Pastor Carl Johnson with the Lord

Pastor Carl Johnson

Long-time FCA friend and pastor Carl Johnson went to be with the Lord this past Monday, September 21, 2020. He was 69, born on November 2, 1950.

Carl attended Oral Roberts University where he met Diana Stansell from California. They married in 1972. Carl earned a Masters of Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell in 1974 and a Doctor of Divinity from Kings College in 2008.

Carl moved with his family to New City, New York, in December 1977 to pastor New City Gospel Fellowship (now called Gracepoint Gospel Fellowship). He remained pastor there for over 40 years and was well loved by his congregation.

Carl enjoyed teaching, preaching, mission work, skiing with kids and grandkids, and attending Giants and Yankee games. His time with family and grandkids brought him great joy even as he fought cancer. He will be greatly missed by his family and the church he served so well.

Family will receive friends on Friday evening from 7 – 8:30 pm and Saturday from 9 – 10:30 am at Gracepoint, 384 New Hempstead Rd in New City. Carl’s family will receive friends Friday evening as well as Saturday morning, September 26, at Gracepoint (384 Hempstead Road, New City) from 9 a.m. until the 10:30 service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Gracepoint with his name. All funds received will be sent to IllumiNations, an organization working to translate the Bible into every language. Carl’s desire was always to spread the message that guided his life and gave him hope.

The service will be livestreamed (10:30 a.m. eastern time) on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gracepointgf

Carl’s full obituary may be found at: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/new-city-ny/carl-johnson-9374430

Prayers for a Post-COVID Church

by Scott Neubauer

In the past five months COVID-19 has shaken the world as we know it—the church world included. During this time, I’ve thought about how God might be using the time we’re in to shake and reshape his church—perhaps even bringing an end to “four-walled” Christianity. Out of that thought process have emerged my points of prayer for a post-COVID church.

1. Less Entertaining, More Equipping.
The major ministry of “the church” is equipping people to “do ministry.” By ministry, I mean ministry outside of Sunday morning. That means less focus on a spiritual show that wows people and more focus on equipping people to actually reach the world they live in Monday through Saturday.

2. Less Spectators, More Ministers.
One of the biggest lies to permeate the modern church is that there’s a small group of guys and gals who do the “ministry” while everyone else just sits back and enjoys. I pray this mentality is coming to a swift end.

3. Less Sunday, More Monday.
If what happens inside the church walls doesn’t change the lives we live outside the church walls, what’s the point? Your job is your pulpit and your colleagues are your congregation. We must move from simply expressing our faith on Sundays to living out our faith on Mondays.

4. More Creativity, Less Passivity.
We live in a world that calls us to constantly consume content. Too many times this mentality has infiltrated the church and we become “church consumers”: consuming worship, a sermon, etc. I believe God has called us to create as well. He is the Creator, and we are made in his image! Let’s not waste our life only consuming.

5. More Prayer, Less Politics.
In some cases that means more prayer, less posting. Our primary job as believers as it relates to our governing authorities is not complaining: it’s praying. Am I praying for them as much as I’m complaining about them? Let’s be careful we’re about our Father’s business and invest our time and energy into the things dear to his heart rather than simply those of our favorite political party.

6. More Passion, Less Profession.
I pray the days we’re living in restore our passion as Christians. Faith without works is useless, but so is profession of our faith without passion for our faith.
Romans 12:10-11 (NLT) tells us, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”
Church within the four walls has led us to become educated beyond our obedience. We know all the right things, but the passion to put them into practice is lacking.

7. More About People, Less About a Place.
In the Old Testament there was a holy place, but now there’s only a holy people—the holy place is wherever God’s people set their feet. COVID-19 has caused multi-million dollar church buildings to sit nearly empty. It’s moved the body of Christ to think outside the box: holding worship services on rooftops, in parking lots, in neighborhoods, and more. I pray this pushes us as the church at large to rightfully return our focus to the people of God rather than simply a place we gather. The questions we must ask ourselves in every season is: “What is God up to? What good thing does he want to accomplish in me?” I pray we don’t miss our chance to reset as a church and as individuals.

Scott Neubauer, is Lead Pastor at Watershed Church in Elgin, Illinois.

 

 

Billie Call: With the Lord

VETERAN MISSIONARY WITH THE LORD

Billie Call, widow of George Call, died on August 20th, 2020 at the age of 92. At the time of her home-going she resided in a Texas nursing home under hospice care. Her daughter, Terry, shared that for several years Billie had been eagerly anticipating going to be with the Lord.

George and Billie Call were married in 1946 after his return from service in the Navy. They came to the Lord early in their marriage and became faithful servants of Jesus. They pastored at Georgetown Gospel Chapel while attending Seattle Bible School before graduating from there in 1962. In 1963 they became missionaries at the Sinoe Leprosy Mission in Liberia.

When George died in 1982 in an airplane accident, Billie chose to stay on in Liberia to continue the work they had been doing as church planters and Bible teachers. She remained there off and on through two coups until 1992, when she moved back to her hometown of Joplin, Missouri, and continued serving and volunteering at her local church.

Throughout their lives George and Billie Call were dedicated, faithful servants of Jesus Christ. They were greatly appreciated for their long service of ministry in Liberia.

