Tuesday, February 1, 2005

FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER 2005

Living Word Christian Fellowship

“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7

Vol. 14, No. 2 February 2005


Dear Family of God:

We must continually be asking the Lord where we can be of assistance to someone. Then you simply allow the Lord to lead you. If you start going forth on your own you will be inundated with needs that you are not to deal with. We find too many who just want to go forth on their own, and messes are created. But don’t think for a moment if you just ignore everyone that will suffice. God is bringing us forth according to His command. God is directing the hearts of those who will take time to ask and then wait. We are such a people who want to do it right now or forget it. That won’t work.

All that we have been through and learned is to bring us to this place that we allow the Lord to direct us. So much is happening. You want to be a part. But only what is of Christ for you will make a difference. It isn’t about how good you feel in doing something. It is strictly about what He wants and when He wants it. The whole purpose is learning to die to self so we will no longer do it in our own ways.

This truly is a new season, but there will still be people who have to do what they want. Remember the man who went forth on the Sabbath and gathered sticks. He was stoned. He needed those sticks NOW and so that is what he was going to do. Today the Lord is looking for the one who will allow Him to direct him because the love he has for the Lord is greater than feeling good.

In Christ,

Pr. Steve


Winters Blanket

Snow falling, White and Pure

Falling from Heaven’s frozen chamber

Descending like Pillows of Grace

Gently falling to the ground

The roar of silence as they land

Wintry Blanket

Children playing, wide eyed with excitement

Rolling in this Wintry Blanket, laughing

Making snow angels, unawares

Building Snowmen, Snow forts, Snow Arsenals

Running, Hiding, Sniffing, unawares

The Sled!! Get the sled!!

Downhill Race, unawares

Unaware of the miracle beneath their feet

The miracle beneath the Wintry Blanket

The Seed having fallen,

Having fallen long ago, reaches

Reaches deeper, as deep as it can, stretches

Finding life in the depth, the depth of warmth

The depth of love, The depth of Life

Roots reaching, reaching for warmth

Reaching for Love

Beneath the Wintry Blanket

Spring comes, always comes

The Wintry Blanket melts away

The ground drinking, absorbing, refreshing itself

Water, not ice or snow, Water

The Seed reaches once again, reaches high

Reaches far, Reaches further than it thought possible

Higher than it ever imagined,

Held in place, Rooted in Love

Grounded and Watered

The Seed bears fruit reaching for the Sun

The miracle begun beneath the Wintry Blanket

By Henry Wright

Spiritual Winter


(S.S. 5:1-6)

What are the limits to your obedience and your surrender to find the Lord? Times of refreshing with the Lord to encourage and strengthen! He says come and take as much as you want. Then comes the night, we sleep and the Lord is on the outside looking in. Every believer will come to this place – if he is to grow and be transformed. The reason – our carnal natures keep us at a distance from the Lord. So the Lord leaves (it seems) until our insides begin to ache for Him afresh and anew. We begin to question if we have offended the Lord because He does not draw near. We even feel unworthy because His love is unlike any we have experienced before.

When the life of Christ disappears like this the reason is very specific – to reveal our defects. The Lord is actually purifying us by stripping us of all our virtues – it is called WINTER. In the winter experience we look dead and lifeless, but on the inside something wonderful is happening. You are not getting worse, you are simply seeing yourself for what you really are. Until spring comes you are lifeless. But deep down inside there is still the life that produced beauty last year. The only thing you have lost is a sense of your own personal goodness, and instead have discovered your own wretchedness.

For the first time everyone around you sees your personal defects (defects that were previously hidden by grace). Some people come to this place in their walk and do not recover – they simply choose to live on a lower level of Christianity, or give up entirely.

Throughout the winter season, the tree appears to be completely dead. The tree knows no reality. Here is total destruction – it seems. But the truth is that some kind of transformation is taking place down under in order to preserve and strengthen the tree. The thing winter does to a tree is reveal its ugliness outwardly. Winter preserves the tree, no matter how dead it looks. Leaves are gone and its true state is exposed. But it has never been more alive because the source and principle of life is more firmly established than in any other season.

