Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joy to the World

Post by Cre.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Giving Twice This Christmas!

Acts 8 Ministries

I do not promote consumerism, but we all have friends and families for whom we plan to share God's love and goodness by giving gifts. If you plan to purchase online at amazon.com, consider shopping at AmazonSmile and use the link above. They will donate to Acts 8 Ministries.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

8 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
           make known his deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to him; sing praises to him;
           tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
           let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
            seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
            his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
13 O offspring of Israel his servant,
           sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
14 He is the Lord our God;
           his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Remember his covenant forever,
            the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
           his sworn promise to Isaac,
17 which he confirmed as a statute to Jacob,
           as an everlasting covenant to Israel,
18 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
            as your portion for an inheritance.”
19 When you were few in number,
           and of little account, and sojourners in it,
20 wandering from nation to nation,
            from one kingdom to another people,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
            he rebuked kings on their account,
22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
            do my prophets no harm!”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
           Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
            his marvelous works among all the peoples!
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
           and he is to be held in awe above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
           but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
           strength and joy are in his place.
28 Ascribe to the Lord, O clans of the peoples,
           ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
           bring an offering and come before him!
     Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
30       tremble before him, all the earth;
           yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
           and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
           let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
           before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
            for his steadfast love endures forever!
35 Say also:
“Save us, O God of our salvation,
           and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
     that we may give thanks to your holy name,
           and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
           from everlasting to everlasting!”
(David's Song of Thanks, 1 Chronicles 16) 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Knowing Who You Are


Knowing who you are is not as easy as it seems.

Perhaps, we know what we like and what we want. We may have goals, dreams, ambitions and aspirations. We think we know what we are good at and what we are poor at.

But still we may not know who we really are.

That is because our mind is powerful enough to create our own reality. If we tell ourselves a lie and keep repeating it over and over, it will eventually become our reality. We honestly believe that it is true! If you base your life on lies which you believe to be true, it still does not reflect your true self.

A belief is far more powerful than truth!

As a result, even what you want may not be really what brings you true satisfaction. What you dream may not bring you a good success.

But when we know our true self, we will also clarify our true desires, understand our unique designs and discover our destiny.

Such a man or a woman is powerful in society and unstoppable. If their hearts are good and noble, they will be true heroes who will transform their communities. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Reformation Day!


Imagine! A single individual opposing and standing up against a powerful political and military might and the world's absolute religious authority and the 1200 year-old unshakable traditions!

The Edict of Worms declared him to be an outlaw, a heretic and an enemy of the state.

But, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8.31)

With God, one person can change the course of history. One person can start a revolution!


“Disputatio pro Declaratione Virtutis Indulgentiarum.”
by Dr. Martin Luther, 1483-1546
D. MARTIN LUTHERS WERKE: KRITISCHE GESAMMTAUSGABE.
1. Band (Weimar: Hermann Boehlau, 1883). pp. 233-238.
PW #001-001La

