10-31-2010

Dear All,

Greetings my dear brothers and sisters. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:2-3) The following reports are but a few of these many blessings…

Chris Broom of Chicago: Saturday, the entire church celebrated as we witnessed the wedding of Dave and Vivi. It was extra special as Dave was the first restoration of the church planting here in Chicago! As well, today was an incredible Lord’s Day! We had 230 at church and the singing was powerful. Joel and Brittany Parlour welcomed everyone by sharing great news from last week’s Campus Retreat and introducing the three new campus baptisms since last week’s service. Wolles and Brice were baptized last Sunday around midnight and then Rebecca, another student from Columbia College, was baptized Monday night around midnight! I am so proud of our Campus Ministry. Last October, we had 31 campus students. From then to now, God has blessed us with 42 campus baptisms, and we end this October with 63 in our Campus Ministry! I am also very proud of my wife, Theresa! She did an incredible job sharing for communion today. Roger Parlour gave her a very moving introduction as he shared his gratitude for the many years he has watched her minister to women and especially for the impact she has had on the two most important women in his life – his wife Kama and his daughter Brittany. I am extremely thankful for the partner God has given me in Theresa and our “partners in the gospel” here in the Chicago Church. God is so good to us!

Matt Sullivan of Santiago: Good news from the incredible Santiago Church! Today at service, it was tremendous to welcome Megan Mathews, who just flew in from Portland for a two month stay with us. She has been one of Helen’s best friends since our Portland days, and has already been an awesome encouragement to the disciples here. Then after the lesson, we witnessed the restoration of Delia. She has been great friends to Pilar, the wife of Jose Andres one of our BT Leader couples, for years. They reunited a few weeks ago and began studying. They faithfully met for several weeks and we saw amazing changes in Delia… And today, in tears of gratitude, Delia was restored! Right afterwards, Carolina, a best friend of Inger, gave her good confession and was baptized! We had 100 at service today and 23 of them were under 17 years old! Our Pre-teen and Teen Ministries are growing with more and more kids visiting each week and several are now studying the Bible. With the two additions today, God has given us five new disciples in just 14 days – four baptisms and one restoration. Much love and our prayers are with all of you – from waaaay south of the border!

Steve Ranga of Syracuse: Greetings from your fellow brothers and sisters in upstate New York! We have fully embraced the “Acts 2:42 vision” of the first century church: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe.” Without question but with much joy, we are truly grateful for being part of a movement that is devoted to one another and has absolutely everything in common. This week has been phenomenal, as the church gathered together to celebrate our annual Woodcutter’s Ball. There was much food, fun and fellowship, as disciples participated in the chili cook-off, desert and donut-eating contest, scavenger hunt, as well as “busting a few moves” on the dance floor. The fellowship with one another was so amazing and powerful that friends that came out were in “awe” and blown away by the love in the room. Furthermore, we were encouraged by celebrating my son Johnathan’s 7th Birthday with the Syracuse Church. This was the first time he’s celebrated his birthday in Syracuse, and seeing the disciples gather around him and loving up on him, truly made him feel special and moved my heart as his dad. Lastly, we closed out the event with our brother Gary Franke asking our sister, Nicole Saltalamachia, to be his girlfriend – becoming our first dating couple in 2010! Amen!

Tim Butakov of Novosibirsk, Russia: Last time, we shared good news about a young man Igor who decided to be restored in Christ after the service where Argo Lips preached. During the following four weeks, our brothers thoroughly studied the Scriptures with him, especially paying attention to the changes in his life according to the challenges he received from the Bible. (1 Timothy 4:16) It was amazing to witness how God changes a human heart. As a result, Igor totally restored his discipleship, relations with God, righteousness and zeal to convert all nations. And this past Sunday, Igor was restored in the church as a sold-out disciple! At the service, he read a very open and heartfelt letter, where he told how he had been baptized and then fallen away from God. He asked God’s and disciples’ forgiveness and thanked them that they hadn’t left him and helped him to return to the church. The fruits of his repentance came very soon – at the service where Igor read his restoration letter, he had two new visitors! Dear brothers and sisters around the world, we are very grateful to all of you who have prayed and continue to pray for us!

Anthony Eckels: More great news from Orlando! We had another record breaking attendance today! Following church, Carlos Lugo was baptized! He is a full time instructor in the Game Design and Development Program at Full Sail University! Full Sail is the most expensive university in Orlando, with the most highly developed TV production, multimedia and film departments in the state! Carlos is truly one of the most humble men we have ever known. Before he ever met disciples, he had a conviction about sharing his faith and had started a Bible Study Group at this university. He was met by a sister at Barnes and Noble, while shopping for a Bible. He called me after work one day last week and asked if he could come over to our home and study the Bible. He was so eager that he did two studies on Monday, and then studied every day until he was baptized. He is so grateful, because he was searching for the truth and God answered his prayers!

