose?  How can we know if we are applying Acts soundly? (more…)

Monday, July 17th, 2017 | No Comments »

Why Move 2068 Miles?

moving mapAccording to Google Maps, it is 2068 miles from our old house in California to our new home in Minnesota. That. Is. A. Long. Way! 2068 miles…the drive alone sounds exhausting. (And our commute will actually be a bit longer, since our family is taking the scenic route through Austin, TX, so we can join other EFCA pastors and church leaders from around the world at EFCA One). Over the last few months, many people have asked me why we would make this move. Let me take a few moments, here at the beginning of my ministry, to share why we are moving from there to here.

Because God Has Called Us to the North Central District
First, our decision to move to Minnesota is the result of a deep conviction that God has called us to serve Him by serving the North Central District. A significant part of this conviction comes from an internal sense of calling, God’s leading in our hearts. More than that, our calling has been confirmed by those who know us best and solidified through the vote of the gathered pastors and church leaders at our recent NCD conference. These things come together to give us a strong, resilient belief that we are called to serve the pastors, church leaders, and churches of the NCD. I am thankful for this, since I imagine sometime in mid-January I will wake up on an icy morning and wonder, “What have we done?” (more…)

Monday, June 12th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

Gratefully Bidding Farewell to One Call, Eagerly Engaging the Next Call

The stories coming out of East Africa are heartbreaking, as parents are forced to leave children behind, too emaciated to continue with other siblings to receive the food and water that are part of the current relief from the devastating famine.  We have an unprecedented opportunity to join with a broad cross-section of people of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith working side-by-side to pack meals destined for the hardest hit areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan.

Click here to make a difference.

Please sign up to invest a few hours June 2-5 to show up, join in, and reach out with kindness and the love of God to vulnerable people here at home and in East Africa.  As I have gathered with leaders from diverse faith communities in recent weeks, I have assured them of the willingness of an army of people of peace to mobilize together from our Free Church association of churches, and Lord willing, all backgrounds to work together to feed the famished.

As I prepare to bid ‘farewell’ to the NCD after 27 years of service, I am convinced there has never been an opportunity comparable to this to demonstrate the compassion of Christ to other members of our community by responding to a crisis of this scope and magnitude.  And in so doing, we can get outside the four walls, build bridges with hundreds of foreign-born friends and neighbors, and make a gospel impact.
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Friday, May 12th, 2017 | No Comments »

Greetings From Brian Farone

Brothers and Sisters of the NCD,

First, I want thank you for a conference we will never forget. We were overwhelmed by your warm welcome, gracious spirit and enthusiastic support. I want to say a special word of thanks to DS Search Team for all they invested in Teri and me. Likewise, I am so grateful to the NCD Board of Directors for their heart for this district, for their thorough and sometimes challenging questions, and for their candor throughout this process. Thanks, too, to the NCD staff, and especially Tom Mouw, for the warm reception they gave our family. I can’t wait to work with the NCD Team!

In case you weren’t at the conference, I want to take a moment to summarize what I shared in my conference message.

-I shared about our journey over the last five months leading up to the NCD conference and my nomination as the next DS.

-I spoke of my sense that the district is not asking me to bring in a “bolt-on, artificial, slap-on-top, got-it-in-a-book” kind of vision. Rather, I hear you asking me to listen, gather, clarify, and champion a new, shared vision for how the NCD serves pastors, church leaders, and churches, both now and into the future.

-The heart of my message focused on five passages that shape how I serve pastors, church leaders, and churches. These passages are at the very heart of my ministry values. They are:

  1. Our Mission (Matthew 28:18-20)
  2. Speaking Truth and Hearing Truth (Proverbs 27:6)
  3. The Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
  4. Sharing Life Together (1 Thessalonians 2:8)
  5. Calling Leaders to Rest in Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

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Friday, April 7th, 2017 | 3 Comments »

Praise for a Nominee in Answer to Prayer

Over these many months, we have all declared our prayerful dependence upon the Father to raise up a leader to serve the purposes of God for this generation.  We rejoice that Brian Farone has answered God’s call, “Here am I Lord, send me.”  God has been gracious to us, answered our prayers in an extraordinary way, and demonstrated His powerful presence in the midst of our circumstances.

I am taking this opportunity to offer my enthusiastic commendation of Brian as the next Superintendent of the North Central District, pending confirmation at the district conference.  Each of us on the District Directional Team has interacted with Brian in various dimensions of EFCA National ministries, and all of us have a high regard for him as a gifted servant-leader raised up by God from within our movement.  We extend heartfelt appreciation to the search committee and our board of directors for their discernment and wisdom throughout the process. (more…)

Friday, March 10th, 2017 | 2 Comments »


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