Amore et studio elucidande veritatis hec subscripta disputabuntur Wittenberge, Presidente R. P. Martino Lutther, Artium et S. Theologie Magistro eiusdemque ibidem lectore Ordinario. Quare
petit, ut qui non possunt verbis presentes nobiscum disceptare agant id literis absentes. In nomine domini nostri Hiesu Christi.
Amen.
1. Dominus et magister noster Iesus Christus dicendo `Penitentiam agite &c.’ omnem vitam fidelium penitentiam esse voluit.
2. Quod verbum de penitentia sacramentali (id est confessionis et satisfactionis, que sacerdotum ministerio celebratur) non potest intelligi.
3. Non tamen solam intendit interiorem, immo interior nulla est, nisi foris operetur varias carnis mortificationes.
4. Manet itaque pena, donec manet odium sui (id est penitentia vera intus), scilicet usque ad introitum regni celorum.
5. Papa non vult nec potest ullas penas remittere preter eas, quas arbitrio vel suo vel canonum imposuit.
6. Papa non potest remittere ullam culpam nisi declarando, et approbando remissam a deo Aut certe remittendo casus reservatos sibi, quibus contemptis culpa prorsus remaneret.
7. Nulli prorus remittit deus culpam, quin simul eum subiiciat humiliatum in omnibus sacerdoti suo vicario.
8. Canones penitentiales solum viventibus sunt impositi nihilque morituris secundum eosdem debet imponi.
9. Inde bene nobis facit spiritussanctus in papa excipiendo in suis decretis semper articulum mortis et necessitatis.
10. Indocte et male faciunt sacerdotes ii, qui morituris penitentias canonicas in purgatorium reservant.
11. Zizania illa de mutanda pena Canonica in penam purgatorii videntur certe dormientibus episcopis seminata.
12. Olim pene canonice non post, sed ante absolutionem imponebantur tanquam tentamenta vere contritionis.
13. Morituri per mortem omnia solvunt et legibus canonum mortui iam sunt, habentes iure earum relaxationem.
14. Imperfecta sanitas seu charitas morituri necessario secum fert magnum timorem, tantoque maiorem, quanto minor fuerit ipsa.
15. Hic timor et horror satis est se solo (ut alia taceam) facere penam purgatorii, cum sit proximus desperationis horrori.
16. Videntur infernus, purgaturium, celum differre, sicut desperatio, prope desperatio, securitas differunt.
17. Necessarium videtur animabus in purgatorio sicut minni horrorem ita augeri charitatem.
18. Nec probatum videtur ullis aut rationibus aut scripturis, quod sint extra statum meriti seu augende charitatis.
19. Nec hoc probatum esse videtur, quod sint de sua beatitudine certe et secure, saltem omnes, licet nos certissimi simus.
20. Igitur papa per remissionem plenariam omnium penarum non simpliciter omnium intelligit, sed a seipso tantummodo impositarum.
21. Errant itaque indulgentiarum predicatores ii, qui dicunt per pape indulgentias hominem ab omni pena solvi et salvari.
22. Quin nullam remittit animabus in purgatorio, quam in hac vita debuissent secundum Canones solvere.
23. Si remissio ulla omnium omnino penarum potest alicui dari, certum est eam non nisi perfectissimis, i.e. paucissimis, dari.
24. Falli ob id necesse est maiorem partem populi per indifferentem illam et magnificam pene solute promissionem.
25. Qualem potestatem habet papa in purgatorium generaliter, talem habet quilibet Episcopus et Curatus in sua diocesi et parochia specialiter.
1. [26] Optime facit papa, quod non potestate clavis (quam nullam habet) sed per modum suffragii dat animabus remissionem.
2. [27] Hominem predicant, qui statim ut iactus nummus in cistam tinnierit evolare dicunt animam.
3. [28] Certum est, nummo in cistam tinniente augeri questum et avariciam posse: suffragium autem ecclesie est in arbitrio dei solius.
4. [29] Quis scit, si omnes anime in purgatorio velint redimi, sicut de s. Severino et Paschali factum narratur.
5. [30] Nullus securus est de veritate sue contritionis, multominus de consecutione plenarie remissionis.
6. [31] Quam rarus est vere penitens, tam rarus est vere indulgentias redimens, i. e. rarissimus.
7. [32] Damnabuntur ineternum cum suis magistris, qui per literas veniarum securos sese credunt de sua salute.
