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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Posted by: tucsonjefe | December 29, 2017

Out of he Abundance of the Heart – Happy 2018!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Happy New Year, amigo

This week between Christmas and New Year always has a kind of wistful feel to it. We are reflecting on the past year, and often many years before that, and trying to look forward and plan for the new. I have such an anticipation for 2018, I want to get on with it. Today, let’s put aside planning and focus on expecting.

2017 has been quite a year. Amazingly, the world has survived the presidency of a reality show star, a lunatic with the bomb, Russians on Facebook, and a good deal of other strangeness in the culture. At the beginning of the year, the Lord told us at FCF Tucson to “Build your faith, share your faith, and stand in the gap.” I believe we have been faithful to that commission. We continue to stand in the gap for our nation and the church. For a recap of some of the highlights of our year, check out this Facebook post.

So, what is the Lord saying for 2018? He has been talking to me about three things:

1. Personal Purity. Without holiness, wholeness is impossible. This will be a year of cleaning up the personal debris left by a culture and a church that has forgotten the reality of man’s fallen condition and the devastating impact of sin. For ministers, it will be a season of personal purity before pulpit polish. 1 Peter 1:14-16

2. Spiritual maturity. Jesus and Paul both spoke of truths that could not be grasped by the spiritually immature. In order to hear what we need to hear as a Church in this last hour, we will have to grow up, dig deeper, and prioritize more prudently. 1 Corinthians 3:2-3

3. Supernatural power. In a culture that laughs at the Bible and the Gospel it proclaims, no new program or technique will be effective in bringing genuine revival. We will do whatever it takes to move the Body of Christ into a place of powerful, miraculous impact on the world around us. It is time for the supernatural power of God to flow in the marketplace, the academy, and the byways. The Sunday performance of a preacher must be transformed into the daily passion of an empowered people. 1 Corinthians 12:7-12

Under those headings, important thoughts will come to the fore. Worship as we know it will change. Our concepts of holiness and maturity will have to grow, lest a new legalism overtake us. The mental paradigm of church as a performance to be watched and evaluated must be overhauled. We must catch the spirit of the Gospel and run with it, all of it.

Somebody Said: “Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.” Ed Cole

Scripture Reading: We say this because we have confidence in God through Christ. There is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work. The capacity we have comes from God; it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant, which consists not of a written law but of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6 GNB)

Here’s what I’m expecting for 2018: It’s going to be a great year. We are about to see miracles, signs, and wonders such as have not been seen since the Book of Acts. Certainly, there will be adjustments necessary if we want to participate, but the prize is worthy of the battle. Personal purity and spiritual maturity put us in a position for the release of supernatural power. Happy New Year!

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 more on the reality of the Holy Spirit visit our Tuesday evening service on YouTube.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas from Virgil and Judy Stoke s

Friday, December 22, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Merry Christmas, Just A.

Somewhere around 9 months before that first Christmas, a girl named Mary was visited by an angel who told her she would become pregnant without the aid of a man. She was puzzled by this, but the angel assured her that “nothing is impossible for God.” She immediately responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.” (Luke 1:38 GW)

9 months later, her child was delivered in a Bethlehem stable. At the same time, angels visited some shepherds and gave them an earful: “Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city.” (Luke 2:8-11 GW)

I am convinced that Mary endured childbirth as most women. It was painful and exhausting. She was in a stable far from home. She was probably frightened. She would certainly have wanted better circumstances. The shepherds were in a field tending sheep, watching for wolves, catching a nap, just taking care of regular business. It was in the midst of real life that God invaded humanity by coming in human form. For Mary, for the shepherds and for all the world, everything changed in that moment. The Word became flesh, and life on earth has never been the same.

Somebody Said: “The thing about Christmas is that it almost doesn’t matter what mood you’re in or what kind of a year you’ve had – it’s a fresh start.” Kelly Clarkson

Scripture Reading: The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (John 1:14 MSG)

Like Mary, you are the Lord’s servant. Judy and I pray for you this Christmas that everything God has said about you will be yours in truth, that the Word will be a tangible reality right in the middle of your everyday life. When the Word moves in, nothing ever has to be the same again.

