Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Virtual Pew News #5 How Do We Fight Terrorism

The Virtual Pew News #5
The Face of Terrorism and How We Fight It
Friday August 25, 2006




Contents:
I – The Face of Terrorism and How We Fight It
II – Writings since last issue.
III – Featured Blog / The Keystone Kid and Prayers
IV – Comments from others
V – Managing the Fear of Loneliness – Stanley Popovich
VI – Information on Church in Lahore Pakistan
VII – Contact Information

The Face of Terrorism and How We Fight It

How can I state it, we live in a world where we feel the face of terror all around us. In fact, many of us, at least those of us with pink skin seem to put color, and locality on that very face. We can’t help but to in some ways, predetermine what someone is like based on just the color of their skin, or country of their origin.

As you know, at
The Virtual Pew we try to do things a little differently. I can’t help, nor will I apologize for my Anabaptist beliefs when it comes to theology. I accept and recognize many others of other denominations as being brothers and sisters in my faith, yet, deep down, I have certain beliefs that I believe are consistent with Scripture. It is that reason why we tend to focus on those who have been misunderstood, abused, neglected, and criticized by many individuals within the organized church. It is why The Virtual Pew is a ministry to, The Lost, The Last, and The Least. We love the drug addicts, the prostitutes, the gang members, the homosexual, the street person, the prisoner, and those who come from countries where many believe to be origins of Terror.

I have been amazed at how God has opened up doors for this ministry. From the ministry connections developed at
MySpace, to the associations that have come about from the reviews of movies, books and music at Hollywood Jesus. God has truly opened doors, from relationships with Homosexuals, to relationships with hard core wrestling fans, God has built relationships.

No where has that been more obvious to me than the relationship I have begun to develop over the last several weeks with Minister Ishfaq Boby from Lahore Pakistan. We came into contact recently and have been using the wonderful marvel of Windows Messenger Service and email to communicate back and forth. It is here that I came into contact with this wonderful ministry and church in Pakistan.

Unfortunately, most of what we hear about Pakistan in the Western world is centered around terrorism and Islamic thought. It is even more unfortunate that we don’t stop and think about the fact that there are Christians in those Muslim countries who love God so much they risk personal danger and persecution to share their beliefs about Jesus with others. Minister Boby and others within the church he ministers at are some of those very people.

In the last weeks I have communicated with Minister Boby about a variety of things. Those include various things about his church. Some of the things he has told me include the following.

Their church has as a goal the mission to reach Pakistan for Christ, starting first with their city, and then their country. They are doing that in a variety of ways. They include the following.

They currently desire to give Bibles to everyone they come into contact with, both Christian and non Christian. It is through God’s word that they believe they can spread the good news about Jesus and his love for all people, including Muslims. Of course this ministry hasn’t come at some cost. There are those within their country that once they become Christian, either Muslim or Hindu, that are put down and persecuted by their country. For some, including Minister Boby in the past, it has meant being arrested and placed in jail or prison, for others, it ultimately means death via persecution or execution. Yet, there is still the desire to place Gods Word, the Bible in the hands of people. Currently they are using the Pakistan Bible Society to obtain Bibles. There is a cost equivalent of .09 cents per Bible for the church. Minister Boby told me they are presently in need of approximately 500 Bibles, and once they are gone, they will need more. They recently handed out 50 Bibles in one day at the Pakistan Independence Celebration.

There are other needs though, not just Bibles but finances to organize and operate their church. Involved in this is not just the operation of their church, but the support of individuals. The church in Lahore operates a school and helps with an orphanage. These things are important because they allow orphaned children, who have little hope to not only hear about Jesus, but it allows them to obtain an education. Minister Boby and his siblings, while growing up in a Christian home have been able to pursue a higher education. This education for the youth in their community and church has become an obvious burden. You can see that in some of the photos that are posted both here and on the picture trail web site link.

Minister Boby was telling me about a family that his family supports. A family that was Hindu that converted to Christianity. In their country, one of the lowest classes of citizens are Christians. While they are making progress it still adds to the difficulty individuals and families face. This one particular family has a job where they are responsible for sweeping seven streets within their city. There is no public welfare or assistance programs in the city so some individuals have to fine work where they can. It may be recycling from the garbage in the community or as is the case with this family, sweeping the streets. This one particular family sweeps streets and gets paid as a family $35 a month for their labors. Without the support of Minister Boby and his family, this family would not be able to make it.

This church has dreams outside of just reaching Pakistan with the message of Jesus, they have the desire to see a children’s orphanage and home built in their community. They are not just looking at the spiritual needs of the people of Pakistan, they are looking at the physical needs. In many ways, they are mirroring the message and gospel of Jesus as much as any ministry I have seen in a long time.

In communicating and talking with Minister Boby, I am impressed and ministered to on their reliance on God’s provision and the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are lessons there, not just for me as an individual but for a people who are a part of The Virtual Pew. Instead of focusing on the needs, they focus on the provision. What a marvelous concept and lesson there is for all of us to learn from. How many times do we go to God with our needs, without ever thanking him for our provisions and the things he has given us. I shared with Minister Boby, and please don’t take this wrong, but our poor in America are among the worlds wealthiest poor. That doesn’t mean that we don’t provide and care for them, we should, but neither should we focus so much on need that we forget about the gifts God has provided. I have learned that lesson, and from being poor in the past, I think I can tell you that I know of many individuals who have little material things that have gone on to be the happiest people I know, because they focus on what they do have.

