Pentecost Sunday Full Gospel as Preached by the Early Pentecostals

I keep on repeating this through the years, but the need for the constant repetition comes from the simple fact that among new doctrinal teachings and Hillsong style of worship the True Message of Pentecost remains long forgotten

  1. Salvation – That a man must be saved while the hour of grace is still upon us has been that teaching of every protestant evangelical since the Reformation. Why people attend church all their lives without getting saved is beyond me. But I do know that the commitment of the CHURCH to REVIVAL brings people to SALVATION.
  1. Sanctification – The Wesleyan teaching of sanctification resolves that the sanctification of the believer is definite. This means that though it may progress and evolve through time, as the believer gets closer to God in his/her daily walk, sanctification must become ENTIRE i.e. allowing NO sin to abide in the believer’s body, soul or spirit. Without ENTIRE sanctification resulting in holiness, no one will ever see God (Heb. 12:14).
  1. Holy Ghost Baptism – The doctrine of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost means that when baptized we speak in one tongue with God because we are ONE with His Spirit. Not just in us or upon us, but that we are IN the Spirit as John was on the day of Revelation.
  1. Healing in the Atonement of Christ belongs to every believer. This means you, your family and your church members. The healing provided in the Atonement is for ALL believers – no exception. It is also for ALL sickness, disease, viruses, infections, tumors and cancers. But that it belongs to does not yet mean that it has been received by the believer. For this reason, God does not stop healing neither in this age nor through eternity, as the leaves of the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem are still and forever for the healing (Rev. 22:2)
  1. The Second Coming of Christ for Pentecostals is not simply pre-millennial, but also pre-Tribulation. There have been MANY teachings on the End Times until today. Post-millennials claim we live in the Millennium even now anticipating the return of the Lord; a-millennials that there will be no Millennium at all. Post-tribulationists expect his return at the end of the Tribulation, mid-post-tribulationists in the middle. But in Pentecost, we expect Christ to return before the Tribulation that we may be saved from the hour of trial (Rev. 3:10) and before the Millennium so we may reign with Him 1,000 years. Any other message is no message of hope for the Church of the Living God.

Diamonds in the Rough-N-Ready Pentecostal Series

 

Speaking in Tongues in America Prior to the Azusa Street Revival of 1906

April, 1906 – The Azusa street revival swept the globe starting with California

January 1, 1901– The initial phenomenon of speaking in tongues occurred at Parham’s school in Topeka, Kansas

January 6, 1900 – Frank Sanford’s Shiloh school reported that “The gift of tongues has descended”

1896 – Over 100 people baptized in the Shaerer schoolhouse revival conducted by the Christian Union in the North Carolina mountains

1887 – People falling in trances and speaking in tongues were reported at Maria Etter’s revival meetings in Indiana

1874 – Speaking in tongues occurred during healing meetings reported in New York

1873 – William H. Doughty and the Gift People of Rhode Island spoke in tongues

1854 – V. P. Simmons and Robert Boyd reported tongue speaking during Moody’s meetings

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FURTHER READING:

Church of God (Cleveland, TN)

Azusa Street Revival of 1906

Prior to Azusa Street Revival of 1906

Back to the Basics of Pentecost: Diamonds in the Rough-N-Ready (2020)

May 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, 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.

Diamonds in the Rough-N-Ready Pentecostal Series

 

Speaking in Tongues in America Prior to the Azusa Street Revival of 1906

April, 1906 – The Azusa street revival swept the globe starting with California

January 1, 1901– The initial phenomenon of speaking in tongues occurred at Parham’s school in Topeka, Kansas

January 6, 1900 – Frank Sanford’s Shiloh school reported that “The gift of tongues has descended”

1896 – Over 100 people baptized in the Shaerer schoolhouse revival conducted by the Christian Union in the North Carolina mountains

1887 – People falling in trances and speaking in tongues were reported at Maria Etter’s revival meetings in Indiana

