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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Posted by: tucsonjefe | September 5, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Time to sing and shout, Just A .

Like many of you, I have been watching the remarkable events in Texas and Louisiana as they battle the hurricane. The whole thing is a little overwhelming. Then I heard that North Korea has tested another nuclear weapon, and the nation is poised on the brink of war. Today, Florida and the Caribbean are in the path of another huge storm. Sometimes circumstances seem too much. My ability to pray with my mind gets exhausted very rapidly. I decided I should review some things to help us to pray effectively in these situations:

1. Pray for specific individuals, people and groups that we may know. We can certainly pray God’s protection and deliverance for them, then speak in faith to the circumstances. Mark 11:23-24.

2. We can call on the promises of protection for all God’s people in a given area. Ps. 91 / 34:7 / Malachi 3:11

3. Speaking God’s Word in a situation brings angelic help on the scene: Hebrews 1:14 / Psalm 103:20.

4. When we don’t know specifically how to pray, the Spirit will help us. Praying in tongues allows God to use our voice to dispatch His angels to intervene. 1 Corinthians 13:1 / Romans 8:26-27 / 1 Corinthians 14:2

5. Thanksgiving to God because we know He hears us, and because we know He is good and merciful. Philippians 4:6-7

I am heartened by the story of Jehoshaphat. When Judah was threatened by overwhelming enemies, he called a prayer meeting. The prophets spoke that the Lord would be with them and fight the battle. The army began to march with the musicians leading the way, singing, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” When they came in sight of the enemy, they were shocked to find that they had already destroyed themselves. Here are the verses I want us to take hold of:

“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.” Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.” (2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NKJV)

Somebody Said: Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.” Charles Spurgeon

Let’s join together to pray for people we know, speak God’s word of protection over the areas that are threatened, and pray in the Spirit until the problems are resolved. In addition, let’s be appointed singers to praise and give thanks because we know we will we see the salvation of the Lord.

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 | August 17, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Love your brother, Just A .

This past week we saw an outburst of racial hatred at a demonstration in Virginia. Though these things have been going on for some time, this one seemed especially disturbing. I felt obligated to address the issue with our church on Sunday. We have young people who were not alive during the civil rights, movement, who never saw the days of “separate but equal,” and to whom the “I have a dream” speech is relegated to the dryness of a classroom. Here are a few things we need to know:

1. Ethnic division will get worse. It is a sign of the end times. Jesus said “Nation (ethnos) will rise against nation (ethnos).” 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.

2. 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.

3. God sees only three divisions of mankind, based on their relationship to Him. The Jew the Gentile, and the Church. 1 Corinthians 10:32

4. In the Church, God has created a new nation, a new “ethnic group’, a new culture, for Himself. We are a holy nation, a special people. 1 Peter 2:9-10

5. As Christians, love compels us to see no one according to their outward state or appearance: 2 Corinthians 5:14-17.

6. Within the Body of Christ and before God, there are no distinctions: Galatians 3:28

Our nation needs help. We can pray. We can preach truth. We can love one another. The world around us is going to get worse. I sincerely believe that we are going to get better. For Christians, we have but one injunction: to love one another as Christ loved us. Anything else is sin.

Somebody Said: We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Scripture Reading: And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ (Acts 17:26-28 NKJV)

My plea for preachers and parents: Teach and reassure your kids. They are being inundated with information for which they have little context. As the Return of the Lord approaches, wars and rumors of war will increase. That is frightening. Racial strife will increase. That is frightening. Natural calamity will increase. That is frightening. Take time to teach your kids what this all means. Teach them to do the right thing. By all means, teach them that God has us covered. For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out His anger on us. (1 Thessalonians 5:9 NLT)

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 | August 5, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Love your brother, Just A.

I read again this week of a man, a minister, who fell back under the power of alcohol addiction while in the company of other Christians. In fact, another minister insisted on wine with dinner. As usual, the argument is that we are free to drink, and if you are a “new creature,” then you can do so with impunity even if you suffered from alcohol addiction in the past. The result of such logic is predictable (Proverbs 26:11). With the current attitude in church-world regarding alcohol, I know we will be seeing many more of these preventable tragedies. There are a couple of things you should know. They may not fit your theology, but then, your theology should be subject to change, anyway.

