By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) — The pastor’s study is the one place in every city, county, state and nation that should be saturated with prayer – humble, believing and active prayer. That is the control center of the entire operation.

I have had the privilege of being in the pastor’s study in hundreds of churches, some among the world’s largest churches and the most prominent preachers. The pastor of the largest church east of the Mississippi River had for his working study a four-room house across the driveway from his residence. Those large rooms were filled with books. Dr. R. G. Lee had an inner study, no windows, where he did his most concentrated work on preaching.

In the large Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, Tenn., where he pastored for 32 years, he had a beautiful and well-appointed office. When I was in it with him one day, he told me that particular office was used for interviews, counseling and meetings for church business. His office for study, writing and sermon preparation was located beside his residence on Peach Street.

It is sometimes hard to get much serious research and study done in terms of sermon preparation in a church office with constant interruptions. I am always hesitant to go to a pastor’s study – and only if I think I can be helpful with such a visit. Pastors who are serious about their assignments, have no time for idle chatting with parishioners who have little to do.

As a pastor, I had a beautiful office at the church and fortunately had another inner office, but my main office for study, writing and sermonic preparation was in the basement of the parsonage for 25 years.

Two wonderful parishioners, Elgin and Dorothy Hawthorne, whose son, Dennis, is a successful pastor in Springfield, Ill., and their younger son, Elgin, a church organist of excellence, presented me with a cherished bronze and wood plaque, which had a story engraved on it titled, “Pastor’s Study.” For years, it has been in my office. Here’s its message,

“The pastor’s study is the symbol of the calling of the Christian minister to be the shepherd of a flock of God. His sermons are prepared to feed the congregation on God’s Holy Word.

“Here the work of the church is planned so that the congregation may grow and bear fruit in fellowship, teaching, and witnessing. Here you will always find a friend and counselor in time of need. He will not be surprised at your sins, nor will he judge you in them, but he always invites you to share with him, the wisdom and love of God, the knowledge of forgiveness of sin, and the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“You are always welcome.”

The pastor’s door is never closed to those who need the counseling, encouragement and prayers of their pastor. It is not, however, normally a place for idle chitchat. It is a place where you will find a loving heart and understanding listener.

Speaking of Christ’s gifts to the church, “He gave some to be . . . and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). Timothy, a young preacher is informed, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ . . .” (I Timothy 4:6).

I do not know of any calling or profession that demands more of a man or woman than the one to be a pastor. October is “Pastors Appreciation Month.” Do all you can to assist your pastor with the work of ministry.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.


By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Reuters reported June 29 authorities have found a body in the debris of a burned-out home in Colorado Springs, marking the second fatality from a fierce wildfire that ranks as Colorado’s most destructive on record after incinerating 347 homes, police said.

“Police Chief Peter Carey released no further details about the victim, who becomes the sixth person killed this year in a Colorado wildfire season described by the governor as the worst in the state’s history. The discovery came on the same day that President Barack Obama visited the affected area,” said the Reuters story.

Meanwhile, ANS correspondent, Kenneth D. MacHarg, has forwarded a message to us about a missionary couple, Brad and Jeannette Hillman, who have lost their home in the Colorado Springs fire, after just returning to the United States to work with the Navigators.

A friend of the couple wrote, “I just talked with Brad and Jeanette and they’re sad to have lost all the family memorabilia. They had just moved in three weeks ago and started unpacking their stored boxes, including family photos. The stuff from [overseas] had not yet arrived. They ask for prayer to grieve well and for opportunities to minister amidst of this. Several ‘Nav’ staff [have also] lost homes, including the president.”

According to the Navigators website, “Dozens of Navigator staff have been evacuated from their homes and some have had their homes consumed by the fire. Please pray for them to know God’s loving care.”

The statement went on to say, “In the midst of this tragedy, there is hopeful news about Glen Eyrie [their property]. Initial reports indicate that no buildings have been lost. We will update you with official word as it becomes available. The unpredictability of this fire reminds us that we are not out of danger, only that we’ve made it through one more day.

“All Glen Eyrie conferences and activities have been cancelled through July 5. Please check the Glen Eyrie website for updates on future events. All Navigator personnel, including staff, guests, and participants in the Global Student Program (GSP) were safely evacuated from the area long before the fire approached. The GSP students are being housed in private homes.

