Monday, December 14, 2009

From Humbug to Hallelujah

During this Advent season, we have been preparing our hearts, changing our thoughts, and working to break chains we've forged in life in order to experience the manifest presence of God this Christmas. We have found that we have focused on the wrong stuff at Christmas time and so we are rekindling the joy and expectancy of the coming of the infant in a manger. We even did a little couples dancing at the end of our service this past Sunday! WOW! What an expression of the joy we have inside.

As we have prepared, we've learned some lessons from Charles Dickens story, "A Christmas Carol" which is about a miserly old business man named Ebenezer Scrooge who responds to the festivities of the Christmas season with a hearty, "Bah Humbug." To Scrooge Christmas is " a time for paying bills without money, a time for finding yourself another year older and not an hour richer." Yet, he is confronted by his nephew, Fred, who is filled with Christmas cheer. His idea is that Christmas is all about giving it away. It is a time of forgiveness, a time of charity, a time when people open their closed hearts to other people.

I encourage you today, to decide to place the focus this Christmas on Christ, not presents--not money--not problems. Remember that Jesus came as a babe, grew up, proclaimed the Kingdom of God, died at a young age, was resurrected, ascended to the heavens, and is coming back! Because we have this good news, we can break chains, mend relationships, sing as if no one is listening, dance like there is no tomorrow, and live our lives in service to others. We can express an inner joy that no one on this earth nor in hell can suppress! For God has always been there for us, will always be there, and one day we'll see him face to face! Whoa! I am getting all excited just writing about it! My Jesus, Oh what a wonderful child! New life, new hope, new joy he brings! No Humbugs---Shout Hallelujah instead.

May the Spirit of the Living God fill you with joy as we celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Pastor Rebecca

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Allow God to Rescue You

In order to win the battle in our minds and lives, we must allow God to work in us--to rescue us. Many times we have trouble being honest about our own struggles. We are in denial about the battle waging in our minds. Further, we try to win with our own strategy and refuse God's rescuing, delivering, and saving power. But, how do we get passed it? How do we come out of depression, despair, and bad decision making. How do we overcome and heal from hurts and disappointments?

Here are some steps that might help you or help you help someone else.

1. You must finally admit that you are loosing the battle on your own.
2. You must identify that there is a war going on in your mind.
3. You must allow God to rescue you.

I humbly pray to the all seeing and all comforting God of grace and mercy, that you will be healed and set free by the power of Christ.

Romans 7: 21-25A
21The Law has shown me that something in me keeps me from doing what I know is right. 22With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. 23But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do. 24What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die? 25Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me.(Contemporary English Version)

Monday, August 3, 2009

"OFF the Chain" Block Party @ Clinton & Dewald St Fort Wayne, IN

Come to this "Off the Chain Block Party" @ the corner Clinton & DeWald St in Fort Wayne, IN on Saturday August 6, 2009! 12 noon until 8 pm

You don't want to miss: The FOOD, The CLOWNS, the FUN

Featuring Fort Wayne's very own : TY CAUSEY

Evening Music with Christian Rock Band: CROSS OVER >>>

Encouraging message from: Pastor Rebecca Fisher

If you are seeking to connect with God and have fun, come on out!

PS. Click above on artist's name to go to the artist's myspace.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Faith of African Americans

How the Faith of African-Americans Has Changed

altFrom the earliest days of America’s history, a deep-rooted spirituality has been one of the hallmarks of the black population in the country. A new study released by The Barna Group underscores that the passage of time has not diminished the importance of faith in the lives of African-Americans. The study examined the religious beliefs and behaviors of the black population, today and in comparison to 15 years ago, as well as comparing the faith of blacks to that of the U.S. population as a whole.

Religious Beliefs

The research explored 12 religious beliefs. The current data indicates that among the four largest ethnic groups in the nation – whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians – blacks had the highest score on 10 of the 12 belief indicators.

Survey respondents reacted to nine statements regarding faith. Blacks were highest among the four ethnic groups in relation to eight of those nine statements. Those were as follows:

Belief U.S. Blacks Whites
the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches 49% 66% 46% *
have personal responsibility to tell others your religious beliefs 34 46 32 *
your religious faith is very important in your life 72 86 70 *
Satan/devil is not a living being but is a symbol of evil 39 46 38 *
when He lived on earth, Jesus Christ committed sins 43 54 32 *
single, most important purpose of your life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul 66 85 63 *
God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today 70 84 69 **
your highest priority in your life these days is your faith 11 18 11 ***
number of persons interviewed 9232 1272 6038

* = answered “strongly agree” with the statement posed
** = chose this description from several options
*** = gave this response (i.e., “faith”) without prompting or options to choose from
(Source: The Barna Group, Ventura, CA)

The only faith statement for which the African-American response was similar to that of the U.S. average was “if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in Heaven.”

There were three other belief oriented results in the survey, and African-Americans were the highest ethnic group on two of those three. Specifically, blacks were the group most likely to be born again Christians (59%, compared to a national average of 46%) and were the ethnic segment most likely to consider themselves to be Christian (92% did so, versus 85% nationally). However, they were no more likely than average to qualify as evangelical Christians.

Religious Behavior

The Barna study examined 13 religious behaviors. Again demonstrating their spiritual uniqueness, African-Americans ranked highest among the four ethnic groups on eight of those 13 indicators and lowest on two of them. In all, blacks differed significantly from the national average on nine of the behaviors.

Compared to the other three ethnic groups, blacks emerged as the most likely to engage in each of five church-related activities in a typical week (attending church services, participating in a small group, attending a Sunday school class, praying, and reading the Bible). They were also the most likely to have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life and to have an “active faith” (i.e., attend church services, pray to God and read from the Bible during the week). They also had the lowest proportion of unchurched adults and were the ethnic group least likely to be Catholic.

