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    this one specific topic of discussion is the absolute non negotiable core of what it means to follow Jesus or not Are there some articles in our Confession of Faith about which we will not allow divergence or significant difference of opinion and others where we would That discussion is not simple CL It has been said that it is helpful to think about various positions on peace and nonresistance as a continuum that there are points along the line on which we all agree Do you agree with that picture of a continuum If you agree where do you see that point of disagreement emerging LJ My seminary colleague Tim Geddert asks a question in one of his classes something like this At what point do you believe that the use of force is consistent with faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus If the continuum model works we all have a point at which we d exercise force but maybe not violent force LN I believe in the continuum idea During the Vietnam War a lot of people thought the war was immoral but they drew the line at different spots along that continuum Some people registered as combatants some as noncombatants and some didn t register at all Some withheld a portion of their taxes and some drew the line at paying taxes at all We ve focused on the contentious point of taking up arms to the point that we ve done a poor job of teaching preaching and living the rest of it One of the things I hope comes out of this study conference is that we bring into clear focus the whole continuum of what it means to be lovers and seekers of peace CL What happens after the study conference LN This is not a decision making meeting I think the BFL will take into consideration all that they see hear and feel during the study conference in discerning whatever follow up there is We will want and need to have conversations with churches or groups of churches within our constituency at some point Any proposed changes if there are any will come to the 2014 convention for the delegates to approve CL Who is invited to the study conference LN We ve talked about this quite a bit On the one hand we ve said this a family discussion a chance to get together to talk We want every pastor to be there Furthermore we would like church leaders to come so that we have a broad representation from our church family EB I cannot imagine doing this without having all district BFL members in full attendance It seems to me that this is the kind of thing where we need full partnership LN There is also a lot of interest in this topic in the broader Mennonite family So we ve invited Ron Byler as a representative of Mennonite Church USA to come as a participant observer We ve invited the Canadian MB Conference executive director and their Board of Faith and Life David Wiebe from the International Community of Mennonite Brethren and Cesar Garcia of Mennonite World Conference We want everyone to come and especially those we ve listed If you re interested in this we re interested in you coming Registration information is available online at www usmb org 2013 study conference Registration and hotel reservations are due Jan 11 2013 Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Study conference provides time for family talk Monday Oct 1 2012 BFL Study Conference explores how we follow the Prince of Peace in the real world U S Mennonite Brethren are invited to gather Jan 24 26 in Phoenix Ariz to study pray and talk together about Articles 12 Society and State and 13 Love and Nonresistance of the MB Confession of Faith In preparation for this event Christian Leader editor Connie Faber hosted a telephone conversation with three USMB leaders about our Confession of Faith and the circumstances that prompted this study conference Ed Boschman is the USMB executive director and a member of the national Board of Faith and Life BFL Larry Nikkel President Emeritus of Tabor College and former president and CEO of Mennonite Health Services chairs the BFL Lynn Jost Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary dean chaired the General Conference of MB Churches U S and Canada BFL and its Confession of Faith Task Force when the Confession of Faith was last revised in 1999 Jost also served on the International Community of Mennonite Brethren task force that published an international Confession of Faith in 2003 CL Let s begin with a basic question Why do we need a Confession of Faith LN Our Confession of Faith reminds us and others of the doctrinal beliefs we hold EB The Confession guards our orthodoxy as a family of faith It helps us with two strategically important core values as a family One of those is clarity and the other is cohesion Who we are is closely related to what we believe together If we know what we are committed to together we have a much better chance to be one and to have the authority and witness of the spirit of Christ and his mission LJ We also need a confession because we need a bridge from the Bible to our lives The Bible doesn t change but the context does Our context determines what issues we re going to include in the Confession It also means that we re confessing both the things we have in common with other evangelical believers and some things that are distinctive within the Christian community Both are appropriate in a Confession Also I think a confession includes both doctrine and discipleship We believe that right behaving has a place right alongside right believing CL So then what role does the Confession of Faith play for U S Mennonite Brethren What role should it play LN I like the way

