Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pleading the Blood of Christ

It is a privilege to be able to speak with you this morning. I love that our church is taking this year and focusing it on the family. You know that with us, that is what God wanted in the garden. He wanted a family. A loving, living, God breathed family that would tend to His creations and each other. The strange thing is He still wants that today. No you say? Well the bible tells us that God is the same yesterday, today, as He is forever (Heb 13:8). When this current world passes and the new heaven and earth are formed we will pick right back up in the garden of Genesis. Isn’t it just and loving that God could so love the world that He would press pause on His desires for everyone to show us His goodness through one for everyone? What a brilliant God we serve. Some of us here have been met with all kinds of questions involving God’s goodness or loving character. Few of us today can combat the questions that are being thrown at us about God and the “if He is love then” questions. Let me give you an example of one that I get asked. This doesn’t have anything to do with my message, but someone here needs to hear this because you’ve been asked a question like this at work and you are ashamed to admit that not only are you stumped but you share the same questions about God. Don’t be embarrassed to have hard questions. If your God is the God of everything, then it stands to reason the He can handle your questions. I promise you, you have a God that is not afraid or scared that you will find out He is a liar. He is not a man that He should lie (Num 23:19).
The question: “If your God is love, then why does it say in 1 Samuel 15 that God tells the Israelites to kill everyone and everything? Doesn’t God say not to murder or shed innocent blood? But, kids are innocent, so why did God break His own commandment?” Anybody ever had a question like that? If not, then good! That’s a hard question that you could be sucked in by. If you are not careful, you will approach the question from the position of agreement with the presumption of their question; that God must have broken one of His words. The truth is we do not have to agree with their pretext. 1st realize that God does not violate His word nor His character. He is loving, merciful, long suffering and at the same time, a judge and righteous God with wrath and anger at His command. So anybody want to answer this besides Pastor Ken?
I know we could fish this answer out, but for the sake of time and the fact that I like to give answers to hard questions, let me tell you how I’ve answered this question with great results when asked by people of other eastern religions and atheists.
1st – Without presuming to know God completely, I would saying that in this as in all things, God demonstrates all of His attributes at once.
2nd – The facts – God is long suffering. Look at Genesis 15:16, He shows that the cup of the iniquity of the Amorites has not been filled and God gives them more time (mercy and grace). This shows us a pattern that God follows even with the Amalekites. There was a ban placed on them. This meant they were not to be plundered by the Israelites but everything destroyed because God had judged them from their iniquity 400 years earlier until now (Long suffering and judgment). God wanted everything destroyed because of two factors. One - that no one would gain from such a hard (judgment). Two - that He could demonstrate His (love). What love do you ask? The love for the children of the Amalekites; they were both innocent and stood in danger of being guilty one day. A loving God, knowing the choices and upbringing they would receive would cause them to reject Him and hate His chosen nation. To avoid them falling under His judgment because the sins of the parents would have visited (punished) them as well, He plucked them up to be raised in the arms of a loving God. This is good preaching.
We can ill afford to have our blessed hope robbed by such questions that we don’t even agree with the premise. More and more today, our children are being faced with these and other questions. How will you prepare yourself and your family? Get into the word and let your mind be open to Him, not the world. Let yourself ask Him hard questions and then start with the whole of the Bible and work your way down to a single verse. Not the other way around. Don’t build your life on a verse that you can’t even quote the context. That is sinking sand and we stand to fall if we don’t build a strong foundation of word. What makes a foundation strong is not just the substance of the materials used but the wide and depth of it as well. Go deep and wide with God by making you and your family available to the Bible (source of the materials), godly friends (width of the foundation), and the study of its contents in our services, Sunday School, and personal time (depth).
For years and years, I heard it in almost every church said I needed to “plead the blood of Christ.” While growing up I never questioned whether I needed to or not, I also never questioned myself as to what it meant, why I need to, or even how. In fact, the only frame of visual reference I had was that of an exorcism where the priest would shake a scepter with holy water at a levitating girl and scream “the power of Christ compels you.” Well, little did I know that I would find myself with a holy scepter and a levitating…? No, no nothing like that. Last year as I began to read, study, pray more than I ever have before, God began to speak to me about this little known topic of pleading the blood of Christ. I took a broad brush to the word like before thinking OK, I’ll do it, but something inside of me popped up and said, one thing; “how?" I realized that I had no clue. This started for me a journey of truth to find out the what, the how, and when we as Christians should be “pleading the blood of Christ.”
Turn with me to the book of Job. A lot of scholarly work has been done to unlock the secrets of this mysterious book. Many of you might be asking yourselves why I would say mysterious. The reason is two fold, 1st – it’s hard to determine with any certainty the origin and time frame in which this book was written. There is great debate on it. 2nd – why has this book been canonized in the Bible? It is classically thought to not have any real applicable reference to Jesus and therefore is questioned as to its validity as scripture. While there is still some question as to the authorship and origin, I believe that there is a great message and believe the book of Job could be the OT key to unlocking the importance of the pleading the blood of Christ. If you have your Bibles open to Job, follow along…
The book opens with Job, a righteous, wealthy man who loved God and shunned evil. Well let’s read it
Job1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.
And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed[a] God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.