Religious behaviors and choices among blacks that occur at levels equivalent to the national average are being “absolutely committed to the Christian faith” and having shared one’s faith in Christ with others during the past year.

Changes Over Time

The Barna study compared current statistics for African-American faith with that measured 15 years ago and found substantial change during that period.

Six of seven measures of belief had changed significantly. Blacks today are more likely than they were in the early 1990s to believe that the principles taught in the Bible are totally accurate; to say that their religious faith is very important in their life; to have a biblically orthodox understanding of the nature of God; and to be born again. They are also less likely to strongly affirm that Satan is symbolic, not real; and to contend that a good person can earn his/her way into Heaven.

The measure that had not changed was the sense of personal responsibility to discuss their beliefs with others.

Three of the five behavioral measures that were evaluated both recently and 15 years ago showed substantial change. Those efforts included an increase in the proportion of African-Americans who have made a personally important commitment to Christ, church attendance, and Bible reading. The measures that reflected no movement were Sunday school attendance and affiliating with the Catholic church.

American-American Faith in Context

The African-American population is presently about 15% of the national population. Other research conducted by Barna has indicated that spirituality is generally a more central element in the lives of blacks than in the lives of people from other ethnic groups. That spiritual emphasis accounts for some of the higher levels of religious activity and the more biblically-oriented beliefs registered within the black community.

While the beliefs and behaviors of America’s white population have changed little since the early 1990’s, the new research underscored that the faith of African-Americans is dynamic, generally moving in a direction that is more aligned with conservative biblical teachings.

About the Research

This report is based upon telephone interviews conducted by The Barna Group among nine nationwide random samples of adults. In the course of the 9,232 interviews conducted, each respondent was asked if they considered themselves to be black or African-American. These surveys were conducted between January 2007 and November 2008. In total, there were 1,272 adults in the African-American category. The range of sampling error associated with the total sample of adults is between ±0.2 and ±1.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The range of sampling error associated with the sub-sample of African-Americans is between ±1.3 and ±2.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. These allowances do not include other types of error (known as non-sampling error) that can occur in surveys, such as errors arising from question wording, question sequencing, and the recording of responses.

“Born again Christians” were defined as people who said they had made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that was still important in their life today and who also indicated they believed that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “born again.”

The Barna Group, Ltd. (which includes its research division, The Barna Research Group) is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization that conducts primary research on a wide range of issues and products, produces resources pertaining to cultural change, leadership and spiritual development, and facilitates the healthy spiritual growth of leaders, children, families and Christian ministries. Located in Ventura, California, Barna has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each new, bi-monthly update on the latest research findings from The Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website ( Additional research-based resources, both free and at discounted prices, are also available through that website.

© The Barna Group, Ltd, 2009.

Copyright Disclaimer: All the information contained on the website is copyrighted by The Barna Group, Ltd., 2368 Eastman Ave. Unit 12, Ventura, California 93003. No portion of this website (articles, graphs, charts, reviews, pictures, video clips, quotes, statistics, etc.) may be reproduced, retransmitted, disseminated, sold, distributed, published, edited, altered, changed, broadcast, circulated, or commercially exploited without the prior written permission from The Barna Group, Ltd.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Join the Movement to Reform the Criminal Justice System!

On Thursday, June 18 at 2 pm EST, people of faith from across the country will be taking part in a National Faith and Criminal Justice Reform Conference Call to discuss much-needed reforms in the criminal justice system.

Here are the call-in details:

Phone: 800-920-7487
Code: 76723736.

Our focus for this call will be on specific issues that directly impact the African American community. June 19 is the day we celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the final announcement of the end of slavery in the United States.

We will hear a reflection on this historic day and its relation to our current situation with the criminal justice system and strategic programs to reduce what is a disproportionate contact between minority groups and the criminal justice system.

We will also hear legislative updates on the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and ending the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. These important pieces of legislation are ready to move and we need your help.

I hope you and members of your faith community will call in Thursday June 18 at 2 pm and be a part of this important call!

In Christ,

Bill Mefford
Director, Civil and Human Rights

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Truly Happy

I can honestly say that I am truly happy. Filled with joy is even a better expression of my life. I have always wanted to feel a sense of satisfaction in life--to know I was fulfilling my purpose. I believe that I am fulfilling my purpose. It is so very refreshing not to struggle with hoping one day I'll figure it all out or "find myself" somehow. What is really profound is that the more I untied my ID from my own expectations and wrapped my ID in God's purposes, the more satisfied I became. That inner statisfaction frees me to be filled with and to openly express joy. This is the kind of joy that transcends my situation, the economy, my relationships--everything. This inner peace is truly an anchor. It isn't shaken or stirred--just steady. What about you? Truly Happy? Satisfied? Filled with Joy?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Do We Accomplish During Lent

We are in the season of Lent which is a time or preparation, reflection, and discovery. We walk with Jesus during this time and meditate on the Journey to the Cross. We engage at a deeper level inwardly and we really Go Deeper within to address areas in our lives that we need to surrender to God. To break that down a little bit--During Lent, we seek to change things in our lives and mostly in our hearts that we know need to change in order to be all that God wants us to be.

One way you can do that is by keeping a journal. In your journal, write each day the things you have done and said that you sense are pleasing to God and those that you wish you could change. If you see a pattern of particular difficulty, begin to develop and action plan that will help you to change in that area of your life.Look at that time as a time to Journey to the Cross. You will be in essence working to put whatever issue you have to death once and for all. As you do, look toward Resurrection Sunday as a time of Revival!

I invite you to Go Deeper in this season!

Pastor Rebecca

Monday, January 19, 2009

Keep Hope Alive in 2009!

This marks a time when we can be filled with hope. Let's join the nation is supporting the new president, Barak Obama.