Friday, November 27, 2020

The Holiday Challenge

It’s that time again. It’s the holiday season. Even in the midst of a pandemic, Americans are still trying to make time for family, fellowship, food and festivities. 

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us we're going to start talking about December 25th. That's because, the day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Therefore, we're going to take advantage of this annual launch to start talking about December 25th and what it truly means in America today.

Did you know that many people feel that Christmas should not be celebrated?

When you learn about some of its history you can understand why. Here are just a few reasons why it is not celebrated in many sectors of American society. You might have family or friends who feel this way:

1.) Christmas is just a capitalistic marketing ploy to manipulate the masses to spend money.
2.) There is no Christian church validation that Jesus was really born on December 25th.
3.) December 25th is a day on which Jews have been shamed, tortured and murdered.
4.) Many of the most popular Christmas customs – including Christmas trees, mistletoe, Christmas presents and Santa Claus – are modern incarnations of the most depraved pagan rituals ever practiced on earth.
5.) Most Christmas customs evolved from pagan rituals and practices and, therefore, should never be observed.

We agree that these are all very strong arguments for not participating in the festivities of the holiday. Many preachers across America will accurately and systematically destroy any reason a Christian Believer could possibly be connected to this season of the year.

However, as you know, we have built a reputation on diving into controversial topics and we’re about to add more fuel to that fire.

Many Christians and religious people have taken the position that it is wrong to embrace things that were perverted and sinful in their origins. They feel we should never attempt to use these things for God. 

However, that's exactly what God did with us. Even though we were born in sin and shaped in iniquity, Christ died for us while we were still sinners. For anyone who receives Him, He gives them the power to become children of God. He changes us and sets us apart for His purpose. He didn't allow our sinful origins to keep us away from His divine purpose.

Now, as His children, we have the opportunity to take advantage of a season that has very negative origins and highly commercialized, money-making schemes. This is one of the special times in which our families can be exposed to the reality of Jesus Christ and the true reason why He came to earth.

We believe that we must do much more than just debate about all the reasons why we should not celebrate Christmas. Most people simply REACT to the negative aspects of Christmas. We believe that we need to provide Believers Godly ways to RESPOND to this season.

Beginning this week, and up until Christmas Day, we want to give you Five Godly Responses to the Pagan Origins of December 25th.

This week we’re presenting response #1: 

Become All Things to All Men.

In 1 Corinthians 9:18-23, Paul writes, "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you."

We see the Christmas season as the perfect opportunity to connect with many different kinds of people. This scripture does not mean that we become hypocrites and pretenders in order to indulge in secular practices. This is talking about connecting with people ON THEIR LEVEL of understanding. This is about identifying with them, the same way Christ identified with all of mankind.

Don't shun people because of what they believe or practice during this season. Don't isolate yourself from the office party or the family gathering because they may have traditions or rituals that are against your beliefs. Become all things to all men, so that you might by all means save some.

We'll give you a week to ponder over these thoughts! Please watch for next week's posting as we provide another way to avoid merely REACTING to, but instead, wisely RESPONDING to the pagan origins of December 25th.

Chris and Carol Green have been called under-the-radar leaders in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified professional life coaches who founded C and C Connections, LLC, a coaching and consulting business that specializes in equipping leaders in the principles of CARE (Compassionate Awareness with Respect and Empathy); and the Fruitful Life Learning Community, a unique merging of a life-development church with home groups, house churches, ministers and outreach ministries.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

It's Still a Matter of the Heart

Prior to the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, we offered no political opinions. We simply presented the spiritual and moral issues that are identified in the Bible. Unfortunately, the issues and interpretations of morality, justice and equality have fallen on two different sides of the dominant political parties in America.

This dilemma causes many Believers to vote for a president who is a Democrat while others vote for Senators and Congressmen who are Republicans. Or they vote for a Republican president while others vote for Senators and Congressmen who are Democrats. This is why it’s so difficult to navigate through the political process in our country. It’s also the reason it’s so difficult to explain one’s choices to family, friends and colleagues.

