Call for help: Slavic Village

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As all of you know, we have been preparing to head to Europe. However, a few days ago we felt God saying that there was some “unfinished business” that needed attended before we go.
After praying about it, I felt sure that he was referring to Slavic Village in Cleveland.

I first went to Cleveland in the fall of 2014 for two weeks. I stayed with a friend and helped him through a hard time in his life. I also did some teaching while I was there to small groups. Towards the end of my trip, I was in prayer during the day and I saw in my spirit some young men beckoning to me from across the street. A sign on the building behind them read “Slavic Village”.

So I went to my friend and asked if he had ever heard of a Slavic Village. He replied that he thought it was in Cleveland. We drove over that afternoon and I witnessed the devastation for the first time. I felt that God wanted me to start a church there and my friend was to look for a building that we could start in.

Six months later, due to circumstances, no progress had been made. I contacted my friend and attempted to make plans to go back to carry out what God had told me to do. I felt I was to go but my friend had too much going on to do any ministry with me.

I can remember sitting in the woods after my friend said it wasn’t a good time to come and really struggling with God. I felt that he had told me to go and yet nothing was working. I had bought a ticket that was sitting in my pocket but I had nowhere to go once I got there. Suddenly, I heard God as clearly as I ever have say to me ” Am I not God in Cleveland? ”

So I headed out not knowing anyone or where I would go. On the way, my friend found me a place to stay in Slavic Village with some Christians.

They were very gracious and put me up for over 50 days. For over 50 days I taught every single night. For 50 days, I did Street ministry, fought social justice battles and prayed.

I was alone the entire time, having left my family in Wisconsin. We felt that it was prophetic and that when the way was made for my wife to come that the Holy Spirit would come to Slavic Village.

The way was never made. We had offers for buildings, vehicles that could be purchased and genuine plans that could be implemented immediately. But we could find no one to help. Promises were made that were not followed up on. The people there just did not seem to care about their own city enough to give towards a ministry there.

After a few months back home, I gave up on Slavic Village. The harvest was there but the church was completely ineffective. If you are going to minister an effective Gospel in an area that has more foreclosures and abandoned homes than anywhere else in the country, you need help. If you hope to introduce the Kingdom of God to the main drug trafficking area in Ohio, you need help. And I could find no one that cared for much besides their own concerns.

After the Lord spoke to us about unfinished business three days ago, we began looking to head that direction. We contacted church Pastors that I knew and people that had attended our meetings. The biggest need was securing a home there, fixing that home and then using it as a ministry base to shift a region.

Well, we are excited to announce that a four bedroom home has been totally donated for this ministry. It has been stripped and needs new pipes and wires, the inside needs refinished and it needs appliances, a heater and AC. What else it needs, we don’t know.

We want to retrofit it green, using sustainable materials and technology. We believe that a revolution can occur among the poor if we show them how to get independent of the world system and plugged into God’s abundance. We want to use solar, a water catchment system, heat sinks and plant a complete permaculture garden.

We also want to use it as a ministry center, holding nightly revival meetings, offering discipleship and community building as well.

We believe there is hope, even in this hopeless place. We believe that we can start a movement where the church gains control of properties and changes the spiritual climate of the region.

I am pasting an old article here from CNNMoney that talks about the issues facing Slavic Village. If after reading it, you can see the importance of getting a Kingdom based Gospel preached there, please give generously towards this project via our GIVE tab.

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CLEVELAND (CNNMoney.com) — When homeowners moved away after a wave of foreclosures in Cleveland’s working-class neighborhood of Slavic Village, crime took off.
Slavic Village is known as the worst neighborhood in the nation for foreclosures. In a study for CNNMoney, RealtyTrac calculated that properties in its ZIP code recorded more foreclosure filings in three months than anywhere else in the United States.
According to Jim Rokakis, Cuyahoga County Treasurer, more than 800 houses now sit vacant and moldering in the area, which was founded in the 1840s by Polish and Bohemian immigrants who worked in area steel mills and factories.
The first thing that happened after owners moved out of foreclosed homes in Slavic Village was that squatters and looters moved in, according to Mark Wiseman, director of the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program. “In the inner city, it takes about 72 hours for a house to be looted after it is vacant,” he said.
Walking around the neighborhood, Mark Seifert, director of the East Side Organizing Project pointed out a home he said was still occupied less than two weeks before. The gutters and downspouts were already gone, and trash covered the yard.

