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Do We Really Need Preaching?

Do We Really Need Preaching?

There is an anecdote told of a holiness preacher who was asked to speak at a church. He prayed about it and the Lord confirmed that he was to go. The date for his visit was set. When the time came for the service, the minister arrived at the church to find it open and heated, but empty. He was certain the Lord had told him to preach at this church on this date and for a moment, he was confused. Determined to obey the Lord, he went to the pulpit and poured out his heart to unfilled pews.

Several years later, he was in Union Station in Chicago when a young man came up to him and said, “You don’t know me but I know you. I’ve wanted to meet you for many years. Do you remember the time you preached to an empty church?”
The minister raised his eyebrows and said, “Yes, I remember. How do you know about that?” The young man told him, “I was there that night. In the basement. I was the janitor of that church and had come to turn on the heat. I was about to leave when I heard you begin to preach. I listened to your message through the grates of the furnace and the Lord convicted me of my sins. I gave my heart to the Lord and was called to preach the Gospel. I just finished a revival here in Chicago and more than 400 people accepted the Lord.”

This story has been shared for decades. Some call these kinds of narratives “preacher stories” because of how often they are used in sermons. Maybe they have fallen out of fashion.

Do we need preaching in the contemporary church service? Why don’t we all just sit and wait for a manifestation of a gift of the Spirit to bring us revelation from God? Why don’t we have all singing or a discussion format or a drama acted out each week in the place of preaching? Is it still relevant in today’s church for one person to address the congregation with preaching from a Bible text? Isn’t that a little old fashioned? What is preaching anyway?

Dr. Elias Rodriguez is an instructor for the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) Center for Biblical Leadership. He travels all over the world teaching, among many other things, preachers to preach. He says, “Preaching is the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ by living witnesses, who have experienced in their own lives the transformational power of God, to both sinners who need to be brought into a relationship with God and to God’s people who need to be aligned with God’s kingdom and purposes.”

 

Preaching: A Tale as Old as Time

Words were created by God, employed by God, esteemed by God. Words are important. And God gave us the gift of speech so that we could communicate His words with each other and the world. John A. Broadus, scholar, teacher, preacher of the 19th century stated: “Preaching is characteristic of Christianity. No other religion has made the regular and frequent assembling of groups of people to hear religious instruction and exhortation an integral part of worship.”

But preaching didn’t begin with Christianity. Speaking admonitions and instructions from God took place before the time of Jesus. Old Testament preachers included Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos, as well as others. They spoke and wrote the words the Lord gave them for His people and world leaders.

“During Israel’s return from exile, when all the people gathered to hear the law, Ezra and all the Levites traveled among the people and explained it to them. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8). “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:7).

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 3:17). Even David laid claim to speaking for God. “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and his word was on my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2).

 

Jesus Preached and Told His Disciples to Preach

“Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1). “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel’” (Mark 1:14). “And he (Jesus) sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:2).

And today’s disciples continue to be called to preach. Paul Holt, Director of Finance and Administration at the International Offices, knows this after many years of pulpit ministry. “The only reason that I preach is because I am called to do it. I do not feel it fits with my natural inclinations, but God called me, anyway. I would not have chosen preaching to be my vocation, but God chose me. As such, I am confident that I cannot do it without His help.” Dr. Rodriguez, when asked why he preaches, replied, “I preach because it is the way Jesus communicated His message.”

 

The Bible Tells Us to Preach

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 10:7). “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). And ministers are not the only ones who have a responsibility when it comes to preaching. Those listening are instructed to believe. “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

Is preaching a scriptural mandate? “Yes,” says Cathy Payne, Global Missions coordinator for the COGOP. “I believe the prophetic voice is a scriptural mandate and I believe preaching is a form of the prophetic. Preaching is an illumination of God’s Word to people and it is more needed today than ever before.” Dr. Rodriguez added, “Paul was commissioned by Jesus to ‘preach the gospel’ and Paul, in turn told Timothy to ‘Preach the Word.’” The Bible tells us to preach.