1. Drinking is not a sin. The New Testament makes this pretty clear: John 2:9 / 1 Thessalonians 5:23

2. Drunkenness is a sin. Galatians 5:21 / Ephesians 5:18

3. Alcohol is a drug. Alcoholism is dependency on drug alcohol. Drunkennesss is one obvious characteristic of alcoholism.

4. Once dependency is established, the body and mind will always react abnormally to the ingestion of alcohol, often bringing about a craving for more alcohol. The alcoholic should never drink again. It is a game of roulette.

5. As a leader, I have an obligation to live in a way that does not cause my brother to stumble. My example may actually be followed! God takes this very seriously. Romans 14:12-21 / Matthew 18:6-7

6. Jesus has made us kings and priests unto our God. In that role, is it advisable that we cloud or minds with chemicals? You choose. Revelation 1:6 / Leviticus 10:8-11 / Proverbs 31:4-5

Whatever your doctrinal prejudice regarding drinking, please think of those who cannot safely put alcohol in their bodies. If exercising your liberty offers them license, that is on you when you stand before God. I call it voluntary manslaughter.

Somebody Said: I’m glad now, at age 66, that I never used alcohol or tobacco… I’ve buried a lot of friends who used tobacco or alcohol. Jerry Falwell

Scripture Reading: Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. (Proverbs 23:31-32 NLT)

As you may know, I am a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. Over time, God took away my desire for intoxicating chemicals and gave me back the power of choice. I choose not to drink. I was employed in two different treatment facilities for addiction before I went to Bible School. I listened to hundreds of disaster tales. Since being in ministry, I have listened to hundreds more. I passionately hate addiction for the lives it destroys. These are avoidable tragedies. Please, Preacher and church leader, put the plug in the jug. It’s not about your warm glow, it’s about the lives of these little ones.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes

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

We have many resources available for those who want to be more effective in helping addicts. We can also make referrals for those who need help. Call our office for more info: 520-792-3238, or visit us online at www.fcftucson.org.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | July 28, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Open their eyes, amigo.

Sometimes I get really frustrated with people who can’t seem to see what is obvious to me. A few weeks ago, I was praying about some people with whom I was particularly irritated, when the Lord spoke to my heart the words “strong delusion.” I knew that was in the New Testament somewhere, so I went and found it in 2 Thessalonians. Paul said that when the Antichrist comes many would believe him because God gave them “strong delusion.” According to Paul, they believe the lie because they have rejected the truth. As I thought about this, I realized I had allowed myself to get angry at folks instead of feeling pity toward them. They can’t see because they can’t see. They’re deluded. If they knew they were deluded, they wouldn’t be deluded.

We live in a world full of self-inflicted blindness. Think about it:

1. Babies in the womb are human. Why is that so hard to see? Blindness.

2. Men and women are different. Why do we try to treat them the same? Blindness.

3. Islam is committed to the conversion or death of us all. Why do we insist on pretending it is a “religion of peace?” Blindness.

4. Gender is genetically determined. Why do we pretend a man is a woman is a man? Blindness.

We could go on ad nauseum. Here’s the point: People who are ignorant are not blind. They just don’t know. People who have been repeatedly exposed to truth but, for whatever reason, have rejected truth, may be blinded. They can no longer see. Indeed, they now believe their darkness to be light. Getting mad at them doesn’t help. Only God can open their eyes. Prayer and compassion are our responses, not anger and argument.

Somebody Said: A blind man will not thank you for a looking-glass. — Thomas Fuller

Scripture Reading: The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 NKJV)

It doesn’t help to berate the deluded for rejecting truth and hardening their heart. It’s already done, and they can’t see it. Now what? As we accelerate toward the return of the Lord, the delusion will increase. We needn’t be shocked, nor angry, nor discouraged, we must be ready. We must be ready to pray, ready to love, and ready to persevere in proclamation of the truth which frees the receiver and blinds the rejecter.

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 online at www.fcftucson.org at our You Tube channel.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | July 15, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Time to dunk it, Just A.

