At Willow Creek, there is a sub section "Compassion and Justice" working to fight local and global poverty and injustice. Our small group volunteering with "Compassion and Justice" started a project to deliver warm clothing to refugee children and families from Mynamar in Chicago. We had a session of brainstorming, task delegating, and sharing and overly enjoying the amazing food of Shanti.
Thousands of "Great Lakes Region" and Chicago People to come together for a Reinhard Bonnke Gospel CrusadeChicago and the Great Lakes Region (June 26th, and 27th 2015)—Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke and his ministry, Christ for All Nations (CfaN), are readying to receive thousands of Chicago and the Great Lakes guests at the upcoming Gospel Crusade. The live event will be held in Chicago, at the ALLSTATE ARENA, located at 6920N Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL, 60018 on Friday, June 26th at 7 PM and beginning at 6 PM Saturday the 27th. Chicago is the fifth host city for the U.S. Gospel Crusade tour. The Christian event is free to attend and is open to persons of all denominations on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration is encouraged but not mandatory.
The Chicago Crusade will follow on the heels of the Houston, TX Crusade where more than 27,000 gathered over two nights. Christ for all Nations is expecting the Allstate Arena to be packed to capacity with people from all walks of life. CfaN has had teams on the ground in the Great Lakes Region for a few months now and have had a tremendous response from the churches coming together to see this event be a success.
Many denominations of churches make up the 400 churches in Chicago and Great Lakes Region that have joined the fast-growing roster of churches registered to participate in the Gospel Crusade.
In more than 50 years in ministry, Evangelist Bonnke is best known for Great Gospel Crusades across the continent of Africa. Born in Germany, God placed upon his heart to minister throughout Africa. He dedicated his life to hold open-air Gospel campaigns across the Continent with as many as 1.6 million people in attendance at a single meeting. In 40 years of ministry, CfaN has recorded more than 73 million documented decisions to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Explaining the reason to bring the Gospel Crusade to the United States, Bonnke stated, “America needs the Gospel like never before. Despite years of sharing God’s saving message abroad, I believe God is now calling me to turn my ministry inward to help America find renewal and revival.” Bonnke recently became a U.S. citizen. “My work in Africa was paid for mostly by American Christians, and I am so thankful for their giving hearts,” said Bonnke. “But God spoke to me and said, ‘I did not send you to America for the country to just be the offering plate for Africa. I sent you to America for the sake of Americans.” “We are winning millions to Christ, one soul at a time” says Bonnke “Every single, solitary soul is precious.”
CfaN will not receive an offering at the Chicago Gospel Crusade and all new persons who receive Christ at the Gospel Crusades are plugged into a local participating church so they can be discipled and grow in their walk with the Lord.
Attendees can anticipate two days of powerful messages leading up to the transformative Gospel by Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, as well as praise and worship, healing and thousands making salvation decisions. The Gospel Crusade features performances by top Christian worship band Planetshakers and worship leader Ingrid Rosario.
FROM THE WEBSITE- https://gospelcrusade.org/chicago
After my fantastic event for Indian American Christian Children of Chicago. It was time to prepare for Dad's fest at Willow Creek Community Church Read more
This festival is every year during the weekend of Father's Day. There are all kinds of booths set up with pizza, sandwiches, Italian ice, and sweets. It's set up outside of our church near the lake along with a "Car show" of antique cars-many of them from those who attendees of the church. It is a great event for families and of course for DADS!
This year our amazing Section leader(different groups within the church), Saray, had the idea to have a tail gating them where we would open up our trunks in the parking lot of Willow and enjoy food, fiesta, and fireworks. As we set up all enthusiastic and excited, we stared up at the sky and was not sure if God was going to make that happen.
All of my favorite friends were there as we were volunteering together with our section. Many of us had the jobs of "Connectors" to welcome guests and learn about them. The Indian Christian community is quite present in our Section and church. These are my favorite to connect with as many I have seen before and they come with their lovely families and children. I just adore the way we smile at each other and have great conversations about their church experience, their life, and how Jesus fits in. It's quite a busy life for our Section and guests. But that commitment to Christ is what I important.
As a connector and photographer, these are the roles that I am meant to do. With Saray's events, it's kind of a motto of "bigger is better." With a smaller number(600), it is easier to make that goal of speaking with as many people as possible in the time given.
As usual our guests attended late giving me the pleasure of taking them to their seats and filling up the top floor! It's my absolute favorite welcoming those people who are new to Willow and watching their reaction when they walk in and see it for the first time. I make sure to prepare them for our gigantic church and remind them of amazing Section community we have to welcome them each week. Our church does have...well...um....7200 seats. It would be completely normal to be intimidated by this fact, but community exists within this gigantic powerhouse.
