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Spotlight on AG Ethnic/Language Fellowships: National Fijian Fellowship and Filipino-American Christian Fellowship

Wed, 03 Sep 2008 - 2:32 PM CST

This is part one in an ongoing series highlighting the Assemblies of God Ethnic/Language Fellowships and their ministry to the culturally distinct people in the United States. The following information is intended to help individuals and churches connect with these fellowships and increase awareness about what each fellowship is doing and where God is leading them.

National Fijian Fellowship
President: Reverend Isikeli V. Tuirabe
Address: 7899 Albion Way, Sacramento CA 95832
E-mail: tuirabe@sbcglobal.net
Phone: (916) 427-7884
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Year established: 1990
Number of churches: 16
Number of people in fellowship: 1,000
Number of states represented: 5

Currently, Tuirabe reports that there is a sense of revival, excitement and healing among the Fijian Fellowship, with great expectation in God for breakthroughs.

Tuirabe also says the fellowship would love to extend their borders in planting multiethnic and multicultural churches to reach other ethnic groups.

Downtown Community Celebration Fellowship of the Assemblies of God is the church Tuirabe pastors in Sacramento. Planted two years ago, they are reaching out not only to fellow Fijians, but also to "every class of people from every walk of life."

In the past year six of the church's board members were equipped, blessed and released to other ministries.

"We are excited to see that God the Holy Spirit is transforming lives as we connect with people everywhere," says Tuirabe. "Souls are saved, discipled, nurtured and challenged to be excited about their faith as they become a living witness for God daily."

Filipino-American Christian Fellowship
President: Reverend Nilo Jaren M. Lapasaran, Jr.

Lapasaran

Address: Heights Worship Center InterNATIONal Ministries, 2531 Vallecito Drive, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
E-mail: jarenlapasaran@gmail.com
Phone: (909) 709-1725
Web site: www.filamfel.org
Year established: 1976
Number of churches: 75
Number of people in fellowship: 10,000
Number of states represented: 11

The Filipino-American Christian Fellowship is currently emphasizing aggressive church multiplication, discipleship, children's ministry and worship and prayer mobilization.

Alan Misael is a Filipino ordained minister, trained and educated in the Philippines. He is currently pastoring Findlay (Ohio) First Assembly of God, a church that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Lapasaran says, "This story is an amazing reality that Filipino immigrant pastors are ready and capable to serve our AG churches here in America."

Lapasaran believes God is leading the fellowship towards a house church movement, parenting churches in other states and sending out 20-somethings to serve in ministry.

Looking ahead, the Filipino-American Christian Fellowship has set a goal to have 100 churches by 2014, the 100-year anniversary of the Assemblies of God.


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This is part one in an ongoing series highlighting the Assemblies of God Ethnic/Language Fellowships and their ministry to the culturally distinct people in the United States. The following information is intended to help individuals and churches connect with these fellowships and increase awareness about what each fellowship is doing and where God is leading them.

National Fijian Fellowship
President: Reverend Isikeli V. Tuirabe
Address: 7899 Albion Way, Sacramento CA 95832
E-mail: tuirabe@sbcglobal.net
Phone: (916) 427-7884
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Year established: 1990
Number of churches: 16
Number of people in fellowship: 1,000
Number of states represented: 5

Currently, Tuirabe reports that there is a sense of revival, excitement and healing among the Fijian Fellowship, with great expectation in God for breakthroughs.

Tuirabe also says the fellowship would love to extend their borders in planting multiethnic and multicultural churches to reach other ethnic groups.

Downtown Community Celebration Fellowship of the Assemblies of God is the church Tuirabe pastors in Sacramento. Planted two years ago, they are reaching out not only to fellow Fijians, but also to "every class of people from every walk of life."

In the past year six of the church's board members were equipped, blessed and released to other ministries.

"We are excited to see that God the Holy Spirit is transforming lives as we connect with people everywhere," says Tuirabe. "Souls are saved, discipled, nurtured and challenged to be excited about their faith as they become a living witness for God daily."

Filipino-American Christian Fellowship
President: Reverend Nilo Jaren M. Lapasaran, Jr.

Lapasaran

Address: Heights Worship Center InterNATIONal Ministries, 2531 Vallecito Drive, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
E-mail: jarenlapasaran@gmail.com
Phone: (909) 709-1725
Web site: www.filamfel.org
Year established: 1976
Number of churches: 75
Number of people in fellowship: 10,000
Number of states represented: 11

The Filipino-American Christian Fellowship is currently emphasizing aggressive church multiplication, discipleship, children's ministry and worship and prayer mobilization.

Alan Misael is a Filipino ordained minister, trained and educated in the Philippines. He is currently pastoring Findlay (Ohio) First Assembly of God, a church that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Lapasaran says, "This story is an amazing reality that Filipino immigrant pastors are ready and capable to serve our AG churches here in America."

Lapasaran believes God is leading the fellowship towards a house church movement, parenting churches in other states and sending out 20-somethings to serve in ministry.

