VIDEO Making Sense of It All – Sheltering Under Pressure

Making Sense of It All

By David Jeremiah

The past twelve months have been tough on all of us—on me, on you, and on our families. I don’t suppose any person on earth has been untouched by COVID-19 or its repercussions. Hundreds of thousands have died, millions battled the virus, and billions suffered emotionally and economically. If you own a small business, work at a restaurant, serve as a health care provider, play music, or teach in a local school, you have your own stories of stress and strain. How my heart has hurt for the disabled and for those in nursing homes, for single parents, and for those who’ve lost their jobs!

Nor has it been easy for pastors, church staffs, and Christian leaders. Speaking personally, there were moments in 2020 when I struggled to know what to do. I think you know my heart when I tell you I’m a pretty resilient person, yet I had some rough days navigating the times, especially as the pastor of a church. The last few months have challenged almost every Christian church, school, and ministry around the world.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He is not shaken. His work is unstoppable, His wisdom is unsearchable, and He knows each step we take.

SHARE ON:It’s not just the pandemic, of course. What a divisive political year we’ve had in America and all over the globe! People are angry, and many of them are increasingly hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Society seems out of control. Add that to all our typical problems—natural disasters, illnesses, financial shortfalls, and traffic mishaps—and we have a perfect storm. If you’ve never felt overwhelmed at times, you’re a rare individual.

But the rarest of individuals is never overwhelmed. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He is not shaken. His work is unstoppable, His wisdom is unsearchable, and He knows each step we take. When we arise, He is there. When we retire, He’s alert and awake through the night. He knows what 2021 holds, and He holds us in His hands.

That’s what kept me going last year, and that’s what keeps me going now.

Let me tell you something. Back in the fall of 2019, we planned a three-month campaign for the spring 2020 issues of this magazine. We settled on the topic: “Facing Uncertain Times.” The Lord surely led us to that because none of us at Turning Point could have imagined what the year would bring.

This year, our spring theme is “Making Sense of It All: Seeing the World With a Biblical Perspective.” During the next three months, I want to look at the world through the lens of Scripture as we learn to overcome our fears, stay strong, and stay the course. There are areas of life that can blur our vision if we don’t look at life through God’s optics.

If we see things as our Lord does, we’ll live with power, security, purpose, and hope.

SHARE ON:In this issue of Turning Points, and in the March and April issues, I’ve prepared a series of Bible studies to help us face the unfolding year. Instead of our usual stand-alone articles, the next three issues will deal with three topics by giving you an ongoing series of Bible studies to help you develop a biblical perspective on three levels.

This month we’ll go through the Bible and learn how to rise above our circumstances. You’ll find articles in this magazine about putting life’s circumstances into focus, seeing them clearly, and making sense of them. The Bible is full of information about this, and I can’t wait to show it to you.

Next month’s issue will focus on overcoming our fears. And in April, we’ll wrap up our Making Sense of It All campaign by learning what the Bible says about staying strong and staying the course. All this will reinforce my three-month-long radio series of messages, Making Sense of It All.

If we view this world through our own eyes, we’ll be riddled with fear and doubt. If we see things as our Lord does, we’ll live with power, security, purpose, and hope.

We have an advantage shared by no one else. We have our Lord and His infallible Word, which gives us a divine lens for seeing life. We can’t make sense of life without a biblical perspective; but when we think biblically, life makes perfect sense because of our perfect Savior.

I hope you’ll invite a friend to join us as we turn to our Lord, who alone can make sense of it all and turn it all for good.


This article was first published in Turning Points Magazine & Devotional. Learn more about the magazine and request your free issues today!

https://www.davidjeremiah.org/magazine/article/making-sense-of-it-all-246


Sheltering Under Pressure | David Jeremiah | Psalm 142

3 Truths Pastors Need Today to Stay in Ministry Tomorrow

InsightsChurch Life & Ministry | Apr 23, 2021

Vidar Nordli-Mathisen photo | Unsplash

By Rob Hurtgen

According to Brian Croft, founder of Practical Shepherding, the above-normal challenges, difficulties, and stressors COVID-19 has caused is prompting some pastors to quit ministry and even some churches to split. Lifeway Research reported in August 2020 that pastors’ top concerns were maintaining unity (27%), pastoral care from a distance (17%), the safety and well-being of members (13%), personal exhaustion (12%), and wisdom and direction (12%).   

After a year of constant decision making, enduring harsh criticism for doing too much or not doing enough to address coronavirus issues, the social movements of 2020, and the political culture have just left many pastors exhausted, stressed out, and crippled by decision fatigue.

After a year of constant decision making and enduring harsh criticism for doing too much or not enough to address the myriad of issues in 2020, many pastors are exhausted and crippled by decision fatigue.

