52 DAYS AWAY

October 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Polk County Christmas Parade Route Shadows the Footsteps of the Historic Cherokee Removal

October 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

The Georgia Road or present day Federal Road was a route of the Trail of Tears walked by the Cherokee people during the forced removal from their homelands. The Tellico Blockhouse was the starting point for the Old Federal Road. The route ran from Niles Ferry on the Little Tennessee River near the present day U.S. Highway 411 Bridge, southward into Georgia. The road continued southward via the Federal Trail connecting to the North Old Tellico Highway past the present site of Coltharp School, intersected Tennessee Highway 68 and passed the site of the Nonaberg Church. East of Englewood, Tennessee it continued on the east side of McMinn Central High School and crossed Highway 411 near the railroad overpass. Along the west side of Etowah, the road continued near Cog Hill and the Hiwassee River near the mouth of Conasauga Creek where there was a ferry near the site of the John Hildebrand Mill. From the ferry on the Hiwassee River, the road ran through the site of the present Benton, Tennessee courthouse. It continued on Welcome Valley Road and then crossed the Ocoee River at the Hildebrand Landing. From this point the road ran south and crossed U.S. Highway 64 where there is now the River Hills Church of God, formerly the Ocoee Church of God. Continuing south near Old Fort, the route crossed U.S. Highway 411 and came to the Conasauga River at McNair Landing. Near the south end of the village of Tennga, Georgia stands a historic marker alongside Highway 411, which states the Old Federal Road was close to its path for the next twenty-five miles southward. This is some 15 miles from the historic Chief Vann Plantation where the first Christmas celebration of the Cherokee People was held. It would have been at this point in Tennga that the Trail of Tears would have taken a turn onto GA-2 passing the Praters Mill near Dalton Georgia to connect in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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The Nehemiah Experience: Devil, did you hear, I done built the wall!

September 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

2018 Revival Harvest Campaign: The Nehemiah Experience

Nehemiah 1: Who cries, fasts and prays for the desolated church?

Nehemiah 2: Dear, devil, I am back!

Nehemiah 3: 12 gates of Jerusalem

Nehemiah 4: Devil, did you hear, I done built the wall…
(1)Time to enter through the Door
(2) Time for junk no more
(3) Time to wage war

Calling on the Nehemiah Generation

Strangers will come in the Church
And the walls need to be fortified…

Bulgarian evangelicals alarmed by restrictive and discriminative bill on faith minorities

August 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

All ministers of faith minorities representing less than 1% of the population “would be required to be Bulgarian citizens, having graduated theology in this country”

Bulgaria could soon strongly restrict the freedoms of all minority faith groups representing less than 1% of the population. If the bill changing the “Religious Denominations Act” of 2002 is passed, evangelical Christians and other groups would not be allowed to have foreign ministers leading their religious services. In addition, “the state is implementing restrictions over international donations and is placing itself in a position to control any training of ecclesiastic leadership.”  The new law “is supposedly aiming to limit and filter attempts for radical influence”, but it would end up reinforcing the power of the two majority religions: Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Islam.

“Should an Evangelical denomination want to train its clergy, the only academic education allowed would be either in a national Eastern Orthodox academy, or in a Muslim school.”  Several Christian faith minorities have already issued statements demanding political parties to open an honest dialogue with the confessions.

What are the changes that are being introduced in the “Religious Denominations Act”?

In the first days of May, 2018, two new bills were submitted in Parliament regarding Bulgaria’s Religious Law. The first one was put forward by the three largest political parties (one in power; and two in opposition); while the second bill was coined by the United Patriots (an alliance of nationalistic groups participating in the country’s government). The most disconcerting one is the first bill. It was drafted by the pro-European governing party GERB and their parliamentary rivals of the Socialist Party and the pro-Muslim Movement for Rights and Freedoms. This bill claims its goal to “prevent interference of foreign countries, institutions and persons into [national] religious affairs”. The document proposed several changes to the existing 2002 Act: only religious communities having at least 1% of the population would have a right to state subsidy; all clerics would be required to be Bulgarian citizens, having graduated theology in this country; any financing of religious institutions from abroad would wither be banned or filtered by the state Committee of Religious Denominations. In this way, the state is implementing restrictions over international donations and is placing itself in a position to control any training of ecclesiastic leadership. By limiting state subsidies and religious education only to religious groups over one percent, the new law is imposing an unjustifiable governmental favoritism. The only entities thus qualifying would be the Easter Orthodox Church and the Muslim religion.

