Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hidden From Herod


In this excerpt from 03/09/14, Chris Green shares how Godly wisdom
hides us from the satanic plots to abort what God has given us 
before it can grow to maturity and its appointed purpose.

We need a fresh encounter with God

Midweek Holiday Connection

Greetings Urban Life Family and Friends,

This has been one of the most difficult seasons we have experienced in our lives. Since the death of one of my brothers in October of 1999, there has been September 11, 2001, losing our building in December of 2005, losing our home in June of 2007, losing dear friends in a long stretch between 2008-2009. Since then, two of my brothers have had heart attacks, my mother has had serious health battles, and more dear friends have passed on. 

In the last few months, our hearts have been ripped by the events in Ferguson Missouri. Then just before the verdict, a wonderful brother, friend and mentor, Dr. Myles Munroe, passed away in a plane crash. While still reeling from that loss, the verdict came forth regarding the killing of the teen by a police officer and insult was added to injury.

Since then, as part of my processing, we've vented through our weekly blog, trying to put into words how important it is for our White brothers and sisters to try to understand why so many Black Christians in St. Louis are so upset about the verdict.

As a man born and raised in  St. Louis, it is very hard to put into words what it is like growing up there. We actually lived in the Canfield Green Apartments in Ferguson, where this tragic event took place. The racism and struggle there is like something out of a Twilight Zone, horror movie. Outsiders simply cannot understand it and even when told, they rarely believe it. They honestly think that this level of oppression is not possible in this era in America.

But St. Louis is where the  infamous Dred Scott decision took place. This is where a federal decision, that considered Black's voting value as 3/5 of a person, was upheld. Dred Scott was not granted freedom with this declaration, 'THE BLACK MAN HAS NO RIGHTS THAT THE WHITE MAN IS BOUND TO RESPECT." And St. Louis lives, thrives, and functions under the foundation of that statement to this very day. Just let that declaration sink into your thoughts before you move on. Imagine trying to accomplish anything under that atmosphere.

So, many of us had to leave that area if we were going to see any success for ourselves and our children.

The past few days, I've seen wonderful post like the one by the football player of the New Orleans Saints. I've read Facebook post that were combative, racist, insensitive, clueless, annoying, irritating, thoughtful, criminal and Biblical.

This is another one of those critical moments where I have to ask myself, What would Jesus do? How would the King of kings and the Lord of lords respond to what is happening in America right now?

He did a lot of great things in those amazing three years of His ministry. But I see that it all was leading to a date on the cross for all of our sins. I look at the cross and I see Jesus, horribly disfigured by the sins of us all. He died for Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson, too. 

So what would Jesus do?

We believe He would walk up to Michael Brown's parents and He would hug them. He would cry with them. He would sob and wail with them.

We believe He would go to Darrel Wilson and his family, and He would embrace them, too. He would meet with them behind closed doors. Only officer Wilson knows what really happened and God is well able to get to the bottom of all of this. He did that with a guy named Zacchaeus. The Bible doesn't tell us what happened in that private conversation. We just hear Zacchaeus' response to whatever happened between him and Jesus.

So, we're praying that these people, the ones who are directly involved in the whole situation, will have personal encounters with the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The rest of us, who are responding out of our negative experiences with local police, Black people, White people, Latino people, Asian people, young people, old people, church people, government people, corruption, racism and violence, need our own personal encounters with God as well.

We admit that we need one. We need a fresh encounter with God. Clearly there is still a lot of hurt and anger buried deep inside of us and God is shaking all of our foundations.

Just look at what He says in Matthew 5:23-24, "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

We want our hearts to be right toward our brothers. We don't want to allow the racial tension in our nation to continue to tear us apart in the Church.

It's all for the harvest,

Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I've Waited All My Life to See This


Chris Green describes the journey that led up to the moment 
in the temple court when Simeon held the infant Jesus in his arms. 

Ready for Our Successors


Greetings Urban Life Family,

Following the sudden and unexpected death of Dr. Myles Munroe, Carol and I have been taken to a new level of sobriety in our responsibility as Christian leaders in the 21st century. In the final months of his life, Dr. Munroe declared some things that are earth-shakingly important for us to consider in the remaining years of our journey.

Back in July of this year, he prophesied over his own nation, that they were going to experience dramatic change in leadership. He actually spoke that there would be sudden and unexplainable deaths, which would usher in a new generation of leaders.

On another occasion, he said that true leadership prepares people to take their place. He urged all leaders to begin to mentor others, so that their organization, business or church would not die with them. He said true leaders don’t invest in buildings, programs and projects; but true leaders invest in people.

As you guys know, for ten years, that’s what Carol and I have tried to do in this city. However, what we encountered was a city that did not want a ministry that focused on people. Most people seemed to prefer being in a church that places the focus on buildings, programs and projects.

That’s why, as pastors, we became so discouraged in this city. How can you pass on a baton to a people group that does not want the responsibility? So yes, we considered moving on to find those who actually wanted to be mentored.

