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Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly thanks ‘our great, compassionate, merciful God’ as he speaks at ACU, urges believers to help West Africa.

Dr. Kent Brantly had a message for all those inclined to panic about a possible Ebola outbreak in the U.S.

p01 brantlyACU 1214


Dr. Kent Brantly speaks during an interview session at Abilene Christian University.

“There has been a lot of panic, a lot of — I hesitate to use the word hysteria — around the events in Dallas,” he said during a visit to his alma mater, Abilene Christian University. The medical missionary and Ebola survivor urged people of faith to spend time praying and seeking ways to help the people of West Africa, “not worrying that, because we live 100 miles from a hospital that treated a patient, that we are at risk.”
Two days before Brantly spoke, during ACU’s homecoming weekend, Thomas Eric Duncan died from Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Two days after Brantly’s visit, health officials announced that a second person — Nina Pham, a nurse who had treated Duncan — tested positive for the deadly virus.
“My heart is broken for his family,” Brantly said of Duncan, a native of Liberia, where Brantly served in a post-residency program with Samaritan’s Purse and contracted Ebola.
“The truth is Ebola is a very serious disease,” Brantly said in an interview with ACU Today editor Ron Hadfield while on campus. “But I want to be very clear that — for someone who is not in contact with a person who is sick with Ebola — there is no risk.”
Brantly’s photo appeared on TV sets across the U.S. as the physician battled the virus. Around the world, people prayed for him by name — and for Nancy Writebol, another American who contracted Ebola while serving in Liberia. Both were treated and recovered from the virus at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. 
Since his recovery, Brantly has spoken about his ordeal in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer and written a piece for Time magazine.
En route to Abilene, he received a phone call from the Nebraska hospital treating photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, also diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia. The two men have the same blood type, so healthcare workers asked Brantly to donate blood, hoping that the antibodies he acquired would help Mukpo in his fight. Brantly stopped at a nearby hospital and made the donation. 
More recently, Brantly donated blood to help Pham, who is being treated for Ebola in Dallas.
“This is not about me,” Brantly said, repeatedly, as he spoke at ACU. “This is about our great, compassionate, merciful God and our neighbors who need our help.”


Brantly, who grew up in the pews of the Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis, came to ACU in 1999, “unsure of what I wanted to major in,” he told a capacity crowd in the university’s Moody Coliseum. 
“It was here that I first began to feel the Lord’s calling on my life to serve as a missionary,” he said, adding that the university “helped me learn what it means to be a disciple of Christ.”
He graduated in 2003 with a degree in biblical studies but returned for an additional year of science courses after he decided to pursue medicine. 
That year, during a medical mission trip to Central America, he met his future wife, Amber, a pre-nursing student at ACU. The couple and their two children worshiped with the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas, before moving to Liberia in late 2013.
“I want people to know we are just regular folks seeking the Lord’s will for our lives,” Amber Brantly said in an interview with ACU Today. “We only did what we felt he asked us to do, and because we had already died to ourselves in order to follow him, we didn’t think much of it when he called us to Africa.”
Her husband’s voice cracked with emotion as he talked about the people they served. He noted that, when he was interviewed on NBC, the network reported the number of Ebola cases in West Africa at about 4,000. A few weeks later, the death toll exceeded that number.
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college-avenue-defuniak-springsDEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (BNC) by Robert Alexandre — Last night here at College Avenue we met for our regular Wednesday evening service at 7 p.m. Around 7:25 p.m., my wife Susan was teaching her class and started to smell smoke. She went next door to make sure the other teacher wasn’t burning a candle.

When my wife saw the other teacher did not have a candle lit, she asked me to check my office while removing the kids from the area. I had her call another man back there. She checked the storage room, and it was on fire. She grabbed the fire extinguisher and handed it to the man who came to help.

I called the police. When everyone had entered the building that evening they noticed nothing odd. When my family and I got there around 6 pm, we found nothing odd or out of the ordinary. We believe that sometime between 7:00 and 7:25 someone sneaked into our supply room and started the fire.

