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A little while ago, I did a story on Bobbi Bercel, a young lady from Richmond and a member of First Baptist Church in New Baltimore. That was just before Bobbi took off for South Africa, where she’s planted for the rest of the year. She’s on a mission to help refugees in a camp outside Johannesburg.

Talk about going all in. Bobbi has left behind all creature comforts to help the poorest among us.

She emailed us an update, and I’d like to share it with you. They are Precious in His Sight

Thanks, Bobbi. I’ve also added her blog as a regular feature to this site, so please give it a click once in awhile for some inspiration from Bobbi.

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I had the privilege Tuesday of listening to Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson speak to students at L’Anse Creuse Middle School East. A group of students and parents was enthralled by the stories of Jefferson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. He told us about being a POW in Germany – where he was treated better than in segregated Mississippi. An accompanying film told the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. The video, Flying for Freedom was an unpleasant reminder of America’s racial scars. But that wasn’t the crux of Tuesday’s message. Instead, we were all inspired to change, excel, achieve. And when Jefferson spoke, it was with enormous credibility. You would be hard-pressed to dispute the words of this sage. And just a nice guy. You’d like to talk with him for hours. Too bad the bell rang! It was refreshing to hear his straight talk to the kids (and parents). “Get educated!” “Don’t be a dummy!” “Go to church!” The longtime teacher praised the kids in his class that others looked down upon as “nerds.” They were the ones building rockets after school was out, Jefferson said. The ones you’ll be working for! If you haven’t already, read up on the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. They are genuine heroes. Meanwhile, enjoy these videos I’ve linked to below and learn more about Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson.

VIDEO 1 || VIDEO 2 || VIDEO 3

Artists' depictions of Dante's Inferno are the basis for what many believe hell may look like.

A certain pastor has made national headlines by embracing the viewpoint that hell does not really exist. He was “shocked” that the congregation fired him.

Now I grew up believing that hell was a real place, and somewhere I didn’t want to go.

I sometimes joke that hell would be like being trapped eternally in a JoAnn Fabrics store. Some may call that heaven.

Joking aside, there are lots of views of what hell is, and who is going there. Some adhere to “hell on Earth.” Frankly, it must seem like that for some, such as the people suffering in Japan.

The issue of hell is probably something we all should come to grips with. I’d be fascinated with your opinions.

Please take the poll and feel free to share your comments.

As promised, I’ve got more to share about the No Child program. Actually, Jen Todd has a story to share. Jen sponsored a child, Naomi, in the Pokot tribe in Kenya. She never imagined she’d ever meet her child, Naomi! You can hear about that in the video link below. Also, Jen wrote a cover story for Harvesters International Ministries. The story, “What About Mary?” tells the plight of women and girls in the Pokot tribe and how empowering them can impact the cycles of poverty. It is a story both heart wrenching and inspiring. Mary, “prays daily for someone to sponsor her children through Kensington Community Church’s sponsorship program so that they will have food, water, shelter, and education,” writes Jen.

Here is the story: “What About Mary”

Click on this video below to hear Jen talk about meeting Naomi.

Want to get involved?
Harvesters International

No Child

Click on that logo to go to the EACH website.

Anthony Mancina, pastor of Salt River Church in Chesterfield Township, alerted me to a very significant event in the EACH campaign. On Sunday, April 3, an EACH praise and prayer rally will be held at Bethesda Church in Sterling Heights. The rally runs from 7-8:30 p.m. at Bethesda, that big church next to Freedom Hill. The rally is for everyone. Everyone. Whether involved in the EACH campaign, or just curious.

 

More on Bethesda

More on Salt River Church

Dan Kopp and Jeff Forrester

Dan Kopp, pastor of Eastside Vineyard, and Jeff Forrester, pastor of Heritage Church.

Do you sense a growing trend of a Christian community coming together in metro Detroit? Check out my story if you get a chance on Heritage Church in Sterling Heights letting Eastside Vineyard Church share its facilities. Jeff Forrester, pastor of Heritage, said he hopes this relationship between the two churches serves as a model for others. So we have churches sharing facilites, and EACH, which has hundreds of churches on board for one cause. As Eastside pastor Dan Kopp puts it: “This world is so broken and so torn apart by relational strife, divorce and financial uncertainty in this region, we can’t afford Christians to be divisive right now. We need to unite, to partner together. Jesus is the only one who can bring life-change.”

On a related note, how’s this for coming together? This past Wednesday, the one:movement met at Heritage Church. Heritage, by the way, used to be the former AMC theater in Sterling Heights. It’s a big facility with a really cool lobby. You see, the one:movement needed a big facility — because 870 youth were there!

There’s lots more to be said about this, but for now, I’ll give you some websites to check out.

www.facebook.com/onemacomb

didyouhearmacomb.org/

Click on that logo to go to the EACH website.