1874 – Speaking in tongues occurred during healing meetings reported in New York

1873 – William H. Doughty and the Gift People of Rhode Island spoke in tongues

1854 – V. P. Simmons and Robert Boyd reported tongue speaking during Moody’s meetings

51bmftgrh4l_ss500_1

FURTHER READING:

Church of God (Cleveland, TN)

Azusa Street Revival of 1906

Prior to Azusa Street Revival of 1906

25 Years Ago in Chicago…

May 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News, Publication

Exactly a quarter of a century ago today, I arrived in Chicago with a plan to start a Bulgarian church. That was my second trip to the Windy City after a mission’s trip with a few college friends in Christmas of 1994. The Narraganset Church of God in Chicago hosted us with great success and it was there I met several Bulgarians who desired to start a church. A key moment still remembered from 1994 was the “boot sermon.”

On Memorial Day weekend of 1995, I drove my Carolina baby blue Buick Grand National exactly 777 miles north to Chicago. It was still the time of no GPS or phone navigation so the only thing I had to go buy was an old atlas. Not knowing a better way just yet, I didn’t take the North-West Suburbs but exited on North Avenue and ended up driving its whole length through the city. On a warm Sunday the entire population of Wicker Park was in the streets. It was like in the movies. So was the rest of the Summer of 1995.

I had made little arrangements for my stay and ended up with a Bulgarian family living on Jackson Blvd. For the lack of space, I slept on an old couch on their balcony. Yes, during the Chicago heat wave of 1995.

I stayed with the pastor’s family a lot, especially when we started our 5 a.m. prayers in the church for members who would stop by to be prayed for before going to work. Some of those nights I just stayed at the church and slept on the first pew before the altar. It was there one early morning God woke me with the whole Gospel of John open before me, which later became the plan for my Bible translation.

As to the start of the Bulgarian church in Chicago, it came naturally as part of the ministry. The small band of Bulgarian believers would come for the English-speaking morning worship and then stay for a Bulgarian service in the early afternoon. A Spanish-speaking service followed at 4 P.M. as well. Several key events through the summer like the now-traditional Bulgarian 4th of July picnic in Chicago and a block party organized by the Narraganset Church of God helped spread the word of our Bulgarian ministry. Soon migrants of all ages began attending the afternoon services.

The most I remember from those services was prayer. Yes, I preached and there were guest speakers as well, but we mostly prayed. Bulgarians of all ages would come to the alter with their life pain and needs. Deep hurt within immigrant hearts, missing family members left behind in the old country, new struggles with work and existence in their new migrant reality and so on – all became a part of the new life of the Bulgarian church in Chicago. And those prayers were answered one by one. People did not come to attend or become members of a church plant project. They came and found answer to their prayers, direction in their lives and healing for their deep pain. Hidden from everyone else in Chicago, a river of pain flowed at those old church alters and a rain of healing, hope and peace filled the emptiness in those emigrant souls. That much I do still remember.

Through the whole summer as the Bulgarian church in Chicago began, I wrote my parents every Friday. Two regular stamps were what it took for a letter to get to Bulgaria back then. I would walk from the church on Narraganset across the street to Grand and drop the letter in a blue street U.S. mailbox. They all got to their destination. My dad had stored them all in an old shoe box after reading them, and I was able to find them all recently. They ain’t no diary, but still tell the story with details of each week of those humble beginnings. Along with the letters, there were a lot of pictures I had taken with my small 35mm. camera that looked more like a taser. The Metro, Sear’s Tower and under it where we ministered to the homeless, South Side and Cabrini Green, Rigley Field and Comiskey Park, McCormick and LSD. I only wish I had taken better notes now that I am writing this book. Times, places and faces are often mixed and sometimes lost in the timeline, but the story is far from forgotten. Now, a quarter of a century later, it is time to tell this story and tell it right… for the generations.

2020 Vision for Bulgarian Evangelical Churches Abroad Completed

May 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchOver a decade ago, after publishing Bulgarian Churches in North America: Analytical Overview and Church Planting Proposal for Bulgarian American Congregations Considering Cultural, Economical and Leadership Dimensions, we purposed to explore the possibility of implementing the church planning program among Bulgarian Diasporas in various destination countries of migration.