Atanas Slavov, Professor of Law at the University of Sofia, went on record to say about this one-percent limitation that “placing all confessions under the same common denominator is an act of discrimination”. Groups that are discriminated against with this bill, include all Protestant denominations, the Catholic church, the Armenian church, and the Jewish minority, among others.

Catholic bishop Hristo Proykov commented for Patheos website: “The legislative proposal is a sad reminder of a bygone Communist past, which we believed would no longer return”.

Is there a fear in Bulgaria about foreign organisations influencing religious groups in Bulgaria and gaining influence?

With the current refugee situation in Europe, and with our country responsible for the Union’s outside borders, there have been all sorts of disturbing rumors and instilled fears about our way of life and our children’s future. Broadcasting agencies and the social media regularly feed us with information about terrorist threats, religious overtaking and ethnic reshaping of the continent’s culture and values.

In addition, Bulgaria is probably the state with the highest number of Muslims per capita in the European Union. According to estimates from 2017, Muslims are about 15 percent of the country’s population. However, for many decades the relations between Muslims and Christians in Bulgaria have been peaceful and mutually respectful. On a local level, people have lived together, celebrating each other’s cultural and ethnic traditions. The government’s concern in suggesting those restrictive measures, apparently, is that there have been endeavors on behalf of Islamic fundamental groups to infiltrate some Muslim communities in Bulgaria. Based on such anxieties, the new law is supposedly aiming to limit and filter attempts for radical influence.

How would these legal changes affect evangelical churches in Bulgaria in practice?

According to the 2011 national census, all Evangelical Christians in Bulgaria comprise of 43,000 or less than 1% of the population . This means that with the implementation of the new law, Protestants will be deprived on several levels. In fact, it is our belief that Protestants are actually more than one percent of Bulgaria’s population. But this is a whole different conversation.

There are at least five areas how this new bill would inspire discrimination if voted for:

  1. The motives of the new bill include the argument that it aims “to stop all activities… that are aimed against the national security, the social order, the public health and moral”. This claim indirectly implies that all religious groups comprising less than one percent of the population are a threat to the national security
  2. Only groups over 1% will be eligible to receive state subsidy for restoration of church buildings. In this aspect, all Protestant churches are immediately scratched off.
  3. Any religious entity that does not meet the one percent criterion, will not be allowed to open its own theological school, and accordingly will not be able to issue any academic certificates to its graduating students. Moreover, their clergy will not have a permission to study theology abroad. In other words, according to the new bill, should an Evangelical denomination want to train its clergy, the only academic education allowed would be either in a national Eastern Orthodox academy, or in a Muslim school! The St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, in Sofia, Bulgaria. / Pixabay (CC0)
  4. No foreign sponsorship will be allowed to any religious organization to pay salaries to their clergy or their religious staff. The only way donations will be allowed from abroad is if they meet two requirements: the purpose of the funding can only be towards building construction or social aid; the donation itself will need a preliminary permission issued by the state Committee of Religious Denominations! In other words, no outside sponsorship will be allowed to enter Bulgaria for the operation of Christian-run medical centers, for educational activity, for publishing, for cultural events, for small business, for volunteer initiatives, etc
  5. Only citizens of Bulgaria will be allowed to perform religious duties. The only way a foreigner (a missionary, a preacher, a teacher, an evangelist, etc.) could conduct a worship service or preach a sermon would be if he is doing this jointly with a Bulgarian minister.

Are evangelical churches talking to the Bulgarian government or political parties about possible amendments or lines of dialogue to soften the consequences of such a law?

Part of our objection was that absolutely no attempts were made on behalf of the politicians to consult any religious group in regard to this new bill. The same sentiment has been shared by the Armenian community, the Jewish minority, the Apostolic Nunciature of the Catholic Church. The speaker of the Orthodox Holy Synod father Nikolay Georgiev announced that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church does not agree any minority should be deprived of their rights, and that the BOC is ready to defend other denominations’ just religious cause. Soon after the proposed bill was pushed, a number of Christian churches in the country issued declarations of protest.

Denominational positions were officially published by the United Methodist Church, the Bulgarian Baptist Union, the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance, the Central Israelite Religious Council, the Catholic Church in Bulgaria, the National Alliance “United Churches of God”, the National Council of Religious Communities in Bulgaria, as well as various civil rights organizations.

