Saturday, April 1, 2006

APRIL NEWSLETTER 2006

Living Word Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 15, No. 4 April 2006


Progression is the state of moving forward; proceeding on. The church is in this state. The world is in this state. And I hope each one of you is in this state of progression. This word comes from the word “progress.” If we are making progress, then we are growing. I want you to know that no one is being permitted to become stagnant in this hour. We are either progressing or we are going backward into something we should not be or do.

There are so many things happening sometimes we just want the world to stop so we can get off. But that won’t happen either. So we need to progress in a state that will enhance our walk with Jesus. It does not matter how slowly or quickly we progress; we just need to keep going and we can by the leading of the Spirit of God.

Gal 5:16 “[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

If we walk in the Spirit we will be in a state of progression, the Kingdom of God will progress into that which we so long for, and fullness will come.

In Christ,

Pr. Steve

Mountains


Mountains, Mountains,

Mountains all around.

Surrounded by steep snow-covered mountains.

Trees, Trees,

In a valley full of trees.

Trees blocking the view of a trailhead.

Eagles, Eagles,

Overhead soaring on the winds,

Lifting on the thermals,

Crying out to those who will hear.

Thunder, Thunder,

In the distance storm clouds building.

Lightning flashing, Thunder rolling.

Rain, Torrents of Rain,

A cloudburst, a down pour,

An outpouring of the Heavens,

A refreshing for what's ahead.

Clearing, A Clearing,

A trailhead showing the way,

A path through a thick stand of trees,

An adventure unfolding before us.

-David Oakley

Fullness of Ministry


Col 4:17 “And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.”

Archippus was the pastor of the church of Laodicea (vrs.15). In spite of what you think about this church, it was founded by Paul and his disciples.

“Take heed to the ministry” = everyone who serves the Lord has a ministry – it means a servant. Take heed to the place of service God has placed you in. “That you received in the Lord,” not from the Lord, but “in the Lord.” Are you yet in the Lord? Then you have a ministry. “Take heed that you fulfill it.” Fulfill = to be full of – like water filling a glass and overflowing. The overflow is not the fullness – you must remain full or you won’t have anything to give away. And until there is an overflow, there is not really a fullness. Today we don’t minister or serve because we are not full. We take everything for ourselves.

Are a child of God? Then you are more than God’s child, you are His servant? Only 8% of Christians nationally know their ministry. If only 8% of your body were operating you would be comatose or in a morgue someplace. This lack is a major problem in the church today. In order for you to fulfill your ministry, you have to become who you are in Christ. You have to know who you are in Christ. The deficiency is not in the Lord – it is in you.

10 things we are called to in the Bible:

1. We are called to minister and serve one another

2. We are called to be faithful stewards of the manifold grace of God

3. We are called to occupy till He comes (get busy)

4. We are called to give meat in due season

5. We are called to watch (night time prayer)

6. We are called to do greater works than Jesus (more in quantity not In quality)

7. We are called to run a race

8. We are called to fight a good fight

9. We are called to complete our course

10. We are called to overcome

In order to accomplish any of these. We have to understand our own unique ministry or service.

Pro 29:18 “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish…” What is a vision? The writer says, “No vision.” The word is chaòzoòn "khaw-zone” “ no purpose/ goal of my life /no focus of my energy.” Perish = (not physical death) = to let loose so you can go anywhere you want! We are to be bound to the Lord. But when we don’t focus our energies on our ministry, we are loosed from the yoke of the Lord – it doesn’t remain easy; we get worn out and we don’t know why; we start to drift into la-la-land. We begin to do what is right in our own eyes – leaving nothing to hold us together, and we begin to wander apart from the body.

Without a vision the people are let loose, not set free. Instead of being full to overflowing; these people are let loose into confusion, frustration, and ultimately bitterness. This is what happens to people who don’t have focus in their lives.

Hos 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Whose people – God’s people

You can have Jesus in you, the Holy Ghost in you and still be destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Destroyed = damah = similar to perish = to be cut off from life – from what gives them life from a lack of knowledge (heart) wisdom and understanding of the will of God. “My people are cut off from their source of life when they don’t have an understanding of who they are in Christ and what their life is all about.” [Understanding, insight, wisdom = knowledge of who you are, why you are and what you are to do]

Most of us go through our Christian walk like an empty bucket looking for something to fill us up. But the opposite is really the truth. We are a gift of God looking for somewhere to express what is in us. THAT IS WISDOM. Stop looking for meaning and purpose and start declaring, “I am meaning and purpose.” God has created me, redeemed and sent the Holy Spirit to take care of His life. So I am not looking for anything that I don’t already have. I am looking for the opportunity to be who I already am. Wake up to that truth, and you will feel alive. You have been bought with a price. Take heed to yourself to fulfill the ministry that God has made you. All spiritual gifts are resident in the Spirit. They are not resident in the church or in you, but in the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 12:11) He does what He wants with whom He wants to use.

