Sunday, March 14, 2010

Religion in Brazil

I have been studying up on religion in Brazil. Today there seems to be quite a diversity. In the 18th century Brazil's official religion was Roman Catholic. This was due to the Portuguese people who were the first settlers and conquerors from Europe. Later as the Portuguese brought slaves from Africa to work on the plantations, the religion started to take on a different look. Even though the slaves were forbidden to practice their religions they managed to maintain their beliefs and doctrines. Since 1889, when the Brazilian Constitution was set forth, Brazil ceased to have an official religion and today the Constitution guarantees absolute freedom of religion.

According to the 2000 census, most of Brazil's population still claims to be Roman Catholic, however, there are many other religious groups in Brazil. Some of these are: Protestant, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, and Baptist. In addition there are over a million and a half Spiritualists or Kardescists (also known as spirit tappers or mediums) who follow after the doctrines of the French philosopher Allan Kardec. The Spiritualists believe in reincarnation. There are followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; small minorities of Jews; Muslims, Buddhists and numerous followers of Candomble and Umbanda (especially in northern Brazil). What is Candomble and Umbanda?

Candomble is a religion that was brought to Brazil by slaves from Nigeria. It is polytheistic and worships a number of African deity. Candomble believes that everyone is born with a patron god. Today, a blending of Catholicism and Candomble is practiced by many people throughout Brazil.

Umbanda is a religion derived from Candomble coupled with Christianity and Kardecism and is widely practiced thoughtout Brazil. Umbanda believes there is one supreme creator god who gives power to spirits of deceased people to counsel and guide believers. These dead spirits are also being transformed through spiritual evolution into other life forms and physical material.

Hmmm ... interesting. It sounds like Evangelical Friends has their work cut out for years to come. Let's get it on for the glory of Jesus Christ!

Thanks for your support and prayers ...

Classic sermon

Today I watched a classic sermon on TV. It was Rex Humbard preaching in the early 70's. His text was Mark 10 and the rich young ruler. His title, "Between two thieves." Humbard's key point: just as Jesus was crucified on a cross between two thieves two thousand years ago He is today by church people.

The two thieves are "what I should have done for Jesus yesterday but didn't" and "what I plan to do for Him tomorrow. The problem? Yesterday cannot be revisited and tomorrow never comes. All that matters is what we do for Jesus today!"

Thanks Rex for your years of service to Christ's kingdom. I'm sure you are enjoying your heavenly reward! I plan to as well someday.
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Buddha and the Bible

Tradition as I understand it says that Gautama (a man later known as the Buddha)was from a wealthy family and experienced worldly happiness in his younger years. At some point his happiness was shattered when he became aware of the common sufferings of life. His fixation with suffering lead him away from his family at age 29 at which time he shaved his hair and put on yellow garments. He lived in solitude, frequently moving from place to place in order to avoid people and discover enlightenment through fasting, solitude and meditation.

When this failed to provide Gautama inner peace he gave up fasting and solitude and one night under a fig tree had a great awakening to discovered what he called the path to salvation (commonly known as the middle path). The doctrine of Buddha teaches the end goal is Nirvana (the passing away of worldly existence into eternity where suffering no longer exists). To get to Nirvana one must endure several life times of suffering on earth in various forms. Redemption as defined by Gautama is living with the reality that all of the life times one must experience are a form of suffering which must be passed through successfully by doing good deeds and meditating on the knowledge gleaned from past experiences and the hope one has for future Nirvana. Tradition says that under the fig tree Gautama was transformed into the Buddha. His redemption experience so filled him with joy that he squat at the base of the fig tree for seven days.

For many centuries now Buddha has been portrayed as a big man squatting under a fig tree. His disciples still favor fall colors for their garments because it symbolizes the leaves of a tree just before passing from one life into the next. A process of suffering they believe all living creatures must pass through on middle path to Nirvana.

The Bible teaches in Romans that all men know about God through conscience, circumstances and creation. No doubt Gautama's quest for redemption was actually the grace of God calling him to a personal relationship with his Creator and to experience the true redemption that comes only through Jesus Christ. For those who accept the Divine invitation righteousness, peace and joy is experienced instantaneously. For those who reject the Creator's call the inner striving continues and quest for peace remains.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Socrates and Jesus

What if Socrates had met Jesus? I wonder how his life would have changed? He was truly a great thinker whose influence continues on to this day in philosophy. As we look back on his life we can see the fingerprint of God in his thoughts but to our knowledge Socrates never came to know the one true God. What if he had?

The significance of Socrates's approach to life is that one must know one's ignorance and embark upon a journey of thought. That through an awareness of what one does not know one will arrive at the very knowledge that is crucial for life. For Socrates, the good life consisted of the insatiable desire for self revelation.

He also believed in deity. That the traditional gods of his culture would help man in self discovery and lead man to ultimate truth. Through a process known to him as "daimonion" the gods would direct one through an inner voice that required obedience beyond reason for higher knowledge to be found. That man should trust the inner leading of deity and risk living in freedom as though he know good existed and was leading towards truth.