Yet, despite the challenges every church has faced, God has brought some great things from the past year of crisis. Salvation has come. Families rediscovered each other by spending more time together. Ministries were forced to be innovative and define essentials. Some churches thrived. Some dying churches were revitalized. But even though God has moved, there’s a pretty good chance, as a pastor, you’ve thought about leaving the ministry.

The purpose of this article isn’t to complain, fuel a sense of defeatism, or lament the difficulties of pastoral ministry. The purpose of this article is to keep you in the trenches of pastoral ministry.

I must confess, though, when I began writing this article all the pressure of the last year crashed down upon me. I entered into the deepest and darkest night of my soul. I put off submitting this article simply because I was convinced that because I was so discouraged, anything I had to say was meaningless.

But God is faithful. I’m still in ministry, and more importantly, my family is intact. I needed to relearn some fundamental truths to avoid being a statistic. I want to remind you of three biblical priorities vital to endure in times of difficulty and remain in ministry.

You are not alone

First, you are not alone. Loneliness is a tool of the enemy. An instrument that can drain your heart and, like cancer, slowly eat away at you. Lifeway Research indicates 55% of pastors say their ministry makes them feel lonely. Loneliness is a serious issue that, if left unaddressed, can convince you that even God has forsaken you.

55% of pastors say their ministry makes them feel lonely. Loneliness is a serious issue that, if left unaddressed, can convince you that even God has forsaken you. — @robhurtgen

Elijah felt alone (1 Kings 19:10). His legitimate feelings of isolation pushed him to believe he was without hope. In these verses Elijah reveals his heart; then the Lord reveals His.

When you feel alone and stressed out, it is easy to convince yourself no one understands you and no one will ever understand what you’re enduring. These are the moments you need to pause and ask yourself as the Lord asked Elijah, What are you doing here? Where are you? What is happening? How did you get to where you are?

An internal checkup gives voice to the feelings that are tempting to rule your life.

The Lord also reminds Elijah he isn’t alone. God gives Elijah a list of specific people to see and tells him there are 7,000 faithful in Israel—thousands Elijah knows nothing about.

One of the joys of being in a network of churches in whichever denominational tribe you ascribe to is the reality that you are not alone. There may be hundreds of miles between you and the next pastor, but with one phone call or one text message, you have quick access to someone.

The isolation of pastoral ministry can be draining. There are many days when you may feel that no one gets it, that no one understands. You need to remember you are never alone.

You Need a Titus

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 7:6, “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the arrival of Titus.” God providentially orchestrated the arrival of Titus to be an encourager of Paul and those with him. Notice clearly in the passage what Titus did to encourage them; he showed up.

Titus didn’t show up with wisdom, a new ministry position, nor anything else you pray for in your times of discouragement. He showed up. Often the greatest gift we can receive and be for others is showing up. The ministry of presence can press back discouragement.

Often the greatest gift we can receive and be for others is showing up. The ministry of presence can press back discouragement. — @robhurtgen

When you are discouraged, downhearted, and thinking of walking away from ministry, you need a Titus in your life to show up. To talk to. To linger with. To have coffee. To share frustrations. You need a Titus.

You may though need to first seek out a Titus. Your Titus should have a little more experience than you, by age or by years of service, in pastoral ministry.

Your Titus should be present and for you. Someone who you can trust. Someone who will give you counsel when needed. Someone who will know the difference between listening and giving unsolicited advice.

Not only should you find a Titus, but you should be a Titus. Seek out others to encourage. Send handwritten notes of encouragement. Drop a text to let them know you are praying for them. When you make an effort to be an encourager, you will find you will also be encouraged.

Schedule and take Sabbath

Lastly, take some time off. Saying, “This ministry cannot survive without me” puts you in a dangerous place. When a pastor thinks they’re indispensable they never rest; they place themselves in the position in the church where only Jesus belongs. If you want to thrive in ministry, you must take time away.

If you want to thrive in ministry, you must take time away. — @robhurtgen

Your church members may not understand that getting away and resting is critical. That’s okay. They don’t have to understand. You still need to take time off for your sake and theirs (Hebrews 13:17).

To stay in ministry, you need to take regular sabbath rests. You need to take time away to remind yourself that you’re human. You need to rest. You need to eat good food. If you’re married, keep the flame kindled. If you have children, you need to laugh and be goofy with them. As a pastor who has long gone home once told me, “You are the pastor for a season. You are your wife’s husband and children’s father for life.” If you don’t carve out time for them, you won’t have your family or your church.

In the past several months God has reminded me what He has reminded hundreds if not thousands of others before me. I am not alone. He is with me. He has brought people into my life who are for me. He has given me all I need, including time to rest.

When—not if—you get discouraged, don’t give up. You’re not alone.

Rob lives in Chillicothe, Mo., with his wife Shawn and their five kids. He’s the pastor of First Baptist Church. He also blogs at robhurtgen.wordpress.com.