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Study-conference-provides-time-for-family-talk.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    the brake the plane lurches forward and the people are mashed back into their seats the plane is leaving the runway Quickly the plane rises into the sky and the things on earth look strangely dim The clouds are beautiful and everyone is enjoying the ride There s even free coffee and soft drinks Everything is great Then the pilot comes on the intercom and says We re so glad you re aboard this flight to Detroit Please sit back and relax People begin looking around Detroit I thought we were headed for the outdoorsy city of Denver says one man Someone else says loudly Hey I thought this thing was headed for Philadelphia you know the City of Brotherly Love No I distinctly saw Redmond Ore on the flight marquee I don t want to go to a big risky city like Detroit Pretty soon it s chaos as everyone has a different destination in mind At the first stopping point in St Louis several people get off the plane in disgust One can be heard saying Can you believe this thing was headed for Detroit I m outta here I ll just find a bus back home Back on the now half empty plane no one is happy except for the pilot who is oblivious to the rancor in the passenger area The plane full of people happy when they boarded and took off is now filled with disgruntled angry disillusioned individuals and all because of poor communication about the destination When we plant new churches we d better know where we re going We d better have a plan We d better communicate that well over and over and over to those who are joining in Otherwise chaos will reign And this is true for existing churches as well Headed somewhere new Excited about a new vision new direction Communicate well before takeoff And not just over the intercom Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Clear communication key to accomplishing church goals Monday Oct 1 2012 Does your church know where it is going by Don Morris Mission USA director When I have the opportunity to consult with church leadership groups about their purpose and vision strategy I often use an airplane analogy to help them understand the importance of clear communication Maybe I use this comparison because I fly so often The analogy goes like this As we think about our church or church plant imagine getting on an airplane to go somewhere We know several people but not everyone boarding the big passenger plane Most of us know the routine people are stashing their luggage finding their seats getting to know the person they re seated next to putting their phone to sleep etc For many on board this is an exciting adventure We re going someplace The plane fills the flight attendant gives his mandatory safety speech and the plane backs out from the terminal Soon the plane taxis to

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Clear-communication-key-to-accomplishing-church-goals.html (2016-02-17)
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    August 1 and has begun the process of forming a core team for the new plant with an anticipated launch on Easter Sunday 2013 Mission USA and the Pacific District Conference will be major partners in the new plant providing both leadership support and funding The anticipated location for the church plant is the Sellwood Moreland area In fact the Pulliams have already secured housing in that area of Portland Sellwood fits us well and we believe people in that part of Portland are hungry for truth Our vision is much like Trinity s to teach deeply from the Word of God says Jared Pulliam is currently completing a seminary degree from Western Seminary in Portland with an anticipated degree in biblical theological studies He has also been under the tutelage of Trinity s lead pastor Art Azurdia Jared has prepared himself well for this new work Azurdia says Julia Pulliam a nurse and mom to their three young children is also a gifted facilitator encourager and administrator They make a great team and have a great marriage says Don Morris Mission USA director We are already making an impact in Portland and it s going to continue to increase Lord willing Morris says I am personally thrilled that a church as young as Trinity just two years old is already in a position to plant another church We anticipate that a few people will leave Trinity to join the Pulliams giving them stability from the beginning Trinity Church has said all along that they want to be all about doing whatever it takes to reach people and this church plant is a passion filled indicator that they mean it Azurdia is also in the process of training several more young men for future church planting and or pastoral ministry It s part of what we do here at Trinity to prepare for future church planting training up new leaders Azurdia says Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Portland congregation starts daughter church Monday Oct 1 2012 Sellwoord Moreland area target community for new church plant Mission USA news story Trinity Church of Portland Ore our USMB church plant started September 2010 has recently announced that they are planting another church in the Portland area with Jared and Julia Pulliam right as the church plant couple Jared joined the Trinity staff full time August 1 and has begun the process of forming a core team for the new plant with an anticipated launch on Easter Sunday 2013 Mission USA and the Pacific District Conference will be major partners in the new plant providing both leadership support and funding The anticipated location for the church plant is the Sellwood Moreland area In fact the Pulliams have already secured housing in that area of Portland Sellwood fits us well and we believe people in that part of Portland are hungry for truth Our vision is much like Trinity s to teach deeply from the Word of God says

