Hudson Valley Community Prayer Service

prayerOn May 31, an event took place in the lower Hudson Valley.  Churches from Tarrytown, Ossining, Brewster, Peekskill, Fishkill, Middletown and Warwick met together for one purpose:  prayer.  There was music and a message.  There was food and fellowship.  But the focus of the evening was prayer.  This wonderful evening featured men and women from different churches and backgrounds putting aside cultural differences, embracing each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and seeking the heart of God together.  It was an overwhelming privilege to be a part of what we hope will be a growing unity between the churches of the lower Hudson Valley.

Thank you to all of the pastors who participated with their congregations:
Pastor Dick Wiedenheft, Community Bible Fellowship (Ossining)
Pastor Howard Lawler, Fishkill Baptist Church (Fishkill)
Pastor Denny Burns, First Baptist Church (Peekskill)
Rev. Dr. Gershwin Grant, Calvary Baptist Church (Ossining)
Pastor Corby Angle, First Baptist Church (Peekskill)
Pastor Craig Adams, Calvary Baptist Church (Warwick)
Pastor Travis Mitchell, First Baptist Church (Brewster)
Pastor John Hawco, Harmony Baptist Church (Middletown)
Pastor Mike Mura, Fishkill Baptist Church (Fishkill)
Rev. Dr. Torrey Robinson, First Baptist Church  (Tarrytown)

Click “Slideshow” HERE to see some of the highlights of the prayer gathering.  God was truly at work among us!

Why I am in a Leaders Learning Community

BooksRev. Steve Murray, Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Nashua, NH

Every pastor is a busy pastor. We are not looking for additional items to pack into our schedule. However, a busy pastor is not necessarily a growing pastor. And if I am not a growing pastor, I will begin to lose what effectiveness I may have in leading my church.

I have been in a Leaders Learning Community (LLC) since the fall of last year. It has been one of the best things I have done. Yes, the weeks that we have the LLC means I “lose” hours that day that could have gone toward my never-ending to-do list. And taking the time to read the book each month means reading an “assigned” book instead of another book that is already in my stack. But in spite of these negatives, being a part of a LLC is well worth it. Here are some reasons that motivate me.

1. It keeps me learning. John Maxwell stated, “Leaders are learners.” I am neither naturally gifted as a leader nor have the spiritual gift of leadership. That means I have to learn to be a leader. The good news is that I can learn to be a leader. Solomon said, “Of the making of books, there is no end.” The positive side of that means there are many books that can teach us. The LLCs help me to keep learning leadership that I can apply to my church.

2. It keeps me on the front edge of church leadership. Although we are not in the business world, our culture and the church world are changing rapidly. We need to keep up with these changes. Most essential leadership principles don’t change, but the application of the principles will. The LLCs help me learn new leadership skills, reinforce ones I already know, and apply both to my changing context.

3. It sharpens my perspectives and views. “Iron sharpens iron” and the LLCs provide a context to share my views and have brothers critique them. Their feedback helps me solidify good perspectives, tweak shaky ones, and throw out the bad.

4. It holds me accountable. How many times have I been content to read a book and assume somehow the ideas are going to automatically filter into my leadership? The LLCs build in time to ask, “What is a take-away from this book, and what are you going to do about it?” The next time a fellow pastor sees me, I know that he is going to ask, “What did you do with what you said you were going to do?”

5. It causes me to read more widely. I read books that I wouldn’t have chosen to read. This stretches me and exposes me to a wider diversity of ideas that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

We have finished our LLC for a summer break. When we resume in September, I will definitely be a part of it again. I hope you will too.

IN RESPONSE TO THE SUPREME COURT’S REDEFINING MARRIAGE

At the meeting of the Regional Executive Directors in Denver on June 29th, 2015, Dr. David Whitaker led the board in a discussion of the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. The following was adapted from an earlier statement created by Dr. Whitaker and is the board’s official response to that decision:

CBAmerica’s Statement Here

RESOURCES:

Here is the update from Christianity TodaySupreme Court: States Can’t Ban Same-Sex Marriage

Here is a statement from Al Mohler: Mohler Responses to Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Here is a statement from NAE: Supreme Court Redefines Marriage and God Defined Marriage

Here is a statement made by a diverse coalition of evangelical leaders assembled by the ERLC: Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage

Here is a Christianity Today Editorial written by Mark Galli: Six Things To Do after the Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage

Here is a statement by Ray Ortlund about Marriage and the Gospel: What is Marriage, According to the Bible?

Here is a summary of the decision by Joe Carter: Explainer: What You Should Know About the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Here is a statement from John Piper: So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity

Here is a statement by Erik Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom, for churches to consider: What Your Church Needs to Know – And Do – About the Court’s Marriage Ruling