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    to judge leaving a barrage of hurtful accusations It was the teens fault He needs to pay for all the damage he caused Snot nosed punk child Bully He deserves extreme punishment That s just a mild sampling There were a lot more comments many full of curses and condemnation Due to irresponsible reporting and hundreds of ensuing negative comments on social media a group of urban teens was demoralized stereotyped and falsely accused What s the harm many might ask The harm comes in this These kids are from one of the toughest at risk neighborhoods in Fresno and such treatment reinforces the negative view of life they already hold They don t have nice schools well stocked grocery stores or the latest movie theaters They are at risk of joining gangs becoming pregnant and dropping out of school They don t have transportation discretionary spending money or stable home environments However I know these kids They smile they laugh they sing They dance they create they overcome They surmount adversities that would cripple the average teenager They are real heroes to me and undeserving of the criticism they received Negative words hurt adolescents who are continually bombarded by accusations and stereotypes At such a formative stage of development repetitive destructive messages tend to impair the identity of a teenager We need to use words that bless our youth not bring them down When we have the chance to encourage teens especially those who have grown up hearing mostly curses and condemnations let s resist the temptation to make pessimistic assumptions and work hard to counter negative influences with words of grace hope affirmation and love That would be a noble and appropriate use of social media Tim Neufeld is associate professor of Contemporary Christian Ministries at Fresno Pacific University He blogs about church and culture at www timneufeld blogs com and can be followed on Facebook timothyneufeld and Twitter timothyneufeld Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Words hurt Tuesday Apr 1 2014 Words should bless teens rather than bring them down By Tim Neufeld The recent weekend retreat didn t end well for a group of urban teens Coming home from their mountain high with 800 other Fresno Calif students an inner city youth group rode on a bus that experienced mechanical difficulties Two things happened when the bus was quickly pulled over on a steep downhill grade First the driver misjudged the length of the turnout and the bus lurched as it bounced into the hillside Next the cabin filled with smoke from overheating brakes Frightened and confused teens began to panic and opened the emergency exit Fortunately there were no injuries and the bus was not damaged While this in itself was a traumatic experience the mechanical problems were not the primary reason the weekend was ruined Further complicating the matter a local news agency posted an inaccurate breaking report of the experience on their Facebook page The organization errantly reported that

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/_48.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    hands of enemies and concludes with a prayer of deliverance vv 11 21 The psalm concludes with a strong message of praise to God for his deliverance and a confident hope for future generations of believers vv 22 31 Often when we think of this psalm during the Easter season we connect it to the sufferings of Jesus on the cross and his fulfillment of prophecy Mt 27 46 Mk 15 34 Of course this is true but there s much more we can learn from Psalm 22 than just those important truths For example David concludes that because past generations had trusted in the Lord he could too vv 4 5 He also goes back to his trust in God as a child as he faced a need for help vv 10 11 Finally he writes about proclaiming the praises of God in the midst of trials vv 22 24 and the impact that will have on future generations vv 30 31 With all of this in mind I think of the importance of the church when we find ourselves in the midst of difficulties It s in the church where we hear stories from older generations who have experienced God s faithfulness in trials It s in the church where we affirm the faith of children knowing that they too will someday face difficulties that will challenge their beliefs And it s in the church where we can proclaim the praises of a God who uses each generation to impact the next with some of the greatest lessons coming through trials With all of its shortcomings disappointments and weaknesses the church is still the place where God continues to fulfill the truths of Psalm 22 Let s commit ourselves to give praise to the Lord during this Easter season with the confidence that we serve a living loving God Pat Coyle is the senior pastor at Shafter Calif MB Church Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Psalm 22 Suffering and praise Tuesday Apr 1 2014 Praising God with confidence and hope for the Lord s deliverance By Pay Coyle I will declare your name to my brothers in the congregation I will praise you Psalm 22 22 With the celebrations of Palm Sunday Passion Week and Easter Sunday upon us again our thoughts often go to passages such as Psalm 22 In this psalm David writes in several cycles of thoughts reflecting both his suffering at the hands of enemies and his confidence in God The first cycle begins in verses 1 5 where he says he feels forsaken by God but also remembers that his ancestors had put their trust in the Lord The second cycle is found in verses 6 10 as he describes his enemy s attacks against him but remembers his faith in the Lord even at a young age In the third and final cycle David again describes his suffering at the hands of enemies and concludes with a