VIDEO Pawlowski Warns Others ‘They’re Going to Come After You.’ Another Canadian Pastor Arrested

By Jesse T. Jackson -May 19, 2021

Artur Pawlowski

Recently arrested Pastor Artur Pawlowski gave listeners a stark warning in an interview with Rebel News: “They’re going to come after you; it’s just a matter of time.”

Artur Pawlowski told reporter Adam Soos, “We have become political prisoners in Canada because we dare to challenge their corruption…if they can do this to me they can do this to you and anyone that they wish.”

The Polish-Canadian pastor and his brother David were arrested on May 8, 2021 and charged with “organizing an illegal in-person gathering.” Their crime was holding a church service that violated COVID-19 protocols. After approximately 40 plus hours in jail, they were both released.

The Pawlowskis Detail Their Jail Experience

The pastor said the jail cells they put the pastors in didn’t have mattresses, pillows, or blankets–just bare concrete. “If you want to torture someone, deprive them of sleep. And that’s exactly what they did.” Explaining that after sitting on just concrete for 10 hours straight your body starts to hurt, and it’s very uncomfortable.

After there was a shift change, the pastor and his brother’s experience changed drastically. The new staff sergeant said, “This is wrong” in regard to the way they were being treated. He gave them Bibles, mattresses, and even made coffee for them. Instead of being treated like an animal, Artur Pawlowski said these guards “treated us like human beings.”

Artur Pawlowski shared that one jailer mocked them for their faith. The jailer would walk by their jail cell and wave his hands back and forth in the air saying, “Praise the Lord” as he laughed and pointed at them.

The brothers were transferred to another facility which Artur Pawlowski called “hell.” “I thought all of this is about health…about keeping people safe,” he said, “What a hoax…what a big fat lie,” because he said they were thrown in with 30 other inmates in a filthy cell. The brothers were told that they “were there for our safety and for the safety of Albertans in the middle of a pandemic.” This seemed contradictory to COVID-19 regulations they keep being told they are violating.

Police Followed the Pawlowskis Home

After their release, Artur Pawlowski claimed they were followed by the police in a helicopter and asked why? He wondered if it was to make sure this pastor doesn’t “feed another homeless man on the way home!”

“When is this insanity going to end? They’re doing this to me. They’re going to come after you; it’s just a matter of time,” Artur said. “I think we have fallen very, very low in our country.”

Artur Pawlowski is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday May 17, 2021 for a contempt of court order, which he says was never presented to him.

Watch the full interview Artur Pawlowski gave after his release here.

Pastor Tim Stephens Arrested on Sunday

On Sunday May 16, 2021, Fairview Baptist Church’s pastor Tim Stephens was arrested in Calgary after leading the 11 a.m. worship service. Like Pawlowski, Stephens was arrested for breaking COVID-19 public health rules that only allow a maximum of 15 people indoors with social distancing guidelines while wearing masks. Stephens has since been released.

Stephens wrote an article posted on the church’s website stating, “Restricting the church to 15 people — which essentially restricts the church from gathering — is against the will of Christ and against the conscience of many who desire to worship the Lord of glory according to his Word.”

Alberta Pastor Disagrees With Disobeying Restrictions

Rev. Ray Matheson is a retired pastor who is now a congregational care associate at First Alliance Church in Calgary, Alberta, is not supportive of Pawlowski and Stephens’ actions. Matheson said, “I feel very sad about what these pastors are doing…it gives Christianity a bad name. I think those pastors believe they are doing the right thing, but I believe they’re misguided and they’re not following the principles of Scripture or the example of Jesus.”

In an interview with Postmedia’s Licia Corbella, Matheson told her, “Our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world would not call what is happening here persecution….Health restrictions placed upon us still allow us to worship God and follow all the essentials of our faith.”


Interview of Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski by Sarah Corriher

The single greatest instance of Christian persecution in the modern “free” world is happening to Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski of Street Church, who recently became famous for his trials. He continued his preaching and feeding of the poor, despite governmental threats, harassment, and restrictions. He was eventually arrested, tortured, had his house set alight, and a major governmental figure threatened to “crush” his entire family. His only ‘crimes’ were feeding the poor and preaching the Gospel.

Go to the link below

https://tv.gab.com/channel/sarahcorriher/view/interview-with-pastor-artur-pawlowski-60a30edbf55ba8a1517519c5


VIDEO ‘Sin Is Still a Bigger Problem Than COVID’

April 15, 2021 by Staff

In a video called “Dear Closed Churches” uploaded to his YouTube account, Mark Driscoll made a comment that he is concerned that so many churches are still closed. Driscoll is the former senior pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church and current founding and senior pastor of The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Taken from his sermon this past Sunday where he preached out of Romans 10 on predestination, Driscoll made the point that people will use the sovereignty of God as an excuse not to be on mission for God. Observing that type of thinking leads to a lazy, indifferent, unmotivated Christian, he said, “I don’t like to go super negative, but I do have a real concern…so many churches are still closed. Where is the sense of urgency?”

