Author: fcaministers

The Power of One

Thomas Yerman sent this passionate call to unity just before the recent elections in the U.S. Now with a divided Congress, his plea is perhaps even more poignant. What can believers do in such a climate? Read on.


We have become a divided nation, In this divided atmosphere, the call for transparency and freedom of speech have now become tools of destruction.

Why should transparency and freedom of speech give a person the right to hurt others? Yet even good things can be abused when used without boundaries. Even God gives freedom with a “fence” around it.

Boundary fences provide us with the freedom to run and play—but also to protect us. Rules of law or guidelines in relationships are so important. Small compromises here can lead to bigger problems down the road. True freedom is not being able to do whatever you want without restrictions. Rather, to be truly free means a freedom to do what you ought—to do things you were unable to do before being set free.

We can clearly see the battles being fought around us. Our nation’s diversity has been used to divide us, blinding us to the commonality and core of our unity. We must step back and see the unseen battle. The fight is not so much Democrat versus Republican, or left versus right, or liberal versus conservative. The ultimate battle is between darkness and light. It’s called Spiritual Warfare. We are all in it, and we can all see the casualties. But we don’t all recognize the bigger picture.

Our national unity is being threatened! We’ve become a nation where people choose not to stand with their hands on their hearts honoring our flag and nation. We allow protesters with covered faces to destroy other people’s properties and assault those with different ideas and beliefs. We have officials influencing acts of incivility toward other leaders. We have teachers training our children to reject and oppose the foundational truths our nation was built on—or viewpoints that don’t agree with their own. We permit and advertise so-called “witches” to put hexes on Justices and leaders. We have a national media and “entertainment shows” unashamed about showing disrespect to the Office of Presidency. And we see justice used as a tool for favoritism.

Whenever we move away from truth, the moral lines of life begin to smear, the character of righteousness fades, and the distinction between right and wrong blur. Truth and its absolutes are overrun and replaced with subjective feelings. Everybody’s sense of what’s right stands opposed to any other views that might disagree with them. Open hearts close and become hardened.

We no longer are teachable and open to truth We are unable to imagine the progress and possibility of moving forward together. We are experiencing what happens to a nation when that nation moves away from the foundation of truth on which it was established. We ignore the influence of our Constitution and Absolute Authority to define what is right and wrong. We have wasted so much time and energy being distracted by our feelings, our pride, and our moral relativism that we became prey to the enemy’s tactics to divide, putting us in danger of forgetting our true identity of being united as One Nation under God!

Though many walk in the spirit of rebellion and denial, we have all been made in the image of God. And God invites his us into a relationship with himself. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6-7). Jesus, who revealed God the Father to us, was a model for our humanity, and points the way back to the God.  Truth can divide, but remember that truth must be held above our relationships for the sake of those relationships. It is more than possible that we can celebrate our diversity and yet stand in unity.

It’s time for people to make the right choices and stand united as One Nation under God. God has given his people a message along with the Holy Spirit, who stands behind that message to keep us unified. The Gospel keeps Jesus in the center of our lives so we who believe can be a letter from Christ to the world.

Begin to see yourselves as God sees you:

“…we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).

“…you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).

Jesus prayed for unity, that all of us may be one!

“[I pray] for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23).

If we step back to see the bigger picture and get back to our roots in God, as well as our Constitution as a Nation, we will find a place of unity to move forward together. We are all responsible for our choices and actions.

It is time to stand up! As “Believers of God” in Christ, we are especially equipped and born for such a time as this. We are more than we know. We were made by God and for God. Unless we come to grips with that, life will not make sense, and we will not reach our “together potential.”

There is but one God and one Lord. Unity takes effort, but we have his promise, his power, and his presence. There is power in One. Let’s make it happen!

Tom Yerman is an FCA Pastor ministering at Living Hope Church in Elk Grove Village.

New Pastor Appointed

Pastor Ben Salmi and his wife, Crystal.

Pastor Ben Salmi has been appointed to serve as pastor at Full Gospel Church, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. and was installed October 28. He follows Pastor David Reiten who served as pastor for 27 years.

Reiten participated in the installation service along with Fred Goldschmidt, associate pastor of Journey Christian Church, Cloquet, Minnesota, where Salmi had been serving as youth pastor. He and his family moved from there to Grand Rapids in September.

Salmi has been in vocational ministry since 2014, beginning at The Rock Worship Center in Cloquet, Minnesota. Prior to his call into ministry, he worked as residential remodeling contractor.