Unfortunately, the Chicago weather disappointed us yet again and tailgating was Canceled, which meant our amazing volunteers had to transfer all the food from outside to inside. Everyone worked so hard to do this and it demonstrated some true teamwork!
It's interesting how "things happen for a reason." Saray and the team were not sure how the whole tailgating thing would even work out and I felt that things inside worked out great. The room was small, but great for Priscilla because I Love Intimacy. It was easy for me to navigate myself around to floor, tables, and stairs speaking with people. It's always proof to my theory of acknowledgment that everyone loves a dose of acknowledgement rather than eating with their family and heading out the door.
It's not a choice for me to just sit down and speak with one family rather it's a mission to get to know everyone, their story, their view of the church and service, how often they attend, their distance from church, their family dynamic, and attending as a family unit/couple/individual. These assessments are limited with the time and I would truly love to do a whole research study on the Indian population and how church, events, community, family is impacting their lives. It's all very fascinating for myself, Pastors, and leaders who have their cultural barriers with the Indian population.
This is an ongoing discussion that deserves a formal research study-Willow Creek and the Indian Christian population-another thing for Priscilla to add on the list!
Overall, it was a great event and I was happy to see familiar faces.
On Saturday morning, blessed minds and kind hearts met together in the unity of our Lord and Savior. It was a planning meeting for the event Run for Jesus on August 22, 2015. This meeting consisted of a Panel of seven incredible Pastors and Priscilla. Each pastor had a powerful message addressing how to refocus youth on to Christ. A couple of their main points were that youth are the leaders of the future and they have a responsibility to commit to Christ. As for Priscilla, I focused on how to keep youth accountable and responsible for their behavior, how to be active members of community, sharing their own individual story/being treated as individuals, learning positive coping skills to deal with their environment-family/friendship/education/and technology and to respect them and "meet them where they truly are in life."
The best part was having the youth come up to read scripture, sing, share their experiences, and reasons why "Run for Jesus"
While youth were the focus, there are both children and youth being served in the ministry of Dr. Regi Paul, Indo American Christian Children Of Chicago. The Run for Jesus and The Passion play for children and youth have been going on for years. The Passion Play has been quiet a success and children have shared their own passion for it. Read More...
It was my first time meeting these youth and they were so kind and welcoming. I had mentioned that working with many youth, I never know what to expect when I first walk in the door, but these children were lovely, kind, polite, and clearly...there was a dedication to Christ. There is a difference between a youth is lost and troubled and youth who is challenged but they have a strong love and faith in Christ.
Our meeting did not have a break and it's often you see kids become restless. Of course, they were kids and had a few laughs and jokes, but they were incredibly patient. They closed their eyes with intention and focus. They spoke boldly, honestly, and from their heart. It did not sound rehearsed, as those moments where kids stand up with their eyes rolling waiting racing through to the last word. These few children and mainly youth(15 in attendance and over 200 total) were present, patient, and proud. I couldn't help, but wonder. "Are all the kids like this?" Clearly, I know the answer to that question as every child is their own person. But Dr. Regi Paul is providing these children with the right environment. The environment that contributes towards positive growth and leadership. These children have potential sitting in the palm of their hand and it is up to them to utilize it.
It is the children and youth who have to face some of the most difficult decisions to move in a positive direction. To stay in their own lane rather than focus on negativity that surrounds them. A country that I would question even bringing a child into with the amounts of environmental barriers and negativity. The media, the declining education, and the rise of technology. From a psychology perspective, the majority of people do not understand how all this connects and how it impacts a child's behavior.
Dr. Regi Paul has targeted exactly what these children need. He has given them three of the most important components: consistency, support, and love. Also, all his time, resource, and dedication make children feel they are important. They need to refocus on Christ, minimize negative behaviors catering to the norms of this country, build community, take responsibility, and train to become leaders. Dr. Regi Paul and his wife Rita are selfless human beings who have been serving the Lord for over twenty years with this ministry. They have full belief that these Indian Christian children have potential to lead lives of leadership, service, and integrity.
It's with great pleasure that I accept the new position as
the Board of Advisor for Indo-American Christian Children of Chicago.
At the end of the show, Joel asked those people who came with disbelief, disenchanted, experiencing difficulty connecting, or instability in life....to stand up.
As I sat in my seat, I expected a few people to stand up around me and expected about 70 percent to stay seated. When I looked around me, I saw what appeared to be almost everyone standing up. I sat in disbelief and had to stand up to get a full view of the stadium. My eyes just kept scanning the room and my heart filled with joy and love for
A.) All these people with the courage to stand up
B.) Those who are confused, need direction, have challenge
C.) Those who came that night for the literal title....
"A Night of Hope".......