 

Preaching Teaches People How to Read God’s Word

Keeping the Bible central to the life of the local church, especially by preaching Scripture, teaches people how to read the Bible. The power and wonder and truth of the Bible are most effectively communicated by anointed, faithful preaching. Preaching connects us to the power of God. We find in the Word that God’s power brought redemption from Adam’s failure by instituting the blood sacrifice. Throughout the Bible, God’s power kept His plan on course, using flawed humans. God fulfilled “every promise in the Book” and brought salvation through Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Preaching connects God to Israel, Israel to Jesus, Jesus to the church. When God’s Word is the focus in the church, hearing it will help people know how to read it and give them a hunger to dive into it for themselves.

 

Preaching Changes Lives, One Week at a Time

“How was church? “Great!” “What did the pastor preach about?” “Umm . . . about 30 minutes?” What good is it for a minister to study and prepare and preach if the listeners are going to forget everything they heard? Contrary to what we think, we do not forget everything we hear. Most of us can remember the concepts we heard preached in sermons and specific sermons that changed us: how we think about God, marriage, money, etc. Do not believe the untruth that preaching is ineffective. Preaching changes people.

Bishop Holt spoke to this concept of change that comes from preaching: “I have shared things that came from God and I have seen those things bring transformation to people’s lives. It is the evidence that has convinced me of the importance of preaching. It is not the only thing, but it is an important thing.”

But do we need preaching on Sundays? Can’t we leave preaching to every now and then or to the guy on the street corner? Consider this: God began the weekly rhythm at Creation. In Genesis we see the Scriptures mark the days of the week. And since Creation, Sunday comes around every seven days. Like the daily manna in the wilderness, preaching has an expiration date. Come Sunday, folks are famished and need to be filled once again. It may be that the messages we hear preached are only meant to get us to the next Sunday! Sermons don’t have to remain with people throughout eternity. They’re meant to sustain one week at a time. Why else would Hebrews 10:25 admonish us to not forsake assembling together?

By faithfully preaching the Gospel, the preacher reveals people’s hearts to themselves, gives them the power to make judgments that liberate them, and imbues them with the certainty, confidence, and gladness to overcome trouble and sickness and hell itself.


Marsha Robinson
Editor, White Wing Messenger

Why do you preach? Sister Payne put it this way: “I preach out of my passion for the Lord and passion for humankind. I preach out of my calling from the Holy Spirit and the calling out that comes from those who need Him. I preach out of my availability— the Spirit’s faithful availability to anoint and use me and my availability to Him and His use.”

We need preaching. Until heaven. And there, our faith in the Word made flesh will become sight. He will remain with us forever. And the need for preaching will end.

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This article appeared in the July 2017 issue of The White Wing Messenger, the official publication of the Church of God of Prophecy. To preview or download the issue, click here. For an annual print subscription, click here

10,000 Leaders by 2020

10,000 Leaders by 2020

Brian Sutton Explains His Vision for Leadership Development

 

Brian Sutton, who assumed the role of executive director of Leadership Development and Discipleship in May 2016, explains his vision for the department and how it is positioned to impact the Church of God of Prophecy’s work in the harvest.

You stepped into this role straight from being a long time pastor. Do you feel that what you’ve done to this point has led you to what you’re doing now?

My experience as a pastor, and even going through the journey of attending two seminaries, has given me a heart for every pastor and every leader who sits and ministers in a congregation. Helping pastors and leaders become better equipped to serve God’s mission is where I want our focus to always be

I always want us to ask, “How can the programs Leadership Development and Discipleship offer minister to the pastor and help those pastors and leaders meet the needs in every community where they serve?” I think we have to be practical. We have to somehow find our way to equip those pastors because every pastor, every leader in every local church is crying out to God, saying, “Lord, equip me. Lord, make me better that I can discern Your voice so that I can minister more effectively.” The hunger to meet those needs that the pastors have, it’s very real because I’ve lived there day after day, week after week, crying out to God, “Please make me able to hear Your voice and to discern Your voice.”

You have promoted a vision of 10,000 Leaders by 2020. This is something that you feel like the Lord has really spoken into your ministry.

When I came into this role, I was following great people who’ve been in this position, so there were two specific areas I wanted to see us focus. First of all, for me, since we live in a very results-driven society, I wanted to look at that and say, “God, what is the result that You want from this? What is it that You desire for this department, Leadership Development and Discipleship at the International Offices? What is it that You want us to say we want to reach?” I don’t want our vision to be my vision, I want it to be God’s vision for us. The one thing I felt inspired from the Holy Spirit is was that we could have purpose through the ministries that we have here, and we’re going to touch and equip, 10,000 leaders by the year 2020.