If we aren’t careful we will miss the point of the book of Job and its application to our families today. Let’s break this down into three parts to see how we should treat our family before God.
  1. Sanctify Them
Your children need to be set apart for God. That is why we do baby dedications here. But that is just for a moment. This sanctification is for a lifetime. If you notice Job’s kids are grown and gone. It says “their houses,” but that didn’t stop Job from sanctifying his children. You see, we are not owners of our children. Yes they are born through us, but not from us. They are God’s own breathed spirit that is meant to worship Him as a created being of faith, hope, and love. Since we are not owners, but have a great responsibility still, we become stewards of these gifts from God. We have a God commanded responsibility to sanctify them until God.

  1. Plead the Blood
This is the important part that is overlooked by so many. Job makes sacrifice to God on his children’s behalf. He covers his children.
Rev. Allen Brummel says in his commentary of Job 1 “Job's concern for the spiritual welfare of the children went to the root of the matter: their hearts. Not just the outward actions, but their hearts. There was no evidence that they had sinned or fallen into temptation. But Job knew that sin was deeper than the deed. Sin was a matter of the heart. Even though his children were living uprightly, were doing that which was not outwardly sinful, he was concerned that their hearts be right with God. For Job was one who eschewed all evil, that is, he shunned and avoided all evil, not only the outward deeds but any evil thought or desire. And Job is concerned that it may be that his children have sinned in their hearts. The very possibility of their sinning brought concern to the heart of Job. Job knew God as a righteous, holy God who demands perfection and holiness of His people. And Job's godly concern was the spiritual welfare of his children as they stood before that holy, righteous God.”

  1. Do it regularly
We see this as a model for success. From David to Jesus, they would get up early and seek God continually. There is something to be said about the earnest fervent prayers of righteous people… it would seem that they break  through the heavens and into the throne room of God.

But some of you might say to yourself, “wait a minute, Job’s kids died?” to which I say yes they did. This is where we see that the book of Job goes quiet. If Job did these three things, why did God take his children from him? Well, to be honest, I don’t fully know, but the Hebraic understanding paints a better understanding of the truth of God’s mercy, justice, and love through this account. The Talmud offers this about the death of Job’s children; they had just finished a birthday party for one of them and Job had just made a burnt offering when Satan came and pulled the house down on them. Later, when Job’s wife has had enough, supposedly after 17 years of him sitting in the dust and his wife having been deceived by Satan into having her head shaved in public, she tells Job it would have been better for her and her family if he would just curse God and die. Job prays asking God to show her their children. The heavens part and there are all of her children clothed in white linen with God. She goes to a stable in perfect peace, lies down and goes to be with them in heaven. It’s a tragically beautiful picture of the goodness of God.

Smith, James E. "First & Second Samuel." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

Brummel, Allen. "THE REFORMED WITNESS HOUR." "Job: Sanctifying His Children" Job 1:4-5., 5 July 1998. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Family Relationships Relationship Responsibilities


Responsible = Response-Able … If you are able, you may be responsible!

1 John 3:17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?

Contrary to the Chinese government and the Three Self Patriot Church’s current propaganda campaign, there is still a desperate shortage of bibles available to the common Chinese Christian today. In decades past I have smuggled Bibles into Mainland Communist China to be used by the leadership of the growing house Church movement. I have gone by myself on my own and even with a group of 11 people from this Church.

Once we delivered more than 2000 Bibles to leaders of House Churches which averaged 500 members each. These Believers were in remote villages and had never had the privilege of seeing, let alone holding, reading from or hearing someone else read from a bible personally. These representative 1,000,000 Chinese Christians lives were changed from that single trip we made from our Church, through Hong Kong and on into the Chinese interior.

Don’t believe the propaganda – Bibles are still desperately needed and desperately valued. Watch this:

(Production Note: I will cue the China Bible Video after I get to the platform and exhort for a moment.)

Thank God someone cared and gave their time, their attention and their money to make these Bibles available to our Chinese Brothers and Sisters in Christ. The Believers in this video are a part of our family. I love to see my family so happy and blessed.

(Production Note: Here I will refer to last summer and my Moore Oklahoma experience. I will cue this FB post to come up on the screen.)

Comment: Kathryn Moomey - Pastor Ron Hammonds, I want to thank you for coming to me in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Moore, OK last Summer 2013. That day changed my life. God used you to come to me & you read me like a book. I just want to thank you again!! Our Heavenly Father has been making many changes not only in my life, but in my family's lives. Our God has something mighty in store for us! Mold me & make me more like you Lord!! I praise & magnify your name!! I feel 1 day we will get to meet again face to face, Pastor Ron, & I would love to tell you my testimony in greater detail. Have a beautiful day & God bless you!!
Saturday, February 15 @ 7:57am

God knows what each of His children needs and God wants to meet those needs … can He depend on you to care and to share? You make the difference. --- Are You Response-Able?