8. [33] Cavendi sunt nimis, qui dicunt venias illas Pape donum esse illud dei inestimabile, quo reconciliatur homo deo.
9. [34] Gratie enim ille veniales tantum respiciunt penas satisfactionis sacramentalis ab homine constitutas.
10. [35] Non christiana predicant, qui docent, quod redempturis animas vel confessionalia non sit necessaria contritio.
11. [36] Quilibet christianus vere compunctus habet remissionem plenariam a pena et culpa etiam sine literis veniarum sibi debitam.
12. [37] Quilibet versus christianus, sive vivus sive mortuus, habet participationem omnium bonorum Christi et Ecclesie etiam sine literis veniarum a deo sibi datam.
13. [38] Remissio tamen et participatio Pape nullo modo est contemnenda, quia (ut dixi) est declaratio remissionis divine.
14. [39] Difficillimum est etiam doctissimis Theologis simul extollere veniarum largitatem et contritionis veritatem coram populo.
15. [40] Contritionis veritas penas querit et amat, Veniarum autem largitas relaxat et odisse facit, saltem occasione.
16. [41] Caute sunt venie apostolice predicande, ne populus false intelligat eas preferri ceteris bonis operibus charitatis.
17. [42] Docendi sunt christiani, quod Pape mens non est, redemptionem veniarum ulla ex parte comparandam esse operibus misericordie.
18. [43] Docendi sunt christiani, quod dans pauperi aut mutuans egenti melius facit quam si venias redimereet.
19. [44] Quia per opus charitatis crescit charitas et fit homo melior, sed per venias non fit melior sed tantummodo a pena liberior.
20. [45] Docendi sunt christiani, quod, qui videt egenum et neglecto eo dat pro veniis, non idulgentias Pape sed indignationem dei sibi vendicat.
21. [46] Docendi sunt christiani, quod nisi superfluis abundent necessaria tenentur domui sue retinere et nequaquam propter venias effundere.
22. [47] Docendi sunt christiani, quod redemptio veniarum est libera, non precepta.
23. [48] Docendi sunt christiani, quod Papa sicut magis eget ita magis optat in veniis dandis pro se devotam orationem quam promptam pecuniam.
24. [49] Docendi sunt christiani, quod venie Pape sunt utiles, si non in cas confidant, Sed nocentissime, si timorem dei per eas amittant.
25. [50] Docendi sunt christiani, quod si Papa nosset exactiones venialium predicatorum, mallet Basilicam s. Petri in cineres ire quam edificari cute, carne et ossibus ovium suarum.
1. [51] Docendi sunt christiani, quod Papa sicut debet ita vellet, etiam vendita (si opus sit) Basilicam s. Petri, de suis pecuniis dare illis, a quorum plurimis quidam concionatores veniarum
pecuniam eliciunt.
2. [52] Vana est fiducia salutis per literas veniarum, etiam si Commissarius, immo Papa ipse suam animam pro illis impigneraret.
3. [53] Hostes Christi et Pape sunt ii, qui propter venias predicandas verbum dei in aliis ecclesiis penitus silere iubent.
4. [54] Iniuria fit verbo dei, dum in eodem sermone equale vel longius tempus impenditur veniis quam illi.
5. [55] Mens Pape necessario est, quod, si venie (quod minimum est) una campana, unis pompis et ceremoniis celebrantur, Euangelium (quod maximum est) centum campanis, centum pompis,
centum ceremoniis predicetur.
6. [56] Thesauri ecclesie, unde Pape dat indulgentias, neque satis nominati sunt neque cogniti apud populum Christi.
7. [57] Temporales certe non esse patet, quod non tam facile eos profundunt, sed tantummodo colligunt multi  concionatorum.
8. [58] Nec sunt merita Christi et sanctorum, quia hec semper sine Papa operantur gratiam hominis interioris et crucem, mortem infernumque exterioris.
9. [59] Thesauros ecclesie s. Laurentius dixit esse pauperes ecclesie, sed locutus est usu vocabuli suo tempore.
10. [60] Sine temeritate dicimus claves ecclesie (merito Christi donatas) esse thesaurum istum.
11. [61] Clarum est enim, quod ad remissionem penarum et casuum sola sufficit potestas Pape.
12. [62] Verus thesaurus ecclesie est sacrosanctum euangelium glorie et gratie dei.
13. [63] Hic autem est merito odiosissimus, quia ex primis facit novissimos.
14. [64] Thesaurus autem indulgentiarum merito est gratissimus, quia ex novissimis facit primos.
15. [65] Igitur thesauri Euangelici rhetia sunt, quibus olim piscabantur viros divitiarum.
