Posted by: tucsonjefe | May 17, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

He is here, amigo!

Last week we had one of those “holy” moments in our midweek service. It was a small group, maybe 40 people, but they are a singin’ bunch. They were joining in vociferously, as usual. As we ended the worship time, we were singing a simple chorus of “Holy is the Lamb.” It seemed as if you could feel the atmosphere getting thick with the Presence of God. When I stopped the music, there was simply silence. Not a cough or a sigh or a grunt. Silence. Nobody bolted for the bathroom, not a baby cried. It continued for several minutes, I couldn’t really tell you how long, because the time seemed irrelevant. No one wanted to move, or to be the one that punched a hole in the holy thickness. Finally someone came in from the outside, and it began to lift a bit. It was about 30 minutes past the time we usually finish the musical part of worship.

I was reminded of the Lord’s statement in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” We mostly all agree on that as a doctrinal fact, but I believe it is supposed to be much more experiential. I often wonder how we would all behave if we really believed that Jesus was personally present in our midst. His presence is a fact. He said He would be there, so He is. Would our experience of that presence increase if we thought to reverence Him as if He were bodily present? I think so. One dictionary definition of reverence is “profound, adoring, awed respect.” How about we try a little experiment. Let’s all go to church with a determination to show profound, adoring, awed respect for the Lord from the moment the service starts. It might catch on and start a movement!

Somebody Said: “It’s like a jar of salad dressing sitting on a shelf… most of the seasoning settles to the bottom of the bottle. But when you shake that bottle up, all the ingredients mix together and then the dressing can add flavor to a salad. In the same way, we can stir ourselves up and regain the reverence, respect and awe we once had for the Lord.” Joyce Meyer

Scripture Reading: God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him. Psalms 89:7 NKJV

Our services, the gatherings of the saints, are many things: The family reunion of the children with the Father and with one another, an opportunity to be trained for service, an opportunity to serve one another, a place for the lost to be found and the broken to be mended. Let’s remember that it is also the building of a habitation for the Presence of a holy God. Offer Him the respect He is due, and He will show up in amazing ways.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the Presence @FCFTucson.

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Posted by: tucsonjefe | May 5, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Let it rain, amigo.

We just finished the annual National Day of Prayer observance. I heard lots of prayers for lots of great things. Thank God for the privilege of praying. When it comes to seeking the supernatural move of God in our gatherings and in our ministries, prayer plays a vital role. Certainly, those of us in leadership need to maintain a consistent prayer life in order to be available to the Lord at all times. In my own prayers, I have used two particular passages as the basis for praying that God move in our midst. I thought you might find them helpful:

1. Acts 4:29-33 NLT And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, Your servants, great boldness in preaching Your word. (30) Stretch out Your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” (31) After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. (32) All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. (33) The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all.

a. They prayed not just for themselves, but for all the believers. Let God use anybody, not just you.

b. They prayed for boldness. God moves through people. He needs people who will yield to His promptings.

c. They prayed for miraculous signs and wonders to be done, not in the name of their church, but in the Name of the Lord.

2. James 5:7-8, 17-18 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. (8) You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. (17) Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! (18) Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

a. The Lord is waiting for the harvest, the harvest is waiting for the rain of His Spirit. (Hosea 6:3)

b. Elijah prayed and it rained. He was no better than we are. We can pray and it will rain!

Somebody Said: “For thou art My people, and My people shall rule and reign. And the blessings of God will fall upon them. The latter rain shall be poured out. Yea, upon nations that are now barren and void. But the rain will be poured out. The seed will be planted. The harvest will come. The glory of God will shine upon the earth.” Prophetic Word through Kenneth E. Hagin. February 18, 2003

Scripture Reading: Ask the LORD for rain In the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone. (Zechariah 10:1 NKJV)

Watchman Nee said, “Our prayers lay the track down on which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.” Start laying track! Let’s pray for the rain until the downpour comes! Be bold, be persistent, and expect the building to shake.

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | April 20, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, April 20, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Prayin’ for the power, amigo.

My personal odyssey in the search for the power of the Spirit began early in my Christian life. I was saved on my own, reading in my apartment. Some ladies invited me to their church where I saw things, a reality of the Spirit I had never seen. I was terrified, but I knew it was real. One friend gave me some cassette tapes by Kenneth E. Hagin called. “How You Can be Led by the Spirit of God.” I have never been the same. He described some experiences that were totally foreign to me: visions, angelic visitations, audible voices… He also illuminated some things that I had experienced but never understood: revelation from the Word, the witness of the Spirit within, and the tangible anointing of the Spirit. I determined that this guy was either a charlatan, a lunatic, or a man who walked with God in a manner beyond anything I had known. I wanted it.