Well, we finally did it. Last Sunday we baptized Jesse’s left foot. Jesse and his wife now serve as Children’s Pastors at our church. But back in 2007, Jesse was a new believer. He came to be baptized, but he had a broken foot with a cast on it. His friend Joshua, held his foot up out of the water while I baptized the rest of him. Since then he has married, had a little girl, gone to bible school, and been ordained as a minister

of the Gospel. Quite a story! But I still found it necessary (or at least fun) to kid him occasionally about that foot. So on Sunday, at the end of our baptism service, Jesse came forward, took off his shoe, and we baptized his left foot.

Since then, I have been thinking about that act. I wonder how many of us do something similar, though maybe not with actual body parts. Instead, we hold back a little piece of ourselves from the Lord. We mentally “hold them up out of the water” to keep them unchanged. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and let some things die and be resurrected in the form that God would have them. Some things folks often “hold up” include:

1. Their brokenness. Many folks let their problems become their identity. Whether it’s abuse, sexual behavior, addiction, or an illness of some kind, they derive some value from staying connected to that damage. Though my addiction determined much of my life trajectory, it does not define me. God uses my experience to help others, but it is not who I am, it is what I did. He forgave it, I dunked it, He resurrected it as an asset, not a liability.

2. Their favorite sin. I didn’t want to give up smoking. I hung on as long as I could. After all, where does it say, “Though shalt not smoke?” God eventually dealt with me specifically and strongly. Everyone has his personal favorite: gluttony, judgement, sloth, … You get the idea. Give it up, offer it up, and learn how freedom feels.

3. Inconvenient Bible verses. Some folks have a hard time with giving, especially tithing. They go to great lengths to find support for their stingy position. Others avoid commitment to a local church and Christian service like it was leprosy. Jesus paid a great price for our time and resources. They are His to use as He sees fit.

4. Trusting Him in personal matters. We often have an idea of how we want things to turn out in some part of our life, so we hold out for our plan, even trying to force things to happen. I am constantly amazed at the folks who are “believing God” for a mate, then they spend time and energy pursuing romance like they would shop for new car. It’s an obsession. Pursue God, not romance, and let Him do the match-making. You don’t want an Ishmael marriage.

The list could go on, but you get the point. Any part of our life that remains untouched by the Spirit and the teaching of the scripture, is a part that has yet to be “immersed” in Christ.

Somebody Said: Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and seek to follow Him every day. Don’t be swayed by the false values and goals of this world, but put Christ and His will first in everything you do. Billy Graham

Scripture Reading: Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. (Romans 6:16-17 NLT)

If you are “holding up” something, maybe it’s time to dunk it. Indeed, if this little article made you mad or uncomfortable, then I suspect God is dealing with you about some area you are reserving to yourself. Whether it’s money, relationships, pastimes, or positions, your life is not your own. Christianity is not your hobby, it’s your life. Have a private baptism service, just you and God. Let Him dunk your foot. You’ll be glad you did.

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 information on baptism, read our book, “Water Baptism: Believeth and is Baptized…” Call our office (520-792-FCFT) or visit us online at www.fcftucson.org.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | July 8, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Believe and be baptized, Just A .

As a pastor, I get to do many wonderful things. I love to teach the Word of God. Speaking life into lives is a glorious privilege. I love to do memorial services for the departed. It is a chance to speak to people whose minds are, maybe for just one moment, set on eternal things. Tomorrow, I get to do my number one favorite things: baptize believers in water. To me it is the most powerful moment in the Christian life. It speaks of so many wonderful things that are ours in our identification with the Lord. It is an opportunity to take action that releases faith to receive all the benefits that are ours in him. Some of the benefits in baptism include:

1. I make a total, public commitment to follow Jesus. It says “goodbye” to the old and “hello” to the new. Without that commitment, that crossing over from death to life, there can be no real discipleship. The early church never separated believing from being baptized. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” For the people in that day, it was all one act of believing. Matthew 28:18-20 / Mark 16:16

2. I identify with Him in His death and resurrection: old person buried, new person raised. Sin has no more power over me than it does over Him. I am delivered. I offer my body to Him for service. Romans 6:3-4, 11, 16-19