Here is what we wrote nearly twelve years ago and it is incredibly amazing how it still applies to us today:

After we sent an email on the day of President Obama’s inauguration and quoted from the Bible that we are to pray for him, several pastors and leaders in this community, who opposed Obama, discontinued support and communication with this ministry and us. On the other side, friends and family who supported the new president took our email to mean that we were merely offering some form of insincere political patronizing.

We thought we were (and our intentions were) fulfilling our Pastoral leadership responsibility to bring our divided congregations together and to focus on the things that God desires to do in our nation. Our email had nothing to do with either endorsing or rejecting the President.

Here is what we sent out on January 21, 2009:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers and intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone---for kings, and for all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior." ---1 Timothy 2:1-3

Make no mistake about it; yesterday (the inauguration) was a profoundly significant day. We still don’t agree with some of President Obama’s policies and agendas. Many of them conflict with Biblical teachings. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that God will use anybody to accomplish what HE wants to do in a nation.

Where did we get the idea that a political leader MUST be someone who follows all of the principles of the Bible in order for God to use that person to accomplish His purpose and plan?

Again, we're not ignoring the agenda of any particular President. We’re actually acknowledging the sovereignty of God. As flawed as we are as human beings, it’s amazing that God chooses us to do anything in this life.

God called Nebuchadnezzar His servant even though he was the emperor that destroyed Jerusalem, killed thousands of people, and carried their best and brightest into exile. God chose him to execute judgment; therefore he was God’s servant even though he wasn’t a Godly man.

Presidential elections are about more than trying to get a scripture-quoting, Bible-toting candidate in the Oval Office. This is about getting synchronized with what God is doing in our lifetime in America. If America is under judgment, (and many Christian leaders believe it is) then God will set the person in place that needs to be there at the time of judgment, repentance, recovery or rebuilding.

So we’re going to stay focused on the bigger picture. It doesn’t matter so much who sits in the Oval Office of the White House. It still comes down to who is sitting in the Oval Office of MY house.

We'll close this week's newsletter with the lyrics of a song written by a dear mentor and friend more than 40 years ago.

If you want a brand new world, you gotta have brand new people.
If you want brand new people, we've gotta have a brand new life.
If you want a brand new life, you gotta have a brand new spirit.
If you want a brand new spirit, you gotta come to Jesus Christ!
- Dr. Myles Munroe

We encourage you to cast your vote, but do not cast your cares on a human being. A potential candidate will get our votes, but only GOD gets all our confidence.

For the least of these, 
Christopher and Carol Green (D.Hon.Causa) 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

I Always Saw More


The Lord gave me a life-altering experience over ten years ago. It was about three weeks after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. You may recall that the 7.0 magnitude quake that rocked Haiti on Jan 12, 2010 was the biggest urban disaster in modern history.  More than 200,000 people were killed, and another 1.5 million were left homeless.
I was lying awake after a restless night of constantly seeing the TV images of Haiti running through my mind. I'm always deeply affected by various events going on around the world, so I began to pray in the spirit and instantly fell into a kind of sleep, but I wasn’t asleep.

I felt a powerful wind come upon me and I was taken up and carried way above the Earth. Then from what seemed to be a satellite view of the Earth, my vision was focused upon the North American continent.

I was carried down out of space and another great wind came and carried me through city streets. At a speed, faster than sound or light, I was being carried from one city to another. The wind was carrying me through the streets, around buildings and through neighborhoods.

I recognized certain parts of north St. Louis, but then I realized it was not just St. Louis, but I was seeing many cities all at the same time. I was moving on the wind through one city after another, in a flash of time. It’s difficult to describe how fast it was happening and how I was in many places all at the same time.

I had a simple question, "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

Suddenly the wind carried me high into the sky and I was rocketed towards the Midwest. I realized I was flying toward St. Louis. As I was descending, I saw the stadium, but I did not quite reach the city. I stopped before I reached the boundary of the state line.

I asked the Lord, “Where do you want me to go?”

Suddenly, I was being pulled backwards. I thought: “Am I going back to Harrisburg, going to Philadelphia or New York?” But the wind suddenly shot me back up into a satellite type position, high above the Earth again.