“Churches that even could be open…they’re still not open,” Driscoll said and explained the reasoning for his concern and plea for urgency was, “People don’t know Jesus and the church is a place where we have this great opportunity to love people and to serve people and to tell people about Jesus.”

The typical response to that statement is, “Well we don’t want anybody to get sick,” the “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe” author shared.

In vintage Mark Driscoll fashion, the pastor told his congregation his view on the true sickness of the world, saying, “100 percent of people are infected with sin and will die because of sin, and the only remedy for them is Jesus Christ. So sin is still a bigger problem than COVID.”

Mark Driscoll explained that he isn’t against people taking preventative measures not to spread the COVID-19 virus. “If we want to wear a mask, wear hand sanitizer, get a vaccine, get a tape measure [to] stay six feet apart,” Driscoll said, people would not see judgement from him.

“You’re still gonna die because of sin and Jesus is your only hope,” he said, making sure the people listening understood the larger problem in the world isn’t the virus but their need for Christ:

God’s people can’t overlook the one message that is our unique contribution to the world. There’s a lot of places you can go to get a sandwich or a vaccination or an after-school program, but there’s only one place that can tell you about Jesus Christ, and it needs to be open!

Driscoll tied his concern that some churches are still closed to his warning of misinterpreting God’s sovereignty, the combination of which he feels can lead to a lazy, indifferent, unmotivated Christian. He explained, “When we think God is in charge, we think that we don’t matter, and we do because God has chosen to work through us to love and to serve others.”

Watch Driscoll’s entire sermon from Sunday here.

Mark Driscoll serves with his family at The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Ariz., which they planted in 2016 after leaving Mars Hill Church amid controversial circumstances. While he serves as the senior pastor at The Trinity Church, his wife Grace leads the women’s ministry. His oldest daughter Ashley serves as the executive director of Real Faith, his son Zac serves as the director of interns, and his son-in-law Landon Chase (married to Ashley) serves as Trinity’s Next Generation leader.

When the “Epidemic Intelligence Unit” Calls

I’m sure you’ve heard that beginning tomorrow, Governor Baker has declared we can now forego wearing masks outside.  I’m looking forward to watching soccer games this weekend where I can actually see my children’s faces, and we can all give up the charade that masking our youth in sports is “trusting the science.” Baker also projected that most, if not all, COVID restrictions will be lifted by August 1st

Although demasking outdoors is better than a perpetual “New Normal” of limited gatherings and constant masking, we’re not out of the woods yet. Earlier this week, MFI received a call for help from a local church that is being investigated by the “Epidemic Intelligence Unit” (EIU).  A parishioner had tested positive for COVID and listed the church as a place he had recently visited when this unit first called him. That led to the church facing demands from the EIU to turn over the names of church attendees and the dates of their attendance.

There are two important things to note here.  First, churches are under no obligation to report anything to this unit that is assuming authority it does not have.  Even setting aside the obvious First Amendment implications of this type of intrusion on the free exercise of religion and the freedom of assembly, the Governor’s own guidelines for churches do not require such information sharing. Churches are instructed only to “assist the LBOH (local Board of Health) as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine.”  This means the church communicates information from the LBOH to its people, NOT that it must hand over personal information to the LBOH.  Incredibly, the EIU sent the church this memo which purports to authorize them to collect “necessary demographic information, specifically: full name, date of birth, address, phone number, and race and ethnicity.” But that memo applies only to “Healthcare Providers and Facilities.”  It does NOT apply to churches.  In addition to which, and for obvious reasons, churches should not ever submit attendee lists to the government.

Second and equally alarming, the EIU is NOT the local Board of Health.  It’s not even a government entity.  MFI is still looking into this, but so far, it appears that the EIU is part of the Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) that is run by Partners In Health (PIH). PIH describes itself as follows:

We are a social justice organization that responds to the moral imperative to provide high-quality health care globally to those who need it most. […] We bring the benefits of modern medicine to those who have suffered from the overt and subtle injustices of the world, in the past and in the present.

Curiously, according to the PIH website, churches are literally first on their list for where to look for infection. “During a global pandemic, an infection can happen anywhere—a church, a car wash, a grocery store.”

So, just to recap, a self-identified “social justice organization” is using the state’s imprimatur (incorrectly) to demand churches turn over to them the names, contact information and attendance dates.  If your church is contacted by the Epidemic Intelligence Unit or the Contact Tracing Collaborative, please call MFI at 781-569-0400.  We’ve helped many churches over the past year resist unnecessary and unconstitutional government intrusion into our sacred spaces, and we’re here to help you as well. 



Related

How To Date Your Spouse When Stuck In Your House

By Brad Hambrick -April 10, 2020

date spouse

So, how do you go on a date when you aren’t allowed to leave your house? A month ago, this question would have been a lame set of jumper cables to start a conversation when there wasn’t anything to talk about. Now, it’s beginning to feel like an essential marital survival skill.