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Portland-congregation-starts-daughter-church.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    a priest had declared the leper clean again So impossible was this situation that healing or curing leprosy was compared in difficulty to raising the dead 2 Kings 5 7 However despite the impossible situation this leper faced he learned some powerful realities concerning Jesus First he learned that nothing is impossible for God s love When he begged Jesus to make him clean if he was willing it says in Mark 1 41 Filled with compassion Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man In other words no matter how unclean his state whether due to his own failures or sins or just the cards that he had been dealt Jesus loved Him and would touch him and be there with him no matter what Nothing could make him an outcast to Jesus Second he learned that no problem was impossible for Jesus to solve Leprosy was viewed to be as difficult as raising the dead and yet in response to his request for cleaning we read I am willing he said Be clean Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured Apparently not even death is too difficult for Jesus What impossible situation do you face today Like the leper do you feel unlovable Do you feel like the situation you face is impossible like not even God can handle this one God put the story of Jesus healing a leper in the Bible to encourage you that nothing is impossible for him He put that story in the Bible so you would trust him and turn to him and so his word would change the way you think and change the way you pray That as Mark Batterson says The transcript of your prayers would become the script of your life May your script be one that overcomes the impossible through the love and power of Jesus Brian Allen is lead pastor at Hillsboro Kan MB Church Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments The Gospels learning from a leper Monday Oct 1 2012 No problem is impossible for God by Brian Allen Before life is over all of us will face our share of impossible situations Whether it is a health report that is far from what we hoped for a financial situation that just keeps getting worse and worse a relationship that seems beyond reconciliation or a dream that is so big that it just seems there is no way it will ever come about sooner or later we will be staring down the barrel of impossible In my own life impossible has come in the form of addiction of health concerns for my wife during the pregnancy of one of our children a dream for a sports outreach ministry that though I sense it is God given just seems to require more resources than is possible and in the salvation of a family member that I desperately desire to see come to know Christ With some of these God

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/The-Gospels-learning-from-a-leper.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    allowing us to leave drop boxes in libraries schools and businesses Other Mennonite Brethren churches Zoar MB in Inman Kan Parkview MB in Hillsboro Kan Fairview Okla MB to name a few joined the effort And many in our Watershed community went door to door collecting books During December and January we found ourselves quite overwhelmed as we looked across the chapel where Watershed gathers and saw a sea of books in need of sorting bundling and delivering The something that happened had to be the Holy Spirit God s kingdom vision is much greater than our own When the book drive ended we had collected 22 405 books over twice our goal and a nearly 3 000 percent increase from the previous year s effort We were able to personally deliver one book to every elementary student in the entire Kansas City school district Thousands more went to schools and teachers and other organizations Watershed supports When God uses Christians and non Christians churches and businesses to accomplish his work it is a beautiful sight an overwhelming experience When Jesus came to earth he inaugurated a new kingdom that will ultimately renew all things God s kingdom once here in fullness will be one without pain or suffering poverty or unemployment addiction or disease sin or evil guilt or shame or even illiteracy The simple act of handing a student a book a student who may be holding the first book she s ever owned is another step in God s kingdom being made manifest on earth Until it s here in full it is my prayer and hope that our little Watershed community will continue to take baby steps toward making God s kingdom known in our world Paul Bartel is a church planter in Kansas City Mo leading the Watershed congregation a community of people who have covenanted together to live on mission in the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments The Kingdom of God is like 22 405 books Monday Oct 1 2012 Church plant book drive targets inner city children By Paul Bartel The gospel is preached daily in a million ways God transforms lives and systems and structures and institutions constantly Kingdom work can take on a myriad of forms One way our community Watershed has decided to participate in kingdom work is by serving places largely neglected by our Kansas City community The Kansas City public schools we felt were a good place to start A lack of books at home is one reality inner city children encounter Studies have shown that many children living in poverty have zero books of their own at home A quick count reveals that our youngest son Salem has over 100 board books That s not even counting the hundreds of others we have for the older boys Having no access to books at home can lead to all kinds of brokenness in the life of a young child

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/The-Kingdom-of-God-is-like-22405-books.html (2016-02-17)