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/_51.html (2016-02-17)
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    their faces As they gave us the check there was joy in their eyes like I ve rarely seen They knew and we knew how precious this was The Bible says to give joyfully and we witnessed it that day Because the donor ignored the normal methods of doing things and chose to target one specific need there was no tax deduction And there is no thank you letter signed by the CEO of a foundation or scholarship fund nor is the donor listed in a publication All this donor has is a picture of a former stranger pinned to his wall He is committed to praying for our student and we know he will He has the gratitude of a student and family whose lives have been forever impacted I share this story and do so anonymously for five reasons Good news stories need to be shared They are all too rare We want you to rejoice with us This lifts everyone up We want to thank the people involved in a way that is tangible and heartfelt without embarrassing anyone All the glory and credit goes to God the only true provider So often he shows up just in time We want students especially at our two MB schools to hope and believe that their dreams can happen sometimes in surprising and unconventional ways There are people around them who are watching and care enough to do something special We want to encourage others to think generously and creatively Wouldn t it be amazing if Fresno Pacific University and Tabor College regularly got phone calls asking for the names of students who truly needed help maybe a lot of help Might it revolutionize the church if we focused on the need before the tax deduction My hope is to someday wear that same smile that I saw across the table that day as I offer extraordinary help to someone else Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments He wrote a check Tuesday Apr 1 2014 Think generously and creatively about how you can help someone This is a story of how a stranger changed a life when he wrote a check Our child graduated from high school with general interests in areas of study the intention to earn a college degree and the hope of leaving home for a Christian college experience But there was no clear cut plan The recurring issue was money In state or out of state didn t seem to matter Even with all the grants scholarships and loans added up every school we considered was still too far out of reach financially The economy had done us no favors in recent years a lost business an upside down mortgage aging cars and bills that just kept coming Deadlines were approaching and the only option seemed to be none of the above Yet we also sensed God s direction toward a certain school one of two owned by U S Mennonite

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/_50.html (2016-02-17)
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    a quilt rearranged again It is the revision required in our lives and as a congregation It is the process and blessedness of becoming merciful pure in heart and making peace Does the piece ever get finished Do we Not really It will never be perfect and it will never be the final word The project is always in process Artists often say that revisions could go on forever and so they abandon the work sometimes reluctantly to begin the next piece Our imperfect worship and congregational life is offered up in the same way we are always in process Our congregation is now in the process of building a new sanctuary Our round chapel will be used for baptisms fellowship and small meetings The new space something like an oval will give us more space height and windows for light We pray that we will grow in the Spirit and in numbers as we offer the mystery and wonder of God s love in worship community and witness I will end by offering one of my poems This poem has a hole in its side like the wooden bowl It holds the recognition that each of us and the whole world has a hole in its side There is the wound at the heart of everything the longing for the other And there is God s love at the heart of everything inviting us This is the glory of worship This the light of our hope Poet Jean Janzen Fresno Calif has authored six collections of poetry the most recent is Paper House published by Good Books in 2008 and has seen her poems appear in a variety of magazines including The Christian Century She has published a book of essays Elements of Faithful Writing based on the Menno Simons lectures given at Bethel College Newton Kan in 2003 Her memoir Entering the Wild was published in 2012 by Good Books Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Art and community Tuesday Apr 1 2014 What creating art and building a faith community have in common By Jean Janzen I received a small wooden bowl as a birthday gift last year It is carved from the trunk of a manzanita bush the hard wood polished into silkiness and marked by a hole in its side probably where a branch had broken off I think of art in worship and in the life of the congregation as something like this bowl A few years after our church College Community Church Mennonite Brethren in Clovis Calif was established 51 years ago we constructed our current building As a young congregation we had decided that our house of worship should reflect our vision of who we were and who we hoped to become by the grace of God A central theme was the importance of fellowship and of member participation in all aspects of church life The essence of art We persuaded the architect to plan a small round

