"Now in our 23nd year of standing for truth!"
Eric & Melanie Barger
Ministry Update - January 28, 2006
Greetings and blessings to all our friends, in particular our many new subscribers! Thanks for being a part of our ministry.
THE MODERN CHURCH GROWTH MOVEMENT
I appreciate the many emails we have received concerning my article "Christianity: Extreme Makeover Version - The Modern Church Movement - Growing the Wrong Way." From the volume of response it is clear to us that this article struck a chord with many of you. I know that my candor in the piece was rejected by a few who immediately asked to be removed from our list. However, we'll just continue doing as the Lord has directed us in hopes that those who have ears to hear (or in this case "eyes to read") will make close examination of the many trends and fads that have found their way into our churches and our homes. Below, you will find just a few of the many emails on this topic.
CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS vs. PUBLIC SCHOOLS?
Below as well you will see an letter I wrote in response to an organization (made up of Christians) who is trying to raise funding for and participation in the government schools. At the risk of angering public school teachers I make clear why this is a bad idea. Unless our schools can teach the Word of God unreservedly I will forever advocate Christian and home schooling. Read my thoughts in the emails down the page.
PRAISE THE LORD!
Over the holidays one of three major needs was met for our ministry. Most of you know that we depend on your prayerful support for the ongoing operating expenses of our ministry and family. However, we've expressed three specific needs to you which represent special projects over-and-above our monthly budget.
A wonderful friend of this ministry provided the funds to purchase a high volume, high capacity color printer. With this tool we'll be printing all of our newsletters, tracts, articles and booklets in full color. This generous gift also provided us with a DVD/CD burner, some extra supplies and a couple of pieces of software that we needed as well. God is SOOOO good!
We are in the process of seeing what is perhaps the biggest extra need met at this time too. As soon as that happens we'll share the news with you.
This leaves one of the special project needs unmet. We need a new more powerful laptop. The Pentium 3 Dell which has faithfully served me for nearly 4 years now is still operating fine but it cannot be upgraded enough to run many of the new software applications. The presentation software I use for 3D effects is now pushing my machine (and it's 64mg video card) beyond the limits. In fact, my old lap top froze up and had to be restarted after the first slide appeared last Sunday morning. Not good, when you are standing in front of a congregation full of people and have to ad lib due to "technical difficulties!" With my present machine I am also limited in the ability to record and produce webcasts and am unable to upgrade several of the software packages that we already use without a faster processor.
The bottom line is that approximately $2000 needs to be raised over-and-above our budget. Perhaps the Lord will use many people to meet this need. Perhaps He'll only use one. Either way, I am asking you to pray about this need. Another benefit from this is that once we have a the right computer for me to travel with Melanie will inherit my present lap top which will help her accomplish her tasks for the ministry more efficiently. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP WITH THIS PROJECT!
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Watch your email for the next newsletter. As of now, I am writing one of the most important reports I have ever undertaken. It is sure to be of interest to many of you as we pick back up on the discussion of "The REAL Purpose of the Church."
Christians and Public School Funding
TO: R. Randolph "Randy" Brinson, MD
Chairman, Redeem the Vote
January 24, 2006
----- Original Message -----
From: Shirley (name withheld)
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 7:45 PM
I had never read your newsletter before but a friend from Alaska forwarded me a copy. My youngest son and I were saved out of the Jehovah's Witnesses. I was in 30 yr. and still have 3 children in who have had to completely shun me for 10 yr. I have never been allowed to see my 2 grandchildren. Although I have been out 10 yr.I have only really known the Lord for 6 yr. The brainwashing is unbelievable and so deep. It takes many years to undo. I must learn the Bible all over again.
My question is that you mentioned what it means to be a witness and gave many examples. However, you said it meant dying a violent death for Jesus. Does that mean that every Christian witness will have to undergo that? I knew that those in the tribulation without the mark of the beast would be beheaded but I wonder about those before tribulation. Would you not be considered a witness of Jesus if you died in another manner?
Thank you. Sincerely,
Hi Shirley and thanks for writing.
First, I am so glad you and your son are free of the JW deception. I know it can be a deep and laborious process as you mention too. Also, I'm sure I don't need to say this but let me remind you that no matter what you see in the natural world, don't ever give up praying for your other three children. I believe God's ear is turned to the prayers of a praying mother. Amen!
Now about what I wrote in the article "The Price of Being a Witness."