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    versus the nine months you d normally expect for a church plant says Thiessen This has allowed us to release several young people into ministry opportunities When The Grove was planted in 2007 MVCC and Butler Ave MB Church another Mennonite Brethren congregation in Fresno provided the core group The group targeted the Sunnyside community of southeast Fresno Over the next three years the church plant grew and organized small groups children programs and community ministries A year ago The Grove commissioned Lowell and Melissa Ens as their first missionaries the Ens family is serving with MB Mission in Peru But the congregation had its struggles and in late June 2012 The Grove contacted MVCC asking for help We met and came up with a plan and then implemented it almost immediately says Thiessen pictured left at a fall MVCC Sunnyside service For three Sundays in August The Grove congregation worshiped with MVCC while meeting with MVCC Lead Pastor Fred Leonard and other MVCC staff to plan for the re launch MVCC Sunnyside held its first service Sept 2 at Fancher Creek Elementary School Mission USA director Don Morris says It has been a great restart with a very positive atmosphere great music a good mix of young and older leadership and tremendous support from several entities While the Sunnyside community has good and vibrant churches Thiessen says given the size of the community it can support more Southeast Fresno is an area that is growing numerically Just south of Fancher Creek Elementary on a 40 acre parcel of land is a new neighborhood that has developed in the past five years According to Thiessen the community is ethnically diverse with white black Hispanic and Southeast Asia families As MVCC and MVCC Sunnyside anticipate restarting their ministry in southeast Fresno Thiessen asks for others to join them in praying for wisdom and the ability to penetrate the community in a fresh way Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Church plant re launched in SE Fresno Sunday Sep 30 2012 The Grove restarted as Mountain View Community Church satellite campus by Connie Faber Republished June 20 2013 The Grove a five year old Mennonite Brethren church plant in Fresno Calif was re launched Sept 2 as a satellite campus of Mountain View Community Church MVCC the congregation that originally planted the southeast Fresno church The new church Mountain View Community Church Sunnyside is meeting at Fancher Creek Elementary School and had its public kick off this past weekend Sept 23 A mass mailing was sent to the neighborhood informing residents of the new church in their community and Saturday volunteers distributed 1 000 door hangers Mission USA the USMB church planting and renewal ministry and the Pacific District Conference are partnering with MVCC to restart the Sunnyside church plant The new church plant will be fully connected to Mountain View says MVCC Executive Pastor David Thiessen While the two locations will hold separate Sunday worship services and

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Church-plant-re-launched-in-SE-Fresno.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    experienced from others and shown to one another during the past 10 days and the love of God Head Football Coach Mike Gardner thanked the college community for the love and support they have shown the football team Grief does not change us but it reveals who we are said Gardner The more we grieve the closer God is My hope is that you will allow God s love to heal you and my challenge is that you will tell the people in your life that you love them Gardner told the audience of primarily college students Today is a difficult day for us individually and as a community said Jim Paulus vice president for student life God has displayed his love for us through our community Afternoon classes had been cancelled said Paulus so that students could spend time with each other For the rest of the day be with each other in community he said Referring to the pain and hurt that many were feeling Vice President of Athletics and Enrollment Management Rusty Allen began his memorial service message by asking those present to stand and exchange hugs Hugs said Allen are a universal sign of love and support Reading from Isaiah 61 Allen said I believe God is ready to trade beauty for our ashes Oh I m not saying that the grief and mourning will be forgotten or that they do not remain a healthy part of the process we are going through But what I am saying is God can in a flash replace beauty for our ashes joy for our mourning and praise for our despair He asked the audience to consider what good could come from Brown s death What if Brandon s tragedy moves us to following Christ more intentionally so that our world becomes more like God intended it Allen encouraged the student body to see the hurting and lost people around them What if Brandon s tragedy brings us closer together What if it changes how we view each other said Allen We aren t all the same but we are brothers and sisters We should constantly be on the lookout for each other What if we showed respect for each other in our words and our actions within and without one another s presence said Allen Allen also invited those present to consider their answer to the question God will some day pose Why should I let you into heaven What if Brandon s tragedy leads someone even one person to make a decision for an eternity spent in heaven I believe Brandon made that decision said Allen The hour long memorial service also included comments from President Jules Glanzer who opened and closed the memorial service We don t understand God s ways said Glanzer but he understands us Aleen Ratzlaff Brown s academic advisor described Brown as a gentle man whose goals in coming to Tabor were to get his life on track to get his college degree and to be a good father to his two children Josh Murphy a teammate of Brown s composed and recorded a song in tribute to Brown that was played during a slide show prepared by three fellow football team members A fund has been established to help Brown s family with their