Winter is necessary for the tree if it is to live, survive and flourish. Virtue may have disappeared on the surface, leaving the outward very exposed and conspicuous, but the principle of VIRTUE is being built up – the source of virtue is deep within the soul still functioning. What is going on is exceedingly hidden – humbling. And what is happening is PURE LOVE. The inward man is growing in the stature of Christ. Even though the outward looks gross, no new defects are developing. Only the uncovering of the old faults have come about so they can be healed.

THIS IS WHAT THE PERIOD OF DRYNESS IN THE BELIEVER’S LIFE IS ALL ABOUT – a “Spiritual Winter.”

Our only responsibility is to remain calm and learn to rest in Him. Don’t fight with Him, make foolish requests, or it will hinder the progress. Only remain open to Him so He can manage everything in your life. Continue to seek Him for Him. (The Shulamite went out seeking Him everywhere she went, even through persecution) Because you are going through a change one of two things will happen: you won’t like the suffering and will turn back, give up, seek former activities, OR you will discover a new love unlike any you have ever witnessed before.

That is why when a believer begins to experience suffering that he should not run from it, but accept it, embrace it and find comfort in it. The Lord is bringing you to a point you are no longer blown about by the winds and that you no longer stumble at the problems of life.

Outwardly the soul is scattered and divided. Inwardly the soul can be united, having the power to find God. By collecting all thoughts together, He will discover the Lord. Now once you do that, a departing takes place again – not one outwardly but further inwardly toward the center of God. THIS IS THE TRUE GOING FORTH FROM YOURSELF. Not departing outwardly, but by going inward away from self. It is moving into the center of the Creator.

Think of the soul as a halfway house. The traveler must pass by this house at some point in his journey. When he has stayed here awhile (winter time), he does not retrace his steps, but goes onward up the road. The further he goes beyond the house, the further he leaves self behind – in the sensual and outward feelings of his flesh. As you keep moving up the road, there you find the Lord. You are invited to come forth from yourself and enter into God.

It is here at the center of our being that we truly meet the Lord where self no longer is. The further we journey, the further we advance toward Him, and the further we depart from self.

THIS IS WHERE GOD IS TAKING US RIGHT NOW.

A Christian’s progress should be measured by his separation from self. How is self defined? It is the individual’s views, feelings, things he remembers and thinks about that reflect his own self-interest and self-reflections. THIS IS SELF.

When a believer begins this journey he will be very much self-absorbed in self-reflection and will be very aware of himself. The nearer he comes to the center of his being, where he meets the Lord, he is even more absorbed with self. However, when He actually arrives at the center of his being, he ceases to look upon himself. His feelings, his remembrances, his self-reflections become less and less – this is the death the Lord is looking for in His church, because at this point He begins to see the Lord.

Self-reflection is helpful, until it becomes harmful. You must always be looking to the Lord or else you will become self absorbed and destructive.

As you journey forth and you find the halfway house, you don’t have to look this way or that way to find direction – you are there. You can fix your eye on the first goal, which is before you. This is your place of rest; this is the place of leaving behind all that hinders.

Setting your face like flint, with your eye on the prize set before you – Christ the Lord – you are going to make it.

From this point you begin to be lost in Christ. Your perceptions will change, your level of concentration will change. Your “will” is easily reconciled to His. And the limits to your surrender are removed.

THE WILL – this is what rules your understanding and memory. When you come to the center of your journey your memory and understanding will have been surrendered over to God. Not to self, not to others, but to God.

The one who is truly seeking all of God must then choose to go beyond this point. This is a glorious place to be, but the halfway house is only the introduction. Don’t remain here too long – because you won’t accomplish anything for the Kingdom’s sake. It is from this point you will learn to reach out to accommodate others truly by the Spirit.

-Pr. Steve

I am going to be sharing with you thoughts from my journal over the past few years. This is to show you how the Lord has brought about His Word in my life to minister to you and to show you how real this walk can be. Please read and understand by the Spirit about ...

. . . My calling as a pastor


Pastor’s Journal 2003

Feb. 3: When I called, you answered and made me bold and stout-hearted. Though I walk in the midst of trouble you preserve my life. The Lord will fulfill His purpose in me.

