Monthly Archives: January 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

U B U, Friend .

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.

Advertisements

De la Abundancia del Corazon

Viernes, Enero 12, 2018

Construyendo personas de sustancia para obras de poder

Amo al Espíritu Santo, Friend.

Un domingo después del servicio, un caballero me abordo con una pregunta:” ¿Pastor, es necesario hablar en lenguas y todo eso en el servicio? Hay una familia que quiero invitar, pero estoy preocupado que se puedan ofender por esas cosas. “este hombre estaba lleno del Espíritu Santo, y era miembro de la Iglesia. Estaba familiarizado con el Espíritu de Dios. Le respondí, algo sarcástico, “¿crees que deberíamos de avergonzarnos del Espíritu Santo?” yo estaba irritado, sabía exactamente lo que quería decir, hay una presión constante para alejarnos de Espíritu Santo y tratar de no ofender a nadie. Esas ideas surgen de la mente de cualquier persona honesta que quiere ayudar a las personas, conocemos y amamos el poder de la persona del Espíritu, pero intencionalmente no queremos ofender a nadie, en estos días, creo que más que nunca esto se ha vuelto un problema mayor. Una cultura secular y humanista, retrocede a lo supernatural. La Iglesia que quiere convertir al mundo ya sea escondiéndose de él o uniéndose a él, encuentra lo supernatural, una amenaza.

Uno de mis primeros encuentros con los cazadores de herejías del mundo de la Iglesia, llego a mediados de los 1980’s. un Pastor local me pidió una cita con él, cuando vino, tenía una lista escrita con preguntas que su diacono quería que me hiciera, si fallaba el cuestionario, ellos le pedían que rompiera toda comunicación conmigo, después de oír mis respuestas, decidieron que tal vez podían seguir hablando conmigo, pero simplemente se negaron a seguir participando en cualquier actividad colectiva de la Iglesia. Si ellos organizaban un evento, podíamos atender pero si les prometíamos no hablar en lenguas, lo dejaban muy claro, no querían vivir en un temor constante de que alguno de nosotros entráramos en un frenesí descontrolado. No estaba seguro que pensaban ellos que podría pasar, pero aparentemente era algo horrible para ellos. Esta clase de fariseos modernos parecen determinados a gastar su tiempo inspeccionando y corrigiendo a otros cristianos, en vez de alcanzar a los inalcanzables. En el momento en que Dios empieza a moverse pudieras recibir la visita de uno de estos amigos, ellos están “bien” con la doctrina del Espíritu Santo, pero cuando él se hace presente como una persona viva y vibrante, entonces se ponen todos nerviosos.

Alguien dijo: “te recuerdo, que hay Iglesias que si están completamente fuera de las manos de Dios, es porque han rechazado a El Espíritu Santo, y tardarían meses en descubrirlo- A. W. Tozer

Escrituras Bíblicas: Si alguno se cree profeta, o espiritual, reconozca que lo que os escribo son mandamientos del Señor. Más el que ignora, ignore. Así que, hermanos procurad profetizar, y no impidáis el hablar lenguas. Pero hágase todo decentemente y con orden. (1 de Corintios 14:37-40 NV)

Soy el primero en admitir que mucho de lo que se a echo en nombre del Espíritu Santo es simplemente emocional, eso es muy triste, sin la presencia de El Espíritu Santo, somos totalmente incapaces de hacer nada en el ministerio. Nuestra asignación es humanamente imposible: no podemos transformar a las personas a imagen y semejanza de Dios. Para tener una oportunidad de terminar con esto, estamos obligados a identificar bíblicamente las manifestaciones de El Espíritu Santo y buscar de El fervientemente, tal vez cometamos algunos errores, pero debemos seguir intentándolo. La primera resistencia inevitablemente proviene de los miembros de la Iglesia, quienes se sienten incomodos de la presencia de un Dios verdadero y que hace milagros. Amamos a esta gente, pero nunca nos atrevemos a hablarles con la verdad, lo que está en juego es demasiado alto.

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

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, January 12, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

I love the Holy Spirit, Amigos.

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.