Several years ago, we cast a vision through the International Offices about Vision 2020, and with that came the core values, and one of those core values was greater leadership development. We use 20/20 as our model for physical vision, so spiritually, that’s what I just felt in my heart God was saying. “I want these departments to equip 10,000 leaders by 2020.” We began to compile a database for youth and children’s ministry and Center for Biblical Leadership and Accredited Ministry Development, all those ministries that operate out of these offices. We want to touch 10,000 unique people by the year 2020. Bishop Clements and all of our General Presbyters have been so wonderful in launching this vision and I’m so thankful for them. They are praying into this vision of equipping our leaders. We are all working together to seek every open door that we can walk through to equip leaders so that they can step into all that God is doing.

As our team met in staff meetings, I really feel like we heard from the Holy Spirit, that there are three specific areas that all our equipping should focus on and those are in the areas of spiritual maturity, fruitful ministry, and participation in the mission of God. Spiritual maturity means we personally have a depth in God because we cannot give away what we don’t have ourselves. We want to encourage every leader through these trainings to be more spiritually mature ad know and encounter God in His fullness. We want to have fruitful ministry, not be measured by the success of the world, but look at what God has designed for our success where we are. Lastly, we want to equip the church for participation in the mission of God, to know that the mission of God is bigger than one church where we’re serving. It’s bigger than one denomination. It’s His mission, and as I recently heard, God’s church doesn’t have a mission, but God’s mission has a church. We’re surrendering to the mission of God.

This leadership initiative, the 10,000 leaders initiative, to see us go to the Assembly of 2020 and be able to celebrate that we’ve heard from God as a body and we’ve surrendered ourselves to that equipping, and now we’re 10,000 leaders that are ready to take the work of God wherever He tells us to go.

I think it’s a great day to be in this church because I think we are seeing where the Holy Spirit is moving around the globe right next to us in our neighborhoods and around the world, but the call of the Spirit is to respond; respond, not to live in front of the Spirit and ask Him to bless what we’re doing, but to turn into this responsive people who are so tuned into the Holy Spirit. We want to be a part of what God is doing, so we’re seeing great growth. It will only come through prayer. This will not be a human initiative. There is no conceivable way that we will ever see 10,000 people really touched without prayer. We have to prevail in prayer. Why prayer’s so critical to us is that prayer is not just speaking to God, but it’s hearing from God. It’s that communication with Him.

God is leading everyone somewhere, and you have a variety of places to affirm their leadership.

If God is leading every person to become more like Him, and to be more engaged with Him, then those avenues that leadership development and discipleship programs touch, they need to be more than just equipping pulpit ministry.

There are dynamic ways to serve in children’s ministry. For example, The Children’s Ministry Institutes, our “Train the Trainers” events, and many other opportunities to be equipped through Children’s ministry trainings are just some of the leadership equipping avenues which can propel stronger leaders for the work of the kingdom of God. The same thing with our brand new young leader certification that youth ministry is launching this year. Those are skills about mentoring. The word mentoring, that’s almost a fancy word for discipleship. The young leader’s equipping is more than just training people to stand behind a pulpit. It’s training people how to serve others and disciple them and mentor them.

One of our most exciting things that we do through the Center for Biblical Leadership is this class, “Become a Church with Impact.” In my experience, the longer I pastored, the more I felt this call from the Holy Spirit that our church must make an impact in our community, being more than just being a place where people come to church. It has to be the church. We have to touch the community. In this class, which is just one of our CBL offerings, we have already seen amazing results around the world and it’s just beginning. There’s this call that every person in the body steps into this role of serving the community, of living out the incarnational ministry of Jesus in the community. That particular class lays out the five biblical functions and five biblical commitments of a local church for example. A local church has to become more than a preaching point. It has to become more than just a pulpit. It becomes a force in the community that brings Jesus and gives witness to the kingdom of God in that community.

Our partnerships through Accredited Ministries Development, which is a brand new department that we’ve begun at the International Offices, have been going very well. We currently have almost 400 students involved in our Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Masters programs in four continents. We have launched a new partnership with the Pentecostal Theological Seminary to offer accredited equipping in every age and stage of need. We are offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs to our Church of God of Prophecy family. We are launching our first fully online Masters program through PTS that launches this summer and we’ve already had tremendous response to that.

