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Former staff and elders criticize shuffling of funds and 50-mile noncompete clauses for former pastors.In an investigation published by World magazine yesterday, former Harvest Bible Chapel leaders raise concerns over the Chicago-area megachurch’s operations, including claims of shuffling funds between related ministries and efforts to restrict former staff through noncompete clauses and nondisclosure agreements.Harvest officials said in a statement to CT that the report “fails to uncover desired scandal” and represents “the opinions of a few disgruntled former members” rather than the views of the church’s current elders.In October, Harvest along with lead pastor James MacDonald filed a defamation lawsuit against the author of the World article, Julie Roys, for “asserting false allegations” during her eight-month investigation.In this week’s “Hard times at Harvest” article, Roys follows up with a trio of former Harvest elders who had a falling out with the church in 2013. MacDonald issued an apology over their “unbiblical discipline” in 2014.Leaders stated today that Harvest “has owned its mistakes and endured to become a happier and healthier church” since.“Subsequent to the most vocal departures, the Elders of [Harvest] designed a system of Elder government filled with meaningful accountability for staff and active involvement of volunteer Elders that exceeds in every way the former system filled with conflicts of interest and poor decision making,” they stated.However, the former elders continue to critique the financial and organizational structures at Harvest, which numbers 13,000 attendees across seven locations.World reports that Harvest shifted significant funds from MacDonald’s popular radio program, Walk ...Continue reading...
Former staff criticize shuffling of funds and 50-mile noncompete agreements for former pastors.In an investigation published by World magazine yesterday, former Harvest Bible Chapel leaders raise concerns over the Chicago-area megachurch’s operations, including claims of shuffling funds between related ministries and efforts to restrict former staff through noncompete clauses and nondisclosure agreements.Harvest officials said in a statement to CT that the report “fails to uncover desired scandal” and represents “the opinions of a few disgruntled former members” rather than the views of the church’s current elders.In October, Harvest along with lead pastor James MacDonald filed a defamation lawsuit against the author of the World article, Julie Roys, for “asserting false allegations” during her eight-month investigation.In the “Hard times at Harvest” article, Roys follows up with a trio of former Harvest elders who had a falling out with the church in 2013. MacDonald issued an apology over their “unbiblical discipline” in 2014. Leaders stated today that “Harvest Bible Chapel has owned its mistakes and endured to become a happier and healthier church” since.“Subsequent to the most vocal departures, the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel designed a system of Elder government filled with meaningful accountability for staff and active involvement of volunteer Elders that exceeds in every way the former system filled with conflicts of interest and poor decision making,” they stated.However, the former elders continue to critique the financial and organizational structures at Harvest, which numbers 13,000 attendees across its seven locations.World reports that Harvest shifted funds from MacDonald’s popular radio program, Walk ...Continue reading...
In FRC and Charlotte Lozier Institute‘s fifth annual investigation into Obamacare funding of abortion, we found that Americans now have fewer plans than ever before and more locales than ever providing abortion-only plans. At the same time, Obamacare is becoming less and less affordable and some Americans are saying, “I just can’t do this anymore.” Obamacare enrollment is already reported to be down 12 percent from last year.Some have opted for Christian healthcare share ministries and others are taking advantage of the new short-term plans extended under the Trump administration, particularly now since there is no penalty for not having Obamacare.Because of the individual mandate in Obamacare, Americans were required to purchase health coverage or pay a tax penalty. Due to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the individual mandate will no longer exist starting with the 2019 plan year. However, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have all the imposed their own state mandates effective 2019. Vermont’s mandate will be effective for 2020 enrollment. Other states are also considering implementing their own individual mandates. You can visit here for more information.The short-term plans, however, are limited to a 36-month duration, provide fewer benefits, will not always cover pre-existing conditions, are generally less expensive, and cannot be purchased with Obamacare subsidies. Basically, these are for healthy people and those who are still deciding what major coverage to buy but don’t want to go without any coverage in case of an emergency. To see what your short-term options are, you can go here.As our investigations continue to shine a light on the dark entanglement of the taxpayer funding of abortion, we also want to hear from you, the consumer, to see how Obamacare is affecting your decision to choose between your healthcare and your conscience.Remember Connecticut’s Bracy family? In 2014, they had to sue their state and the federal government after being forced on to Connecticut’s Obamacare, which only offered plans that required them to pay for other people’s abortions. Due to pressure, the state of Connecticut now has at least one pro-life plan.Tell us your story. We have provided our findings and encourage you to contact us with your experiences regarding abortion and Obamacare (either before or after enrollment in a plan) at info@obamacareabortion.com. Let us know what has and has not worked for you. One day we will win this battle, but in the meantime, we have to continue to fight and tell our stories!
