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  • USMB
    the confession did not delineate exactly God s relationship to human freedom They confessed that Jesus work on the cross saves but their confession did not spell out which theological atonement model was essential to MB theology They confessed the glorious hope of Jesus return to judge at the end of time but their confession did not insist on a particular dispensational or millennial theology a particular understanding of the State of Israel a particular understanding of the postmortem reality and so on For Mennonite Brethren these details were the domain of theology not confession When pressed for precision they would say What does the Bible say The moderating speech from leading MB voices was usually strong enough to calm tensions if disputes flared up pointing out the merits of sticking with the Bible and not getting drawn into naming one or other theological interpretation of the Bible whether Mennonite charismatic or Baptist as the one that speaks for the whole MB movement This blended family status also explains why many from different Christian traditions have found a church home among Mennonite Brethren The fact that Mennonite Brethren have historically not pressed for complete theological alignment makes us a very hospitable option This is not because Mennonite Brethren are so smart but simply because it would be impossible to achieve complete theological alignment without doing damage to someone in the family No doubt the increasing theological differences in the family will further challenge Mennonite Brethren to exercise our blended family life skills Much like the first churches see Romans 14 1 12 Mennonite Brethren can find encouragement in Paul s counsel to sit with differences of opinion refusing to break fellowship over differences listening together to the Spirit s leading and leaving final judgments with God Jon Isaak is the executive secretary of the MB Historical Commission the research and archiving service for U S and Canadian MB churches www mbhistory org Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments A blended family Friday May 1 2015 MB confessions of faith reflect three historical influences By Jon Isaak As I have opportunity to speak about God s work among Mennonite Brethren our history and theology I continue to be amazed by this 155 year old story a story that remains surprisingly relevant Let me explain The MB story from birth to the present is the story of a renewal movement within the larger Mennonite tradition As such Mennonite Brethren have self identified as a Spirit led church reaching outward to the watching world with Jesus good news of God s salvation deliverance and healing Because of our history Mennonite Brethren can be thought of as a blended family one that merges the Mennonite vision together with two particular evangelical visions those of the German Baptists and the more charismatic oriented Lutheran Pietists The MB renewal movement adopted several charismatic features as did other 19th century protestant denominations that were shaped by Lutheran pietistic reforms Emphases were personal conversion

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/A-blended-family.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    the ultimate love story but it is not just between him and us He also calls and empowers us to provide that same love for others here on earth today How do we do this How do we stop ourselves in the midst of emotional responses to someone else s offensive words or actions God is not asking us to do this on our own The good news is he promises to provide everything we need for life and holiness so we can escape the corruption of the world 2 Peter 1 3 4 He does call us to take action 2 Peter 1 5 7 provides specific instructions For this very reason you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness and goodness with knowledge and knowledge with self control and self control with endurance and endurance with godliness and godliness with mutual affection and mutual affection with love Truly we cannot love one another without the power given us through the Spirit of God We know conflict IS It happens We know conflict is not unique to one generation Each generation has its own personality a unique view of life and perception of the older and younger generations So what can we all do to honor one another And the most important question of all What can everyone do to honor God Conflict happens Prepare for it Have a plan and practice the biblical applications mentioned above Look for the good in others while critically looking in the mirror at your own actions Be grace filled forgive and don t separate truth from love or love from truth These are the activities that bring peace and hope in our lives and in the lives of others Dale Pyne is the CEO of Peacemaker Ministries in Colorado Springs Colo USMB partners with Peacemaker Ministries to train leaders and pastors for conflict resolution and recommends Peacemaker Ministries resources to congregations Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Conflict is Friday May 1 2015 All generations share the experience of conflict By Dale Pyne I have two sons and daughters in law who are Millennials teens and 20 somethings currently moving into adulthood I don t fully understand how or why Millennials think or act as they do any more than they understand how or why I think and act the way I do Millennials Boomers Xers Greatest Generation or The Matures members of each generation have their own unique perspectives influenced by the culture and climate of the prior generations who raised them Combined with the political social familial and economic environments of their day these differences are where great things can happen or conflict can begin In fact conflict is something we all have in common Conflict from the beginning As long as there are two people on earth there will be conflict I like to say Conflict IS From the beginning of time when there were only two people on earth there was