I’m really excited about what God is doing in these programs. We can’t wait to share these in even more states, regions, and nations.

If someone is reading or listening to this interview and is thinking “Yes, I’m in,” what are the next steps for them on their journey?

I think it would be great to find out a little bit about these four areas—youth ministry, children’s ministry, Center for Biblical Leadership, Accredited Ministry Development. All of these four departments are doing great things. Of course, I would say to them first, “Go to COGOP.org/LDD.” That way, they could look around at those websites and find out what we do. After they’ve looked at the site, try to discern where God is leading them specifically in terms of serving, where that would be. For example, our youth ministry trainings, our children’s ministry and CBL trainings, those are open to leaders of local churches. They’re open to leaders of the kingdom of God. They don’t have to be a Church of God of Prophecy leader. There’s that, those leader equipping trainings, and all that information should be on our sites. Also, they can always contact us at the International Offices or they could contact their state and national overseer for the equippings that are coming to their area.

We’re all over the globe in every continent. We conduct these trainings. If they’re looking for an accredited education, through our partnerships, we offer a wide array of opportunities. I would say to take those next steps, you would want to go to our website and find out how you can be involved. Contact your state and national regional overseer to say or your pastor to say, “I want to be involved. I want to be one of these leaders who’s equipped through LDD Ministries,” and let your pastor, or your state or national overseer help you find out exactly where you can go.

Also, through social media, we have several social media outlets through the International Offices that I would encourage someone to go to. But I do feel like Leadership Development and Discipleship at the International Offices functions to walk beside our nations, states, and regions and our awesome overseers who lead those regions. We are here to serve them. We want to be a blessing to our presiding bishops and assist them whatever they’re doing to equip pastors and leaders in their state, region, or nation.

I am so blessed to serve with an amazing team of leaders here at the offices. Every director of every department in LDD and every staff member have all just been so wonderful. We are deeply seeking God together to see Him do with us what He desires. I am so thankful for this team and I’m so thankful for all of the departments who serve the International Offices. They are all pulling with one focus and that’s to please the Lord.

What kind of personal responses have you encountered since casting this vision and assuming this role?

Often I hear pastors or leaders say, “I was ready to quit.” or “I was burned out.” Or “I was finished! In some of our equipping classes or trainings we’ve heard them tell us, “I’m going to come to one more thing. If this doesn’t work, I’m finished.'” We find the research is unbelievable, about burnout in ministry and in leadership because people are often just empty. They’re just constantly poured out, and so they’re running on empty. When you have a person that comes to training and they say, “I was done before this, but the Holy Spirit spoke to me and the Holy Spirit equipped me. The Holy Spirit filled me with a new passion.” That’s what we want to do in all of this. We want to take the eyes off of the expectations of the world and put our eyes squarely upon the working of the Holy Spirit today, what He is doing today.

Brian Sutton
Executive Director
Leadership Development and Discipleship

No matter what context you’re in, we have to surrender ourselves to a constant filling of the Holy Spirit and a constant equipping to do more. The message of Jesus Christ has not changed. The method of delivery may be some of the reasons we are so burned out and some of the reasons we’re so tired. To hear a person say, “I was ready to quit, but God touched me here,” that’s why we all need to surrender ourselves, to equipping through whatever ministry is available. I believe God is calling us to constantly recognize that iron sharpens iron and we need that. I’m praying that we all hear God’s voice to be better equipped for his work.

—DeWayne Hamby, Editor

 

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This article appeared in the June 2017 issue of The White Wing Messenger, the official publication of the Church of God of Prophecy. To preview or download the issue, click here. For an annual print subscription, click here

 

Global Outreach Day

Global Outreach Day

Global Outreach Day is a day where YOU share the gospel to people who never heard it or are not yet born again Christians with the goal of leading them to salvation in Jesus. All you need is a willingness to go. Share the gospel according to your personal gifting and calling as the Lord leads you. There are thousands of ways to do this, either personal or together with a group or a church.