When we say mentored, we don’t mean "churched". Again, we are not interested in church as usual. That’s why we were having open discussions, inviting people into our home, and setting up more fellowship opportunities. That’s the reason our teaching centered on the relationships of marriage, family and parenting. 

This year, God sent more people, even as others left. However, the new people that came and those who stuck with us, have become our ministry team. They are the ones we will pour into from this day forth.

Now we’re moving into another season and another year and we don’t know what God is going to do. We know HE’s not going to allow us to die with the baton still in our hands; not when we are actively engaging with those who are willing to take it and run.

We were extremely pleased when the Urban Life family gathered and kept things going while we were in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago. That’s how a leader measures success: Can the TEAM operate and prosper without the leader?

We must be honest and admit that at one time, we had become willing for God to take us out of the pastorate and place us in a whole new arena if that was what it was going to take to help us mentor others. We were just that desperate to find the person or the people group who would take the baton and run.

Dr. Munroe revealed that he had a dream that a famous man died and he saw the man in a coffin still holding his baton. He died without ever passing it on to a successor. I don’t want to be that man. And we have prayed and asked God to do whatever it’s going to take in order to prevent that from happening to us.

Recently, a couple in our hometown has requested that we mentor them as they launch forth into a new ministry there. We have begun meeting with them on a regular basis via Skype. 
Other mentoring and life downloading opportunity have suddenly become available as well. All of this is a dream come true for us. That’s what we truly desire to do. 

So, like this special couple in St. Louis, if you want the baton, or if you want to learn how to pass on your baton to your successor, meet us at the Urban Life Family Center as often as you can. If you can’t get there, meet us online.

As we close out this year and move into 2015, we’re going to download and download and download.

We don’t want to stand before God with failure, because success without a successor is failure. There must be someone to carry on after we are gone.

That’s what matter most to us today.

It's all for the harvest,

Chris and Carol Green


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Leaving the Normal


Excerpt from 02-16-14: Chris and Carol Green express their gratitude 
and encourage the Urban Life family to continue to abandon the things 
that have held them in bondage.

Our Bahamas Faith Connection


Dr Myles & Ruth Munroe; Angie & Dave Burrows

Greetings Urban Life Family,

By now you have heard about the tragic plane crash that took the lives of our dear friends and ministry colleagues, Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife, Ruth in the Bahamas this past Sunday evening. Also killed was his right hand man, Dr. Richard Pinder, who was the senior pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries. They also lost their newly appointed youth pastors. 

I broke down in tears as I watched my friend and brother, Pastor Dave Burrows, fight to stay strong as he read an official statement about the tragedy to the media during a press conference.

The loss is extremely difficult to handle and even more difficult to explain. These were people who have had a direct impact on our lives. God connected us with Dr. Munroe as far back as 1976. He spoke at our home church back in 1991, a few months before he became a household name in the American Christian community. He and my brother, Bishop Raphael Green, have been friends for nearly 40 years. 

Back in 2008, Dr. Munroe ministered at the Worship Center in Lancaster, PA and we drove out to see him and took several members of our church family from Harrisburg. We'll always remember that time because he introduced us to the congregation there by asking us to stand. After the service he literally grabbed Carol and me and began to pray strongly for our personal and ministry breakthrough in Harrisburg. Our sons were so impacted by him that they began to read his books about Purpose.

We are still very close to several people in that ministry. Two of them are Pastors Dave and Angie Burrows, who stood strong as their first youth and young adult ministry leaders for over 30 years. Now they must carry on without their beloved leaders.

Please allow us to tell this one story to put things in perspective for you.

By 1996, we had been serving as the teen ministry pastors in our home church in St. Louis for 4 years. It had been a very tough year because several teenage girls got pregnant and we came under heavy criticism for what was happening amongst the teens. We were also taking criticism for our ministry style which included using music tracks, dance and rap in our praise and worship. We were very discouraged because, even though the youth ministry was growing, it seemed to be going in the wrong direction.

That's when youth pastor friends, Pastor Mark and Dawn Lawrence, invited us to Nassau, Bahamas to attend a youth conference called Youth Alive. They told us that our mutual friends from college, Dave and Angie Burrows, were the youth leaders at Dr. Myles Munroe's ministry. Since we were so discouraged, our senior pastor consented for us to go and our home church sent us.

On the very first night of the youth conference, God began to heal us. We walked into a 2,000-seat auditorium that was filled with teenagers and young adults. They were cheering and clapping with excitement as the session began with praise and worship. The music started and they were using music tracks, just like we did back in America, in St. Louis. 

I turned to Carol and said, "So we're not crazy after all." They also used dance and rap. They were doing all of the same things we had been doing. We realized we were actually on the cutting edge of a new move amongst young people in the 1990's.

By the end of that praise and worship session, I was on my knees, tears streaming down my face, with my hands lifted high. All of the disappointment and discouragement was melting away. That was just the first hour of the first night.