I asked Steve Andrews, founder of Kensington Church, if he’d like to share his thoughts on EACH, which stands for Everyone A Chance To Hear.

He was more than willing, in fact, eager.

Here’s what Steve had to say.

 

Each-My thoughts

“I moved to the Detroit region in 1978 where there were still positive repercussions from the Billy Graham Crusade of 1976.  Churches came together in fairly large numbers and in the subsequent years I met a lot of people who identified that event as the time when they decided to become followers of Jesus Christ.

Steve Andrews discusses EACH

Video 1 | Video 2

For 33 years this region has been my home, and for 33 years churches and denominations have basically been about their own business. To partner with other churches was rarely seen and if done was in very small numbers. Churches have struggled with mistrust of other churches and have often given wide birth to each other. I myself have contributed to the mistrust and silly competitiveness

That brings us to today, and EACH-Everyone a Chance to Hear ( www.eachtoday.com). Hundreds of churches are coming together to see how many ways we can share the love of Jesus Christ with the people of Southeastern Michigan. We hope to do it by loving actions of service and care as well as conversations and stories about how Jesus has touched our lives! For my lifetime, this is the most unprecedented moment in this region’s history. Jesus’ people are coming together as we should !

A key emphasis is the conviction that every Christian has a story to tell of how God’s grace has worked in their lives. Soon you will see all across the region information on 2wordstory.com  which will be a place where people can log in their story with Jesus in 2 words!

This whole movement has been instigated by Bob Shirock of Oak Pointe Church of Novi, and Bekele, an Ethiopian Christian who led campaigns for whole countries where Jesus followers came together to creatively and joyfully tell people the real story of Jesus and how He loves us all! God has used Bob’s passion and humility to motivate many of us to join in, urban and suburban churches alike, and a huge number of Christian ministries as well!

The total number of organizations is approaching 500. There has never been a stronger desire for Christian leaders to work together for the main purpose of our lives, to share the Living Jesus with people! It is impossible to list all the ways we are trying to share Jesus’ love but let me leave you with one example. At Kensington on Memorial Day, Father John Riccardo, one of the leading Catholic priests in the region will be speaking that weekend for us and telling his story of how Jesus reached into his life and changing him forever! Our desire is that every Kensington person connects in Christ with their Catholic brothers and sisters.

That is simply one action point of thousands that will be taking place. I don’t have room to mention projects like Mobile Medical Units bringing health care to the hardest hit parts of our cities, or of urban and suburban youth coming together to follow Jesus together. Our desire is that every person in the region would be blessed and helped and loved by this movement!”

 

Thank you, Steve. Feel free to share with me your thoughts on EACH.

CrossPoint Church in Clinton Township is where the Crafty Angels meet every other week to knit, quilt, sew, etc. blankets and clothes that are then given to needy families in the area.

Diane Corneille informed me that people around the region and state saw my article (shameless plug, for sure) and thus she has received donations of material, clothing, slippers and more, and a new member has joined the Crafty Angels.

Diane Corneille and Berniece Strouse with lapghans they made.

Learn more about CrossPoint Church

Friday was a day I won’t soon forget.

A few hundred people were pleasantly surprised that they can make a difference. Kensington Church launched the No Child website May 2, 2010, and then informed attendees about the effort during Sunday morning services at its campuses. The response was incredible. Hundreds of people were compelled to sponsor a child, for $38 a month, in either Kenya or India. Less than a year later, about 800 children have been sponsored. I’ll stop there and let you read all about it at nochild.org. Be sure to check out the 2011 Annual Report.

Back to Friday. Those who sponsored a child in Kenya (OK, you guessed it, my family is one) got the special privilege of meeting Julius Murgor. Julius leads Pokot Outreach Ministries in Kenya. He is visiting the U.S., and stopped at Kensington’s main Troy campus. Julius and Steve Andrews, Kensington’s founding pastor, discussed the long – and miraculous – journey that has connected the two. Through this friendship, folks over here have a pathway to help the orphaned children in the Pokot tribe.

This is a must-see vid (click on the picture below) with Julius and Steve.  I give it three thumbs up.

Stay tuned for more. I got to talk with Jen Todd, who actually got to meet Naomi, the child she sponsored. She has a wonderful story to tell.

EACH. If that word doesn’t ring a bell, there’s a chance it will soon. EACH stands for Everyone A Chance to Hear. This is one campaign that won’t go under the radar. I’ll have lots of news about EACH to share in the coming weeks. After all, there are already hundreds — HUNDREDS — of churches in the metro area signed on to the campaign. It’s also about thousands of church members meeting in homes to prepare for the campaign. It’s also about one million hours of community service. So without further adieu, learn more about EACH.