I use as a title of today’s newsletter: The Face of Terrorism and How We Fight It. I can tell you right out I am not going to get into a political debate here. I can also tell you, that I believe within my heart of hearts, the best way to fight terrorism in these countries is to spread the message of Jesus in a loving and caring way. This church is doing that. In a society where Christians are frowned upon, they are showing the love of Jesus as opposed to the wrath of God. I can’t help but believe they are being affective in that approach. Look for yourself at the photos of the young men and women and their love for Jesus. This love is being displayed in a country that many Westerners don’t understand. Truth is, we don’t but those from there who love Christ do understand, and they are finding unique ways to be effective in sharing that love.

I pray this month we can all learn from Minster Boby, know that a little church, that is actually growing quite fast is praying for the ministry of
The Virtual Pew. They have offered up prayers of support for me, and have enjoyed the ministry that we are offering. At the conclusion of this newsletter I will list the information sheet Minister Boby sent me as well as a link to many photographs from their ministry. I pray that one day I can meet Minister Boby and his family and church face to face and have a chance to minister to them. I know that God has certainly used them to minister to me. I am also asking something different this month. Look at not only how you can support The Virtual Pew financially, but look even more so at how you can support this ministry in Lahore Pakistan. One of the needs they expressed was a need for Bibles. Those Bibles in the urdu language costs .09 cents a piece. It would be wonderful if someone from The Virtual Pew could take care of every single Bible need this ministry has. Maybe others will want to provide something for the orphan children, or the widows this ministry ministers to. Again, at the conclusion of the newsletter take a look, pray about it, and then decide how you can support the Ministry of The Virtual Pew and the ministry of Lahore. Any designated gifts that come into The Virtual Pew specific for the Lahore Ministry will be given to them 100%

Photo slide show from this ministry, you can also click on any of the Ministry Photos.

Writings Since Last Issue.

I have been pretty busy since the last The Virtual Pew News. I am as usual listing those blogs links here for your review. Remember that at various blogs there are responses where you can see how people are responding to the ministry of The Virtual Pew. I encourage you to look at those, and in many of those situations, pray for those individuals. I also remind you to check out the message boards. We have grown some since the last newsletter and new people are becoming a part of The Virtual Pew.

Writings on MySpace:

The Keystone Kid

The World Trade Center


Update on Giving

The Baddest Cat in Town

The Keystone Kid & Prayers

Snakes on a Plane

Tag Team Wrestling Thanks Tyler- Friday August 11, 2006

Whatever Happened to Love

Ephesians 1 – What is in it for Me?

Boxers, Muscle Cars, Jubee and Wrestling for Jesus


Additional writings at Hollywood Jesus, Remember you can also go to http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/ to see the edited versions of the reviews.

The Virtual Pew Giving

The World Trade Center

Snakes on a Plane

Calming the Storm

The Baddest Cat in Town

Whatever Happened to Love?
Whatever Happened to Love?

Tag Team Wrestling / Thanks Tyler

The Keystone Kid and Prayers

To Kill or Not To Kill, That is the Question

Ephesians Part 1 / What is in it for Me?

Boxers, Muscle Cars, Jubee, and wrestling for Jesus

Featured Blog this week is the Blog keystone Kid and Prayers. I include it here for the newsletter without photos, go to one of the links to see it with photos and comments:

Thursday, August 17, 2006
The Keystone Kid & Prayers
Well I haven’t had a blog like this in awhile soooo, I figure it is long due.

Most of you know, well at least you know if you actually take the time to read the blogs I write and the tags that I have a book I did some time ago. The working title is The Keystone Kid. It is actually an autobiography and I have been making it available for free as of late. Truth is, I wrote the book to relieve some of the pain of growing up. I was encouraged to journal my thoughts, write the book by a counselor I was seeing.

After the initial draft, I had several people help me with edits. I have always accepted there are story tellers, writers, readers, editors and so forth. I am more of a story teller, and believe, or at least have been told I tell a pretty good story. I tell stories from the perspective of trying to put my thoughts on paper. Some of those are allegorical, some are true, some involve teaching and some are, well some are just relief and fun.

After doing the initial draft of The Keystone Kid a number of years ago, I tried, well sort of tried, to get it checked out by publishers and agents. I sent it to 3 agents, all stating they liked it, one was interested in working it but with some revisions. At the time I didn’t like the ideas, and really didn’t follow through. I also sent the book to 2 publishers, thinking why not see what happens. Well for anyone who has ever written and sought publication, you know you have to make more of an effort than this.

That was some years ago, and until recently with the advent of The Virtual Pew I hadn’t really thought much about working the book. I realized after getting The Virtual Pew started, the book could be a great adjunct to ministry opportunities. It was after all, my life, it was the story I had shared with thousands in the past. I begin making minimal contact to a few folks regarding publication. There was also an effort to make it available for free via e-book form. Well to say the least, the response has been more than encouraging. I have heard all kinds of great compliments and at the same time had to pray to ask God to keep me from having itchy ears. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy the things I was hearing, but I really didn’t want to be let down. If you have read my story, you know how much of an obstacle being let down in life has been for me. True I serve and worship a living God, but that don’t change the reality of my experiences.

I was recently speaking to an editor about several things, and just happened to mention my book. There really was no intent, just that I was trying to make a point that I I could tell a decent story. That particular editor wanted to see my book, so I emailed it to her. In less than 24 hours she had read the entire 700+ page manuscript, and called me as soon as she was done. This is whereI had to be careful about the itchy ears, after all, I was somewhat familiar with how the publishing business worked. I knew that most of the time there were things like advances and payment involved for services offered.

