Monday, January 15, 2018

In The Words Of Bishop Tommie A. Murphy

On November 12, 2017, I was blessed to be consecrated to the office of Bishop in the Churches of God in Christ. This is the second largest Pentecostal church in the United States and it is arguably the largest Pentecostal church in the world.  The Church of God in Christ is second in the United States in size by membership to the Assemblies of God Churches, which as you all know was birthed out of the Churches of God in Christ.

These facts among others clearly make this episcopal ascendency a significant honor. I have been a part of this church since February 1978, when I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It was several months after this when I was attending UNC-Asheville as a first semester college student, and serving in the church as a deacon, the Lord spoke to me one Friday night and told me that if  ”I took care of HIS business, HE would take care of my business.”

I committed to obeying God's voice and since that day the Lord has continued to do great things in my life. I experienced elevation and promotion both secularly and in the episcopacy. I mention this because of the imperative (necessity) to convey that this blessing is certainly not something I would say I deserve, but a position I would declare I am able to experience by the grace of God!

This ascension means that I will continue to serve my leader, Bishop LeRoy Jackson Woolard, the Prelate of Greater North Carolina Jurisdiction in my current capacity as one of his Administrative Assistants, Greater North Carolina Jurisdictional Chief Financial Officer(CFO) and as the Superintendent of the E. C. Cannon Memorial District.

This, as all things that happen in my life positively, I give God ALL the Glory!  It has certainly been one of the most humbling experiences of my life, and I thank God for the entire New Bethel Church family for making this moment for my wife, daughters, and me so incredibly precious. 

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The New Year

I am looking forward to 2018 because I believe it will be a year of new beginnings. This means that anything we know that has been held from us as well as anything lack of personal success we feel we experienced in 2017 can be viewed as an expectation in the upcoming New Year.  We all have an opportunity to embark upon a fresh start which can and will ultimate result in a victorious season this New Year! We should all be sitting on the edge of our seats expecting great things in this season because the Lord said in Psalm 84:11, “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

I also want to note that the year 2018 includes the numbers 1 and 8 and when added together it equals 9! The number 9 is symbolic for birthing and since new birth is always a new beginning, this further suggests that the year will be a time of new starts for the saints. I would admonish you all to receive this word which is simply; you are not on a course for failure, but rather a course for success! This is your season to give birth!

Take a moment to reflect on all the shortcomings that you’ve experienced this past year and all the things you may feel that you’ve failed at and or given up on. In remembering this, recognize that this new season will produce the victory you expected before but even greater! You can simply consider the issues you had that did not produce as false labor or mere labor pains. However, this new season will be a time of actual birth for the vision or dream you had.

Let us join together in our journey forward to accomplish all that we know God has in store for our lives in 2018!

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Why F.A.S.T.? (Focus, Afresh, Submission, Transformation)

In today’s hectic, “hurry-up climate,” it is easy to get preoccupied with to-do lists, family and job demands, and even Kingdom service. But in all of our haste to complete out day to day task, we often lose track of the one thing that is needed, or as Jesus put it to Martha in Luke 10, verse42, the "better part."
The "better part" is developing intimacy with the Lord, keeping Him at the center of our lives, knowing Him and being known by Him.  It can be a challenge but once we cultivate our relationship with Him, we will discover a greater satisfaction, fullness, and balance to our lives in a way that we have never experienced before. This type of behavior will make it easy for us to push everything aside and seek the face of the Lord!
 God has given us two means of accomplishing this goal of getting into His presence:  fasting (which demonstrates that we bring our bodies into subjection) and praying (which demonstrates our faith in God's willingness and ability to manifest the promise in our lives). These are two powerful tools to prepare us to receive His presence. We will be able to access all that He has planned for our lives, as well as develop a deeper commitment and connection to Christ in our personal walks with Him. Our declaration should always be, "more of You Lord and less of me.”
 Annually at New Bethel, we consecrate (set apart) ourselves for the 1st 21 days for fasting, praying and giving (which demonstrates our gratitude/thanksgiving every time the Lord's Word becomes revelation.) The Bible teaches that believers are to give their first and best to God. Proverbs3:9 says, "Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase" and verse 10 gives the promise when we are obedient and that promise says: "So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Saints of God, when we put God first in every area of our lives, our families, our finances, along with everything else he has promised to us will be released to us due to our commitment and obedience. If we will pray and seek God and give Him our first and best at the beginning of the year, what would keep Him from honoring that sacrifice and bless the entire year?  Romans11:16 tell us "For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches."  
 I encourage you to ask yourself, 'What am I allowing to come between me and God's presence?' and then join us as we devote ourselves to seeking God and His will for our lives during our 2018 21-Day Consecration journey. 
 Start the year off right and discover the rewards of "God - 1st."