Over a period of several years, I grew in both knowledge and experience in the things of the Spirit. I want to bible school and began to pastor. My personality is very conservative, skeptical, and painfully shy. This was not natural for me, but I knew it was real, and that people needed the power of God.

As a pastor, I have found three essentials to foster supernatural ministry.

1. Study it. Until I build the reality of God’s desire to move supernaturally into my own heart, I will never expect it. I found it especially challenging to see myself as the vessel that He might use in spiritual gifts and manifestations. Build your faith. Galatians 3:2-5 / 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

2. Teach it. People don’t expect what they don’t know, and God moves in atmospheres of expectancy. Teach the Book of Acts as if it were happening today. It should be. Acts 5:12-16 / 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

3. Monitor it. Don’t be bashful about correcting and directing. If you allow something in a service to occur without comment, people will assume you approve. Learn the difference between the real, the over-exuberant, and the patently false. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Somebody Said: “…the early church fathers provide abundant evidence that gifts such as prophecy and miracles continued in their own time, even if not as abundantly as in the first century. Christians in the medieval and modern periods continued to embrace these activities of the Spirit. It is, in fact, cessationism that is not well documented in earlier history; it seems no coincidence that it arose only in a culture dominated by anti-supernaturalism.” ― Craig S. Keener

Scripture Reading: For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:18-19 NKJV)

A brief search of the internet for popular Christian books gave the following results: Christian leadership – 250, church growth- over 400, The Holy Spirit – 48. Of the 48, two were bibles, and only 12 were actually about the Holy Spirit. Of those, half did not contain mention of the miraculous. My point? It seems that church world is greatly concerned about a lack of growth, maybe associated with a lack of leadership. I would contend that a more basic problem is a lack of power, maybe associated with a lack of knowledge or a lack of desire. The “old-timers” used to talk about the phrase, “Reading the red and praying for the power.” They were hungry for a New Testament kind of miracle power. If you’re hungry, too, then join me in my quest for unmistakable, irrefutable, supernatural power in the modern church. Study it, teach it, monitor it, then stand back and see what God does.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes

Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | April 6, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, April 6, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Prayin’ for the power, Just A.

It hit me very early in ministry: People need God, not me. In the church where I worked, there was a precious man who had been terribly injured in a car wreck. He had severe brain injury and spinal cord damage. His faithful wife wheeled him into every service. We taught them, prayed for them, rebuked the devil and professed the Word. I never saw any improvement. I never doubted the will of God to heal him, but I could see that the faith formulas we were applying were not getting the job done. As a Pastor, I soon realized that some people are never going to receive what they need on their own faith. If it’s going to happen it will have to be a manifestation of the supernatural power of God, a gift of the Spirit. This revelation has led me to passionately contend for supernatural power in our services. I desperately want to see people made whole. Don’t you?

Over the years I’ve heard preachers praying for all sorts of things. We pray for our church to grow. We pray for money and helpers and facilities. I believe that it is time to remember to pray like Elisha. When asked what Elijah might do for him as he prepared to stand in the prophet’s office, he responded, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” When faced with the needs of broken humanity, I have to be overwhelmed at my inadequacy to do anything for them. I don’t need one more program, one more book, one more seminar, or one more really hip hashtag. I need more of His Spirit, more of His power, more of His strength. When the broken come to our service, they need me to get out of the way and facilitate the touch of God.

Somebody Said: People can’t do miracles and are not responsible to do miracles, but people can pick up miracles from God and hand it to another person – a miracle happens when that occurs. Bruce Wilkinson

Scripture Reading: Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen Me do. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in My name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. (John 14:11-13 NLT)

I am committed to making disciples. Teaching and training is essential to growth in the Christian life. But the world we live in is filled with folks whose lives are in such a state of disrepair, they may not live long enough to grow. The may not have the mental or emotional stability to go through our rigorous programs. We need power, dear friends, to set the captives free: to heal the sick, cast out devils, and even raise the dead. If we don’t make room in our liturgy and our lives for the intervention of the Holy Ghost, all we will have is our wits and our strength. Rather than trust our own pitiful exertions, let’s pray passionately for His power in every gathering. It’s really all we need.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

For free classes on this subject, visit our FMTIonline Resources page.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | March 23, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, March 23, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

We’re learning Who to lean on, amigo .