travel expenses and to assist his two children To donate contact Emprise Bank 104 E Grand Hillsboro KS 67063 Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments TC student dies from injuries arrest made Tuesday Sep 25 2012 McPherson College student held on charges By Connie Faber with files from local news media Today the Tabor College student body and campus community honored the life of student Brandon Brown during an 11 a m memorial service held at Hillsboro Kan MB Church Tabor College is the Mennonite Brethren college located in Hillsboro Kan The 26 year old Tabor College football player from Sacramento Calif died Sept 22 from injuries sustained the week before in an altercation that took place in McPherson Kan A 19 year old Texas man has been arrested on charges that were amended following Brown s death to aiding and abetting murder in the second degree Alton Franklin a McPherson College student from Dallas Texas and a former member of the McPherson College football team is being held on 500 000 bond in McPherson County Jail A preliminary hearing is set for Oct 3 McPherson police who are working with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation on the case say the investigation into Brown s death is still ongoing Brown was found beaten unconscious and unresponsive early on the morning of Sept 16 According to a report from the McPherson Police Depart ment officers were dispatched to a loud music call in the 400 block of North Carrie in McPher son Upon their arrival officers found Brown lying just off of the street unconscious and unresponsive Brown had been on life support and in critical condition at Via Christi Saint Francis Hospital in Wichita Kan after being airlifted from McPherson Hospital the morning of the incident He died without regaining consciousness Colleges respond Both Tabor College and McPherson College founded by the Brethren in Christ and located 30 miles west of Hillsboro are struggling to deal with Brown s death The two colleges and their students are not strangers to one another Both colleges are members of the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas ACCK a consortium of six private four year church related liberal arts institutions located within 40 miles of McPherson The two colleges are also members of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and their football teams are scheduled to play one another Oct 20 The two colleges held prayer vigils before and after Brown s death Last week President Jules Glanzer of Tabor College and President Michael Schneider of McPherson College wrote open letters to the students and faculty of the other institution Head football coach Mike Gardner has stressed the

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/TC-student-dies-from-injuries-arrest-made.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    000 Other sources of income include interest and endowment income distributions by MB Foundation and funds from USMB ministry partners for the USMB Slavic Ministry While USMB staff have committed themselves to increased fundraising USMB leaders are hopeful that the decision to move from a norms approach to church giving to a proportional funding model will increase contributions over time from the 194 congregations that form the U S Conference of MB Churches Under the new model churches are asked to send a first fruits financial gift of 2 5 percent of general offerings to support USMB ministries We recognize this transition will take time writes USMB executive director Ed Boschman in an August letter to all USMB congregations We ask two things for this time of transition If your norms giving exceeds 2 5 percent of your general offerings please hold to the line on the norms number for the next three years If your church is not supporting USMB at all or very little please start at 1 percent and plan to grow to 2 5 percent in the next three years Meanwhile USMB staff members are thankful for the positive signs they see in the year end report for the 2011 12 fiscal year The USMB 2011 12 fiscal year end report made available to all U S Mennonite Brethren churches and reviewed by delegates to Conection 2012 shows that total receipts exceeded the budget of 848 000 by 3 380 The year end report also shows that while USMB ministries Slavic Ministry Mission USA the Christian Leader and Board of Faith and Life came in under budget expense lines for overall administration staff and the Leadership Board were over budget The USMB annual budget also includes support for various Mennonite Brethren and interdenominational ministries and that line also exceeded the budget Expense lines were over budget by 35 623 resulting in a year end deficit of 20 384 Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Meeting USMB budget depends on fundraising Monday Sep 24 2012 Visionary budget of 1 million includes funds for 6 new church plants By Connie Faber Given the importance of securing additional funding for USMB ministries the announcement that longtime U S Mennonite Brethren pastor J Edward Epp of Henderson Neb has been hired as the USMB director of development couldn t have come at a better time While the director of development position was established in 2011 and filled on a part time basis from October 2011 to April 2012 Epp is the first person to hold the position full time He will play a key role in meeting USMB staff fundraising goals of 394 284 for the current fiscal year up from 200 000 the previous fiscal year While the 2011 12 budget included funds for only minimal ministry growth the 2012 13 budget of 1 018 524 a 20 percent increase over the previous year reflects an aggressive plan The increases come in new staff and

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Meeting-USMB-budget-depends-on-fundraising.html (2016-02-17)
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