Author Archives: Bishop Mitchell Corder

Reading The Bible in 2013 – Join the R.E.A.D. Initiative

Most of you who read this blog are aware that one of the primary leadership initiatives of our General Overseer is “to renew our passion to learn, love, and live Scripture.

As a result, Dr. Williams has launched an effort to get at least 100,000 Church of God members to commit to reading through the Bible in 2013.  As of this writing, 107,000 people have signed up to read through the Bible this year.

Our goal in Virginia is to have at least ten percent of our membership (3,700) to participate in this effort.

The Bible is clear on the many benefits and blessings that come into our lives when we give priority to reading, meditating, and living the Word. (See Joshua chapter 1 as an example).

To participate you can go to www.readinitiative.com and sign up/commit to reading the Bible through this year.  While you can certainly read the Bible without having to make a formal commitment through a website, the benefit is that by signing up you automatically receive daily scripture selections via email.

The idea is NOT just that we commit to reading the Bible each day, but the goal is that we R.E.A.D. the scripture:

R -Reflect – you read the word thoughtfully and meditatively.  This “reflection” is a part of the progression that leads to action. So you become more than just a “reader” of the Word.

E – Engage – this where you move from reading, and meditating to being influenced by the Word.  The influence of the Word begins to impact your daily life.

A- Apply – it is the application of the Word to our lives that releases the power of the Word in our lives.  Application leads to transformation.

D- Disciple – in this process of commitment to the Word we truly become disciples of Jesus, not just, church attenders or members.  We are influenced by the Word and then we begin to influence others.  We as disciples become salt and light.

I want to encourage you to view the R.E.A.D. Initiative as a devotional tool to develop your relationship with Christ.  It is motivated by devotion NOT duty.

Finally, this is a great way to prepare for iPray 2013, our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting that begins January 13th.

The word for this season is “Anticipate.”  2013 is going to be a great year!

Together we are partnering together in the Word to build the Kingdom of God.

5 Reasons To Pray Every Day, (Part 2)

I began last week sharing with you the summary points of a presentation I had the privilege of hearing a few years ago from Dr. David Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church.

Five reasons why Dr. Cho said he prays every day:

Last week’s first two reasons:

1.  To Have Fellowship With God.

2.  Because Ministry Involves Warring Against Spiritual Forces.

This week I want to share reasons three through five:

3.  The Only Way To Stay Filled (Full) of The Spirit Is Through Prayer.

This point is self explanatory, but in Ephesians 5:18 the idea of being filled with the Spirit is that we are continually being filled so that we stay – full.

4.  The Only Way To Receive Rhema is Through Prayer

Of course we know the “logos” is the written word of God and a “rhema” is a personal word of God.

Dr. Cho shared dramatic incidences where on numerous occasions God gave him personal revelations about particular needs as he would preach the Word.

It is in prayer we learn to identify and become sensitive to the voice of God.  We learn how to “listen to hear” the voice of God in prayer.  God is still speaking.  Prayer is a dialog not a monolog.

5.  Through Prayer, You Can Influence A Nation

Dr. Cho shared that during a time of political upheaval he was asked to organize a prayer meeting in the town plaza.  As a result of the prayer meeting where six thousand people met to pray, peace came to the city.

Prayer is our greatest tool and weapon for national and political change!

Two Prayer Principles:

  • When we intercede, God intervenes.
  • When we intercede, God gets involved in what we are praying for and about.

The practical application of these principles had profound impact on my prayer life personally.  These five reasons can also be called the Five Benefits of Praying Every Day.

Here is a people and behavior principle:  Whenever you want to increase someone’s commitment to something, show them the benefit of doing whatever it is you want them to do.

As you read these five reasons/benefits of everyday prayer, one of the results is it motivates us to pray.

Thanks for your partnership in prayer and ministry.  Together we are building the Kingdom of God in Virginia.

Bishop Corder

5 Reasons To Pray Every Day, (Part 1)

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at a National Day of Prayer  event here in Roanoke.

At that event I shared about the privilege I had several years ago to hear Dr. David Yonggi Cho speak at a conference.  He is the founding pastor of the world’s largest church in Seoul Korea.  (750,000 members).

Dr. Cho spoke for three hours and fifteen minutes primarily on the subject of prayer.  He is one of the few men who has the credentials to speak that long on that subject.  He is a practitioner of prayer, not a theorist.  Prayer is the “foundation” of  his church and cell groups are the supporting “structure.”

In 1973 they established “Prayer Mountain” where on any given day three thousand people come to fast and pray.  They also have a daily early morning prayer service and weekly, all night prayer meetings.

Dr. Cho led the 10:00 a.m. Wednesday prayer service at his church before he left to speak at the conference I am referring to.  There were over twenty thousand people in attendance for that morning prayer meeting.

During his message at the conference he gave five reasons he prays every day.  I want to share with you in summary from those five reasons:

1.  To Have Fellowship With God

From Genesis to Revelation we see God desiring fellowship with His creation.  In Genesis (chapter 3), you read about God’s fellowship with Adam.  In Revelation (chapter 3), we see God standing at the door of the Laodicean Church knocking, wanting them to open so he can come in and have fellowship with them.

The story of Christ and the message of the gospel is all about the relationship and the fellowship between God and man being restored.

Dr. Cho said that prayer is the primary way we fellowship with God.  We cannot maintain our relationship with God without the fellowship of prayer.

2.  Because Ministry Involves Warring Against Spiritual Forces (Powers and Principalities)

During this presentation Dr. Cho recounted his experiences with spiritual warfare and the demonic.

One story in particular stood out in his testimony.  In the city where he started the church the pagan religious leaders said they would give him permission to start his church if in thirty days his God would heal a particular paralytic.  He began to pray; long story short – God healed the individual.  He started his church and the rest is history.

He said America is filled with the occult and the demonic.  We must pray if we are going to succeed in our ministry and calling.  On a personal note, I will restate the obvious:  There will always be a battle when we are building the Kingdom of God and doing the will of God.  But we are fighting from victory NOT for victory!

Next week, Part 2:  the final three reasons why Dr. Cho prays every day.

Thanks for your partnership in prayer and in ministry.

Bishop Corder

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 21 – Sunday

As we come to the conclusion of iPray I thought about what the scripture said concerning  Jesus at the end of His 40 day fast.  Luke gives us this record in 4:14, “Then Jesus returned to Galilee filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.”

After an extended season of prayer and fasting Jesus returned to Galilee and began His ministry. He began teaching, preaching, healing and casting out demons.  He did all of this, “filled with the Spirit’s power”.

Prayer and fasting is a personal, private work that prepares us for powerful public ministry.  Remember, the Holy Spirit first works IN us, so that then He can work THROUGH us. One of the most significant results of God’s work is that our lives are marked by the in-filling of the Holy Spirit.

We have “come apart” during iPray to spend personal time with the Lord.  Now we return to our routines of life, but we return “filled” with the Holy Spirit’s power to do ministry and to build the Kingdom of God.

The only way we can do the will of God and build the Kingdom of God is in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Personal gifts or good programs are not enough.  We must be filled with the Spirit.

I expect that a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, will mark the ministry of the Church of God in Virginia because of giving God first place in this New Year.  Thanks  for your participation in iPray and your partnership in ministry.

Like a mighty army moves the Church of God.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

iPray – Day 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 20 – Saturday

As we prepare to conclude iPray tomorrow I want to make a couple of suggestions:

1.  Spend the majority of your time in prayer in worship.  Celebrating what you believe the Lord has done and will do as a result of these past 21 days.

Fasting is a faith building exercise.  Worship is an expression not only of devotion, but of trust also.  Express your faith, love, and trust in worship.  Celebrate WHO God is and WHAT you are believing Him to do, even beyond iPray.

2.  Conclude these 21 days with observing Holy Communion.  If you are a pastor, consider leading your entire congregation in this ordinance.  There is something holy and special about partaking in communion after an extended fast.  It is a way of establishing the work that the Lord has accomplished in your life.

Celebration and communion are a practical way of finishing this season of prayer and fasting in faith with your focus on the Lord.  We begin with our focus on Him and we finish with our focus on Him.

Thanks for participating in iPray.

Bishop Corder

P.S.  Remember to visit http://www.awake21.org and take advantage of the virtual conference.

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 19 – Friday

At this point in iPray the focus is on finishing this 21 day journey.

Everyday in this season is uniquely different from another. Not only is everyday different, also every individual’s fasting experience is different. I have written about both of these facts in previous blogs.  However, at this point (day 19), we need to be reminded of these simple but significant facts.

I want to encourage you to stay focused until the finish. Just like Daniel in the Old Testament, (See Daniel chapter 10), God has heard your prayer and seen your commitment from the first day of iPray.  During a season of prayer and fasting not only is something happening in your life in the natural realm, there is also something happening in the heavenly realm.

Prayer and fasting engages both the natural and the spiritual realm at the same time.  Your experience may not be just like Daniel’s, but more has been happening than you know during these last 19 days.

God is always doing more than you know.  He is also doing multiple things in your life at the same time. We have the tendency to focus on one or two issues.  See Philippians 2:13.

God ‘s work in our life is always for our good. The result of God’s work in us is always constructive and beneficial.  Remember: God’s work and will are always based on His wisdom and are an expression of His love.

What a great thought, God is wisely and lovingly working in your life for your good and His glory!

God is a good God and He is doing a good work in your life during iPray. Stay focused and finish the journey.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 18 – Thursday

As we come to the final few days of iPray I want to challenge you not to forget after the fast what God said to you or accomplished in you during the fast.

Prayer and fasting are NOT an end unto themselves they are tools of “preparation” to produce IN you and THROUGH you the will of God.  The end result of prayer and fasting is that the Kingdom of God comes and the will of God is done as it relates to your life and ministry.  Remember; prayer and fasting does not change God, it changes us.

Ask yourself this question, “What do I need to do after iPray to continue what God has started in my life during iPray.  That will be different for each one of us.

In every instance of prayer and fasting in the Bible there was “fruit” that followed.  Fruit always follows a season of prayer and fasting.

Fruit in this context means there was definitive action and tangible demonstration that resulted after a season of prayer and fasting.  Generally speaking ministry and miracles followed.  The lives of the people of God were marked with power and purpose. The last line of the Lord’s Prayer, sometimes called the Model Prayer, would be an appropriate way of expressing the results: “For Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory.”

The result of prayer and fasting is declaration and demonstration of His Kingdom, His power, and His glory in the church corporately and in our lives individually.

Let Him who has been doing a “good work” in you during iPray continue that work after iPray.  Amen!

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 17 – Wednesday

You are in “good company” when you pray and fast.  The Bible is filled with examples of individuals who prayed and fasted and how it impacted their life and increased their ministry.

  • King David fasted and God filled him with hope.
  • Jonah fasted and God gave Ninevah a revival.
  • John the Baptist fasted and he preached with power and fire.
  • Jesus himself fasted, and everywhere He went and everyone He touched were never the same.
  • The Apostle Paul fasted and no one, other than Jesus, had a greater influence on the church.

As we come to the final days of iPray, I want to encourage you and remind you of how God uses the discipline of prayer and fasting to impact your life.

Prayer and fasting is a tool God uses to impact your life in order to increase your influence. 

This increased influence occurs because of the accelerated work that the Holy Spirit is able to do in our lives during of a season of prayer and fasting.  It is impossible to maximize our potential influence as ministers/believers without the discipline of fasting. The Holy Spirit uses this (fasting) as a catalyst to do a quick work in our lives.

This influence may manifest itself in many ways:

  • Greater results when the Word is proclaimed.
  • Open doors of opportunity for ministry.
  • Enlarged and new platforms of ministry opportunity.
  • Divine “networking” in establishing relationship with people who are in positions of authority.

God moves us from a place of obscurity to a place of notoriety when He knows we are ready.

Another way of saying this is: Fasting positions you for favor!