Michael Williamson: Greetings from London, England! The Bible calls us to “NEVER BE LACKING IN ZEAL,” so that our spirits are not dampened by the challenges that must inevitably come! (Romans 12:11) This weekend the energy of the service was electric! We had our largest church attendance of 74 since our Inaugural Service! Joe Willis, the former Evangelist of Birmingham, England ICOC and the present leader of our Brisbane, Australia Remnant Group, gave an incredible communion speech which immediately focused the congregation on the cross, while endearing the brothers and sisters to him and his lovely “Australian” wife – Kerry. (Lord willing, the Willises will be moving from Brisbane to LA in December to strengthen their faith, as well as for further training in ministry.) The Holy Spirit was at work as Kerry happened to be “flat mates” (roommates) as a single with an ICOC gal whom Trista Waern brought to church for the first time today! “God [definitely] determines the times and places.” (Acts 17:26) Also of note was the presence of Erik af Klint from Stockholm, Sweden. His zeal for the lost was evident as he jumped in on several back-to-back studies including a gentleman who my wife met at the University of London, who just so happens to be Scandinavian! Despite the Satanic attack of having one of the mission team members, Tony, fall away through sexual immorality, the church is increasing in our love for God, His Word, His movement and His mission! Pray for our continued boldness.

Jay Hernandez of Hilo: Big Island greetings to our brothers and sisters around the world. It has been exciting to see how God is constantly bringing us people to study the Bible, and how our awesome Internet Ministry continues to work. First of all, on Tuesday, I celebrated my 16th Spiritual Birthday by driving and hiking to the top of Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain – measured from under the sea to the very top! It was amazing up there to observe the breath-taking view of the island, while drawing all the closer to our God. I also hiked to one of the world’s highest permanent lakes, as on Mauna Kea, Lake Wai’au sits at 13,020 feet above sea level. I have since challenged the church to baptize our 50th member in this lake. The church enthusiastically has accepted this challenge. Secondly, while having a d-time with a campus brother in the cafeteria, a young man walked up to our table and sat down. He asked if I was a minister and asked if I would study the Bible with him. Please be praying for Sayson. He came to church today and has been hanging out with the brothers ever since our Tuesday meeting. Finally, one of our older sisters, Carol, who is a widow, reached out to a young man who used to live in the same house as her. This man, Joseph, was living in New York, and despite every effort, it became obvious God didn’t want him to stay. He began to listen to our sermons on-line, and decided he needed to move back to Hilo to be part of the church. He arrived on Friday and came to church today. We are set up to study the Bible on Wednesday! We love you all greatly and are looking forward to seeing you in January, though honestly it would be much warmer if you all came here!

Kyle Bartholomew of Honolulu: This past week, we added three people in our East Region. On Tuesday, Jasmine was baptized into Christ. She is currently a student at Kapiolani Community College and the second one baptized since the ministry was started by Evan and Kelly Bartholomew this semester. Then on Thursday night, an effervescent young student Kelly was baptized at 5:00PM and is now a part of the mighty UH Campus Ministry, led by our dynamic intern Jake Ramsier. Then Friday at 12:40AM, Martin our first campus student from Windward Community College was baptized. Continue praying for us as we are now on four campuses and have many more that are close to getting baptized. Aloha!

Chris Adams of New York City: We want to thank all of you, because God answered your prayers for our boldness and love during this past week’s Fall Campus Campaign! We had over 90 visitors come out to five Campus Bible Talks with two having 30 and 34 visitors, respectively! Our focus was praying together, getting a charge from the local Bible Talk Leader, and then descending on one another’s campuses all throughout the week, like a swarm of locusts . . .  I’ve never seen anything like it in 21 years as a disciple! Our brother Rafael, who leads the Bronx Ministry now with his wonderful wife Melissa, got brought before the Head of Security at one of the colleges during the campaign! Rafael so fearlessly and calmly responded to every false accusation and intimidation technique, that by the end of the session they were more than happy to let him and the rest of us 12 fiery disciples resume sharing our faith on campus! That night following the persecution, the campus sisters baptized Sherene in Central Park! Encouragingly, our Mid-town Manhattan Singles Bible Talk inspired us all with their best ever Bible Talk attendance of 18 visitors. Please pray, as there are several more getting ready for the “Hudson River plunge!” We love you all and are focused on fasting all together this week for DJ and Kacie.

Luke & Brandyn Speckman: Greetings from Phoenix! We’ve had an incredible week! Mark and Keri Garrido, previously the West House Church Leaders, have moved closer to ASU and are officially leading the Campus Ministry. Rob and Teresa Hamblin, previously our Singles Ministry Leaders, have willingly accepted their new role of West House Church Leaders and are making plans to move to the west ASAP. And Bianca Bell and David Caldwell have raised up to be our Singles Ministry Leaders! We’re so grateful that we have disciples with such willing hearts to serve! Today’s service was our final First Principles class. RD Baker, the man God used to plant the Bahrain ICOC in the Middle East, wielded God’s Word powerfully and moved many hearts to tears (including his own) as he taught The Cross. His personal sharing was very heartfelt, sincere and passionate.