Fortunately the fire was small, and when my wife and the other brother found it, the fire had not yet spread to paint cans that were in this room nor to the carpet where it could easily spread. We are thankful to God that no major damages were sustained.

We also recognize that if we had been any later in recognizing the problem that this would not have been the case.

We got home at 11:30 p.m., after finishing the first part of the investigation. It is arson. It is considered a hate crime and because we were in service and thus occupying the building it is considered attempted murder.

The state investigator has taken our statements and we had to sign sworn affidavits. The ATF from Georgia was here overnight. The investigation is ongoing.

Please pray for our congregation as we seek to serve the Lord in the town of DeFuniak Springs.

Robert Alexander is the preacher working with the College Avenue congregation. The photo above depicts the congregation 2014 Vacation Bible School.

mike-landonGROTON, Conn. (BNC) —Preacher Michael Landon died Oct. 4 of a rare and aggressive disease surrounded by his wife and children.

Michael was born in Oklahoma to Christian parents, so he was privileged to grow up attending church and gave his life to Jesus through baptism at the young age of eight.

Mike attended Oklahoma Christian College where he met and married Susan. They both graduated there. Mike later graduated from Harding University Graduate School of Religion with an MA and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a PhD.

Mike and Susan worked in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for eight years and were blessed with three children.

They planted a new congregation, but he also taught in the leadership training school and led an organization working with children of low income families.

Mike preached for congregations in Louisiana and Kansas before beginning to teach missions and Bible fulltime. He taught at Barclay College, Southwestern Christian College and the Center for Christian Education before moving to Groton.

Mike published a book with University Press of America on poverty, several articles on the Bible in Restoration Quarterly, and presented scholarly papers on the Bible and missions at numerous professional meetings.

I first met Mike in 1977 at the World Missions Worship, hosted that year by Oklahoma Christian College. Mike was the student leader in charge of the event. The next year it was to be held at Freed-Hardeman College, and I was the student leader. So I stayed in Mike’s dorm room at his invitation, and when he caught a free moment, he shared tips and ideas for the next year.

Mike and Susan invited my wife and me to go with them to São Paulo, Brazil, but we already had formed our mission team to another city. Still, we kept in touch and enjoyed our contact with them.

After their move to the U.S., the Landons returned to Brazil periodically, and in one of their more recent visits Mike came to São José dos Campos and taught a seminar on the DaVinci Code.

Mike wasn’t afraid to stand against the tide, question assumptions, and challenge traditions. He was committed to the Scriptures and the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was thoughtful in his statements, rigorous in his research, and kind in his interactions.

The brotherhood is poorer in his absence.

Updated:   09/26/2014 09:18:35 AM EDT

PITTSFIELD -- A bizarre theft of 500 pounds of acorn and butternut squash intended for the needy occurred overnight Wednesday, according to members of Pittsfield Church of Christ.

The vegetables disappeared from the "Giving Garden," a 2 3/4-acre parcel located on 10 acres owned by the church on Valentine Road. 

pic31"I am heartbroken," Kathy Lloyd, the sister of church pastor Russell Moody, wrote in a Facebook post on the page of her food truck business, How We Roll. "They used generic boxes marked ‘Farm Fresh Local Produce' " and took the vegetables straight out of the patch, she added in an Eagle interview.

"My brother saw [boxes left behind] and immediately thought, "Oh, isn't that nice, somebody brought boxes for us to use during the harvest,' " Lloyd said. "Then he saw the garden was stripped."

Some squash remain, but not much, Lloyd said. This year's harvest will go on for about one more week.

The theft has been reported to city police, Lloyd said. Additionally, she's monitoring social media for potential leads on who is responsible and why anyone would want to make off with a hefty truckload of vegetables the church had grown for the hungry.

Moody said he catches people taking things from the garden, which is visible from the road, "all the time," but this was unique.

"There's no real reason to steal from the ‘Giving Garden' because quite honestly we'll give people the food they're seeking. But there was almost a hope that [a needy person] took the squash for personal consumption," he said.

"Unfortunately, judging by the quantity and the commercial boxes used, it appears someone is going to try to benefit monetarily from this."