Socrates held to the immortality of the human soul. That peace of mind in life is based upon such certainty and that sources of doubt are removed through "pursuing good." Good for Socrates was a combination of self discovery and obeying the inner voice of deity.

Socrates took his own life in 399 B.C. by drinking poison. Some say the last thing he is known for saying is, "perhaps it is well to bathe before drinking the hemlock, and so spare the women the trouble of washing my body." One wonders how the story might have ended if Socrates had responded to the transforming call of God on his life?

Like Socrates, so many today are searching for inner peace and joy. Like the philosopher of old they too are forging a theory of thought and practice as a means to their final destination and yet, peace and joy eludes them just the same. Could you be such a person?

We must all yield to the call and plan of God in order to find righteousness, peace and joy. It can only be realized by those who have relationship with Jesus Christ and fully surrender self to His will. Know thyself today ... true living is absent until Jesus is present. Meet Jesus today!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Prayer request

This week as you join me in praying for the new Evangelical Friends Church mission field opening in Brazil later on this month would you specifically ask God to help me be successful in accomplishing my vision for this trip. My vision is to be known as the “eyes and feet” of the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region on the ground in northern Brazil gathering information useful for discernment and implementation of Kingdom building opportunities and as an extension of her “heart” for the Brazilian people to feel, define, and develop trust in for future partnership in ministry.

The intelligence of an organization is measured in two primary ways today. One, by how effectively it can gather, process and respond to information. Two, by how it impacts others relationally. Providing good organizational and relational intelligence is a must for this first missionary sortie.

Thank you for your prayers,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Brazil objectives

Mission Trip Performa
March 18-30, 2010
Submitted by: Adrian Halverstadt

Vision: (What do I want this mission trip to be primarily known for?)
Through this mission trip I want to be known as the “eyes and feet” of the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region on the ground in northern Brazil gathering information useful for discernment and implementation of Kingdom building opportunities and as an extension of her “heart” for the Brazilian people to feel, define, and develop trust in for future partnership in ministry.

Mission: (What is my purpose for this mission trip?)
Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region
- To assist in opening a new mission field in Brazil with the intent of having at least one new EFC-ER church established by Easter of 2011 and an additional churches in the Following years.

- To obtain pertinent information for discernment and future planning
> Identify four church planting locations in the region of Carpina, Brazil
> Gather pictures and video useful for planning, promotion and prayer
> Identify indigenous Spirit-filled leadership and establish an international virtuous cycle of communication:

- Locate a “leader among leaders” who is strong in administration and savvy in communication
- Locate two leaders who possess a call and skill set for church planting and a fervor for evangelism

Virtuous communication:
- to develop a narrative of shared interest, passionate goals, ideas and tools, and
God stories of success

- develop a relational connection among leaders and supporters (future goal is to obtain 1000 supporters with virtual connection)

- to create mobilization through education, empowerment, and respect

- Define EFC-ER to Brazilians as an international community of Christ followers
who are “Great Command and Commission” in purpose

Willoughby Hills Friends Church
- To extend the ministry and influence of WHFC into Brazil

- To stoke the fire of excitement and expectancy during this time of transition
at WHFC by representing her as a commissioned servant, sharing favorable
reports on God’s activity in Brazil, and identifying connection points for future
involvement and the sharing of resources in northern Brazil for the glory of God.

- To answer the call/leading of the Holy Spirit to support the vision of EFC-ER

- To assess and discern future ministry opportunities for the Halverstadts in Brazil

- To exercise my spiritual gifts of preaching, teaching and administration as
opportunities present in Brazil

Barclay College
- To explore opportunities for BC to engage Kingdom building in Brazil through
partnership with EFC, Community Churches, and World Renewal International

Demonstrate Association:
- BC is an Evangelical Friends institution of higher education and is Great
Command and Commission in purpose.

- BC can quantitatively impact EFC’s vision for Brazil through human resources
> short term - faculty an staff can facilitate church teams

> mid term - faculty and students can provide extended on site service in
4-12 week intervals
- indigenous training
- field development
- higher relational intelligence and cultural relevance

> long term - greater exposure to students to the work of the Holy Spirit
through EFC missions with the hope that many would decide to return
for long term service

- BC can raise the organizational intelligence of EFC’s missions by:
> placing more skilled personnel on the field to gather information, assess
cultural needs, and network on location over longer periods
of time (8-12 week periods).

- Greater exposure for Barclay College to EFC and world

- Strengthen the academic matrix of BC through cross culture experience

- Expands the mission statement of BC internationally

- Explore the viability of a BC extension site in northeast Brazil

Objectives: (How will I focus my resources and measure my success?)
- Fulfill the stated vision and mission as stated

- Meet the rigors of the trip itinerary as listed below:
3/18 - Mission Board at WOC at 9:30 am
- Depart Akron/Canton Airport at 6:30 pm
3/19- Travel
3/20-29 -TBD (by Frank and Tele)
3/30-31 - Travel

Strategy: (What S.M.A.R.T. “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and
Time-bound” goals do I have in preparation for the trip?)