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/_56.html (2016-02-17)
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    how we get our news turned 25 Tim Berners Lee published a paper March 12 1989 proposing an information management system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the World Wide Web The British computer scientist released the code for his system for free to the world on Christmas Day 1990 It became a milestone in easing the way for ordinary people to access documents and interact over a network of computer networks called the Internet a system that had been around for years For many of us Lee s invention has become synonymous with the Internet even though that is technically not the case Using the Web browsing it searching it and sharing it has become a major activity for millions of people around the globe In addition to changing how we get share and create news the Internet has impacted how we learn how we do our jobs and how we communicate with friends and family It is influencing how we do church A new series of reports from The Pew Research Center marking the 25th anniversary of the Web shows that we Americans generally feel positive about the Internet s impact on our lives and personal relationships Pew also reports that while experts anticipate that by 2025 the Internet will flow through our lives like electricity and are hopeful about the future of the Internet they are also concerned about things like interpersonal ethics surveillance terror and crime While it s true that human inventions and discoveries often have both positive and negative results I am thankful that God gives us curiosity and the desire to imagine explore and create You and I may not invent the next World Wide Web but we can use our God given ingenuity and resourcefulness at our jobs and in our homes communities and churches in ways that celebrate goodness and make the world more the way God intends it to be Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Hooray for human invention Tuesday Apr 1 2014 The World Wide Web turns 25 this year and continues to change our lives by Connie Faber CL editor When was the last time you celebrated the gift of human invention A recent occasion for me was March 16 when our daughter looked up from her smartphone and reported that with half of the results in 95 percent of Crimea voters were in favor of splitting with Ukraine and joining Russia Two hours before during the Sunday morning worship service our congregation had prayed about the vote And now thanks to all that goes into smartphone technology we knew at least something about how this international crisis was playing out Last month the World Wide Web an innovation that has significantly changed how we get our news turned 25 Tim Berners Lee published a paper March 12 1989 proposing an information management system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the World Wide Web The British computer scientist released

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/_53.html (2016-02-17)
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    was broken by the love of the Lamb and not by the cunning power of man It was a morning like this that the world began to comprehend the good news that the Lord God lives and reigns That the penalty of sin is paid in full and forgiveness is now a gift that God offers through Jesus Christ That we live with hope in a world where death is still a raw reality We live with confidence because our victorious Lord and Savior now lives within us We more fully grasp the height and depth of the love of God People who are captive to sin and broken by its destructive power can be set free by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him It is on a morning like this that we gather to worship and adore you for your love demonstrated on the cross and your power made known through the resurrection So today we sing our praise to you our God and Savior We surrender our lives to the wisdom of your will We invite you into our spiritual deadness and brokenness that we might be made fully alive and well through Jesus Christ We commit ourselves anew to the mission of sharing the good news of Jesus with all people All glory honor praise and blessing be to you our God and Father to you Jesus our Savior and our Lord and to you Spirit of the Living God who has drawn us to the Savior Amen Paul Klassen served as pastor of Memorial Road MB Church in Edmond Okla for 29 years and prior to that served Emmanuel MB Church in Onida S D for eight years He retired from the pastorate in 2012 and is currently the chaplain at the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI divisional office in Oklahoma City Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments My Easter prayer Tuesday Apr 1 2014 It was a morning like this By Paul Klassen O God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior we come to your throne in awe How can we express the praise and adoration you deserve Please accept our prayer this morning even though our words are so limited Even though our comprehension of all you accomplished through the cross and the resurrection is so far from complete We offer this prayer with great joy and overwhelming gratitude Lord God our Father it was a morning like this that your presence invaded a sealed tomb where the cold lifeless body of your beloved Son lay What a moment of unspeakable joy when you leaned over your Son and breathed your life into him What a holy reunion What a joy filled celebration of love gladness and victory it must have been Outside that tomb the world slept oblivious to the amazing miracle of love and life But you wanted the world to