The total take would have filled about 25 boxes, he said, and a single person with a truck could have pulled it off. He's asked city police to monitor the garden more frequently at night.

The squash was going to be delivered to the food pantry at South Congregational Church later this week, and Moody said a delivery is still planned, albeit a "considerably lighter" one.

Roughly five tons of organic produce from the "Giving Garden" has been distributed by volunteers since the establishment of the operation three years ago, Lloyd estimated. It is run entirely by volunteers with no overhead costs.

The garden features two sections -- one-third divided into 300-square-foot plots for families to grow their own vegetables and the rest designated to grow produce for the Western Massachusetts Food Bank and other needy organizations throughout the area. 

Lloyd said the 500 pounds of stolen squash exceeds by about 100 pounds the amount volunteers harvest and distribute in an average week.


Farmer from Stephentown gives crops to burglarized church

STEPHENTOWN, N.Y. – At Kinderhook Creek Farm, farmer Larry Eckhardt has decided to turn a bad situation into a good one for people in need, and he's using his own crop to right the wrong.

"It just seems so, I don't know. Unkind is probably a good word. Unkind,” said Eckhardt.

That was the long time farmer’s reaction when he heard that around 500 pounds of squash was taken from the Pittsfield Church of Christ. The church believes the acorn squash was stolen. It was headed to the food pantry to feed those in need.

Eckhardt, owner of Kinderhook Creek Farm in Stephentown says he plans to help.

"We've got probably more of a normal crop than we've had in the last couple years which have been a little bit short so I feel fortunate,” Eckhardt said.

So fortunate, that he will donate 900 pounds of his squash crop to the church, and he's giving them more variety than the acorn squash they initially lost.

"Buttercup or Kabocha is another name for it. This is butternut, delicate," Eckhardt explained.

Although he could make a good profit off the large bin of crop, Eckhardt says by donating it he's just doing the right thing.

Eckhardt says he plans on taking a large bin of squash to Guido's market today in Pittsfield and they will deliver it to the church together.

KentBrantleyDr. Kent Brantly opened up about his Ebola diagnosis, his battle against the disease and his plans for the future in an NBC News special report Friday evening.

But, what the doctor may not realize, is his story of giving is inspiring others to do the same.

The Kent Brantly Fund set up through the JPS Foundation has raised $14,575 from 130 people in 13 states and Australia. Some of the donations pour in include messages of thanks, support and hope.

“Many of them you can tell are just touched by what he has done in doing things so selfless,” said Amanda Stallings, executive director of JPS Foundation. “I read one that said, 'You are the face of Christ in the world,' and I’ve read others that say, 'Thank you so much. We’re praying for you.'”

Money raised through the Kent Brantly Fund will be given to the Brantly family to help them replace items they were forced to leave behind in West Africa such as clothing, toys and electronics.

“It just reaffirms that how many people are so touched by his story, what he is doing in the world and that he got his training her at JPS,” Stallings said. “And, that training allowed him to go and do that work that he felt called to do.”

At Fort Worth's Southside Church of Christ, where Brantly and his family attended church in North Texas, friends call the doctor an inspiration.

“He appears to be handling it with grace,” said Kent Smith, friend and church elder. “I think he’s been his usual humble self, showing concern for other people and trying to deflect the attention away from himself.”

Smith said Brantly's message is an inspiring and positive one highlighting the need to give to others and the plight of Ebola patients in Africa. Smith also said his friend embodies what it means to be a Christian.

“I think he’s doing the best job he can to emulate Jesus, and we could all learn from his example,” Smith said.

The Southside Church of Christ has raised more than $20,000 for the doctor and his family.

If you would like to donate to help the Brantly’s, you can still do so through the JPS Foundation at A drop-down menu allows donations to be earmarked for the Brantly Fund.

Contributions can also can be mailed to JPS Foundation, Kent Brantly Fund, 1223 S. Main St., Fort Worth 76104.




SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (BNc)Search TV speaker Phil Sanders met a recent convert last Tuesday, Aug. 26, at the annual Polishing the Pulpit event.