Many of us are learning how to work from home. If both spouses are doing this, it can feel like “we are spending more time together than ever before” (in corresponding news, many couples are also second guessing whether they ever want their spouse to retire). We’re realizing that “time together” and “dating” are not the same thing.

In this article, we’ll consider five actions to help you meaningfully date your spouse during a time period where you can’t leave your home.

Action 1 – State: “I want to spend meaningful time with you.”

After spending weeks sequestered together, it might be worth reminding your spouse, “I like you, and I enjoy time with you.” Minor irritants uninterrupted by work can make us begin to doubt this.

It reminds us the base-level message of a date is, “I like time when its just you and me.” This is what makes a date romantic. When daily annoyances increase, this message can get lost.

When movement is freer, we can get distracted from the message of dating (i.e., “I like time with you”) by the activity of a date (i.e., “This is fun”). During COVID restrictions, when activity is limited, we get the opportunity to make sure the focus is on the message.

Action 2 – Ask: What makes a traditional date most meaningful to you?

COVID-dating (oh, don’t we wish that wasn’t a term) is a time to learn more about your spouse. As you figure out how to meaningfully pursue one another during this time of restriction, ask, “What do you enjoy about dating?” This will force you to think a bit more candidly and deeply about the activity of dating. Answers might include:

  • Getting dressed up
  • Not doing the dishes
  • Lack of distractions
  • New conversation prompts from being in a different place
  • Trying new foods (or, at least, old foods we don’t know how to cook)
  • The freedom to choose what we want to do
  • We laugh more
  • We make more eye contact
  • You give me a simple kiss that doesn’t lead anywhere
  • We have sex afterwards

All of these are legitimate answers. Add to the list. Take things off the list that don’t fit your marriage. Everything that winds up on your list prompt at least two types of thinking: (1) creativity for how to COVID-date, and (2) ideas for how to meaningfully pursue your spouse when you’re not on a date.

The current riddle for you to solve is, “How do I make the things that my spouse enjoys about a date possible while we can’t go out to dinner, shopping, or to a movie?” But focusing on meaningful engagement more than the activity will make us more romantically engaged spouses. Getting out of the “it’s Friday night, where do you want to go” rut is good for your marriage.

Focusing on meaningful engagement more than the activity will make us more romantically engaged spouses.

Action 3 – Identify: What time of day works best for a quarantine date?

COVID is lethal to schedules. We can’t assume anything is going to be done at the same time or in the same order as it occurred pre-Coronavirus. Things will return to normal, but in the meantime, we shouldn’t put our marriage on pause.Read Next on Thriving Marriages  These Are the Words Your Spouse Desperately Needs to Hear

For couples with young children, nap time may become the new prime dating real estate (because you can’t get a babysitter). If that’s you, how many of the things that make a date meaningful fit well in the 1-3pm time slot? Maybe you get a fancy coffee and pastry to go instead of dinner as takeout.

The main point is, dating during quarantine may not occur at traditional times. If our thinking goes on lockdown and we only think of dating as something that happens on Friday or Saturday evening between 6-9pm, we are likely missing many of the dating opportunities that exist.

Bonus: If COVID-dating forces you to think this way, then you will identify a dozen sneak-a-dates you can do when our full roaming freedoms return. [Note: Sneak-a-date is a bad maneuver for a single man, but a highly admirable moment for a married man to create.]

Action 4 – Think: What are non-functional questions I can ask?

What is one of the side effects of being under house arrest? Constricted thinking. We just ask functional questions and give functional answers.

We don’t see as many people. We can’t go many places. We’re around each other all day, so there’s nothing I experienced that you don’t already know. “Why don’t we switch roles and you tell me what I did today?”

This reduces mealtime to a mere hunger-aversion exercise. Going for a walk together [yes, at a safe social distance from any other non-familial pedestrians] becomes mere exercise. When constricted thinking sets in, activities that were once bonding become mundane.

If you need help coming up with good questions, visit bradhambrick.com/dailytalk for over 200 conversation prompts divided into 10 categories of meaningful conversation. If nothing else, you can talk about how absurd some of the prompts are and how excessive somebody must be to come up with that many conversations. As long as you’re talking to each other, the article served its purpose.

Action 5 – Do: Put effort into getting ready and redeem the time.

Part of the impact of “going on a date” is that the time is set apart from the rest of your weekly rhythm. It may feel silly but get dressed up. Put on cologne or perfume. Complement each other like it’s a special occasion. Put takeout on your nicer dishes instead of paper plates. Light a candle to put on the table.

If you can drive together to get takeout, treat that time like part of the date and not just an errand. Don’t talk about things that need to be done around the house or the part of being at home that is most annoying. Set the time apart to engage with and enjoy your spouse. Treat the time you designate to date your spouse like a date.