The vision of the Global Outreach Day is to mobilize Christians in over 200 nations to bring the Gospel to everyone, everywhere – whether on the streets, to the neighbors… This can‘t be achieved by a single person or by a single organization, but only through the whole global Body of Christ. Who? Every believer I Every church I Every ministry I And YOU How? Using the most effective way – according to your gifts, your region and your opportunities – to reach people with the Gospel. As preparation, we encourage pastors and leaders to pray and to train their church how to share the Gospel. On our website, you find helpful training material. On May 27th, you can offer different outreaches and also work together with other churches. On Sunday May 28th, you could give every church member after service one (or more) Gospel tract as a help to reach at least one person. After the G.O.D., keep on doing outreaches together every week or month. Be a part of this worldwide evangelistic outreach!

— Werner Nachtigal, International President

Click Here For More Information

05-17-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

05-17-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

[My awesome, loving and wonderful Grandchildren, and Annika and Kaleigh, whom I love and pray for every day

  • Know that our Abba Father rewards us when we diligently seek him…
  • Reverence Him; and hold Him in great admiration
  • Love him, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, so we may be filled with joy!

“…here is the conclusion of the matter: FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, for this is the DUTY OF ALL MANKIND. (Eccl. 12:13) “…for this is the WHOLE DUTY of man.” (KJV) 

[Respect our Abba Father’s sovereign authority as a lawgiver, and always feel bound to obey him. No one can walk either precisely or securely WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE FEAR OF GOD CONTINUALLY before their eyes. When our being afraid of the consequences for turning away and disobeying our Abba Father is gone, we are headed for much trouble!]

“These are the commands, decrees and laws THE LORD YOUR GOD DIRECTED ME TO TEACH YOU TO OBSERVE…so that you, your children and their children after them MAY FEAR THE LORD YOUR GOD AS LONG AS YOU LIVE by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that YOU MAY ENJOY LONG LIFE.” (Deut. 6:1-2)

[Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh, BE AWARE OF ANYONE making believe to have some Divine influence, pretending to be able to direct you in the way of salvation; or a dreamer of dreams – one who pretends that some godly being has spoken to him! Which is why me must hide God’s word in our heart!]

“If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and IF THE SIGN OR WONDER SPOKEN OF TAKES PLACE, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods…and let us worship them,” you must NOT LISTEN to the words of that prophet or dreamer…IT IS THE LORD YOUR GOD YOU MUST FOLLOW, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and HOLD FAST TO HIM.” (Deut. 13:1-4)

[Our Holy Spirit says… “I give you this warning as another proof that I KNOW ALL THINGS, and in the end, you may look to ME ALONE for peace and happiness!”]

“…the Spirit of truth…WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL THE TRUTH. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you…I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But TAKE HEART! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.” (John 16:13-14, 32-33)

I am going there TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU!” (John 14:2)

WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE IT SURELY IS!!!

Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that:

JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD!

Notice: [We must understand that the bible says: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But TAKE HEART! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.!!!That’s for you: Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh

White Wing Messenger Now On the Bible App

White Wing Messenger Articles Available as YouVersion Bible App Reading Plans

The White Wing Messenger, the official publication of the Church of God of Prophecy, will provide Spanish-language devotional content to YouVersion, a ministry of Life.Church and creator of the Bible App. In partnership with El Centro Network, Bible Plans from church writers with devotionals and accompanying Scripture are now available to millions of native Spanish speakers in the world. The Bible App, which is supported in 1,085 languages, is currently installed on more than 270 million devices and in every country on the planet.

The Messenger Bible Plans explore a variety of subjects, including leadership, women, faith, prayer, and more. Each Plan links back to the new Spanish website, www.iglesiadediosprofecia.org, and attributes the content to Church of God of Prophecy and the author. Devotionals include Plans by Michael Hernandez, coordinator of the World Language Department, and Bishop Ben Feliz, general presbyter of Mexico, Central America, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

“This is an amazing opportunity presented to us by our friends at YouVersion and El Centro Network,” said DeWayne Hamby, White Wing Messenger editor. “We are privileged to join hands with them to minister to the world through these Bible App Reading Plans.”

The church began partnering with YouVersion in April and plans to submit content regularly, including Messenger articles in English and French.

Those who want to follow along with the Bible App Reading Plans should download the mobile app from their digital store and visit the Plans tab. In Settings, select Español as the app interface language to find the plans contributed by COGOP authors.

To download the Bible App, visit www.bible.com/app.  For El Centro Network information, visit www.elcentronetwork.com. To learn more about the Church of God of Prophecy, visit www.cogop.org.