With this in mind, we carried the vision for establishing 20 Bulgarian churches outside of Bulgaria by the year 2020. Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Canada were among the first to successfully implement our program. Bulgarian migrant communities in France, Italy and especially Spain and Germany followed with great enthusiasm – there are 7 Bulgarian evangelical churches active in Span today, and 18 in Germany.

Of course, not all parts of the program proved to be efficient. The program’s modules and training that was implemented, however, have produced 47 strong church plants thus far and the number is growing every month. The program proposed has been confirmed by the leadership we have received from the Holy Spirit. Our commitment to seize the opportunity and work toward adding more Bulgarian churches by the year 2020 has by far surpassed all expectations.

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European  Union (2020 Report)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2020 Report)

  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2020 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2020 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2020 Report)
  • Atlanta (active since 1996)
  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church – http://lasvegaschurch.tv)
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Canada (2020 Report)

  • Toronto (inactive since 2007)
  • Toronto/Slavic (active since 2009)
  • Montreal (occasional/inactive since 2012)

CURRENTLY INACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

  • New York, NY (currently inactive)
  • Buffalo, NY  (occasional/inactive)
  • Jacksonville, FL  (occasional/inactive since 2014)
  • Ft. Lauderdale / Miami  (currently inactive)
  • Washington State, Seattle area (currently inactive)
  • Minneapolis, MN (occasional/inactive since 2015)

READ MORE:

Divine Connections TV: A Decade of Destiny Later

April 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Almost exactly a decade ago, the year 2009 was monumental for this Decade of Destiny.

Upon the invitation of Logos Bible Software, we traveled to their annual BibleTech Conference in San Jose, California to present the more clear approach to Bible translation and its implementation in our new Bulgarian Bible Interlinear.

Our first stop to the conference was a very fruitful meeting with Dr. Albert Wardin at the Billy Graham Archives. This meeting became the reason to further direct our research on Ivan Voronaev and the roots of Bulgarian Pentecostalism to a new archive location in route to Berkeley University.

The trip was strategically planned to visit Bulgarian congregations on the way in

  1. Nashville,
  2. Chicago,
  3. Minneapolis/St. Paul,
  4. Tahoe,
  5. Seattle,
  6. San Francisco,
  7. Los Angeles,
  8. Las Vegas,
  9. Phoenix,
  10. Houston,
  11. Dallas,
  12. Florida
  13. and Atlanta.

These short but blessed visits consecutively materialized into the 2020 Vision for Bulgarian Churches in North America. Most memorable among all was our meeting in El Cerrito, which happened to be just a few miles from our research location in Berkeley and not far from the ministry center for the Bulgarian Slavic diaspora in Concord. It was at this meeting that our missional strategy for San Francisco and Phoenix was born and later finalized in ministry with the Bulgarian church in Las Vegas.

Perhaps more needs to be said later about the Berkeley connection and the vision of the Arizona quarters in detail. Especially in part of the divine connection broadcasts that became an essential part of our own Bibliata.TV. But most importantly, now the 2020 Vision is almost completed as a Decade of Destiny, what follows is a strongly proven paradigm for church growth and revitalization. And as such, it has effectively spread to so many Bulgarian churches abroad – from a simple vision for 20 churches into 20 different countries.

Orwell, Zamyatin and the 2020 Church of God in Bulgaria

April 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Even if Orwell took the idea for “1984” from Russian novel “Us” by E.I. Zamyatin (1924-New York), neither of them ever imagined it in 2020 Bulgaria.

Palm Sunday 2020 a small gathering of 200 in the yard of the largest Gipsy church on the Balkans (regularly 1200-1500 members) was anonymously reported to the police for breaking the quarantine. As seen on the video recording, the members were seated in a properly disinfected area outside, six feet apart and wearing masks. The gathering was properly coordinated with the city mayor and the authorities as essential for the large ghetto in Samokov. Our people simply wanted to gather and pray.