Conclusion

I’m under no delusion that COVID-dating will become a fad that lasts any longer than is absolutely necessary. When we get our “traveling mercies” back (never have I wanted to pray for those so earnestly… I think I know what they are, finally!), you have my full permission to print a hard copy of this article and make it a burnt offering in celebration.

But, if we redeem the time in these ways, I do believe we will find that we will grow in contentment and the ability to enjoy simple things. These qualities will result in a more stable, intentional, and lasting enjoyment of one another. That would be very good.

VIDEO Police Block Access to GraceLife Church, Fencing Off Property So No One Can Enter – Christians Tear Down Fences – Riot Gear Police Arrive

By Jesse T. Jackson -April 7, 2021

GraceLife Church

Just two weeks after GraceLife Church’s Pastor James Coates was released from serving 35 days in prison for not adhering to COVID-19 restrictions and just two weeks back in the pulpit, a convoy of about a dozen Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vehicles assisted in erecting fencing around the property of GraceLife Church early Wednesday morning.

The Edmonton Journal reported that Alberta Health Services (AHS) released a statement saying it has “physically closed GraceLife Church (GLC) and has prevented access to the building until GLC can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s (CMOH) restrictions.”

AHS announced on Tuesday they were going back to step 1 of their public health restriction framework to slow the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus. Premier Jason Kenny said, “The only responsible choice to save lives and to protect our health-care system is to take action.”

The heightened restrictions will still allow for area churches to meet as long as they adhere to only 15% capacity, mandatory face coverings, and social distancing.

In their statement, AHS said they have “attempted to work collaboratively with GLC to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site,” but that the church “has decided not to follow these mandatory restrictions, nor have they attempted to work with AHS to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.” Those actions led to authorities taking drastic measures to ensure at least the GLC building would not as a facility to spread the virus.

Kenney shared his fears of Alberta becoming the home to a dominant COVID-19 strain within the next week.

Eza Levant from Canada’s Rebel News posted a video on Twitter and said, “I count thirteen vehicles as part of this police raid on a church. They’re erecting steel fences around it like China does when they uncover an illegal ‘house church.’ Except this is in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The same church whose pastor was thrown in prison for 35 days.”

Pastor James Coates’ wife Erin posted on her Instagram page a photo of the fence around GLC’s building saying, “They are putting up a private screen on the inside fence. I’ve heard there is a tactical and de-escalation team behind the building because AHS thinks this will cause anger and uproar with our people. Oh @albertahealthservices have you not learned who we are by now? Our pastor walked himself to the RCMP headquarters and turned himself in. We have openly and privately prayed for you and our government. We’ve honoured and respected the RCMP every step of the way. Why create a narrative to make us look evil? Anyone who shows up on our property taking their moment of fame with MSM and is not inline with how our elders conduct themselves is not a representative of GLC.”


VIDEO: Christians Tear Down Fences Surrounding Canadian Evangelical Church

Apr 11, 2021

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/todd-starnes-show-michael-knowles-kat-cammack-r-fl/id1482510236?i=1000516194875

Hundreds of Christians gathered outside a Canadian church that has been locked down by the government and whose pastor was arrested for defying government leaders.

Alberta Health Services said it “physically closed” GraceLife Church and will be preventing access to the building until “GraceLife can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s restrictions.”

Police erected surrounded the church property with chain-link fencing and stationed officers around the area to stop parishoners from gathering.

But the Body of Christ would not be deterred by the China Virus or the Canadian government.

Video shows the faithful gathering outside the building to sing hymns and spiritual songs. Others physically removed the fencing that had been erected to keep out the Christians.

Nationally-syndicated radio host Todd Starnes had called on Christians across Canada to tear down the fences last week.

“Christians must respond forcefully when the government shuts down our church houses,” Starnes said. “We must be happy warriors and peaceful. But we cannot remain silent while our fellow believers face persecution.”

James Coates, the pastor of GraceLife Church, had been arrested and held for 35 days because he refused to comply with the government. He was charged with violating the Public Health Act.

Coates is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary – a ministry of Grace Community Church in Southern California.

Pastor John MacArthur said there has been a massive outcry against the Canadian government for their attack on the church.

“This is a first for the western world to have a government lock out believers from a church,” MacArthur told his California congregation on Sunday.

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After Christians tore down a fence around an Edmonton church that was erected by police, the government sent 200 officers in riot gear to stop today’s service

Watch at the link below:

https://gab.com/Praying-Medic/posts/106049012781036913


Instruments of national suicide

By Wallace B. Henley, Exclusive Columnist

Contemporary crises, ranging from COVID to economic and political upheaval, have revealed the fragility of our freedom, and brought into view perhaps two of the greatest threats to liberty in our time — judicial usurpation and presidential Executive Order.

In the hands of people who either don’t understand, or give little regard to Constitutional principle, these can be instruments of national suicide. They underscore that the greatest threats to liberty often come from within.