I looked straight down and my eye sight, my vision changed to that of a satellite image. It was as if though I were looking down upon a city through the lenses of a camera. I heard the sound of a camera shutter and the image changed to another city; then another city; then another and another. The images begin to change faster and faster until it was moving at rapid-fire speed.  It was far more cities than I could possibly count.

Then the wind carried me back to the Earth and into my body. I lay there still feeling the wind moving upon me, and the Lord said: “I’m going to put YOUR name in the wind… when I do; you are to put MY name in the wind.”  Then I came out of the vision. I had never had this kind of experience in GOD. 

I did not reveal this vision to our church family until four years later, on the first Sunday of September in 2014. It was the first time I publicly spoke about it. 

Today, I share with you something that has been in my heart for many, many years. Through all of our training and experiences over the past 40 years, we have been prepared and groomed for a very specific latter-day ministry. And that ministry is starting to come alive. Could it be that it is coming forth with the advent of live-streaming through the internet? Could that be how I would be in many cities all at the same time, in a flash of time; many places at once in mere seconds?

For the past 16 years in Pennsylvania, I have always told my wife that I have not seen just a church or a church building for our ministry. I ALWAYS SAW MORE. That vision happened to me 10 years ago, and I have waited to see what it could possibly mean.

In the vision, after that brief moment of being focused on St. Louis, God launched me into a position to reach the world. And now, as you all know, the Lord has connected us to people who also have a heart to reach the world. And we have been given the technology and opportunity to do it.

He has connected us with other like-minded leaders, from around the world, who do a lot more than just TALK, but they are people of ACTION, like us. They do not procrastinate and they do not take months and years to finally decide to make the necessary steps to obey the voice of God. They are not allowing the precious time they have left on this Earth to be wasted with the petty pursuits of power through politics, religion, money, and fame.

We are sensing that the revelation of that vision and the next part of our journey has come upon us. Nearly 40 years ago, we sensed God’s timing to move from Tulsa to St. Louis to work and serve with my brother. After serving in our home church for 17 years, the Holy Spirit spoke to us about moving to South Central Pennsylvania. Now after 16 years in Pennsylvania, we sense the Lord connecting us to global opportunities, with others who have the same call to turn hearts, communities, cities, states, provinces, nations, and our world to Christ.

I still recall how, in January of 2014, the Lord spoke to us through His word where He said:

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens. I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”

It is becoming more and more evident that a new season is upon us and very significant doors are being opened for Carol and me; and for those who have joined to us, who are willing to answer the call, too. 

We don't know what the remainder of 2020 holds in store for us. After the presidential election, we'll be facing unimaginable challenges, trials and sorrows that will require God's grace, favor, protection and wisdom to navigate through. 

We invite you to see MORE with us, to receive MORE, and allow the Holy Spirit to send you out to reach MORE than ever before. 

We are overcomers, moving in a new season,

Pastor Chris Green

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Chris and Carol Green Named Professors, Vice Chancellors of Administrative Leadership and Professional Development

Chris and Carol Green with Chancellor Prof. Michal Pitzl and Chief Chancellor Prof. Clyde Rivers

Kampala, Uganda (UGCSI) ----Professor Clyde Rivers and Professor Michal Pitzl have announced the appointment of Chris and Carol Green as the new Professors of Searcher Education and Vice Chancellors of Administrative Leadership at United Graduate College and Seminary International (UGCSI). This couple will be positioned to lead the Professional Development of the school's global team of educators and instructors.

UGCSI is a private, fully accredited Christian College and Seminary that provides its students an e-learning education model for their ministry training. With excellent Biblical programs, as well as accelerated ministry degree programs, it is anchored by a unique staff of educators from all over the world, who offer a truly practical, well-rounded international ministry education experience.

As affiliate members and International Statesmen with iChange Nations™, Chris and Carol Green have partnered with UGCSI to provide an accelerated, ministry-accredited life coaching certification program. Their collaborative purpose and mission has been, to offer leaders, working in under-served communities, high-quality tools that empower and equip them to be more effective in their humanitarian efforts.