Nevertheless, state attorney opened investigation immediately Monday morning identifying the individuals present from a video of their live stream service. Over 30 believers were charged for breaking the quarantine and fined $200 a person the same day, though there is no official banning of church gatherings in Bulgaria. Yet! The situation resembles another Pentecostal gathering in the city of Rousse on April 1st that was raided by the police and dismissed. And these are not just isolated cases. And not only pandemic related…

Those persecuted, prosecuted and discriminated against for holding religious services in Bulgaria are not some unknown people in remote locations. We grew up with many of them, have ministered with most of them and have invested for the Kingdom with now 30 years of full-time ministry. Specifically in Samokov, I ministered for the first time in 1993, preached there several hundred times since and provided training for many church leaders with seminars for sharpening the vision and making efficient the network of the churches in the area. All of these people are happy to pay the fine in order to have a Palm Sunday service. The Church of God in Bulgaria has paid much more for doing ministry in the last full century – even under Communism. We know well how to survive such times and fear not to do it again if needed. Even if Orwell and Zamyatin did not envision the Church of God in 2020 Bulgaria, we are still here. For we were called to preach and serve in times as these. And nothing else matters!

 

States Consider Religious Services Essential

April 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Research

 

DeSantis quietly signs second order overruling all local coronavirus orders, including church bans

Gov. Ron DeSantis quietly signed a second order Wednesday evening that forces local governments to follow the state’s shutdown order to the letter, opening the door to an immediate resumption of activities that cities and counties had banned. But at a news conference Thursday, DeSantis claimed his new order merely “set a floor, and you can’t go below that,” adding that if local governments wanted to close a running trail, for example, they could do so.

Of the 39 states that have implemented stay at home orders, 12 make exceptions for religious gatherings.

A revival held at a church resulted in an outbreak of the virus in Hopkins County, Kentucky, and the governor reminded the public Wednesday that those exercising the exemptions still hold a responsibility to take precautions to the virus. “The ramifications when we don’t follow this, end up being widespread and they hurt people that didn’t make that choice,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Let’s make sure that we’re responsible in the choices we make to protect those around us.” Here’s a list of states that still allow some form of religious gatherings during the stay at home orders:

Arizona

Religious services are exempt as an essential activity because worship is protected under the first amendment of the Constitution. However, the exemption specifies that the services are exempt as long as they “provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible.”

Colorado

The state allows houses of worship to stay open as long as they are using an electronic platform or are practicing social distancing. Services from religious leaders are also allowed for individuals in crisis or for end-of-life services.

Delaware

Along with social advocacy, business, professional, labor and political organizations, religious organizations are exempt.

Florida

The state recognizes attending a church, synagogue or house of worship as an essential activity along with caring for loved ones, pets and recreational activities that comply with social guidelines.

Kentucky

Kentucky makes an exemption for life-sustaining business and religious organizations that provide “food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life” for people disadvantaged or in need because of the pandemic. However, the organizations must social distance as much as possible, including ending in-person retail.

Michigan

Michigan also makes exceptions for operations, religious and secular, that provide necessities for those in need. The state also does not subject places of worship to penalties for breaking orders when they are used for religious worship.

New Mexico

The state does not include congregations in a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship in the definition of “mass gatherings” that are barred.

North Carolina

Traveling to and from a place of worship is exempt from the executive order as “leaving the home and travel for essential activities.”

Pennsylvania

Religious institutions are exempt along with lifesaving and sustaining operations, health care, child care for employees of life-sustaining businesses, news media, law enforcement, emergency medical fire fighters and the federal government.

Texas

Religious services, if they cannot be conducted at home or remotely, can be conducted as long as they are consistent with guidelines from the federal government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

West Virginia

Attending a place of worship is considered an essential activity in the state along with going to the grocery store or gas station, picking up a prescription or necessary medical care, checking on a relative, getting exercise, and working essential jobs.