Some have accused me of being prideful, I guess those folks really don’t know me, if they did they would know how untrue this is. The fact is I am not ashamed about telling folks what I think, and in some regards making the effort to promote the ministry I am involved in, or the cause of Christ. I worked for years in the music business and I understand the need to have others do this for you, but you have to pay them. It is amazing though, people do this all of the time without realizing it, they do it in a job interview, they do it in other situations, yet, let someone involved in “ministry” do it and all of a sudden accusations are thrown out. It is one of those things that frankly confuses me, and in all honesty shows me some of the hypocrisy and lack of understanding from those centered in “Christianize.”

The fact is, I have been hearing great things from those that have read my book. Now I get excited about that, not because of any other reason than I know God is at work, using my past, to help people. If God can be glorified from the difficulties I went through, and if others can be helped, I’ll admit, I get excited about that. Of course those who have heard or seen me speak, know my story, know the time I take with people. They know how emotional I get when I share my story, not for what I have done, but what God has done for me.

In an almost Old Testament style, a miracle happened the other day. Someone who knows something about publishing, editing, and the whole bit read my book. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just anybody, it was somebody that has a common vision and understanding of literature I do, and again, is involved in this field. One that appreciates great story, but has little respect for, well I don’t know what else to call it, but little respect for crap.

Unfortunately, so much of what is published now is crap! I read a lot, try to read at least one book a week. Unfortunately within Christianity, we have lost the
Flannery O’Connor’s. Sure we have the Ted Dekkers, Creston Mapes’, Renee Gutteridge’s, Tim Downs and a few others, but they are few and far between. Thankfully there are more of them, but it almost seems that a person can't be real with who they are to those who aren't Christians, or we sugar coat things and say things like, "Praise Jesus, I just broke my arm." (I actually heard someone say this once.) But the truth is we aren't real. As a result we stay confused as to why we aren't more succesful in sharing the Gospel.

The person reading my book believed in it a great deal. Between her and some others as of recent I have had some great things. Some have called it “A Christian Classic,” “The next Cross & the Switchblade,” “A story for our generation.” “A story that I can finally relate to,” “I couldn’t put it down until I was finished,” “The best Christian book I have read,” “One of the most exciting books I have ever read,” “This book has everything, I laughed, I cried, I couldn’t put it down,” and so much more. Now is any of this true? Shucks I don’t know, I would like to think so but I’m not the one to make that judgment. Thankfully there were others that have been touched by it and found something positive about it. Here is what I do know. I was a little critical on the offer for help and all this person was about to give me. I expected a offer to help for a editing and clean up fee. These are standard fees in the industry, some are legit, and others are rip offs. However, the person reading it and excited about it, stated they are willing to do the edits, rewrites and more for an portion of the advance once the book is signed. In other words, they believed in the book so much that they believe the book will sell and will be able to get an advance. She stated she wouldn’t expect any of the royalties on the book just a portion of the advance. Now me being me, I believe in doing what is right. I stated that if she helped and was willing to make that offer, she could have a co-writing credit on the cover, a portion of the advance if one happened, and a percentage of the royalties if anything like that came about.

She was as excited about the book and potential as I am, and the catch is, she knows a lot more about these types of things than I. My hope, and prayer, is not that the book would make me money, although that would be nice. My hope and prayer is the book would be used to help people whom have gone through similar situations as I. I know from telling my story, I have been told by hundreds how it helped. I sincerely pray God use the story to touch the lives of others.

I expect within the next 3-4 weeks it is possible a complete edit and fix is ready to go. Pray God opens doors and people would be touched. At least for now, I still have advance e-book, prior to the final edit and submissions I can provide for the asking. Once the edits are complete, and the book is shopped, this offer won’t be available.

We are looking for a couple more people in the publishing world to look at The Keystone Kid, and give some help and ideas. If you know someone who can do that, and/or someone willing to be a part of the project, then I would appreciate your help. I don’t know much about the publishing world but I realize there are MySpacers and others who do. This is a ministry of love, wanting and desiring to be above all, ministry.

I value your prayers, and thoughts. If wanting the advance pre edit edition of The Keystone Kid for review and reading, just let me know by sending me your email. I’ll get it to you, of course with no charge or no fee. The book has already begin a rewrite and edits so I suspect the final version will be much better than the original version I am making available.

Thanks and know that God is good, even for a dumb ol street kid like me, God has done marvelous things.

Blessings and love,

Mike

Comments from Others This Month, (just s note here: more than usual but it helps illustrate the impact that God is having with this ministry. There are more, many from personal interaction. Of course I don’t post those. The personal ones still keep coming in by at least 5-10 a day. Skip on down if you need to for the rest of the newsletter.

Mike,

You are on the cutting edge of communicating with this generation the most important message of all. That is the gospel. For that I salute you and pray for you.
God bless and keep you,

Best always,

Mike… I’ve been following your work and ministry for awhile now, never stop inspiring others, as you have me.


Hi! I am doing pretty darn good actually! Things are much better. The only thing I am having trouble with is forgiving myself … But I know with God's help and many prayers I will be ok. So how are you doin? How's the Virtual Pew? I haven't been on in a while, shame on me, but I know it is such an awesome thing you're doing!

Hey Mike, thanks for always posting interesting stuff for everyone. I especially liked the tag team blog, and sorry about Tyler. I'm glad that you helped him and made him happy.