Before I entered the ministry, I worked for more than a decade in various mental health facilities. In that context, I received a lot of training and experience in counseling folks with problems. When I entered the pastorate, I found myself doing what seemed like a lot of the same thing: counseling folks with problems. One morning as I was preparing to counsel someone, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Your counseling has no purpose but to keep people alive until I can help them.” I realized that I had allowed myself to trust my natural abilities, looking at people as a conglomerate of symptoms, then applying memorized techniques to address what I took to be their problem. God wanted me to change how I approached the entire subject of counseling people. He can do more in a millisecond than I can do in a lifetime. My job is to help folks get in a position to receive from Him. Everything else is wasted energy.

If we want the supernatural power of God in our churches, we must admit that we don’t know much and can’t do much without it. Christianity is designed to be lived supernaturally. It takes the Holy Ghost to convince a person that he is a hopeless sinner and that a Jewish itinerant teacher who died 2000 years ago is his only hope of salvation. It takes the Holy Spirit for you to preach and for others to understand what you say. We can’t even grasp His Word if He doesn’t help us. Sick people are healed by their faith and by the power of God, never by my wit or force of personality. Marriages are saved when God changes hearts, and not until. Financial affairs get better when motives go from greed to grace, from acquisitiveness to contentment. Happiness is found only by a personal submission to the plan and will of God for one’s life. That only comes when the individual gets serious about seeking God and hearing His voice. Christianity is either supernatural, lived in the Spirit and by the Spirit, or it is a social club, at best a self-help group. I have no other plan to suggest, no other advice to give, no alternative ideas to proffer. I am helpless to help.

Somebody Said: A church in the land without the Spirit is rather a curse than a blessing. If you have not the Spirit of God, Christian worker, remember that you stand in somebody else’s way; you are a fruitless tree standing where a fruitful tree might grow. Charles Spurgeon

Scripture Reading: So the angel explained that it was the following message of the LORD to Zerubbabel: I am the LORD All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6 CEV)

I am a firm believer in education. Learn all you can learn. There is no premium on being ignorant. Our temptation, however, in this secular age is to lean on what we know instead of Who we know. We will never be able to package the Message in a way to make it palatable to fallen flesh. That is not our job. Our Message is foolish. We present Jesus raised from the dead, then look to the Spirit to confirm it. Everything else is packaging. I think of the old saying describing cowboy wannabes: “All hat, no cows.” Let’s be sure we don’t become the church of all package, no power.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | March 10, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, March 9, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Don’t quench or despise, amigo.

Many years ago, my wife and I were at a prayer meeting in a Charismatic church. As we watched in wonder, a woman flopped face-down on the floor at the altar, only a few feet away. A group of “prayer warriors” huddled around her and began moaning and groaning and saying, “Name yourself!” The woman then began to name various ailments and conditions. At the announcement of each malady, the assembled crew would cry “Come out! Our demeanor must have communicated our shock, because a fella sitting nearby informed us that she was “standing in proxy” for folks around the world who needed deliverance from these demonic influences. At that moment, the proxy lady let out a great groan and proclaimed, “Hemorrhoids!” As the onlookers began to cry, “Come out!”, I whispered to Judy, “if this one comes out, I am out of here!” It made me want to avoid all prayer meetings in the future.

There have been so many weird and goofy things done in the name of the Holy Spirit it would take volumes to describe them all. This abundance of strange behavior has resulted in many Christians simply deciding that all of us are nuts. It is safer to go to a “regular” church where you can arrive at the last minute, hide in the dark recesses of the audience, and get out in time to beat the lunch rush. I am convinced that this was what Paul was warning us about when he said, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 NKJV)” There have always been weirdos and charlatans. That does not change the fact that the Spirit of God is trying to help people. We can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Somebody Said: The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no power. Samuel Chadwick

Scripture Reading: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:39-40 NLT)

Unfortunately, many pastors have decided to avoid the problems caused by “the move of the Spirit.” They carefully orchestrate the service, making sure the production is precisely timed and rehearsed with no dangerous moments of silence. Ushers are there to patrol and control. The hall is dark, and the spotlight is on the stage where the real action takes place, well beyond the great gulf fixed between audience and performers. Whew! Safe from craziness and embarrassment, but also safe from the manifestation of the supernatural that is such an integral part of Christianity. The problem lies not with the goofies, but with the ministers who are ill-prepared or not inclined to deal with the false and the flaky. 1 Thessalonians 5: 21 gives the instructions very clearly: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” I believe there’s a hunger for the real thing. Whatever it takes, it’s more than worth it to see God touch lives in power and demonstration of the Spirit. Let’s do this!

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes

Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | February 23, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, February 23, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Pray hard, live smart, Just A.