-Missionary Lisa Murphy  

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Legal Matters Concerning The Church

With titles comes great responsibility

Often, we think of titles being bestowed upon leaders in the body: Bishop, superintendent, pastor, missionary, etc. However, titles belong to the workers in ministry that do not receive as much notice: the cook, the greeter, the volunteer -even the janitor; these too are titles. No matter the label, the duty of care owed to the body and the ministry, is of the same weight. Whether the bishop breaches that duty, or the janitor breaches that duty – the detrimental affects to the  church are the same. This means that it is imperative to take your title and obligatory work in the church very serious.

“The risk of litigation should never impede the ministries of the church; but to ignore the very real dangers would be naive and equally wrong.”-Jon McLanahan

According to tort law, a “duty of care” is defined as a legal obligation, which is imposed on an individual requiring an adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeable harm others. Each of us that belong to an auxiliary owe a duty of care to the body while working. Whenever you fail to uphold that duty, the church is almost helplessly exposed to great risk of litigation. This means that doing your particular job with no zeal or carelessly is not only a disservice to The Lord - but you stand to be the reason why the church suffers legally. Not only is it about how you fulfill your assignment, but when. Merely failing to show up when you are on duty could result in trouble.

Here’s how:

In 2010, Dadd v. Mount Hope Church and International Outreach Ministries was decided and the Court found in favor of the plaintiff. At the end of service, per usual, an alter call was made. Dadd, the plaintiff, went to the altar to receive prayer, and while being “slain in the spirit” fell and injured herself. She then filed suit against the church. The church argued that there was no way they could assign an Usher to each individual that responds to the alter call to watch over them while they pray in case they fall. Although the court agreed that that would be an unreasonable expectation, they found that the church breached their duty of care because they were aware of the possibility of injury to those who answered the altar call and should have had, and normally had ushers in place to assist participants. On this particular Sunday, THERE WERE NO USHERS IN PLACE. Do you see how the absence of one Usher affected the whole church?

Sometimes we think that because we are not in the forefront, or that since the title we hold receives little to no acclaim, that it will not make a difference how or when we fulfill our duties. But this could not be further from the truth. The church is one of the most, if not the most, vulnerable organizations. There is almost infinite risk exposure. Every person working in the ministry has a duty of care. Often the reasons are obvious for auxiliaries such as the nurse’s board, the security team and the transportation team; but even musicians owe a duty of care!


Glad you asked. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10, whatever your hands find to do, do it WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT. This does not mean to just do whatever, whenever. But take up your task with dignity and with a spirit of excellence. First and most importantly because your service is unto your God, The Most High - and we would never want to present to Him something that is of no value to us. But second, because we do not want our service to become a hindrance to the House of God. There’s a reason The Lord implores us to work diligently and efficiently. It is because we are made in His image and He is excellent, but also because when we do so according to His instruction, we are protected from the snares of litigation and looming risk that lies in every area of operating a successful ministry. Conduct quarterly meetings to identify all risks involved in operating your auxiliary. You should brainstorm with your team all possible situations where a person could be injured or property damaged - even if it seems unlikely to occur. Once the risks are identified, plan how to avoid or minimize those risks (i.e. with waivers, release forms, signs, etc.). Discuss these issues with your leaders. We want to leave no room for the enemy to attempt to derail or distract us from our overall mission for Christ.

-Tylar Johnson

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