I was wondering if maybe I could add a certain section in my group that could link to you. I remember you allowed me to link to your youtube group before, but I'm not sure if I can link to anything else.


Stay cool, and good luck to your son this year. Though I doubt he'll need it.

Greetings Brother,
Your video comment was beautiful. I wish we would get more like that from others. :)
In Christ,

Hello Mike, love your page, I also love wrestling, its cool to see it used as a ministry tool. God Bless ya.

Hey Mike, Just wanted to drop you a note about the book... I'm almost done with it and WOW! I haven't read anything this good in long time. The story is amazing, but the real story is in how it's written. Great job! If it goes to print, I want a signed copy :)

Hey Mike, Just saying hi from across the big pond. Keep up the good work & what a fine tune that is that greets visitors to your page

This really touched my heart today. I plan on checking all your sites out. I enjoyed the scripture singing it helps to keep the verses into your mind. I loved the animals and the outside views. Thanks for sharing this.

Right on, brother Mike!

I enjoyed the sermon as it is right on target with some things I have been troubled about!

God bless you and thank you for the message.

This is great stuff and I am always appreciative of all you do.

God bless you,


Mike...thank you...you made me smile :)

Thank you for blessing me with your friendship here in this myspace world of ours....

John 14:27

Peace...

In your friendship, I find peace...thank you...

Great sermon and songs....thank you Mike....you gave me some things to think about today....I suffer these storms most days and so desperatly need the Lord to heal my heart and I pray that he will use me for others as well...but most days something holds me back...the monster is always lurking in the shadows wanting to steal my joy....I once prayed that the Lord will take away these storms....before the storm snuffs out my candle :(I know it is thru the Lord alone....I will make it....but there is a battle always brewing....I'm rambling...sorry....thank you for your prayers and teachings...

Mike, I love all your blogs, and await every virtual pew with eager anticipation, I will be praying for you, it and what I can give. We need more like you.

You are perhaps one of the most clear thinking pastors I have ever encountered.

You are certainly right in stating that the hardest part of the Christian life is our call to love others. With all that has been going on in my life lately I have lost my focus and drive to love others as I should. I've realized this recently and and am working hard (with God's help) to change that.

Thanks again for your wonderful insights.


This is so incredibly timely in a world of people looking to find reasons to divide themselves. I completely agree that the time for true, compassionate, Christ-like love is upon us now more than ever.

Well this maybe a slightly long reply but u know me well enough by now 2 know I can be long winded @ times but here goes,

For some reason when I saw your profile on myspace I felt like this is an amazing man, God told I needed 2 get 2 know u... U R my pastor and my friend n the short time we've been talking I have learned so much from u, U take the time 2 answer all my questions even when you are busy, and 2 me that’s a sign of greatness ... I read almost every blog u put up and hang on every sentence because I want 2 hear what God is saying threw u... I think you are right Christians have become laid back, somber and silent... We where Christian masks 2 hide the real us and pretend that the sinful flesh part of us is not really there, like u said that’s probably why we have a hard time reaching people for Christ is because we r not real...

I love how u say the ministry and for the cause of Christ, 2 many people I know say MY NINISTRY, MINE, MINE, MINE and forget there but dirty rags without Jesus blood because we have all fallen short of the glory of God...

My point in all of this is you take the time for all of us, Your here for us when we need you, you've been faithful 2 lead us as God leads u and I believe now is the time God repays u for your faithfulness...

I love how God rewards and gets glory out it at the same time...


That's really great. As someone who writes a lot and has done his fair share of submitting, I know the drill well enough to know that it's no small miracle that this is happening for you (and for God who is using you and your experiences).

I'm stoked for ya, man. I hope that not only does the book touch lives and reach people for Jesus but I hope it makes you fabulously rich. (kidding about the last part)

Yipee!! I never doubted God's desire for your book, and for a dumb ol..... That is crap.

Mike as always you are in my prayers. I see nothing but success for the book.

Amen brother! This is an area of Christian living that has been pretty heavy on my heart lately as well.

These are the two areas of your message that most touch my heart:

Our actions indicate the reality of the relationship we have with Jesus. How many of us will start showing love to others?

As well as

Not a love that requires us to preach before we give a glass of water, but a love that gives a glass of water, and lets that be the sermon.

I wouldn’t ask people to stop sending money to worthwhile ministries because that is definitely a need, but the thing that gets me deep inside is that so many Christians go about their lives, going to work, going home, eating dinner, then watching TV and every now and then sending a check to some far away ministry, thinking that is enough to prove their faith.

Ministries need money, I know, but if I were sick, I would rather have someone I knew and loved in that room caring for me in person much more than that same friend sending an envelope full of cold dollar bills to pay for someone I don’t know to take care of me.

By the way, I am in no way a shining example of the image of a loving Christian that God has laid upon my heart. I have my own fears and anxiety about stepping outside of the typical American lifestyle to live a truly Christian life. God is however working on changing my attitudes and I have even begun to have a desire for the mission field. Doing so would definitely be a miracle of God because I could not leave my current situation without much hardship if I did it in my own power.

But God wants me to love as He has loved me and I am convinced that I can’t keep throwing money at the problems in life. This message of yours further amplifies the message God has been impressing upon my own ear.

This is right along the lines of what God has told u 2 tell me lately, I agree we do hurt people a lot by these kind of things, friendly fire instead firing at the enemy...

