From Brokenness and Loss to Spiritual Renewal

Q & A with Gerard Long, author of Awakening to God

 In May 2014, while still grieving the suicide of his teenage son eight years prior, Gerard Long, president of Alpha USA, faced the accidental death of his precious daughter. Reflecting on his daughter’s tragic drowning, Long encountered a sobering parallel that shifted into high gear the urgent mission to which he has dedicated his life—a “rescue mission,” as he calls it, for believers to reach out to those around them who are spiritually sinking. Although the Long family endures intense suffering, Gerard still sees hope in this life. From their brokenness flows a new passion to share the gospel of Christ and encourage others along the way.

How has your faith endured such tragic loss?

It’s only God’s grace (His ‘empowering’ presence with us through the Holy Spirit) that gets any of us through each day.  When you experience unbelievable suffering and loss this truth comes home to you in a very real way.  Part of the way God sustains us is through the love and prayers of the saints.  The fact that believers are literally Jesus’ body here on Earth has really come home to me after Rebecca’s terrible death.  It’s as though God has been reaching out to love and take care of us through family, friends and, sometimes, total strangers.  The outpouring of grief has been amazing and it has flowed in prayer, hundreds of letters, acts of amazing kindness and just a wonderful sense that God’s love is reaching us through His Body.
Another key has been scripture.  It’s amazing how God speaks to us through His word if we have ears to hear and eyes to see.

Have you ever been tempted to turn away from God?

Yes, there is a constant battle with unbelief and ‘taking offense’ over what has happened.  It’s very hard at times.  There is a fight of faith involved but we must keep our hearts from the arrows of the evil one.  After Jesus told His disciples they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood some of them turned away saying, ‘it’s too hard.’  Jesus turned to the twelve and said, are you going to leave as well?’ And Peter said, ‘where will we go, you have the words of eternal life!’  At the end of the day, there is nowhere else to go – we are in Him.  He has us.

Also, Jeannie did lose faith for two years after Alex passed and she now describes it as the worst experience you can imagine.  After initial relief of not having to believe anymore, she went into total darkness – no hope – everything was meaningless.  Knowing Jesus is the only way and we cling to Him in our total brokenness.

In your darkest hours, what gives you hope?

After Alex passed in November 2005 and my sister in January 2006; I had an amazing revelation of eternity.  It became very clear to me that, as scripture tells us, our life on earth is but a vapor, a breath, and then we move on to our real home with the Lord.  As C.S. Lewis said, ‘life on earth is but the cover page of a never ending story!’  We’re told to fix our hearts and our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2), and to look at the unseen things that are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).  Knowing what’s coming gives me great hope (‘for the joy set before Him’ – Hebrews 12:1-2).  We are going to see our loved ones again and we will be with them forever  (John 11:25-26).  For now though, although we suffer incredible pain because we miss them so much, there is work to do for our Lord.  When we’ve finished the work He has planned for us (Ephesians 2:10) we can go home!  What a great day that will be (Philippians 1:21).  After the Cross, comes the glory (1 Peter 4:11-12).

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“Awakening to God is an inspiring book for anyone exploring the adventure of faith!”

-Bear Grylls, adventurer

“Awakening to God is a great read for anyone interested in knowing God.”

-Roma Downey Burnett, actor, author

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Gerard Long is a minister, author, motivational speaker, and former banking executive, who is passionate about Christ. In 2006, Gerard retired from a highly paid banking career and joined Alpha USA full-time to help more people explore the meaning of life. As the executive director of Alpha USA, he leads the organization whose mission is to serve local churches in presenting the gospel to their communities through the Alpha course. A widely used introduction to Christianity, Alpha is supported by multidenominational churches and now operates in more than 169 countries. More than 3 million people have taken an Alpha course in the USA, and over 24 million worldwide.

For more information visit
www.GerardLong.com and www.AwakeningtoGod.net.

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// Awakening \\

“God has an amazing way of taking the most painful areas of our lives and making something beautiful out of them”

-Tony Robbins

Pondering these thoughts and listening to this tune today…are you AWAKENING?