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Conflict-is.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    my family is choosing a restaurant when going out to eat With the different tastes of my six children along with my wife s and mine an all you can eat buffet offers the variety that satisfies Each person finds what fills and pleases and we leave accomplishing the goal to eat and to celebrate Whenever we do this I always feel hungry and thirsty sometime after Whether in the morning the next day or later I am hungry and look for my next meal With that thought in mind Jesus isn t equating himself with some all you can eat physical buffet when he says he is the bread of life and whoever comes shall not hunger and shall never thirst Jesus means that there is a hunger in our souls for something only he can satisfy In coming to him in faith we find in a relationship with Jesus Christ the satisfaction for our soul s hunger and thirst We understand this relationship is eternal life for Jesus promises to raise up each person who comes to him John 6 39 40 44 As Jesus equates himself with eternal life we know the eternal saving power of God in Christ that is ours at conversion We also come to know spiritually sustaining power from an ongoing dependent relationship with Jesus We will need to keep coming to Jesus to satisfy our desire for more of him Something in us is only satisfied by him and the more we get the more we desire We must resist the temptation to search in wrong places to satisfy that longing We were designed to worship but can be idolatrous by looking somewhere other than Jesus to find that which can be found only in him soul satisfaction Jesus is the bread of life which eternally satisfies the hunger of our souls Scott Crook is lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Gettysburg SD Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments I am the bread of life Friday May 1 2015 Only Jesus can fill the hunger of our souls by Scott Crook Jesus said to them I am the bread of life whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst John 6 35 The day following Jesus miracle of the feeding of the 5 000 as recorded in John 6 Jesus discusses with the crowd in Capernaum a greater meaning to the miracle He warns them that if they follow him only to get more food they will miss out on a greater blessing He tells them they need to believe in him They speak of how God had miraculously fed their ancestors in the wilderness with manna bread from heaven They saw this as a miraculous sign from God and they want another miraculous sign from Jesus Jesus tells them that God gives the true bread from heaven which gives life to the world The crowd responds Sir give us

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/I-am-the-bread-of-life.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    during the evening sessions For participants who noticed the small things there were subtle reminders that names and identity were the focus of the weekend Event backpacks and water bottles were printed with the words Named 2015 Every participant s name was in the program booklet Pre session games incorporated individual photos of students taken during registration Lyrics to songs performed by James Isaac and the unNamed House Band during pre sessions and sessions talked about names and identity The Named 2015 schedule included morning devotions for teens and sponsors led by Mark Thompson of MB Mission Evenings included an hour following the worship session for youth groups to meet and discuss Richardson s message and the day s activities Tabor College and Fresno Pacific University the two Mennonite Brethren owned institutions sponsored Late Night A 600 person dodgeball game was the late night highlight Thursday Friday night featured illusionist Joshua Jordan and For All Seasons playing their own songs Saturday night it was inflatables The two schools sent a total of 12 students to Denver to also assist the Named 2015 planning team as student interns There were a number of indicators throughout the weekend and beyond that Richardson s messages as well as other aspects of Named 2015 impacted the students Students were invited to visit the Sharing Booth Saturday afternoon and evening to reflect on what God had been stirring in them and how they had changed their views on their identity MB Mission videographer John Mark Bergen filmed the students comments and testimonies and these will be included in the Named 2015 recap DVD Students also posted their responses to the weekend on a variety of social media sites including this comment from one student on the Named 2015 Facebook page My group experienced life changing moments I could talk for hours about the ways our awesome God moved Thank you so much for all your hard work Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Students challenged to think about their identity Friday May 1 2015 Named 2015 draws 780 students sponsors By Connie Faber with Myra Holmes and Jared Janzen Every four years senior high students from Mennonite Brethren churches across the nation gather for a weekend of creative and meaningful worship challenging messages grounded in Scripture and opportunities for ministry and service at the largest gathering of Mennonite Brethren in the United States This year 780 students and youth workers representing 38 congregations and all five USMB district conferences traveled to the Mile High City for Named 2015 the National Youth Conference NYC held April 9 12 at the Colorado Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Downtown Denver The eight member Named 2015 planning team had been praying and working for three years to create an event uniquely designed with U S Mennonite Brethren teens in mind They selected Matthew 16 13 18 as the Scripture theme In this passage the disciple Peter is given a new name when he declares Jesus