Ok...my question is this.........what exactly is love? We are given this example of what love is...but in my opinion. God is the only one capable of even hoping to express this 'emotion'. What is love? Some say it is a chemical reaction in our bodies that makes us feel a certain way, others say it is the desire to help others, etc. I personally think that love is bullshit. Caring and loving are two totally different 'emotions'. No one ever means it when they say "I love you"....it is all going through the motions and actions so that they can soften you so that their personal, selfish desires are fulfilled. So...can you "love" someone with pure motives...to actually genuinely care for them to the point that you don’t give a shit about yourself and are willing to sacrifice everything you are or have to make sure that person has a sound mind and is of well being? If we do that for one...we must do that for everyone. Does anyone have that kind of strength and fortitude? "Love" is far deeper and broader than what we have been conditioned to see it as by this media, our family, etc. Even our concept of the "love" of God is screwed up. True love is not just saying I love you because God told us to and having those feel good warm fuzzies every time we see someone we "love" more than the other. That is the thing about us humans...we are so damn conditional...we cant treat everyone the same. We have our favorites....where we should be treating everyone that comes into our lives...even the ones that are there for only 5 minutes...with the kind of love that says, "you love the moon like this....then I will make it happen for you every night"........or "you are in so much pain that you cant even see or feel the tears running down your face....you have become so 'jaded' and temperamental to this world and its bullshit...you are so filled with rage and hate, confusion, anger, malice, ice cold................I will take this........I will bear your pain so that you may be free". Who will do that? Kudos to you for posting this man.

I wish I knew... I know that when I say that to someone I happen to mean it. It comes from my soul.... It seems that I always have found the ones who don’t..... How can you say you love someone and not mean it... just like making love ... it is two souls becoming one... not many get that. To some it is mere sex... I don't feel that way.. I know that one day I will find the man who knows what Love is...

Mike ...I loved this blog...first off I have to say...you had me looking over my shoulder...I thought you were talking about MY family on my mother's side!!! I have 1 homeless uncle who finds shelter in his alcohol and drugs and another 2 Auntie's who hides behind their bottle and 3 cousins who committed suicide (all whom were brothers)

happy pill...I got one...

"wrestling for Jesus" I like that...and you my friend are on the winning team...I know you must have heard before....God is an on time God...might not be there when you want him...but always there when you need him....

Thank you Mike for this inspirational blog :)

Managing the Fear of Loneliness
By Stanley Popovich

Sometime or another we will experience a time when we are alone. The first step is to become comfortable with yourself and having the self-confidence that you will be able to manage being alone. There is nothing wrong with being alone. If being alone bothers you then seeing a counselor can help you with these issues.

In the meantime, here is a short list of techniques that a person can use so that the fear of being alone doesn’t become a major issue in their lives.

The first step is to find an activity that you enjoy and where you can meet a lot of people. For instance, joining a group activity such as a volleyball group, women’s club, or making crafts can be a great way to meet people. Doing something that you like to do will make you happy and will increase your chances of making friends.

Spending time with animals can be a great source of companionship. Having a dog or cat can make us feel loved. If you don’t own a dog or cat, then volunteer at the local animal shelter. Spending time with an animal or pet can help us to feel better and can be of good company to all of us whether we are alone or not.

Helping others through community service can be of some help. There are many people out there who could benefit from your time and talents. Helping others can give you a source of pride, help you feel better about yourself, and can provide long lasting friendships. Give it a try and you will be surprised.

Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make your lonely or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. For example, some people may think that if they are alone at the present time then they will always be alone. This is not true. Even if your alone today doesn’t mean that you will be alone all the time. No one can predict the future with one hundred percent accuracy.

It isn’t fun being alone, but sometimes there are worse things. For instance, imagine that you are married or stuck in a relationship that you can’t get out of and also makes you miserable. Not only do you have to live with this person, there is no way to get out of the relationship because of various financial or personal reasons. As a result, you are stuck living with someone that you can’t stand and makes you depressed every single day of your life. With this viewpoint, being alone doesn’t sound that bad.

The important thing is to do something constructive. Sitting around and doing nothing will not make things any better whether it is dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Go out and do something that you like to do. In addition, take it one day at a time and stay committed in trying to solve your problem.

BIOGRAPHY:

Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com/

Ministry Information from Lahore Pakistan

Who We Are

We are pleased to introduce our ministry. We are serving in the poor Muslim country Pakistan. We are running our ministries on a self-supporting basis. We are non profit Inter-denominational organization to the work of God. We are serving and working for God in faith based mission. We are doing work, just for God to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Our Ministry & Church is a worshipping community so firmly and confidently rooted in the Gospel, strengthened by God's love, mercy and grace, through Word, sacrament and Christian Fellowship that we strive to be God's witnesses through caring in our congregation, in the community, and in the world.

God Cares..... We Care
Bio on the Founder & the Facilitator: Name: Ishfaq BobyBorn: 1979
Nick Name: Bob Christ
Birth Place: Lahore Pakistan
Current Home: Lahore , Punjab Pakistan
Favorite Verse: Psalm 37:4
A little about Ishfaq: I born in Christian family my father is Pastor but I was away from God. I was totally depressed and suicidal, full of anger and hate toward man and God. This is all changed on Oct 1997. On that day I miraculously ended up at a prayer meeting I didn't even want to go to. It was there that Jesus 'touched me as I sat in a chair at the prayer meeting, and I accepted such a loving Savior. I became a bold witness to family and friends. Through a time of trials, hurt and growing pains, I slowly rebuilt a spiritual foundation as an active member in a local church. Since the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior I am obeying His great Commandment honestly. I am serving among Christians and non Christians. I went many cities and preach the word of God. Many time people betted me and many time I went Jail for Jesus name. I personally loves one-on-one evangelism and discipleship.