Billie is survived by her son George Jr, daughter-in-law Donna, grandchildren Lana and George III; her daughter Terry Lynn, son-in-law Andrew Herrity, granddaughters Tabitha (husband Tim) and Elizabeth (husband Mitch), and two great grandchildren Abigail and Aidan.

FCA Church Launches Online Bible College

Hope Hill Church in Manhattan, New York, is launching a one-year, two-semester online Bible College (unaccredited) this fall. Hope Hill Bible College will offer a Certificate in Biblical Studies in the first semester, followed by an accompanying Certificate in Leadership Studies in the 2021 spring semester.

The program is designed to assist believers to expand their competencies for a greater life of spiritual legacy and service, whether that be through volunteer ministry or as paid staff at a church, non-profit organization, or on the mission field.

“Our program is intended for serious-minded students of God’s Word,” says Beau Lee, pastor of Hope Hill. “It’s for those who desire to be used by God in serving others for Jesus.” He claims that while the courses will be fun, including community building activities and material, the chief aim of the program is to provide in-depth training for people dedicated to ministry.

As a result, he says the new school is “locked on” to the mission, seeking the most focused applicants. “Our certificate training is vital for us to prepare us as a church to disciple the people God draws into our churches throughout the year,” says Lee, noting that people regularly visit churches with big questions about God. “They come with hurt and pain and in need of the healing only Jesus can offer.”

Still others, Lee observes, need someone to come alongside them to disciple them and lead them through personal issues in order to live full lives and, in turn, share God’s love and truth with others. “Every believer in Jesus needs to be activated to fulfill the Great Commission,” Lee says. “Hope Hill Bible College is here to help equip and activate believers in Jesus all across the United States towards this goal.”

The school’s initial offering will include lectures, reading materials, and media resources from some of the greatest leadership and ministry resources available today. The instruction and course materials will be at a level that should effectively challenge students of all academic backgrounds.

Classes begin on Thursday, September 10th (7:00-9:00 p.m. EST) and continue each Thursday through both the Fall and Spring semesters. The cost ($380 per semester) covers facility, instruction, and course materials with subsidized tuition available for regular Hope Hill attendees.

Due to COVID-19, the application deadline has been extended up to the week before class begins (September 3, 2020). Applicants are encouraged to complete their application as early as possible, however, so they will have opportunity to purchase course books.

Applications (click here) should be submitted to the school office for review. Those accepted will be notified by email and provided a link for Canvas online education platform (along with a student login) to find course information, assignments, and class videos links.

Beau Lee is a professional guitarist, entrepreneur, business consultant, author of Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Salvation, and the Lead Pastor of Hope Hill in Manhattan, New York. After studying theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), he went on to pursue a Master of Science in Management, Strategy & Leadership at Michigan State University (Broad School of Business). Pastor Beau is presently working on a Doctor of Ministry program in Growing & Multiplying Churches from Biola University (Talbot School of Theology), and is writing a commentary on the book of Romans.

On the Receiving End of “the Look”

By Dean Merrill

Did you grow up with a mom or a dad who, if you got out of line, could stop you in your tracks without saying a word? I certainly did. If I was doing or saying something inappropriate (especially in front of other people), a cold stare would let me know I had better cut it out right now. I’d freeze in response.

The other day I came across a moment in Luke’s gospel where Jesus employed “the look” with one of his disciples. It happened in the middle of an intense grilling by the high priest and his minions, with Jesus being bombarded by hostile questions and accusations. Meanwhile, outside at the courtyard fire, Peter was trying to dance around the suspicions of questioners. After his third denial, suddenly “the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter…” (Luke 22:61).

He didn’t say a word. He didn’t need to. The steady gaze of the Master sent a shiver down Peter’s spine as he stumbled out into the chilly darkness, sobbing. He’d been busted.

Actually, the Lord earlier that evening had already said all he needed to—twice: “Pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (vss. 40, 46). Maybe Peter thought Jesus had meant something classic like the temptation to greed, or lust, or pride. Instead, the big fisherman had fallen to the temptation of disloyalty in order to stay anonymous in a dicey environment.

The complex challenges of life put all of us into moments that test our character. Will we do the right thing regardless of the consequences, or will we tap-dance around the matter? Will we rationalize, cut a corner, shade the truth? Or in different moments, will we flare out with cutting words because, after all, we have a right to speak our mind?

Ed Koch was the colorful three-term mayor of New York City throughout the 1980s. When out on the street or in a crowd shaking hands, he often didn’t give the common greeting of “Hello! How are you doing?” Instead, he’d say with a grin, “How’m I doin’? How’m I doin’?” And the blunt citizens of the Big Apple were only too willing to tell Koch exactly what they thought of his performance as mayor.

That’s a good question to ask God at the close of a day, when we slow down enough to review. How did I do today, Lord? Where you pleased with what you saw from me this day? Was anything out of line? Anything I need to correct next time around? I want you to be happy with my words, my actions, even my thoughts and motives, because your opinion of me is what I value most in life.

The apostle Paul once exhorted a group of Christians, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). Whether we get Heaven’s version of a smile, or Heaven’s version of “the look,” it’s always worth making the inquiry.

Dean Merrill, long-time member of the FCA, is a former magazine editor and writer best known for his award-winning collaborations with such Christian leaders as Jim Cymbala (Brooklyn Tabernacle), Wess Stafford (Compassion International), and Gracia Burnham (Philippine missionary hostage survivor). You may find more of Dean Merrill’s writing at www.deanmerrill.com