16. [66] Thesauri indulgentiarum rhetia sunt, quibus nunc piscantur divitias virorum.
17. [67] Indulgentie, quas concionatores vociferantur maximas gratias, intelliguntur vere tales quoad questum promovendum.
18. [68] Sunt tamen re vera minime ad gratiam dei et crucis pietatem comparate.
19. [69] Tenentur Episcopi et Curati veniarum apostolicarum Commissarios cum omni reverentia admittere.
20. [70] Sed magis tenentur omnibus oculis intendere, omnibus auribus advertere, ne pro commissione Pape sua illi somnia predicent.
21. [71] Contra veniarum apostolicarum veritatem qui loquitur, sit ille anathema et maledictus.
22. [72] Qui vero, contra libidinem ac licentiam verborum Concionatoris veniarum curam agit, sit ille benedictus.
23. [73] Sicut Papa iuste fulminat eos, qui in fraudem negocii veniarum quacunque arte machinantur,
24. [74] Multomagnis fulminare intendit eos, qui per veniarum pretextum in fraudem sancte charitatis et veritatis machinantur,
25. [75] Opinari venias papales tantas esse, ut solvere possint hominem, etiam si quis per impossibile dei genitricem violasset, Est insanire.
1. [76] Dicimus contra, quod venie papales nec minimum venialium peccatorum tollere possint quo ad culpam.
2. [77] Quod dicitur, nec si s. Petrus modo Papa esset maiores gratias donare posset, est blasphemia in sanctum Petrum et Papam.
3. [78] Dicimus contra, quod etiam iste et quilibet papa maiores habet, scilicet Euangelium, virtutes, gratias, curationum &c. ut 1. Co. XII.
4. [79] Dicere, Crucem armis papalibus insigniter erectam cruci Christi equivalere, blasphemia est.
5. [80] Rationem reddent Episcopi, Curati et Theologi, Qui tales sermones in populum licere sinunt.
6. [81] Facit hec licentiosa veniarum predicatio, ut nec reverentiam Pape facile sit etiam doctis viris redimere a calumniis aut certe argutis questionibus laicorm.
7. [82] Scilicet. Cur Papa non evacuat purgatorium propter sanctissimam charitatem et summam animarum necessitatem ut causam omnium iustissimam, Si infinitas animas redimit propter pecuniam
funestissimam ad structuram Basilice ut causam levissimam?
8. [83] Item. Cur permanent exequie et anniversaria defunctorum et non reddit aut recipi permittit beneficia pro illis instituta, cum iam sit iniuria pro redemptis orare?
9. [84] Item. Que illa nova pietas Dei et Pape, quod impio et inimico propter pecuniam concedunt animam piam et amicam dei redimere, Et tamen propter necessitatem ipsius met pie et dilecte
anime non redimunt eam gratuita charitate?
10. [85] Item. Cur Canones penitentiales re ipsa et non usu iam diu in semet abrogati et mortui adhuc tamen pecuniis redimuntur per concessionem indulgentiarum tanquam vivacissimi?
11. [86] Item. Cur Papa, cuius opes hodie sunt opulentissimis Crassis crassiores, non de suis pecuniis magis quam pauperum fidelium struit unam tantummodo Basilicam sancti Petri?
12. [87] Item. Quid remittit aut participat Papa iis, qui per contritionem perfectam ius habent plenarie remissionis et participationis?
13. [88] Item. Quid adderetur ecclesie boni maioris, Si Papa, sicut semel facit, ita centies in die cuilibet fidelium has remissiones et participationes tribueret?
14. [89] Ex quo Papa salutem querit animarum per venias magis quam pecunias, Cur suspendit literas et venias iam olim concessas, cum sint eque efficaces?
15. [90] Hec scrupulosissima laicorum argumenta sola potestate compescere nec reddita ratione diluere, Est ecclesiam et Papam hostibus ridendos exponere et infelices christianos facere.
16. [91] Si ergo venie secundum spiritum et mentem Pape predicarentur, facile illa omnia solverentur, immo non essent.
17. [92] Valeant itaque omnes illi prophete, qui dicunt populo Christi `Pax pax,’ et non est pax.
18. [93] Bene agant omnes illi prophete, qui dicunt populo Christi `Crux crux,’ et non est crux.
19. [94] Exhortandi sunt Christiani, ut caput suum Christum per penas, mortes infernosque sequi studeant,
20. [95] Ac sic magis per multas tribulationes intrare celum quam per securitatem pacis confidant.
M.D.Xvii.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Join Give Me Hope 2014 Campaign!