Virgil And Judy Stokes

www.fcftucson.org

Posted by: tucsonjefe | December 14, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

One more time, amigo!

Many years ago, I didn’t have any churches that wanted me to preach. As a result, I spent a lot of time doing things outside the church. One frequent destination was the city bus interchange – a large, mostly empty lot where a swarm of buses rolled up every hour to deposit their human cargo, load up a fresh batch, then roar off in a cloud of diesel smoke. People began gathering on benches to wait for their buses about 15 minutes before the mass arrival. This population was a prime target for our zealous tract-passing and Gospel-preaching. On my first attempt at this cold-call style of evangelism, I spotted a man sitting on a bench with his back to me. With fear and trembling, I approached him. He was leaning forward as if working on something on the ground in front of him. I cleared my throat and said, “Good morning, sir. Do you know Jesus?” He straightened up and turned toward me. He was a large man of African heritage with tattoos and an open shirt. In one hand he held a whetstone, in the other a sizeable knife, which he had apparently been sharpening. The certainty of my impending death swept over me in a wave.

Obviously, I didn’t die. In fact, I wound up praying with this man to ask Jesus to forgive him and save him. Indeed, after he stared at me with what I thought was a vicious scowl, he began to weep as the Spirit of God touched his heart. He said, “Oh man, my mama’s been prayin’ for me again.” Here’s the point: The Holy Spirit is alive and well. He is eager to help us when we are involved in doing the work of God. We tend to diminish Him in our churches, either to a mere doctrine, or to a toy for performing spiritual tricks to entertain the crowd. He is so much more. If we consult Him, He will lead us to folks whom He has prepared for us to reach. If we expect Him to do so, He will intervene in our ministry interactions with supernatural power. If we learn to listen and yield, He will give us words to speak that will break the stoniest hearts.

Somebody Said: “Will God ever ask you to do something you are not able to do? The answer is yes–all the time! It must be that way, for God’s glory and kingdom. If we function according to our ability alone, we get the glory; if we function according to the power of the Spirit within us, God gets the glory. He wants to reveal Himself to a watching world.” ― Henry T. Blackaby

Scripture Reading: He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” (Acts 1:7-8 MSG)

I never start out to write a jeremiad. Sometimes it just happens. I believe the church, kind of like Samson after he was captured and blinded, is beginning to grow hair again. After all the scandals and embarrassments, after looking to focus-groups rather than Bible truth, after depending on programs rather than power, after building on marketing rather that anointing, after trusting politicians above prophets, I believe we are standing in the temple of Dagon crying out for one more move of God before it all comes crashing down. The critical need is some people committed to obeying and trusting the Spirit of God. God won’t empower us for things we are not willing to do. Are you ready? I am.

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 | November 30, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Jesus is alive, amigo!

Every once in a while, I am compelled to ask the question, “If Jesus or the Apostle Paul came to one of our meetings, would either of them have any idea that he was in a church?” The Bible descriptions of the early church are pretty vivid. They weren’t bound by the clock, there was no worship band, the seats were not padded, and the AC didn’t work. The Holy Spirit even anointed the preaching without an amplifier. Maybe most shockingly, the Holy Spirit manifested Himself in their midst on a regular basis, doing things the Bible calls signs and wonders and miracles. It seems to me we have lost a good deal of the gritty reality of Christian experience. Instead, we try to manipulate the environment to enhance the “user-friendliness” of our meetings. Christianity is a supernatural thing. It is grounded in a personal encounter with God based on belief in, and a commitment to, a man who is God. This man has been raised from the dead. We call our experience with Him “conversion.” It’s essential. It’s a new birth by the Spirit. It’s a miracle.