This past week, Urban Meyer, legendary football coach of The Ohio State University, announced his retirement. Meyer had won more than 90 percent of his games as the Buckeyes' head coach, including all seven of his games against rival Michigan. He had won three Big Ten championships and the 2014 national championship. In addition to his success at Ohio State, Meyer had won two other national championships while coaching at Florida, and his 186-game win total over 17 years is higher than any other FBS coach over the same period of time.So, why resign now? There were several reasons—the most dominant being that of Coach Meyer's health. Meyer revealed in October that in 2014 he had surgery on a cyst in his brain that causes stress-related headaches. The symptoms of those headaches were visible this past fall during some of Ohio State's games when Meyer frequently wore pained expressions on his face and at one point collapsed on the sideline.Though Meyer did not draw a straight line between his stress-related headaches and his suspension that occurred earlier this year, he did say that the suspension also contributed to his decision to retire. Ohio State put Meyer on leave in early August while investigating reports that he had mishandled allegations of domestic violence and other inappropriate behavior made against former assistant Zach Smith in past years. The school suspended Urban Meyer for the first three games of the season after finding he failed to live up to the standards of the university and did not tell the truth when asked about those allegations at a Big Ten media event in July. Meyer said that he believes the suspension will have some lasting impact on his legacy.Urban Meyer leaves the Ohio State program strong, and the future of football at OSU is bright, though Meyer himself leaves, at least to some degree, bruised and blemished. Several points are worthy of consideration for those of us who are involved in ministry.Remember the SabbathWhen Meyer left Florida to take a year off before going to Ohio State, he said that it was a time of reflection when he had to ascertain his priorities. He determined to make family more important than football, something he had not previously done.There is no denying that the constituents we serve never fully understand the pressures that leaders are under—the pressure to succeed, the pressure to always be there, the pressure to always be professional when reviled by inside and outside sources.And to deal with these pressures, leaders have to take time away and off. Whatever is most therapeutic for you—whether it is yard work, sitting in a cabin with a book, hunting, fishing, preaching out—do it! You will be criticized for it. You will be called lazy for doing it. And you will always feel like there is no convenient time for it. But go see a ball game with your son, get away with your wife, take your daughter shopping. Do it!I have heard preachers say, “The devil never takes a vacation.” True, but you are not trying to be like the devil. You are trying to be like the Lord. And He took a Sabbath.Remember the SourceI have a pastor friend who is an avid fan of Michigan, and understandably, he hates Ohio State. If Urban Meyer would have duplicated the feeding of the five thousand, my friend would tweet, “Urban Meyer takes little boy's lunch.” There is no denying that we have enemies, and these enemies will never be able to be pleased by anything that we do.Urban Meyer was strongly criticized for the way he handled Zach Smith, but my hope is that no leader would be handed such an unwinnable situation. Are there things that Coach Meyer could have done better? Of course, there are! But I hope that we never become proficient at handling disciplinary situations, for that would necessitate we have an abundant amount of them. Of course their hopeful rarity is not an excuse to mishandle them—there may be times when we need to seek counsel on how to handle them.All too often stress is caused in our lives by the armchair quarterbacks who have never taken the field, but are absolutely certain they know the best way for us to lead the team. This is not to say that we cannot learn a germ of truth in even the most destructive criticism. It is to say that we cannot allow the destructive critic to get into our minds and eat us alive. Always consider the source of the criticism.Remember the ScriptureThe Bible tells us that, “David encouraged himself in the Lord.” God's Word is filled with multiple promises for every emotional struggle of life. God gives peace! And we must allow ourselves to be filled with God's peace even when the media critics are field dressing our leadership style. At times, all of us need to go back to the Bible and encourage ourselves again in the Lord.In the ultimate analysis, the Lord is the final judge of our ministries. Other coaches, irate fans, and wealthy boosters are not primarily where our ear is bent. It is bent to the One whose, “Well done,” means the most—the Lord Himself. The fear of man brings a snare, but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.As an Ohio State fan, I am very appreciative of Urban Meyer's contributions. I trust that his retirement will give him the sabbatical time, the stress release, and the spiritual reflection that he needs. And may I, in turn, learn from the strengths and weaknesses of our legendary coach.