In 1838, twenty-eight-year-old Abraham Lincoln felt he was watching his country tear itself apart. Riots had broken out over slavery, and no doubt Lincoln also had in mind the 1837 assassination of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy.

Wallace Henley, former Senior Associate Pastor of 2nd Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. | Photo by Scott Belin

In that precarious period Lincoln spoke to the Young Men’s Lyceum, a gathering of rising leaders in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln said that if ever there were a serious threat to American freedom it would “spring up amongst us… If destruction be our lot, we (would) ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we (will) live through all time or die by suicide.”

And so, we come to a February 6 Christian Post story by Anugrah Kumar, headlined:

Supreme Court allows California churches to hold indoor services at limited capacity

Some will applaud the Court’s ruling apparently in favor of the churches. At the same time, there is reason to lament the fact that the Supreme Court — or any court for that matter — is “allowing” churches to meet, and to do so on terms laid down by the Court.

We must see the dangerous precedent in such a move by the Judiciary. A poisonous precedent lurks beneath its surface blessing.

Crisis has a way of driving us to desperation and the disordering that goes with it. In the frantic reaches to control COVID, government seems to have forgotten the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (Italics added)

Usurpation sneaks up on us from behind.

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion,” said Edmund Burke in 1784. Burke, an Englishman, was an intense observer of the French Revolution and its excesses. He could see that what the revolutionaries were calling “Liberte” was itself morphing into an oppressive system pretending to be a freedom-giver.

Early on, Thomas Jefferson had a more favorable view of the French Revolution, but also understood the creeping threat of the enlargement of government power in aborning America. On May 27, 1788, Jefferson, in a letter, warned: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Thus, “liberty” extended by the Court to churches means that a branch of government has presumed it has the authority not only to grant the right of assembly but also to specify its parameters — in this case twenty-five percent of capacity, with no chanting or singing.

Again, we can rejoice that churches have sanction to meet, but mourn the fact that it must be sanctioned in the first place because another government agency—that of the State of California — had forbidden churches to assemble.

Not to be outdone, the State declared it would be monitoring the situation and perhaps issuing more guidelines.

Then there is the other internal threat to our liberty: Presidential Executive Order.

One of the most severe cases occurred in 1952 during the Korean War when President Harry S Truman, through an EO, sought, in effect, to nationalize steel mills. The Supreme Court declared this a violation of the Constitution, and its right of private property.

Truman perhaps had learned at the feet of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He issued a whopping 3,721 EOs. True, FDR was a wartime president, but many of his orders were used to structure his prime legislative initiative, the New Deal.

Both Republican and Democrat presidents have found the Executive Order handy in avoiding congressional or judicial mire. Republican Richard Nixon, my boss, issued 346, while Democrat Bill Clinton 364.

Much attention was focused on the Executive Order issue when President Obama said, in the face of congressional opposition to some of his intended policies, “I have a pen, and I have a phone.” David Davenport wrote in Forbes, that Obama had established a pattern “of unilateral action to set his agenda, advance it, and change it, well beyond … the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.”[1]

It should be noted that Obama issued 276 Executive Orders while Trump 220. Biden, as of February 26, 2021, was spewing Executive Orders at a rate that, if continued, would amount to 400 per year.[2]

Speaking of Executive Order power, Lincoln, in his 1838 speech was also concerned about a dominating tyrant emerging at some point through national crisis: “Is it unreasonable … to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us?”

Watch carefully over the next four years and be concerned—very concerned—about the enlargement of the Judiciary’s attempts to usurp freedoms, as well as the emergence of candidates who could easily cloak their passion for power and abuse the powers granted them through Executive Order.

And heed the words of John Adams when, amid the stirring of the American Revolution, he wrote:

“The Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored… Liberty once lost is lost forever.”


[1] Obama’s Executive Power Pen Is Already Worn Out (forbes.com)

[2] Executive Orders | The American Presidency Project (ucsb.edu)

Wallace B. Henley’s fifty-year career has spanned newspaper journalism, government in both White House and Congress, the church, and academia. He is author or co-author of more than 20 books. He is a teaching pastor at Grace Church, the Woodlands, Texas.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/instruments-of-national-suicide.html


YouTube Deletes LifeSite, Top Pro-Life News Outlet’s Channel, For ‘Violating COVID-19 Misinformation Policy’

Mary Margaret Olohan February 10, 2021

YouTube deleted a pro-life news outlet’s channel for “violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” a spokeswoman told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.

LifeSite News announced the ban Wednesday morning, noting that it cut the site off from its 300,000 followers.

“This isn’t a temporary ban,” the site said in a post. “Every single one of our videos is completely gone. Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content.”

YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy prohibits “content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO,” spokeswoman Ivy Choi said.

“Any channel that violates our COVID-19 misinformation policy will receive a strike, which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming,” Choi said. “Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube.”

YouTube has not clarified to the DCNF which of LifeSite’s videos violated its policy.