Long-time Slavic Village resident Joe Krasucki had celebrated his 78th birthday last spring, when, late in the evening, he heard some noise and went out for a look. Reports said he’d had run-ins with local gangs before. A neighbor’s abandoned house had already been stripped of its aluminum siding and, according to Rokakis, Krasucki thought the looters were back, working on his home. Outside, he was attacked and badly beaten. He died some days later.
After stripping the siding, looters don’t take long to make a vacant property nearly worthless.
“If someone takes the doors, moldings, appliances, it’s bad enough,” said Wiseman. “But once they pull the piping out, it’s all over; they do it with a sledge hammer.”
Putting a house back together takes money, more money than the restored home could bring on the market. And stopgap programs, such as razing derelict houses, aren’t feasible – Cuyahoga County only has a few million dollars available for demolition work, and Wiseman estimates at least $100 million is needed.
Many houses in Slavic Village have had their siding stripped up to the roof lines. A few criminal masterminds even stripped vinyl siding, apparently unaware of the difference in wholesale scrap prices between plastic and metal.
When a house is derelict, people will dump garbage in the yard, rather than pay for haulage. Windows are broken, and doors are stolen, opening up the interior to the elements. In Cleveland’s cold and damp climate, the houses deteriorate quickly. But some not badly enough to keep drug dealers out.
Asteve’e “Cookie” Thomas was just 12 years old this past summer when she was gunned down coming out of a Slavic Village candy store, caught in a crossfire from suspected dealers engaged in a drug war. Seifert said one of the alleged shooters was using an abandoned house in the neighborhood as a base.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, five people, including Thomas and Krasucki, have been killed in Slavic Village in the past two years: In July, Grady Smith, 27, was shot outside his home while working on his car. In Nov. 2006, Roman Grasela, 71, died of blows to his head after his house was broken into. And in October 2005, Therese Szelugowski, 76, died weeks after falling and hitting her head after she was mugged.

Some Slavic Village home owners, still hoping to salvage something out of houses they have vacated, have installed stout doors on entryways with thick locks. They board up windows with three-quarter-inch, exterior-grade plywood.
Others attempt to thwart looters by advertising the lack of anything of value inside. They paint signs saying: “No copper, No wiring, PVC.”
Residents have tried to fight back, organizing neighborhood watch groups and lobbying the police, who, many feel, are too often missing in action.
Seifert pointed out an open, empty lot on one block that had been used by car thieves for months and months to store and strip parts from stolen cars. It took a concerted effort by a local group called “Bring Back the 70’s” (which refers to the street numbers in the neighborhood) to get the police to clear the lot of the thieves.
But as the number of empty lots and abandoned houses grows where houses and residents were once packed in a tight community, there are fewer and fewer neighbors to fight the battle. 

Revival Schedule

Hi all.

As we transition to Europe, we are setting final dates across the U.S. this Spring and Summer.

We are booking conferences, churches, city-wide revival meetings and home meetings.

If you feel led or see a need for a fresh move of God in your home, church or region, just drop us a note via the contact tab and we will get ahold of you.

Blessings.
J.

New Sermon: Switching Systems

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“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” Col 1:13

The church tends to get most things wrong well in advance of the need. Case in point; if you are not instructed as to the laws that govern the Kingdom of God, you will find yourself hopelessly flailing in the world system. The Kingdom of God has a unique mindset and economy and you need to know these rules to function in it properly.

But the church has spent too much time instructing people in how to fit into their subculture and none instructing them the realities of the Kingdom.

In this study, we begin to lay out the differences between the two systems and discuss the dangers present in trying to live in two worlds at once.

http://www.churchcloud.com/american-pentecost/sermon/switching-systems/

Help us reach France today!

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Those of you that follow this ministry know that we have never backed down from a challenge. We have always preached the truth, no matter how unpopular. We have travelled and preached in places that “normal” Christians and preachers won’t go.

This ministry has preached all over the U.S. for over 20 years. We have spoken of the need for revolution and the Lazarus Generation, revival and Reformation; many times to people that were quite happy to remain asleep in the light.

We have talked and written about the upcoming generational chasm and it’s repercussions for the future of the American church; how we will see a 3% church attendance rate in this country within a few short years.

Recently, something has shifted and we are staring at the biggest change in the history of this ministry squarely in the face. God is calling us to a different mission field.

We are leaving the U.S. and heading to Europe as missionaries.

We believe that the lessons that we have learned over the years in regards to vintage reconciliation, post modern ministry, Gen-X outreach methodologies, etc, will be used by God effectively in one of the most spiritually barren places on Earth; France.

France, you ask? Why France?

France has the 4th largest atheist population in the world.

Of 36,550 towns and cities in France, 35,000 do not have 1 evangelical church.

A large evangelical church in France may consist of only 20-30 regular attendees.

A youth population that is largely uninterested in the gospel. 

Less than 10% own a Bible and 80% have never even handled one.

There are 10 times more people earning a living in occult practices than there are evangelical pastors and missionaries. 

There are now 10 Muslims in France for every 1 Evangelical Christian.