Wisconsin

Religious facilities, groups and gatherings must have fewer than 10 people in a room and must adhere to social distancing requirements.

The nationwide move to close churches, synagogues and mosques as part of the broader effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus is meeting some new resistance.

In a new “safer-at-home” order banning many activities, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday said “attending religious services” is among the “essential” activities that would be permitted. The order came two days after the arrest of a Tampa pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne, who held worship services in defiance of a local ban on large gatherings. That ban is now effectively overruled.

Governors in several other states have also designated houses of worship as providing essential services and thus exempt from shutdown orders. Those provisions have come in the wake of criticism, largely from conservatives, that any order to close churches constitutes a violation of the principle of religious freedom.

Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy group that represents evangelical Christian interests, agreed to represent Howard-Browne and harshly criticized the move to force churches to close.

“Why is it the church can’t meet when it has a constitutional right to do so and has undertaken extraordinary efforts to protect people, but commercial businesses can meet with no constitutional protections and many do nothing to protect anyone?” the organization said in a press release.

A coalition of Catholic leaders on Wednesday similarly issued an open letter calling on authorities to recognize religious services as essential and pleading for the allowance of “some form of a public mass,” especially at Easter.

Many churches and other houses of worship have been forced to close in response to government bans on public gatherings of more than ten people. It is not yet clear whether the broadening move to include religious institutions as essential will allow churches, synagogues, and mosques to reopen.

In several states that do not explicitly mandate church closures, religious leaders are strongly recommended to suspend services.

An executive order issued Tuesday by Texas Governor Greg Abbott explicitly designated religious worship as essential and thus exempt from a mandate that “every person” in the state “minimize social gatherings” and “in-person contact,” and it overruled the local bans on large gatherings that had forced the closure of many Texas churches.

Legal guidance issued in connection with Abbott’s executive order, however, advised that houses of worship “must, whenever possible,” conduct their activities remotely.

Statement of Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne

Apr 2, 2020

My name is Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne. My wife, Adonica, and I are the founders of Revival Ministries International, The River at Tampa Bay Church, River Bible Institute, River School of Worship, and River School of Government in Tampa, Florida. I am the senior pastor of the church. We are a multi-ethnic local church, with an international outreach and influence.
In December 1987, my wife and I, along with our three children, immigrated from our native land of South Africa to the United States. I felt a call from God on my life to preach the gospel and to come to America. I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. When I became a citizen, I swore the Oath of Citizenship, before God—to uphold and defend the Constitution—and I have done everything in my power to do just that. My family and I are deeply appreciative to be able to live in this great nation, the beacon of freedom to the world.
The two greatest commandments mentioned by Jesus, to love God and to love people, exemplify my life. My greatest passion in life is to introduce people to Jesus, so they can experience His love and forgiveness.
As you know, I was arrested on trumped-up charges for conducting a church service on Sunday, March 29, which Sheriff Chad Chronister claimed, in a press conference, allegedly violated the Hillsborough County Executive Order that went into effect last Friday, March 27, at 10:00 p.m. The two charges are second-degree misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of two months in jail and $500 fine.
The fanfare and drama that surrounded my arrest was completely unnecessary. A simple phone call informing me that I had been charged with violating the Executive Order and needed to come to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office would have sufficed. I would have been willing to turn myself in but was not offered that option. It was unnecessary to send law enforcement to my home. And it was unnecessary to hold a press conference even as I was being arrested.
Before addressing some of the false statements made in the press conference, I want to say that even though the drama and made-for-TV press conference was not appropriate, I do not hold any ill-will toward anyone at the press conference, including Sheriff Chronister. I have the utmost respect for law enforcement. In fact, in January of 2020, I had the pleasure of honoring the Hillsborough County law enforcement by presenting a plaque to Sheriff Chronister at The River at Tampa Bay Church. Afterwards, we held an event for our church community (which includes many from the inner city) to interact with, and build a rapport with, our local police and deputies.
I also want to say that I was treated well and with dignity by the deputies and staff of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office who came to my home and walked me through the booking process.
Sheriff Chronister made statements at the press conference that the arrest was conducted at my home because the church has an arsenal of weapons. This is patently false. The church, like many churches, had armed off-duty deputies on Sunday to provide protection against anyone who might have ill intentions.
A statement was also made that I was “reckless” for holding the church service. With all due respect to Sheriff Chronister, the church went above and beyond the requirements for secular businesses to protect the health and well-being of the people who attended. None of this seems to have been taken into consideration but appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to hyped-up reports by media (who were not in the building at any time).