Feb. 17: The Word is near thee, even in your mouth and in your heart. It is the Word of Faith. You have been diligently walking by faith and not by sight. Salvation is near and My presence is with you.”

Feb. 18: Listen for His voice and you will be disciplined (taught, trained, and learned).

Feb. 19: “You have prepared and made ready. You will not miss My visitation.”

Feb. 21: Brokenness, crying, desperation, waiting, and love truly bring the presence and peace of a loving Father.

“Trust in Him at all times, ye people, pour out your heart before Him, God is our refuge.” (Ps. 62:8)

Feb. 29: A tremendous breakthrough came as repentance began to flow, families restored, hearts crying out for mercy. It was difficult to interpret but God was faithful. Dear Lord, please bring understanding to all so they may be a part. Protect us from the wolves that will try to devour what you give us.

You Ravish My Heart


Eph. 5:25 through Eph. 5:30 (KJV) 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Some may think that renewing vows is for giving hope in a weak marriage. But the Lord renews his covenant each and every day through his Word to the Church. These renewing of the vows are evidence of a strong marriage, a strong commitment between husband and wife. For our friends and family who hear these words today, they come from the heart of their personal savior Jesus Christ as encouragement and commitment of His love for us.

“I remember when your eyes first caught mine. You were at a crossroad in your life. I needed you and you needed me. We began to talk and share, but only at a distance at first. We tried one another’s sincerity and proved that our love was sure. But then, for fear you wavered. You were going through a very difficult time in your life. For you to receive my love was a difficult thing. You were unsure of many things. After a day of separation, you decided that you would have me. We grew closer through our conversation and time spent together. Then, the day came that I would ask you if you would have me forever. Your eyes lit up and you began to cry. You said yes. From that day forward, we grew fonder of one another’s love as we learned of one another’s strengths. There were many plans to be made, a lot of hard work to do. You labored and prepared for the special day. Then the day came, and we were made one. We were made complete one with another.

“We have begun quite a journey together. At first, it was highs and lows. Hard work; new beginnings; new ministry; new callings. We have learned a lot about love; life; happiness; contentment; priorities; organization; commitment; trust; children.

“After several years of building and strengthening, disaster came. For the past few years, the enemy has tried to take life; he has tried to discourage; tried to defeat; tried to bring separation; tried to destroy. But the power of love has overcome darkness. Behind us are wonderful memories of faithfulness and trust. All that we built the first several years has passed the tests of the last few.

“You are not the same person I met. You have become a God fearing woman. Because you have been made new, the symbol of our love should be too. I remember the day you said yes to me. Remember, I told you how beautiful you were? Remember, what I said was the most beautiful thing about you? Today, many years later, that beauty has been revealed as a testimony and a witness of true love.”

S of S. 4:9 through S of S. 4:10 (NKJV)

9 You have ravished my heart,

My sister, my spouse;

You have ravished my heart

With one look of your eyes,

With one link of your necklace.

10 How fair is your love,

My sister, my spouse!

How much better than wine is your love,

And the scent of your perfumes

Than all spices!

To live for the kingdom of God is not an easy thing. Today we pause; we stop from the war, from the work, from the pressure of life. We take a step back and look on the last many years; all of the accomplishments; all of the productivity. No failures; no mistakes; only learning experiences to help us reach our destiny together.

“I love you and have given myself for you, that you might know my love.”

Modified from the original version written for my wife on October 22, 2004.

-Pr. S. Chad Ross

First Love


Matt 28:19-20 (KJV) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”

The command to evangelize was given to this group of men who had learned to follow Christ. They were called disciples then, just as those who follow Christ today are also called His disciples. In those days, there would have been no Disciples of Christ, if it were not for the willingness of the Lord to leave the comforts of His glorious realm to come to earth. Today, there would be no Disciples of Christ if those disciples and the disciples that they taught, would not have been willing to abandon their normal way of living for the sake of the command to find and make disciples. In the future, there will be no disciples if we are not willing take the gospel into our world today in like manner.

John 14:15 (KJV) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

John 14:21 (KJV) “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

Too many times I have heard Christian people making excuses as to why they don’t witness and make disciples. The most common excuse is that they don’t feel it to be a part of their calling. I tell them it is not just a part of their calling; it is what Christ has commanded them to do. The bottom line is that some Christians don’t think they have what it takes to do the job, but we must remember that Christ is with us, and He will supply what is needed if we are willing and obedient.