Now, we believe that the only point of this ministry is revival. And we believe that revival is the ultimate purpose for this move. France is the Jericho of Europe – if revival breaks there, in the very heart of secular humanism in Europe, then the rest of Europe’s Gen-X and disenfranchised youths will be swept up into a great awakening as well.

But the methods that have been employed over the last 50 years have all failed. And the majority of Western missionaries that go there fail. But this ministry is something radically different that Europe has not seen before.

We believe that Jesus loves the lost of Europe and wants to awaken them to the light of the knowledge of Christ. This secular stronghold must give way for the Kingdom of God and the eternal message of Christ’s dominion and rule.

We need your help, make no mistake. The mission organization has set us a goal of $10,000 USD per month for personal and ministry funding and an initial set up need of over $100k.

We believe that God is going to set up a ministry training center there that will be free, where converts can come and learn all they need to succeed in that mission field.

We believe that God is going to have us train people in off the grid sustainable farming and building techniques to free ministers from the slavery of the world system and as a means of social justice.

We believe that we will employ the hub method that God gave us and reach thousands with the Good News of the Kingdom.

We are asking for your help in one time gifts and monthly donation pledges to sustain this incredibly important revival mission.

Simply go to the GIVE tab and help us to launch this revolution in the darkest part of Europe today.

God bless you, friends.
James and Shana & Co.

New Sermon: Intro to Manifestation

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Hi all.
I have a new sermon uploaded. This one deals with the dominion of the church, limitless expanse of the possibility of God’s provision and the ultimate goal of our manifestation as Sons of God.
Fell free to listen and share.

Keep us in prayer as the mission sending group is proposing sending us to Spain within a few months.

Blessings,
JC Smith & Co.

http://www.churchcloud.com/american-pentecost/sermon/intro-to-manifestation/

Sermon: The Two Prodigals

Hello all.
I am including a link to one of our sermons online.

http://www.churchcloud.com/american-pentecost/

We have been in the process of rebuilding our online catalog of free sermons for all of you and will update as we progress.

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The first offering is a sermon based on the entire chapter of Luke 15 and particularly the parable of the prodigal sons. Jesus’ intention was never for that parable to only be about the son who left home, it was also about the son who stayed.

You see, you can be lost both in and out of the house.

I pray that you are given this revelation and that the Father sees both types returning to his house.

If you enjoy this message, feel free to share the link with others.

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The Lazarus Generation

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So, you want to be effective with Gen-X? If you were to gauge exactly who this demographic is and how to win them by the current efforts of the church, more than likely you would start some sort of hipster ministry. For instance, you could take out all titles and replace them with something more hip: Pastor would be out and in its place would be “Pathfinder” or even just “Dude”.

Or you could place religious symbols from as many faiths as you could around your “community space” and then use bean bags and couches to fill empty areas. Oh, and don’t forget your incense and your U2charist… the kids like those; they make them feel like spiritual…

Now, that is exactly the way that many people are going about ministry to Gen-X and Gen-Y. Granted most of the visible ministry to our generation is being done by ex-youth group leaders who are now all grown up and keeping church cool. I have to tell you though, had you tried to win me with any of that I may have tested your faith a bit.

You see, I come from a different group of Gen-X called the Lazarus Generation. We are called that because we are a dead generation that Christ is raising from the grave. Big deal, you say, I was dead as well…we all were. Yeah, that may be technically true but in comparison to the “Lazarus kind of dead” most people were really just“mostly dead” if I can quote Miracle Max from The Princess Bride.

The Lazarus Generation was “all dead” which generally is regarded as a hopeless case scenario where the only remaining option is going through their pockets for spare change.

You have to wonder why the enemy went after Lazarus in the word, don’t you? I mean, he wasn’t an apostle or prophet or pastor. He had not shown himself to be of any consequence whatsoever when the enemy killed him off. In fact, killing him only had one visible consequence: causing grief to Mary, Martha and Jesus. In the end, I believe that this was his intention from the start. He knew that he couldn’t hurt the Lord but he could certainly hurt those that he loved.

Today’s Lazarus Generation were also those that the enemy had specifically targeted to destroy because of who loved them. Most of those considered to be a part of the Lazarus Generation came from the homes of believers before they fell away. Somewhere between the empty religion, the hypocrisy and the system of politics in the church world, Lazarus had had enough and decided that the faith they grew up with was a fairy tale, like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and a winning baseball team in Pittsburgh.

And when they left, they left hard. Lazarus tried Satanism, eastern religion, Nordic mythology, atheism and pretty much anything else so long as it was not the religion that they grew up with. They never really doubted that God existed; they just doubted what everyone was saying about him. And they sinned in every way imaginable, hurt everyone around them and burnt bridges like it was going out of style. And somewhere, someone cried for them.