Christians in Pakistan
Pakistan was established on August 14, 1947. The Founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah established close links with Christians; therefore minorities played a positive role in the establishment of the country. They cast their vote on favor of Pakistan in the assembly. Pakistan came into being as democratic state; it also had a religious element. Several minorities also included in the population, white color in the flag depicts minority's existences. The Founder of Pakistan on Oct 30, 1947 at Lahore in a public rally said: Islam orders us the Muslims to protect neighbors and minorities with out being prejudiced on the bases of cast or creed, but still we Christians are suffering from the blasphemy laws, Pakistan Panel Code 295-B; 295-C; 298-A; 298-B; 298-C, passed by some fundamentalist Muslims to control the country. With the implementation of a new Constitution in 1973, Pakistan is experiencing this continual Islamisation in all areas of society. This Islamisation has resulted in blatant and intense discrimination against all non-Muslims a "legalized" form of discrimination in that the laws themselves discriminate against and lead to persecution of non-Muslims. Because Christian estimated at 1.7% of the 150 million populations are the largest majority of the minorities, Christians suffer the greatest persecution in Pakistan. Each successful persecution fuels the fire of the Islamic fundamentalists and makes them fiercer. There are many Ethnic groups are in Pakistan: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun, Baloch, and Muhajir.

Now I want to share with you how the rights and freedoms of religious minorities have been eroded in Pakistan's 50-year history because of the majority community's view that this land is for the Muslims, to which many would add for Muslims only. Take a simple word like 'freely." In the original constitution of Pakistan, Christians and other religious minorities were allowed to "practice their faith freely." This word was removed from the constitution more than 30 (thirty) years ago as it was deemed to be threatening the Islamic fabric of Pakistan. As a religious minority, we live under a constant feeling of socioeconomic strangulation. We are no longer a Church serving the poor, but a Church of the poor. There is massive employment discrimination, both in the public and private sector. Usually, only the most menial jobs are available to Christians. In my own city in Lahore, Pakistan, 85% of my people are severely deprived, working as "sweepers" who remove human excrement from the streets. We are being socially ostracized and economically paralyzed simply for the "sin" of being Christians. As an example, the number of Christians in employment in the federal government of Pakistan is 0.7%, and 87% of those are in the lowest three categories, the reason because this is a land for Muslims, and we are merely Christians. I think it happened because most of Christians are lack of education, lack of money and also lack of information. For these reasons our Church & Outreach Ministry is doing something for our community to upgrade Christians in a high level, that they can achieve their goals and improve their lives, because we Christians are chosen and bless people of God.

"Many extremists assume Christians will be natural supporters and allies of the West, and therefore consider them legitimate targets for brutal intimidation and violent revenge attacks." It is worth noting that until the introduction of section 295-C, hardly any cases under the Blasphemy Law surfaced during the previous 50 years in the life of Pakistan. I pray for wisdom, grace, and boldness in carrying out the Great Commission in the midst of persecution in Pakistan.

TENETS OF FAITH.
We believe:

The Bible to be the inspired and only infallible and authoritative Word of God. There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and the God and the Holy Ghost.

In the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal, future return to this earth in power and glory to rule over the nations.

In the blessed hope: the rapture of the Church at Christian's coming.

The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ.

Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation.

In water baptism by immersion, this should be done in obedience to Word of God, and is to follow a confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

In the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a holy life.

In the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting damnation.

Our Outreach Ministries have three main Purpose and Objectives:
Firstly, we are here to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the Nations. (Mark 16:15 "Go into the entire world and preach the good news to all creation.")

Secondly, we are here to share the 'Word of God' with everyone across all Denominational, Religious, Ethnic and Social barriers, and sharing the love of God (Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.")

Thirdly, we are here to have Fellowship with everyone and share the love of God (Acts 2:42 "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.")

Ministries and Future Vision Plans:
Our ministry will lead in individual and ministry support and growth; providing a solid biblical foundation for smaller ministries to grow upon. Our goal is to be technically advanced in the mission field, which will allow missionaries to cross borders without bibles and provide the development of making disciples of all nations. Our vision is to reach every available person at every available time, by every available means with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Visionary Goals :
How we will go about accomplishing the mission statement over the next three to five years.
In the Area of Evangelism:
1. To relentlessly pursue evangelism for Jesus Christ in every aspect of ministry.
2. To create a community that is welcoming and friendly to all people.
3. To provide excellent facilities, infrastructure, parking and traffic flow for every one.
4. To continually improve the quality of every aspect of worship teaching and preaching for adults, youth and children.

In the Area of Education:
1. To create an environment where the congregation and leadership are focused on daily prayer and Bible study.
2. To create an environment where every one belongs to a group that provides a caring place.
3. To provide for the spiritual development of our children and youth in safe, caring and nurturing environment.
4. To create an environment in which all individuals use their God given gifts in service to Christ.
In the Area of Leadership:
1. To build and nurture highly competent responsive and accessible leadership.
2. To become more international church through a process of strategic planning.
3. To enlist leaders to a high level of discipline.
4. To create a relationship of clear and open communication between elders and staff regarding rules and expectations.
5. To develop a succession plan for key leadership.

In the Area of Ministering to Those in Need and the Community:
1. To understand and respond to community needs in every area of Ministry.