“We have not heard any more news about the Eagle Lake Camps property, other than the loss of one small cabin. However, all remaining camps have been cancelled and the summer staff has returned home. It is hoped that Eagle Lake Day Camp will resume, based on the availability of Glen Eyrie.”

It added, “A group of about 40 staff from USHQ, IO, Glen Eyrie, and Eagle Lake Camps, have taken up temporary offices at Focus on the Family. Scores more staff members are working from home, conducting business with amazing effectiveness.

“Your prayers mean a great deal to us. Thank you for your concern. Continue to remember the Colorado Springs community, as more than 30,000 people have been displaced.”

Rick Wood, editor of Mission Frontiers, and his wife, Lorena, have updated the situation and asked for prayer for the many thousands affected by the wildfires. In a message to friends, he said, “The official count right now is that 346 homes were lost and one person has been found dead in one of those homes. This is the first casualty of the fire. This is officially the most destructive fire in Colorado history.

“The city as a whole is beginning to return to more normal operation and the TV stations are not covering this event 24 hours day as they had been on Tuesday, thru Thursday.

“Continue to pray for soaking rain and calm winds. The calm winds, which I asked you to pray for a couple days ago, have made a huge difference in the progress the firefighters have made.”

Among the many groups helping with the situation, is Springs Rescue Mission, located at 5 W Las Vegas St., Colorado Springs. It has been is opening its warehouse to help the victims. Needed items include Gatorade, blankets, food, clothing and household items. Collection hours are 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday. Donated items will be dispersed to agencies directly engaged with those affected by the Waldo Canyon fire. Call 719-632-1822.

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

NAIROBI, KENYA – Fidel Cholo Fernandez, a pathologist from the city of Zamboanga in the Philippines, and now based in

Penang, Malaysia, spends his days studying diseases under the microscope, but he also is a believer in divine healing.

Dr. Fidel Fernandez, along with his wife Leticia, was one of 500 doctors, scientists and medical professionals from 37 countries who came to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi for the ninth International Christian Medical Conference held May 25-26, to explore whether miracles still happen today and, if they do, to provide medical data to prove them.

The doctor made it clear that he also believed in divine healing and then during a previous conference made a presentation with data that was flashed on the two large screens in the conference hall.

He told the story of a Korean Christian called Deacon Han who had been diagnosed with early gastric cancer following an endoscopic study on September 2002.

“Deacon Han received an endoscopy test once again on December, 2002, but a biopsy was not performed at that time because the lesion had not improved,” said Dr. Fernandez. “He was told that he should undergo an operation for gastric cancer, he didn’t because he had a belief in God.”

So the doctor said that Deacon Han had traveled from his home town to the Manmin Central Church in Seoul where he received prayer for his sickness from Dr. Jaerock Lee, the senior pastor.

“From that moment, he gained weight and was sure that he was healed,” said Fernandez. “Finally, he confirmed his healing two months later by another endoscopic test at the local internal medicine clinic, when no vestige of the gastric cancer was found.

“After a year, an endoscopy and biopsy test was done to him by the doctor who diagnosed his original case and finally the doctor gave his report that the patient didn’t have the symptom of gastric cancer.”

It was a miracle, pronounced Dr. Fernandez.

So, in an interview, I asked this charming doctor if he had ever experienced a personal miracle in his own life.

“Well,” he said, “the best example would be my son who was born with a congenital disease. Before he was born, the doctors told me that he could only live possibly for one year. We were pushed against the wall and my wife Leticia, who is a nurse, and myself, just relied on prayer and he’s now in his mid-20s so that’s a great miracle for me.”

I then asked Leticia why she had come to the “Spirituality and Medicine” gathering.

“I have worked with the World Christian Doctors Network (WCDN) since 2005 and I’ve become active in the organization and have even invited doctors and other medical workers to attend the conference,” she said. “I am finding that there are a lot of doctors who believe in miracles, but some others are still skeptics.”

At the end of the conference, it was announced that the 10th World Christian Doctors Network International Conference will take place in Mexico City, Mexico, next year at a date yet to be announced.