A statement was also made that we ignored repeated warnings. This is patently untrue! On Thursday, Sheriff Chronister spoke to some of our staff by speaker phone. I was also present. After we told Sheriff Chronister that we were enforcing six-foot social distancing, had installed over $100,000 of high-grade hospital air purifiers, and were taking other actions to protect the health of anyone who attended, he said the church could operate on Sunday, and that he had no intention to close the church or arrest anyone. The order then became effective on Friday night at 10:00 p.m. On Saturday, we prepared our building, and our staff and ushers, to take all possible, reasonable precautions. On Sunday, we held our usual meeting with the precautions (listed below) in place. At NO time, before or during the service, did we receive any “warnings” from the Sheriff or any other official.

The March 27 “Safer-at-Home” order contains, in paragraph 3, 42 sub-paragraphs of exceptions, including “religious personnel.” Following this long list of exceptions, in paragraph 5, the order adds another huge exception: “Businesses which are not described in paragraph 3, and are able to maintain the required physical distancing (6 feet) may operate.” (emphasis added). In other words, any business that is not in the long list of specific exceptions, is also exempted if it is able to comply with the six-feet separation between people. In such case, there is no limit on the number of people who can be present.

The church took extra precautions to more than comply with the Executive Order, which included the following:

  • Persons who were concerned for their health or had physical symptoms of any kind, were encouraged to stay home;
  • Every person who entered the church received hand sanitizer;
  • All the staff wore gloves;
  • The church enforced the six-foot distance between family groups in the auditorium as well as in the overflow rooms;
  • In the farmer’s market and coffee shop in the lobby, the six-foot distance was enforced with the floor specifically marked;
  • The church spent over $100,000 on a hospital grade purification system set up throughout the church that provide continuous infectious microbial reduction (CIMR) that is rated to kill microbes, including those in the Coronavirus family.

The church sanctuary has moveable chairs. Chairs were removed from the sanctuary so that the remaining chairs were separated by six feet. Any small group that may have been closer than six feet were family members that came to the church together. This six-foot separation was maintained throughout the church.

The church took every precaution to protect the people who attended. In fact, the kinds of precautions the church undertook cannot be found existing in many commercial business establishments that freely operate in Hillsborough County under this Executive Order.

The Executive Order on its face, and as applied, discriminates against religious services and gatherings, despite the fact that the First Amendment provides express protections to houses of worship and assembly. There is no similar constitutional protection for commercial businesses; yet houses of worship and religious gatherings are singled out for discrimination. The State of Florida’s Executive Order exempts churches, as does the Orange County Executive Order, and many other county orders. Yesterday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a new Executive Order that states attending “religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship” are “Essential Activities.” Surely, Hillsborough County could follow their lead and not violate the Constitution. There are other means available to achieve the interest that we all share to protect human life.

The word of my arrest has traveled around the world. While I have received vulgar verbal abuse and death threats from people who do not know me and are not familiar with the facts, I have also received many words of support and prayer. Many people are deeply concerned that in America a pastor would be arrested.

As my wife and I prayed about what we should do this weekend, we have decided to close the church for this upcoming Sunday service, for the protection of our people in this antagonistic climate, in large part created by media hype and misrepresentations, which have undoubtedly been exacerbated by Sheriff Chronister’s exaggerated and outright false accounts of the situation. We do not make this decision lightly. This is Palm Sunday. We are entering the time of year that is most important to Christians around the world in which we remember and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We did not hold church to defy any order; nor did we hold church to send a political message. We did not hold church for self-promotion or financial motives, as some have wrongly accused. We held church because it is our mission to save souls and help people, and because we in good faith did everything possible to comply with the Executive Order. Indeed, Sheriff Chronister told us last Thursday that we could hold church.

At this point, we believe it is prudent to take a pause by not opening the church doors this Sunday. This will allow an opportunity for people to take a deep breath and calm down. No matter your view on this matter, I encourage you to take a step back and reconsider the options. I believe we can better balance the health and safety of our community without throwing out the Constitution.

At this time, I have not made any decision about Easter Sunday or services thereafter. Adonica and I are praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom. I will say, however, that the church cannot be closed indefinitely. We believe that there are less restrictive means available to balance all the various interests.

My attorneys at Liberty Counsel will vigorously defend me against this unlawful arrest. I have also authorized my attorneys at Liberty Counsel to file a federal challenge to the Hillsborough County Executive Order. As I said earlier, this order violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional. I have authorized this constitutional challenge for several reasons.

First, I have already been arrested once on trumped-up charges. I am a law-abiding citizen, who respects law enforcement. Like any normal law-abiding person, I would prefer not to be arrested again. A second arrest could escalate to a higher criminal penalty, or even a felony. No one wants to face criminal charges. My attorneys at Liberty Counsel are representing me on the criminal case, which we will move to dismiss.

Second, because of the publicity, the vitriol and death threats that have been directed at us and the church, I feel compelled by these threats to not meet this upcoming Sunday for the protection of our pastors, staff, and congregation. Also, I love my pastoral staff at The River, and they love us and are in agreement with our stance to obey the Word of God and also to stand up for our constitutional rights. If the church holds service this coming Sunday and the Sheriff chooses to arrest me again under this unconstitutional Executive Order, he will probably have to arrest all of our pastors for preaching in my place. Personally, I do not want to put my pastoral staff in a position of having to choose between criminal arrest or carrying out our God-given mission to worship together and lead people to Jesus.

Third, The River Church provides many ministries more than services where we physically gather together to worship. We have various training schools, and we also provide food and clothing to people in need. The Farmer’s Market and the weekly food boxes we provide are greatly needed at this time to help needy and hurting families. These ministries need to continue to operate to help people. We have many inner-city people who do not have the luxury of watching church online at home. We feel obligated to continue to serve them in person and to make sure we continue to provide groceries to them every week. People in our community need help more than ever in this time of crisis, and the church is where many of them turn for spiritual and material help. We need to be able to minister, without unreasonably restrictive measures, to their spiritual and material needs. Church is a body of believers that cannot be substituted online, especially for people who do not have access to the internet, or their internet is too slow to watch video. Our church helps hurting people and those in need, both spiritually and physically. There is no substitute for meeting together to help one another. This can be done while also protecting the health and welfare of those who attend.

No one wants to face arrest for a criminal charge just for exercising a constitutional right. The threat of arrest, and worse, actual arrest, operates as a significant chill to the exercise of constitutional rights. No one should have to choose between the two. Even in times of crisis, the courts are open to protect our constitutional rights. We hope and trust that the authorities in this case would re-consider their actions and choose to uphold the Constitution, for all of our sakes, basing their decisions on actual facts and correctly applying any and all of the law, rather than succumbing to pressure from certain antagonistic media.

May God grant us wisdom and blessings as we approach this sacred time of Palm Sunday and Easter.

 

CORONAVIRUS STATEMENT by Cup & Cross Ministries International

March 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

CORONAVIRUS STATEMENT by Cup & Cross Ministries International

The United Nations have just declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. Most European flights are suspended and a number of countries in our area of ministry remain closed. Alternatively, CDC has issued a detail set of resources for faith-based communities and their leaders for preventing COVID-19. As a result, churches are cancelling their Sunday services, conferences and international assemblies.