My mother used to tell me that the “hounds of heaven”were going to get me. I had no idea what that was but it was a bit freaky. Of course, she meant that the “hounds” were goodness and mercy and that they would follow me all the days of my life. And she was right of course because one day during a suicide attempt those hounds finally caught up to me. And I am so glad that they did.

But like the biblical Lazarus, most didn’t want to see me raised from the dead either. But Lord, by this time, he stinks can pretty much summarize the first few years of my new life. Shoot, some still say that about me to be honest. They knew that Lazarus was coming back with baggage and as cool as seeing him raised would be, they weren’t entirely sure that they actually wanted him back. I can recall vividly this one established Christian who after hearing that the notorious sinner (me) had gotten saved decided to take it to the Lord in prayer. As he did, power dropped him to his knees as the Lord revealed to him that I was really a Satanist and was pretending to be saved for some nefarious reason. Remember the whole “Lord, he stinks” thing above?

I think in part this has to do with the fact that getting yourself raised from the dead changes your perspective a bit. The Japanese used to talk about the state of euphoria that came with coming back from the brink of death. If someone intervened when they were about to commit seppuku, they described the feeling as being transcendent. Colors were brighter, the air was crisper all around them, and every movement had a delicate beauty that had previously gone unnoticed to them. Life had not really been lived up until that point and there could never be any going back.

How much more would this be the case after having been “all dead”? What would your perspective be like after landing on the other side and experiencing the total hopelessness of death? And then, suddenly in the dark, when all hope that you should ever be saved was taken away, a light suddenly breaks all around you and you hear your name being called down the corridors of eternity! And before you fully know what is happening, you are being violently ripped from the pits of hell, with demons grabbing at your feet and snapping their jaws at you as you take your place in the last place you ever expected to see again: the land of the living. How would that change your perspective?

What kind of conversation do you have with someone who has been raised from the dead? How would you convince them to go back into the very thing that killed them in the first place? How do you tell someone that is full of this ‘gratitude from the grave’ to sit down and just relax a bit? Guess what, you don’t, hero. From the moment that they come back from the grave, they will be a step off from everyone else. Believe me, this kind of thing can make normal people nervous around you to say the least.

I have personally experienced this over and over again through the years. A couple years ago, there was an apparent “error” in my ministry that was so grievous that it was compared by a well-known preacher to homosexuals praying before going out to talk to people about a God who loved gays. Sound extreme? The error was that we teach mixed martial arts (MMA) to men instead of teaching them to hold hands with each other and share their feelings and sing ‘kumbaya’.

This kind of thing is nothing new for me, I am sorry to say. At one time I had some 00 plugs in my ears and some other body piercings. So, of course there were those who took issue with me because I looked too much like “the world” for their tastes. Some still hate the fact that I have full tattoo sleeves on my arms. Some hate the fact that I preach while wearing steel toed boots. Some others think I should not have a shaved head (been told that, true story) and there are still some more who think that preachers should not have long facial hair.

But what these well-intending folks do not realize is that when I was saved the last thing that was on my mind was getting a new wardrobe so that I could fit in with the cutesy church people. All that I had, like Lazarus, were the grave clothes that I had on when I died. Add to this the new perspective that you gain from being raised from the dead and what you have is someone who doesn’t really care one way or the other what you think about them.

It doesn’t matter what some people think of our ministry techniques, what matters is what God thinks. It does not matter that we do not do things the way that you do them because we do them exactly the way that God has led us to. It doesn’t matter that we don’t preach in a way that you like because if you hate it, it probably is not for you.

No, in the end the only thing that you can do with the Lazarus Generation is the very thing that Jesus commanded them to do with the newly-raised Lazarus:“Loose him and let him go!” Just get us free, get out of our way and let us loose for some payback. Don’t try to control us, don’t try to understand and don’t try to change our thinking until it looks more like your own. Our mission is to monkey stomp the enemy and we will do it at any cost.

We that are the Lazarus Generation have something inside that is pushing us. It keeps us up at night with an insistent whisper that says that now is the time. If we don’t play nice, forgive us, we seem to have left our ability to play nice in the grave. If we don’t sound like everyone else, forgive us, we have a different perspective that is driving us. If what we say or do bothers you, by all means forgive us, dying and coming back seems to cause you to cut to the chase.

We may not agree about everything but believe me, we need you in the church and you need us as well. We need fathers and mothers who can keep us grounded and spare us from mistakes. You need someone unafraid to take this message where no one else cares to go. Together we have the potential to literally shake Hell and see millions come into the kingdom. At this moment in time God has chosen to raise something from the dead that was considered totally lost. And in so doing he has created a juggernaut of zeal that is ready to run to the battle. And we need you church. If you cannot understand, don’t try, just loose us and let us go