Help launch Give Me Hope and be part of an exciting multi-year project to bring HOPE to children in Ethiopia through youcaring.com!

To join, click the link below or go to youcaring.com and search for "Give Me Hope" to find our campaign!

http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/give-me-hope/242846

For more information on Give Me Hope, click HERE or the tab at the top.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

More Locations. Same Mission.

Teaching at Vision Leadership Institute, Meki

Meki is a city located about 80 miles south of Addis Ababa.

This year, we opened a training center there with 90 ministry leaders attending the two-year program!

Vision Leadership Institute, a collaborative ministry of several U.S. and Ethiopian groups, is a mobile training center. We go where the needs are. Churches hear about us and invite us to their community.

When a ministry is successful, there is always a temptation to keep expanding it.

The original vision of Vision Leadership Institute was and is to provide free two-year college-level theological education and pastoral training to those ministry practitioners in rural areas of Ethiopia. So the temptation is NOT offering the training in a growing number of cities (2 in 2011, 3 in 2013, 4 in 2014).

Our temptation has been to offer more than two-years of initial training. Those who have completed our initial training have been strongly encouraging us to offer them more. We certainly see the value of it.

This year, once again, this was the main topic of conversation when we met with groups of VLI alumni in Debre Zeyit and Shashemene. They would like two additional years of in-depth studies in all of the subjects we teach. Our U.S. team wrestled with it throughout our trip.

In the end, we unanimously decided to stick to our original mission and not to offer any more than the two-year program.

We are excited and humbled by their hunger and eagerness. However, we believe that the free two-year program is what God has directed Vision Leadership Institute to provide.

Jesus also said no to growing ministry opportunities.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:35-39)

His ministry in Capernaum was going well. In the morning, disciples were ready for another day of ministry. A crowd seemed to be already gathering, waiting for Jesus. "Everyone is looking for you." There was a sense of anticipation in the voice of his disciples.

But Jesus directed his disciples to move on to the next towns. "But, Lord, we have a bigger crowd today, waiting for you!" I would have objected the Master's plan.

The Lord was clear on his mission. "I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." He didn't let the growing popularity of his ministry or the pressing needs of people distract him from his mission given by the Father.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014


May the crucifixion death and resurrection life of Jesus make you a new creation in Christ!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

4Bs and the Great Commission

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.18-20)

The Great Commission defines the mission of the Church. Make disciples of all nations.

The scope of our mission is the world, concentric circles of our cities (Jerusalem), our region (Judea), our transcultural neighbors (Samaria) and our distant countries (the end of the earth) (cf. Acts 1.8)

The above text in Greek reads "make disciples, going..., baptizing..., teaching."

The Great Commission not only defines the mission of the Church but also prescribes the functional characteristics or the essential functions of the Church.

GOING: bless


As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you. (John 20.21b) The Church is led by the Spirit and is being sent out into the world (apostolic). She is always outward-focused and advancing as the change agent (light and salt). She is moving into new places in society as the beacon of hope. The Church is spiritually on the offensive. She is by nature missional. Reaching out, we are to bless.

BAPTIZING: belong


This refers to the fact that the church is a Kingdom community. Its culture reflects the character of King Jesus. It is united by one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith (cf. Ephesians 4.4-5). As people begin to follow Jesus, they create this new community because they now belong to the new reality known as the Kingdom of God.

TEACHING: believe


Teaching is more than information gathering. It is to obey. This is about transformation. Teaching to obey is for shaping our true belief system which, in turn, defines our reality. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24.45) Our full and true understanding of God, ourselves and the world is therefore critical. We are to believe the truth that sets us free.

I AM WITH YOU: be


The very presence of Jesus is promised for the Church on His mission. Because we are now united with Christ and because Jesus is in us through the Holy Spirit, our very being in Christ as defined by our relationship with God is the foundation of our collective and collaborative work and ministry as the Church.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Ethiopia: One of the 11 Major Movements

What Role Should Individuals and Nations Play in Global Church Planting?
What needs to be done by whom in order to plant the churches required to bless all corners of the world? When could/should that work be international? That is a complex question that requires a global perspective and a level of nuance.