In the Area of Church Growth:
1. Our goal is to grow and become a great international local congregation, which has both local and international impact.
2. In the first five years, we intend to grow up to become a fellowship of two thousand people, and after ten years of our existence as a local church to reach up to the number of between 15,000 to 20,000 people.

Our Plan:
By the grace of God we will accomplish our mission by:
1. strengthening our faith through the daily meditation of the word of God and developing an intimate relationship with Jesus.
2. Committing us to other believers in cell groups.
3. Praying to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers in into harvest fields; locally, nationally and internationally.
4. Encouraging every believer to be involved in prayer, reaching the lost, and making disciples. 5. Helping each believer to learn to serve and discover gifts and calling within his/her life.
6. Teaching the word of God with power and authority in a way that is practical and applicable to everyday life.
7. Realizing Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to equip the saint for the work of ministry and build up the body of Christ.
8. Training and equipping leadership in home cell groups and congregations to minister to others and to plant new churches.
9. Planting and multiplying home cell groups and congregations locally, nationally and internationally.
10. Sending laborers to the harvest field, house to house, city to city and nation to nation.
11. Caring for loving, healing and restoring those who are wounded and need deliverance, healing and restoration.
12. Promoting unity by supporting networking together and laboring with other churches and ministries locally, nationally and internationally.
13. Mobilizing and challenging adults, youth and children to be radically committed laborers for harvest.
14. Utilizing all forms of media to proclaim the gospel.
15. Resourcing each believer through the ministry of helps, administration and communication. 16. Ministering to poor and needy.
17. Encouraging each child, young person and adult to be a worshiper.
18. Giving of tithes offerings, material possessions and our time to the building of the Kingdom of God.
19. Exemplifying a style of accountability, integrity and purity in every level of leadership and through out every area of church life.
20. Supporting and encouraging the spiritual leaders that the Lord raises up among us.
21. Edifying one another daily through encouragement and speaking the truth in love.
22. Celebrating Jesus as we come together in various locations to worship together, pray together and receive the word of God together. Receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit to minister Jesus to our generation through the demonstration of His super natural power and gifts.
23. Establishing a big Christian library to help our church members grow up in the knowledge of God's word.
24. Establishing HIV/AIDS counseling center in order to help the society in the fight against Aids pandemic.
25. Establishing a youth center which will bring together young people from different religious groups for games, advice, counseling and a variety of short courses so as to train the youth society and prepare them for a bright future.
26. Establishing a Christian newspaper, Radio and Television stations which will have an impact both locally and internationally.
27. Establishing a healing and prayer center for sick people and the people who are oppressed by the Devil with different forms of oppression.

Our Ministry Plan is as under:
1) Church Planting:
We have vision to build the churches in urban and rural areas because still many places in Pakistan don't have Church and Pastor to serve the people of God, and they have strong desire to praise God, but lack of leaders they can't achieve the spiritual food on their daily life. God gave us strong desire for the church planting all over the Pakistan, especially in Punjab province because our mother language is Punjabi and it's easy to communicate the people. Most of villages have many believers but they have no place and shepherd. But they are having worship in House Churches. At the present moment we have no building and having worship and fellowship in the House Base Churches in different place, because of lack of finance and supporters.

2) Outreach Evangelism: Our vision is that the un-reached people of Pakistan come to Christ and un-churched people become committed Christians and part of the life and worship of the church. We want to Start Jesus Film Project. Its easy way to evangelize non Christians.

3) Home Cell Groups: Making cell groups are the ways to worship God without church building. In this way the believers gather every evening in the church members' houses to worship God and have a fellowship, sometime dinner, tea times and share their problems and also invite new comers. It's good to have them a close relationship with each other as a body of the Christ.

4) Healing Crusades: This is one of the effective ways to having personal fellowship with believers and non-believers to gather people in one place and share the Good News without any barrier or denomination to glorify the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. In Healing Crusades even believers come but sometimes unbelievers also come and have a good experience through Holy Spirit and get healing and confess their sins and believe that Jesus is the Christ and Savior of all nations.

5) Education: Our vision, and prayer, is that all Christian can get the education and be raised to that status in Pakistan , to the glory of God and to the strengthening of His church among my nation. Our first and foremost aim is to eradicate illiteracy from the country by making education accessible to all, irrespective of the gender, caste and social status and to provide quality education in little time and money but especially to the believers. Works and enables the poor to improve their lives and to develop their capacity and community strengths. For this reason we think we need biblical and secular education. That's why God gave us a vision to build the Mission School for the students and also Bible School for the adults to train them and send them out into full-time evangelism and church planting for the extension of God's Kingdom. We hope everyone in the society will use their full potential and lives a life of equality and dignity. To introduce such curriculum this is in line with our moral, religious and cultural values and to concentrate on moral development and character building.

6) Audio Visual Programs: Audio Visual programs are very important to start in Pakistan, because many Christians are not educated and lack of the education, we need to do some audio and visual programs that if they can't read then they can listen the Audio Bible, Messages on different topics and Gospel Music. And also they can see the religious movies and documentaries to get the knowledge to glorify the name of God. We want to provide them freely because they are not very strong in economic condition and we don't want to put more burdens on their shoulders. We also want to arrange musical concert in different places from the different churches choir teams to having a get together fellowship with each other.