Having full awareness of the above and convinced by the Bible that “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” according to Mark 2:17

WE HEREBY AFIRM that:

  • Divine healing [is] provided for all in the Atonement (Psalm 103:3; Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matthew 8:17; James 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:24 – 42nd A., 1948, pp. 31, 32)
  • “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16)
  • And that there is still “power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb” (L.E. Jones, 1899)

For 30 years now, every public prayer we have held around the Globe has ended with these words:

“WE COMMAND every sickness, every disease, every virus
and ever infection, every tumor and every cancer
to leave the body of the believer in the name of Jesus.”

This prayer includes the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as well and therefore

WE FIRTHER AFIRM:

  • Our commitment to REVIVAL especially in the year 2020
  • Our long-scheduled Revival Harvest Campaign in celebration of the First Centennial of Pentecostalism in Bulgaria (1920-2020)
  • Our readiness to respond to every church, state and national office that contacts us with a request to schedule our ministry in due time.

The Cross of Calvary cancels every coronavirus!

Revival must go on…

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Dony & Kathryn Donev

Cup & Cross Ministries International

Global Network of Bulgarian Evangelical Churches outside of Bulgaria (2020 Report)

March 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchBulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European  Union (2019)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2019 Report)

  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2019 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2019 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2019 Report)
  • Atlanta (active since 1996)
  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church – http://lasvegaschurch.tv)
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Canada (2019 Report)

  • Toronto (inactive since 2007)
  • Toronto/Slavic (active since 2009)
  • Montreal (occasional/inactive since 2012)

CURRENTLY INACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

  • New York, NY (currently inactive)
  • Buffalo, NY  (occasional/inactive)
  • Jacksonville, FL  (occasional/inactive since 2014)
  • Ft. Lauderdale / Miami  (currently inactive)
  • Washington State, Seattle area (currently inactive)
  • Minneapolis, MN (occasional/inactive since 2015)

READ MORE:

Trew General Merchandise Store

February 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Quaint local General Store on the back roads of Tennessee history added to the National Register of Historic Places in1976 (Building – #76002159). On approach to this nostalgic setting, one could almost envision arriving in yesteryear to this establishment. Folks coming in for sugar and flour. I can imagine that some bartering for eggs and such must have taken place. The clapboard siding gives this establishment the quaintness of a time gone by. This gem of an establishment is tucked away on the back roads of Tennessee in McMinn County and west of Delano, TN

TREW’S STORE

Transcribed by: Mary Sue Mason

Revisions by: Bill Bigham

Trew ‘s Store was established in 1890 by John Wesley Trew near Calhoun, TN, the site of the first county seat of McMinn County Tennessee.

It is properly located as being half way between Highway 11 and 411 on Highway 163 where County Road 783 enters. Dentville was a one time postoffice in the store and the community still retains its name. (To the ole timers, anyway.)

John Wesley Trew’s grandparents, Dr. Thomas Trew and wife Nancy James purchased 463 acres in the Calhoun area in 1836. They came here from Jamestown, Kentucky. They stayed in the area, known as Dentville, and raised their family of ten children.

William, John Wesley’s father, inherited 1/2 of the farm in 1862. He developed the farm into a huge enterprise that produced corn, wheat and oats. He also made sorghum and raised livestock.

John Wesley Trew and wife Margaret Ella Porter were parents of nine children and continued to be very successful with the family enterprise and the store was opened to serve the family’s needs in 1890.

One of the sons of John Wesley Trew, Mortimer began as a clerk in the store in 1925.

In 1935, J.W. Trew turned the store over to his children. It operated as Trew Brothers from 1962-1975.

In 1975 Mortimer Trew and his wife Oneta Crittenden became sole owners of the store and changed the name to M.E. Trew General Merchandise.

The store was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

As an interested citizen living in the area, I made a visit to the store in 1996 and took some photos of the store and Mortimer Trew and his wife Oneta Trew. Mortimer spent his whole life in the store. He died in April of 1996. The store is “not” open for business or touring.

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