Men's Ministries Announces Annual Theme, Resources<br />

In today’s world, it takes courage to serve the Lord at home, in the church, and in the marketplace. In order to develop that kind of courage, men need a place they can turn to in order to resource and reach that goal. For that reason, AG Men’s Ministries has chosen “Courage” as the 2018 Men’s Ministries theme accompanied with fully supported free downloadable resources from its website.

 “It takes courage to live, lead, and love as God intended man to live, lead, and love,” says Rick Allen, national Men’s Ministries director. “So often in today’s culture, the media portrays men as weak. But God wants men who are courageous in Him, for Him, and like Him — especially in their homes, their churches, and at their places of employment.”

The annual theme is based on Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The Lord your God will be with you where you go. The support resources made available by Men’s Ministries include: Courage Small Group Study, Courage 21-day devotional, a Courage mailer, and a series of five Courage banners — all available in English or Spanish as free downloads.

The Courage Small Group Study offers five lessons that focus on relationships each man faces within his life, his family, and his interaction in society. Each lesson provides an opportunity where a man can study by himself or with a group of men. Within each study there are conversation points to assist men at three levels of spiritual growth: Courage for men who are wanting to find or grow in their walk with Christ, Strength for those who want to strengthen their relationship with Christ and friends, and Endurance for the leaders who want to finish strong and help younger men in the journey of Courage. Each study is supported by Scripture references and application.

“Whether men do the lessons in group or individually, I believe it is vital for them to come together and discuss their responses,” Allen says. “Many times we can see a need for change in our lives, but we fail to make that change because no one holds us accountable. I urge men to have the courage — or pray for the courage — to speak the truth about themselves to each other and then be willing to be held accountable for the changes they want to make. In this way, they can truly become courageous men of God.”

To learn more about Men’s Ministries, see men.ag.org. The 2018 National Men’s Day in the Assemblies of God is Jan. 28.

Source: AG News

A Taste of Japan in Illinois

Although not a Christian, Sayaka Ikeda of Japan enjoyed herself in a Chi Alpha Bible study group when she began attending as a first-year student in 2001 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

The Japanese L.I.F.E. (Love, Instruction, Fellowship, Evangelism) group offered the familiarity of home by providing a place to meet Japanese friends, eat Japanese food, and speak her native tongue.

Those in the group talked about a message of hope in a language she understood. The Bible study, worship, and prayer took place in Japanese, which helped the young student still developing her English skills learn about God’s love at a deeper level. She met Japanese Christians for the first time through the group.

“It opened my eyes to see how Jesus is God of all nations, even Japan,” she says. “At first I thought Jesus and Christianity were only for Western people.”

Ikeda accepted Jesus as Savior at Carbondale’s Calvary Campus Church in 2005. The multiethnic Assemblies of God congregation is a ministry partner of SIU Chi Alpha, part of AG U.S. Missions. Today she serves as a full-time Chi Alpha campus staff member at her alma mater, leading the same L.I.F.E. group she attended. She is also a pastor at Calvary, which started in 1988 as a way to minister to SIU’s international student population in the community of 26,000.

Calvary Campus Church Pastor Bruce David Payne is also SIU Chi Alpha director. Payne says the church’s founding pastor, Dale Call, felt led to reach out to international students, and believed God would provide Americans with a heart for the nations to minister to them.

Individuals from more than 30 foreign nations currently attend Calvary. Students from more than 90 countries have attended Carbondale student ministries. L.I.F.E. groups, such as the one Ikeda attended and now leads, are a primary avenue for connecting with international students on a cultural level.

In addition to Ikeda’s group, SIU Chi Alpha includes African, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, and Latin American groups that meet weekly for Bible study, and often include a meal and fellowship. As with Ikeda’s group, some of the Bible studies are spoken in a native language. 

As Ikeda experienced, L.I.F.E. groups provide a safe place for international students to see what Christianity is about. 

“Hopefully, as they get saved, as many have, they’ll get discipled and start coming to church on Sunday,” says Payne, 53. 

The international students receive the opportunity to share their culture with everyone at Calvary. Once a semester, those in attendance celebrate international Sunday. The different L.I.F.E. groups sing praise and worship music in their native languages and wear clothing from their home countries. On other Sundays, the worship team translates songs so that the whole congregation sings in another language. 

Source: AG News