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/_55.html (2016-02-17)
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    again for new church plants How did the pause button get released USMB staff raised additional funds toward the end of 2013 that were recently released by the USMB Leadership Board for new church plant initiatives in 2014 This has been extremely rewarding news for me personally Mission USA is now moving ahead full steam to work with our district church planting boards and commissions to discern new potential planters and projects In fact we are already involved in and pressing forward with new projects for 2014 and 2015 Church planting is such a vital piece of that which we do together as a USMB family of churches I find it fulfilling to speak with dozens and dozens of our pastors and leaders who say that very same thing We have a strong collective passion to plant more churches in order to reach more people with the good news Because it matters so much some of our churches contribute to church planting above their regular USMB and district giving As I said earlier a lack of financial means was the reason for our few months long pause It simply takes money to plant churches Funds are needed to get a fledgling church off the ground and arguably it s some of the best money spent in God s kingdom work So if we want the church planting play button to stay on we all need to support church planting with our resources I think it s right and appropriate that I ask you to give to church planting So I m asking Would you please help us continue forward with your own personal gifts and from your church s collective resources It s an investment in eternity We don t know how much time remains before Jesus returns for us to reach people with the gospel but it will be the stop forever button that is hit then not the pause button Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Hitting the play button Tuesday Apr 1 2014 Church planting is no longer on pause by Don Morris Mission USA director It may seem counterintuitive but sometimes in life and in ministry we need to hit the pause button in order to get ahead Pausing to ask what how and why we are doing things can be exactly what we need in order to resume forward progress For Mission USA that pause came toward the end of last year when the financial means to move our church planting vision forward became extremely limited In order to display financial integrity the USMB Leadership Board placed a short term halt on all new church planting projects until the financial situation improved a pause A recent C Link article was understood by some in our national family to indicate that USMB Mission USA may no longer be partnering financially in the starting of new churches and would instead be looking for other ways to serve our districts and churches I regret

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/_54.html (2016-02-17)
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    the New Testament we are called to live for one another This is in both the good and the bad of life Here are a couple of suggestions for how to live in both joy and mourning as we celebrate Mother s Day and Father s Day 1 Name both realities and recognize joy and mourning exist in tension with one another and in the same room 2 Make space for people to mourn honestly and repeatedly as necessary 3 Allow for that mourning to be private in silent prayer and reflection 4 Allow for that mourning to be public in the naming of family members deceased and lost 5 Acknowledge the pain of childlessness especially when it is not chosen Pray prayers of lament Read Scriptures of lament 6 Use responsive readings to acknowledge both the joys and pains of the community Make these readings commitments to pray for and journey with each other in all experiences 7 Ask the kinds of people listed earlier to help you plan occasions when parents are honored and listen carefully to their input A final suggestion is to remember this before May Save this and put it in a file for next year s Mother s and Father s Day events We should celebrate but let s not do so to the exclusion of those who mourn Together we can be the church and the kind of people who care for one another Quentin P Kinnison is assistant professor of Christian ministry at Fresno Pacific University and has over 20 years of experience in various ministry contexts He and his wife Cynthia are raising Carissa their daughter by adoption Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 1 Comments FLORENCE AIBINUOMO 2015 11 16 14 50 11 0 Thank you so very much Dr Kinnison This article just gave me an epiphany on how to best minister to all members of my congregation and not just a few Thank you for sharing your hearts Celebrating our parents mourning our losses Tuesday Apr 1 2014 Father s Day and Mother s Day are not times of celebration for everyone How can we mourn with those who weep by Quentin P Kinnison I love being a dad and my wife is a terrific mom I deeply love my parents who are godly loving gracious and amazing people I have never been abused or neglected In fact my childhood was quite the opposite My parents nurtured me with a Christ like love that has led me to conclude that it is time for Christians to rethink how we celebrate Mother s Day and Father s Day There is value in celebrating the good parental influences in our lives and for rejoicing in the exceptional honor of being a parent But we have to understand that much like Christmas and Resurrection Sunday the world has commercialized these days for their own purposes imbuing them with a certain kind of celebratory excess that best benefits card candy

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Celebrating-parents-mourning-losses.html (2016-02-17)
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