Following the incredible lesson was the Financial Presentation led by Jason Bond. Although the Lord has added many to our number, it has become apparent that our weekly contribution was not reflecting our growth. In fact, we had been consistently giving less than our weekly contribution pledges of $3000. We had two couples (Hamblins and Meyers) and one campus student (Danielle Savedra) briefly share their personal testimonies and convictions on tithing. Afterward, Jason demonstrated through a short skit how incredibly selfish and ungrateful we are if we refuse to give back even one tenth of what God gave to us! He also exposed how our per person giving pales in comparison to the giving of other churches. (2 Corinthians 8:8) Many people were shocked at how low our giving was! After this, I called everyone to stop “storing up treasures on earth” and start “storing up treasures in heaven,” to put their treasure where they want their hearts to be! (Matt 6:19-21) I asked the church as a whole to increase their giving by $10 per person. This not only would give us the ability to add several people on staff and take care of the needs of the people, but would also help ensure that our hearts are not drifting into the world! We will be taking up new pledges this week. The congregation was so convicted that we gave $5,144 today with a weekly budget of only $3000! This afternoon, we had a family Halloween carnival at the Bond’s house! It was a great time of fun and fellowship! We are so grateful to the Bond’s for continually opening up their house for events like the one we had today – with 80+ people!

Ron Harding of Portland: Greetings from the City of Roses! A few months back, out of bitterness, Jeff Hamm decided to go back to our former fellowship. After many trials and disappointments, he took a stand in his own “house” and today returned to place membership with us. His apologies and humility moved the hearts of the entire church, and he specifically apologized to several people for his actions, took responsibility for the negative outcome of his choices, and vowed to never waiver in his convictions about that we are God’s new movement and that we follow the one true Lord and teach the one true faith. Jeff is the 14th person added in the last 13 weeks since the Jubilee!! “Look out ‘Rose Arena’ here we come!”

In Los Angeles, the Lord blessed us with the baptism of a vibrant campus woman Melody in the West Region, and the restoration of a very heartsy single woman Daniele in the South Region. So encouraging to many, Cory Blackwell, the former World Sector Leader of the Middle East, came to Staff this past Tuesday, attended my First Principles for Region Leaders on Friday, as well as thoroughly enjoyed the West Region Worship Service yesterday. Since I attended the South Region Service, Cory and I met up later in the afternoon at his son’s high school basketball tournament, and some of the first words out of his mouth were, “Man, that Andrew (Smellie) can really preach!”

Please pray, as the Central Leadership Council has solidified the 2011 World Missions Prayer Goals! Lord willing in January 2011, six disciples from London will be sent to join Argo & Anu Lips and Erik af Klint already living in Stockholm, Sweden. This group of nine will have a language internship for four months, and in May 2011, the Stockholm International Christian Church will be officially planted. The Lips, the leaders of the team, will be discipled by the Michael & Michele Williamson in London. Then, Lord willing in August 2011 at the Global Leadership Conference: 1) The Spirit will send-off from LA, Raul & Lynda Moreno and eight others on a mission team to our next city of the Crown of Thorns Project – Sao Paulo, Brazil. 2) A “mission team” of four full-time interns will be sent from LA to augment the already planted Santiago (Chile) Church, since when Matt & Helen Sullivan were sent two-and-a-half years ago, there was no money in our churches for interns when they began to lead the Remnant Group. 3) Andrew & Patrique Smellie will be sent from LA to become the Lead Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader for our sister church in New York City – the Empire City International Christian Church. 4) Coltin & Mandee Rohn will be sent from LA to plant a sister church in Boston, Massachusetts. They will be accompanied by a shepherding couple from LA and ten disciples from New York City, and be discipled by the Smellies in New York City. 5) Chris & Theresa Broom will move from Chicago to LA to continue to train in ministry, as they will assume the Morenos’ role as the Region Leaders for Orange County. After their departure, Mike Underhill and Brittany Parlour will lead the Chicago Church. The Brooms will oversee the Chicago Church from LA. 6) Joel Parlour will go from Chicago to New York City to be the Campus Minister, replacing Mike Underhill in January. Then, since the Spirit is sending the Rohns to Boston, Joel will come to LA in June to assume the leadership of the Inland Empire Region with Courtney Irwin. Also, congratulations to Ryan Keenan, who will begin serving full-time in administration in January 2011, as the assistant for Michael Kirchner – the Administrator for the SoldOut Movement Churches.

These are the goals that the Central Leadership Council has laid before the Lord. Let us – as we pray together as God’s modern day movement – claim the promise, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed!” (Proverbs 16:3) And to God be all the honor, glory and praise!

Your fellow servant of the cross,

Kip

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