3. I am marked in my heart as part of the covenant. My confidence is no longer in me, it is in Him. I am marked! Colossians 2:11-12 / Philippians 3:3 / Romans 2:29

4. I put on Christ. The term means to put on a cloak or a robe. My new coat marks me as a son of God, a member of the family of God, endowed with a new identity. My relationship to God will never again be based on performance, but on blood. Gal 3: 26-29 / Luke 15:21-24

Somebody Said: Rituals, anthropologists will tell us, are about transformation. The rituals we use for marriage, baptism or inaugurating a president are as elaborate as they are because we associate the ritual with a major life passage, the crossing of a critical threshold, or in other words, with transformation. Abraham Verghese

Scripture Reading: ” Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:36-38 NKJV)

Baptism is not just a symbol. According to Peter, baptism is, first of all, “the answer of a good conscience toward God (I Peter 3:21).” The faith-filled step of water baptism has spiritual power and personal significance. It is the first step in a lifestyle of obedience: If you won’t obey Him in this simple thing, how will you obey Him when you face life’s difficult choices? 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

For more information on baptism, read our book, “Water Baptism: Believeth and is Baptized…” Call our office (520-792-FCFT) or visit us online at www.fcftucson.org.

Posted by: tucsonjefe | July 1, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Pray for America, Just A.

The birthday of our United States is coming up, and quite frankly, it looks like a mess. The central government seems to be in melt-down mode. It appears we are on our own for health care (Believe God or else!) North Korea and Iran have the bomb, the Russian bear is growling again, and the Islamists seem bent on blowing up everyone who doesn’t like living in caves. In the face of all that, the news is filled with tirades about nothing, coming from officials and celebrities using language for which my mom would have applied soap to mouth. I keep thinking the adults will take back over at any minute. Or maybe the end really is near.

All that being said, I want to take this opportunity to remind you what the Lord spoke to us last October, before the election. During our Sunday evening prayer meeting, the Spirit of God said: “You have entered in to the gap before me. You are standing between your nation and judgment. Stay there. Do not be deterred by what you see and hear around you. Stay in the gap and make up the wall.” The next Sunday in service, He spoke again, telling us in part, “The window is open. A window of opportunity is open. Take advantage of it before it closes.”

I want to encourage you that God knew before the worlds were formed that we would be here, in this situation, at this time. He has made provision. He has prepared us and enlisted us as part of the plan. We are re-doubling our efforts to reach the lost. We are praying for the rain of the Spirit and to keep the window of opportunity open. The problems of our nation are not political, they are spiritual. Let’s address them in the Spirit. I continue to pray for our leaders according to the following passage:

Leadership: “We plan the way we want to live, but only GOD makes us able to live it. A good leader motivates, doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit. GOD cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is his business. Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation. Good leaders cultivate honest speech; they love advisors who tell them the truth. An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives; you’re smart to stay clear of someone like that. Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re like spring rain and sunshine.” (Proverbs 16:9-15 MSG)

Somebody Said:

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” Alexis de Tocqueville

” If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under. “ Ronald Reagan

I don’t like to beg, but I beg you, take some time to pray seriously for our land. If we don’t, who will?

Have a wonderful 4th of July.

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 online at www.fcftucson.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FCFTucson/

Posted by: tucsonjefe | June 24, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Don’t let it slide, Just A.

Well, I finally did it. After much soul searching, I taught a Tuesday night Bible study with my shirttail out. Pretty reckless, huh!? I know it’s not a big deal in our day. The current wisdom is that the younger demographic is looking for old people who dress like teen-agers and pretend to be hip. This has been hard for me, probably because when I was a kid, we were subject to corporal discipline if found in school with an untucked shirt, or with pants unsecured by a belt. Anyway, I did it. It’s not a bad thing, once you get past the embarrassment. I like the idea of not having to worry about my waistline. I can just drape my belly rather than wrap it, and if I want to unbutton my pants, it doesn’t show. But is it really just a step in a greater trend? I mean, how long until it’s bathing suits and robes? All kidding aside, I am not too concerned about our worship wardrobe (for the moment), but I am concerned about creeping compromise in other matters.

