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I am not of the Christian Reformed denomination; I work in the offices of another denomination and regularly check this network for useful resources.  I wasn't able to see the webinar on its original date and just now greatly appreciated the archived version. It sounds like some of the comments already posted come from the very type of worldview development the presenter describes, where, as scientific knowledge expands, we become somewhat arrogant in thinking we need less of the spiritual side. Be that as it may, I can personally attest that demons are active today, and that it is possible to invite them into our lives by yielding to temptations or creating situations where they feel welcomed.  I used to be an evening supervisor in a domestic violence shelter where many of the residents brought serious spiritual baggage with them.  Some of them were in the habit of watching extremely questionable material on television, especially while the supervisor was busy in the office or another area of the shelter. You could literally feel the movement of demonic forces in the shelter TV room, but I found that if I took my guitar or a CD player to work, those forces could be driven away with praise music lifting up the name of Jesus Christ.  Once, I actually surprised a demon in that room and it hid in an empty bedroom, pushing a bunk bed in front of the door to prevent my coming in.  No kidding--a bunk bed moved about two inches with no physical person in the room. I wedged the door open and commanded it to leave in Jesus' name, which it did. Please don't assume I was smoking something illegal at the time, LOL; I was one of those who thought everything could be explained by natural means until I began experiencing things like this while working in that environment. 

In another context, I am involved in occasionally leading worship for the meetings of an addiction recovery ministry.  I believe that people suffering from addictions are unfortunately all too familiar with the spirit world.  However, having experienced the dark side of spiritual involvement, many recovering addicts who accept Christ are very responsive to spiritual warfare in dealing with their situations.  They readily accept that angels are there to go to bat for them and the Holy Spirit is very present to help them.  Consequently, many experience miraculous provision and are awesome witnesses to others.

Demons are a very real and present threat, but we have authority over them in the name of Jesus, and we have the Holy Spirit to remind us when our personal activities are giving them cause for bothering us. Thank you for this webinar.



Great post that raises some points to think about.  I have friends who have been together for years in a committed relationship, but remain unmarried because her income would cause him to lose valuable veteran benefits.  They've even made a public commitment in front of their families. I don't consider it my business to tell them what to do or not do, and we certainly can't know what is in a couple's heart or intentions unless we take the time to get acquainted and really listen. 


I work for the Assemblies of God U.S. Missions division. We have a chaplain specializing in training churches in mental health awareness.

I'm sure she would be happy to share ideas.

I have had mild hearing loss in one ear ever since a bad infection over 20 years ago, and I find small group conversation challenging; I can only imagine how bad it could be for those with more severe impairments.  I definitely concur with the suggestions in the previous comment--first of all, evaluate the room.  High ceilings, hard furniture, tile floors can create a "live" environment that bounces the sound around and makes for too much noise competing for my "good" ear. This is particularly important in a large room with several groups meeting at different tables.  In that type of setting, something to absorb some of the extra sound (curtains, acoustical panels, carpets or area rugs) is needed.  Flexibility in seating may also be helpful.  If I can sit where the primary sound is on my right (the good side), I can manage better.  And limit "background" sound.  If music is used, keep it very soft and instrumental only, so it doesn't compete with conversation.  Do consider having some type of visual support.  If the setting isn't appropriate for a Power Point, maybe just a flip chart and markers to highlight main points being discussed will help people make sure they don't miss anything.  Hope these suggestions are helpful.  

Thank you for these encouraging thoughts. My husband became a Type 1 diabetic following a bad case of flu that affected his pancreas. The church we were attending at the time had "name it, claim it" leanings, and we were frequently told we were not praying correctly or that we should "take authority" over illness. Someone even offered to cast the "spirit" of diabetes out of him. Needless to say, we are no longer with that church but have found comfort in the scriptures you mentioned and in learning to be thankful for our many blessings. In addition, his illness has given my husband opportunities to encourage others, in ways that he might not have otherwise had.


Goodness, reading this and thinking about my polling place has me rather horrified, as well as a little embarrassed that I hadn't thought about it before.  I live out in the country and we vote at a small community center with a dirt parking lot, narrow door with concrete steps to the threshold, and a porta-potty bathroom.  I am planning to call our county government and ask what accommodations are available for someone who can't handle that situation--I'm guessing that they would have to make special arrangements to go to the courthouse, but it's probably safe to say mine isn't the only rural county with similar problems and many rural citizens with disabilities are probably effectively discouraged from voting. 

Definitely agree, especially with #2.  If the worship service is well-planned, the appropriateness of the song will override individual members' concerns about whether or not they know it.  They can hum along or simply meditate on the words. If you're reasonably certain the majority won't know it, you can have the accompanist or worship band play it softly through once before it is sung, or depending on the style at your church, maybe have an individual member of the worship team sing a verse or chorus through softly and then everyone join in to repeat that section and go on together. The important thing is to keep the focus on worshiping God or responding to the sermon or scripture.


A good church sign?  Is there such a thing?  Just kidding, sort of.  Far too many of them are posted by someone who didn't think about the fact that someone besides their own members might be reading it.  In my opinion, the service times and a phone number should be a given.  If there's room, an encouraging scripture verse is fine, or an announcement for a special upcoming event.  Not acceptable: puns (there are NO exceptions to this, no matter how cute somebody thought it was); politics other than a simple encouragement to get out and vote; or any cutesy phrases only churchgoers would understand.  

These are great suggestions for following up on a trip.  I would like to add one: Help the youth cultivate an ongoing relationship with the missionary or ministry they visited.  It can be discouraging to have a group come in with exciting music, colorful materials, and other things and then disappear, leaving the missionary to continue his or her work on a limited budget unable to provide the excitement the short-term group generated.  If the group keeps in touch, relationships can be cultivated.  Perhaps the group can send Christmas gifts or holiday supplies, do a fundraiser for an outreach program, exchange video greetings regularly, or adopt a project financially.  These continued contacts will show both the missionary/ministry leader and the people he/she serves that the visiting group wasn't just there to add another notch on their experience log, but to build friendships in Christ.


There is something personal about a cookbook that you just can't get on a computer or smartphone screen.  I love those little notes added to the recipes in church or school cookbooks.  My mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was in high school, and didn't have much spending money, but one year for Christmas she typed out about 50 of her treasured recipes on cards and put them in a little file box for my "hope chest."  That was on a manual typewriter, rolling each card in individually.  Forty years later, I use those cards regularly, complete with the grease splatters and smudges.  If my house was on fire, that box is one thing I'd grab. 

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