James 2
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,
16 and you say, “So long, have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

There is a Basic Bible Blueprint for Family Relationships. In the last three weeks we have discussed the Family Roles; the Family Rules; The Family Rights; and today we will re-discover our Family Responsibilities. To begin, turn with me to the book of beginnings – Genesis, chapter 4. Catch up on the story:

Genesis 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The answer from heaven is “Yes!” Has God made you response-able?

(Note: Hebrews 12:24 - Jesus’ blood speaks better things than did Abel’s)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fishers of Men R U 100% SURE?


Luke 10:2 The harvest is truly plentiful but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into the harvest.

John 14:6 …(Jesus said) No man comes to the Father but by Me.

John 6:44 No man can come to Me unless the Spirit of My Father draws him …

Acts 17:30 … God has commanded all men everywhere to repent.

There is a God thing going on all around us all the time. God is preparing hearts to hear a witness. The potential is greater than anyone imagines.

It is my responsibility to equip the saints to work the ministry. Therefore, in order for me to please God on my job, I must give you tools to win souls.

There are two critical things I am going to ask you to do right now:
1.   Disregard any thoughts that come to you telling you that the people around you don’t want to get right with God and be saved.
2.   Put yourself in the mind to participate

Tonight I will continue teaching how to:
1.   Identify those who are ripe and ready to be harvested.
2.   Awaken the command of God in their heart.
3.   Close the deal.

There is one basic overriding reason why Christians do not witness to others – they don’t know how. Tonight I will teach you how – how to begin and what to say. Each one of us needs to be a confident witness. Confidence comes from knowing what to do. Listen closely and I will teach you 3 easy-to-remember steps and then how set the hook and catch the fish. Remember – we are only looking for ripe fruit. OK – let’s begin …

Imagine you hear a big crash behind you and all of the sudden a purple casket crashes through that wall and into the sanctuary knocking chairs over as sheetrock and metal studs go flying through the air. As the casket speeds by you dodge to keep it from hitting you and you see something is written on the side. The casket hits this platform, almost flips and slides to a stop. When the dust settles you can read what is written on the side. Written in big black letters you read the words, “R U 100% SURE???”

You think you would remember something like that? Sure you would. You would be 105 years old and telling your great great grandchildren, “One time I was sitting in Church at COTR, Pastor Ron was preaching and all of the sudden a purple casket crashed through the back wall. It made a terrible noise, it almost ran me over. That casket smashed straight into the platform and slid to a stop right behind Pastor Ron. When the dust settled we could all see there was something written on the side of the casket in big black letters. It said, “R U 100% SURE???” with three big question marks … nearly scared us all to death. If that happened right now you think you would remember it? Yep – you’d remember that one for life.

OK, imagine that purple casket sitting right there and on the side of the casket the words, “R U 100% SURE???” While you watch the casket lid opens and man gets out wondering where he is. When the man  looks around he sees someone dressed like a soldier standing right over there beside a big beautiful gate. The casket guy starts walking towards the soldier and notices he is wearing one of those big sandwich board signs. You know the kind – one of those that hang on the shoulders and cover the front and back –they’re used to advertise things. Written all over this sandwich board sign on the front and back is one word: “Why” Why – Why – Why – Why – Why – everywhere …

Just as he reaches the soldier, the soldier takes the sandwich board off and sits it down beside him and rushes straight over to a big tall “Can” , like a coke can or a monster drink can … It’s sitting just on the other side of the casket. The can is about 10 foot tall. Over half way up in middle of this tall can is a giant “eye” and it’s looking around watching everything that’s happening. On the very top of this tall can is a red “telephone” – one of those big old square telephones. The phone begins to ring and so the soldier takes out his sword, reaches high, jumps a little, swings his sword and hits the top of the can and knocks it over. The can falls and the phone hits the floor and breaks open.  When the phone breaks open hundreds of “Bibles” come spilling out all over the stage.

Now do you remember what’s happened? Let me go over the high points one more time.
1.   The purple casket crashes through the wall, hits the platform and stops right behind me in a cloud of sheetrock dust. On the side of the casket written the words: “R U 100% SURE???”.
2.   A man gets out of the casket sees someone dressed like a soldier standing beside a big beautiful gate. The soldier is wearing a sandwich board with one word written all over it on the front and the back sides: “Why” Why- Why- Why- Why- Why- Why … everywhere.
3.   The soldier takes the sandwich board off and sits it down and rushes straight over to a big 10’ tall “Can” sitting on the other side of the casket. On the side of the can there is a big “Eye”. On top of the can is an old red “Telephone”. The phone begins to ring and the soldier takes out his sword, reaches high and knocks the can over, it falls and when the telephone hits the floor it breaks open and “Bibles” spill out all over the stage.

Ok – if you can remember that simple story, you have just learned a well proven and successful way to be an effective witness for Christ.