All of God’s gifting’s are resident in the Holy Spirit. Where does the Holy Spirit reside? I am not an empty bucket looking to be filled. I have all that exists in me. So how many gifts do I have? All that He has. I am an abundantly full temple that has everything that God has in me.

But I have to take heed to this. “Take heed” means to be aware, to perceive, to understand, have insight and wisdom of who I am in Christ. And when I do, then I will move in victory, in anointing, in power; and the potential of my life will be without measure.

I am fully equipped to be all that He has called me to be and to do: to minister, to be faithful, to occupy, to give, to watch, to do greater works, to run, to fight, to complete, to overcome!

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

“earthen vessel” = “a bucket of clay.” The bucket isn’t worth anything, it’s the treasure inside that is worth something. {If you are given a diamond ring in a little felt box, you don’t throw away the diamond and keep the box, do you?} The diamond has the value!

“Excellency” is “hyperbole.” That which expresses the truth or represents that which is of much greater value. God is going to take the “power” that He puts inside you and me, that characterizes our lives, and He is going to stretch it in this bucket and fill it, and multiply it – His power, not ours. And it is going to be exercised beyond what you think or ask.

All you have to do is take heed; begin to move in the victory, and watch your bucket overflow.

-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 2005

Apr. 1: I would have fainted if I did not believe in the goodness of the Lord in the land of the Living.

Apr. 8: URGENCY in the spirit realm.

Apr. 9: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.”

Apr. 10: Judgments of the Lord are to be desired more than gold.

Apr. 11: You clearly said, “I will take care of all the financial need.” I will trust you!

Apr. 21: “The spirit of truth will guide you into all truth, reformation of thinking, to know Christ like never before.”

Apr. 23: “You will be strong for the fight.”

Apr. 26: May I allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction for sin. It is not my job to reveal the sin of others. May I be willing to wait patiently on the work of the Spirit. Wanting it my way only brings turmoil and confusion. It produces pain for myself and others. I must be willing to pray to the Lord that He bring the deliverance without my manipulating each situation.

Apr. 28: God is not looking for morality preachers. He is looking for holiness preachers. It is not about us, but about Him.

Apr. 30: “This is the time I will honor those who have honored Me!”

Here, World, Take My Children - part 3 of 3


Application

Almost anyone would condemn Lot for offering his daughters to that perverted mob, no matter the custom that provoked it. But parents, including Christians, are doing the same thing today saying, "Here, world, take my children." Customs, social, business, and peer pressure are more important than purity to the modern parent (Titus 1:15).

Parents allow their children to listen to any kind of godless music and view every kind of filth on the televisions screen. Every kind of immodest and inappropriate dress is allowed because it is stylish. Parents do not want to be too strict or called fanatics by either their children or their friends so there are few restraints concerning dates, friends, habits, entertainment, etc. Again and again their practice says, "Here world, take my children!"

Fathers and mothers are too busy or detached to have family devotions and communication with their children. There is little desire or opportunity to manifest parental love in "training up a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6)." Here, world, take my children!

Most parents have no place for a Bible believing church in their family schedule where salvation and holy living are taught. Some who do attend a good church will leave when they are offended at some Bible standard or strong message. Here world, take my children.

Parents send their children to school where evolution, free sex, and "one worldism" are taught or even to a prominent religious school where there are no standards and little restraint. The bribe is a better job, a bigger church, an education which will conform you to the world. Here, world, take my children.

If discipline is necessary in a good Christian school, instead of thanking the leaders for their love and concern for the child, some parents are furious and pull the child out of the school. What does this do to the child? It can only cause weakness of character for a lifetime! Here, world, take my children.

Modern day Lots are losing their wives and children to materialism and immorality. They prefer a well watered plain that looks like Egypt (the world). They make decisions based on material gain and social custom instead of seeking first the kingdom of God. They choose a good place to water their cows, even if it destroys their children. Here, world, take my children. I don't have the time, dedication, character, or will to rear them for God.

Contrast

Instead of, "Here, world, take my children," you could say, "Here Lord, take my children." God said of Abraham, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord . . ." (Gen. 18:19). No wonder he is called the "friend of God."

Heb. 11 repeats, "by faith Abraham . . . " three times. It is never said, "by faith Lot pitched his tent," or "by faith he sat in the gate." Abraham walked by faith, Lot by sight. Abraham was a man of worship and prayer. No altar of Lot is mentioned, and his only recorded prayer is, "Let me escape." Abraham "looked for a city . . . whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:10). Lot went to a city built by wicked men and destroyed by God.

The "strife" in Gen. 13 manifested Abraham's faith and generosity, but Lot's greed and worldliness. Abraham could see the "well watered plain" as well as Lot, but with a "single eye" and purified affections, he let God make his choice. Lot with double vision (James 1:8) tried to serve God and mammon and got a vexed soul and a vain life. Abraham is a hero of the faith; Lot was saved (II Pet. 2:6-8) "yet so as by fire."