Another outburst of gun violence in a Florida school has folks talking again about what to do to keep us safe from such barbarities. In particular, our church is discussing having a security plan, including some folks authorized to carry firearms. That always raises several questions for me. I am a gun owner and have been shooting since I was a kid. My dad and my Uncle Charlie got me going early and often. Beer cans and squirrels lived in continual terror. Nearly everybody I knew had a gun of some kind, yet nobody got shot. When I came to the Lord, I got rid of all weapons except one old beat up shotgun. I really don’t want to shoot anyone. So, looking through my own eyes, here are some random thoughts:

· I’m a Christian. I would rather die myself than dispatch someone else to hell.

· I’m a Christian. I believe that God gives His angels charge over me to keep me from goofballs.

· I’m a husband. If anyone tries to harm my wife, that is a different animal. I will do whatever is necessary to protect her.

· I’m a man. It is in my genes to protect the weak and innocent.

· I’m a pastor. Our doors are open to anyone who comes in. Some are unstable. Some seem to hate us for being who we are. I will exercise wisdom and take necessary precautions to be sure people are safe.

· I’m not stupid. I know people in my congregation carry guns. It’s Arizona. When people are in a threatening situation they do not always think clearly, nor are their hands steady. To avoid catastrophe, we need a plan in place.

I believe in healing for the physical body, I expect to live in health, but I carry health insurance. I believe in dispatching angels to protect us, I expect our church to be safe, but I’m not against having a little protection insurance.

Somebody Said: With violence, as with so many other concerns, human nature is the problem, but human nature is also the solution. Steven Pinker

Scripture Reading: The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV)

As a Christian, my heart breaks for the Florida victims and their families. I wish I had an answer I could give the government for how to prevent such things. The government does such a great job, how could that be a problem? On the other hand, I see a young man who has had a very difficult life. He was tormented and made any number of behavioral and verbal cries for help. He was screaming, “Stop me!” As a man, a Christian, and a pastor, I ask, “Is there something we can do to help young men deal with the rejections, frustrations, and inevitable conflicts of life?” I know there is, but it requires intentionally paying attention to the often inarticulate cries of the tormented. I’m pretty sure the core issue is not guns or mental health or government programs. It lies in the hearts of men. That is the unique purview of the Church.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | February 7, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Let’s pay attention to His presence, Just A.

It just happened again. You know what I mean. You leave work with something on your mind. You walk to the car, get in, and drive off. A few minutes later, you realize you are pulling into your house with no real memory of how you got there. Your recall of the trip has been overwritten in your mind by the other things you were thinking about. Thank goodness, this is a very familiar drive. Your internal auto-pilot got you home safe and sound.

Unfortunately, we often have similar experiences with church. We go, we go through the motions, and we go home with no real memory of what occurred. What is supposed to be a vital, transformative interaction with the living God and His family is reduced to a semi-conscious habit. There are many factors at play, but the issue is really just human nature: We don’t want anything real enough to threaten our comfort and complacency, so we homogenize our services. “Please, Pastor, don’t offend the visitors, and don’t challenge the saints, especially me.” When it comes to nurturing the supernatural move of the Spirit in our services, we have to declare along with Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

The big three personal attitudes that push against the supernatural are:

1. Pride tells us we want to be part of a “respectable” organization. We want sermons that reflect intellectual prowess and social responsibility. We don’t want anything going on that might label us as culturally marginal.

2. Sloth wants things to be predictable and familiar. Unpredictability demands attention, thought, and response. We would rather observe, judge, and leave. If it’s unpredictable I may have to think.

3. Complacency wants us to be encouraged to be nice without challenging us to be holy. It wants to be affirmed but never inspired. If God is really speaking, if He is actively moving in our midst, we must either change or escape. Sameness is not an option.

Somebody Said: I cannot live in mediocrity, content with merely knowing that there is more of God to experience and explore — and then do nothing about it. Truths that are not experienced are, in effect, more like theories than truths. Whenever God reveals truth to us He is inviting us into a divine encounter. Bill Johnson

Scripture Reading: Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NLT)

The beginning of the supernatural is a desire for a real encounter with God, no matter the consequences. Be careful not to offend anyone, and you’ll surely offend the Holy Spirit. Don’t settle for good preaching. It is possible to be doctrinally sound and spiritually dead. Any doctrine you hold which is not manifest in your church is a dead spot. We have to continually contend for reality, not just description. Human nature always descends to its comfort level. Don’t let human nature run your service. It ain’t easy, but it will be worth the effort.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | January 21, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

U B U, amigo .