Awakening_to_GodThe early church turned the world upside down. With only a few followers of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit, the gospel message of love and transformation spread like wildfire; it could not be contained or held back. What was the secret—the “Jesus way”—behind such a radical movement of the gospel? And what would it take for a spiritual renewal to happen today—in your church, your community, your world, and your own heart?

Gerard Long, president of Alpha USA, has seen that spiritual awakenings tend to occur when God’s people understand their calling and prepare through prayer, personal renewal, and action. In Awakening, he offers a compelling vision for a “Jesus way” of widespread spiritual renewal, equipping you to better love people into the Kingdom of God. You’ll become empowered to live the abundant life given to us in Christ—and step out in faith to fulfill God’s calling.

Buy the book TODAY on Amazon.

Movement Day Greater Dallas 2015 Registration Is Now Open

City Transformation through Christian Communities Working Together

GDMDOn January 22, 2015 over 2500 area leaders will gather for the second annual Movement Day Greater Dallas (MDGD), representing a diverse cultural and ethnic constituency of Christian leaders from business, education, healthcare, nonprofits, government, and the church.
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Speakers for MDGD include Chip Ingram, CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, Dr. Jeff Warren, senior pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church, Pastor Bryan Carter of Concord Church, Dr. Jim Denison, founder of Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, Dr. Mac Pier, founder of Movement Day and The New York City Leadership Center and emcee Froswa Booker-Drew, the national community engagement director for World Vision.
Beyond the vision and inspiration of the morning plenary session, participants also attend one of eleven afternoon design tracks covering a range of issues impacting Greater Dallas such as education, hunger, human trafficking, prison re-entry, immigrant and orphan care, marketplace impact, leadership and financial stability. During these sessions, long range plans to address these critical issues are developed by sharing best practices and collaboration among those in attendance.  During the rest of the year, local staff and design leaders work to maintain and accelerate the momentum arising from the day’s activities and to implement the strategies that were designed in the afternoon sessions.

Executive Director Jon Edmonds leads the initiative and says, “Movement Day Greater Dallas is not an ‘event’. It is a movement that encourages, equips and mobilizes Christian leaders throughout the city. It will transform not only Dallas, but cities around the globe with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The first Movement Day Greater Dallas was held on January 23, 2014 with 1400 leaders in attendance and represented the first successful replication of Movement Day in New York City, an annual convocation that has been linked to a 300% increase in the Christian population of Manhattan. From 2010-2014, nearly five thousand leaders from 360 cities and five continents have gathered in unity to learn best practices in urban ministry and cast a fresh vision for their own cities.

When more than 50 Christian leaders from Dallas attended Movement Day in 2012, seeds were planted for bringing Movement Day to Greater Dallas.  Since that time, the prayers and hard work of countless individuals has resulted in those seeds coming to fruition, and a model for expansion now stands for other cities to follow. Movement Day is positioned to have impact not only for New York City and Greater Dallas but other urban centers around the world.

Cities throughout the world face tremendous social and spiritual challenges and the problems can seem insurmountable at times. But each grim statistic also offers an opportunity to transform individuals and communities with the love of Jesus Christ – “a city transformation through Christian communities working together” that Movement Day Greater Dallas intends to achieve.

For more information, a complete list of afternoon sessions, and to register for MDGD, visit www.movementdaygreaterdallas.com

JOIN THE MOVEMENT
Movement Day Greater Dallas
Thursday, January 22, 2015
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
Dallas, TX

Movement Day is a leadership development initiative of The New York City Leadership Center founded by Dr. Mac Pier. Their vision is to become a model of Christian leaders impacting the spiritual and social climate of an urban center. Their mission is to exponentially increase the leadership effectiveness of ministry and marketplace leaders. Visit their website at http://nycleadership.com

Back-to-School = Great Opportunities for Movement!