Here are 3 steps to awaken the command of God in a person’s life. This will work in any setting. You can inject this into any conversation. Be sincere and really care. You simply have to ask the first question and you will remember the rest. What is the first question? Remember the casket? What was written on the side? This is how you ask the 1st question:

1.  Are you 100 percent sure if you died today you would go to heaven?

Then you wait and listen and let them answer. If they say yes or if they say no or if they say I don’t know or if they are silent for a long time … that’s ok. You see, it really does not matter what they say to this first question – you have a plan … you know where you are going … you are on a fishing trip, you have the best bait and you already know your next cast.

So, listen – be attentive – and be ready to ask question #2 when it’s your turn to talk. Remember the soldier and the sign he was carrying? This will remind you and keep you on track with the next question. Question 2:

2.  If you were standing before Jesus and He said, “Why should I let you into My heaven?”, what would you say?

Again – be attentive, give them time to respond and listen to their answer. Remember however, it does not matter what they say, you have a plan and you know the next question. You are not here to prove, to lecture, to argue or get sidetracked by anything else. You are simply a laborer in the fields of this world harvesting the ripened and ready fruit for Christ.

Some people will respond to this question by saying that they have been good or that they attend Church or perhaps even say they don’t know or that they don’t expect to go to heaven or whatever. But keep in mind that it does not matter what they say. You should respond in a generally supportive way in understanding why some people may think or feel that and yet remember – you have another question to ask as soon as this person feels they have been heard. Remember, you are the fisherman, they are the fish – don’t let the fish dictate when they will be caught. You have the best bait in the universe and it’s free … you are doing the fishing!

If you maintain your kind and caring approach and remain non-threatening and sincerely attentive, you will lose very few during this adventure. After their response, make a light comment to show you are listening and then move on to the third question. You can remember the next question because you can remember the story and what the soldier did next: He set the sandwich board down and rushed over to a tall can with an eye and a telephone filled with Bibles. So, here goes Question #3:

3.  Can I tell you what the Bible says?

Out of all of the numbers of people I have witnessed to, I don’t remember ever being turned down or stopped at this point. A kind, caring, sincere approach to winning souls is very effective. And remember – we are dealing with people God has been preparing. If you care they will respond.

From this point it is simple – all you have to know comes straight from the Bible and a well proven approach to soul winning called the “Romans Road to Salvation”. I first learned in a Southern Baptist Evangelism Training Course in the 70’s. I have re-written these basic Bible truths into 3 simple, easy-to-remember phrases which get right to the heart of God’s Word. Here is what you say after you ask question #3 – and by the way, you don’t have to wait for them to respond even though most will.

·        The Bible says that we have all done wrong. (Romans 3:23)
·        The payment for doing wrong is hell …  (Romans 6:23)
·        But we get to go to heaven if we just ask!  (Romans 10:13)

Now here, right away you ask one final closing question in a very sincere, straight forward and caring voice:

Is there any reason in your wildest imagination why you would want to spend an eternity in hell?

Of course that answer is “No!”. At that point you awaken and release the command of God in that person’s life and say in a strong and directive manner. Say - “Then pray with me now.”

This is not a suggestion or a question – we don’t ask, “Would you like to pray now?” – rather this is the point where God awakens His command in their heart and the far majority of people sense true faith and respond.

You immediately bow your head and say, “God …” – If you don’t hear them praying with you, raise you head, look at them and say, “Pray, pray with me now.” then bow your head and begin to pray again. The vast majority will sincerely and openly voice their sincere prayer and receive Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of their life. Keep the prayer focused and brief.

Now I have some other things to teach you and ways to identify the ripe fruit verses the green fruit, how to answer every objection to the witness and what to do when a person does not want to hear anything about Jesus or wants to argue or has sincere questions about whatever … But for now – let’s practice these simple steps and become fruitful fishers of men.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Family Relationships Family Bill of Rights


The fact that the Founding Fathers of our Nation looked to the Bible as the guiding source in the formation of the government of the United States is undeniable. The Holy Scriptures are quoted over and over again as a basis for our constitution and the Bill of Rights. Each tenant of our national doctrine was crafted to support a truth which parallels the written Word of Almighty God as He alone governs in the affairs of men. The morals, integrity and values of our Founding Fathers and the painstaking service they performed for our country are wholly based on their Christian beliefs.

When it became necessary to identify the fundamental rights which would protect each American from the tyranny of a world bent on breaching those God given freedoms, the first 10 Amendments were authored and adopted with prayerful consideration. Today we hold these 10 amendments to be the foundation of our personal covenant with the government and continue to count them as the Bill of Rights for each citizen of our nation.

It is vital to every relationship for those enjoined to know what is expected of them and what they can of a right expect of others. This is true of every relationship - whether a nation, a fraternity, an expedition or a family …

Rights accompany Relationships

Today we will continue to discover and discuss the Basic Bible Blueprint for Family Relationships - specifically the Family Bill of Rights. Before we get go further allow me for the sake of our American Heritage to share in brief the First 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. This Bill or Rights lists the expectations in the relationship each citizen has with the government of our great nation. These rights were meant to rule!

The 1st Amendment – Free Speech and Freedom of Religion
        Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Religion not freedom from religion

The 2nd Amendment – Right to Bear Arms
        The right to arm, protect, assemble and defend ourselves from encroachment, enslavement and tyranny. Not the limited right to utilize a gun for the purposes of hunting providing the government is agrees.

The 3rd Amendment – Consent to Quarter
        Protects against the government forcibly commandeering personal property for civil or military use either unlawfully or without consent.

The 4th Amendment – Illegal or Unreasonable Search & Seizure
        The right to feel secure in persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable and unlawful searches and seizures. (JEOP)

The 5th Amendment – Self Incrimination & Double Jeopardy
        Guarantees the right to due process of law and against compelled self incrimination and against double jeopardy while demanding just compensation.

The 6th Amendment – Speedy Trial Faced by Accusers & Rights of Venue and Counsel
        Grants the right of an accused to a speedy and public trial in the state or district where the crime was alleged to have been committed and then to be faced by their accusers with rights of counsel and redress.

The 7th Amendment – Trial by Jury
        Preserves the right to a trial by jury.

The 8th Amendment – Excessive Bail/Fines & Cruel or Unusual Punishment
        Protects citizens against excessive bail and excessive fines as well as exemption from any cruel and/or unusual punishment.

The 9th Amendment – Retention of Un-Enumerated Rights
        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.

The 10th Amendment – Reserved Rights & Powers
        The government of the United States derives its power and authority from the States and the people through the Constitution – not the other way around. Government is meant to serve the people not vice versa.

Rights are important to any relationship. Rights are not only a personal or political matter but first a Bible matter. God determines what is right in a relationship, especially a God-ordained relationship like that of the family.

God ordained the family and He determined each role, every rule and the reasonable rights for family relationships. When family breaks down it is almost certain that someone, or more than one, is not following the rules and thereby is infringing on the rights of others in the relationship.

One of the greatest threats to building and maintaining healthy family relationships is the dysfunctional husband and father. Society’s downplay of this primary leadership role has brought disrespect and disregard to the whole idea of the Bible’s Basic Blueprint for Family Relationships.

I dare say that the biggest problem with marriage in America is men. Now I did not say that the biggest problem in your marriage was a man. That may or may not be true. However, when we look at any persistent problem with a group oriented adventure we must first look to its leadership. This principle gives rise to the second biggest problem with family being the woman and the greatest problems the traditional family unit encounters are usually caused by, tolerated by or made worse by the parents, not the children … not all problems for certain, but most.

A Husband and Father is ordained to his role by God’s design. It is a calling and a grace. God, not the family, has determined that the husband and father roles are the primary providers of 2 Critical Elements Necessary for Healthy Family Relationships:
1.   Love
2.   Leadership

The wealth of scriptures contained in both the Old and the New Testaments overwhelmingly confirm the fact that families do well or do poorly based solely on these two critical factors – love and leadership.

Every family member has a God-given right and need to be loved and to be led by someone who loves them. Family leadership is the most critical need in America and the world today. Healthy families are the result of healthy leadership and unhealthy families are most often the results of a lack of demonstrated Fatherly love and Godly leadership.

Leadership is so much more than simply telling others what to do. The leadership which is motivated by love is first modeled and then mentored. Fathers, parents – don’t be afraid … love enough to lead your family!

The husband and father in the family not only has a role to play, which should be played according to God’s rules, but he also has rights himself. As we heard earlier, rights accompany relationships. What God-given rights does a husband reasonably possess? The husband has a God-given right to expect his wife to respect him, support his decisions and render unto him what the KJV of the Bible says is his “due benevolence”. The due benevolence spoken of herein is perhaps better understood as “affection”. And by the way, this is a mutual right enjoyed by both spouses.

1 Corinthians 7
3  Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
4  The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5  Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

This is an all important part of the marriage relationship and it is critical to the covenant – so critical in fact that sex is the only right God reserves blessing exclusively in marriage. Sex is not just a rite of marriage but a fundamental marriage right and God’s only covenant gift.

Furthermore the wife has an unqualified right to be not only the number one and only one in her husband’s love life but she also has the right to be one with her husband. This is the picture God painted of marriage when He first presented Eve to Adam. Adam said and Jesus later repeated in:

Mark 10
7  ’For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
8  ’and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
9  "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

This oneness grants rights of access and rights of address. The wife is an always welcomed voice whose grace is given to strengthen, stabilize and support  the family. The Bible says she is the weaker but also often portrays her as the wiser of the two. She has a right to be heard as a welcomed and wise counselor to her family.

When it comes to family we each have the God-given right to expect others to play their role and do their part. Brothers and sisters have the God-given right to be loved, respected and cared about by their siblings. These family relationships were designed by God to last an eternity.

As well, Mothers will always carry their children close to their hearts and ponder the words spoken by them and about them by others. For this they deserve and have every right to be honored by their children.

Children, you have a right to be loved, nurtured, vigilantly guarded, patiently guided, gently corrected, completely forgiven, increasingly trusted and ultimately released and respected to follow the will of God for your own life as you begin to raise your family. You see parents: We are not raising children, we are raising adults – we have only their childhood years to deposit in them that which they will need to build their healthy family.

Allow me to close with a passage from Colossians as we continue to consider the Basic Bible Blueprint for Family Relationships and our Family Bill of Rights in light of God’s Word.

Colossians 3  NKJV
18  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19  Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
20  Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

21  Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reaching Family


Matthew 4:19  Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

One of the most alarming statistics dealing with the Christianity is that even though the Church continues to grow and spread throughout the earth in each generation yet relatively few individual Believers ever lead someone else to salvation during a one on one encounter. Most born again Christians live their faith, die and go to heaven without ever personally praying for even one individual to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. This is a sad truth and should not be played down.

When asked why they do not witness to the lost, even within their families, the most often responses are “I don’t know how to”, or “I don’t feel comfortable talking to my family about Jesus.” Again, this is a sad truth which should also not be overlooked.

The art of personal evangelism is a simple skill which can be easily learned.

It is apparent that the Church as a whole has not effectively prepared its members to follow Christ and become fishers of men. Rather we depend on someone else to do the work of evangelism silently hoping people get saved while all along missing the opportunities God places right in front of us. Some wrongly imagine soul winning to be the preacher’s job.

During the past 25 years our Church has taken a more aggressive approach to teaching and encouraging personal evangelism. We have trained thousands of Christians around the world, in every state and in near 20 countries to be an effective, non threatening witness for Christ.

The results of our combined efforts continue to catch multitudes, reeling them in one soul at a time.

The next two Wednesday evenings will be devoted to teaching you how to share your faith in an effective yet non-threatening way and thereby become a fisher of men for Jesus. This will be so easy and so memorable. If you will only listen you will remember exactly what to say, when to say it, how to share the truth and ultimately win souls to Christ.

Confidence comes from knowing what to do and success is achieved by working a well orchestrated plan. Our goal will be simple:
1.   Identify those who are ripe and ready to be harvested.
2.   Awaken the command of God in their heart.
3.   Close the deal.

Again, we have already taught this all over the world with amazing results. In one Church in Florida an 82 year old woman who worked in the Church nursery heard the presentation we made during our seminar in her Church. She went home and in less than 10 minutes led her husband to the Lord first try. She came back the next night to give testimony. She said she had been trying to witness to her husband for years without any success. When she asked him why he chose this time to be saved he replied, “You never made it plain like this before.”

This particular method of personal evangelism you are going to learn in these two Wednesday evenings is easy to remember and will work to win souls whether those coming to Christ are 15, 55 or 90 years old. A child can learn it and immediately begin being an effective witness for Jesus.

Several years ago a pre-teen who was a member of Church On The Rock North in Beaumont, TX, attended a seminar we held at his Church. The next week he had a chance encounter with the mayor of Beaumont, I won’t mention which mayor it was, and took the opportunity presented to be a witness. As a result the mayor bowed his head, opened his heart and sincerely prayed to ask Jesus to become his Lord and Savior. The Bible says God has ordained strength out of the mouths of children.

For close to a decade our Church operated a booth at the South Texas State Fair where we simply sold water for one dollar and took surveys from willing passersby. During the survey we used our simple method of evangelism to identify those who were ripe and ready for harvest, awaken the command of God in their hearts and close the deal by offering them an opportunity to pray. Each year we saw between 500 and 1000 people make first time decisions for Christ.

Some time back Brenda and I were attending a Pastor’s Mission conference in Mexico. Our last two days was spent in Cancun with a few new friends we had met at the conference. There were about 10 of us sitting around a table at a restaurant one evening and the subject of being a witness came up. When I told them we had put together an easy, nonthreatening, but effective way to share the gospel in any setting in only 2 minutes they were skeptical. The conversation moved on but after a few minutes a doctor from Little Rock Arkansas who was attending the conference and was sitting with his wife at the end of the table spoke up and said, “If you’re so confident, show me … witness to the next person who comes to the table. If they accept Christ, I’ll believe you.” I said, ok!

A waiter approached the table and in turn he got to me. Within 2 minutes I had shared according to the plan and he bowed his head and prayed to ask Jesus into his heart. When he walked away the doctor still didn’t seem impressed. However, in less than a minute the kitchen doors were slammed open and out from the kitchen that waiter came with a loud voice, tears streaming from his face, proclaiming first in Spanish and then to our whole table in English how that he was a changed man and how he knew he was saved and how his life and his family would never be the same!

For the rest of our meal we continued to see this waiter witness to others with a beaming light in his eyes and a joy-filled look on his face. We all noted that his complete countenance was changed and he was evidently a saved man.

Before we concluded our meal the doctor asked me if I would teach this method to him and his wife. I told them sure but that it would take about 10 minutes for them to learn it in such a way they would never forget it. He shook his head and said that he could not believe he had never been taught how to be an effective witness. I took about 10 minutes and taught the whole table how to recognize those who are ripe and ready, awaken the command of God in their life and close the deal.

The next morning some of us were scheduled to go scuba diving across from Cancun in Cozumel. When we got to the boat the doctor’s wife was reeling with excitement. She got out of the taxi telling us how her husband had already led two people to the Lord before leaving the hotel and now he was praying with the taxi driver who was tearfully asking Jesus to come into his heart at that very moment. It didn’t stop there, while we were on the dive boat this doctor led the captain to Christ and his wife was so moved that she tried her hand at witnessing and led the dive master to pray and be saved. Needless to say it was a very profitable trip for the Kingdom of God.

In the past years we have prepared training materials and mailed out teaching videos and sent teams to hold conferences and seminars literally throughout our communities, our state, our nation and around the world. People from all walks of life have been born again through the simple one on one witness of Believers who were taught to fish for the souls of men.

Once a trained youth group from our Church went to Schlitterbahn and while there took lipstick and wrote “Ask Me!” on their backs. When people asked, those youth followed the plan. In only a few hours that afternoon 38 people prayed to received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

I am telling you all these things to dispel the devil’s ideas in your head that you cannot be an effective witness. Perhaps you have heard the devil tell you that witnessing is for someone else and not for you. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. Maybe you have heard that witnessing hard or that you just don’t know enough Bible – that’s not true. It is not hard, it’s easy and you don’t have to know anything more about the Bible or Jesus than you do right now. All I am going to teach you is how to put it together in such a way you will never forget it and will always know exactly what to do.

You will easily learn and readily remember 3 disarming conversational questions, 3 truths about the Bible, a closing question and a simple prayer. Anyone can do this and achieve results in minutes. How? God has already done the hard work. He sent His only Son to make the way and then His Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts to hear. All we need do is identify the ripened fruit and it will fall off into our hands.

God will do His part but He needs us to do ours. God reaches to people through people.

In the book of Acts, chapter 10, a man named Cornelius who was a Roman soldier caught heaven’s attention. Cornelius was neither a Jew nor a Christian but rather a member of the occupying army of Rome. However, Cornelius had grown to respect the God of the Jews and the way they cared for their poor. As a result Cornelius was a man who also prayed and gave alms to the poor himself. Like I said, this drew heaven’s attention and no doubt God had been working on this Gentile’s heart, preparing him to receive a witness God was going to send his way. God is preparing people for your witness right now … even those difficult members of your family.

Acts 10
1 ¶  There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
2  a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
3  About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"
4  And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
5  "Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.
6  "He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do."

Notice that the angel from heaven was not sent to tell Cornelius and his family about Jesus. Rather, the angel merely pointed Cornelius to a man, a believer, a Christian who would provide the witness necessary for Cornelius and his family to be saved. You see, like we heard earlier: God reaches to people through people.

44 ¶  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
47  "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Herein we see the miraculous ministry of the Holy Spirit doing what only He can do while working with the simple efforts of others who are willing to provide the witness God has given to men.

Cornelius and his family represent ripened fruit ready to be harvested for Christ.

John 14:6b (Jesus said) No man comes to the Father but by Me.

John 6:44a No man can come to Me unless the Spirit of My Father draws him.

God is drawing people in all walks of life from every situation and every nation. The Holy Spirit is preparing hearts and minds behind the scenes and many are completely unaware they are being set up to be caught for Christ. Jesus said:

Luke 10:2 The harvest is truly plentiful but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into the harvest.

There are two critical things I am going to ask you to do right now:

1.   Disregard any thoughts that come to you telling you that the people around you don’t want to get right with God and be saved.
a.   That’s a lie from the pit of hell and is the spirit of the anti-christ
b.   God is working on everyone – God needs your help
2.   Make plans to come next Wednesday night to learn this simple, proven method of personal evangelism.
a.   Invite others to come with you. Tell them they will learn a non-threatening way to witness to their family, friends and others.
b.   Don’t miss it … God needs your help!

Now, let’s bathe our families in prayer once again.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Family Relationships Respecting the Rules


I have not studied the Word of God so diligently for these past 35 years so that I could stand here this morning and help you identify all of the trouble you have been having with your marriage, your finances, your family or your outlook on the future. Rather, I have grown in life to the point where I now have very little time for the problem because of the consuming respect I hold for the answer.

If you have trouble today you know it. Some of you may not want to face it but deep down you know it. God has not left you without a witness. Although God is kind, His love is merciful and He is gracious, He nonetheless points out our trouble to us as only He can do. But whether you are at the top of your game today or living life at the bottom of the barrel, the path which leads onward and upward is remarkably the same for everyone.

Today we are going to continue our discussion on Family Relationships, specifically those Rules which govern Family Relationships. Again, I am not here to point out the problems but rather the solution. And believe me, there is a solution for every dilemma we face. So without condemnation, criticism or closed mindedness, let’s go to the Word of God together and survey the rules which will build and maintain healthy family relationships.

You know, everything we enjoy has rules, some written some unwritten. Break the rules of the game and you stand to be disqualified. True peace and lasting success comes only from respecting and following God’s rules.

You see, Rules are designed by God to govern Relationships. Take for example the relationship Bernie Madoff had with his clients. Madoff was a licensed stockbroker and his clients were those who provided him money to supposedly invest. For many years it appeared Madoff was a market-savvy financial advisor who was making his investors well above average returns on their money. However, Bernie was breaking the rules which were established to govern those relationships. Bernie Madoff was probably a pretty good guy but he was also a thief, a cheat, a liar and a scam artist.

For a long time he got away with breaking the rules and he appeared very successful for decades. He, his wife and 2 sons enjoyed everything money could buy. They had access to more than $50 billion – what a fairytale life.

Today however at age 75, Bernie Madoff sits alone in prison serving out his 150 year sentence after having to forfeit nearly $20 billion. Why, because he was found guilty of breaking the rules. His scheduled release date is November 14, 2139, providing he gets some time off for good behavior.

Now I’m not picking on Bernie, like I said he no doubt was a nice guy and a good provider for his family, he just didn’t maintain a healthy respect for the rules. Like I said, I don’t want to pick on Mr. Madoff at all … he, his family and his investors have all suffered greatly. I pray he finds peace. That will probably depend somewhat on whether or not he has learned to follow the rules in his new environment. God bless him and his victims.

I could have launched this subject taking about Lance Armstrong who beat cancer and won the Tour de France an amazing 7 times before being stripped of all of his titles and medals and banned from competition for life because he didn’t keep the rules. Or perhaps I could have told you about Miss America 1983 who posed nude and ended up giving up her title. Like Bernie, all of those things they wanted, valued and worked so hard for in life were lost because they didn’t maintain a healthy respect for the rules which govern relationships.

When we participate in any event we fall subject to the rules which have been established to govern that event. The main event we will be discussing today is Family. So without further ado, let’s look into the written Word of God to find the Basic Bible Blueprints for Family Relationships and review some fundamentals. Our topic this morning:

Respecting the Rules of Relationship

As we turn to the book of Ephesians it is interesting to note that the whole body of the 10 Commandments is a list of rules which govern relationships. The first 4 Commandments are rules on how we are to relate to God and the last 5 Commandments are rules on how we are to relate to others.
Right there in the middle, Commandment #5 is all about how we are to relate to a growing, ever changing family. Ok – on to Ephesians chapter 5 where we find God speaking to us as a man would speak to his children.

Ephesians 5 (The New Living Translation)
21  And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

This verse is not telling us to mutually submit to one another as we walk through life. Rather this verse, just like the 10 Commandments, firmly directs us to recognize the family, find our role and follow the rules. What does, “submit to one another out of respect for Christ” mean? 

22  For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
25  For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church. He gave up his life for her

These are the fundamental rules which govern this particular relationship and serve to make up the Basic Bible Blueprints for the marriage covenant.

33  So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

These basic rules governing marriage are clearly repeated so as to not be ambiguous. Much like the 10 Commandments – These rules are not designed to govern the loopholes or exemptions. These are not problem oriented suggestions but rather solution based directives aimed at giving God the greatest room and reason to insert Himself into the marriage when needed. What about the other primary family relationships? Paul continues:

Ephesians 6
1  Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.
2  “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise:
4  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

The one fundamental rule governing family relationships is simple – so simple in fact that only God could have been its Author. Simply put –
Find your place and do your part according to God’s Word.

If you need more details, refer to the manual or make plans to attend next Sunday when we will be covering Family Relationships and your Bill of Rights within the family.

Ephesians 6
10  A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

The greatest strength you will ever find is when you find yourself in Him.

This is the place where I hope to lead you to connect with God in a meaningful way. There are 5 Potential Prayers which I want you to consider right now. Which one of these prayers will you pray today?
1.  Prayer of Thanksgiving
·        Offering thanks to God because He has confirmed that you are right on track with His Will, following the rules and giving Him the greatest opportunity to work through you on behalf of your family and the future.
2.  Prayer of Petition
·        Letting God know you have heard His Word and need His help to change and follow His long established guidelines for family.
3.  Prayer of Intercession
·        This is a prayer prayed in earnest for other family members asking God to open their eyes and soften their heart to do His will. God will hear your cry today and He will do His part.
4.  Prayer of Repentance
·        If you know you have been wrong and have disregarded these rules for whatever reason, you owe God an apology and need to ask His forgiveness. Then begin afresh and follow the rules.
5.  Prayer for Salvation

·        If you just don’t want to obey God or follow His rules or care enough about what He wants to live for Him then that’s reason to be concerned about your salvation. Conversion transforms us and creates within us a new heart, a new mind and a new will. You’ll not be perfect but you will want to be like Him.