Looking ahead, the Filipino-American Christian Fellowship has set a goal to have 100 churches by 2014, the 100-year anniversary of the Assemblies of God.


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From Fame to Faith: The Anthony Greve Story

Mon, 14 Apr 2014 - 4:28 PM CST

Anthony Greve
Greve played lead guitar for Pop Evil, a popular hard rock band.

Mention the name of Tony Greve (pronounced "Greev") in hard rock circles, and people know the name. The lead and rhythm guitar for the popular hard rock band, Pop Evil, Greve traveled with the likes of Judas Priest, Papa Roach, and 3 Doors Down. His world was not only consumed with constant concerts and pushing the limits on his guitar, it was also filled with drugs, alcohol, sex and hard partying that few not in the profession are familiar with.

With tattoos of personal guitar heroes on his arms, profanity on his fingers, and sporting a hat he believed had a demonic presence accompanying it, Greve was steeped in the hard-rock lifestyle and sin — and was looking for more.

So, how did Greve, whom hard rockers and fans know as "Guitar Slinger" — which is also tattooed across his stomach — become a class president of an Assemblies of God Bible college?

 

The Beginning

Growing up, Anthony "Tony" Greve found he had a talent for playing electric guitar. He admits struggling with depression and a consuming emptiness, but in playing guitar, he seemed to be able to find at least a brief relief, so he poured himself into it.

In 2007, when he was 23 years old, Greve was an accomplished guitar player and his skills were catching people's attention. An up-and-coming hard rock band, Pop Evil, based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, invited him to play lead guitar. Greve accepted and began touring for months at a time with the band.

Despite the band's growing success, which included four national top-10 singles, Greve couldn't seem to pour enough of himself into the band or its hedonistic lifestyle in order to escape his growing depression and emptiness.

Greve didn't realize it at the time, but God had a plan for his life.

 

Encountering God

Anthony Greve
Greve

While the rest of the band went out to party after a concert, Greve decided just to go to the hotel room. Struggling with having "everything," but still feeling like he had nothing and was empty inside, he just started talking to God — and God responded.

"He told me, 'Son, I created you for a relationship with Me. It'll never work without Me,'" Greve says.  "I told God that for 26 years of my life, I just did what I wanted to do — why would You forgive me?"

Even though Greve knew God was aware of all of his sins, he began to confess them out loud to God, breaking down and beginning to weep as he did so.

"God, I'm so sorry, please forgive me," Greve recalls saying.

And God did — followed by a powerful experience with the Holy Spirit. "[The Holy Spirit] fell and burst through my body like a surge of electricity," Greve says.

A few weeks later, unsure of what to do with his new found faith, Greve sought help, but not at a church.

"We always parked the bus in a Walmart parking lot when we were on tour, because it was open 24-7," Greve says. "There was this Family Christian Bookstore near where we parked, so I walked in there, just wearing my pajamas and a coat."

Having lived a life so apart from God, Greve admits it was surreal walking into the store.

Pretending to look at some books, Greve was approached by a clerk, Patrick Garrett, who offered his assistance.

"Do you believe in Jesus?" Greve recalls asking Garrett. After receiving a positive response, he said, "Would you pray for me?" Garrett, who still remains in contact with Greve, agreed, but called over to another customer in the store to join him, a man Greve later found out was an evangelist.

After prayer in the middle of the store, which Greve says was filled with tears and the presence of God, the evangelist turned to Greve and said, "You're at a crossroads in your life. Choose the Cross."

 

A Rough Transition

Anthony Greve
When Greve made his initial decision to follow Christ, he struggled in knowing what was the right thing to do.

Greve was a "new creation" in Christ, but had few Christian connections. When he phoned his father to tell him he was now a Christian and was going to quit the band, his father was furious.

"He called me a coward and told me I was selfish, that I was letting the guys in the band down just as we were getting ready to start making real money," Greve says.  "I started to question myself — not God, as I knew He existed — but maybe I was being a self-centered jerk. I didn't know. I didn't have anyone to talk to."

Out of a sense of guilt and fear, Greve decided to stay with the band, believing he would be strong enough to resist temptation.

As a new Christian, with little biblical knowledge, no Christian counsel on the road with him, and living in Satan's stronghold, the outcome would surprise few. Within two weeks, Greve was once again fully immersed in the lifestyle. Only this time, he was upset with God because He didn't deliver him.

"I felt trapped," Greve admits. "I had record and management contracts, I fell back into sin worse than ever.  I felt I was letting my family down, letting God down — I felt like there was no escape."

 

The Road of Discipleship

Greve continued to play in the band for a time, but one night the Lord spoke to him while he was on stage.

Greve remembers the moment clearly. "He said, 'Tony, you see all these fans? They're not fans – they're lost. I created them to worship Me, but they don't know Me, so they're worshipping you instead.'

"I had a decision to make," Greve says. "It was stay there, which would have been serving the kingdom of darkness, or leave and pursue God."

In April 2011, Greve left the band — even left the state — and gave up everything in order to get right with God. Carrying and reading his Bible wherever he went, he "worked out his salvation" as he traveled seemingly aimlessly about the country.