UNITEThe 2014-15 school year is underway and that means YOU have a chance to make a difference. Unite Greater Dallas is spearheading some great initiatives, but they will be much more effective with YOU there!

  • Education Forum at Bent Tree Bible in Carrollton next Thursday, September 4, at 10 am. RSVP HERE.
  • Click HERE for tutor training opportunities. With school back in session, this is the perfect time to mobilize new back-to-school1volunteers or train returning mentors & tutors.
  • Unite Community Partner Expo: Volunteers, Donors, Businesses, Churches & other Organizations – Wondering where to invest your time & resources to make leaps toward City transformation? Come to Unite’s first-ever Community Partner Expo on Sept. 18 at 7 pm. Come and help spread the word!
  • Check out the NEW September Prayer Guide on Education. Use it in your personal prayer time, with your family, church, or in a group.
  • Check out this article from Sunday’s Dallas Morning News: God’s Helpers In Public Schools. Please share this on social media to help get the word out about what God’s doing in our community.

You can follow Unite Greater Dallas on TwitterFacebook, and their website and blog.

God’s Executive Assistants

By Jon Edmonds, Executive DirectorJonEdmonds
Movement Day Greater Dallas
www.movementdaygreaterdallas.com

In my role of Executive Director of Movement Day Greater Dallas, I have quickly realized that this is a true “start-up” ministry. For the first time in over twenty years, I have no Executive Assistant or Administrative Assistant. I am experiencing days that I am critical of myself for not being as efficient or responsive as my self-expected standard. I am often fatigued by the many functions that have me running from here to there to get things accomplished. These are vital tasks that I have come to count on and expect an assistant to “handle” on my behalf. There are literally hundreds of tasks, both small and large, that in the past, were someone’s responsibility to complete with excellence. As soon as we can establish a financial base that affords us the budget to hire an assistant, it will be the first thing I will do because the work must be done. Someone MUST complete it.A few days ago, while I was having a pity-party, thinking about everything I had to get done that day (after I woke up, just before my morning devotion), I thought about God in this context. God willingly assigned the awesome responsibility of Kingdom building to His church, his children, His people. In Matthew 28, starting at verse 18, Jesus, this Divine Executive, states that all authority in heaven and earth is given to Him. And in a great show of confidence in us, He follows that statement with a responsibility for us to complete. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Therefore, as the Movement Day Greater Dallas staff, our partners, and our volunteers carry out our mission, we should remember that God is counting on us and expecting us (like His Executive Assistants) to work with excellence, completing the vital assignments that lead to success. And when I check the record, I see that He has outstanding compensation. Oh, by the way, when you see your support staff today, give them a Holy hug.

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Chosen People

Mitch GlaserDr. Mitch Glaser was born into a nominally Orthodox Jewish home in New York City during an era when views on life, death and religion were beginning to undergo major changes in American society. Mitch went to Hebrew School and had his Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13, but lost any religious zeal he had to the excitement and energy of the 1960s.

After dropping out of college in 1970, Dr. Glaser moved to California and was introduced to various Eastern religions, which seemed intriguing but did not answer the deeper questions of his soul. After two of his closest Jewish friends became believers in Jesus, Dr. Glaser was introduced to the idea that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. After a thorough investigation of the Old and New Testament as well as a study of Messianic prophecies in the Scriptures, Dr. Glaser himself received Jesus as his Messiah in November of 1970.

Almost immediately after becoming a believer, Dr. Glaser became involved with what was then the West Coast branch of Chosen People Ministries (formerly known as the American Board of Missions to the Jews). This was the beginning of almost 40 years in ministry, during which he has worked with Messianic missions such as Jews for Jesus and Ariel Ministries. Since 1997, Dr. Glaser has served as president of Chosen People Ministries – one of the oldest and largest Messianic ministries in the world.

Chosen People Ministries was established in 1894 by a Hungarian immigrant, Rabbi Leopold Cohn, and today has workers in 15 countries including the United States, Israel, Russia, Germany and Argentina.

http://www.chosenpeople.com/main/