7) Prayer Warriors Ministry: And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keeps on praying for all the saints Ephesians.6:18 Prayer worries ministry is working in different communities and guiding people for worship meeting and group prayers. Prayer was at the heart of Jesus ministry during his time on earth. His life was characterized by continual communion with his Father through prayer. By his example, Christians are compelled to strive toward this unity of heart and mind with God. One of the primary messages of the Scriptures is that God desires his people to seek him in prayer. As they do, he will reveal himself and his will.

8) Ministering hope to the underprivileged - widows, orphans.

VISION
The vision of our Ministries is to change all 'life's negatives to positives'. This is called Restoration and the process is described in our motto Bible verse above. We would like to see these widows; orphans live normal lives and treated justly and with respect and love within the community. This is to improve their well being in all aspects.

It is our challenge to see our vision become a reality, offering an atmosphere that is inviting and open. This will manifest God's love for his children and restore man into his family.

MISSION
It is our mission to empower these widows; orphans by helping them identify, develop and exploit skills necessary to negotiate support for self-reliance through creation of facilities and frameworks to promote the same. Widows and orphans are close to the heart of Jesus. We believe that the perhaps the most important ministry that we can be involved in, is the outreach ministry to those who are least able to help themselves. That would be the widows, the orphans and the elderly... This has long been a focal point of our ministry. In fact we really try to seek them out. We feel it's what God expects, and scripture mandates.

Widow is a woman whose husband died. She is like a bird with a broken wing that will never fly again. From the very beginning God had a special focus on this category of people. In the Book of Exodus 22:22 He said: You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. In Isaiah God says: Defend the orphan, plead for the widow (1:17 ). Blameless and upright man Job was a rich person. He witnessed about himself saying: I made a widow's heart sing for joy (29:13) and later in Job 31:16: Have I caused the eyes of the widow fail? No, he has not. He would always leave a sheaf on the field for widows and orphans. The New Testament also commands us through the words of James 1:27: Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God is this: visit orphans and widows in their distress. This ministry seeks to honor the "widows indeed" (1 Tim. 5:3) and their children by praying for them, encouraging them from the Word of God and financially supporting them. We conduct Widows and Orphans monthly prayer support groups meetings in the homes and local churches, which attract both Christian and non-believers widows. They should know the promise of God that belongs to all of them: A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows is God in His Holy habitation (Ps. 68:5).

Presently our outreach is touching the lives of 20 widow, somewhere around 40 orphans and many elderly people, on down in to the interior. We are running Orphans School in self support basis. I made the widow's heart sing for joy. Job 29:14
Ministry Needs

Monthly Ministry Support
Orphans, 40 @ $25 each $1000
Pastors, Evangelist 5 @ $35 each $175
Widows,20 @ 30 each $600
Orphans School Teacher's Salaries, 2 @ $60 each $120
Outreach Ministry Travel Expansive $100
Total Needed Monthly Support: $1995

Prayer Requests:
1. Prayer is our # 1 need.
2. Above everything else we need prayer. We are asking for prayer for the people who are leading this ministry especially in the following areas:
Humility - So the leaders of the ministry are focused on what God wants and not what they want.
Wisdom - For the leaders to guide the ministry in the direction that God is calling them. Patience - Some of the projects require time and patience we also ask for prayer to guide the ministry to use the resources given to us in a way that will only grow God's Kingdom and glorify Him.
3. We ask each of you from around the world to join us in praying for Christians and people of other religions being persecuted, raped, and killed simply because of what they believe!
Pay my kind regards to your respected family members. Keep in touch. Contact with your prayer requests and donations. Evangelist Ishfaq BobyP.O.Box 644 Lahore 54000 Pakistan . Ph#+92-3008866981Email:
ministerboby@gmail.com

In closing, I want to ask you to read, and reread this again. Pray about how God can use you to bless not only the ministry of The Virtual Pew, but how he can use you to bless the ministry of Minister Boby and the church he serves in Pakistan. Is there a way to fight terrorism and Islamic thought within the Muslim community? You bet there is, and no way any better than showing the true love of Jesus and this church is doing that.

Minister Boby and I are praying for the day I have the opportunity to minister in Pakistan, know that you are a part of that in your giving.

Anyone wishing to designate gifts to the Lahore Ministry may do so, every penny designated to this group for bibles, orpahn care, schooling or whatever will be sent to Minister Boby for that purpose. I have set as a goal, the goal of trying to raise at a minimum enough money to provide this ministry 500 Bibles. What a blessing it would be to send them more than that.

I would also like to remind everyone, that our bodies are a temple of God. If you haven’t already visited
http://www.faithandfitness.net/ I know I have been lazy this month, and will be making my visits to Faith and Fitness to get a restart and boost in taking care of myself.








Contact Information:

Oh Yea, here is that contact information again.

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731Wichita, KS 67217

Or you van give on line via Pay Pal at:
http://www.furches.org/donations/index.html

To become a part of The Virtual Pew, visit,
http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ To learn more about me visit http://www.furches.org/ I am also active on MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/mikefurches I have another blog at http://blog.myspace.com/mikefurches To visit the Hollywood Jesus group at MySpace with membership by numerous Hollywood Jesus reviewers visit: http://groups.myspace.com/hollywoodjesus For a more in depth weekly study and conversation you an visit: http://virtualpewsermon.blogspot.com/ where you can access deeper teaching and ultimately videos for viewing and teaching. You can contact me via email at mike@furches.org or mike@thevirtualpew.com For those interested in knowing more about my own story, contact me for a free e-copy of my book The Keystone Kid in pre-edit form.

1 comment:

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