In the article I defined the Greek words translated "witness" and "witnesses" in Scripture. After doing so I wrote the following:
"To be a witness is to be a willing martyr for Jesus Christ! This is the depth our witness must take on to be worthy of the biblical definition. Witness is what we are to do and witnesses is what we are to become – regardless of the outcome. It is certainly not that we must die to be a faithful witness, only that we are completely willing if need be."
Shirley, notice that last sentence: "It is certainly not that we must die to be a faithful witness, only that we are completely willing if need be."
A little further down in the article I mention: "Most of us will probably never experience intense persecution let alone martyrdom because of our faith yet martyrdom is anything but extinct."
I hope you understand that I was not trying to imply that if we didn't die a martyr's death we were not truly witnesses. The point I really wanted to make in the article is that being a witness is a mindset. No matter what circumstance we may face - even persecution or death - Christians must so fortify ourselves spiritually and emotionally in relatively peaceful days that nothing would have the ability to change us should we ever face the kind of turmoil that some of our brothers and sisters around the world face each day because the are identified with Christ.
Hope that clears up your questions. Please let me know if there is any way we can help or pray.
God bless you!
The Modern Church Growth Movement
In a message dated 01/17/2006 7:22:43 AM Pacific Standard Time, email@example.com writes:
I just read your email entitled "The Modern Church Growth Movement - Growing the Wrong Way" and was very excited to hear someone say what I so firmly believe. Our church has seemed to always have had problems with growth. I mean physically not spiritually.
The people at my church love and are committed to the Word and are growing spiritually. Our numbers, however, have never reached a level that I thought they would. I have questioned this and I have read books on church growth and talked to other pastors who seem to have growing churches. I have come to the conclusion that if you don't bring enough of the world into your church with enough "social club" events that the numbers don't seem to come. People just don't seem to be interested in the Word. As for me, if the Word isn't taught and the Holy Spirit isn't moving to save and set people free, I had just as soon not be there. If God, through His Spirit, is not at work in our church then I don't really want to be a pastor...
...I believe that the church that continues to teach the fullness of God's Word and not just messages that "tickle our ears" will rise to a place of victory that God intends for His church. Thanks again for your letter on the MCGM of today. I found it encouraging that I was not the only one who thought the MCGM was not quite scriptural. Please pray us as we will for you.
Thanks again and God bless you.
Pastor Brice, Texas
God bless you brother. I am so glad you took a moment and told me your story. I also appreciate your encouraging words. As I read your email to my wife just now, my voice cracked and I remarked to her..."I wonder how many other men of God are out there who, because of their unwillingness to compromise are where this pastor (you) is?" My heart breaks that those willing to make up a worldly religion to gain warm bodies in the seats end up preaching a faulty, powerless gospel to so many more than those who say "Jesus and only Jesus."
Hang in there brother...reach everyone you can with the whole truth and remember, the reward isn't in big numbers. The rewards are in faithfulness to His Word.
Please feel free to call me anytime. I would love to get to know you.
One more thing, could I please use your email in an upcoming newsletter? There are other men and women of God who need to know they too are not alone. Thanks for your response.
Psalm 37:23 today...
In a message dated 01/17/2006 7:39:39 AM Pacific Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Just read the newsletter on the The Modern Church Growth Movement.
I have to say AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Keep fighting the good fight and know that there are those of us out here that you may never hear from...(need 2 or 3 more hours a day for a homeschool mom) and we are praising God for and praying for you, your family and your ministry!
A Keeper at Home,
Thanks so much for the encouraging note and especially for your prayer support. God bless you!
In a message dated Jan-17-2006 13:57 EST email@example.com writes:
AMEN & AMEN to your article on the MCGM! My husband, son and I left a church because of their change-over to a "feel-good" philosophy.
And I should also add that my family had attended this particular church for 19 years before making our heart wrenching departure. My son was on the worship team and a youth leader; he and his fiancée left a few weeks before we did. Bob and I had taught Sunday School, counted moneys, participated in the music program, visited the shut-ins and encouraged others to be part of the congregation. We wrote letters, called for special meetings, prayed and wrestled with the decision for over 2 years but the leaders in the congregation overruled us (and several other families) and decided they wanted to "market" their "new beginnings".
My husband has already sent copies of your article to several pastors--including the one who was Senior Pastor at our former place of worship. We pray your clearly written message will touch the hearts and minds of many people before they too get sucked into this "feel good" religion.
Blessings on you and yours,
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