After successfully establishing this International Leadership Life Coaching Program in the United States, the Greens were extended this prestigious invitation from the UGCSI  Chief Chancellor and Chancellor, who had been following their progress and success.

"The Greens have been with us for a while," says Chief Chancellor Clyde Rivers. "They have worked in obscurity and just been faithful in helping us build a culture of excellence and honor."

Chris and Carol Green received formal Christian Leadership Training (a 5-year school of ministry) from Dr. Raphael Green (D.Ed.Min) who founded the Metro Christian Discipleship Academy in Saint Louis, Missouri; earning licenses and ordinations as ministers in May of 1991. To further enhance his education, Chris completed two business certification programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ School of Professional and Continuing Studies. They both completed a lay-counseling certificate program from the American Association of Christian Counselors.

They continued to expand and grow in their professional development through their enrollment in United Graduate College and Seminary International (UGCSI), where they received Bachelors and Masters degrees in Christian Leadership, as well as certification as master life coaches through its Colleges of Christian Education and Divinity: Educational Department.

After completing the Master Life Coaching program, they took their certifications and began volunteering their coaching skills in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's under-served communities, and it wasn't long before local organizations began to recognize and acknowledge the high-quality work that was being invested.

In 2018, Chris and Carol Green introduced their ground-breaking CARE-Readiness Training and Certification for Providers, Mentors and Coaches. Over the course of two years, they were able to certify nearly 80 Life Coaches, which meant the positive impact of their high-quality, life-transforming program was being duplicated and distributed.

"The timing is perfect for bringing the Greens into UGCSI as Vice Chancellors and Professors," explains Chancellor Michal Pitzl. "Due to the covid-19 outbreak, we're in reset mode just like the rest of the world, but when we return, we have a special opportunity to equip and empower the leaders that both work in our school, as well as the leaders from all over Central Africa and the world, who come to us for ministry training. We're looking to PROFESSORS Chris and Carol Green to help us build a Global Leadership Professional Development Program."

As the world's leading producers of CARE-Ready Life Coaches™, Chris and Carol Green have been teaching and training community, government and education leaders, human service organizers, business visionaries, and neighborhood dreamers how to be much more effective by embracing the principles of CARE (Compassionate Accountability with Respect and Empathy) in their professional and personal lives. They LISTEN to people, LIFT people and LAUNCH people. Then they equip and empower them to do the same for others.

Many coaching, mentoring and community outreach programs employ what is known as a "deficit model" of working with people. That's where you focus on the problems (deficits) of a person, and then apply a set of pre-determined, cookie cutter steps and treatments to address their issues. The deficit-based model is what many well-meaning Helpers use, but it rarely works long-term, leaving Helpers wondering why their clients fail to break the cycles of addiction and recidivism.

However, their CARE-Ready Life Coach Training™ mirrors the principles found in the proven, Best Practice strategies of Strength-based, Solution-focused models. CARE-Ready life coaches are trained to connect with people in order to build a relationship/ partnership that empowers the client; thus allowing the client to discover the solutions that will work best for them.

While many coaching programs focus on how to target potential high-paying affluent clients, and high-paying speaking opportunities, the Greens train, equip and empower Care-Ready Providers and Coaches™, who are willing to take on the most often overlooked people of society; those who live in under-served communities, who can least afford, but benefit the most from professional guidance.

"We're very excited that the Greens accepted our invitation and this appointment," Pitzl concluded. "They will bring another level of expertise and experience to our overall global mission."

Chris and Carol Green are also recipients of honorary doctorates in Christian Leadership (Chris) and Humanities (Carol); as well as honorary doctorates in Society and Human Rights (both). They are currently candidates in the UGCSI Christian Leadership doctoral program.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Song that Requires a Symphony of Lives to Play It and an Entire World to Sing It

Chris and Carol Green respond to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd

There’s a lot of noise right now; a lot of noise; a lot of screaming. There are screams of pain, screams of anguish, screams of vengeance and retaliation, screams of mocking, screams of silence. I don’t like getting caught up in a lot of the noise.