Yet at every place he paused, God brought people into his life to help shape and direct his life, and the Holy Spirit was with him.

"I was a Pentecostal before I even knew what a Pentecostal was," Greve says, laughing. "I remember going to my first Assembly of God church [Gateway] in Williamsport, Maryland. "I was like, 'This is it!'"

Greve also started going by the name of "Anthony," as he likened his experience of being knocked off the stage of fame similar to the biblical Saul-to-Paul experience.

Finally Greve made his way back to Michigan. It was there he met up with Pastor Adrien Thorne of New Beginnings (AG) in Whitehall. Greve's life was about to be put on the mentorship fast track.

 

Mentoring Discipleship — More Than Words

Adrien Thorne and Anthony Greve
Pastor Adrien Thorne (left) and Greve quickly became friends, with Thorne also being a mentor to Greve.

"I was cleaning out my van in the driveway, when I looked up and saw this skinny dude, holding a Bible, with tattoos all over him," Thorne says. "I knew who he was. I had heard a lot about Anthony already."

Within moments of meeting, a bond was formed between the two men. Thorne was uniquely positioned to not only provide biblical guidance, but understand exactly where Greve had been and what he was going through now.

Prior to becoming an AG minister 13 years ago, Thorne was a professional ballet dancer, who had little room for God in his life. He performed for 17 years and was ranked in the top three percent in the nation. He even has a brother in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But Thorne is also a Teen Challenge graduate — an AG program for those with life-controlling addictions — who knows the value of mentors.

Thorne says he and his wife, Kristina, came to love Greve. Thorne says that he would get calls from Greve three times a day, asking questions about the Bible and life.

"Some questions only took 30 seconds, others took longer, but Anthony was like a sponge," he says.

But more than just pouring spiritual discipleship into Greve's life, Thorne says his church of about 200 have come to understand that to get people where God has them going, it takes more.

"God doesn't just send you people to disciple them, but also to give them the tools to fulfill His call upon their lives," Thorne says. "We got Anthony a car, helped him get work, gave him a phone, and then helped him get into school [Northpoint Bible College]."

But Greve isn't the exception for Thorne or New Beginnings. In fact, Thorne says the church has done things like this for six or seven people recently as the church has taken a step back from "canvassing" areas towards more individualized discipleship and mentoring of people, with an emphasis on relationship.

"We used to do mass outreaches into the neighborhoods, but not one of those people are still here or in church, to my knowledge," Thorne says. "But when we started pairing people in need of discipleship with families or individuals who would have a connection with them, and also provided tools for these people to move forward, we have seen a dramatic difference in the number of people staying in church and beginning to fulfill God's purpose for their lives."

Late in 2012, Thorne would write the letter of endorsement for Greve to be accepted at Northpoint. Greve began his freshman year at Northpoint this past fall.

"God walked Anthony into our driveway," Thorne says simply. "Whatever things he achieves in his life, what an honor that we are part of the foundation for that!"

 

Moving Forward

Anthony Greve
Today, Greve is fervent in his Bible reading and prayer life.

Since beginning classes at Northpoint, Greve has continued to absorb wisdom and biblical learning. He also spends many weekends on stage, only now sharing his testimony with anyone who will listen, praying, and seeing God perform the miraculous.

The transformation from Tony the hard rocker to Anthony the follower of Christ is nothing short of miraculous in itself. In fact, the transformation is so complete that recently his classmates at Northpoint elected him president of next year's sophomore class.

"Anthony's spiritual growth and fervency for the things of God has been astounding since his arrival on the Northpoint Bible College campus," says Dr. David Arnett, president of Northpoint Bible College (AG) in Haverhill, Massachusetts. "He has quickly become a loved friend and brother to so many of the students, faculty and staff. Anthony came with a zealous love for Jesus and does not take lightly what the Holy Spirit is doing in his life."

Arnett says that Greve is frequently invited to share his testimony, including at key school administration functions — such as Board of Trustee meetings and President's Dinners — and is pleased to see Greve's passion for Christ continue to be "cultivated into excellence in Pentecostal ministry" at Northpoint.

"We see a man who has taken the testimony of his faith and the Word of God, and has committed to reaching the world with the gospel," Arnett says.

Anthony Greve
Not afraid of the stage, Greve shares his testimony wherever and whenever he can.

"I'm just so proud of him and his heart to obey God and serve the Lord," Thorne says, who still speaks with Greve three or four times a week.

For Greve, the passion to reach the lost drives him like never before as he continues to study to be a pastor and fulfill the call of full-time ministry.

"I've come to realize that you don't have to be involved in anything bad to be subject to Satan's possession — all you have to do is not be saved. If someone is not saved — even those who are 'good' people and do 'good' things — they belong to the kingdom of darkness and are hell bound - it's through Christ that all things are made new, and through Christ only."

And to that end, Greve seeks to share the life-changing gospel of Christ every chance he gets, because if God can transform his life, whose life can't He transform!  

Authors: Dan Van Veen

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