“I was blessed last Tuesday to meet Paul Sipiczsky, a 77-year-old refugee who moved here from Hungary in the 1950s. He had gone through many trials and was searching for the truth and the true church,” Phil said.

Paul found the SEARCH program on the Knoxville, Tenn., station, WATE (channel 6), an ABC affiliate, where the program is broadcast Sundays at 7:30 am.

John Daniels, the preacher at Sevierville, had announced to the congregation about Paul’s baptism a few weeks ago and attributed his visiting the Sevierville congregation to SEARCH.

“This is why we love partnering with local churches and why we always point back to the local church. I was blessed to meet Paul, when John brought him Tuesday to Polishing the Pulpit. It is indeed the highlight of the week!” Phil said.

 Photo of Ashley’s baptism taken by Esco Olinger
DECATUR, Ala(BNc) — Three prisoners were recently baptized into Christ at the Beltline church of Christ in Decatur, Alabama.  Lisa, Ashley, and Cassandra were given permission by authorities to leave the jail for baptism.
Danny Truitt’s wife, Deborah, a WBS teacher, had studied with the three young women.
He recaps the occasion: “Two deputies brought them to the building in handcuffs and shackles. The handcuffs and shackles were removed to allow them to put on baptismal garments, and then the handcuffs were placed on them again.
The ankle shackles were left off to allow them to better negotiate the steps into the baptistery.” Truitt added, “Needless to say, she is pumped beyond measure,” referring to his wife’s excitement over the baptisms.Despite the physical chains, these women have found freedom in Christ.
What a joy it is to share in this triumph with the Beltline congregation.
. Article submitted to BNc. It was originally written by Jonathan Towell.

'We joined together in prayer and song and agreed to work together to better our community and race relations,' minister says.

A predominantly black Church of Christ in Ferguson, Mo., is asking God to help heal its reeling community. In the wake of a police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager, chaos and protests have erupted in that St. Louis suburb. "We are having prayer meetings. We are offering crisis counseling for the community," said Conley Gibbs Jr., minister for the Ferguson Heights Church of Christ. "We are coming together and just trying to do all we can to help in this situation." The 225-member congregation has increased its benevolence programs, including its food pantry and clothing giveaways. "Even though those (ministries) might not seem directly connected," Gibbs said, "it's giving us an opportunity to be more known in the community." Church members are not taking sides in the dispute between police and demonstrators, he said, but are simply praying and seeking God's will and direction. Prayers by Christians nationwide would be welcomed, the minister added. "In times like these, one of the worst things to do is to be emotional and to be reactive," Gibbs told The Christian Chronicle. "So we're just asking for calm ... and just letting God work in this situation."

On Sunday — eight days after an unarmed black teenager's shooting by a white police officer sparked chaos and protests — the Ferguson Heights Church of Christ conducted a community prayer vigil.

“We had nearly 300 people in attendance,” minister Conley Gibbs Jr. said. “The event included African-American and Caucasian members of the Church of Christ as well as leaders and members of various denominational groups. We joined together in prayer and song and agreed to work together to better our community and race relations.”

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Daily Journal


TUPELO – Gloster St. Church of Christ, the “mother church” for most Churches of Christ in the area, will mark this month the centennial of their formation, and of an idea.

The first congregation consisted of only three or four families, and met in the courthouse way back in 1914, courtesy of congregation member and two-term sheriff of Lee County, George Washington Long.

“You have to understand the historical setting in which our congregation was founded,” said Elder James Segars. “Each denomination has their own set of man-made rules that divides them. Essentially, the first congregation wanted to come out of that division and adhere solely to the New Testament for direction. They wanted to restore Christianity and the church as it was in the first century.”


Growing up

Segars said that Gloster Street Church of Christ is and always has stood independently as a church. They don’t report to any district, conference, association or otherwise. For their first 11 years, the original congregation kept meeting in the town’s courthouse before building their first home in 1925.

In digging through the church’s history, Segars found the original members may have been few, but their influence was considerable. In addition to Washington, his brother, a dairy farmer named T.D. Long, and A.R. Phillips formed the nucleus of the congregation. T.D.’s daughter married into the McCollough family, who owned the land now crossed by McCullough Blvd.

