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"Prayer Coach" author James Nicodem shares thoughts -- and book

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 - 2:45 PM CST

Recently, National Prayer Center Director John Maempa spoke with Dr. James Nicodem, pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Illinois, for the "Interviews on Prayer" segment at www.prayer.ag.org. The interview focuses on the need to strengthen personal and corporate prayer and how that can be accomplished.

Nicodem launched Christ Community Church with six couples in 1984; the church now numbers more than 5,000 members on various campuses. Nicodem attributes a strong focus on prayer as a key factor in the life and growth of the church. This focus serves as a backdrop for Nicodem's recent book, Prayer Coach. A "kicker" following the title captures the book's focus: "For all who want to get off the bench and onto the praying field."

"Prayer Coach is one of the most engaging and practical books on prayer I have read," states Maempa. "It is filled with practical insights and how-to's that will coach readers in their personal prayer life and help develop a strong culture of prayer in the local church."

Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer

In partnership with Gospel Publishing House, Crossway Books and the NPC, content from the first two chapters of Prayer Coach has been extracted for the 2010 Week of Prayer booklet titled Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer. The Week of Prayer typically is observed during the first week of January though some churches schedule the observance at other times.

Information about Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, other Week of Prayer resources including a poster, bulletin covers, bookmarks, Prayer Coach, and more can found by visiting, www.prayer.ag.org, www.gospelpublishing.com or by calling 1-800-641-4310.

Among many insights shared in the interview, Nicodem states, "We tend to see prayer very 'transactionally.' We come to God with our lists and if we don't have anything on our list, we don't pray. If something is pressing us and we want to get something from God, then we pray.

"We need to approach prayer relationally. Jesus said in John 15 that we are to remain in Him and He is to remain in us. Then He says that if we ask whatever we will, He will give it to us.

"We must remember, however, that the promise to answer prayer is premised upon the fact that we're remaining in Christ, that our relational bond is growing deeper and bearing fruit. God wants us to desire more of Him before we get more from Him."

Nicodem notes further that while there are many books on prayer that relate why we should pray, the theology of prayer, stories of great prayers, etc., there are not a lot of books that convey the how-to's of prayer. Maempa states that Prayer Coach and the Week of Prayer booklet, Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, will provide tremendous help for any who are seeking to strengthen prayer personally and corporately.

The full interview with Nicodem can be accessed by clicking the "Interviews on Prayer" banner on the NPC's home page.

 


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Recently, National Prayer Center Director John Maempa spoke with Dr. James Nicodem, pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Illinois, for the "Interviews on Prayer" segment at www.prayer.ag.org. The interview focuses on the need to strengthen personal and corporate prayer and how that can be accomplished.

Nicodem launched Christ Community Church with six couples in 1984; the church now numbers more than 5,000 members on various campuses. Nicodem attributes a strong focus on prayer as a key factor in the life and growth of the church. This focus serves as a backdrop for Nicodem's recent book, Prayer Coach. A "kicker" following the title captures the book's focus: "For all who want to get off the bench and onto the praying field."

"Prayer Coach is one of the most engaging and practical books on prayer I have read," states Maempa. "It is filled with practical insights and how-to's that will coach readers in their personal prayer life and help develop a strong culture of prayer in the local church."

Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer

In partnership with Gospel Publishing House, Crossway Books and the NPC, content from the first two chapters of Prayer Coach has been extracted for the 2010 Week of Prayer booklet titled Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer. The Week of Prayer typically is observed during the first week of January though some churches schedule the observance at other times.

Information about Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, other Week of Prayer resources including a poster, bulletin covers, bookmarks, Prayer Coach, and more can found by visiting, www.prayer.ag.org, www.gospelpublishing.com or by calling 1-800-641-4310.

Among many insights shared in the interview, Nicodem states, "We tend to see prayer very 'transactionally.' We come to God with our lists and if we don't have anything on our list, we don't pray. If something is pressing us and we want to get something from God, then we pray.

"We need to approach prayer relationally. Jesus said in John 15 that we are to remain in Him and He is to remain in us. Then He says that if we ask whatever we will, He will give it to us.