After His resurrection, Jesus spent time with His disciples. During that time, the Bible says, “He proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive.” (Acts 1:3 NLT) Believing that Jesus Christ is alive is the crux of the Christian faith. (Romans 10:9) You can’t get to Heaven without believing God raised Jesus from the dead. In our godless age, it’s not sufficient to simply tell the unbeliever that the Bible says Jesus is alive. They don’t believe the Bible. They need proof. If those who walked with Him on the earth, were there for the crucifixion, and saw the empty tomb still needed proof, then so do those who think of Him as either a dead religious leader or a curse word? That’s reason #1 we must contend for the place of the supernatural in the Church today. Without Holy Spirit power demonstrating a living Jesus, we are left with dusty, intellectual arguments about an historical event.

Somebody Said: “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” Timothy Keller

Scripture Reading: And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. (1 Corinthians 15:14 NLT)

In approaching the unbeliever, I usually couch it this way, “Jesus is alive, and I can prove it. Will you let me pray for you?” The power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Name of Jesus allow me that boldness. He still shows Himself alive through His Church. Let’s continue our quest for supernatural power by going to church with this thought: “What would I expect to happen if the resurrected Jesus were in the service?” Well, He is.

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 | November 16, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Let the wind blow, Just A .

I have been praying for several weeks about how to approach this subject. Yesterday, the Lord answered me with a vision. I saw a windmill, an old one, sitting in a field. It was very still, no wind blowing. The windmill had all the working parts. It was ready to produce, but there was no wind. Windmills go back many centuries. They originally served two main purposes: to grind grain for food and to pump water for irrigation. Before the windmill, water had to be carried or pumped by hand, and grain was pounded with clubs or ground using oxen to turn a stone. I have pumped a hand pump, and I have seen grain pulverizeded by pounding with clubs. Both produced some results. We eventually had water, and we had some flour. It just took a massive amount of human strength, and it didn’t produce much. I am convinced that the Church is often in the condition of the windmill: everything is in place, but there is no wind. Our response is to redouble our human effort, pumping and grinding as hard as we can. We have a little fruit, but it takes everything we have. What we need is not more sweat or fret, we need wind!

25 years ago, the Holy Spirit gave me a prophecy saying there would come a day when even our so-called Word of Faith churches would be dry and without the manifestation of the Spirit. He said, “You will have to contend for the supernatural.” The Christian church without the supernatural is little more than a social club or a study group. Nice people gather to learn how to be nicer, and to think of ways to entice outsiders to join their niceness club. To move from discussion to demonstration, from intellectual contemplation to confounding power, we need the supernatural move of God in our services and in our churches. If you hunger for the manifest presence of God, for the wonder of His gifts, and for the miraculous signs that leave the unbeliever dumbstruck, then I invite you to join me as we lay aside our human effort and seek the power of the Spirit. Let the wind blow!

Somebody Said: “Christian signs and wonders are beyond rationality, but they serve a rational purpose: to authenticate the gospel. The gospel is opposed to the pluralistic lie that says all religious experience is equally valid. Signs and wonders validate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His lordship over every area of our lives.” ― John Wimber, Power Evangelism

Scripture Reading: And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait in the city until the power from above comes down upon you.” (Luke 24:49 GNB)

The first step in our quest for the supernatural is to suspend the desperate search for more programs and practices. The things of God begin with God, not with me. Let’s take some extra time, take a deep breath, and wait on the Lord. Let distractions slip away, put anxieties on hold, and pray in the Spirit until the peace on the inside exceeds the clamor in the mind. Let’s do it daily, use every spare moment, until we get addicted to His peace. Ready? Here we go! Let the wind blow.

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 | October 25, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Let’s live holy, amigo .

“Thank you for being courageous, Pastor.” I was taken a bit off guard when one of my parishioners, a long-time Christian and a very bright man, made this comment after my sermon. The topic of the day was the power, the purpose, and the pitfalls of sex. I knew that some of the material might be challenging to a few members of our congregation, but it never occurred to me that it was “courageous” to broach the subject of sexual sin. I plead guilty to being naïve, maybe even foolhardy, but courageous? The fact that it would be thought so seemed more depressing than the subject itself. Just for your information, here are the main points that were considered “courageous” for a Christian minister to talk about:

· Sex is a powerful drive that leads otherwise intelligent and godly people to do really reckless things. David, Solomon, Clinton, etc. Hebrews 12:16

· Marriage is given by God as a protection against sexual sin. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

· Sex is sacred for believers. It is confined to the marriage bed. Hebrews 13:4

· God will judge those who ignore these admonitions. Hebrews 13:4

· The Bible encourages us to run from sexual sin, and from all the things that woo us in that direction, including movies, TV, and internet filth. 1 Corinthians 6:18 / 2 Timothy 2:22

· It is the will of God for us to live holy and avoid sexual sin. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5.