Pastor Ben has been married for 15 years to his wife, Crystal. Together, they have two daughters, Bella and Emmalyn, ages 10 and 5. He attended seminary at University of Northwestern, St. Paul. MN, where he earned a Master of Arts in Theological Studies.

“I am excited to see what God has in store for us in Grand Rapids,” says Salmi, “and how I get to participate in what God is doing at Full Gospel Church.” Salmi’s heart is to see people come to know and experience Jesus in a real way—in a life-changing way!

Enlightened

by Jael Brattrud 

Last Saturday my mom and I got to go to the “Anchored in Love” annual conference where we got to meet a lot of cool people including pro surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton.

Bethany Hamilton, Christian surfer, one of the speakers at October’s Anchored in Love conference.

It was amazing to see Bethany in person, but it was even cooler to see my mom (Jeannie Brattrud) sharing the love of God to hundreds of girls around my age. It was a moment I’ll never forget—thousands of eyes glistening, ears listening to the message she put together. You could see their hearts filled and their spirits fulfilled as they walked throughout their day.

The conference speakers were impactful, and when we worshipped, God moved. It was powerful to see all types of people come together when we worshiped. Some people were tall, some were missing limbs (like Bethany), but…when we worshipped God, none of that mattered. We were all beautiful. Even though we were different, we all had something in common. That thing was that we all loved Jesus.

It was inspiring to hear tons of different stories of how God moved in people’s lives. Our theme was the God made us all “radiant.” The definition of “radiant” is giving off light or shining bright. God has placed a light in all of us to shine through the darkness of this world. We also learned about sunflowers and how they follow the sun as it moves from east to west. We learned that we should be “sunflowers” and follow the light wherever we go.

I’m excited to attend next year and excited to be the light where ever I go.

Jael Brattrud is the 11-year-old daughter of Drew and Jeannie Brattrud, who pastor Riverside Christian Assembly in Riverside, California.

New Pastor at All Nations Community Church

Pastor Steven W. Bell

Pastor Steven W. Bell has been appointed to serve as Senior Pastor at All Nations
Community Church at 18620 Kedzie Avenue, Homewood, Illinois. Pastor Steve’s installation service takes place at the 10 a.m. worship service on October 7, 2018.

Pastor Steve hails from Otter Creek Community Church, Little Rock, Arkansas where he served as Senior Pastor. He has also served as the Church Planting Strategist for Greater Little Rock Arkansas.

Pastor Steve graduated Central Baptist College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Leadership and Ministry. He matriculated to Memphis Theological Seminary, where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree.

Pastor Steve is married to the lovely Joycelyn Bell, his best friend since high school. They are the proud parents of two children, Olivia Abigail and Noah Webster.

Preaching To a Divided Congregation

by John D. Sprecher, U.S. Lead Elder

Politics has always been a divisive issue in nearly every country and context. Typically in a democracy, parties are in power for a season, and then replaced by another.

The difficulty for pastors comes when their congregations include well-meaning people on all sides of the political spectrum. The difficulties increase dramatically when one side claims their views represent the only “Christian” option. Announcing that and expressing their opinions can separate even good friends.

Granted, there are galvanizing issues (like abortion) that become a litmus test for some. But what about other issues that could legitimately have multiple responses by Christians? What’s a pastor to do when some of the flock argue, for example, that justice is a law-and-order issue while others argue that justice is an issue of compassion for the disenfranchised and the helpless?

The pulpit has long been a powerful voice in our culture when it is focused on the truth of the kingdom of God. In the United States, independence as a nation, the abolition of slavery, and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement have all been rooted in the church. Change came not so much from the perspective of a political party, but from the principles of self-determination—and the premise that all are created equal in the image of God.

Political power is fickle. It holds sway as long as the party is in power. But only changed hearts can change society from the inside out.

Preachers have the opportunity to bring the message of the Gospel into every context—when we understand our common need of a Savior and the hope that he brings. Jesus died on the cross for every person regardless of ethnic background, social standing, age, sex…and the list goes on.

It is by trusting that the blood shed on the cross was sufficient to cleanse us from all sin that we are placed in the family of God. As believers, we receive very simple instructions from Jesus about how to live together: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

When we seek the best for everyone, it may affect our political views. More importantly, however, it will cause us to value other members of the body of Christ so we will more concerned about their welfare than concerned with judging their political views.

Let’s create an atmosphere in our churches where we are more concerned with righteousness and being members of a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36)—more than we are concerned in simply being right.

John D. Sprecher, lead elder for the U.S. FCA, pastored churches for 45 years, most of them at Rock Church in Rockford, Illinois. Posted 8/31/2018.