"We must remember, however, that the promise to answer prayer is premised upon the fact that we're remaining in Christ, that our relational bond is growing deeper and bearing fruit. God wants us to desire more of Him before we get more from Him."

Nicodem notes further that while there are many books on prayer that relate why we should pray, the theology of prayer, stories of great prayers, etc., there are not a lot of books that convey the how-to's of prayer. Maempa states that Prayer Coach and the Week of Prayer booklet, Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer, will provide tremendous help for any who are seeking to strengthen prayer personally and corporately.

The full interview with Nicodem can be accessed by clicking the "Interviews on Prayer" banner on the NPC's home page.

 


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Church Dedicates Alzheimer's Facility

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 - 9:53 AM CST

Memory Lane
Van Buren First Assembly of God's Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit is considered the finest Alzheimer's facility in Arkansas and one of the best in the nation.

Many Assemblies of God churches care for the needy through food pantries, clothing banks, holiday meals and similar compassion ministries. But Van Buren (Arkansas) First Assembly of God may be the very first AG church to not only offer a retirement center for seniors, but now a fully-staffed care unit for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia.

The new $5 million, 34,000 square-foot Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit, dedicated on November 13, was recently completed through the donation of a gift of $5 million given anonymously last November. The care unit is an addition to the already existing 60,000-square-foot Legacy Heights Retirement Center.

Senior Pastor Bobby Johnson, who has been ministering at the 1,100-member church for the past 34 years, says that in 2007 the church opened the Legacy Heights Retirement Center, offering 55 units for retirees.

Having converted a wing of the center into an Alzheimer's care unit in 2009, Johnson says at first the church struggled as the economy crash at that time took its toll. "But three years ago, a foundation offered us a $1 million grant, if we could match it," Johnson says. "We matched almost all of it and that helped us recover."

Memory Lane pictures
Much of the decor in Memory Lanes is designed to help those with Alzheimer's use their memories.

Apparently liking what Johnson and Van Buren First Assembly were doing, the same foundation came back to them this past November and offered the grant money to build a state-of-the-art Alzheimer's care facility.

AG General Treasurer Doug Clay spoke at the dedication of the new unit. "Thank you for being a wonderful and biblical example of excellence in ministry to our seniors," Clay said. "There is nothing quite like this . . . praise the Lord!"

When the new facility, which is expected to open by mid-December, is at capacity (40 patients), it will have a staff of 50 to 60 people, including nurses and other professional staff who will provide 24-hour care in private rooms. The facility is also licensed by the state.

"Memory Lane is divided into two mirroring pods of 16,000-square-feet each," Johnson says. "They each have 20 rooms and include a dining room, activities room, a beauty salon, whirlpool, an outdoor walking track within the confines of each pod, and between the pods is a safe room for residents of Legacy Heights and Memory Lane."

Clay observed that one out of eight Americans are now age 65 or older, with more than 5,500 Americans turning 65 every day. "As the percentage of older people in the population increases, problems, attitudes, responsibilities, and care related to the aging become matters of increasing concern," Clay said.

Pastor Bobby Johnson
Pastor Bobby Johnson

Johnson agrees with Clay's assessment. "Statistics say 1 out of 2 people who are 85 will contract this disease — a disease where there are no survivors."

According to what state officials have already communicated to Johnson, the new Alzheimer's facility is the best in the state and is one of the best in the nation.

"The difference is, this facility was built strictly for Alzheimer's patients — it's not an older building converted to house Alzheimer's patients," Johnson explains. "For example, our large outdoor walking track is secure, pictures and decorations are from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, which will help with memory, and each patient's door will have pictures of their family members on it."

What's more, Johnson says, those residents living at Legacy Heights and the patients soon to be a part of Memory Lane will continue to have the opportunities to hear the gospel message, through visitation of retired AG ministers and live-streaming of all church services.

And perhaps Clay summed the church's efforts up best when he said during the dedication, "Thank you for addressing this concern with care, quality and excellence."

For more information about Legacy Heights or Memory Lane, contact Van Buren First AG at info@vbfirst.com.

 

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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