Mark 8:4-9 (KJV) “And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these [men] with bread here in the wilderness? (5) And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. (6) And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before [them]; and they did set [them] before the people. (7) And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before [them]. (8) So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken [meat] that was left seven baskets. (9) And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.”

If we start with what we have, God will supply the rest. It is time to stop making excuses, and to do something with what we have! According to Eph 6:15 failure to evangelize will be a detriment to ourselves as well as to those that we fail to reach.

Eph 6:15 (GW) “Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace.”

This scripture is referring to one of the most needed pieces of our armor. If we don’t shod-shoe our feet with the Gospel, the Gospel is not going to go anywhere. This scripture also implies that if our feet are not prepared to go forth with the Gospel, then they are vulnerable to damage and even impairment. If we can’t walk the walk, we won’t talk the talk, and we won’t bare any fruit.

John 15:8-10 (KJV) “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (9) As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (10) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”

Sowing and reaping is always a determining factor for the amount of any harvest to be yielded, and spreading the Gospel is the only way to harvest souls. Everyone who has been born again can remember how at first they just could not keep quiet about finding Christ, and how glorious it was to tell others about what He was doing in their lives. That is our first love. It is “loving Christ because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). If our lights are not shinning as brightly as at the first, it could well be that we have neglected the first works of our love toward Christ.

Rev 2:2-5 (KJV) “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (4) Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Thanks be unto God for His grace when we repent, and then do what He has commanded us to do.

Mark 16:15 (KJV) “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

-Kurt Thurston

Storehouses and Treasures - part 2 of 3


(Amplified Bible)

unless otherwise specified

Continually allowing the treasure of Christ’s nature to fill our lives releases Him to complete and manifest us as the treasured vessels He has created us to be. From before the beginning of the world, we were made for His glory. Those with anointed eyes and ears increasingly perceive the vast contrast between the world’s shiny baubles and Christ’s illimitable wealth.

Prior to the deposit of God’s holy nature within, man is merely an earthly tent boastfully housing the empty merits of self. But with the deposit of the Divine seed into his reawakened spirit, man becomes an earthen vessel entrusted with the treasure of Christ Himself. As he is transformed from the “earthly” to the “earthen,” man finds his greatest glory in knowing and worshiping the God to whom he belongs. Foreknown of the Father to be among those who would choose to be chosen, the quickened recognize the treasure they are to God. Among “those who feared the Lord,” these “…shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure)” {Mal 3:17a}.

Jesus found such a one in the form of a poor widow whose sacrifice to the temple treasury represented “all she had” in contrast to the tokens the rich threw in from their abundance. Her sacrifice of two copper mites (worth half a cent) proved her to be one of God’s special treasures {Mark 12:41-44}. Blind to their own impure motivation, the others sought “…to make a good impression and a fine show in the flesh…” {Gal 6:12a}.

Obedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and yieldedness to the cross radiate from within man’s spirit to such an extent that Christ’s light shines through. Cheerful surrender to Christ’s bidding yields a double deliverance as testified by the apostle Paul: “But far be it from me to glory [in anything or anyone] except in the cross or our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), through Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!” {Gal 6:14}.

The degree of our sacrifice is determined by our choosing to give or withhold any portion of the “all” of what we have and who we are. To the rich young ruler who wished to “inherit eternal life” through what he could do, Jesus required a personally tailored cross {Mat 19:16-30}. Discipleship requires that each of us accept or reject our daily cross in exchange for His Life being lived through us.

Even a superficial awareness of today’s media reveals the disdain with which Christ and His cause are viewed. Those who are so poor in spirit as to follow Him are deemed by the liberal intelligentsia as “ignorant,” “uninformed,” “out of touch with reality.” Beneath the mockery operates the Christ-defying spirit of antichrist. Of Moses it is written, “He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he had looked forward and away to the reward (recompense)” {Heb 11:26}.

The challenge to those who would follow has not lessened nor has the prize diminished: “…if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure…”{Ex 19:5}.

-Ruth French