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Showing posts from 2020

2020 - What a Wonderful Year!

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By Bill Itzel 2020.   It’s a year that will go down as the most horrendous era in the history of mankind…for those who have no perspective and don’t know their history.   The trials and inconveniences we have had to face this year have been rather tame compared to many other periods in human history, but that truth still gives very little comfort to those who suffered great loss in 2020.   This year has been a year of adjustment for all of us, yet two things have not, and will never change…God is working all of these circumstances for His glory and for our good as His children (Isaiah 48:9-11, Ephesians 1:4-6, Habakkuk 2:14, Romans 8:28).   I don’t know everyone’s story, but I do know mine and would like to share some encouraging perspective from my own year of difficulty.   On January 1st, I knew 2020 was going to be different and more difficult. Just 2 days prior, I was called into the office of the church where I worked for 3 years and told to clean out my desk that day.  It was no

Biblical Unity: What is it?

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By Matt Auxt Most churches, families, and friends will say that unity is good and should be something that defines Christian living. But how is it obtained? Is unity something that we acquire or achieve naturally, or is it something that we must strive and seek after constantly?  One of the perpetual battles that many churches face is disunity which can lead to church splits, bitter feelings, and anger towards others. This is a shameful fact that should be dealt with, and can be fixed with true biblical unity.  Today, I want to walk through a few, by no means all, verses that have to do with unity, and discuss what biblical unity looks like on a practical basis. What is Biblical Unity? The first question to be answered is: what is biblical unity? It means to be brought together into oneness. An excellent example of this oneness is in John 10:25-38, where Jesus is talking to the religious rulers of the time about Him being one with the Father. This shows the unity of the trinity in the

Combating Anxiety: A Thanksgiving Message

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By Ryan Itzel           Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The extra time with family, counting the blessings of the past year, catching up with people whom you have not seen for months, and of course the food is something I dream of all year long! Yet this Thanksgiving will look different for everyone. The time to take the load off from daily life will not quite be like it was last year. The time with friends and family will be more limited, and for many, certain loved ones are no longer here. The threat of COVID-19 seems ever present, and there is no reason to wonder why anxiety seems to rule the day. But does this coming Thursday need to be remembered as Anxiety Day for years to come? The Word of God gives answers for battling the anxious thoughts that plague our daily lives. Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will g

Rethinking "Reckless Love" Part 2 - Does Your Church "Leave the 99"?

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By Bill Itzel There is a pandemic spreading in American churches.  Our youth are turning away from God in droves.  The number of those who identify as “Nones” (No religious affiliation) is skyrocketing, and so many youth groups respond by playing the same old tired games, singing songs that give a false view of Christ like the new song of the year - Reckless Love, followed by discussion groups where everyone sits around and shares their "feelings" and/or the latest gossip; and the Word of God, rightly divided, is never brought to bear.  There is a staggering lack of biblical discipleship in many churches today, but this lack of accountability in leadership goes beyond just our youth groups and student ministries.  2 Timothy 2:2 says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  This is THE model of discipleship.  No matter where you are in your spiritual walk, find someone who knows more

The Missing Piece in Modern Youth Ministry

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By Ryan Itzel           Throughout the years, God has blessed me to participate in multiple areas of ministry. One aspect of ministry in which God has used me, is youth ministry. It has been a blessing to serve at Bible summer camps, after school programs in Christian schools, and lead youth groups through internship programs, cumulatively adding up to nearly 10 years of youth ministry work. I have loved every moment of teaching the Scriptures to young people, pushing them to dive deep into the Word of God, and urging them to respond to the commands given by our Lord for faithfulness. But through all the joy of discipling students from the Word, I have found there to be a serious issue that has plagued much of modern youth ministry. It is a problem that, if left unchecked, will be destructive to the church for generations to come. The issue is the rejection of the sufficiency of Scripture. Examples           My experiences as a youth leader was truly a blessing. This was not because it

Building a Worship Team that God Wants to Listen to

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By Bill Itzel Steward.  It’s a word that means “House Manager”.  Biblically, it is the designation of those entrusted with the care of Christ’s bride.  Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2), and gives further insight as to what that means to Titus, “For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:7-9).  As a worship leader for over 30 years, I have made it my sole purpose, to lead His people in the kind of worship that will please the Master of the house, not the servants.  Oh, those who are true servants of the Master will also be pleased by true worship in s

Worship in the Psalms - A response to COVID-19

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By Matt Auxt As our churches return to "in person" services it is a good time to be reminded of the true basis of Biblical worship. With the advent of live stream, many churches have radically changed much of their worship to sound like the megachurches they desire to imitate. As we begin to gather again to sing, I want to remind the congregants about the right attitude of worship. There is much conflict within the evangelical church in America about what worship really is, so I want to share with you ten principles of Biblical worship from the book of Psalms. There are, of course, other principles and passages that will support these ten points, but I want to focus on what the psalter says about worship and how we are to worship. God’s Word describes how God wants His people to worship Him.  Biblical worship requires an understanding of God’s glory, God’s providence and sovereignty, the authority and need for God’s Word as a whole, our satisfaction with God alone, man’s tota

Is the U.S. a Valid Mission Field? - Our Call to O.A.C

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  By Ryan Itzel             When I was fifteen years old I spent six weeks with my church learning the ins and outs of open air evangelism ministry. As an extremely shy teen, this seemed like a terrifying idea. I was quiet. Really quiet. Yet, that summer changed my life. I began growing in my understanding of the necessity for evangelistic missions. I saw the mandate for local and global discipleship, the need for theologically based evangelism, and the urgency of our world’s condition. As my wife Tasia and I now begin our journey of service to God through Open Air Campaigners (OAC), I hope to encourage you to see the command to fulfill the Great Commission for all Christians, and the necessity to participate in both local and global missions. The Biblical Mandate Scripture is not lacking when it comes to passages on the Biblical mandate to make disciples of all nations. One of the greatest directives comes from 2 Corinthians 5. Here, Paul lays the foundation of salvation and the missi