- Purchase tickets by 2/20 (done $1499.70)

- Secure 40 prayer partners by 2/22 (44 as of 2/23)

- Post weekly prayer updates on my blog and FB page

- Apply for a Brazilian tourist Visa by 3/6

- Set itinerary with Frank and Tele by 3/6

- Submit final draft of the trip Performa to Dr. John Williams by 3/6

- Finalize budget by 3/6
Air - $1499.70
Ground transportation, lodging & food - $1000 (per Frank’s estimation)
Brazilian tourist visa - $300

- Prepare sermons, lectures and interview questionnaire by 3/17

- Pick up video equipment and cell phone with GMS from WOC on 3/18

- Attend Mission Board meeting on 3/18
Thanks for reading this and I apologize for the formatting (Blogspot is not cooperating with me today)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Family Life Seminar at WHFC

Dr. John Trent
Institute for
The Blessing


Coffee Cup Coaching Seminar
with Dr. Tony Wheeler

WHEN: Saturday, April 10th

TIME: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Willoughby Hills Friends Church
2846 S.O.M. Center Rd
Willoughby Hills, Ohio 44094

CONTACT: Church Office @ 440-944-1026 or visit


This seminar is designed to equip the laity to care for each other and in turn reach out to the community and help families through real life issues.

This exciting training will empower people to overcome the fears they may have about reaching out and going to coffee with a friend to lend support. You will be amazed to see people set free to do the work of God in your body.

As you work with people two things become apparent. One, people are hurting and need someone who can lend a listening ear. Two, many people are gifted with counseling and communication skills in the church who are not being utilized as they should to help others in the body. The pastor and staff can never meet all of the needs of the individuals in the body, in fact, they were not meant to. The Bible makes it clear that we are to be caring for one another on an intimate level.

“Let’s Go To Coffee”

This half day seminar will prepare you to help hurting people by just being willing to care for them and offer them the same love and grace Christ has given you.

To Register for the Coffee Cup Coaching Seminar: contact the church office

Cost: $7.00 each or $10.00 per couple (includes continental breakfast)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why Mission Work In Brazil?

Great question! For me the question is easily answered, "because Lisa said I could." Any other questions? Seriously, even though that is a legitimate answer in my life (smile) let me give you some other reasons for doing mission work in Brazil.

First, because Brazil is a field which God has cultivated for such a time as this and Evangelical Friends are ready to seed the Gospel in the soil of His preparation. Second, there is an obvious need for Kingdom development in Brazil. Though our partnership with World Renewal International we have identified over 400 communities within a one day drive of Carpina which do not have an Evangelical Church at this time. I will bring us great joy to assist the Brazilian people in establishing faith communities in their geographic location which God will use to transform individuals, their families and culture for His glory.

Third, we are Commission to go to every point on the globe by our divine Commander and Chief with a specific purpose in mind. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said that we should "Go into all the world and make disciples baptizing them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," and, He adds in Acts 1:8, as His "witness in the uttermost parts of the world" (Acts 1:8). These two passages have a common theme which Evangelical Friends address theologically. We believe that Christ's atonement not only provides for the forgiveness of sin but extends to the transformation of the heart (nature of man) as well. As we go into Brazil our intent is to present Jesus as the One who can immerse humanity into the very life of God so they can emulate Jesus to their fellow countrymen!

Real lasting Kingdom building and expansion will occur in Brazil when men, women, boys and girls consecrate their whole being to Jesus and are consequently filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Then the purity and love of Christ will naturally ooze from their being. Only then will the influence of Christ be fully manifest in their daily life impacting the Brazilian culture for the glory of God. This is the message of holiness and we must proclaim it to the nation. The world needs to know that Jesus Christ can speak to the condition of all!

Fourth, Jesus tells us that missions is a natural result of the consecrated life. Once we receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit we naturally participate in missions! Note with me Christ's words from John 17, after praying "sanctify them," our Lord continues, "As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they may also be consecrated in truth" (18-19). Jesus demonstrated the fullness of His transformation by coming to earth as a missionary. We can concluded from this passage that a primary sign of the fullness of Christ's work in man is participation in missions.

"Going forth into the world" is a litmus test for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, an evidence of the fully sanctified life. That is one of the main reasons why Evangelical Friends are Kingdom building in Brazil ... we can't help ourselves ... it's in our spiritual DNA!

What say you? Are you passionate about local and global missions? If not then ask Jesus Christ to entirely sanctify your life today. It's yours for the asking!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Brazil Prayer Request

I ask you to pray for godspeed on my Brazilian visa. I received word today that last week's electronic submission was declined so today I Federal Expressed a hard copy to the Brazilian Consulate. They tell me the turn around time is 12-15 business days and I need it no later than March 17.

Thanks for your prayers,