For some of us, our silence doesn’t mean we’re complicit. Have you ever seen that person at the funeral who cries, but no sound comes out? They shake and convulse. They sob. But they don’t wail or scream. That’s me. My silence is pain that’s so deep, that it has no sound.

So I had to pull back before I spoke, because I wasn't interested in merely adding to noise, but to contribute to a specific sound. It’s a sound with a frequency that is beyond the human ear, and heard only by the heart. It's a sound that comes from not only pain, but from prayer, and being in God's presence. I have to worship before I speak. So now I speak.

One of our spiritual daughters (from St. Louis, MO) sent me a message this morning and said she noticed that I hadn’t said anything (publicly) about the latest police killings. I must confess that I have been so triggered that it was best for my wife and I to not say anything because we were just filled with pain and rage.

For a couple of days, I posted and re-posted all kinds of stuff on social media, but one night me and one of my sons had dreams on the same night, and I felt like God was telling us that we needed to go back and delete all that stuff and regroup. So we did.

There’s nothing else I can say that hasn’t already been said. I was sickened; I was overwhelmed by it all. It was too much, too back to back. It was a rapid fire punch, punch, punch, slam! I couldn’t breathe. Before we learned what George Floyd had said, we had all experienced it. We literally could not take another breath. We collectively, could not breathe.

It brought back everything: The last few years of police shootings; the last 52 years of futility, since Dr. King’s death. It brought back the years of our parent’s Civil Rights struggle. It brought back the cruelty of the years of my sharecropper grandparents. I say that for those who say that this was all a long time ago. But you don’t understand. For many of us, our grandparents, and certainly our great-grandparents were alive when Harriet Tubman died. It’s not ancient, forgotten history. It is the substance that is part of the sub-atomic material that makes up the DNA of the African American soul.

So when I say that we collectively could not breathe, you better believe that there are those who read what I just wrote and tears filled their eyes, because that’s what hit us, all over the United States. It’s not an ancient history. It’s an embedded soul-and-spirit-memory connection that knows no time and no distance.

It's an implicit PTSD response to:
246 years of official slavery (1619 - 1865)
99 years of Jim Crow Laws (1865 - 1964, and I was born in 1959)
86 years of Lynching (1882 - 1986) Did you get that? 1986
14 Years of Fighting for Civil Rights (1954 - 1968)
52 years of systemic incarceration and ravaging of Black families through government programs. (1968 - 2020)
401 years of Oppression (1619 - 2020)

And then there is the empirical evidence of shared experience. Black people from all walks of life, who have never met one another, have expressed, almost word-for-word, the same experiences. No one got together in a forum and put together a narrative that we would spread across the country like news reporters all reading from the same page. This is pure empirical evidence.

The problem with communication is that I have 12 different things that I need to say, all at the same time. I should be talking about my Faith in Jesus Christ and my commitment to the Kingdom of God. I should be talking about the need for love and hope in the midst of chaos. But I can only address one thing at a time. So bear with me and forgive me for what I failed to say, and just give me a minute to finish the Book my wife and I are writing right now, and then you can have at it. I can only say one thing at a time.

Today is just the introduction; the opening musical notes of a song that requires a symphony of lives to play and an entire world to sing.

The unrehearsed, collective words my sons, nieces and nephews have used have been these: “We are angry and we’re hurt. We don’t need your opinion. We don’t need your judgment. We’re just hurt.” They were not looking for sympathy or pity. They had been expecting at least a small measure of empathy. And they were shocked to learn that a lot of their White friends, co-workers, and even classmates, going back to high school, had no empathy for them.

I would ask if you would bring judgment into a conversation with a hurting friend, but I now realize that some of you would. You’d do the same with your own friends and family. You’d have no compassion, no respect and no empathy for them either.

So, many things have been stirring in us the last few days. We are people of Faith. We are people of Peace. We try to always choose wisdom's way. And now I'm getting to what we feel at liberty to say.

Carol and I wrote a speech a few years ago (2017). We shared it with an audience that was predominantly White. We were invited by two White gentleman with whom we shared a bit of our story, and they were willing to take the risk to have us share it with their supporters.

It's a speech about the value of listening to others and understanding others, and we invite you to that table to dine today.

Here is that speech: