2020 Gathering

I’m still working the bugs out of this new system. I was posting about the 2020 gathering and it would not let me complete my thought. Perhaps I can make it a blog entry?

As I was saying we chose May 23 to allow the weather to clear some. Elder Camara is going to host the gathering on his farm. We will provide food and drinks. We are also working on a few surprises that have not been nailed down yet. I will notify you what they are when they have been verified. I know you will like them though! I guarantee that you will. Gatherings are our opportunity to fellowship with each other. It is also our opportunity to lay hands on newly ordained ministers and confirm their ordination. I don’t know how other elders do this, but I typically am very willing to allow other ministers to lay hands on the one being confirmed and pray with us. It is a very spiritual time for all involved and I hope you don’t miss it.

Ohio is holding a gathering this month. I hope those of you within traveling distance will go and support their gathering. They are certainly welcome to support ours! These gatherings are for fellowship. Let’s take advantage of them and fellowship with each other. Come on out!

Also, I want to put in a plug for the many lessons available through NACM. I have taken the Soul Care 101: Carrying for Un-saintly Saints and the Chaplaincy Course offered here. I can tell you as a psychology student at Marshall University, the techniques taught in the Soul Care 101 and Chaplaincy Course are solid and basically the same as the curriculum taught in accredited colleges. They are techniques I use everyday in my career as a chaplain and as a peer support specialist/peer recovery coach. They are psychologically sound and if nothing else, will teach you to be a better listener. All to often people listen to what others say, but they do not hear what others are saying. Soul Care 101 and the Chaplaincy Course teach you how to become an active listener. These are skills all ministers need to have. How can we claim we are ministering to people if we are not hearing their hidden messages to us? I strongly recommend taking these courses and any others offered. THE NACM leadership would not offer these courses if they did not feel they would benefit the members. I know I learned a lot from taking them and still occasionally review the material. I understand one course now offers certification upon completion. I am checking into that because I would be interested in any certifications I can get. I am considering the course regardless of certification, because I have found that NACM course offerings make me a better listener. As a human being I have the tendency to hear but not hear. This is something we preachers need to overcome. I recommend these courses and hope the ministers of West Virginia take advantage of them. I know one of the courses is basically for chaplains. I know many of you do not feel called into a chaplaincy ministry. I still recommend the course because the skills it teaches will be invaluable in any ministry. Please consider taking Soul Care 101 and the Chaplaincy Courses. You won’t regret it. Yes, there is a fee attached for the courses and the books. The fee is minimal and often reduced. The books are yours to keep. I do not regret spending the money for them! If it will help me in my ministry then it is cash well spent! It has indeed helped me in my ministry! It refreshed much of what I had already learned in school and it taught me to be a better listener. It was well worth my investment!

As summer winds down, we get ready for another school year. Christians everywhere are plagued by the extraordinary prices they have to pay for school supplies. Let’s keep that in mind at this time and remind Christians that if they do what God has commanded, that He will keep His promises to see that our needs are met. I say that because a friend of mine suggested to me that he was going to forego his tithe and offering to the church in order to see that he could buy his children extra supplies. This thinking tends to permeate the church. In my life my tithe and offering come first no matter what! I have found that God is always faithful to me in keeping His promises. Before I began tithing my income, I could barely make ends meet. I was always living from paycheck to paycheck and struggling to pay my bills. Then I became a soldier in the Salvation Army Huntington WV Corps, and part of my soldier’s covenant was that I would tithe my income. I felt I was signing that covenant with Jesus Christ Himself. I decided to take a leap of faith and sign it. Then I began paying my tithe faithfully. Since that time I have wanted for nothing. Yes, there are times still when I do not have two pennies to rub together but I never do without. I am a big soda drinker. I drink Mountain Dew and other products all the time. Last month I tithed my money, knowing I was cutting myself short on money to buy my soda. I had no more than wrote the tithe check when the intercom of the facility in which I live buzzed. They made an announcement that they had a surplus of soda, which was nearing its expiration date, and they wished to give it away. God had supplied my soda until my next check came in!

Many people approach God the wrong way when it comes to tithing. They act as if they are making an investmennt annd expecting God to make good on it. If your congregants act like that please tell them to keep their tithes! God blesses tithing. He sees to it that my every need is met but He is not Wall Street. He isn’t going to make me rich because I tithe. He commands tithing and He commands obedience. He is not a genie. He does however honor those who serve Him. As your congregants face the extgra burden of school supplies remind them that God must come first in all things. If we put Him first and trust Him, He will meet our needs. Since I have began tithing I seldom am broke. If I am broke I want for nothing and income is usually on its way. I once was broke one day after payday and stayed that way until the next payday. Now I usually start payday with money already in my account. On those rare occasions when I am broke I find that my needs are still met. I want for nothing, even if it means the Lord simply lifts the desire for something to drink!

I did not intend to make this blog quite this long. I started out with the intention of giving a plug for the 2020 gathering and the courses available on NACM. Holy Spirit led me to plug for tithing, a topic I normally shy away from. However, I strongly encourage our West Virginia ministers and any others reading this blogto consider investing in the Soul Care 101 and Chaplaincy courses. It will be one of the best investments you ever made. The skills you learn are invaluable to ministers and to human beings in general. After all, who could not benefit from being a better listener?

I also recommend that you practice tithing and teach it in your churches. I know. People tend to get turned off when you preach about money. Therefore try a different approach. Offer tithing as a challenge. Challenge your congregants to put God to the test. After all, He tells us to do so in Malachi 3: 10 where He says “Bring your whole tithe into the storehouse of God. ‘Test me in this’ says the Lord almighty…”

I suggest challenging thoose of your congregation who are willing to do so to tithe for a period of six months. At the end of the six months ask them if their finances improved during the time they were tithing. Have them testify to what the Lord did for them as a result of tithing their income. Tithe your own income. You will  find that you do not become rich as a result,  but your finances improve tremendously. God does not make promises He will not keep.

Marvin Schrebe, Elder WV (12)

I will be 59 on June 9, 2020. I was born on Friday June 9, 1961 in Parkersburg WV. I was first introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ as a child. My mom and dad were as I understand, devoutly pious Christians and my dad was the praise and worship leader at his church. Then he was arrested and charged with a crime that he did not commit. Like a lot of poor people he could not afford a good defense attorney and did four years in prison. This turned both my mother and he bitter against Jesus and we did not go back for a long time. I was reintroduced to the church at age nine when we attended a revival. I was "saved" and then quickly fell away, not really understanding what I was doing and receiving no instruction. I found my way back to Jesus when I was eighteen, and this time I did receive a lot of instruction from a minister who saw potential in me. I was convinced from that time that Holy Spirit was calling me to do something special in the kingdom. I studied everything I could lay my hands on, particularly correspondence courses and walked with the Lord for a good while. Then the cares of the world overwhelmed me and I fell away again. This time I fell into drugs. I drank and used the non-prescription drug diphenhydramine and marijuana for years along with a lot of alcohol. I was always careful not to mix substances, which may have helped Jesus keep me alive.

I was married and divorced throughout that period, then remarried. I began attending another church, where I was baptized and studied under the tutelage of another minister. Again I absorbed the word like a sponge. I became well versed in that denomination's doctrine and wrote and published a few tracts for them. Again I did not apply God's word and misunderstood a lot of it. I fell away again. This time I used drugs for nearly ten years, during which time I was a psychology major at a Bible college. The electives I took were all religion/Bible electives as required by the college. One elective I took was Philosophy 101. The instructor wanted us to develop a worldview based on a logical argument and write a paper defending our position. I chose to show logically how the universe and life could exist without being created. Thus I chose to disprove God. I was good at it and convinced myself for a while. Then in 2009 I got clean with the help of a 12 step program that reintroduced me to the concept of God. I set out to prove that one of the major religions was right and all others false. I studied many disciplines and archaeology and history convinced me that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. I joined a church and soon felt the call from Holy Spirit again. This time I did not run. I became ordained through NACM and then became the chaplain of the West Virginia Veterans Home after my second wife died in 2014.

Shortly after becoming chaplain of the WVVH I became a soldier in the Salvation Army Huntington Corps. I asked my commander there what ministry I could become involved in. She suggested that I accept a commission or bonding from the Maryland/West Virginia Division, and become a local officer, in this case the Community Care Ministries Secretary, Adult Sunday School Teacher, and Men's Club Treasurer. I was already unofficially filling these positions by being a soldier and chaplain of the WVVH. I accepted her offer and was bonded by the division commander during the 2019 holiday season.

Holy Spirit made it clear to me that the reason He had not used me from the time I was saved at eighteen was because I was too immature as a Christian. I would have made a mess of things. He wants us all to serve Him but He has to shape us first. He trained me under many good pastors throughout those years and I had to do the growing. He would not use me until He felt I was mature enough to use. That happened when I surrendered and began trying to always "Do unto others the things I would have them do unto me."

Today I serve in active ministry here at the WVVH and will soon be starting graduate school at Regent University in the Master of Divinity program, chaplain's concentration. College starts May 11, 2020. I will graduate in May 2023 if Holy Spirit is willing.

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