That week, we received practical instruction and teaching about youth ministry. We bought Dave Burrows' books and several videos of the speakers during the conference. We took what we received in that conference and implemented the wisdom they gave us. We were given the freedom to just be ourselves. We could hardly wait to get back to St. Louis. 

One day, after a morning session, Pastor Mark invited us into the ministry's board room to reconnect with Dave and Angie, whom we had not seen since our days at Oral Roberts University.

After that conference, we charged back to St. Louis on fire and encouraged. We wrote songs that became the most impactful in all of our years as youth pastors. Many of those tunes came directly from the impartations we received at Bahamas Faith Ministries in 1996. 

We also purchased Dr. Muroe's books on Purpose and The Kingdom of God and they became a big part of our personal library even as his teachings became a driving force in our lives. We became much more effective youth leaders as we began to train people in the proper roles of leadership, authority, success and succession. We learned how to give the teenagers and youth volunteers personal ownership of the ministry. It's a practice that we still employ to this day.

Little did we know that God was connecting us to Bahamas Faith Ministries for the rest of our lives. A year later, in 1997, we were united again in a youth conference in Norfolk, Virginia. It was at that time that Dave and Angie asked me to come to the Youth Alive Conference in 1998 to be one of the guest speakers. That year solidified our relationships at a new level. Not only did I preach to 2000 young people, but we taught them two of our songs. Several of the youth connected with us and began calling us 'mom and dad'. One of them died in the plane crash.

Dave Burrows and I discovered that we had a lot in common. He eventually became the publisher of my first book through a company he started in the Bahamas. 

For a short period, I served as a vice president on their board of International Third World World Youth Leaders

They invited us back one more year to train and speak to youth leaders from all over the world. It was during that conference that I found myself giving a public exhortation to Teen Mania's leader, Ron Luce. After giving the word, Dr. Myles Munroe pulled me to the side to tell me that the prophetic word was confirmation of what the Board planned to say to Ron the very next day. During that season, I was starting to get bolder and stronger in the call and gifting of God on my life. 

Later that week, one of the staff pastors of Bahamas Faith Ministries prophesied to Carol and me about God establishing us in our own ministry. We had no idea it would be Harrisburg and Urban Life. 

So, as you can see, our ministry today has direct ties to Dr. Myles Munroe and the Bahamas Faith Ministries in Nassau, Bahamas. They became friends and family to us. We had personal connection with some of those who died Sunday afternoon.

We admit that we needed some time to grieve and recover. Right now we can only say that we will carry on even more determined to fulfill God's purpose in our lives. We are here in this world to Make Disciples of All Nations and that's what we're going to do. We might be in tears sometimes, but we're going to go forth anyway.

It's all for the harvest,

Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Be a Stagehand; Not the Star


Excerpt from 02-09-14: Chris Green talks about some of the ways the parents of John the Baptist responded to their God-ordained assignment and purpose.

Offering Hope


Greetings Urban Life Family,

Proverbs 11:30 reads, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.”

This is our week to invite family, friends, coworkers and classmates to our first MY HOPE film that we will present this Sunday at 11:00AM in the Pennsylvania United Church Center.

Carol and I have invited a couple of our coworkers. One of them told us that not only does she plan to attend, but she is extending the invitation to people that she knows who are having a real hard time right now. One of her invitations is going to someone who has just received a very negative cancer report. Another one of her invitations is going to someone who practices acupuncture and sees many clients who are facing serious and terminal illness. This person recognizes the need for people to have a spiritual element involved in their physical healing. One of Carol’s invitations went to someone who recently had a death in the family and is having a hard time with life right now.

These are the kind of situations that are all around us. People are hurting and they are doing their best to just simply cope. They don’t know they can do more than just COPE and it’s our job to offer them HOPE. As your pastors, we are trying to lead the way in offering HOPE to people in this community. We can’t merely TELL you to invite people, but yet avoid inviting people, too.

If the people that we invite do not attend, the results of their decision are not placed upon us. Our job is to, at least, give people an opportunity. And after we give them the opportunity, we must pray for them. That’s what we have been doing over the last month.

We realize many churches and pastors are attempting to draw people to their ministries by offering them a promise of prosperity and blessings. Some offer special titles and positions. Others offer people a place to display their gifts and talents.

And there are thousands of people who are flocking to those opportunities. It’s more important for them to seek money, blessings, titles, positions, and opportunities to stand on a stage and perform, rather than truly pursue the heart of God. We boldly proclaim that the heart of God is for souls.

2 Peter 3:9b declares that the Lord, “….is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Therefore, at Urban Life, we are offering HOPE and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to rebuild, restore and renew hearts and homes by the presence and power of Jesus Christ.

From Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Duhok, Iraq, the Lord has expanded our hearts and sharpened our vision. Today, it’s all about going into the entire world and preaching the gospel to every nation. God has assembled a TEAM, here at Urban Life, that will work together to accomplish that vision. We are finding our places and positions to do the work of the ministry in these last and evil days.

When the bridegroom makes His surprise entry, we want to be found working and ready for Him.

It’s all for the harvest,

Chris and Carol Green