Somebody Said: Men tell us in these days that sin is what you think it is. Well, it is not. Sin is what God thinks it is. You may think according to your own conscience. God thinks according to His. – John G. Lake

Scripture Reading: God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. (4) Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— (5) not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and His ways. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NLT

That decrying sin and encouraging holiness would be considered somehow outside the pastoral norm is, to me, a chilling indictment of the condition of our culture and the Church. The culture is awash in problems that have sexual sin at their root. It seems beyond coincidence that the death of the founder of Playboy coincided with the release of a Centers for Disease Control report that sexually transmitted diseases are at record highs. Cohabitation is the norm, single parenthood is esteemed and subsidized, you can solicit anonymous sexual partners on your phone, and folks are kissing others of the same sex on TV. My question is, what keeps us all from taking a bold and loving stand on these issues? I love my people, and my primary charge is to help them navigate the pathway to Heaven. God forbid that I fail to tell them that there is a biblical standard for managing their sexual impulses.

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 | October 13, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, October 13, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Pray without ceasing, amigo.

We live in a truly remarkable time. Day after day the news is filled with horrors: weather events, mass shootings, wildfires, the threat of nuclear war, the opioid epidemic, etc. This morning I read that a volcano in Yellowstone Park may destroy all mankind! It’s a bit much for anyone to process. And thanks to the internet, we hear about things when they happen, even if they didn’t really happen! As a Christian, my first impulse is to pray. Pray for those in harm’s way, pray for the victims, pray for the first responders, and even pray for those who perpetrate atrocities. One theologian’s blog expressed a kind of “compassion fatigue” when it comes to praying. We have prayed so much for so many, we are asking, “how do we pray, does it do any good?” Well, yes and no.

Herein lies the rub. In any given large-scale situation, I don’t know what to pray for exactly. The enormity of it all overwhelms my ability to conceive of interventions that might help. I am continually falling back on “Help them, Lord. You are able.” That is not God’s best. I believe the plan of the enemy has been to de-horn the Church by marginalizing the things of the Spirit in favor of self-help Christianity, political activism, and tepid religious form. Our hearts long to “do something,” but we don’t know what. That longing in our heart is God’s prompting to pray, not with human formulas but with the Spirit. His answer to praying when we don’t know how to pray, or even what to pray for, is to pray in the Spirit. That means praying with other tongues. A tongues-free church is a prayer-neutered church. Satan has made every appeal to pride, intellectualism, and political correctness to keep us from praying with power. Let’s not let the thief get away with our stuff.

Somebody Said: Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love. Saint Teresa of Avila

Scripture Reading: And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (Romans 8:26-27 NLT)

For those of us who have been filled with the Spirit and now speak with other tongues, this is our time. We have been equipped by God to respond to the groanings of the earth (Romans 8:19-22) with the groanings of our hearts. Don’t be distracted by the uproar around you, but give voice to the Holy Spirit longing within you. Give voice to the yearnings of God! We are not fatigued, we are empowered! 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 | September 29, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, September 29, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

We are the people of God, Just A .

With all that is going on in the world, it seems a bit surreal that the news is dominated by some wealthy athletes who are kneeling in protest. To the best of my ability to tell, the protest is motivated by a desire to stop racially-based injury of civilians by law enforcement. I absolutely agree, when that happens it should be punished and ended. I also agree that a discussion of the issue is good for our country. On the other hand, watching a sporting event, for me, is supposed to be entertainment. If I want to ponder great questions of social justice, I will watch something else where a reasoned discussion can be had. That is certainly not the case on Sunday afternoons with the intellectual giants who man the broadcast booth. I turned the whole thing off last year.