They started together on their course but reached different goals. Abraham was favored and his family blessed because he chose, like Noah and Enoch, to walk with God instead of the wicked world's system. Lot was not content with the Lord and tried to find contentment in the world, but his nest was abruptly broken up and he lost his family.

Abraham taught Isaac in a tent away from the system, saying, "Here Lord, take my life and my children." The lines fell to him in pleasant places. Lot, in Sodom, taught his children saying, "Here, world, take my children." Who made the right choice? What choice will you make?

"Here Lord, take my life and my children. –Amen”

-Pr. S. Chad Ross

Published with permission from William W. Hall, D.D.

Said and Saying


Every Christian believer should believe in the inherency of the Holy Bible, which is in the fact that every word therein is “God –breathed.” Therefore, it is essential that we apply those God written words to our lives; but the method in which we apply them is of vital importance. There is an old story used by evangelical preachers that reads: “A man cried out to God saying, ‘please give me a word.’ And then the man closed his eyes and parted the pages of the Bible; as he opened his eyes the first words he read were: “And Judas hung himself.” The question was: Did God want the man to hang himself? Absolutely not! That analogy has been used often in reference to not taking the scriptures out of context. The correct method of applying the scriptures to our lives is that we allow the Holy Spirit of God to write the words of God upon our hearts.

Luke 18:18-27 (KJV) “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (19) And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none [is] good, save one, [that is], God. (20) Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. (21) And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. (22) Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. (23) And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. (24) And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! (25) For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (26) And they that heard [it] said, Who then can be saved? (27) And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

There is more than the obvious to be seen in these scriptures, as is true with all scriptures. The word of God is literal, but it is at the same time used to show us the very nature of its author. We are to come to know and to live with the Lord because of His words; and that goal is much greater than adjusting our behavior, and changing our mindsets. As seen in the above text, the rich young ruler had obeyed the commandments as long as he had been alive; but as soon as he was instructed by the living word, he turned away and did not obey. Obedience to the written word is learned, but obedience to the Spirit’s direction is lived. God will not contradict His written word, but He will demand that He be Lord of its application to our lives. God knows that to be led by His Spirit is the only way for a man to accomplish the things that are impossible for men.

John 16:12-13 (KJV) “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

As Christian believers, our maturity and ability to increase His Kingdom in the earth will only come to fruition as we apply what God has said by listening to that which He is saying.

- Kurt Thurston

Exaltation – Whose? - part 1 of 3


(Amplified and KJV)

“…I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” {Psa 46:10}

The word “exalt” means “to raise or lift up, to extol.” That which we exalt we place above and beyond, counting all else as inferior to or less than by comparison. Within Lucifer’s heart, the passion for self-exaltation began. That battle as to who or what will receive man’s exaltation still rages. “And you said in your heart, I will ascend…I will exalt my throne…I will ascend…I will make myself like the Most High” {Isa 14:14}. Using lies and deceit, as well as appealing to the “…lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]…” {I John 2:16}, satan tempted the man and woman whom God had made in His image and likeness. In surrendering their allegiance and obedience, they also exchanged their spirit-life for a life lived out of the longings of the soul. Of these desires, the strongest is pride and craving for self-exaltation.

Prior to their own individual baptisms by fire, the disciples were contentious about the subject of greatness. “…What were you discussing and arguing about on the road?” Jesus asked them. “But they kept still, for on the road they had discussed and disputed with one another as to who was the greatest.” In His response, Jesus spoke pointedly yet paradoxically: “And He sat down and called the Twelve [apostles], and He said to them, If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all” {Mark 9:33-35}. Rather than admitting that much of today’s contention centers from desire for “greatness,” we prefer to attribute it to the question of “Who is right?” But at what price do we insist on “being right”? Certainly, Jesus was “right,” but for sake of a greater good, the will of His Father, He refused to justify Himself. Only through the Spirit of Him who made Himself of no reputation in order to do the Father’s will can we, too, walk in Christ-empowered humility, not a false humility assumed by self-effort, but true humility flowing from a transformed nature.

As modern-day disciples, we may not openly discuss and dispute with one another as to who is or will be the greatest among us, but how often by our words, intonations and actions do we reveal the rotten residue of this desire still residing deep within our hearts? In contrast, how seldom do we see Christ’s humility demonstrated in response to judgmental, harsh or often unjust criticism or treatment? In our relationships, and even in our prayers, which do we manifest, self-exaltation or self-effacement?

Nowhere is self-exaltation more repugnant than in the church. Peter warns both church leaders and those under their charge against self-exaltation: “I warn and counsel the elders among you…Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint…Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons]…but being examples (pattern and models of Christian living)…Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders...[giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel]. Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another…humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in you own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you” {I Pet: 5:1-6}.

The more we allow the resurrection life of Christ to reign over our carnal nature, the more Christ will be exalted in our earthen vessels. And as He increases, ultimately becoming our all in all, the more sensitive we will become to the misappropriation of the importance we have appropriated to ourselves, our positions and our abilities.

-Ruth French