The Harvest is Plentiful…

June 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Revival Harvest Campaign 2018:

  • Nehemiah: Set the Foundations
  • Nehemiah: Rebuild the Walls
  • Nehemiah: Post Watchmen on the Towers

Revival must go on…

Back to the Basics of Pentecost

May 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Since the beginning of the 21st century, only 6-10% of new born believers in America receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, which by 2018 has resulted in:

  • Over 60% within Global Pentecostalism do not speak in tongues
  • A major doctrinal shift within Pentecostal Theology today claims speaking in tongues is not the only evidence of Holy Spirit Baptism
  • Some theologians even claim there is no initial evidence in the Bible
  • Others today go further to believe that no outward sign of the Holy Spirit baptism is necessary.

For this reason, WE are re-committing ourselves and ministry to revival and restoration of the Pentecostal Message through praying, fasting and preaching:

  • Salvation of the sinner’s soul and entire sanctification through the Blood of Jesus
  • Baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire with initial evidence of speaking in tongues
  • Supernatural gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit
  • Healing, deliverance and signs following
  • Pre-Millennial return of Christ and pre-Tribulation Rapture of His Church to glory

Please consider the URGENCY of this generation!

Let us reason together what can we do to prevent this rapid decline in Biblical spirituality.

Revival will not come without preaching!

Revival of Pentecost will not come without preaching the Message of Pentecost.

90 Years Ago Pastor Nicholas Nikolov Established the Pentecostal Union of Bulgaria

March 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

By the fall of 1927 the Pentecostal revival from Bourgas extended to several outreaches. Appropriate recognition was given by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in their September, 1927 meeting. The Latter Rain Evangel also reported revival in Bulgaria, workers trained at the Bible School and a good number saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit.

 With this avid success and the arrival of Nikolov’s first-born son on November 9, 1927 came the second attempt to unite Bulgarian Pentecostals. A preliminary meeting was held in February of 1928 in Rouse where the Union’s establishing meeting was scheduled for March 28 in Bourgas.

To no surprise, only 14 delegates representing five congregations attended. The delegates voted and received the Union’s by-laws and statement of faith, based on the same documents by the Assemblies of God in America. The first annual conference of the new Union followed in October in Varna. A national General Council was set and the Executive Committee was chaired by Pastor Nikolov – at the time of his appointment he was only 28 years of age.

Trained in the United States and familiar with the Assemblies of God structure, Nikolov purposed to replicate the same organization in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, most Bulgarian Pentecostals in 1928 did not have a clear perception of the Assemblies of God and hardly felt part of the denomination. With only 20 members, the new organization was a small minority and did not represent the vast diversity within Bulgarian Pentecostalism at the time. Neither did it cause the split among Bulgarian Pentecostals as often held. The official registration of the Pentecostal Union simply confirmed the deepening division among Pentecostals in Bulgaria that had taken place since Zaplishny was deported in 1924.

BILLY GRAHAM, EVANGELIST TO THE WORLD, DEAD AT AGE 99

February 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 21, 2018—Evangelist Billy Graham died today at 7:46 a.m. at his home in Montreat. He was 99.

Throughout his life, Billy Graham preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies in more than 185 countries and territories. He reached millions more through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books.

Born Nov. 7, 1918, four days before the armistice ended World War I, William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr. grew up during the Depression and developed a work ethic that would carry him through decades of ministry on six continents.

“I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins,” said Graham at his final Crusade in June 2005 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York.

While Graham’s primary focus was to take this message to the world, he also provided spiritual counsel to presidents, championed desegregation, and was a voice of hope and guidance in times of trial. In 2001, he comforted his country and the world when he spoke at the National Cathedral in Washington, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At three global conferences held in Amsterdam (1983, 1986, 2000), Graham gathered some 23,000 evangelists from 208 countries and territories to train them to carry the message of Jesus Christ around the world.

During the week of his 95th birthday in 2013, Graham delivered his final message via more than 480 television stations across the U.S. and Canada. More than 26,000 churches participated in this My Hope project, making it the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s largest evangelistic outreach ever in North America.

Preferred Baseball to Religion

Graham, a country boy turned world evangelist, who prayed with every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama, was raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte. Back then, “Billy Frank,” as he was called, preferred baseball to religion. “I detested going to church,” he said when recalling his youth.

But in 1934, that changed. At a revival led by traveling evangelist Mordecai Fowler Ham, 15-year-old Graham committed his life to serving Jesus Christ. No one was more surprised than Graham himself.

“I was opposed to evangelism,” he said. “But finally, I was persuaded by a friend [to go to a meeting]…and the spirit of God began to speak to me as I went back night after night. One night, when the invitation was given to accept Jesus, I just said, ‘Lord, I’m going.’ I knew I was headed in a new direction.”