I realized the Indians behind me, the couple in front of me, the family to the right of me-they weren't big super fan's of Joel and watched him everyday. They were people looking to connect with his ministry and build a relationship with God. This was his chance to pour God's love for these people into that stadium.
To show them that God gives second chances
To show them that they are loved even if they don't believe
To show them that it's okay to be lost because one day you will be found
To show them that family can join together and be in faith
To show them that all things are possible with God
To show them that God has a plan for each and everyone of us
When I came back from Morocco, I was having a beautiful spiritually inclined discussion with my friend. She was not the type to go to church, but she did have her own personal relationship with God. Although, she had some real insight on how to handle my problems and I wondered, "Where is all this coming from?"
She asked, "Do you ever watch Joel Osteen?"
In my head, I was thinking Is she talking about that commercial pastor on TV all the time?
I replied, "No."
She said, "You need to start watching him-he will really change your life.
Unfortunately, I never took her advice because I also believed in my own personal relationship, prayer, church ministry, and listening to my Pastor from www.willowcreek.org
Bill Hybels. He always got me through the challenging times and he was a positive inspiration. When I thought about Joel Osteen, I just thought "Commercial," which in my mind meant "Not Interested. Next."
A couple years later, I learned that this was far from the truth and I had been missing out on some incredible, inspiring, heartfelt, spiritually guided sermons. Around November 2014, I decided to start watching Joel Osteen. I don't even remember Why or How, but that is irrelevant because I am here Now as a dedicated follower of Joel Osteen-his sermons, books, events, and more. He has had a powerful role in my consciousness, which as a psychoanalyst I can confidently say....That is not an easy task.
There is a reason because he is watched all over the world and has the largest attendance in his church-not because he is commercial rather he is authentic and a man of God. His passion, sincerity, loyalty, and love for people pours straight out of his heart. It's such a positive addition that I would like to share.
Is this a post that is meant to convince me to support and/or watch Joel Osteen?
I ask this question because I never want people to think that I am a Christian who is trying to engage in "religious persuasion." That is not the place I come from with my work, writing, and interaction with people. It's always in my best interests to share my knowledge, experiences, beliefs, theories, ideas, etc. with others. I have no intention on making anyone uncomfortable, but that does not mean I don't encourage you to try watching a video one time.
As I tell people, if someone can connect to his messages and gains something positive then why not just try it out. Someone who has the motto "Believe In Your Purpose." It would not make sense to not share someone that is moving me closer to my own purpose. I want the best for YOU and trying out a video is a great way to see if you feel a connection. It may take a couple tries and you could love it or feel like it's not for you. Either is just fine!
What Do You Gain from His Sermons?
Joel Osteen is one of the best pastors not because he has a stadium full of people, but he is a Realist. He speaks in a manner that can relate to everyone in their everyday life and this continues through almost every sermon.
It's not in his interest, but that of the people to inspire them to work past negativity, loss, bad breaks, disability, weaknesses, and unfortunate circumstances. He gives people a sense of hope and his emotion is heartfelt and connected to myself and others.
As I mentioned previously, the consciousness. This is a difficult task, but I believe that is why people keep on coming back. He is making a person more conscious of their decisions, feelings, thoughts, and honoring God in the process. People need to repetitively hear similar things in speech to have it build into their thought process.
" I have been waiting for an hour and this person just hung up the phone."
I could get upset or I could say, "That person is having a bad day and I'm not going to let it effect me."
It is instances like these where Joel enters into my mind and the minds of millions. This is an incredible gift that I am aspiring to do in my own work each and every session I have.
This man has done it and God Bless Him for that Positive Change on the World!
I'm not in the Texas area to attend?
Unfortunately, I have never had the chance to be in the presence of Joel Osteen and feel that energy live, but his messages are just as good online. He is a fantastic speaker and you can feel his passion right through the screen.
www.joelosteen.com Go to Messages and Choose Your FREE Message!
I Don't Understand Christianity and the Bible
That is perfectly fine. Everyone starts somewhere and if you are going to start-Joel could
be a good place to start. When we think about a Pastor, it's common to think about the traditional components and how you are sitting there in your seat waiting for it to end. This is not by any means insulting the bible or incredibly beautiful Pastors, but purely indicating that everyone has a different preference for their church and pastor. It's completely understandable and recommended to find the best fit for YOU.
But Joel incorporates scripture in a clear way you can understand. It's actually good for a beginning because something may spark your interest and you may want to read about it.
With Joel, I think about my real life and how he is impacting my decisions, ideas, insecurities, doubts, fears, passion-his intent is to empower you to think about the real life you live and how you can change. Have faith in yourself and him!
