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Be Thankful You Can Go To Church at Christmas

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted December 10, 2014

RELIGION Ė Christmas is a time that most people get a little religious. Churches will be a little fuller as folks feel the need to come out, if for nothing else a nice little break from the Christmas chaos and maybe a nap during the sermon. Just kidding of course and we are glad to have you any time! But we do live in a place where you can freely take or leave any religious commitments you may choose. Not all nations have that privilege; we should not take it for granted. It is sadly being taken away daily in our nation.

I have been presented the opportunity from April 6th through April 16th to travel to East Asia and help train local church pastors where the Gospel is spreading so rapidly that one of the problems that they face is having enough trained pastors to shepherd and lead them all. They also face the fact that they operate illegally. The government of this nation does have an official church, but the state church exists to strip Christianity of its power.

Take for example the fact the government runs the church and decides how many people can be baptized per year. They also have the final decision on who can preach and what can be preached. The government says that the preaching should focus on the social rules and the social benefits of Christianity. This means that preaching about resurrection and the return of Jesus is forbidden. They also canít honor the sanctity of life by speaking out against abortion.  They can only gather at the official church at the official time. They are forbidden to evangelize or give out Bibles. Furthermore, the government mandates that Government officials, teachers, soldiers, police officers, and even children and teens cannot be Christian in their nation.

So by the grace of God for years there has been a powerful and inspiring movement of people who worship Jesus in all the power and glory of Scripture! God has honored their courage and faith and their church has grown exponentially! In our nation where the church appears to be shrinking and increasingly powerless, their church is flourishing in spite of the government opposition.

So here is where you come in. I will need your prayers and I will also need some help in funding my trip. So if you have enjoyed the column over the past five years please consider helping me out financially by making a little contribution to help fund my trip.

I know there are many Edgefield Daily readers and if only a fraction of you gave a little the 2,500 dollars needed to fund my trip will easily be met. (Please forgive my tele-evangelist begging for dollars.)  If you would like more information on the details of the trip, you can call me at Antioch at (803-637-3003) or email me at phillip@antiochofedgefield.com. You can also give through a nice site called http://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/help-pastor-phillip-teach-local-church-pastors-in-asia/274776  .It is a quick and free and easy. Or you can mail a check to Antioch Baptist Church, 1843 SC Hwy 23W, Edgefield SC 29824.

Thanks for the prayers and support! Pastor Phillip

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