“This is no longer a game of trying to play by the Tech Titans’ arbitrary, leftist, virtue-signaling rules,” the site added in a blog post. “We are in a war waged by left-wing liberals seeking to annihilate all conservative voices.”

LifeSite News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

https://www.conservativedailynews.com/2021/02/youtube-deletes-top-pro-life-news-outlets-channel-for-violating-covid-19-misinformation-policy/


BREAKING: YouTube shuts down LifeSite’s channel, every video completely gone

LifeSite has all its videos backed up. Our over 300,000 followers can read here where to find alternative platforms to access our truth-telling content.

February 10, 2021

(LifeSiteNews) — YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a temporary ban; every single one of our videos is completely gone. 

Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content. 

You can watch our current videos on Rumble here: https://rumble.com/user/LifeSiteNews

Or on our LifeSiteNews Catholic Rumble channel, here: https://rumble.com/user/LifeSiteNewsCatholic

You can also sign up to receive email alerts about our recent videos here: https://bit.ly/LifeSiteVideoSub

Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to more than 300,000 followers. Please help us build Rumble and our other alternative platforms by donating through our secure link: https://give.lifesitenews.com/

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-youtube-shuts-down-lifesites-channel-every-video-completely-gone


A Solution for COVID Fear and Overcrowded Hospitals

December 24, 2020  by Shane Idleman

No matter what your view of COVID is, we can all agree that it is impacting all our lives. Since June I’ve been saying that when the cold, flu, and pneumonia season gets here, it’s going to get worse, but I also have a solution. I recently talked to nurses at each hospital in our area as well as in other cities, and they all said the same thing: many of the people crowding the hospitals don’t need to be there. So why are the hospitals so crowded? One word—FEAR.

Yes, the virus is real, and I am not suggesting that legitimately sick people should not seek medical assistance, but the reality is you will not find a cure for fear at the hospital. The media and most politicians are fueling fear rather than offering hope. There is zero mention of God and a lot of dire, dreadful, and grim talk. Given the nature of politics in our day, this is not surprising. But it’s also as if many Christians, some in political offices, are too embarrassed to mention the true source of hope—God. Is this perhaps  because they themselves lack a vibrant relationship with Him?

What if instead of telling America that our situation is dire and hopeless and that we are all doomed, to instead say there is no hindrance too great, no battle too hard, and no power too strong for God? What if we completely turn to Him? What if we remind people often of Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” We must offset fear with hope—hope in God.

Many are scared because they don’t know God. That’s the painful truth. When you fear God, you don’t fear death. Romans 12:12 reminds us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Again, we must spread hope, not fear. How are you doing in this area? If you need prayer and hope, email our church at office@wcfav.org.

WHY AREN’T WE BUILDING IMMUNITY GOD’S WAY?

Let’s shift gears for a minute to something very important. Does the way you eat and take care of your body affect fear? Absolutely. Our diet affects key hormones such as serotonin for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure, glutamate for healthy thinking, and noradrenaline for handling stress. If we allow junk food and addictions to control our attitude and productivity, it can lead to emotional instability. Granted, there apmre those who, through no fault of their own, have a debilitating illness. I’m assuming the reader understands that I’m talking to those who can make changes.

Yes, wash your hands, distance yourself if you need to, and take commonsense precautions. But why aren’t many doctors helping people focus on healthy lifestyle changes to build emotional strength and their own immunity? Why are they silent on this? I can say with assurance that a vaccine is not the answer. I’m not against vaccines per se; I’m against what doesn’t work. If the immune system is already taxed because of poor health and bad eating habits, COVID will escalate problems, and no vaccine in the world can balance out poor lifestyle choices.

Most disease is related to dietary choices and a lack of key vitamins and minerals. You can mock it all you want, but that’s the truth. For example, one recent news story suggested that certain vitamins lower risk of severe cases of COVID-19.

I’m not suggesting that we bypass prayer, nor am I insinuating that we disregard the advice of physicians or that we don’t need medication. We must use wisdom, but I have found that God heals primarily through fixing the toxic state of the body. How can we pray, “Lord, please heal my heart disease”—or COVID—while driving to McDonald’s?

How Are You Still Standing?

People will ask, “How are you still standing in the midst of your unemployment?” or “How are you able to cope during all your health issues?” and we can answer, “Because God is with me and I know Him.” I’m still standing—as are many of you—because God is with us, and we can take great comfort in that. When you truly know God, you don’t fear death. But when you don’t know God, the fear of death surrounds you. This is exactly what we see happening across America.  I address this topic and offer encouragement in my sermon, “Another in the Fire.”

I’d like to share a few key Scriptures, especially for those who do not have assurance that they truly have a relationship with God. Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He died for us, took our spot, and paid the price of our sin. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can take the promise in Romans 10:13 to the bank: “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That’s our only hope.

For those who need help in the area of health and fitness, Shane’s books are available as free downloads at WCFAV.org.