Here’s my question: Why is the Lord allowing this to be so prominent in the national consciousness at this time? I believe He is sounding a warning. Here are the bullet points:

· God created mankind in His own image: Genesis 1:27

· God sees all men as descending from one source: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth,” Acts 17:26.

· Because of sin, He divided mankind after the flood: Genesis 11:6-8

· Out of all mankind, He chose one particular tribe to maintain His witness in the earth and usher in the Messiah for the blessing of all mankind: Genesis 12:3

· In Christ, He brought all men to Himself as one new people: Galatians 3:13-14; Ephesians 2:17-22

· Worsening ethnic division is a sign of the end times. Jesus said “Nation (ethnos) will rise against nation (ethnos).” Mark 13:8.

· The Church is the alternative to ethnic division. We have been made one people, the people of God, set in the earth to declare His praises. 1 Peter 2:9-10

Just in the last year, we have seen increasing tribalism around the world, people returning to their ethnic, geographic, and religious roots in an attempt to find identity and meaning. England has left the European Union, the Kurds voted last week to leave Iraq, Catalonia will vote Sunday on secession from Spain, Africa continues to boil with ethnic turmoil, as do the Middle East and much of Eastern Europe. India, Nepal, Afghanistan, the list goes on and on. We will see an increasing division of society into racial and cultural enclaves. Those who draw their identity from these natural sources will be seduced into their respective warring camps.

Somebody Said: When your identity is found in Christ, your identity never changes. You are always a child of God. Tim Tebow

Scripture Reading: Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. (Mark 13:8 NLT)

Ethnic identity leaves us in a position of being “against” those who are not part of our group. It is self-centered and exclusive. Christian identity moves us to love those who hate us and offer ourselves in their service. The challenge for us in this hour is to stay centered on who we are as God’s people, not who we are against in our earthly tribes. I love America, and it pains me to see her divided and defamed. My greater concern is getting people ready to see Jesus. It’s the only reason we are still here.

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 | September 14, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Listen to your heart, Just A

I recently had the opportunity to hear Rev. Doug Jones speaking about being led by the Spirit. He shared this truth: “Most people have very few “Go ye…” experiences where God speaks dramatically about a direction. Most guidance comes by being in motion, following the Word, and being checked by the Spirit on the inside.” That little “ick” on the inside is something we all experience, but often give too little attention. We want to sit in a room praying and waiting for God to speak, but God is waiting for us to get up and go so He can adjust our course on the move. A guided missile doesn’t need any guidance when it is sitting on the launch pad. Doug assigned us to think of the times in our lives when God had guided us by His Spirit in this way. There have been many.

My most vivid recollection is buying a car. We had just become pastors for the first time, and we needed a more “pastoral” vehicle. The choice finally came down to two Ford LTD’s. The one I wanted was green. The one I bought was two-tone, silver and black. The difference? The two-tone was at a dealership where one of my church elders worked. I knew he needed the sale. I had that little “ick” on the inside, but I wanted to help him out, and probably thought it would offend him if I bought from another dealer. So, following the flesh and the desire to please man, I ignored the check. What a lemon! My favorite habit of this vehicle was its propensity to stall when accelerating and turning at the same time. The agency assured me 5 times that there was nothing wrong with it. After some interaction with the Better Business Bureau, the owner of the dealership took a ride with me. I turned left across three lanes of rush hour traffic on US 66. Predictably, the car stalled, exposing the man in the passenger seat to oncoming headlights and angry horns as we coasted to the opposite curb. He finally agreed that something was amiss. Oh, the hazards of ignoring the witness of the Spirit!

Somebody Said: I don’t have the strength or wisdom to get through a single day without guidance and grace from God. Tony Dungy

Scripture Reading: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:14-16 NKJV)

Guidance is ours as we move to live our lives in accordance with His Word. When we approach an option that is not His will, He warns us very gently on the inside. We must be moving, and we must be paying attention to our hearts. What a valuable lesson!

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

Hear Doug’s message on our YouTube. channel.

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