Several years later, Graham’s “new direction” led him to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida), and later, Wheaton College in suburban Chicago, where he met fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, the daughter of medical missionaries in China. The couple graduated and married in the summer of 1943. Mr. and Mrs. Graham and their five children made their home in the mountains of North Carolina. They were married for 64 years before Ruth’s death in 2007.

After two years of traveling as a speaker for the Youth for Christ organization, Billy Graham held his first official evangelistic Crusade in 1947; but it was his 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that captured the nation’s attention. Originally scheduled to run for three weeks, the “tent meetings” were extended for a total of eight weeks as hundreds of thousands of men, women and children gathered to hear Graham’s messages.

On the heels of this campaign, Graham started the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which was incorporated in 1950. Since 2000, Graham’s son, Franklin, has led the Charlotte-based organization, which employs some 500 people worldwide.

Billy Graham may be best known, however, for his evangelistic missions or “Crusades.” He believed God knew no borders or nationalities. Throughout his career, Graham preached to millions in locations from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Zagorsk, Russia; and from Wellington, New Zealand to the National Cathedral in Washington. In 1973, Graham addressed more than one million people crowded into Yoido Plaza in Seoul, South Korea—the largest live audience of his Crusades.

Breaking Down Barriers

Preaching in Johannesburg in 1973, Graham said, “Christ belongs to all people. He belongs to the whole world.…I reject any creed based on hate…Christianity is not a white man’s religion, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black.”

Graham spoke to people of all ethnicities, creeds and backgrounds. Early in his career, he denounced racism when desegregation was not popular. Before the U.S. Supreme Court banned discrimination on a racial basis, Graham held desegregated Crusades, even in the Deep South. He declined invitations to speak in South Africa for 20 years, choosing instead to wait until the meetings could be integrated. Integration occurred in 1973, and only then did Graham make the trip to South Africa.

A 1977 trip to communist-led Hungary opened doors for Graham to conduct preaching missions in virtually every country of the former Eastern Bloc (including the Soviet Union), as well as China and North Korea.

Graham authored 34 books, including his memoir, Just As I Am (Harper Collins, 1997), which remained on The New York Times best-seller list for 18 weeks.

In 1996, Graham and his wife, Ruth, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a private citizen. He was also listed by Gallup as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men” 61 times—including 55 consecutive years (except 1976, when the question was not asked). Graham was cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations and by the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith.

Throughout his life, Graham was faithful to his calling, which will be captured in the inscription to be placed on his grave marker: Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“There were a few times when I thought I was dying, and I saw my whole life come before me…” said Graham at his Cincinnati Crusade on June 24, 2002. “I didn’t say to the Lord, ‘I’m a preacher, and I’ve preached to many people.’ I said, ‘Oh Lord, I’m a sinner, and I still need Your forgiveness. I still need the cross.’ And I asked the Lord to give me peace in my heart, and He did—a wonderful peace that hasn’t left me.”

Billy Graham is survived by his sister Jean Ford; daughters Gigi, Anne and Ruth; sons Franklin and Ned; 19 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruth, died June 14, 2007, at age 87, and is buried at the Billy Graham Library. A private funeral service is planned at the Billy Graham Library, on a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the ongoing ministry of evangelism at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, online at BillyGraham.org or via mail, sent to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201. Notes of remembrance can be posted at BillyGraham.org

About the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is a nonprofit organization that directs a range of domestic and international ministries, including: Franklin Graham Festivals, Will Graham Celebrations, The Billy Graham Library, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, SearchforJesus.net, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains, My Hope with Billy Graham TV ministry and others. Founded in 1950 by Billy Graham, the organization has been led by Franklin Graham since 2000. The ministry employs some 500 people worldwide and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, with additional offices in Australia, Canada, Germany and Great Britain.

“HE WHO HEARS MY WORD AND BELIEVES IN HIM WHO SENT ME … HAS PASSED FROM DEATH INTO LIFE” (JOHN 5:24 NKJV).

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST?

2017 in Retrospect

December 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, Missions, News

Grateful for several revivals in 2017, along with our regular preaching schedule in Bulgaria. We held our annual Harvest Campaign and celebrated the 20th Anniversary of our Electronic Bible with a reading through the whole Bible in a day. For the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on October 31, 2017 we were finally able to publish a decade-long project: “Greek-Bulgarian New Testament Interlinear.”

Unto us a son is given

December 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

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