To see some of the current White Wing Messenger/Mensajero Ala Blanca reading plans, click here

04-19-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

[My awesome, loving and wonderful Grandchildren, and Annika and Kaleigh, whom I love and pray for every daysometimes we don’t know just what to say, but this we always know; OUR ABBA FATHER IS ALWAYS WITH US, he will NEVER leave us nor forsake us, so:]

“As for me, I WILL ALWAYS HAVE HOPE; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long– though I know not how to relate them all.” (Psa. 71:14-15)

[My soul cries out with immense joy!]

“I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.” (Psa. 71:16)

[Just think of the great kindness our Abba Father has shown to us!!]

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. THIS WILL PLEASE THE LORD more…[Than any kind of sacrifice I could ever bring.]” (Psa. 69:30-31)

[Please make the desire of our hearts TO BE OBEDIENT TO YOU TODAY Abba Father, as we…]

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psa. 100:4-5)

[Let’s have this testimony today, and express as Paul…]

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but ALSO TO ALL WHO HAVE LONGED FOR HIS APPEARING.” (2 Tim. 4:7-8)

[Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh, it is up to us TO SHOUT OUT OUR PRAISE TODAY!]

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off EVERYTHING that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. AND LET US RUN with perseverance [determination] the race marked out for us, FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Through Jesus, therefore, LET US CONTINUALLY OFFER TO God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” (Heb. 12:1-2, 13:15)

LET’S KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS AND OUR HEART’S FILLED WITH PRAISE!

Be blessed as you praise The Lord…

CONTINUALLY OFFERING TO GOD A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE!

Notice: [We must understand that the bible says: let us throw off EVERYTHING that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. AND LET US RUN with perseverance [determination] the race marked out for us, FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS!!!] That’s for you: Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh

04-16-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

[My awesome, loving and wonderful Grandchildren, and Annika and Kaleigh, whom I love and pray for every day “Jesus said, ‘I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and BELIEVES IN ME will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus was claiming to have power over death. He was claiming that He was the source of eternal life. He was claiming that even if a person dies physically and they believe in Him, they will NEVER DIE SPIRITUALLY. DO WE BELIEVE THIS? How we answer Jesus’ question concerning His claims about Himself and power over death is the most major decision we’ll ever make. Let’s put it this way: if He didn’t rise from the dead, the decision is easy. Don’t believe Him. But if He did, we have a major decision to make – A DECISION OF LIFE AND DEATH. This is what the Lord presented to His people many years ago:

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death…SO, CHOOSE LIFE in order that you may live…” (Deut. 30:19)

It was then, that the Lord spoke this to His people,

“I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you…” (Deut. 30:16)

God had continuous trouble with His people because of their unwillingness to obey,

“…they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God And did not keep His testimonies…” (Psa. 78:56)

So, what was their problem?

…they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation.” (Psa. 78:22)

Because of all this unbelief, what do you think God chose to do? Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh.

“For God SO LOVED THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him SHALL NOT PERISH, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

The opening phrase is traditionally translated as “God so loved the world that…” the actual phrase means “GOD LOVED THE WORLD IN THIS WAY,” with emphasis on WHAT GOD DID, more than why!

JESUS IS THE EXPRESSION OF GOD’S INDESCRIBABLE LOVE FOR ALL OF MANKIND!

 

Let us worship with a renewed appreciation for God’s love!

Notice: [We must understand that the bible says: For God SO LOVED THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him SHALL NOT PERISH, but have eternal life!!!] That’s for you: Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh

THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!

“Jesus said, ‘I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and BELIEVES IN ME will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus was claiming to have power over death. He was claiming that He was the source of eternal life. He was claiming that even if a person dies physically and they believe in Him, they will NEVER DIE SPIRITUALLY. DO WE BELIEVE THIS? How we answer Jesus’ question concerning His claims about Himself and power over death is the most major decision we’ll ever make. Let’s put it this way: if He didn’t rise from the dead, the decision is easy. Don’t believe Him. But if He did, we have a major decision to make – A DECISION OF LIFE AND DEATH. This is what the Lord presented to His people many years ago:

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death…SO, CHOOSE LIFE in order that you may live…” (Deut. 30:19)

It was then, that the Lord spoke this to His people,

“I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you…” (Deut. 30:16)

God had continuous trouble with His people because of their unwillingness to obey,

“…they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God And did not keep His testimonies…” (Psa. 78:56)

So, what was their problem?