Nearly thirty years ago, I made an attempt to begin having two services on Sunday morning. All the “experts” on church growth were saying that if 80% of your seats were full, then people would be uncomfortable with the crowding and not want to come back to church. We were well past 80%. I studied the books and video classes on how to do it. We spent 6 months training personnel, hiring help, and organizing the parking lot. When we finally pulled the trigger, I was shocked to find that our total attendance began to decline sharply. After a few months, I was asking, “Lord, what are we doing wrong?” The answer He gave me was simple: People are no longer getting what they came for in the first place.” I was forced to say “OOOPS!” and go back to our original format. In following the contemporary wisdom of the experts, we had departed from being who God created us to be.

In the New Covenant, the gathering of the saints has four primary purposes:

1. To worship God. There is a corporate anointing, a tangible Presence, that can only be experienced when the temple of God is together. Matthew 18:20 / Ephesians 2:21-22

2. To hear from Heaven. Gifts and manifestations of the Spirit occur in the gathering of the saints. Some kinds of healing, correction, and impartation only take place in person. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 / Romans 1:11-12

3. To be equipped for service. The purpose of the 5-fold ministry and the teaching of the Word is ultimately the equipping of the saints for works of service. Individual destiny is dependent on corporate preparation. Ephesians 4:11-13 / 2 Timothy 3:16-17

4. To form and grow relationships. We need each other. The Church is a we, not a me, and I can only progress as far as the Body can supply me. Hebrews 10:24-25 / Eph3siands 4:16.

Our church had a particular way of doing these things which was a match for our area, our calling as a body, and the gifts we had to work with. When we tried to change to fit a “proven” method, the results were not good. Each church may arrive at different methods of doing the core functions. This will depend on their mandate from God, the gifting of the pastor and staff, and the community they are called to serve. We can learn from the methods of others, but it is dangerous to copy them.

Somebody Said: One of the core organizing principles of my life is that success comes through a delicate balance between making things happen and letting things happen. Robin Sharma

Scripture Reading: The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. (1 Corinthians 3:7-8 GNB)

God wired me in a very special way. He sent me to a very specific place, He assigned me a very clear task. My challenge is to do what I am asked to do, with the gifts I have, in the place I am sent. My methods may vary over time, but they will always be buttressed and contained by those three parameters. It’s OK to be who God made you.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | January 12, 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, January 12, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

I love the Holy Spirit, Just A.

After a service one Sunday, a gentleman approached me with a question: “Pastor, is it necessary to have tongues and such in the service? There’s a family I want to invite, but I’m afraid they would be offended by that stuff.” This man was Spirit-filled and a member of our church. He was familiar with the Spirit of God. I responded, somewhat sarcastically, “Do you think we should be ashamed of the Holy Spirit?” I was irritated, yet I knew exactly what he meant. There is a constant pressure to back away from the things of the Spirit and try not to offend anyone. Those ideas flow through the mind of any honest person who wants to help people. We know and love the power and Person of the Spirit, but we don’t want to be intentionally offensive. In our current day, I believe this is a bigger issue than ever. A secular, humanistic culture recoils at the supernatural. A Church that wants to convert the world by either hiding from it or joining it, finds the supernatural threatening.

One of my earliest encounters with Church-world heresy hunters came in the mid-1980’s. A local pastor asked to meet with me. He had a written list of questions his deacons wanted answered. If I failed the quiz, they wanted him to break off all fellowship with me. After hearing my responses, they decided that he could still speak to me, but they would simply refuse to participate in any community activities at our church. If they were hosting an event, then we could come if we promised not to speak in tongues. They made it clear they did not want to live in constant fear that one of us would erupt in a glossolalic frenzy. I’m not sure what they thought would happen, but it was apparently a terrifying prospect. This class of modern Pharisee seems determined to spend its time inspecting and correcting other Christians, rather than reaching the unreached. The moment God starts to move you can expect a visit from one of these folks. They seem OK with the Holy Spirit as a doctrine, but when He shows up as a vibrant, living Person they get really nervous.

Somebody Said: “I remind you that there are churches so completely out of the hands of God that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them, they wouldn’t find it out for many months” ― A.W. Tozer

Scripture Reading: If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord Himself. But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:37-40 NLT)

I am the first to admit that much has been done in the name of the Holy Spirit that is simply emotional excess. That being said, without the Holy Spirit we are totally incapable of doing anything in ministry. Our assignment is humanly impossible: to transform human beings into the image of God. To have any chance to get this done, we are obligated to identity Bible manifestations of the Spirit and seek them fervently. We will make some mistakes, but we must keep pushing forward. The first resistance will inevitably come from church folks who are uncomfortable with a real God who really does things out where we can see it. We love these people, but we never yield to them. The stakes are too high.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

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