Expect after iPray is completed, to be blessed and favored of the Lord. 2012 can be your year for increased influence.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

P.S.  Visit www.awake21.org for a “Fasting Virtual Conference” and ministry resources.

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 16 – Tuesday

Prayer and fasting has spiritual, physical, and practical benefits.

Without a doubt the primary benefit of a season of fasting and prayer is the spiritual results. It is also a  medical fact that fasting, in particular, has physical benefits.  But there are practical day-to-day benefits of a season of fasting and prayer.

The practical benefits, the effect on your day to day life and living, is too potentially diverse to list. However, there are some simple tools we can use to illustrate some of the practical benefits. One of those tools is what I call the ABC test.

After a season of prayer and fasting you should notice a difference in:

A- Attitude -  fasting restores you physically, refreshes you spiritually, but it also renews you mentally.  During a season of fasting as you spend extended periods of time in the Word, worship, and in prayer, the Holy Spirit renews your mind.

God the Father is the Great Parent, God the Son is the Great Physician, and God the Holy Spirit is the Great Psychiatrist. I know that is a new concept for some as it relates to the person and work of the Holy Spirit, but it helps illustrate a powerful truth.  Expect an “attitude adjustment” as a result of the season of prayer and fasting.

B – Behavior  - during prayer and fasting the Holy Spirit will convict and seek to correct our behavior.  Sometimes we are convicted about some behavior we need to STOP doing.  And sometimes we are convicted about behavior we need to START doing.

I am confident that one of the lasting practical benefits is that your day to day behavior changes as a result of participating in iPray. Remember, our daily walk influences the impact of our daily witness. Our faith is strengthened during a season of prayer and fasting.  What we believe determines how we behave.

C – Conversation – our day to to day talk as a result of prayer and fasting.  Because our minds are renewed and our hearts are re-shaped as a result of spending extended time in the presence of the Lord, our conversation changes. According to scripture our talk, our words are the greatest indicator of the condition of our heart.

We begin to express with our mouths what God has been doing in our hearts. Clean hearts produce clean words. Re-shaped hearts produce spiritual words. Our conversation will be more characterized by words that are positive and faith-filled.  We will be an encourager when we speaks words of edification.

Give yourself the ABC test.  As a result of your participation in iPray, how has my:

  • Attitude
  • Behavior
  • Conversation

changed.

The goal of iPray is not to change just 21 days of your life, but to change your life for all of 2012 and beyond.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

P.S. Don’t forget to share your testimonies and praise reports with us.  Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 15 – Monday

In Matthew 6, Jesus placed fasting on the same level as praying and giving.  He said, “When you fast, when you pray, and when you give.”

Praying, fasting, and giving are a three-fold cord of spiritual exercise that is powerful!

For the past two weeks we have practiced the disciplines of prayer and of fasting.  I want you to consider for this final week to include the exercise of giving. Set aside a certain amount of money to give away as an offering each day of this final week.  As you go throughout your day, be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in where or to whom you are to give your offering that day.

The amount can be determined in prayer and after discussion with your spouse.  While the amount is important, it is not primary.  What is primary is the combination of these three disciplines. The scripture says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A three-fold cord is not easily broken.”  Certainly the scriptures do not mandate practicing all three at once.  This is simply a suggestion.

I have practiced this pattern for years during extended fasts with amazing results.  My tendency is to be self-oriented. This practice helps me to focus on others.  As we are praying and fasting now we are also becoming open not only to receiving but also to giving to others.

If you are facing a season of financial challenge, this may be something you want to consider.  This is not, however, a substitute for tithing. It is a way of planting “seed.”  All three of these disciplines; praying, fasting, and giving are exercises of faith.  God honors faith.

Very often the act of giving opens up the door to further ministry into the life of the one who is the recipient of your offering.  It opens up opportunities for prayer, witnessing, and relationship building.

I am confident of this; you cannot pray, fast, and give without being a blessing and receiving a blessing.

iPray is a 21 day spiritual adventure.  This is an exciting time. Thanks for your partnership.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder