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.

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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.

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.

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