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Students-challenged-to-think-about-their-identity.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    Like many early Mennonite Brethren congregations the Lodi church first worshiped in German with a gradual transition to English beginning in the 1940s Hudson says that whatever the language or style excellent worship and preaching has always been highly valued at Vinewood He says worship at Vinewood is quality driven so that visitors and regulars alike will know they ve been in the presence of God He says that the church has likewise been blessed with a strong pulpit ministry with challenging and uplifting preaching We ve been very fortunate Hudson says Suess names a commitment to the truth of the Bible as one of the church s core values both historically and for the future No matter the trends he says Vinewood has been and will be rooted in the Word Looking ahead As the congregation celebrates a century of God s grace attendees also look forward to the next 100 years Suess says that effectively reaching the next generation will continue to be a challenge He notes that Vinewood has a long history of raising up leaders cheering young people on and calling them back to the truth and he says that will be an ongoing need There is a generation that s hungry he says Hudson who collected the video interviews for the centennial notes that many interviewees talked about the challenge of staying relevant in a changing culture As Suess says If the church doesn t speak with a clear voice in a relevant and loving way we re just going to be sidelined even more At the same time many of those interviewed for the centennial video said the church s vision and message will remain the same Hudson notes that while language and worship styles have changed over the years the gospel has not changed and it will not change in another 100 years We serve a living Christ That will always be true he says Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Vinewood celebrates 100 Monday Apr 27 2015 Mission and message remain the same for Lodi Calif congregation By Myra Holmes Vinewood Community Church Lodi Calif marked 100 years with a day of celebration April 19 The anniversary festivities will continue with a family friendly picnic this summer An overflow crowd attended a Sunday morning service with the theme 100 Years of Celebrating God s Grace All five living senior pastors were there Henry Dick Vernon Janzen Jim Holm pictured right Gary Wall and current pastor Rod Suess Holm preached using the seven words to the seven churches in Revelation to challenge Vinewood with Seven Words for the Next Century The morning also featured a video of interviews that reflected on Vinewood s past and future Suess says that in those stories and in informal conversations God s grace through people who are both flawed and faithful was a continuing theme An impromptu choir sang a closing blessing over the church with The Lord Bless You and Keep You

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Vinewood-celebrates-100.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    unified force makes the church something the gates of hell cannot withstand Matt 16 18 That s the power of the cross too David Wiebe has been a member of a Christian rock band a pastor and an MB conference executive Since 2011 he has served the International Community of Mennonite Brethren as executive director Did You Know The name of the Mennonite Brethren conference of Lithuania is Free Christian Church Laisv Krikšioni Bažnyia LKB in Lithuanian LKB s first churches were established in 1994 1997 but people had been meeting underground in the Soviet area LKB is comprised of 7 churches with a total membership of about 200 Arturas Rulinskas is the bishop one of three elders who comprise leadership as equals in joint authority and responsibility LKB churches have been planted through the work of MB Mission Eastern Mennonite Mission of Lancaster Pa and Kontakt Mission of Germany LKB accepted and translated the ICOMB International Confession of Faith in 2012 13 and became a member of ICOMB in 2014 Non traditional churches are viewed with suspicion in Lithuanian society which struggles with a post Soviet mindset alcohol and drug abuse and a very high suicide rate LCC International University was begun as a Western style English language college in 1991 Art DeFehr of Winnipeg led the way with Johannes Reimer of Germany who was concerned for Christian education in the newly independent Lithuania and Otonas Balciunas a local Christian minister LCC is the only Christian university serving Eastern Europe and is both a mission and educational enterprise The story of LCC can be found in Lithuania Christian College A Work in Progress Sarah Klassen ed published 2001 The International Community of Mennonite Brethren ICOMB is a fellowship of 21 national conferences in 19 countries Thanks to the MB Herald the magazine of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches for providing this yearlong series that we will be publishing exclusively online Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Wiebe s Witness The power of the cross Monday Apr 27 2015 Hill of Crosses symbol of hope and faith in Lithuania By David Wiebe Drawing from his visits with Mennonite Brethren churches around the world ICOMB executive director David Wiebe offers insights on faith The first time I visited Lithuania pastor Valdas picked me up from the Šiauliai show lie train station and asked You want to see something unique We have a little time before our meeting Of course I was in a new country eager to learn as much as I can about the new potential ICOMB member Lithuania Free Christian Church What I saw was indeed exceptional I m not sure anything like this exists anywhere else It s Lithuania s Hill of Crosses a combination sacred site folk art exhibit and monument located about 12 km from Šiauliai Crosses commemorate lives special occasions In 1831 the story goes the first crosses were erected by the next of kin of rebels who fell in

