Pastor Edner Antoine, from our church in Philadelphia, God’s Church by the Faith, informs us that his wife is experiencing kidney failure. He’s been spending a great deal of time going back and forth to the hospital. We told him we would add her to our prayer list.

Sandie Birdsall has had her ups and downs since entering a Minnesota ICU on Monday, December 1. Her husband, Brent, posts regularly to his Facebook page about Sandie’s condition. She still in the ICU.

At 11:23 this morning, Brent posted the following:

Sandie just underwent her fifth angiogram. Her doctor said tomorrow’s angiogram should be her last. She also had an angiogram last night and the doctor has been satisfied with the results. They go in initially to observe the blood vessels, using a special dye. They want to measure the level of vascular constriction/spasm. Then they apply a special med that relaxes/enlarges the vessels, thus allowing better blood flow.

Her vital signs have been improving. Her rest was better last night. She communicates well with her eyebrows, shoulder shrugs, and toe wiggles. She is still intubated (a machine assures that her breathing is steady and not stressful), but the doctor also talks about getting her off that machine in a day or so.

Yesterday the doctor mentioned (not promised) that Sandie may be out of ICU by the end of the week. I’m hopeful that she has come through the worst of it. I’m still not ready to hang out the “Mission Accomplished” banner; that will have to wait until we get her home.

For you dear friends who have been faithfully praying, I want you to know that Sandie shows all the signs of being on the upswing of the recovery process. Thanks again for your love and concern. It means so much to Sandie, myself and the whole family.

Steve Dennie, Communications Director
Here is another thought on momentum from Andy Stanley, adding to the others I mentioned here.

If you have momentum and you don’t know why–you are one stupid decision away from killing it.

I love my church. But right now, I think my pastor and most of us would agree, Anchor lacks momentum. We’re nowhere close to being a dead, status quo, business-as-usual church, and lots of ministry still happens. But momentum? Not so much, right now.

When Anchor (my church) started over ten years ago, we definitely had momentum. But I’m not sure why. And I’m wondering if we did something to kill it. Did we make a “stupid decision” somewhere along the line? I can’t think of anything offhand, but I’m gonna keep pondering.

Can you point to a stupid decision your church made which, looking back, may account for your lack of momentum?

kopp_danDan Kopp, senior pastor, NorthPointe Community Church
Dan Kopp, pastor of NorthPointe Community Church (Lewis Center, Ohio), writes about a tremendous way the congregation helped a single mother in the church the weekend of November 14-16.

We have a single mother who was basically deserted by her ex. She goes to work every day, is raising two beautiful boys in the church, and serves the Lord with passion and faithfulness.

In November, she went on a spiritual retreat. Her Home Group discovered that her trailer had many key flaws, including holes in the floor of the boys’ room. Literally, it was only old carpet covering some key areas, with air circulating below. Deterioration in the bathroom and elsewhere ate away the home’s heating and cooling.

The Spirit moved. While the mother was gone, God’s folks got to work.

They tore out the flooring and insulation. Quality carpet, tile, flooring, and cash was donated. A few people took an entire Friday off work, and some worked nearly around the clock.

The cleaning crews showed up by 3 p.m. Sunday for her evening return.  The tears and rejoicing upon her return were beyond describing, and God was greatly glorified.

Mom said,  “For the first time ever, the boys feel like they can invite over friends. They’ve never had a sleepover.”

A special blessing is that the driving force in this Makeover was a couple who’d experienced spiritual makeover in the Xtreme. Completely lost and unchurched, this couple–who have now seen their parents, sibling, and very close friends also come to Christ at NorthPointe–can be blamed for this amazing act of love.

We continue to rejoice that this past Sunday, four adults and four children (most of whom were reached in an outreach effort to the nearest government subsidized housing) let us know they desire to be baptized (or dedicated) as soon as possible!  PTL!

Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries
In the previous two posts:

  • We examined the deception of thinking, “This is my church.”
  • We substantiated that the church, including the church you attend, belongs to Jesus.

Now: how can you properly say, “This is my church”?

Now that we our attitude is straight, we can rejoice in the following:

  • It is MY church because I get the privilege of worshiping there with other believers.
  • It is MY church because I can honor the Lord with my finances and sacrificial giving there.
  • It is MY church because I get to use my spiritual gifts there to build up the body of believers.
  • It is MY church because I have the privilege of speaking things that build up others there.
  • It is MY church because I come under the authority of those who are exercising spiritual leadership there.
  • It is MY church because it’s where I have chosen to join with others in transforming my community for Christ by reaching lost people with the Good News.

There are many more ways we could celebrate being a part of a church, but notice that they all involve a privilege and responsibility–and not a right of control.

So enjoy your church. Love the church in which you serve. But always acknowledge the ownership of the Lord over your church and don’t allow yourself to get deceived.

Brent and Sandie BirdsasllSandie Birdsall is currently in an Intensive Care Unit in Edina, Minn., having undergone emergency surgery for an aneurysm on Monday, December 1. Sandie and her husband, Brent, served as UB missionaries in Sierra Leone and, until 2007, as senior pastor and wife at College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind. Brent is currently on staff with a non-UB church in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, December 2, Brent gave a detailed description of things on his Facebook page, and then added an update today (Wednesday). You can read it after the link below.


Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries
It has often been said that timing is everything. We found that out as we planned for our first ever Global Ministries Homecoming.

We planned to bring all of our missionaries back to the United States for the US National Conference next June, and then keep them together for several more days. It would have been a wonderful event.

However, when we began our planning, we didn’t imagine the depth of the current economic downturn. In light of this, and the pressures both donors and local churches are facing (and will be facing), we have made the difficult decision to postpone the event until another National Conference year.

We realize this will disappoint the missionaries who planned to attend, the volunteers who were preparing to serve, and the conference delegates who anticipated the presence of our entire missionary force at the 2009 National Conference.
We have not entirely abandoned the concept. We have simply adjusted the timetable.

Missions Night will remain a key component at the upcoming National Conference and will feature a look at the past, a look at the present, and a look at the future of Global Ministries. Our presentation will provide a multimedia perspective of how God is using the Church of the United Brethren around the world to fulfill His global mandate and bring home the message that God is not finished – great days lie ahead!

We appreciate the efforts many have made to arrange schedules and initiate plans and preparations. We will be keeping all of the information that has been gathered which will give us a jump-start on planning in the future.

Brent and Sandie BirdsallBrent and Sandie Birdsall are well-known in United Brethren circles for their years as UB missionaries and in the UB pastorate. Brent is currently on staff with a non-UB church in Minnesota.

On Monday, Sandie was rushed to the hospital after she thought perhaps she was having a stroke. Tests revealed an aneurysm. She underwent surgery, but remains in serious condition.

Dale Miller has resigned as senior pastor of Montgomery UB church (Montgomery, Mich.), effective December 28, 2008. He writes, “After much time in prayer and seeking the will of God in our lives, I feel led by God to accept the call to ministry in another church.”