…they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation.” (Psa. 78:22)

Because of all this unbelief, what did God choose to do?

“For God SO LOVED THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him SHALL NOT PERISH, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

The opening phrase is traditionally translated as “God so loved the world that…” the actual phrase means “GOD LOVED THE WORLD IN THIS WAY,” with emphasis on WHAT GOD DID, more than why!

JESUS IS THE EXPRESSION OF GOD’S INDESCRIBABLE LOVE FOR ALL OF MANKIND!

 

Let us worship with a renewed appreciation for God’s love!

-Bill Stockham

04-14-17 Devotion (For my loved ones)

[My awesome, loving and wonderful Grandchildren, and Annika and Kaleigh, whom I love and pray for every dayDaniel’s desire was to please his Abba Father, so he felt they could not eat the king’s food and drink his wine, so he asked for a strict diet. Though a vegetable diet might have produced that well being of the system in general, and of the countenance particularly, as mentioned here; yet we are to understand that there was a special blessing of God in this, because this special diet was taken for a spiritual purpose ,now referred to as ‘the Daniel fast‘.]

“…Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission…Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head…’ Daniel then said to the guard…’PLEASE TEST YOUR SERVANTS FOR TEN DAYS: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So, he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. AT THE END OF THE TEN DAYS THEY LOOKED HEALTHIER AND BETTER NOURISHED than any…who ate the royal food.” (Dan. 1:8-15)

[The agape (the unconditional love of devotion) love of God and the love of earthly things are not compatible. If we give in to the love of the world, the love of God cannot exist in in us; and if we do not have His divine love, we can have no peace, no holiness, and no heaven.]

“Do not love [agapao] the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world–the lust [desiring something that is not allowed] of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but WHOEVER DOES THE WILL OF GOD LIVES FOREVER.” (1 John 2:15-17)

[Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh, Jesus said that we must observe all His sayings, and have our affections and conduct regulated by His Holy Spirit and the Word!]

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them IS THE ONE WHO LOVES ME. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and SHOW MYSELF TO THEM…Anyone who loves me WILL obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and WE WILL COME TO THEM AND MAKE OUR HOME WITH THEM.” (John 14:21-23)

BY OUR OBEDIENCE WE INVITE JESUS TO SHOW HIMSELF TO US!

Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that:

JESUS AND THE FATHER WILL COME TO US AND MAKE THEIR HOME IN US!

Notice: [We must understand that the bible says: Anyone who loves me WILL obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and WE WILL COME TO THEM AND MAKE OUR HOME WITH THEM.!!!] That’s for you: Stephanie, Ethan, Camden, Olivia, Aidan, Landon, Kinsley, Annika and Kaleigh

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind (Numb. 23:19)

The fact of the matter is: “…it is impossible for God to lie…” (Heb. 6:18)

So it is no wonder we see this written in the word of God:

“The LORD 1detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” (Prov. 12:22) 1tôêbah: a disgusting thing, disgrace.

Just one more point of fact: Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and THE TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)

Jesus reveals this very important fact to his followers: IF you OBEY my teaching,” he said, “you are really my disciples. THEN YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH. And the truth will SET YOU FREE.(John 8:31-32)

So, what will we be set free from? The “spirit of lying”! You see, when Satan became the god of this world, The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe…” (2 Corin. 4:4) one of his features he passed on to us was the “spirit of lying”

“…the devil…not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and THE FATHER OF LIES.” (John 8:44)

What does Jesus mean when He says that the devil is the father of lies, well remember the devil’s very first encounter with human beings:

“Now the serpent was crafty…He said to the woman, “DID GOD REALLY SAY, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? Eve said: God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden…or YOU WILL DIE.'” “YOU WILL NOT CERTAINLY DIE,” the serpent said to the woman. (Gen. 3:1-4)

What did God actually say?

“…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it YOU WILL CERTAINLY DIE.” (Gen. 2:17)

Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and inherited thesin nature” which separated them from God (spiritual death) and they passed that “sin nature” on to all mankind: “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom. 3:23)

That is why God detests lying, so we must say:

I have chosen the way of truth and faithfulness…” (Psa. 119:30 AMP)

Let’s commit ourselves to be men and women of truth…Bill Stockham