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Wiebes-Witness-The-power-of-crosses.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    that they give Homeowners and partner groups from Far Rockaway NY sang praises and gave thanks to God April 2 for the hundreds of volunteers who came through their community over the past three years rebuilding homes after Superstorm Sandy Pointing at pictures of volunteers in a recent copy of the MDS newsletter Behind the Hammer Anne Marie Durm a Howard Beach NY homeowner said that each morning I pray for each one of them Durm was found shivering on the third floor attic of her home after Sandy nearly destroyed her home Today her home is solid secure and warm and she will be the first to say it s because of volunteers When listening to New York State Senator James Sanders speak of MDS volunteers however it is not about the money saved when MDS volunteers serve a community It was about something else a different value and a priceless value Sanders was as insistent as he was in jest when he said at the Far Rockaway gathering that MDS is not allowed to leave New York even though the work is done We are not going to let you go he said By the power invested in me I revoke your leaving you cannot leave the Rockaways we have fallen in love with you and therefore you are ours he said to applause from the audience Photo by Lawrence Matthews Bluffton University students Andrea Klein a senior from Napolean OH left and Rachel Keske a sophomore from Lima OH right stand with Cletus Yoder Galloway OH These Bluffton students volunteered with MDS in Far Rockaway NY during their spring break week Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States While the main focus is on clean up repair and rebuilding homes this service touches lives and nurtures hope faith and wholeness Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments MDS celebrates National Volunteer Month Monday Apr 27 2015 How much are MDS volunteers worth More than 4 million By Mark Beach April is National Volunteer Month in the United States and National Volunteer Week April 11 15 in Canada For organizations like Mennonite Disaster Service MDS no month of the year could be more important than April Volunteers are the life blood of MDS Without them there is no MDS Without them many survivors of storms will lose hope and struggle to recover In 2014 there were 3 636 short term long term youth and retirees assisting disaster survivors in Canada and the U S Together they worked more than 26 361 days and served 463 disaster survivors They cleaned up after disasters made minor and major repairs to some 250 homes and buildings and built 36 new homes They worked in High River Alta Alakanuk Ala Detroit Mich Fort Walton Fla Staten Island NY and Hattiesburg Miss to name a few places They even helped to

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/MDS-celebrates-National-Volunteer-Month.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    but also of clothing Finally after more than a year the newly established Soviet Union allowed MCC into the region under the condition they feed and clothe all people in need not just Mennonites Alvin Miller the new MCC director agreed and the first relief kitchen opened March 16 1922 in the village of Rosenthal Choritza colony Local villagers helped run the kitchens that fed 800 to 1 000 people every day By May that year MCC was feeding 24 000 to 25 000 people daily in 140 kitchens throughout the southern Soviet Union They also opened food programs in parts of Siberia Helping people feed themselves MCC workers soon recognized it was not enough to feed and clothe people They also wanted to help people feed themselves Residents of southern Russia lacked many of the necessary materials to begin farming again Many of the horses in the country had either died during the war or starved during the famine MCC coordinated two shipments of Ford tractors sent from Detroit Mich to help with the harvest These along with horses and cows were provided to farmers on credit By 1923 Ukraine experienced a decent harvest which enabled MCC to leave the region at that time MCC returned to Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union at the invitation of a local Baptist Union Today the conflict in Ukraine has once again compelled MCC to respond by supporting local partners so they can provide food and supplies for displaced people A video with more photos of MCC s early days can be seen at mcc org stories tractors ukraine origins mcc relief To learn more about MCC s recent work in Ukraine visit mcc org and search for Ukraine Mennonite Central Committee Relief development and peace in the name of Christ Photo Ukraine farmers harvest barley with a swather sent from MCC near Choritza sometime between 1922 and 1925 MCC Photo Collection Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Origin of MCC relief was tractors for Ukraine Monday Apr 27 2015 MCC held its first official meeting then commissioned first relief team By Meghan Mast for MCC Relief and development are not just words to MCC they formed and continue to shape what the organization is today To understand let s go back to the very beginning in Ukraine a place where MCC currently is responding to a different crisis with cash assistance blankets kits and canned meat Nearly 100 years ago citizens of southern Russia were buckling under the weight of revolution heavy Bolshevik taxes and a typhoid epidemic Four Mennonite men from the area set out to ask for help Russians seek help from U S Canadian Mennonites In 1920 the Studien Kommission as the group was called traveled from southern Russia what is today known as Ukraine to western Europe and North America They shared stories of the revolution counter revolutions and resulting struggles for the approximately 100 000 Mennonites and other residents Their

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Origin-of-MCC-relief-efforts-trace-to-tractors.html (2016-02-17)
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