I remember when, in an attempt to be more loving, we stopped publicly condemning divorce. Then, out of a desire to help people, we backed off a bit on the negative aspects of being an unwed mother, thus reducing pressure to “do the right thing” and care for our progeny. In just a little while, we realized that sex outside of marriage was prevalent and popular. Rather than compassionately stand for our beliefs, we preached that God understands. Now we make single parenthood an object of praise, and serial cohabitation has become the norm. In the last 30 years, we have even relaxed our standards for those in leadership. We now see all these things in the pulpit, not just the pew. The predictable result is that the world sees a church with no moral authority. Thus, we have homosexuals trying to marry one another, and the church is impotent and afraid. Indeed, many have already succumbed to the “don’t judge, just be loving” deception. The point: Compromise has consequences. Saving the shirttail question for a later time, can we simply ask ourselves, “How do we regain the moral high ground in a culture slouching its sloppy agape way to hell?”

Somebody Said:

“Whoah God only knows, God makes his plan

The information’s unavailable to the mortal man

We’re workin’ our jobs, collect our pay

Believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip-sliding away”

Paul Simon

Scripture Reading: With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. (Ephesians 4:17-20 NLT)

If you know me, you know I don’t preach on sin very much. I am changing that. This year the Lord spoke to me that in every message I should at some point address sin in a plain and direct way. We have people sitting in our churches who have no clue what bible morality looks like. Someone has to tell them, and, for lack of other volunteers, I guess it has to be us. Talking about the behaviors God hates, while being clear that He doesn’t hate you, is a narrow niche, but it needs to be done. Otherwise, I fear many will be slip-sliding away.

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 online at www.fcftucson.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FCFTucson/

Posted by: tucsonjefe | June 17, 2017

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

To every creature, amigo,

Last week I read about one of our fine United States Senators, a Mr. Bernie Sanders, interrogating a nominee before his committee. In that interrogation, he lambasted the man’s Christian beliefs, stating that it was wrong of any religion to say that other folks won’t go to Heaven. He thought that was racist, and a danger to the republic. In fact, he said no one with such views should be allowed to hold public office. Of course, that would eliminate all Christians, and actually, all Muslims. At first, I was angry. I mean, this guy is a dope anyway, an atheist, a socialist, an abortion proponent, etc. Then it hit me, here is an old man who has lived in the United States all his life, been in public service much of that time, and seems genuinely surprised to discover that many people believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. How does that happen?

Whatever other factors may be in play, it seems to me that it indicates a failure on our part. I had to ask myself, “Did Jesus die for this old curmudgeon, or not?” The answer is, “He did.” In that case, whose fault is it if he has not had a clear presentation of the simple Gospel of Christ? Who did Jesus charge with proclaiming to every creature? Is Bernie a creature? What is my part in this? The answers to these questions led me to a couple of conclusions:

1. We need to get out more. It is easy to live in a “sinner-free zone” in Churchville. We gather to encourage, pray for, and heal each other. We speak a mystical dialect that world people can never fathom. We don’t go places where sin abounds, for fear we will be somehow contaminated. It is time for a reversal.

2. We need to drop the politically based hatred from our vocabulary. When I hear someone touting their right to an abortion, it sickens me. But the truth is, I need to let my heart break for the eternal fate of such a benighted soul. Those folks are the reason we are still here.

3. I need to pray for Bernie. He and his ilk need my prayers and compassion, for they face a real Hell. Lord, let my heart break for the lost. It is not your will that any should perish.

Somebody Said: “Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned?” Leonard Ravenhill

Scripture Reading: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16 NKJV)

Every time I find myself getting irritated and angry with people in the public arena, I am purposing to pray for them. If I can find out how to do it, I will contact them with the simple Gospel message. For Bernie, I have been praying. You can join me. If you like you can message him on Twitter at @BernieSanders. Don’t curse him. Love Him with the Good News: Jesus is the Christ, He died for you, and He is alive right now. Don’t let Bernie, or anyone else, leave planet earth without a clear presentation of this simple Gospel. #prayforbernie

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 online at www.fcftucson.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FCFTucson/

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