Family Research Council (FRC) and Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) have released our fifth annual comprehensive review of elective abortion coverage under Obamacare on ObamacareAbortion.com. This resource will help any consumer who wants to find pro-life health plans.Premiums have continued to sky-rocket and more locales than ever have no pro-life plans to choose from.It can be tiring to have to choose between your healthcare needs, your pocket, and your conscience.You may have wondered or heard from neighbors saying: “Why do all the good plans include the abortion coverage?” If you are dissatisfied with the insurance choices in your state, you may want to consider a healthcare sharing ministry. While healthcare sharing does not fix the problem of abortion funding in Obamacare, it does provide an option that respects our consciences and moral values.In life, things (including medical emergencies) happen, and those within the Body of Christ should strive to take care of each other just as they did in the Book of Acts, during the early church. One of the ways Christians are continuing to care for one another today is by shouldering the burden of each other’s healthcare expenses. Does this mean that the early church in Acts practiced communism as we know it today, or that the teachings of Jesus promoted government-enforced socialism? No. But we are told that the Christians of that time did share all things in common. They voluntarily engaged in this way of life—serving one another—out of an overflow of the heart, because of what their Lord had done for them. (See here for more discussion on this issue.)These Christian healthcare sharing ministries operate on a system of voluntary contributions of Christian members who are wanting to systematically live out Galatians 6:2 (“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ”) by sharing medical costs among their members. Healthcare sharing ministries are exempt from the individual mandate of Obamacare. These ministries do not support abortion in any way and provide an alternative to the state and federal exchanges: Samaritan MinistriesChristian Healthcare MinistriesChristian Care MinistryThese three ministries have been certified and recognized as healthcare sharing ministries by the Department of Health & Human Services (via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).The testimonials of how families have benefited from these ministries are encouraging to see, particularly with those who run their own business. “It’s a great alternative for families who are self-employed,” said one.When another family who was having trouble paying the high premiums of Obamacare switched to a healthcare share ministry, the representatives even prayed with the family. These healthcare ministries are not only ministering to believers physically and financially but also spiritually and emotionally.Today, there are over 1 million healthcare sharing participants with approximately 85 percent of those represented and supported by a ministry that is a member or affiliate of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries.Believers are using whatever means they have to bless one another. This is not a redistribution of wealth where the government is dictating to us what we should do with our money, which is what Obamacare does by subsidizing the killing of innocent human beings through anti-life health insurance. Instead, participating in healthcare sharing ministries is a form of voluntary stewardship of what God has blessed us with in order to take care of our own bodies as well as the body of Christ.We want to see all human life protected, and certainly do not want to further abortion by paying for it through our insurance plans. As long as health insurance plans cover abortion, and Obamacare becomes less and less affordable, we can pursue healthcare sharing options that have arisen to fill the gap. More options are available at the resources tab of Obamacareabortion.com, as well as information on what progress has been made to protect your conscience in healthcare choices.
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