“That was the beginning,” Segars said. “In the first few years, they attracted four or five other families, and kept growing as Tupelo grew. Strong leadership has always been present here, a true commitment and sympathy toward the original goal.”

Segars said the church’s education program is active and crucial. Children growing up in the Church of Christ know what they believe, he said.

In 1948, the congregation constructed their current home, just a few blocks down from their original location. According to the church’s preacher, Chad Ramsey, they have about 300 members and host between 250 and 260 each Sunday, about an 83 percent attendance rate. Mid-week Bible studies draw the same number. To make sure everyone is familiar with each other, Ramsey said the congregation is divided into four smaller groups, called “Care Groups,” that meet, eat, and carry out ministry projects together. The groups are rearranged every year.

“We’re very fortunate,” Ramsey said. “The camaraderie among our members is excellent. We’ve managed to stay away from cliques within the church. Anyone who has visited will tell you it doesn’t take long to get comfortable.”

In addition, the Gloster Street church helped begin Churches of Christ on east and west Main Street, in Verona and Sherman.

Setting the record straight

Ramsey said when it comes to the general population, the Church of Christ is often misunderstood.

“When you explain to people that we are just deeply invested in restoring what the New Testament says Christianity is supposed to be, it’s not a concept people object to,” he said. “It’s the practice that throws them off. People think we’re exclusive, but we just don’t want to be pigeon-holed by any kind of creed book.”

Segars agreed and said conceptions about Church of Christ members believing only their church will go to heaven are ludicrous. The church is merely trying to eliminate the divisive clutter of denomination, and minister with solely the New Testament as a foundation. For this reason, preachers aren’t called pastors or reverend, because, Segars said, those titles don’t come from the Bible.

“[Ramsey] is a minister, an evangelist,” Segars said. “A preacher of the word of God.”

It’s exactly this back-to-basics mindset that Ramsey says will carry the church into the future.

“The thing about our approach is that our standards aren’t changing,” he said. “Our call for unity on the New Testament may be refreshing to some. Our goal is not to be one church among many. We want to be the same church you read about in the New Testament. If we do what those men did, we can become what they were.”

The 100th anniversary celebration will take place at the church on Aug. 24. After the church’s regular 9 a.m. service, longtime church members will share their memories of the church and how it has affected them. At 1:30 p.m., the church will hold a service celebrating its heritage.


sunnyside-church-hillsboro-ohHILLSBORO, Oh. (BNc) by Dale Schraw — The Sunnyside congregation worked alongside fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to evangelize on a campaign July 19-31. In the opening of the campaign, the Sunnyside church had 22 active members.

Our planning efforts commenced in July, 2013.

We contacted a number of large congregations of the Lord’s church who were versed in door-knocking.

We worked with a group of brethren who assist small churches of Christ in the work of the Lord. Brethren from the Gospel Sharing Ministry and Sojourners trained our members and worked with us in bringing God’s Word to members of our community during the campaign.

We began knocking doors and using a New King James chain-reference Bible by Star Publishing.

At the end of four days, we began following up leads rather than continuing the door-knocking.

On July 23 we performed a wedding ceremony and baptized the couple into Christ. On July 25, a second wedding and those two were sunnyside-volunteersadded to the Lord’s church.

During this campaign, we knocked 295 doors, found 140 people home, performed 25 Home Bible Studies, baptized 14 into Christ, performed 2 weddings, and had one restoration.

This increased our number by more than 50%. Our present building will no longer meet our needs. The members and their children must now find another building so that we are able to continue the present work in Hillsboro.

God has blessed us in this work. It is time to train our new converts and continue to reach and teach as many of their friends and neighbors as we are able.

Please continue to pray for our efforts and pray that we will be able to find the funding necessary to acquire the building that will meet our present and future needs.

We pray that other small churches of Christ will begin spreading the Good News of Christ as we are told in the Great Commission of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).

sunnyside-baptism-1 sunnyside-baptism-2 sunnyside-baptism-3

The early Christians were persecuted but held their ground firmly. It is our time to do the same.

Dale is a Christian with the Sunnyside church.

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