I Don't Have Time to Watch Him
Well, we all prioritize our religion in different ways and everyone has their own lifestyle. What is great about Joel is you can watch him anywhere. You can listen to him in the car, watch him at the gym(I enjoy this the most), watch him on TV, or watch a message while waiting for your laundry to finish. There is always that pocket of time that can be designated into something positive. His messages are usually 28-34 minutes, which is a lunch break, a gym time, breakfast, before going to sleep, during commericials on TV, while you are on facebook, twitter, instagram or browsing the web- FIND YOUR POCKET OF TIME. PCR
If it's not to watch Joel, find that pocket of time to dedicate yourself to something that you are passionate about and makes you shine PCR
Recommended Messages to Move Towards a Purposeful Life:
Page 1 Pushed into Purpose, I'm Still Standing
Page 2 Secret Frustrations
Page 3 Covered by Mercy, Spirit of Honor, Choose Faith Inspite of Facts
Page 4 Focus on the Promise Not the Problem, Shine Brightly, Finishing Grace
There are many more that are fantastic and it's up to YOU to pick one that sparks your interest, and relates to YOUR life, challenges, opportunity, passion, family etc.
Going forward you may see some references to Joel Osteen as he does have a positive influence on my spirit. I have all my own theories, ideas, and beliefs, but he does confirm many of them and provides a cleaner path for me and those around me.
After returning from my trip in April, the beauty of the ones I cared for had seen better days. When I come back from a mission trip, I usually think of a special person I want to share my trip with-the spiritual moments, the human moments, and moments of pure joy. This was a friendship with someone truly supportive and a friend who was always cheering me on from close and afar. She was a great mother, a wonderful sister, and a good friend to everyone that needed one. Those days abroad I missed her and couldn’t wait for us to reunite.
When I returned, I called her phone a few times and I kept getting a busy signal. When we know something could potentially be wrong, our defense mechanism of denial comes standing tall. It was a week later that I called a mutual friend of ours and received the news that she was….gone. She passed away in January and I never even got the chance to say “Goodbye” and I her death was never disclosed. She was just gone out of my life and taken away all the good she was doing. When we don’t have closure-that puts us in between a rock and a hard place. While I would normally see her before leaving, it was Christmas times and our schedules just couldn’t work it out.
As if this was not hard enough, the shocking news of a great friend from Chicago passed away. It’s a common statement that “She was too young.” Everyone is too young to die, but when someone the same age as you leaves-its sadness and introspection at the same time.
“How could this happen to her? This could have been me. This really did not happen to her? She’s the coolest, nicest, and most caring person?”
A person can rationalize it with the “if’s, ands, or buts” the “shoulds” “woulds” or “coulds,” but none of it will bring that person back to you. You never think that your last phone call would be the last conversation. Even though you can’t meet up, you have time. It’s not the case for the real world. Another person and another lost goodbye just being left with vivid memories that feel like it was just yesterday. When you have some of the best times with someone, it makes it easier to keep the spirit living on. Dancing the night away, having long conversations about our 20s life and loves, passions confessed and fulfilled overtime. She brought such joy to the lives of others with a selfless manner. When anyone was having a problem, she was the first one to be there. While we were all a big family of friends, she had a motherly instinct that clearly had potential to blossom into her own real family. A caring heart, a loving heart, and a heart that smiles from the inside. As my Mom always said, “She’s a doll” with her beautiful hair, her charm, and stunning blue eyes. It’s hard to forget someone beautiful from the inside and the out. She was cherished and adored by family, friends, her significant other, her co-workers, and now she is being cherished up above.
Both these friends stay with me in prayer, in spirit, and they will never be forgotten yet remembered for the incredible women who had a special place destined within my life. We can’t dismiss people because there physical presence is gone because the spirit still exists. We can’t physically reach out and touch them, but memories and moments bring the spirit back alive. It is spirit that can keep a person’s memory alive. It is a positive memory that can save us from misery. It is a belief in something greater than ourselves. It’s a reasoning that can’t be questioned and analyzed rather it just needs acceptance. Acceptance brings us closer to spirit and gives a chance at holding on to our friendship.
These women are “gone” in a physical sense, but they are not “gone” from the hearts of others. As the saying goes, “There is a power in numbers. There is a power in the number of people who keep them in memory, in spirit, and in heart. The sky may be full of clouds for a while, but eventually the sun will shine bright. The sun that is shining down are the rays of light that are coming from the death of beauty. A time for prayer, a time of acknowledgement, and an acceptance of the devastating loss. It’s unfair, unjust, cruel, unusual, and unkind, but we can still remember. Remember their contribution to this world and the mark they left in it.
They are staring down asking you to smile with them because that spiritual exchange is the hopeful thing that is left.
Priscilla CL Raj is a Therapist, Missionary, Writer, English Teacher. She is an enthusiast who is passionately purposeful in her life.
It's Your Life. Breathe It. Live it. Love It